Committee on Finance. - Vote on Account, 1943-44.

Deputy Mulcahy, in accordance with established custom, has informed the Chair that, so far as the main Opposition is concerned, the general line of debate will be "the size of the bill in relation to the national income; how little is being got for the expenditure of the money; and, particularly, how little is got in results expanding or tending to expand the national income."

Does that mean that every other speaker will have to keep within these narrow limits?

Not necessarily, though the line indicated gives wide scope.

Is there, in fact, any limit on that?

Tairgim:—

Go ndeontar suim nach mó ná £13,820,000 i gcuntas chun no mar chabhair chun íoctha na Muirear a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1944, i gcóir seirbhísí áirithe puiblí, eadhon:—

That a sum not exceeding £13,820,000 be granted on account for or towards defraying the Charges that will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1944, for certain public services, namely:—

£

£

1

Teaghlachas an Uachtaráin

1,400

1

President's Establishment

1,400

2

Tithe an Oireachtais

42,200

2

Houses of the Oireachtas

42,200

3

Roinn an Taoisigh

5,300

3

Department of the Taoiseach

5,300

4

An tArd-Reachtaire Cunntas agus Ciste

6,835

4

Comptroller and Auditor-General

6,835

5

Oifig an Aire Airgeadais

26,300

5

Office of the Minister for Finance

26,300

6

Oifig na gCoimisinéirí Ioncuim

320,000

6

Office of the Revenue Commissioners

320,000

7

Pinsin Sean-Aoise

1,265,000

7

Old Age Pensions

1,265,000

8

Deolchairí Cúitimh

650

8

Compensation Bounties

650

9

Oifig na nOibreacha Poiblidhe

47,800

9

Office of Public Works

47,800

10

Oibreacha agus Foirgintí Poiblidhe

335,000

10

Public Works and Buildings

335,000

11

Longlann Inis Sionnach

1,000

11

Haulbowline Dockyard

1,000

12

Saotharlann Stáit

3,400

12

State Laboratory

3,400

13

Coimisiún na Stát-Sheir-bhíse

8,200

13

Civil Service Commission

8,200

14

Bord Cuartaíochta na hEireann

3,500

14

Irish Tourist Board

3,500

15

Coimisiúin agus Fios-rúcháin Speisialta

2,400

15

Commissions and Special Inquiries

2,400

16

Aoisliúntais agus Liúntais Fágála

176,500

16

Superannuation and Retired Allowances

176,500

17

Rátaí ar Mhaoin Riaghaltais

51,500

17

Rates on Government Property

51,500

18

An tSeirbhís Seicréideach

6,700

18

Secret Service

6,700

19

Costaisí fén Acht Timpeal Togha chán, agus fé Acht na nGiúrithe

Nil

19

Expenses under the Electoral Act and the Juries Act

Nil

20

Costaisí Ilghnéitheacha

2,000

20

Miscellaneous Expenses

2,000

21

Páipéarachas agus Clódóireacht

80,500

21

Stationery and Printing

80,500

22

Measadóireacht agus Suirbhéireacht Teorann

11,500

22

Valuation and Boundary Survey

11,500

23

Suirbhéireacht an Ordonáis

8,900

23

Ordnance Survey

8,900

24

Deontaisí Breise Talmhaíochta

450,000

24

Supplementary Agricultural Grants

450,000

25

Dlí-Mhuirearacha

23,500

25

Law Charges

23,500

26

Ollscoileanna agus Coláisti

77,700

26

Universities and Colleges

77,700

27

Pinsin do Bhaintreacha agus do Dhílleachtaithe

150,000

27

Widows' and Orphans' Pensions

150,000

28

Oifig Thaighde Eolaíochta Ré na Práinne

11,000

28

Emergency Scientific Research Bureau

11,000

29

Bainistí Stoc Riaghaltais

22,800

29

Management of Government Stocks

22,800

30

Talmhaidheacht

450,000

30

Agriculture

450,000

31

Iascach

4,500

31

Fisheries

4,500

32

Oifig an Aire Dlighidh agus Cirt

15,400

32

Office of the Minister for Justice

15,400

33

An Gárda Síochána

748,000

33

Gárda Síochána

748,000

34

Príosúin

38,000

34

Prisons

38,000

35

An Chúirt Dúitche

14,170

35

District Court

14,170

36

An Chúirt Chuarda

17,900

36

Circuit Court

17,900

37

An Chúirt Uachtarach agus an Ard-Chúirt Bhreithiúnais

18,750

37

Supreme Court and High Court of Justice

18,750

38

Clárlann na Talmhan agus Clárlann na nDintiúrí

16,300

38

Land Registry and Registry of Deeds

16,300

39

Oifig na nAnnálacha Puiblí

1,840

39

Public Record Office

1,840

40

Tabhartaisí agus Tiomanta Déirciúla

1,140

40

Charitable Donations and Bequests

1,140

41

Riaghaltas Aiteamhail agus Sláinte Poiblidhe

523,000

41

Local Government and Public Health

523,000

42

Oifig an Ard-Chlárathóra

4,530

42

General Register Office

4,530

43

Gealtlann Dúndroma

7,250

43

Dundrum Asylum

7,250

44

Arachas Sláinte Náisiúnta

100,000

44

National Health Insurance

100,000

——

——

45

Oifig an Aire Oideachais

65,000

45

Office of the Minister for Education

65,000

46

Bun-Oideachas

1,500,000

46

Primary Education

1,500,000

47

Meadhon-Oideachas

170,000

47

Secondary Education

170,000

48

Ceárd-Oideachas

100,000

48

Technical Instruction

100,000

49

Eolaíocht agus Ealadha

15,000

49

Science and Art

15,000

50

Scoileanna Ceartúcháin agus Saothair

60,000

50

Reformatory and Industrial Schools

60,000

51

An Gaileirí Náisiúnta

2,240

51

National Gallery

2,240

——

——

52

Tailte

536,000

52

Lands

536,000

53

Foraoiseacht

16,000

53

Forestry

16,000

54

Seirbhísí na Gaeltachta

15,000

54

Gaeltacht Services

15,000

——

——

55

Tionnscal agus Tráchtáil

86,200

55

Industry and Commerce

86,200

56

Seirbhísí Iompair agus Meteoraíochta

50,000

56

Transport and Meteorological Services

50,000

57

An Bínse Bóthair Iarainn

980

57

Railway Tribunal

980

58

Muir-Sheirbhís

9,555

58

Marine Service

9,555

59

Arachas Díomhaointis agus Congnamh Díomhaointis

400,000

59

Unemployment Insurance and Unemployment Assistance

400,000

60

Oifig Chlárathachta Mhaoine Tionnscail agus Tráchtála

4,880

60

Industrial and Commercial Property Registration Office

4,880

——

——

61

Puist agus Telegrafa

957,000

61

Posts and Telegraphs

957,000

62

Fóirleatha Nea-shrangach

26,300

62

Wireless Broadcasting

26,300

63

An tArm

2,835,000

63

Army

2,835,000

64

Arm-Phinsin

206,500

64

Army Pensions

206,500

——

——

65

Gnóthaí Eachtracha

35,000

65

External Affairs

35,000

66

Cumann na Náisiún

Nil.

66

League of Nations

Nil.

——

——

67

Scéimeanna Fostaíochta agus Scéimeanna Práinne

400,000

67

Employment and Emergency Schemes

400,000

68

Conganta Airgid alos Tortha Thalmhaíochta

233,000

68

Agricultural Produce Subsidies

233,000

69

Soláthairtí

783,000

69

Supplies

783,000

70

Institiúid Ard-Léighinn Bhaile Atha Cliath

5,750

70

Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies

5,750

71

Liúntaisí Bídh

172,800

71

Food Allowances

172,800

72

Cúiteamh i nDíobháil do Mhaoin (Neodracht)

30,000

72

Damage to Property (Neutrality) Compensation

30,000

73

Cúiteamh alos Díobhála Pearsanta (Síbhialtaigh)

2,430

73

Personal Injuries (Civilians) Compensation

2,430

An tIomlán

£13,820,000

Total

£13,820,000

Tá fhios ag na Teachtaí gurb é cuspóir an Vóta i gCuntas ná comhacht do thabhairt chun airgead do chur ar fáil chun seirbhísí do choimeád ar siúl san eatramh a bhíonn ann gach bliain airgeadais sara mbíonn caoi ag an Dáil ar gach meastachán soláthair do phlé go mion. De ghnáth téigheann an chéad cheithre mhí den bhliain airgeadais thart sara mbíonn na díospóireachtaí a bhaineann leis na meastacháin críochnuithe agus an tAcht Leithreasa rithte. Mar sin is gnáthach dóthain airgid do sholáthar sa Vóta i gCuntas chun íoc as obair na Ranna agus na Seirbhísí Puiblí uile i rith na tréimhse ón ladh Abrán go dtí deire mí Iúil.

Tá na rudaí go léir atá sa Vóta i gCuntas seo de thrí mhilliún déag, ocht gcéad ar fhichid míle punt (£13,820,000) leagtha amach (ar Pháipéar) i Riar na hOibre agus ar an bPáipéar Bán a cuireadh timpeall. Isé an méid is gádh de ghnáth ná an tríú cuid de gach meastachán fé léith (don bhliain) ach i gcásanna áirithe bíonn níos mó ag teastáil.

Sé an méid iomlán atá uainn le haghaidh Seirbhísí Soláthair na bliana airgeadais seo chugainn ná dachad milliún, sé chéad nócha sé mhíle, dhá chéad agus aon phunt déag (£40,696,211) glan. Mar sin tá dhá chéad seasca ceathair míle, trí chéad ochtó trí punt (£264,383) sa bhreis uainn i gcomparáid leis an soláthar glan a rinneadh i rith na bliana seo. B'é an soláthar glan sin ná dachad milliún ceithre chéad tríocha aon mhíle, ocht gcéad ocht is fiche punt (£40,431,828) agus áirmhítear na meastacháin bhreise agus na meastacháin nua sa mhéid sin.

Notice taken that 20 Deputies were not present; House counted, and 20 Deputies being present,

B'é naoi milliún tríochad, céad agus dhá mhíle déag, trí chéad agus aon phunt (£39,112,301) méid meastacháin na bliana airgeadais seo nuair a tugadh isteach iad, agus i gcomparáid leis an bhfigiúir seo tá milliún cúig chéad ochtó trí míle, naoi gcéad agus deich bpúint sa mbreis uainn i gcóir na bliana seo chugainn.

Isé is cúis don bhreis seo ná go bhfuil airgead dá sholáthar sna meastacháin nua le haghaidh bónus práinne d'oibrithe an Stáit breis is sé céad go leith míle punt (£656,000) agus íocaíochtaí breise i gcóir Congnamh Díomhaointis céad is fiche dó míle punt (£122,000) agus Liúntais Bhídh céad is ocht míle déag go leith punt (£118,500). Tá soláthar déanta chomh maith i leith:

(1) Clár Speisialta d'Oibrithe Talmhaíochta agus Móna.

(2) Congnamh airgid chun praghas na móna don phobal do choimeád síos.

(3) Leasú barraí do chur ar fáil do na feirmeoirí ar phraghsanna réasúnacha.

(4) Conganta airgid alos tortha talmhaíochta do mhéadú.

Tá céad is fiche míle punt (£120,000) sa bhreis ag teastáil le haghaidh Pinsin Sean-Aoise toisc gur dócha mbeidh míos mó daoine inphinsin ann.

Isé iomlán na n-ítimí nua úd ná dhá mhilliún, trí chéad tríocha cúig mhíle punt (£2,335,000) no mar sin. Chífear o na figiúirí seo go mbeadh laghdú de bhreis agus seacht gcéad go leith míle punt (£750,000) mura mbeadh gá ann chun níos mó airgid do sholáthar i gcóir seirbhísí códhaonnacha agus seirbhísí na Práinne; agus é sin in ainneoin méaduithe praghsanna gach abhair atá riachtanach chun na gnáthseirbhísí do chothú.

Is dócha go dtugtar fé ndeara gur fágadh amach, mar a rinneadh anuraidh, gnáth-mhíniú Meastacháin an Airm alos na bliana airgeadais seo chugainn. Rinneadh san toisc go bhfuil sé socruithe ag an Riaghaltas gan é d'fhoillsiú in iomlán le linn na Práinne.

As Deputies are aware, a Vote on Account is necessary to enable the various public services to be carried on during the period which must elapse in the coming financial year before the individual Estimates for the Supply Services can be discussed in detail. As a rule, it takes the greater part of the first four months of each financial year to complete the consideration of the Estimates and the enactment of the Appropriation Act. The Vote on Account, therefore, provides sufficient moneys to enable the various public services to be carried on up to the 31st July next.

The various items comprising the Vote on Account of £13,820,000 are set out on the Order Paper and in the White Paper which has been circulated. In most cases approximately one-third of the total net estimate for the year is required, but in some cases a departure from that proportion is necessary.

The total net sum required for the Supply Services for the coming financial year is £40,696,211, representing an increase of £264,383 on the net provision of £40,431,828 for the current financial year. This latter sum, of course includes all Supplementary and Additional Estimates passed during 1942-43. The original net provision for the current financial year was £39,112,301 and, as compared with this figure, the 1943-44 provision is up by £1,583,910.

The increase over the original Estimate for 1942-43 is due mainly to the inclusion in the 1943-44 Estimates of provision for payment of emergency bonus to members of State Services (estimated to cost £656,000 approximately), and for increases in the rates and scope of unemployment assistance (£122,000), and food allowances (£118,500). Provision is also made in 1943-44 for the maintenance of a register of agricultural and turf workers, for payment of a turf subsidy, for the provision of fertilisers for agriculture at reasonable rates, and for the payment of increased agricultural produce subsidies. There is also an increase of £120,000 in the provision for old age pensions, due to an anticipated increase in our septuagenarian population. These new items alone account for approximately £2,335,000. It will be apparent, therefore, that had events during the past year not rendered necessary a substantial increase in the amount needed for social and emergency services, there would be a reduction of more than £750,000 over the whole Supply Services, notwithstanding the substantial rise in the cost of materials reflected throughout many of the normal services.

Deputies will probably have noticed that as was the case last year the usual explanatory details of the Army Estimate for the coming year have been omitted as the Government have decided that, so long as the present emergency continues, it would not be in the public interest to publish such information.

As compared with the current year's Estimates, including Supplementaries, there are increases on 46 of the 1942-43 Estimates, decreases on 23, while four show no change. The Estimate for the Quit Rent Office and Repayment of Trade Loans Advances have disappeared—provision for the Quit Rent Office is now made in Vote 52 (Lands). The former Vote for Special Emergency Schemes has now been merged in Votes 41 (Local Government), 67 (Employment and Emergency Schemes) and 69 (Supplies). The total of the increases on the various Votes amounts to £1,530,331, while the total of the decreases amounts to £1,265,948.

Perhaps it will be of advantage to the House if I call attention in detail, to some extent, to the different increases or decreases, as the case may be, in the Estimates for the coming financial year as compared with the present financial year, the one just concluding. Of the larger items, in Vote 6—Office of the Revenue Commissioners—there is an increase of £536,715. The main increase, £41,750, is under sub-head A and is due to salary increments and emergency bonus payments. This increase is offset by additional Appropriations-in-Aid.

Before the Minister proceeds further, would he say what figures he is comparing? Is it the total amount, including Supplementary Estimates, as well as the Votes on the Book of Estimates last year?

The figures I am now giving are the detailed ones, and represent the total of the Book of Estimates of last year, plus the Supplementary Estimates. In Vote 7— Old Age Pensions—there is an increase of £120,000, as an increase in the number of persons claiming pensions is anticipated.

With regard to Vote 8—Compensation Bounties—there is a decrease of £26,000. In Vote 10—Public Works and Buildings—there is a decrease of £82,740. There is a decrease of £95,000 under sub-head B (New Works, etc.) owing to difficulty in obtaining essential building materials. Sub-head J (5) is down from £11,000 to £6,500 as the various old drainage schemes are being wound up. An increase of £9,000 under sub-head E is due to higher payments of rent on certain Government premises. The sum of £17,500 included under sub-head J (1) is a new provision in respect of River Fergus drainage, a Bill in connection with which it is hoped to introduce at an early stage.

In Vote 21—Stationery and Printing —there is a decrease of £15,517. The 1942-43 Estimates contained provision for the purchase of fairly considerable reserves of paper which it is not necessary to repeat in 1943-44.

In Vote 28—Emergency Scientific Research Bureau—there is an increase of £8,350. In Vote 30—Agriculture— there is a decrease of £113,944. There is a reduction of £166,005 in the provision for subsidising imported fertilisers. A decrease of £10,234 occurs under sub-head N (1) owing to diminished activity in connection with the Diseases of Animals Acts. The main increases which offset the foregoing reductions are £12,200 in respect of emergency bonus; £14,500 in respect of grants to county committees of agriculture, and £22,217 in respect of the provision of free seeds, manures, implements, etc., for certain allotment holders.

The next large Estimate is Vote 33 —Gárda Síochána—in respect of which there is an increase of £104,979. There is an increase of £103,859 on sub-head A, owing to emergency bonus. Sub-head D is up by £8,600, due mainly to the increased cycling allowance and the provision made against extra travelling in the event of a general election. Sub-head E is up by £25,879, as a general issue of uniform will be necessary in 1943-44, and prices of cloth, etc., are rising. There are offsetting reductions totalling £43,548, due primarily to the absence of provision for replacement of Gárda motor transport and reduced provision for L.F.S. equipment, a general issue of uniform, etc., having been made already in 1942-43.

There is a decrease of £115,498 on Vote 41—Local Government and Public Health—which decrease is mainly due to a reduction of £150,000 in the amount being made available to public assistance authorities for the provision of assistance in kind to certain recipients of home assistance under sub-head J (5). There is also a decrease of £35,000 under sub-head S (2), due to a fall in applications for grants for private houses, etc., in urban areas. The chief offsetting increases are under sub-head N, which provides an additional £49,700 for treatment of tuberculosis, and sub-head L (1), which provides an additional £26,000 for school meals.

In respect of Vote 46—Primary Education—there is an increase of £128,948. Emergency Bonus (sub-head C (1); the increased cost of examinations which are to be put on a compulsory basis (sub-head B); the extra cost of heating schoolhouses (sub-head C (6)) and additional provision for teachers' pensions (sub-head D) explain the increase.

Vote 47—Secondary Education— shows an increase of £24,195 which is accounted for principally by increased capitation grants, owing to the present tendency of pupils to remain longer at school (sub-head A) and by the provision made under sub-head B for payment of emergency bonus to secondary teachers.

A decrease of £64,077 is shown in respect of Vote 52—Lands. A reduction of £75,000 on the provision required for the improvement of estates, etc. Sub-head I is offset by several minor increases. This Estimate now contains provision for the Quit Rent Office. There is an increase of £242,749 in respect of Vote 59— Unemployment Insurance and Unemployment Assistance—which is accounted for by salary increments and bonus; higher rates of assistance to recipients in rural areas and the establishment of a register of agricultural and turf workers account for the increase on this Vote. The increase in respect of Vote 61—Posts and Telegraphs—of £87,069 is due almost entirely to the payment of salary increments and emergency bonus.

There is a decrease of £434,418 on Vote 63—Army. The largest single saving—almost £247,000—is in respect of L.D.F. uniforms and equipment. Other large decreases occur under the heads of warlike stores—nearly £120,000—and fuel, light and water— nearly £157,000. The latter decrease results from reduced purchases of coal and turf from merchants and increased production of turf by Army personnel. The chief increase of note is £211,000 on the pay sub-head which is mainly due to the increase of 6d. a day granted to soldiers last summer.

The decrease in respect of Vote 64— Army Pensions—amounts to £77,172. The fact that fewer pensions are now being paid under the Military Service Pensions Act is responsible for the fall of £92,165 under sub-head 1 of this Vote. An increase in the number of pensioners under the Defence Forces (Pensions) Schemes and in the number of recipients of wound and disability pensions accounts for increases totalling £22,098 under sub-heads E and J.

With regard to Vote 68—Agricultural Produce Subsidies—the increase is £200,000. The Vote provision of £700,000 is on the basis of the cost to the Exchequer in a full year of the increased price (9d. a gallon) for milk supplied to creameries as approved by the Government in September, 1942. Hence the increase of £200,000 over 1942-3.

An increase of £386,545 is shown in Vote 69—Supplies. The Grants-in-Aid of the Turf Development Board (sub-heads K (1) to K (7)) and certain other expenses (sub-heads H, I and J) in connection with the production of fuel have been transferred to this Vote from the Vote for Special Emergency Schemes. The large increase is accounted for (1) by emergency bonus and the provision for salaries, etc., and travelling expenses of additional staff and (2) the provision for the first time of a sum of £380,000 to subsidise the price of turf.

It appears from the large Schedule that the increase in this Vote amounts to £1,000,000.

This is the net increase.

It is a net increase of £1,000,000.

Vote 71—Food Allowances—shows an increase of £83,500 which is attributable to (1) rising prices and an increase of 50 per cent. in the allowance for bread and (2) the extension of the allowances scheme to cover single men and widowers over 40 without dependents and to all unmarried women.

What was the total amount of the Supplementary Estimates during the year?

£1,295,000.

Mr. Byrne

Might I ask, in respect of the Vote for External Affairs, if any steps have been taken to protect the lives of Irish seamen bringing food supplies and other essential goods to this country?

That is a matter of administration. Details of administration do not arise. Only matters which have a general bearing and not such matters as could be raised on the Estimates for the respective Ministers may be discussed.

Might I ask whether the sum of £380,000 set aside for the turf subsidy is for the purpose of meeting losses which might be incurred in the sale of turf at 64/- per ton?

Yes. It represents the difference between what the public are asked to pay and what it costs, and it probably will only partly meet it.

In my opinion, both the House and the public have every reason to be thoroughly dissatisfied with the enormity of the bill just presented to them. One could understand rising appeals and increasing demands in one or other set of circumstances. If the country were becoming more prosperous, if trade were increasing, if wealth were increasing, if our population were increasing, and if our unemployed were decreasing, one could understand the attitude of the Government, when people were finding life easier and had more money, in increasing their demand in the interests of the country. On the other hand, one could understand, and this House has always given very reasonable consideration to, any increasing demands arising out of the emergency situation. In so far as the increase in the immense bill is due to increased defence commitments of one kind or another, then the Government have always got the full co-operation of Opposition Parties in regard to such expenditure and, if blame is to be attached, we willingly will share the blame.

The Minister no doubt recollects, although perhaps he does not like the recollection, that it is only a matter of 11 years since the Minister himself and every one of his colleagues from this bench were denouncing the Government that functioned then for their extravagance, for the crushing taxation they were imposing on the people. It was popular to refer to that Government as a Government apeing in its expenditure a mighty empire. The Government at that time was denounced for the excessive cost of government itself, for the number of civil servants, and the amount of expenditure by the Government. That Government was told that neither trade nor industry nor any phase of the normal activities of the State could make good under the crushing and crippling burden of Government expenditure, or, as it was called, Government extravagance.

I have in front of me three Books of Estimates, one for the last year of the previous Government; one for what I may consider the last normal year before increased expenditure arising out of the war struck us; and the other for this year. In the year 1932-33, when the then Government was being denounced for crippling the people, for having no regard for the people, and being likened to vampires sucking the very life blood of the nation, the bill presented to this Parliament for the cost of services was £21,969,000, practically £22,000,000. In the last normal year, 1938-39, we had that demand jumped from £22,000,000 to £30,250,000; and in this year we have the demand jumped up to £40,750,000. I do not know whether all the people who constitute the Government were humbugs or hypocrites or ignoramuses in the year 1932-33.

They had been for some years in Parliament; they had been studying public finance; they had been conversant with the activities and costs of Government Departments. I believe that there are intelligent men amongst them and that it was not due to ignorance that they were so noisy and so unanimous in denunciations of the orgy of extravagance that made the cost of running the public services of this country reach to what they referred to as the alarming figure of nearly £22,000,000 a year. But, if they were not ignoramuses, then they were hypocrites, in view of the fact that, when they took over, for substantially the same public services the demand on the public went up by something more than £1,000,000 for every year that they were there until, in 1938, seven years later, it had increased by £18,000,000, and at the present moment it has gone still higher.

It has been popular and it was the order of the day in the early years of the present Administration to attribute every increase in cost to increased social services; just as it has been the order of the day for the last couple of years to attribute every increase in cost to the emergency situation, to the demands of defence; both very reasonable and both very plausible excuses, if true. But even a very casual examination of the Books of Estimates from year to year will show that the cost is as great or greater in Departments that have nothing to do with defence or nothing to do with social services as it is in the Departments having to do either with national defence or with the extension of social services; that it is purely a question of the brakes being off, of no control, of there not being one strong man amongst the team who will stand for the people and say: "Give the people a chance." Industry cannot prosper, trade cannot prosper, families cannot be raised in normal comfort, if the tax collector is there to gather in whatever may be put by from year to year. We have a picture of a shrinking population, a picture of growing emigration, a picture of shrinking trade, and, at the same time, a steadily and progressively growing demand by the Government, for government, and that by the group who denounced their predecessors as apeing the expenditure of a mighty empire when the bill presented to the taxpayers was half what it is at present.

We were told in the past in the most detailed way that the size of the Civil Service was a disgrace to Parliament, a disgrace to the Government; that there were tens and tens of thousands of individuals being highly paid and doing very little for their pay; that if there were a Government with a national outlook, with a proper sense of finance, with consideration for the people, and with any business ability, half as many civil servants would do twice as much work. That was at a time when the Civil Service was something over 21,000.

In reply to a question put down last year by Deputy McMenamin, addressed to the Minister for Finance, we got the numbers of persons in the Civil Service on the same day in each of the three years 1932, 1939, 1941. We found that, in 1932, when the Minister was so noisy in his denunciation of the Government, the number of civil servants was 21,700. That, in his opinion, was twice too many for a State of this size with a population of its size. We found that by 1938 his Government had increased that 21,700 to 26,775. By 1941, the number had gone up to 27,400. That there was an increase of 6,000 civil servants in a few years, before there was any war and before there was any emergency, is a matter that certainly requires the attention of this House.

We were told here in a debate last week that the bare maintenance fixed eight years ago for human beings without any other means of sustenance could not be increased by as much as 1d. a week because the money was not there. We were told the Ministry was sympathetic, but the fact of the matter was that the money was not there. When it comes to the Civil Service which, according to the Minister, was far too big in 1932, we can increase the numbers by 6,000 and we can increase the cost from £3,800,000 a year to £5,480,000 a year. There is £2,000,000 a year more for civil servants to dance attendance on the Ministers but not as much as a ½d. a year more can be given to those whose only means of existence is a maintenance allowance, unemployment assistance, or unemployment insurance.

These things have to be faced up to clearly at some point. Any of these evasions so lightly accepted in the past, such as, that social services are responsible, or, as at present, that defence services are responsible for the increased cost, cannot be accepted. I happened to look at the Book of Estimates for the years 1932, 1938, and the current year. I looked up the cost of a number of Departments that had nothing whatsoever to do with either social services or defence or any other necessary cost arising out of the emergency, and I found that, without exception, every Department of State and every sub-Department of State have been steadily growing and growing in cost and in the number of civil servants ever since the present Government took over. That growth has been steady, consistent and progressive. In other words, as I said before, there was no brake, no man big enough to cry "stop", and it was a case of that miserable game of beggar-my-neighbour, because he gets so many, I must get so many; the public are there to be fleeced all the time, and we will ride away on the social service horse.

We start at the top where the headline is set and where an example—a good example—should be set. The Office of the President of the Executive Council in 1932 cost £10,800 a year. By 1937 the cost had gone up to £13,350, and at the present moment the cost of that office is £15,600. In the same office there is an increase of 50 per cent. for the same work, apparently to supply an increased number of satellites. We come to the Office of the Minister for Finance. We find that at the same time he was so loud in his denunciation of the cost of that office, chockful of supernumeraries, too many civil servants, the cost was £57,800 a year. By 1937-38, before there was any emergency, under this new Government of supermen that would consider the unfortunate people and the back-broken taxpayer, the cost of that office had gone up to £66,700. According to the Book of Estimates for the current year, the cost of that office has increased to £78,700—an increase of £20,000 a year in the Minister's own office.

How could one expect any businesslike economy in any other Department of State or anywhere down along the line when there is that scandalous headline of extravagance set in those two high-up offices—the office of the Taoiseach and the office of the so-called watchdog of the taxpayer? It is an expensive watch-dog that raids the larder at night and that is the type of watch-dog we have. There is failure to apply a brake, failure to say: "No," weakness and drift. Now they come in here with a bill exactly double the number of millions of pounds that were extracted from the taxpayer at the time the Minister was the popular boy denouncing the Government at that time.

We come to the next big office—the Office of the Revenue Commissioners. when the Minister was over here and when there was another Government in office, that office cost £660,000 a year. That £660,000 provided material for 660,000 speeches on the subject of the Revenue Commissioners and their staffs drawing over £500,000 a year and so many tens of thousands of people drawing home help. By 1937-38 the cost of that Department had bounded up to £812,000 a year—an increase of 33 per cent., or £200,000 a year, before there was any emergency—under this Government that were to consider the taxpayer, lighten the load and reduce the demand on the public. This year we have a demand in respect of that particular Department for £959,000, practically £1,000,000. There has been an increase in a few years from £660,000 to practically £1,000,000 a year for the Office of the Revenue Commissioners.

The number of civil servants in that Department has increased from 2,985 in 1932 to 4,734 in 1937-38, and to 4,974 in the present year. That means that there were 2,000 more people put into a Department whose function in life it is to take money out of the pockets of the Irish people and which has no reason for existence except to collect from the people the cost of keeping the Government there. Naturally, when the appetite of the Government doubled, when the cost of government doubled, they required twice as many people out picking pockets—one thing follows the other. We had to double the number of tax collectors and practically double the cost of tax collection.

The cost of the Office of Public Works increased from £89,000 in 1932 to £108,000 in 1937, and to £143,000 this year. Stationery and Printing, with demands for economy in every office, in every business house, in every home, used to cost, in the days of the extravagant Government that was apeing the expenditure of a mighty empire, £101,000, but, with the taxpayers' champions, that sum increased to £137,800 in 1937-38, before there was any emergency, and when we had a Government composed of people who were acting as the watchdogs for the taxpayer. In the present year that figure has gone up to £180,000— £79,000 a year more for printing and stationery in a State that cannot afford a ½d. a year increase in the cost of maintaining the family of an unemployed man, in a State where we were told about a week ago that only 30/- a week can be afforded for the maintenance of a totally crippled soldier, his wife and family, and where, while it is agreed that the sum is insufficient, the only defence is that the money is not available. There is money available to double the number of civil servants dancing attendance on each of the Ministers; money is available to increase by nearly £500,000 the salaries and emoluments of the tax collectors; money is available to increase, by nearly £100,000, the amount of printing and stationery with which the country is being deluged by Government Departments, but there is not a ½d. available to meet the increased cost of living of the unemployed man or the totally disabled soldier with a family.

The cost of the Office of the Minister for Justice has increased by 25 per cent. The cost of the Office of the Minister for Education has increased from £160,000 to £174,000, in 1937-38, and the figure has gone up to £194,000 in the present year. The Department of Posts and Telegraphs is up by nearly £750,000 at a time when deliveries in rural areas are being reduced and when people generally are getting less service. The cost of the Office of the Minister for Local Government and Public Health has increased from £77,000 a year—we were told at one time that that was a public scandal—to £110,000 in 1937-38 and £141,000 in the present year. As I pointed out already, if, when that bill was going up, we had the trade of the country improving and the wealth of the people increasing, then one could understand the cost of government going up and Departments growing bigger, because the country would be making headway.

The real position is this, that the demands on the people were increasing by millions a year, until the total demand had practically doubled itself. When the cost of the services of this country was £22,000,000 a year or less, our export trade was £36,240,000 a year—that represents what was coming into this country in new money through our export trade. The total trade of this country, export and import, was £87,000,000 a year, and yet, at that time, we were told that the country could not afford £22,000,000 for the cost of government and public services generally. By 1937 the export trade had shrunk from £33,000,000 to £22,000,000 a year, and our total trade, export and import, had dwindled from £87,000,000 to £66,000,000 a year. The country and the people were poorer to that extent, poorer to the extent of one-third of their trade, but the cost of government had doubled, and the result of the doubling of the cost of government meant practically halving the trade of the country.

We could pay big money for results, we could understand big expenditure if sound assets were being created in the country. If, in the 11 years of the present Government, they had the courage or the vision or the capacity to present the country with a scheme such as the great hydro-electric scheme on the Shannon, and leave it behind for posterity; if there were achievements of that kind: the laying down of a trunk road, a vast scheme of drainage for the Barrow, big schemes which in themselves would create assets for the people, then we could understand and even stand for increased and increasing costs of government; but this is not the time to present progressively increasing demands, when the country is declining, when the population is decreasing and when the welfare societies are reporting increased distress and destitution. We have this splash and orgy of expenditure evidenced year after year in the Estimates presented by the Minister and his colleagues.

We have read in history that even great countries have collapsed following a period when those in charge of the State went in for exorbitant expenditure and for extravagant living, when the trade, industry and finances of the people were being sucked into the rapacious maw of the State. The whole thing became a kind of State idolatry, the State spending more and the ordinary people handling less. That was followed by complete collapse either from within or without. We get visions of people banqueting on the best in luxurious palaces and of the ordinary peasantry outside on the point of starvation. That picture is not inapplicable to this country at the present moment or in recent years.

We have the State, in its might, collecting more and more from the people. There seems to be no limit to the appetite for expenditure and growth in any Government Department, while at the same time we have alarming reports from different organisations, unbiassed and unprejudiced organisations, whose special work is the study of the manner in which the poorest of our people live. We have that alarming contrast. Whether in peace time or in war time we have this progressive increase in expenditure. I invite the Minister to point to one single year in the last 11 years when there was any reduction in his estimate of expenditure as compared with the year before. Not one. Up and up the figures have gone. The lists of increases that I have read out have no relation to defence or to social services. There has been an all-over increase of 6,000 in the number of civil servants in the last few years. The health and strength of a country is its capacity, under its own power and without any artificial aids or relief schemes, to absorb its people into employment: in other words, to absorb its manhood into gainful occupations without any relief measures. We got, in reply to a Parliamentary Question, an indication as to the health, the strength or the weakness of this country in that respect over a number of years. We find that the sums issued in home assistance ranged from £400,000 a year in 1928 up to £573,000 in 1938. Over that period there was an increased requirement of £100,000 a year in home help, although there was no unemployment assistance in 1928. In 1938, over £1,000,000 was expended in unemployment assistance. In other words, in that decade you had unemployment and destitution increased at a cost of over £1,000,000 a year, although in the year 1938 we spent £1,200,000 on relief schemes, on schemes calculated, without any qualifications or restrictions, to absorb as many people as possible into employment. Take away that £1,250,000 that was spent on relief schemes as an artificial aid to employment, and what would the position of the country be in 1938?

Those who read Ministerial speeches must have adverted to the fact that the one Minister who seems to be the expert propagandist—the Minister for Supplies—has been sent on tour. We get the benefit of one of his eloquent productions every second or third day in the Press. Some three weeks ago he made a promise not to make any more promises, but before a week had passed he was making as many promises as ever. Facing the 12th year of his Government in office, he has plans now for making everybody wealthy and happy, and for providing work for everybody if his Party is returned to power again. The plans were kept in the dark over a period of 11 years. The people in this House and outside remember the plans of 1932. They also remember the plans for the war situation that were referred to in 1938. The 1932 plans never saw the light of day and neither did the 1938 plans. Are we to assume that the general election plans of 1943 will materialise and grow where the others failed to grow? This country cannot keep on for ever paying for promises. It wants achievement, and does not object to paying for it. It is prepared to pay for results, but there must be results. There must be something built, something constructed, something left there. Eloquent speeches, flamboyant promises, invisible plans— all that kind of thing is so much ballyhoo. We are not living in a time when any country or any people can exist or subsist on eloquent ballyhoo. We want some evidence of constructive thought. We want some evidence of thought-out work. We want less of the promises, less of the plans. Remember, the people of this country, on the whole, are normal. They are ordinary human beings, and the Minister in question, and the Ministry, should remember that there is a certain amount of truth, a certain amount of common sense, in the old saying: Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

The member of this Party do not and will not object to the size of this bill if any indication can be given by the Minister for Finance or any of his colleagues that it shows a departure from the present patchwork policy of the Government in relation to the solution of the major problems confronting the country. I cannot see, on the face of this Estimate, or in the figures that have been presented to us, or in the explanation that was given by the Minister, any departure whatsoever from the policy which the Government appears to have been pursuing since the outbreak of the present war, or since the emergency arose in this country. Tens of thousands of our citizens have been forced into unemployment, and some of them have been forced to emigrate for the purpose of making a livelihood outside the country, simply because this Government, or certain of its Ministers, made no preparations previous to the outbreak of the war for the purchase of supplies of raw materials to enable our industries to be kept going during the emergency period. Every good Government in every country in the world, previous to the outbreak of the present war, provided the industrialists of their respective countries, through the monetary institutions there, with the means to lay their hands upon whatever raw materials could be got, so that they would be prepared, so far as they could be prepared, to safeguard their citizens against hunger and want in view of the war, which, in 1936 or 1937, appeared to be coming along.

I, as well as Deputies of other Parties have referred in this House to the failure of the Minister for Supplies and of Industry and Commerce, and of the Government generally, to give any financial backing whatsoever to the industrialists of this State to enable them to purchase coal and other necessary raw materials previous to the outbreak of the present world war. Will the Minister, when he is replying in this debate, indicate the amount of State guarantees, if any, provided by the Minister for Supplies and Industry and Commerce, and the Government generally, to enable the industrialists of this country to purchase raw materials previous to the outbreak of the war? Is it a fact—and I am certain that it is—that when the British were forced to leave Dunkirk—I quote this as one glaring case, which I believe to be true—certain industrial firms in this country, such as certain of the principal railway companies, were offered good coal, which was then in boats lying at the different seaports or in boats that were still at sea, at 20/- per ton? I ask the Minister for Finance, with the knowledge that he more than anybody else should have at his disposal, to say why it was that the Government failed to provide the railway companies, the gas company, the Electricity Supply Board, and other big industrial concerns here with the necessary State guarantees to purchase the coal which was then available at normal pre-war prices, and which had to be cleared out of these boats because they were needed for the withdrawal of the British from Dunkirk.

The Deputy had better postpone that matter until the Estimate for the Department of Supplies comes up. It is not a big question of Government policy. In any case the matter referred to was raised on previous Votes on Account.

And it is general policy which, with your permission, Sir, I propose to discuss. I propose to show that it is because the Government have no control over monetary policy that it is impossible for the Government to deal with such matters properly, just as it was impossible for the Government's predecessor.

This Vote relates to expenditure for 12 months. Dunkirk evacuation took place nearly three years ago.

I assert that until the control of monetary policy is brought within the supervision of the Minister for Finance the present state of affairs is going to get worse in the coming year, notwithstanding the fact that we have a bigger bill to meet to-day than we had in any previous year. How is it, for instance, that the Six Counties' Government, or the British Government if you like, when our Government failed here, were able to provide State financial guarantees to enable the Great Northern Railways Company to purchase coal and keep the transport system running efficiently and, generally, in a perfect condition, while our own railways, gas and other essential undertakings are collapsing because this Government were afraid, or had not the power to persuade the banking institutions of the country to provide the guarantees that were urgently required to secure the raw materials for the railways and other essential undertakings?

The chairman, or perhaps I should say the dictator, of the Great Southern Railways Company made a weeping and wailing speech last week, giving an explanation as to why certain things will have to be done, and why he proposes—and this is an astonishing thing to say—to use the emergency powers to get certain things done in the interests of the company, which could have been done if the Minister for Finance and his colleagues had given the necessary guarantees to purchase coal and other raw materials for our transport industries in 1938 or 1939, or whenever the coal was available at normal pre-war prices.

The citizens of this State have to put up with a gas rationing system which does not meet the reasonable requirements of domestic users, simply because an essential undertaking like the gas company is allowed to be run free from any control or supervision by the Government elected by the people of this country. I mention these things in the first instance to point out that the present unemployment position, in industry at any rate, and the emigration which has come about as a consequence or a partial consequence of the Government's failure to help industrial concerns; are due to the fact that the Government, during its 11 years of office has refused to put into operation a public ownership policy, the policy which it promised the people of this State when it sought the votes of the people in all the elections previous to and since 1932. We had repeated promises of that, which have not yet been fulfilled, and there is no indication from the Minister for Industry and Commerce that transport, gas, and other essential undertakings of that kind, will be brought under a system of public ownership.

Is there any intention on the part of the Minister or his colleagues, during the coming year, of producing some evidence that they have any intention whatsoever of putting such a plan and policy into operation? The curse of this country under the present Government and under its predecessor is the cost of money and the failure of both Governments to control or take any share in the control of monetary policy. Personally, I can never understand why members of the present Government and of the previous Government, men who undoubtedly gave evidence of their willingness to sacrifice their lives so that this country might be free and so that the citizens of this country might elect a Parliament free from outside control, so that everybody would be provided with a decent livelihood, cannot see the necessity for taking some control over the monetary policy of this State. The Head of the Government, speaking here on 29th April, 1932, a few months after he came into office, made a very definite promise that he would make an honest attempt to solve the problems confronting the country at that time. He went on to say, towards the conclusion of that two and a half hours speech that if, after a reasonable period, he found it impossible to solve the problem of unemployment and the other problems facing the people within the existing system, he would go outside the system in order to carry out the promise he gave to the people prior to the 1932 General Election. How long is he going to remain in office—if the people allow him to remain there any longer—before making up his mind as to whether or not he can solve the problem of unemployment or any other problem of the kind inside the existing system?

Will the Minister for Finance, with his intimate personal knowledge of the operations of other Ministers of Finance in countries at peace and at war, name the countries in which the complete control of monetary policy is so much in the hands of private citizens as it is in this little State? Is there any other State with a democratic system of government, in which the complete control of monetary policy is in the hands of nine private citizens, with no power whatever in the Minister to interfere with the activities of the money-lending institutions, to fix rates of interest or to see that the necessary money is provided for the citizens and for the local authorities to carry on local administration? Will the Minister say whether, in his opinion, the cost of money provided for local authorities is too high or stands at a reasonable level at present? Is it a fact that 40 per cent. of the rates collected in 1941 by the local authorities represents interest paid by these local authorities to money-lending institutions on loans in respect of the building of houses, the carrying out of waterworks and sewerage schemes and other local development works?

I hear many farmers talking about the necessity for derating, and I am sure that Deputy Bennett could, as he has often done here, elaborate on that matter, but I wonder if Deputy Bennett realises that 40 per cent. of that huge sum of £6,625,000 paid by the ratepayers to the different local authorities in 1941 represents interest paid to money-lending institutions? Is there any other country in the world where such a high rate for money has to be paid? Does the Minister know —if he does not, I refer him to theIrish Trade Journal for the necessary information—that £98,000,000, made by the sweat and labour of the workers and working farmers of this State, is invested by our Irish banks in British War Loan and other British securities at rates of interest not exceeding 3¼ per cent.? Is it a fact that some of that £98,000,000 is lent to the British Government on short-term loans—90-day loans—at rates of interest as low as ¾ per cent., that some is loaned at rates of interest of about 2 per cent., and that in no case during the last two or three years did the rate of interest exceed 3¼ per cent.?

The Minister ought to know how that £98,000,000 is made up and what is the maximum, minimum and average rate of interest secured by our Irish banks in respect of that sum, made, as I say, by the sweat and labour of the workers and working farmers of this country. If it is right, according to the policy of the Government elected by the people, to allow Irish banks to lend Irish-made money to the British Government, to fight a war in a foreign country, with destruction of life and property, would it not be more correct to see to it that the money-lending institutions will lend money to our own farmers, industrialists and local authorities at rates of interest not exceeding the rates at which they lend these moneys to the British Government to fight a war in a foreign country?

The Minister, to his credit, and especially when he was Minister for Local Government, has taken a keen personal interest in providing as many houses as possible for those citizens badly in need of suitable housing accommodation. I do not propose to take from him any of the credit which he can rightly claim for the great work done in that respect since the present Government came into office. Does he admit that half the economic rent of the houses built by local authorities for slum dwellers represents interest on loans sanctioned by the Department concerned for the provision of housing accommodation for the people living in these areas? How can he, as a man who defends the present Christian Constitution, defend the continuance of that kind of policy, while 500,000 of our citizens live below the level of a decent existence?

I saw a case recently of a local authority in the South of Ireland which secured sanction for a loan of £17,000 to build 40 houses for slum dwellers. It was in the constituency which you, A Leas-Chinn Comhairle, have the honour to represent. The sum of £17,000 was needed to purchase the land on which the houses were to be, and have been, built, to provide the material which went into the building and to provide the wages of the workers and the other costs, such as legal charges and engineering fees. The loan was sanctioned for a 35-year period and, at the end of that period, the tenants of the houses, the ratepayers of the locality and the taxpayers of the country, will have made provision for a sum of £35,920. The sum of £17,000 is for the service rendered—and undoubtedly service was given—the land upon which the houses were built, the materials for building the houses, and the wages of the workers and other charges, leaving £18,920—for what? For changing a figure in a page of a bank ledger once a year for 35 years until the loan was completely paid off.

What is the value of the one service as against the other? Is there any truth in the statement, recently quoted, of leading Churchmen in this country that money should be the servant and not the master of mankind? So far as this democratic State is concerned, money is the master and not the servant of the people, and it is about time the Head of the Government faced up to the promise he made in 1932 that, if he failed to find a solution for our problems within the existing rotten financial system, which we know so much about and which was handed over to us by the British, he would go outside it. It is about time that system was changed, and only when it is changed, will you change the conditions under which the majority of the people are forced to live to-day.

There never was a time in the history of this nation, whether under British or Irish rule, when it was more necessary to have some control over the monetary policy of the State than it is to-day. God knows what will happen at the end of this war. I have an idea that, as time goes on, whether towards the end of the war or even for a period after the war, we are going to be thrown back day after day on our own resources to a greater extent than ever before. If that is so, surely it is a good argument in favour of facing up to a change in the existing financial policy or system under which we have been trying to exist, but not to live decently, for so many years.

I should like to have an answer from the Minister, who is asking us to foot this bill, as to whether the cost of money here is prohibitive or fair under existing world conditions, and whether it compares favourably or unfavourably with the cost of money that has to be found for warlike purposes in other States which are at war, or in some of the States which are at peace to-day. It is a very strange thing that in every country to-day, whether it is at war or at peace, unlimited sums of money can be found for warlike purposes, but when we ask for more money for the provision of work, or a decent allowance for those who are unable to get work, we are told that it cannot be given unless there is an increase in agricultural and industrial production. The Minister for Industry and Commerce seems to be the only spokesman of the Government Party for election purposes outside, and I have noticed that on several occasions he has harped on the argument that there can be no improvement in the social services unless there is an increase in the industrial and agricultural production. Will the Minister for Finance relate that kind of argument to the present cost of our defence services, or the cost of the Civil Service, which is double what it was when he came into office in 1932?

The Minister for Finance has repeatedly made the statement in this House that there is plenty of money available for credit-worthy schemes. Will he take the risk of repeating that statement when replying to this discussion? If he does, will he tell us why, in spite of the fact that the question has been raised by many Deputies representing turf-cutting counties, both by correspondence and by private interview, the miserably small amount required last year and this year, and urgently required at present, cannot be provided by the responsible Department for the making of bog roads in order to enable the local authorities and other people in the localities to get out the turf which is lying on the bogs in Kildare, Laoighis, and Offaly, and which is so badly needed by our citizens? I had a case brought under my notice during the last few days where people in Portarlington have to pay 3/- a cwt. to the local fuel merchants for turf, because they cannot get out of the bogs all round the town the turf which they cut last year, owing to the impassable condition of the bog roads. It is a disgrace. There is no use in the Minister's telling me, at any rate, that there is plenty of money available for credit-worthy schemes when we cannot get a couple of hundred pounds to make bog roads to enable people to get out the turf which they so badly need. They have to pay 3/- per cwt. for it, although they are surrounded by bogs, because there is a shortage of turf in the area, while they can see the best of turf leaving Clonsast Bog to be sold in this city at 64/- per ton, although it is produced at less than 25/- per ton at Clonsast.

I said that there were 500,000 of our citizens living below the level of decent existence. That includes people who are forced, because they cannot get work, to seek unemployment insurance benefit, or unemployment assistance. On the other hand, there is the large number of 107,000 people, according to the figures published last week, forced to exist on the miserable pittance provided by the local authorities by way of home assistance, as well as the few thousand who are provided for in our county homes. Then there is a large number of people who have to live on the small pittance provided by way of widows' and orphans' pensions and old age pensions, and those who are forced during periods of illness to exist on the miserable pittance provided by the National Health Insurance Society. These make up a total, in round figures, of 500,000 citizens who are forced to live on an income which, in my opinion, is below the level of decent existence, and which is certainly, in existing circumstances, not sufficient to enable them to provide themselves and their dependents, if they have any, with the essential commodities of life.

This is all going on under a system which has been very often described by the Minister and his colleagues as a Christian system of government in a country where we have this "glorious" Constitution. I was accused some time ago—of course wrongly—of voting against that Constitution. I did no such thing. During the last general election, when asked publicly as to my attitude on that particular matter, I stated that if I could get back to the place where I had a vote—and I did vote, as it was my duty to vote, in the place where I reside—I would vote for the acceptance of the Constitution, and, consequently, I said to my constituents that, although I had an objection to four or five of the Articles of that Constitution, taking the document as a whole, I was prepared to recommend them to vote for it, and the majority of my constituents did vote for the acceptance of the Constitution. I do not pay much attention personally to these written Constitutions, whether they are described as glorious or otherwise. I think the countries governed under an unwritten Constitution are governed in a much more democratic and Christian way. I could name some countries in support of that contention. What is the use of having a glorious Constitution written in gold letters if those who were responsible for framing the Constitution will not read it sufficiently often, at any rate, to remind them of what is contained in it, and what their duty, as the makers of the Constitution, is for putting it into operation? The guarantee given to the people of the country in Article 45 of the Constitution will never be carried out under the existing financial system, and the sooner the Minister and the Head of the Government make up their minds to that, the better for themselves and the people to whom the guarantee was given.

Of course we have people like the Minister for Industry and Commerce stating that they cannot improve the social services unless there is an expansion of agricultural and industrial production. That Minister insists upon the observance of the infamous wages standstill Order No. 166, or whatever number is attached to it, because otherwise there would be inflation which would destroy the economic structure of the State. I have no close association with professors of economics. I have only a bogman's outlook on or knowledge of economics. But, as long as we are tied to the British £ or to British currency, as we are under the Currency Act of 1927, we will suffer or gain, as the case may be, by the policy of inflation or deflation as it is worked in Great Britain. I think it is all codology to try and persuade the people of this country that to allow a small increase in the existing wages of lowly-paid workers or in the allowances paid to those in receipt of old age or widows' pensions would cause inflation which would lead to the destruction of the economic structure of the State. I do not accept that. It is a policy of codology and boloney. The Minister who talks so often upon that particular subject, about which he apparently knows so little, is the same Minister who is responsible for appointing a railway dictator to a half-time job at £2,500 a year and appointing directors to other Government-controlled concerns at very high fees, which do not fit in with the miserable outlook which he appears to have upon economic questions when they affect the lower paid sections of the community.

Another item of importance was referred to by the Minister for Finance in his speech here to-day, which is provided for in the Estimate for the Department of Supplies. I refer to the request made to this House to provide an additional sum of £380,000 by way of turf subsidy. As a man who was born and reared in a turf-cutting county, who knows something about the whole business of turf-cutting, I cannot understand why it is that turf produced at an average cost of from 20/- to 25/- per ton in the turf-cutting counties must be sold in the City of Dublin, at a loss, at 64/- a ton. I hope the Deputy for Louth will say something on this because I am sure he knows a good deal about this particular matter. If the Minister cannot enlighten us, I hope the Deputy will make some contribution to the discussion on that particular subject. He has a habit of wearing a doubtful look on his face whenever I make statements of this kind.

We are asked to provide an additional £380,000 in this Estimate, because it is impossible to sell without a loss in the City of Dublin, at 64/- a ton, turf which is produced, to my personal knowledge, in my constituency, at 22/6, under trade union conditions. Will the Minister tell us how the difference between 22/6 or 25/—which represents the cost of production in the Counties of Laoighis and Offaly— and 64/- is accounted for? Is it a fact, for instance, that Fuel Importers, which is a State-subsidised firm, has to pay 16/- per ton to have that turf distributed from the dumps where it is piled up at the moment to citizens who need it inside the Dublin City boundary? If so, what is the justification for paying 16/- a ton for that service? I have personal knowledge that the master carriers of this city, who make a profit out of their business, charge the citizens at the rate of 6/6 per ton for services rendered in carrying commodities inside the city boundary. This crowd who are at the back of Fuel Importers, the old coal merchants, the old fellows who would not buy a ton of Irish coal so long as they could buy British coal, and who have been handed a monopoly for dealing with the turf situation, are charging 16/- a ton for this service and getting away with it. In respect of that, we are asked in this bill to provide another £380,000 in order to subsidise that system of muddling and mismanagement. It is muddling and mismanagement so far as the taxpayers of this State are concerned.

I cited a case here where turf was being sold in a small town in my constituency during last week-end at 3/- per cwt. although, I am informed, it was handed in to the traders concerned at 25/- per ton. Yet we have a system of prices which is supposed to exist in the interests of the community. That is a town surrounded by turf. There is turf on the bogs and the bog roads are so bad that they cannot get the turf out of them and then we have the Minister saying there is plenty of money for every credit-worthy scheme. I do not say that the Minister would get up in this House and deliberately try to mislead the House, but somebody is trying to cod him if he still believes there is plenty of money available for every credit-worthy scheme while this kind of mismanagement is going on with his concurrence.

The financial year for which we are asked to provide this bill for the cost of the different Government services may be a fateful year in the history not only of this country but of the world and I would like to learn from the Minister, when he is concluding the debate, the policy the Ministry intend to pursue during the coming financial year for the purpose of providing employment for those who are still out of work while work is waiting in many places to be done. There are many schemes of a national development nature which could be taken in hand if the Government had the courage to put them into operation and to provide the money. Such schemes would absorb a considerable proportion of the large number of unemployed persons whose names are still on the live register at the employment exchanges. I would like to hear what scheme or schemes the Ministry have in mind to deal with the situation from that narrow angle. Or, is there any policy? Has the Ministry any plans or any policy for the purpose of providing, if necessary, for the additional number of people who will come on to the live register should the war end this year, assuming that the large number of able-bodied Irishmen who are in Great Britain to-day in the services and on war reconstruction work have to return to this State?

I do not envy the men who will sit on the Ministerial Benches in this Parliament when this war is over and when, as has been forecast by British Government Ministers, the hundreds of thousands of Irishmen now serving in British forces and working on civilian work in Great Britain are returned here by order of the British Government. These men will come back with a very different outlook. They were forced in many cases to leave rural areas because they could not get a decent wage in providing more food and fuel for our people. They went to another country where, under war conditions, they are given wages as high as £6, £7 and £8 a week. Imagine the mentality of these people when they come back if they are asked to accept, in the case of those who live in rural areas, a maintenance allowance of a maximum of 14/- a week for a man, his wife and five children, or in the city, a maximum of 23/- per week plus the value of food vouchers.

The Ministry will have to face up to the solution of problems that will be created in these circumstances. They will have to have their eyes wide open. They will have to make some real plans before those days arrive. They should at any rate put into operation the plans they have or that they are supposed to have for the solution of unemployment without further delay so as to absorb into useful employment the 90,000 men whose names are on the live register. They should give some indication to the House, if they are reasonably-minded men, that the Bill they are now putting before us for our approval means a drastic change in Government policy, particularly financial policy, without which, in my opinion, they cannot solve the problem of unemployment or any problem associated with it.

There were many points raised by Deputy Davin into which I do not intend to go. His was a very optimistic speech from one respect: he put a number of important questions to the Minister and he expects answers. I do not think he will get answers to those questions. We had a return in some respects of the Banking Bill debate. Into that I do not intend to go. One aspect of the speech did interest me and I had hoped that the Deputy might have developed it, namely, how he connected lack of foresight on the part of the Government in not laying in, or in not helping others to lay in, sufficient stores at the beginning of the war, with the existing financial system. That would have been very relevant to the debate but, candidly, I do not see what was the connection. Under any financial system there could have been foresight on the part of the Government and the particular Minister responsible. There was not such foresight. The Deputy referred to the Constitution. I never thought the Constitution meant very much. It meant very little when it left this House. It means less when it leaves the law courts. I do not think it will guarantee anything to anybody and, therefore, I cannot follow the Deputy in the matter.

It is suspended, now, at any rate—it is in thin air.

Then the Deputy has got what he wanted—an unwritten Constitution—and, therefore, everybody ought to be satisfied in that particular respect. The other question he referred to—it is a matter of detail, perhaps—was the question of turf. I was often hoping that I might be enabled to understand that problem, because one of the most interesting debates that I attended in this House was a debate in which the Taoiseach took part and in which he confessed his inability to understand the figures. I thought the Taoiseach would, at least, have that knowledge of mathematics that he would understand the figures, but he had to confess—and his deputy will possibly look up the matter —that the figures of the turf situation were something beyond his understanding and that he would look into them. It is obvious that Dublin is paying 64/- per ton and that that does not meet the cost. That was the one thing that stood out from the particular debate to which I refer. The Taoiseach did not, on that occasion at all events, make any pretence to understand why turf should cost, not 64/- per ton, but possibly 74/- per ton, and we are in the same position to-day.

It is possibly late in the day to protest against the increase in the cost of government. Deputy O'Higgins has gone over that ground very adequately, and I do not intend to repeat anything he said. May I point out, however— and this is not a criticism of the Minister or his Department—that the figures we have before us are misleading, necessarily misleading, owing to a practice that has grown up in recent years, a practice that undoubtedly was bound to develop and grow with the emergency, where measures have to be taken suddenly and where money has to be provided with little more than a moment's notice, so to speak, by the Government. The habit of supplementary estimates was bound to grow and the general position is misleading to the ordinary members of the public.

If people take up a book of Estimates, or the abstract that appears in the newspapers, they will see an increase of £250,000, and they may be under the impression that that is the real increase. Of course, that is not the case. We have no reason to suppose that there will not be many Supplementary Estimates in the coming year. The Minister nods his head. He knows perfectly well that instead of there being a diminution in that particular respect, there will probably be an increase. Supposing we take the figures of last year, the increase shown in the Book of Estimates is not an increase of £250,000 but of at least £1,500,000. If to the £250,000 that appears on the face of the Book of Estimates, you add £1,250,000 from Supplementary Estimates—and it is a conservative estimate—then you are faced with an increase of at least £1,500,000 over last year's expenditure.

Possibly it is useless to protest, so far as the present Government are concerned—we have had plenty of painful experience in that way—against the growth of bureaucracy. It is growing in every direction. It is not merely the number of civil servants that are now engaged in comparison with those engaged in previous years. Much more objectionable is the tendency, the growing tendency on the part of the bureaucracy, to take over practically every business in the country, or, at least, to interfere with it. I wonder whether the growing numbers in the Civil Service are to be regarded as a sign of the healthy life of a growing organism or a cancer? I very much fear it is the latter. Can we be surprised at that growth in the number of the bureaucracy? When every Deputy looks at his post each day, he finds he always gets one or two Orders, and sometimes half a dozen, certainly a couple of times a week. If the Government are not productive in anything else, at least they are productive, and over-productive, in the number of Orders they turn out. Is that a sign of life or of cancerous growth? I think it represents the latter.

If you increase interference, you increase the number of Orders, and necessarily you increase the number of civil servants. If you increase the number of civil servants, necessarily you increase the work these people will make for themselves. It is, as used to be referred to when the Minister's colleague was dealing with the question of wages, as if there was a vicious spiral. You certainly have it there. We must inevitably ask ourselves, when we are voting what, for this country, is an immense sum, the question which we have always put, but to which we have never got an answer. It is a vital question, to my mind more vital than the actual sum itself. Are we getting value? What are we getting for it? Is there really a Deputy in the House, or are there many people in the country, who could complain of Deputy Davin's description of the policy of the Government and the value we are getting for this money as mismanagement and muddling? He may have applied it to one particular sphere of their activity, but surely it applies all round? If the Minister finds people in the country dissatisfied with the Government—and I suggest he will find them if he just tries even to get consulting with those who, in the past, supported the Government—he will realise that what they object to, even more than the amount of money raised in taxes, is the continuous muddling, the increasing muddling, on the part of the Government.

There is another question that becomes quite as vital at the present moment, especially when we have to face a future which may present us with many difficult problems. Before you face problems which may require every effort on the part of the Government and the people to solve, you are piling up your costs, you are wasting to some extent your resources and you are making no provision, so far as I can see, for that future. As regards the increased expenditure that the Government ask for, on the face of it there is no evidence that that increased expenditure is going to be productive, that it will help us—and this is really what is vital for the country —in any way to face that future. There are various Departments in which increases are to be noted. I do not know any Department that is more consistent in that respect than the Department of the Revenue Commissioners. There you find a steady increase in the cost of collecting taxes. Again, is there anything so strange in that seeing the way in which taxes have multiplied in number since the Minister and his colleagues took over the finances of this country, or the alleged control of the finances of the country? What I am anxious the Government and the people would do is to face the future, or, at least, recognise that there may be a very difficult future to face. I have the fullest sympathy for the ordinary man in this country who sits back, so to speak, and is glad and thankful that, owing to the mercy of Providence, we are outside the present conflict, the man who is so satisfied with that that he does not ask himself what will be the future for this country when that conflict ceases.

Deputy Davin referred to the return of the emigrants. I cannot prophesy whether they will come back or not. If they do that will only add one more to the many serious problems that this country will have to face. I do not intend to deal with the problem of emigration. It is only human nature that a number of young men unable to get work in this country or, if able to get it, receive a very small wage for the work they do, should be attracted by the extraordinarily high wages that prevail at the other side at the present moment. These high wages may be due to the war over there, to the desire to pay anything in order to get the necessary war production; but even before there was that attraction, even before there were these high wages in a certain number of industries over there, there was this problem of emigration. I do not intend to deal with the Government's failure to deal with that problem. I do suggest that at least it might have raised a problem in the mind of the Government that required their attention—that there was something not solved in the policy for which they stood if that was the evidence of the result of that policy. But, apparently, possibly because they are gradually growing stale, that was not the effect it had on the Government, and it did not wake them up. Before they came into office, and, possibly, for a year or two after, they may have been much more wide awake in that respect. The only excuse that I can find, and the only explanation that can acquit the Government of wilful neglect of duty, is that they have grown hopelessly stale, and have practically handed over the government of the country from the hands of Ministers into the hands of civil servants. I have full respect for civil servants. They try to do a task that is sometimes exceedingly difficult as well as they can, they are willing to meet the public, if allowed to do so, but they are not Ministers. It was the business of the Ministry to set the policy. As far as I can see, they have failed in that. We are no longer governed by a Parliamentary Ministry, we are governed by a bureaucracy, and that increases day by day.

What I should like both the Government and the people to realise is that there is a future, and that any refurbishing of the old weapons of Party warfare will be of very little use in enabling the people of this country, or any Government that is here, to combat and face the difficulties that that future is bound to bring. Whether we like it or not, we are fated to have to live in a world that will be very different in many respects—it is difficult to say in what respects—from the world in which we have been accustomed to live. We may look forward —some people do—to that future with hope, and others with fear. I believe there are many important aspects of that future with which we shall be profoundly dissatisfied. I think that in many respects the danger is that it will not be a better but a worse future. I am referring now to the moral side of the business. I am not so perturbed about the material side. Notwithstanding the grave moral issues at stake in the present struggle, notwithstanding what ought to be clear to everybody, that moral considerations, or the neglect of them, are at the foundation of the present catastrophe, I can see very little grounds for hoping that that side of the question will be tackled or improved.

We ourselves need not be too complacent in that respect. I wonder whether the moral fibre of this country, if I may use that phrase, has been strengthened year by year? Are we morally in a better position to face that future? Many of the old slogans are dead or moribund. They no longer awake the enthusiasm that they were capable of awakening in the past. Many people may say that is a great advance, that the people are becoming much more realistic. That may be true, but I often wonder whether the people—all of us—are not also becoming more selfish—individuals and classes—in this country. I doubt if people are as willing to serve general and generous ideals as they were, whether there is not a tendency on the part of all of us to get the very most out of the State and out of the country. We may be less enthusiastic, we may live less in the clouds perhaps, but I am afraid that we are becoming very cynical. Therefore, I have that particular fear on that side for the future.

I am not so perturbed about the material future of the world because it is a peculiar thing that war, and war of this kind, though it involves a terrific amount of material destruction, also involves an extraordinary quickening of the means of producing and of inventiveness. Deputy Davin referred to the well-known phenomenon which has been stressed by everybody: that £100,000 could not be found to increase men's wages, but that £100,000,000 could easily be found to invent, or provide, weapons of destruction. These figures, of course, are kept within the limits of a small State! That is true, but in the same way, inventiveness and the readiness to adopt new inventions and to consider them carefully and enterprisingly are also the accompaniment of war. Therefore, unless the destruction, materially, is much greater than I think it is likely to be—although that destruction is great—I do not think that from the purely material point of view the world, in 10 years' time or 10 years after the war, will be worse off; my fear is in an entirely different direction, on the moral side.

I do not think this country is bothering itself about the future. It is happy, and it is quite easy to understand why it should be happy and contented because, as I said, owing to the mercy of Providence we are out of the war, and, therefore, there is a policy here of easy-going living for the day. But the future will be very different from the conditions of 20 or 30 years ago. There is no good thinking that the slogans, so to speak, and general principles of economics or otherwise that helped us in the past will bring us to the point of being able to face a very different future.

We may be as self-contained as we like but it is that future world in which we shall have to live and with which we shall have to make terms. I do not see any evidence of readiness to face this. What I particularly object to in the conduct, or lack of conduct, of the Government is that there is no evidence that they are seriously contemplating that future.

I admit that their Minister for Propaganda, sometimes miscalled the Minister for Supplies, goes around the country and says that he has plans and that they are thinking about the future. I should be easier in my mind if I could forget that that same man was responsible for supplies before the outbreak of the war and that for 12 months practically nothing was done. Since he had a sub-Department under him for that particular matter of supplies, he must have foreseen the war and yet, through inability to attend to his business, through lack of foresight, he left us in the condition in which we found ourselves and which Deputy Davin indicated, but which he was not able to develop fully owing to the intervention of the Chair. I cannot develop it fully either. But does anybody think that there was 12 months' work done in providing this country with provisions in wheat, coal, or anything else—a comparatively simple problem then in comparison with the complex problems which he and his colleagues, if they are in power, will have to face in the Europe of the post-war period? I only refer to the Minister's lamentable failure because it holds out no ray of hope that the man and the group of men who failed to meet that comparatively simple problem will be capable of dealing with the much more difficult problems that will arise after the war.

The Minister for Supplies has plans! The people of this country ought to be very nervous when they hear him making that particular statement, if they have any memory of the fact that similar statements by him always meant the failure to carry out any plans. The Minister was quoted by Deputy Davin as saying that there could be no increase in the social services, in wages, and so on unless the productive capacity of the country increases. But what hope does he hold out, what plans has he to see that the productive capacity of the country will be improved? We know how badly off we are at present for raw materials of all kinds owing to the war. That has been a lesson that we should have learnt. Is it pretended that in the future we shall be able to do without these raw materials? At present we are able to keep on on an emergency ration, but in the future the raw materials must be found. I am speaking now of the materials that must be imported, and the exports with which to pay for these raw materials, the principal exports that we had, were agricultural exports. What hope is held out by the Ministry in that connection? What hope is held out by the combined wisdom of three or four of the Ministers of being able to maintain an exporting agricultural industry? None. One after another, they have got up—the Minister for Industry and Commerce, the Minister for Agriculture, the present Minister for Local Government when he was Minister for Industry and Commerce —and pointed out that there was no export future for any principal branch of agriculture. Is that the counsel of despair with which they would induce the people of this country to face the future? I find it difficult to understand how they could reconcile themselves for a moment to a position of that kind.

As I have said before in this House, it was the duty of the Government to see that no branch of agriculture, no matter what branch, would suffer unduly. If necessary, it ought to be kept alive instead of being allowed to die which, apparently, was the only future that the Ministers could see for agriculture.

They talk now about fertilisers. Some nine months ago, I think it was. I was listening in on the radio and accidentally heard the English Minister in charge of agriculture speaking as follows:—

"We are thankful for many things to the United States of America. I, as Minister for Agriculture, am particularly thankful for the large quantities of fertilisers that they are sending into this country."

—that is, England. What effort was made by our Government to see that some of these could have been reimported to this country or directly imported from America? What efforts were made? Is it any comfort to the ordinary farmer when he hears the Taoiseach trying to convince him that, really, the production of wheat does not take much out of the land—that that is expert opinion? Does the Taoiseach think that that is the way to convince the ordinary farmer that the future is being envisaged? I am dealing now with the problems that have to be faced, and the putting down of a small sum to help fertilisers is not enough.

I see no evidence that, in either small matters or large matters, the Minister for Supplies is either willing or, if willing, capable, of conducting fruitful negotiations with the people who have those things to give. Only the other day, in connection with a small matter of providing hemp, or some substitute for hemp, for the making or the repair of fishing nets, he told us that he has been negotiating for months but that he has not been able to make any headway in that respect. The putting down of a sum of money, as is done in this Estimate, is of no value whatever, unless Ministers can follow it up with action. The one thing which this stale Ministry is apparently not capable of doing is acting, that is, indulging in productive action. They are capable of "acting" in another sense of the word—playacting is about what they do best.

Take another example—one which I have stressed here again and again. I give it merely as an example, and do not propose to go into details. We have often spoken about the necessity of getting the land back into fitness for production, getting the condition of the land restored, if not improved, and greatly improved as it ought to be because it ought to be put in a better condition than that in which it was before the war, if we are to meet the future. Take even land reclamation. The Government has now been practically 11 years in office. What has it done in that decade for arterial drainage? I thought I was about to get something out of the Minister from his statement about drainage, but I immediately saw that his remarks referred to one particular river, which, by a strange coincidence, is in the Taoiseach's constituency. Others who are not so unlucky as to have on them the responsibility of having returned the Taoiseach apparently must suffer. Last year, the Minister spoke about a great drainage plan they had. There is no provision in this year's Estimates for anything of the kind, and if the Minister will look at Vote 10—Public Works—he will find that on the whole there is a steady diminution in the amount of money to be spent on that kind of land winning.

Are they facing the problems which our farmers will have to face? I know that a number of people say: "What can we hope for from agriculture after the war? New Zealand, Australia and the Argentine will be brought so much nearer to Europe, speaking metaphorically." Transport will develop so much that for the moment there might seem to be ground for despair—and apparently it has driven the Ministers to despair—but that is only one side of the question. When peace comes, Europe must be reconditioned agriculturally as well as every other way. Many of those in Europe who were our competitors— we may regret it from a humanitarian point of view—will be out of production. They themselves will require help.

Are we going to be in a position to make the best of that, or are we to be the people who continually miss the tide owing to lack of foresight and lack of effort on the part of the people at the head of affairs? That is the really important problem the country has before it.

It is socially desirable to have a number of small proprietors—landed proprietors, farmers—in this country and that is obviously the view and the aim of the Government. Has the Government considered the steps necessary to make that particular system, so valuable from the social point of view, also sound economically in the future? Can you hope that the isolated farmer, relying completely on his own farm—I am speaking now of the normal and not of the extraordinary man—confining himself, as it were, within the boundary fences— the "bounds ditches" as they used to be called—of his farm, can face the future with any kind of confidence economically?

A solution must be found for that. If we are to hold our own position in foreign markets, he will have to compete with the big farms which are run, not as farming, as we are accustomed to it, is run here but rather as businesses are run. Has the Government even thought of that? There are any number of problems I could mention which any Government will be called on to face in the future. I should be much less perturbed by the total amount of this Vote, big as it is— double what it was when the "economists" took office—if I were convinced, or saw any reason to be convinced, of two things: that we are getting value and not muddle in return and that there is any effort on the part of the Government, either on their own part to face the future or even to impress on the people that there is a future to face.

I do not envy the Minister his task in collecting the amount of money he must try to collect from the taxpayers. It is alarming to see it growing year after year, while the means of paying it are being reduced instead of increased. There are many grounds on which Government policy can be indicted, but two of the worst from my point of view are the reduction of the national income in relation to the funds necessary to meet the social services and the increase in the administrative cost of these services. As Deputy O'Sullivan and other speakers have pointed out, the number of civil servants is growing alarmingly, and the increased cost of the Civil Service for the last six or seven years amounts to £2,000,000. It is a terrible state of affairs that these demands should continue to increase from year to year, and that, while the means of paying them are increasing in progressive countries, there is no increase in prosperity here and the average income of the people is being reduced.

The Minister at present is not balancing his Budget, or attempting to do so, and I doubt whether the Minister, if he were to continue in office when the emergency is over, can hope ever to balance his Budget. That is a very awkward position to be in. I believe that the Government made their greatest mistake in depriving the people of the means of raising the general standard of living, by driving them from the land instead of inducing them to stay on it. Any commonsense Government—not to speak of any Government with high qualifications— would encourage production in the industry most suited to the country and in which the country excels, and nobody will question that that industry here is agriculture. Agriculture is our principal industry, providing the means of livelihood of the great majority of our people.

It is an industry in which our products excel. We produce the best cattle, the best horses, the best bacon and the best eggs in the world. The Fianna Fáil Party made a terrible mistake in dealing with what they called the one-armed economic policy in this country and developing a second arm, because they shortened the arm that did exist. It would be better to have one strong active arm than to have none at all. The principle source of the nation's income must be agriculture, and it is hopeless to think of building other industries on the ruin of that industry.

Is it not remarkable that the people are flying from the land into the cities of this and other countries and creating an unemployment problem in our own cities with which the Minister is not able to deal? It is an alarming state of affairs to see the unemployed in the cities, and people flying from the land where there is plenty of employment. For want of a plan to put them to useful work, they are induced to come into the cities. Certain inducements are held out to the people to come into the cities. That is where the policy of the Government is radically wrong. The best of our people who have been brought up on the land are flying from it, and only the least fit are remaining on the land. They also have become a burden, because they are not real producers. The Government will have to change their whole policy or otherwise within a short time the country may change the Government.

The best brains in the country, both inside and outside the Dáil, should be called on to work out a sound scheme to deal with the economics of this country. One year after another we are drifting from bad to worse. Where will it all end? I hope something will be done. I hope the Minister, who has the responsibility of footing the bill and finding the money, wherever it is to come from, will rise to his responsibility and try to get a body of men together, who are qualified to look into these matters and to take a proper view of the difficulties—because the difficulties are growing rapidly—to devise some sort of a scheme to absorb into useful employment on the land the people who were brought up there, and remove the inducements which are taking them into the cities and sending them to the cities of other countries.

At the present time we have the problem of trying to provide a means of living for families who have crowded into the slums of our cities. We do not know what the problem will be when the emergency passes. We are all looking forward to that happy time. But, when those emigrants who have been driven to Great Britain begin to come home, look at the problem we will have. What plans are there to meet it? I am afraid there are no plans. The Minister has a very big responsibility, and I hope he will try to devise some plan to meet the real emergency, because it is possible that the real emergency will only start after the so-called emergency has passed.

We are all glad to see new industries started. The policy of starting new industries is all right, but the big mistake is to weaken or discourage those engaged in the principal industry and to drive them from the country districts, where they could have sufficient to live in reasonable comfort, and could have health of body and mind. Life in the city is not comparable to life on the land. The Minister knows that the people are being driven from the land. If more of them could get away they would go too, whereas the inducement should be for them to live on the land. They would get a decent living on the land. Once they remove from the land, it is practically certain that the land will not be re-populated again from the cities. Therefore, before this movement goes any further some steps should be taken to change the position.

The Fianna Fáil Government could claim great credit, and rightly so, if they found employment for a few dozen people, say, in raising some minerals out of the earth. But they should not forget that on the surface of the land, or within half a foot of it, there is wealth which would provide for one hundred times the number of people that some of these industries which have been so much boosted will provide for. I think the Minister should concentrate on this industry of agriculture, which is able to stand on its own and to carry others on its back. He should concentrate upon giving a chance to the people engaged in that industry.

I do not want to go into the details of this Vote on Account as they have been dealt with fully by other speakers. I only want to direct attention to this one point in the hope that the Minister will take some steps to get to the root of the problem, because this is really the root of the problem. It provides a healthy source of employment for our people and a source which could be made profitable. All that is necessary is to encourage production on the land and to facilitate it in every possible way by proper education, proper training of the young people, a decent price and suitable markets. This can be done by good sound planning. The responsibility rests with the Government to make a beginning and to call in the assistance of people from outside who are qualified to give useful advice in order to get these things started on a proper basis. I want to impress upon the Minister the necessity for doing something and doing it soon.

Mr. Byrne

I was disappointed with the Minister's opening statement. I thought I would have heard from him something concerning his programme to alleviate unemployment. I thought he would have given a heartening message to the mothers of boys and girls leaving school. He has said nothing that would give them encouragement or that would indicate that the youth of the country will find suitable employment in the near future. He did not even say that he was planning to deal with the unemployment problem or with the problem of finding employment for the youth of the country after the war. Knowing the difficulties of parents in finding employment for their children, I appeal to him now to consider it. Every member of this House every day has parents applying to him to get passports for their children. The rule is that no boy or girl under 22 years of age can get away. What are these boys and girls to do between the ages of 16 and 22? What are the prospects for them in the country at the moment? Our principal interest is the question of the employment of fathers with large families but, at the same time, we must consider the future generation, and I suggest to the Government that something should be done for them. This is not the time to discuss family allowances, but the Minister responsible for this Vote is the Minister who will be dealing with the programme concerning family allowances, and may I say that it is a long overdue act of Christian social justice? I hope he will speed up the matter and that he will do it in such a way that it will not be considered a charity scheme, that it will be regarded as the right of a parent with a large family to demand sufficient subsistence to maintain his family in a proper standard of health.

Did I hear the Deputy advocate legislation?

Mr. Byrne

I will get away from that point. I would ask the Minister to try to relieve the burdens of the ratepaying population of this city. His Department has power and his Department makes laws for the building of houses, but it is some years ago since they fixed the rent——

The Deputy is getting down to Estimates. That is a matter for the Minister's Estimate.

Mr. Byrne

I will get away from that, but I would ask for a more equitable distribution of the burdens that the Dublin ratepayers are asked to bear.

The Deputy still seems to be lingering round the houses.

Mr. Byrne

I will come to another point. Reference has been made to supplies and I would ask the Minister what he is doing as Minister for Finance to provide shipping to take the place of our lost ships. What is he doing to see that there will be shipping to bring necessary materials to this country? I comment on this matter because I heard that a Government— I think it was the Honduras Government—two years ago offered to the Minister's Department or some Department of this Government, 12 ships at a very reasonable price, but nobody was quick enough or sufficiently alive to the situation to purchase the ships. They would be a very valuable asset to the country if we had them now.

Although I do not wish to discuss it in very great detail, I would ask the Minister if anything has been done to protect the lives of our seamen who are bringing essential food supplies to this country.

The Deputy asked the Chair earlier to-day would that matter be legitimate on this Vote, and he was informed that it would not. Matters which rightly arise on the Estimates should not be debated now.

Mr. Byrne

At any rate, I have got in one or two points that I wanted to raise.

The Deputy had better not try any more similar points.

Mr. Byrne

But they are very urgent and serious matters.

I quite appreciate the Deputy's keenness.

Mr. Byrne

I raised a question to-day in regard to the provision of protection for seamen——

The Deputy will have an opportunity on the Estimates to discuss it in full.

Mr. Byrne

I feel sure that you quite appreciate the difficulty I am in.

The Deputy will appreciate the Chair's duty and difficulty to keep order in debate. We will then have a mutual understanding.

Mr. Byrne

I have a number of letters before me. I have a letter from the Blind Institution asking me, is the State going to do anything for the blind people who are suffering very great hardships. When one studies the Vote one sees items in it that might cover all these points. However, I will have to wait for another occasion to raise questions which are not permissible now, namely, the question of family allowances, the provision of ships, employment for those who are at present unemployed and for whom there appears to be no hope for the future.

Mr. Brennan

I am sorry I had not an opportunity of listening to the Minister's opening statement to-day but, from what I heard, it was not very encouraging. We are presented with a huge bill. There has been extraordinary consistency in one respect in this bill and in last year's bill and all the bills since Fianna Fáil came in, in the tendency to increase expenditure in every shape and form. As far as new services are provided and as far as war prices are concerned, increased expenditure cannot be avoided but we have the cost of the ordinary administration of every Department increasing year after year. This year's bill is no exception. If we were making an attempt to deal with the situation that must arise—possibly in the very near future—there would probably be very complete justification for increased expenditure. We see the world in chaos. We see the breaking up of countries much bigger than ours and we pray that Providence may look kindly upon us and keep us in our present position but, after the war, we will be confronted by a new situation. What that new situation will be it is very hard to tell and it is not an easy matter for the Government or for anybody to plan ahead. I can visualise governments in a much more difficult position in that respect than the position in which our Government is and the position in which they will probably find themselves. We must judge our future largely by our past; we must judge our future by our capabilities. The main thing is that we shall have to rely upon agriculture. We had to do it in the past and we shall have to do it in the future.

Looking at the huge bill that is presented to us to-day, nothing the various demands made by the Minister for Finance, we ask ourselves how much of this money will be devoted to reproductive work. The Minister indicated that this money will go largely towards carrying on the Departments of State and the Army. The old saying comes back to us, that even an Army has to march on its stomach. We should have realised by now that this country can only exist upon what it can produce. I advise the Government seriously to consider the position of this country after the war. As I have previously observed, our position is really an easy one in comparison with other countries. There are other countries that may possibly have a choice of activity in which to engage when the war is over. Those countries may wonder how far they can proceed upon one line and how far upon another. Fortunately, or unfortunately, we have no such choice. We are driven to rely upon one thing, and that is agriculture, and unless we can make that pay, our outlook is indeed a sorry one.

If we are going to abandon, as was suggested quite recently by a certain high official in this country, some of the most important branches of agriculture, then I wonder what will happen the future Minister for Finance, whoever he may be. If the present Minister had not the wealth produced by agriculture to fall back upon, he could not present many demands to us to-day. Agricultural production is the main thing that provides us with sufficient funds to carry on the government of the country. We have been on trial since the war began. Every member of the Dáil is anxious to see Irish industries put on their feet. Probably there is not general agreement as to the way in which that should be done, but I am sure that there are very few people in the country who do not want to see the right methods adopted and who do not want to see industry in a flourishing position here.

Previous to the war there were many immature, misconceived ideas as to what we could do with our industries. The war brought the matter home to us with a rather severe shock. We were brought to realise that the raw materials for quite a lot of our industries had to be imported and, even if we were to establish many of those industries, our markets would necessarily be confined within our own shores and the outside trade, upon which we might count in ordinary times, would be negligible. Consequently, we were driven to realise that there was only one industry which could give us any return, which would provide us with any kind of an exportable surplus, and that was agriculture.

Looking back on the Fianna Fáil activities from 1932 to the present year, what have the Government done to increase agricultural production, to increase any wealth in the country, to assist the country in any permanent way? Now that we are on the eve of a great change in world conditions, what efforts are the Government making to put this country in a position to compete with its rivals in world markets, to compete with the people of other countries who will be making frantic efforts at the end of the war to sell their produce in the markets we are anxious to supply? I think it was the Minister who, not very long ago, stated here that the British market was the best, and in fact the only remunerative market that we have. Quite a lot of people have realised that for years, but the Minister and others associated with him did not appear to realise it for quite a length of time.

There are certain people in this country advocating an abandonment of that market, in so far as certain important agricultural lines are concerned. These people are associated with the Government, and I think that their policy is really a policy of despair. If the people of this country are going to put up their hands every time they see a rival, then we are not going to get very far, and when this war is over, if we allow other people to take the crust out of our months, as it were, without making some fight, then we will get what we richly deserve.

There ought to be some advantage in our geographical position, and there ought to be some disadvantage in huge transport costs. The Government ought to realise that we must make every effort to capture remunerative markets. If the people of other countries are able to undersell us, they can do so, for one of two reasons. One is that they are subsidised by their governments, and the other, that their production costs are under ours. If we were met by a rival with much greater resources, we could be beaten under the head of subsidisation. The second point is that if we allow our competitors to beat us in that market because their production costs are lower than ours, then that is an admission on our part that we are not able to rise to the occasion; that we have not the brains, the ability, or the earnestness to carry on.

This question of agricultural production costs is one that ought to be tackled now. In fact, it should have been tackled years ago. We ought surely to be able to find some tangible proof, in the list of requirements set before us, that the Government are earnest in their desires and efforts to increase production. We have not that evidence. This country will always be agricultural. It is fundamental that our ability to purchase goods outside will depend on our agricultural exports. The Book of Estimates does not reveal that anything new is being proposed so far as increasing production is concerned. What we do find is that an increased demand is being made upon a reduced population. Our people have had to fly out of the country. I admit the big inducement of very much higher wages on offer across the water. I wonder what all those people would be doing here to-day if they had remained? What plan have the Government for dealing with them? What plan has Fianna Fáil to-day in comparison to the number of plans it had 11 years ago? At that time the plan was not only to put everybody at work, but to bring back the emigrants and give them work. Of course, 11 years have passed since then, and we have learned a lot in the meantime. I suggest it is due to the people that the Government, which is making such heavy demands upon them, should tell them what it proposes to do to increase production. The conditions amongst the farming community to-day would be very poor indeed were it not for the fact that they are enjoying war prices. That is a passing phase, and let us not be misled by it. Let us not forget that after the war we are going to have the other kind of period—when prices begin to fall.

We threw away the opportunities that we had in 1938 of doing something to restore the fertility of the soil. From public platforms in 1937, and during the general election campaign in 1938, I urged that what this country needed most at the end of the economic war were huge imports of artificial manures to restore the fertility of the soil. What I urged was not done. The result is that the soil is not able to stand up to the demands that are being made upon it to-day. The farmers are doing the best they can, but let the Government not think that the type of production we are engaged in at the present time, because of the emergency, is the type that can pay, or will be followed, after the war.

No matter what Government is in power its mind should be turned to new methods in agriculture. A complete orientation is required. As far as Government policy is concerned we must get down to bedrock in regard to new methods to further production, and in following what science can teach us. Unless we do that, then our agricultural community will go down before our competitors in the British market after the war. That would spell good-bye to everything so far as this country is concerned. The war has taught this country this lesson, that no matter what efforts are made to stabilise other industries, the only basis on which they can be securely stabilised is that of a prosperous agriculture.

If we had in the Book of Estimates any evidence that the things that I have referred to were being attended to by the Government: that land was being reclaimed, that its fertility was being added to, that unemployed people under any type of scheme, compulsory or otherwise, were going to be brought into production, that, when the war was over, the land we had in cultivation and other land would be made more productive, that the wealth of the country was being developed or was about to be developed: if we had any evidence that these things were being done, then we might pass this Vote on Account and pass the Estimatesin globo, and say that the Government were on the right track, and were doing that which in the end the country must rely upon. The truth is that we have no such evidence. We have evidence of the administrative costs of every Department going up year after year, with more officials, I will not say doing less work, but at any rate working for a smaller community. In this agricultural country, and with all this huge expenditure, we have this extraordinary situation to-day, that it is difficult to procure bacon and almost impossible to procure butter. It does not seem to be anybody's concern as to whether these commodities can be produced or not. Nobody seems to be investigating the cause of the shortage or to be making any suggestion for meeting a similar situation in the future.

In an agricultural country which had an export of those commodities, we find a community, reduced in numbers and in circumstances, who are not able to obtain their requirements in those commodities. It is an extraordinary situation and the situation is aggravated when we find that it is being suggested from public platforms that some of our activities in this regard should be abandoned or will have to be abandoned. When we remember the heyday of Fianna Fáil when they were in opposition, what they were to do when they came into office, the millions by which our taxation was to be reduced, the employment that was to be provided, the statement that all foreign bacon was to be kept out of this country and that we were to feed twice and three times as many pigs—when we think of all that and when we consider the small concern it is giving the Government and the Fianna Fáil Party simply to wipe all that off their slate and feel that they were quite justified in saying all the things they ever said and in bringing in a bill of this sort with the country in its present condition, without bacon, without butter, without many of the things we require that we ought to have, it is amazing.

It is more amazing if the Deputy thinks that.

Mr. Brennan

It is very amazing, when the Minister remembers all the employment Fianna Fáil promised in this country, all the wealth they promised the farming community, when the Minister remembers that we had at that time an export of butter and of bacon, neither of which possibly he could find for his breakfast this morning—at least there are thousands of people in the country who cannot find them for their breakfast——

There is more butter in the country now than there was then.

Where have you the butter?

Why are our wives rationing us?

You have more butter in the country now than there was then.

Mr. Brennan

We have been listening to all that for quite a long time now. I suppose there is also more bacon in the country now than there was then?

No. The food is not there to feed the pigs.

Mr. Brennan

We certainly have no evidence whatever that the Fianna Fáil programme which was to provide more employment and more wealth for the people, has been realised. We are entering now on a new era and we are presenting this country with a new demand. All administrative expenses have gone up.

£40,000,000.

Mr. Brennan

What have we got for it in production? Nothing.

Tell us how you will cut it down.

Mr. Brennan

I do not think the Minister ever occupied these benches when Fianna Fáil was in opposition. At that time they were going to pull down the comparatively modest expenditure of those days by £2,000,000 straight away if only they were given a lease of power. We are not going to tell the people that. We have some sense of proportion, some sense of decency in so far as that type of promise is concerned. We say that the country could be run on a smaller expenditure. I think that is self-evident. Surely to goodness, it should not take 5,000 more officials to administer the services of the country in 1944 more than it did in 1933 or 1934. Why should it? Is it, as was stated here at one time, that the less traffic you have, the more policemen you must have on point duty? Why should that be so? What I am endeavouring to impress upon the Government is that if a bill were presented to this House two years ago, last year or to-day which gave evidence of increased production or an attempt at increased production, I would not have a word to say, but there is not a single item in the Book of Estimates from cover to cover that is indicative of increased production. There is no new provision for reclamation of land, no provision for putting the unemployed out into the country on reclamation schemes or for any project of that nature which would bring greater production to the country. That is an expenditure to which I at least would take off my hat.

I advocated in this House in 1938 that the Government should import £1,000,000 worth of artificial manures, even if they were to divide them free, gratis and for nothing. It would be a national investment, and we would be enjoying the benefits of it now. I was accused here the other day of throwing bouquets at a Minister, and of bestowing encomiums on the Government. I am quite prepared to do that if I am given the chance, but this Vote does not give me any opportunity of doing it. I have been a consistent advocate of increased production, and the one and only increased production we can have is in agriculture, in so far as the export trade of this country is concerned. Of course, there are people in this country who still think that a policy of self-sufficiency is a good policy. It is an extraordinary thing that even America, with all its vast resources, has declared that there is no such thing as self-sufficiency. That is their latest declaration. Of course, that has been proved to us, I suppose more abundantly than to any other country in the world, in the last three or four years. True, we can be self-sufficient in certain things.

In wheat, for instance.

Mr. Brennan

Yes; as you are operating to-day, but remember if you were in normal times, if you had passed the emergency period, you would not get it down. This is a matter that should not call for any type of acrimonious discussion. We all want to grow the food that is required in this country, but if the time arrives when the farmer can make more money out of producing X than out of producing Y, then he will produce X. He will always do it, and it would be a very bad policy for the Government to force him to do otherwise. In an emergency period, however, we must all stand in, and we are prepared to stand in. Sometimes I stand appalled when I think of the expenditure we have to meet in this way. When I look at the demand being made upon us at the present time, when I look to the soil on which I myself grow cereals year after year without manures, I scratch my head and wonder what kind of land I am going to have at the end of this period. If Deputy O Briain thinks that I am going to continue that in normal conditions he is making a shocking mistake. I think more about posterity, more of the people I leave after me, than to leave them land that would be practically waste.

I do not think that the bill presented to us to-day is a justifiable one. Looking around the world, seeing everything going to pieces and wondering what the future will be like, I would not be surprised if our defensive precautions were costing more. They are not, and I think it is wise that they are not. I do not want to go into that matter now, with regard to what provision we should make for defence or in what state of preparedness we find ourselves at the present time, as it is not one which should be discussed now. Seeing that we have no increase in that item and that we have no increase in any measure or proposed measure for increased production, this bill is not justifiable. With the dwindling population, with the farmers having to produce food for the country—which they are doing and which they ought to do, and which they should be forced to do, if necessary—and with the present false period of money, it is not justifiable that we should be presented with a bill of this sort. It makes no provision for the future and takes no thought for the future, so far as we can see. Our population is dwindling, as the people are not satisfied to remain and work the land.

There will have to be a completely new orientation, so far as agriculture is concerned, but no effort whatever is being made about it. We are sitting down here smugly to consider our 40 or 50 Estimates, Estimate after Estimate, just as we did last year and ten years ago. It does not seem that anything new has permeated anyone's mind, or that anyone has thought that the future must hold something out for us. If we continue to present that type of Bill to the House in a period like this, closing our eyes to the things around us—to the unemployed, to the emigration, to the loss of fertility in the soil, to the fact that the future will bring us new problems—it is small wonder indeed that the place of democrats is being taken by people with other views.

Nuair bhí an Teachta O Braonáin ag labhairt tháinic rud amháin isteach im' intinn. Deir sé nach bhféadmuid soláthar mar ba cheart fé láthair. Aontuím leis an méid sin, ach tá ceist amháin agus dlú-bhaint aici leis —daoine do chur ar na tailtí bána. Tá mise ag labhairt ar mhaithe leis an dream nach bhfuil talamh ag an gcuid is mó acu, an dream is túisce mhothuigheann an ganntanas nuair bhíonn plúr is siúcra gann.

O rinneadh Teachta Dála díom, táim ag moladh an ruda seo leis an Riaghaltas—dul ar aghaidh le daoine bochta d'aistriú ón drochthalamh go dtí na tailtí bána. Nuair a thosuigh an cogadh seo, stop an Riaghaltas an obair sin a bhí ar siúl ag Coimisiún na Talmhan agus, ar ndóigh, d'aithin mé fhéin go raibh na daoine a bhí ag obair san gCoimisiún ag teastáil leis an gcuraíocht do chur chun cinn. Ach anois feicim gur ceart iad do chur ar ais go dtí Coimisiún na Talmhan agus daoine do chur ar na tailtí bána. Tá sé sámh-soiléir gurab iad na daoine is mó a raibh talamh acu, agus an talamh a bfhearr, gurab iad ba mhó freisin a bhí taobh thiar san gcuraíocht agus na daoine beaga, nach raibh morán talaimh acu, gurab, iad san na daoine i dtosach. Ar ndóigh, dhéanfadh sé maitheas an chéad dream do chur amach ón dtalamh bán agus é do líonadh le daoine le fóghnamh, é do chur agus beatha fhagháil ann.

Níor cheart, do réir mo thuairim-se, an t-airgead le haghaidh córais mar sin do sholáthar le meastachún, le h-airgead bliantúil. Ba cheart airgead fhagháil ar iasacht leis an scéim a mholaim do chur i bhfeidhm. Rud eile dhe, ní fheicim go bhfuil sé deacair do na foilmeóirí airgead d'fhagháil ar iasacht. Bhí mé ag cruinniú Dé Domhnaigh seo caithte i gCo. na Gaillimhe. Feilmeóirí ba mhó a bhí ag an gcruinniú agus dubhradar nach bhfacadar ariamh an méid airgid agus tá ag na feilmeóirí fé láthair. Anois an t-am is feileamhnaí, d'réir mo thuairm-se, suim mör airgid fhagháil ar iasacht agus cuid mhaith daoine do chur ar na tailtí bána. 'Siad is fearr do sholáthróchas na béilí do chuile dhuine. Táim ag ceapadh go bhfuil sé in órdú cur síos ar cheist mar seo anois, mar is ceist airgid í. Mar sin, táim ag iarraidh ar an Aire an cheist seo do chíoradh.

Ba cheart don Rialghaltas suim mór airgid fhagháil ar iasacht agus dul chun cinn, gan mórán moille eile, le daoine d'aistriú go dtí na tailtí bána. Má déantar é sin, beidh an tír seo sábhálta, is cuma cén fhaid a mhairfeas an cogadh.

My remarks upon this Vote on Account will be very brief because, as I said this time last year, the size of it makes a Deputy almost speechless. One would assume that, with an Estimate of this magnitude for a year, the wealth of the country would have increased in proportion over the past ten years. It is well known that no such increase in wealth has taken place. On the contrary, the earning power of a very large number of our people has been reduced. One has only to walk around the City of Dublin to see the number of business houses, garages, and machinery sales-houses in which there are depleted staffs. A large number of the former employees are walking about idle. There has been no increase in the revenue from agriculture, as has been pointed out by Deputy Brennan, notwithstanding the rosy promises made by Fianna Fáil both before they got into office and a short time after they got into office. I remember distinctly its being asserted in 1930-31 that an Estimate of £21,000,000 meant that the Cosgrave Government were budgeting and spending on an imperial scale, with only a very small national purse. I put it to the House now that Fianna Fáil has gone much further than ever their predecessors dreamed, and that Fianna Fáil is now spending upon a patrician scale, with a plebeian purse.

If there was any organisation of the finances of the State which would allow this expenditure to take place, one could understand it. If the Government had a financial policy, such as have other countries where increased expenditure is taking place, by which money would be cheap and everybody would be put into production, then one could understand this increased Vote. But, instead of increased earnings, earnings have been reduced by, according to some people, 25 per cent. and, according to others, 50 per cent. I presume that, as in other cases, a figure between the two figures would represent the truth. While I agree that there are certain services on which money is well spent, and that there are other services which are essential to the community, anybody looking through the Estimates can see that several Votes could be considerably reduced. I admit that the necessity for the Defence Forces still exists, and that any money considered necessary by the Defence Conference and the Government for that purpose is well spent. It is a sort of insurance premium which we have to pay for the safety of our country.

I have only one word of advice to offer to the Government and, if I can, through them to the responsible authorities—that the greatest care should be taken in the expenditure of the money of the nation owing to its impoverished condition, and that they should weigh very carefully the necessity for expenditure and the value they hope to get for it. The Old Age Pensions Vote is essential and I am glad the Government are taking the view that more people will be entitled to it during the coming financial year than were entitled during the present year. I am satisfied that a large number of people will be poorer than they are and that the means test will not affect them so much in the coming year as it did in the present year. I would not cavil if there was a much higher Vote for old age pensions, because the purchasing power of the old age pensioners' 10/- is very much reduced. The Government should have consideration for people of that type. Again, there are such Votes as that for public health, which are very essential.

It is, I think, a grave mistake for the Government to adopt the policy of dropping the division of land. In several areas the Government could find estates which would be more effectively worked by the tenants to whom they could be allotted than they are by the present owners or by the Land Commission, where the land is held by the Land Commission and not divided. As a matter of policy, I think that the Government would be well advised to withdraw the Emergency Powers Order they have issued staying the acquisition of land by the Land Commission. In that way, the earning power of some sections of the community would be increased, so that they could meet the bill now placed before this House for approval. It is a grave mistake that this Vote makes no provision for drainage. It does not include even a token Vote for that purpose, although we were told by Ministers that the draftsman was engaged in preparing a Bill based on the report of the Drainage Commission. The Government should have given some earnest of their intentions in that regard by including in this amount a token Vote for drainage. I do not know what effect the Central Bank will have on the finances of the State or how much credit they will be able to make available to the Government. I presume that, at a later stage, we shall have some indication of the policy which the Government has for the organisation of the finances of the country. That is, if they have any policy at all.

I presume that, as there is a general election in the offing, some well-phrased statement will be issued either by the Government or the Information Bureau before the election is held for the information of the electors. Whether that statement will ever be implemented or not, is another question. We should, however, have some indication from the Government as to what their intentions are in relation to the whole financial question, because this country is still continuing upon the financial standard that obtained in 1927-28-29-30 when the currency of the country to which the currency of this country is attached was on a gold basis. We have not changed although it is quite obvious that the currency of the other country to which our currency is attached has been altered and reorganised. I saw a statement made by a very prominent financier in Great Britain some time ago, in which he was complaining that the organisation of the finances of Great Britain was not half rapid enough, and he pointed out that there would have to be a complete reorganisation of the finances of that country if Great Britain were to continue spending at the rate of £14,000,000 a day. Now, in proportion, we are doing that here, and the Government has not given any indication whatsoever that they have the reorganisation of the finances of this country in mind or that they have any policy in relation to it.

Now, it is true to say that the only real sources of wealth in this country is agriculture, and notwithstanding anything that may have been said to the contrary it is an astonishing fact that there is a very great reduction in the amount of butter available throughout the country, that it is not in the country. Deputy O Briain would give one the impression that the farmers, the dairy farmers, are hoarding the butter and that there is any amount of it in the country. I do not know of any farmer anywhere in any county who would hoard butter when he could get a price for it, and it is admitted that the price is not too bad, but that it should be better. The fact is that the late Minister for Agriculture, Mr. Hogan, was right when he used to say long ago—and for which he was dubbed "the Minister for Grass"—that maize, cotton cake, linseed cake, and all these imported feeding stuffs were the farmers' raw material for the production of bacon, poultry, eggs, butter, and so on, and that if the farmer did not get this raw material cheaply, it would leave, a country like this that was able to produce butter, bacon, and so on, without any of these commodities.

I think we should face up to the fact that that is one of the great causes of the reduction in the amount of bacon, butter, eggs and poultry that is available, and that if we had any amount of these meals and feeding-stuffs, if we could import any amount of them, there would be any amount of those commodities available. We must face the fact that we have not got these feeding-stuffs, and cannot import them, and, therefore, we must ourselves grow the best that we can for our cattle, for our milch cows, to produce milk and butter, and that we have to produce the best we can in order to produce pigs. I heard, on the wireless, a speech by the Minister for Agriculture at a meeting in Roscommon, and I also read the report of his speech, where he said that the fixed price that was being paid for pigs now allowed the farmer £4 10s. a ton for potatoes—that that was the price the farmer would get for the potatoes by feeding them to pigs at the fixed price. And that would be without doing anything at all to the potatoes. Now, who in the name of goodness is going to give pigs potatoes at £4 10s. a ton, when he can get £8 in the open market by selling potatoes for human consumption, or for fattening cattle? In the case of cattle all they have to do is to put the potatoes in the pulper and give them any sort of a dressing, such as broken oats, and so on, and they will fatten cattle, but they will not fatten pigs. That shows that the Government and the Minister for Agriculture have no settled policy at all on the matter, but because they got some people to shout for them at a certain time they still think that all they have to do is to go out, preach another sermon, make an exhortation at the end of it, and every farmer will do what they require them to do. They will not. They may do it, but if they do, mind you, they will expect, and I hold they are entitled to expect, a reasonable compensation for their labour. The farmer and his family have the hardest life of any section in the community, and they are the worst paid. The farmers' sons and daughters are expected to work from dawn until dark, and there are no fixed wages for them. The only method by which they can get any compensation at all is by the increased prices that their parents are able to get for the produce of the farm. Consequently, as I say, the Government, when they produce a bill like this, with no increase in the earning power of the people, show that they have lost all touch with the people, and, what is worse, that they have lost all consideration for the people who voted for them and put them into office.

The Government could increase the productivity of the soil or the land of the country by a big, bold stroke in connection with drainage. It is a well-known fact that the productivity of the land of the country has been seriously lowered owing to the lack of drainage. With us, in the Midlands, neither the Inny, the Camlin, the Suck, the Blackwater, or any of these rivers are able to carry off the waters on account of the lack of drainage. The farmers themselves are dabbling at drainage in a small way, and a very useful way it would be if the drainage of the main artery was done. In that way they are making efforts at land improvement by doing drainage themselves, but their efforts are of little avail while the main artery is choked. I say that the Government could increase the wealth of this country by undertaking this drainage and making the land, thereby, more productive.

In the course of his speech to-day, the Minister showed reductions in one Vote and increases in another, giving the impression that he had made a very careful survey of all the Estimates. I submit it is quite clear that he has not done any such thing and that he could have done much better. I do agree with him when he says that he is the barrier between Government Departments, the House and the taxpayers, that he is the person to hold the balance fairly between them. I think he has slipped up on his job in that respect, that he has not reached the high standard he set for himself, and I suggest that, election or no election, a survey should be made of the whole matter. The late Parliamentary Secretary, Deputy Flinn, God rest him, told us a few years ago that an interdepartmental committee of inquiry had been set up to examine and to make recommendations in respect of the reduction of expenditure in all the Departments, and, knowing his efficiency, I am sure he made some headway and must at some stage have made recommendations to the Government. Has the Minister any intention of making whatever report he made available to Deputies, or even to a selected number from each Party so that we could get first hand information on the situation?

It is very difficult, as I say, to talk in general terms on a number of Estimates such as these, and one is inclined to take up individual items. That, I know, is not in order, and I do not intend to do so, but I suggest to Deputies, and particularly to Deputies of the Government Party, that as each Estimate comes up for consideration during the year, they should not sit dumb and allow the Government to carry on with expenditure just as it pleases. I should like to ask any Deputy on the Fianna Fáil Benches to say what he thinks of this Vote of £40,000,000, to consider the tears they cried here over the people of the country when the total Estimates amounted to £21,000,000 and to realise that it is within a few million pounds of being doubled to-day, on the same wealth, with a reduced population and with a reduced earning power in a large number of people in the cities, plus reduced salaries in a sense, owing to the increased cost of living. In those circumstances, people are expected to pay more.

The Minister may juggle with his Budget. He may borrow as much as he likes and say that it is abnormal expenditure, but he will not balance his Budget, except by borrowing, because if he proposes to put that bill upon the people by direct and indirect taxation, it means that he has practically taken control of the people's money, without having organised the financial structure. Before the House passes this Vote, the Minister should give us a clear indication as to what his financial policy is, as to what the Government's proposals for the organisation of the finances of the country are, and as to how he proposes to realise this amount of money, without increasing the hardships, which are already very severe and are likely to become severer as time goes on, of the people.

We find in the Book of Estimates to-day the usual increase in the unproductive lines. The Book of Estimates sets out the Estimates of a sickly Administration. In them, there is a complete lack of sympathy with the under-dog. We find in them no bold plan for the future, which is indeed dismal and dark. Agriculture, the one industry which is carrying a huge load, is facing deterioration, and year after year the productivity of the soil is diminishing rapidly. The Government are making no effort to relieve or to improve that situation. We have also the flight of man-power from the soil, which is one of the most serious factors for the country to-day. There is a complete lack of man-power in the most important phase of our lives, agriculture, to-day. If you want a good man to help you in the work of producing food, you cannot get him at any price. He has gone not to the cities but across to Britain.

The Government made no effort to ensure that agriculture would be in a position in which it could carry on its great work unhindered, and they slept while that man-power was slipping away. They have to-day no plan for the future, although that is a wonder, seeing that they are on the eve of a general election. It looks as if they really are incompetent and would like to slip out of public life. I should like them to realise that while neutrality can cover many things, it should not be used as a cloak for everything, and the Government will have to come out from under that cloak and do something for the people in their present critical condition. We are all concerned about the future, and I should like to know why the Government is not concerned about it.

Why have they not made some effort to meet the growing dangers that face us? The post-war position should be studied now, and not when the war is over. Now is the time to make our plans and to make them firmly and well. I ask the Government what is their policy for this country when the war is over? We realise also that the position of the farmer must be considered. He cannot carry on under existing conditions when the war is over. We must have a policy for him. We must see what trade agreements we can make for him. As we know, the export of live stock and live-stock products has carried our country along so far. We want to make sure that when peace comes our trade across the Channel will not be taken over by our competitors. We should go into the matter now, and not be late, as we usually are. It is my belief that it is more or less false pride on the Government's part which has us in the position we are in to-day. We are neither the friend nor the enemy of the people who take our products from us and give us the goods which are coming to us day after day in ships across the water. There is no reason why the Government should not swallow their pride and go across to Great Britain and openly make a decent barter agreement. It is my belief that no real effort is being made to give our country a chance. Any other country, if it were in the position we are in, would not be afraid to hammer out a decent agreement for its people. But that will not happen while a Fianna Fáil Government is in office. It must be done if this country is to be saved.

It is extraordinary that in this agricultural country we should have to-day such a shortage of the necessaries of life. We have a shortage of butter in the country districts and in our big towns and cities. It is a shame and a disgrace for an Irish Government to allow such a thing to happen. Our workers and farmers out in the fields and on the bogs are eating dry bread for their lunch. Nobody can stand over that. We are told, of course, that the butter is not there. I want to know why the Government allowed our best heifers and cows to be exported and only the dregs to be left behind. That is one of the matters which they should have looked after, but did not. To-day we are suffering as a result of their incompetence. There is no bacon to be had either. Except the few farmers who can kill their own pigs, farmers to-day have no bacon. In the past, bacon was the staple food of our people in the country districts. To-day they must do with dry bread. We have no lard either. I ask the Government is it a fact that they are allowing butter to be exported out of the country? Many people are under the impression that there is some agreement by which butter is going out of the country, and I should like a clear statement on that matter from the Government.

In this Vote on Account we have an increase in many items, which means more civil servants and more salaries. If the Government realised the situation in the country, they would have made decent provision for our aged and infirm people and for widows. It is disgraceful to see the way in which the means test is applied in the old age pensions department. In a country like ours, it is our duty to see that the full old age pension of 10/- is given to every deserving person who reaches the age of 70. There should be no means test or, if there is a means test, it should not be applied in a narrow and despicable way. People who are willing to hand over their little property to a son or a daughter so that they can draw the old age pension find they are not allowed to do that. Whether they hand over their property or not, they will not get the old age pension or any fraction of it. I think that is a shame and a disgrace in a Christian country. I think that any deserving man or woman over 70 years of age is entitled to this small pittance and that there should be no means test. It is time for the Government to abolish it.

We hear a lot about the low marriage rate in this country, and about people not marrying until late in life. That is a matter that could be easily remedied if the Government thought fit to give the old age pension to people over 70. The young people would then be able to marry, and have some security. At present they have no security, because the old people cannot hand over their property to them. That is one of the matters that should be tackled immediately, as it is a blot on our civilisation.

Another matter I would ask the Government to look into is the wage paid to agricultural workers. The present wage paid to agricultural workers only keeps them above the level of starvation. I cannot understand how even the smallest family can live on such a wage. Half of the money they get goes into the black market to buy necessaries which they cannot get through the ordinary channels. I think it is the duty of the Government to subsidise the agricultural workers' wages. They will have to come to the aid of these people, because they are in a desperate plight. They are the people who, with the farmers, are producing food for the people, and they get very little consideration from the Government.

Deputy MacEoin spoke about the question of land division. I cannot understand why the Land Commission closed down their land division Department. The proper division of land is one of the acid tests of a progressive Government. Land division is necessary in order that we may have more production, and provide more work for our people and keep them from going across the water. I hope, therefore, that the Land Commission will resume the work of land division on proper lines, and that we will not have the kind of land division we had in the past, when they were making uneconomic holdings all over the country.

With regard to drainage, there is no reason why the national plan we heard so much about should not be put into operation. All over the country low-lying lands are water-logged and covered with scutch and rushes. No effort is being made to bring back these thousands of acres of arable land into production. Many of our rivers are so choked up that they are making new passages for themselves. In the River Boyne which flows through my county, there are islands of two or three acres in extent interfering with the proper flow of the river, with the result that the low lying land on each side of the river is water-logged.

The Government stand discredited for the way in which they have allowed our workers to leave the country for Great Britain because they made no effort to provide them with work at a reasonable wage in this country. If they did get a reasonable wage they would stay here. I hope the Government before many months will come forward with some bold policy. We hear of planning in other countries, but we do not hear of any Seán T. O Ceallaigh plan, although he has the purse strings firmly in his hands. I hope he will be more generous in the future and realise that what we want in this country is work and not talk. We have had too much talk for the last ten years, and the only result is that it has brought the Government to the brink of extinction. Of course we will be told that money is the whole trouble. My belief is that the money can be got and must be got. If we can get money for a huge Army to goose-step and mark time, there is no reason why we cannot get money to put our people into work. It must be done by somebody and will be done. I ask the Government seriously to consider the position because the people will not always be gulled. The people of Europe are waking up and the people of this country are waking up. They will want to know why, if we can find £9,000,000 or £10,000,000 for an Army, we cannot get a few millions to give people work on the land and to give people security in their homesteads. It will have to be done. I think the Government in the final few months of their life, should make some effort to redeem their pledge of work for everyone and idleness for none. Then the wheels of industry will go round. Where are the wheels of industry to-day? We have nothing but the plough and it is being operated by those who are not remunerated for their work. The Book of Estimates shows on the face of it a dismal failure on the part of the present Government. There is the same old humdrum performance—new civil servants, new increases, new Departments but nothing new or hopeful for the people. There is not even a glimmer of hope for them. I would ask every member of the House vigorously to criticise every Vote until we make this Government or some Government realise that the people who have suffered to bring freedom to this country are not to be fooled for 25 to 30 years. We must keep faith with Collins and Griffith, with those who died that we might live. We do not want to live a dismal life between the devil and the deep sea. We want to live a normal, healthy, good life and to bring up our families as Irishmen and women, worthy of the traditions of the past. The only way we can do that is to provide work for our people. Work is worship of God. If we can provide our people with work, many of our ills will disappear. The present policy seems to be to keep the purse strings tied but I say that money must be got and will be got by somebody.

The dominant characteristic of the Government is its capacity for increasing expenditure. Whilst there is nothing inherently wrong in increasing expenditureper se, when we relate the Government's capacity for increasing expenditure with the return to the taxpayer and to the community as a whole, we get the true level of the Government's incompetence and irresponsibility. I do not think that even the most brazen Minister in the Government can make even a pretence at rebutting the charge that has been levelled against them repeatedly during the past few years—the charge of extravagance, the charge of squandermania. The truth of the whole matter is that the present Government is no longer governing. It has abrogated its powers almost entirely to civil servants. Not content with this in relation to central government, it has endeavoured to do the same thing in respect of the local authorities. We have now a system—county management system, it is called—under which we have a number of highly-paid officials taking charge of the affairs of counties, who are entirely under the thumb and in the grip of the Department of Local Government. These men need have no initiative because, if they have initiative, they dare not use it without risking their jobs. Those who behave well in so far as the Department is concerned have the inducement of promotion to a better county.

The increase in the expenditure this year, evidenced by the demand made in this Vote on Account, will be expended largely on increased administration. If this money were spent in the right direction, no reasonable person would take exception to it, and no reasonable person would find fault with the Government. But what is the position? What is the position with regard to the very large percentage of the community who are submerged, who are living under hopelessly depressed conditions? What is the position of an unemployed man and his family in a rural district? He gets from the State 14/- by way of unemployment assistance if he has a wife and five children. If he has six, seven, eight or ten children, he gets the same amount. At the same time we have this huge demand in this Vote. What applies to the unemployed man in the rural district applies with no less force to the man in the city or town. He gets 23/- plus food and fuel vouchers. I think everybody knows how much 23/- will purchase in the City of Dublin to-day. I do not think the Minister will deny that 23/- will not purchase more than about what 12/- would purchase in 1939. That represents 12/- for a man, his wife and five children.

There is a considerable number of unemployed men and their families occupying corporation houses. The rents of houses recently built amount to from about 14/- to 17/- a week. How does an unemployed man fare in such a house on his income of 23/- a week, plus food and fuel vouchers? The case of the destitute widow is no less deplorable. She gets the beneficent sum of 5/- a week. The same also applies to people suffering from protracted illnesses who are in receipt of national health disablement benefit. The sightless community in the city and in this country are treated in a shameful manner. Last year Dublin Corporation increased the allowances to blind persons in the city by 20 per cent. The increased grant was unanimously agreed to by the members of the corporation—Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour and Independent. But the interfering hand of the Minister for Local Government came into play again. He found a means of depriving these people of the grant so willingly given by the corporation. The figures I have mentioned are the maximum figures for each category of the persons to whom I have referred.

An abominable means test is applied. I wonder when the Government will take their courage in their hands and abolish this test? Can the Government not realise that there is no saving, that the miserable shilling that is saved from the blind man, from the destitute widow, from the old age pensioner and from the unemployed man with a large family is lost because it is spent on administration? That money goes towards paying inspectors and civil servants to harass those people in order to find out their means, to find out whether they have a son, a brother or some relation in Lancashire sending them 10/- or 15/- a week. You cannot go into a hotel in any city or town throughout the country without finding that the clientele is largely composed of civil servants. The situation is so bad that one almost despairs of anything being done while the present Government are in office.

The position in relation to supplies is chaotic, and this, of course, is largely due to the failure of the Minister for Supplies to exercise any foresight in relation to the emergency situation. He missed the bus, and having missed the bus, he has not displayed any preparedness during the past few years to do anything that would tend to get over the difficulty. I believe that the failure of the Department of Supplies is in no small measure due to the unwillingness of the Minister to listen to representations made by organised bodies of consumers, or even to reply to the representations of organised bodies of any kind, whether bodies of business people, industrial concerns or the general consumers.

The fuel situation in Dublin during the winter months has been so bad that it is almost beyond description. It is practically impossible for the ordinary consumer to buy turf that will light. On the average, the turf contains not less than 50 or 60 per cent. of moisture. I have heard it said by a local wit that if you put some of this turf through a mangle you would not even get turf out at the other side. Not alone is the ordinary consumer hit by the bungling in so far as the fuel position is concerned, but the ratepayers in the city are being robbed. Look at the estimate for Grangegorman Mental Hospital this year. The estimated expenditure there shows an increase of about £80,000, coming largely under the heading of fuel. As regards the turf, they have either to take it or leave it. It is so bad that it is difficult to light it. Any members who attend board meetings have seen from time to time the type of turf in the grate in the boardroom, and no doubt they have witnessed the efforts to get it alight. In so far as that particular matter is concerned, the position is hopeless.

I wonder has the Minister for Suplies displayed any interest in the increase which the Gas Company in Dublin was allowed to charge recently? There has been an increase of 50 per cent.

Surely, that is a matter for discussion on the Minister's Estimate?

I understood that the operations of this company, like most other private companies, were to some extent, at least, under the control of the Department of Supplies.

Quite so, but it is a matter that could more properly be raised on the Estimate for that Minister's Department. It is not general Government policy. I do not know what control the Minister has over the company referred to, so that it might not be legitimate for discussion even then.

The Minister had to approve of the rationing scheme.

The Chair does not know what responsibility the Minister has in the matter.

I may say that the Department has failed completely to control the cost of living, and particularly the price of the commodity to which I have just referred. That affects very much the household budget of practically every family in Dublin. I hope the time will soon come in this country when every essential public service will be completely under State control. What is true of fuel is true of many other articles in short supply. The fact that there is a shortage of milk and butter in the very heart of the country is a very grave reflection on the capacity of the present Government to continue in office. During the past few years we have seen in Dublin and in other cities and towns throughout the country bread queues, butter queues, bus queues—in Dublin—and I do not know how many other types of queues we may see in the future. I do not suppose we will ever see queues for shoe laces. In any event the position in so far as this Department is concerned is absolutely hopeless. It has done nothing whatever to justify its existence, not to mind the huge expenditure which is now being demanded for its upkeep. The Government have failed on all fronts. They have failed so utterly that I do not believe any member of the Government could make a useful contribution to any future Government which may operate here.

After going very care fully into the figures set out in this Vote on Account, I have come to the conclusion that it could be reduced by 25 per cent. I shall take a few of the items set out here to illustrate my point. With regard to the Houses of the Oireachtas, there is a sum set down of £124,000. The Vote on Account amounts to £42,200.

In 1932 the cost was £104,000. There could be a saving there of at least £20,000, or perhaps more. At that time we had 25 per cent. more members in the two Houses. The Estimate for the Office of the Revenue Commissioners is £922,885. During the administration of the Fine Gael Party, the cost was £631,000. What has this Department done to justify an increase of £300,000? I would like to have an explanation from the Minister on that. The Estimate for the Office of Public Works is £142,000 compared with £88,000 in the time of the late Government. I think that £60,000 could be knocked off there, and that the provision would still be sufficient to carry on the work to be done. The Estimate for Public Works and Buildings has gone up from £578,000 to £1,088,000. I think that £500,000 could be knocked off there. The cost of administration of the Department of Agriculture was £374,000 in 1931. Now the cost of that Department is £1,466,000. Considering its record during the past nine or ten years, I think it must be said that nine-tenths of that sum is being badly spent and that at least £500,000 could be taken off the Estimate.

Would the Minister say what is the cause of the increase of almost £10,000 in the Estimate for the Office of the Minister for Justice? In 1931-32 the figure was £36,000 and now it is £45,000. In 1931-32 the Department of Local Government and Public Health cost £437,000. The figure is now £1,684,000. Is it any wonder that the Estimates have gone up from £20,000,000 a year in Deputy Cosgrave's time to £45,000,000 to-day? I think if a commission was set up for the purpose of reducing the Estimates substantially, in the case of this Estimate, there could be a reduction of £750,000. The Land Commission which cost £374,000 in the time of the last Government, is costing to-day £1,341,000. The officials are supposed to be doing nothing there. What I mean is that they have been taken away and are supposed to be working in the Department of Supplies and in other Departments. The figure for the Army is £8,000,000.

I think there could be a substantial reduction there. What is the Army doing or what can it do? We have been told that about 1,000 new factories have been established in the country since the Fianna Fáil Party got into power, but is there one of them that could make an ounce of gun-powder, an aeroplane, a gun or even a blunderbuss? I think the Estimate for the Army should be cut down by 50 per cent.

I get a good many complaints about the application of the means test in the case of old age pensioners which was referred to by many Deputies this evening. I have been a member of the local pensions committee in County Mayo for 25 years. I know the difficulties that an applicant for an old age pension has to overcome. The pensions officer goes out to investigate the claim; he interviews neighbours and everybody around to inquire if the statements set out in the applicant's form are correct. I suggest to the Government they should remove the means test altogether, and leave the position so that a person on reaching the age of 70 would be entitled to get the pension. I think if the test were abolished you would not have 1 per cent. more people taking the pension. I do not want to suggest at this stage that the old age pension should be given to all applicants at the age of 65.

Legislation would be required for that or for the removal of the means test.

I hope it will be one of the first measures introduced by the Government returned to power after the next election. With regard to land division in the County Mayo, a good deal of dissatisfaction and discontent prevails there. I understand that for a number of years they have had about 15,000 acres on hands in that county.

Is not that, too, a matter of detail to be reserved for the Estimates?

It was referred to this evening by two speakers before you came in. I just want to say that there is no reason why the Land Commission should not divide these 15,000 acres. I suggest also that something should be done by the Government to carry out drainage work. Petitions have been before the Commissioners of Public Works for quite a number of years, and have been approved of by the local bodies, for the drainage of the following rivers: the Gweston, the Pollock, and the Yellow rivers. Something should also be done for the improvement of the canal between Kilmaine and Cong.

These are obviously matters for the Estimates.

With regard to supplies of paraffin oil——

The Deputy persists in raising details which may not be discussed on the Vote on Account.

I have been sitting here for an hour and these matters have been referred to by other Deputies.

I have not heard any Deputy refer to minor items.

Since last Christmas no paraffin oil was to be obtained in the County Mayo, and there is a great deal of dissatisfaction about it. I hope the Minister will take a note of that. I have made suggestions with regard to Estimates in which I think a reduction could be made. There are 73 Estimates in the list before us. I think that, if these were gone into properly by the Government the total could be reduced by at least £10,000,000, and the Vote on Account by at least £2,500,000.

If this were not the last Vote on Account which this Dáil will discuss, I would not, having regard to my experience, in discussing such matters for the last three years, think it worth while to say anything on this occasion, but in the particular circumstances of the moment there are one or two things to which I should like to refer. We have been discussing for the whole of to-day a Vote of £13,000,000, part of something more than £40,000,000 which the Government have estimated they will spend on this part of the country's administration during the next 12 months. Beyond the opening statement of the Minister we have not heard a single voice from the Government Party in the discussion. We have all heard from Davis that legislative freedom is the basis of all freedom, and to some extent we are legislating for the country in deciding policies of expenditure. We ought to decide them with a certain amount of mature consideration and some exchange of thought between different Deputies representing different interests and different parts of the country. We ought to get some understanding as to the principles underlying the expenditure of this money in order to get the fullest possible benefit out of it, and the people of the country on whom the money is being spent ought to understand something about these principles too. For years we have asked the Government to realise what is happening as a result of their taking enormous sums out of the taxpayers' and the ratepayers' pockets and spending this money through Government machinery instead of allowing the people to spend the money on their own plans and through their own initiative, the Government helping by the broad lines of their policy and by the assistance of their administrative machine to get the best advantage out of that expenditure.

Particularly during the last two years we have asked the silent side of the House, the Deputies who sit behind the Minister, to take part in our discussions in the light of what they see happening in other countries and, with the example of how people in other countries, struggling under extraordinary difficulties, are using their resources and exercising their energies, we have then to bring some of the energy and intelligence we undoubtedly possess to bear in a united way on the problems of the country. So blank is the silence on the other side of the House, that the echo of our voices hardly comes back to us. To-day when we consider the size of this bill, the volume of production in the country, and the national income, we wonder how long our people can bear the taking of this money from them and its expenditure in a manner that, so far from increasing production and employment in the country, is tending to restrict them.

Reference has been made to the great rise that has taken place in the amount of tax money taken from the people and in the amount of expenditure of one kind or another which the Government have carried on. Without referring at all to the nature of the taxation or to the amount that is collected and spent as a result of the emergency, we merely have to look at the year 1939 to discover the huge increase that has taken place in these items. As has been pointed out, in the year ended March, 1939, a sum greater by £4,600,000 odd was taken in ordinary taxation from the people than in the year before the Government took office. In rates, £1,607,000 more was taken out of ratepayers' pockets than in the year before the Government came into office.

The amount taken from ratepayers was increased by about 34 per cent. and from taxpayers by more than 22 per cent. As well as that, the Government had in addition more than £1,500,000 of non-tax revenue coming into their possession every year. They were borrowing new sums and using at least £2,000,000 previously spent on the payment of pensions by the British Government before they came into office. In fact over and above the level of taxation in the year ended March, 1932, £24,000,000 had been taken out of the people's pockets and spent by the year ended March, 1939. A sum of £11,000,000 over the 1932 level had been spent out of non-tax revenue and £4,500,000 had been spent out of rates. The result of that huge expenditure, as has been pointed out, is that the normal increment of employment was not only seriously reduced but was brought altogether to a standstill. Figures have been quoted, and they might as well be quoted again, to show that for every year from 1927 to 1932 there was a natural increment in production and employment in the country as measured by the National Health Contribution Fund, equivalent to an additional 11,400 persons put into employment every year. That was reduced under the policy that has been in operation for the last ten years so that instead of an average increase of 11,400 the average increase up to 1936 was 8,954 and the increase was brought to a full stop from the year 1937, in spite of the fact that in the years from 1936 to 1941 a large number of men were employed on unemployment schemes on a rotational basis. They were employed rotationally, so in fact they swelled the National Health Contribution Fund in an exaggerated way and to an extent greater than the actual employment given would justify. In the year 1937 the average number of men employed on employment schemes was 22,971, in 1938 the number was 19,204; in 1939, 18,118; in 1940, 16,153; and in 1941, 16,931, so that from the year 1937, so far from there being any normal increase in employment, there was a complete stop.

There was probably a restriction of employment but the restriction is hidden by the enormous number of men who had to be employed on Government schemes. We have asked from time to time, what have Deputies who sit behind the Government to show for the enormous sums of money taken from the people and spent through the inflated Government channels which have been described by Deputy Dr. O'Higgins and a number of other Deputies who have spoken here to-day, the result being that instead of naturally increasing employment they were reducing employment. It is on that shaky, rickety basis, brought about by Government policy, that we had to face the present emergency. Ten days after the war broke out, we drew the attention of the Government to the fact that the danger to this country would not be so much a military as an economic one. We asked them to select three economists, who, standing outside the Administration, would look at what is happening in the country and outside and advise as to the trend here and outside, and say whether it was likely to be good or bad, so that we might have an outside and expert eye watching and advising the Government.

Repeatedly, during the last couple of years, we have insisted on the importance of education if we are to face the future. When we look at our plans for education, we find that the increase for primary education is £128,000. Of that, £118,000 is a long overdue reform in paying decent wages to teachers in reformatory and industrial schools. Secondary education shows an increase of £24,000, of which £22,000 is incremental salary payments. Technical education shows an increase of £3,655. That is the plan for education for the coming year. When we were discussing these matters this time last year, I had to tell the House that there was one class in my constituency where there were 111 infants, under one teacher, and that that condition existed in that school for three months and that when, with the natural change of the seasons and not by any administrative action, the change came about, there were 89 children left in that class. Apparently, we are going to continue to have infants in the primary schools in the City of Dublin with 95, 90, 85, 80, 75, and 70 children in a class. We are preparing our people educationally for the future that is in front of them in that particular way—and we are saving the national language!

Four years ago I drew attention to the position with regard to boys leaving school at the age of 14 in the City of Dublin, who were rotting physically and morally in their homes, through lack of something to do. I asked that a review of the city should be made through the employment exchanges. What has been done? They are beginning to move now, but the problem still exists and will exist to-morrow, and the additional preparation that is to be made for them—or the absence of such preparation—is that reflected in these Estimates. I ask again the members of the Government Party sitting behind the Minister what they think of the educational basis that is being laid industrially and educationally for the future in the City of Dublin and elsewhere.

In Great Britain to-day the cry is for better primary education. I have heard from people in touch with industry in Great Britain that, over the last ten or 15 years, there has been considerable improvement in the standard of education with which children are leaving the primary schools there. Over a long period, they have conducted a campaign which, in their public schools, has reduced the number of classes of 50 or more to something like 1 or 1½ per cent. In sections of the City of Dublin, the proportion of such classes is 33 or 35 per cent. Can we hear anything from the members sitting behind the Government Front Bench on that matter?

We are concerned with regard to our production. Will the Minister say whether he knows anything of the policy that is now being pursued by the prices section of the Department of Industry and Commerce or Supplies in connection with industrial concerns? Industrialists have been summoned before that prices section—one never knows to which Department it belongs —and the question of their profits is being discussed. It is being suggested to them that their profits at the present time should be a certain percentage of the capital invested in the industry.

I would like to ask the Minister for Finance exactly what principle is at work and how he expects it to operate on production in the country, which is the important point, and if he has any interest in the financial aspect of it. At the present time industrialists are scouring this country and countries abroad to see where they can improvise or get raw materials to carry on production, to keep their employees employed and to keep their shareholders with some kind of income. If they overdo it and get excess profits, the Minister has arranged to take 15/- out of every additional £ of excess profits that they make, and has explained—or the present Minister for Local Government and Public Health has explained—that the remaining 5/- can be kept by them as they may want it for reconstruction in the post war period.

Does the Minister not realise that, if the policy of restricting people's profits on a percentage of their capital is pursued and it causes too much trouble to get raw materials from abroad or if the risks are too great, there is then every inducement to industrialists—if they are careless on the question of necessary production or careless for the interests of their employees—to avoid the labour of looking for materials and the risk that attaches to looking for them?

We are paying here for a very expensive machine to help production and, as far as I can see, the policy now being pursued by the prices section will have a definite tendency to prevent production that might take place, to damp the initiative of men who are really concerned for the workers belonging to Irish firms and who really wish to do their duty by producing as much of our necessary supplies as can be produced.

There seems to be a lack of thought and of planning in Government Departments that is almost impossible to understand. There was one case of an industrial school the greatest part of whose work was to train the boys there in all kinds of technical ways to enable them to earn their living in the future. They were told by this Department of Supplies that they could not be given an allocation of cotton yarn to weave the cloth required for shirting for the boys.

Is not that a matter to be raised on the Estimate?

I am just giving it as a sample of thoughtlessness in the matter of production. They wanted only 50 lbs of yarn for a month to keep 15 boys weaving and 40 boys making shirts and to keep shirts on 820 boys. It was only when the industrialists connected with the cotton industry stepped into the breach and said that they would not see the training in that school let down that the Department of Supplies awoke to the realisation that they had taken a line of action with regard to that industrial school which they should not have taken. Is there anybody on the Government Benches who will discuss the points which are troubling us and which we have shown to have been troubling us for the past few years? Is there anybody there to discuss the spending of huge sums by the Government that could more effectively, more satisfactorily and more productively be spent by the people who run agriculture and industry without shutting down completely the normal, organic growth of employment and production? Have any of them anything to say about the policy that is being pursued in our primary schools in which there is shocking overcrowding? Have they anything to say with regard to the policy of allowing children to leave schools in the city at 14 years of age and go into a commercial and industrial world which holds nothing for them or which leaves them at home like young birds who should fly, but who are simply blocking up the nest?

Do they know nothing about the policy being pursued with regard to industrial concerns in the matter of arranging their profits in a particular kind of way—a way which will bring about unemployment and which will reduce even the small amount of production which is possible in present circumstances? If they do not know these things, they should tell us, because it is a shocking state of affairs if these policies are being pursued from back rooms or Civil Service offices or Government buildings where the light of day does not get in and where nothing gets out except when the policies have gone too far and we can see the rotten and destructive effect of them on the country's life.

Tá 77,700 ag dul do na hollscoileanna agus na coláistí as an Vóta áirithe seo agus isé an méid iomlán san meastachán le haghaidh na bliana ná £162,130. Níl a fhios agam an féidir an cheist iomlán do phlé ar an Vóta so ach ní dóigh liom gur ceart an t-airgead seo do thabhairt do na hollscoileanna agus na coláistí seo go dtí go mbeidh an Dáil agus an Rialtas sásta go bhfuil na coláistí seo réidh chun glacadh leis an bpolasaí atá leagtha amach ag na daoine agus ag an Tigh seo i dtaobh aithbheochainte na teangan. Ní abróidh mé a thuille go dtí go mbeidh an meastachán os ar gcóir ach iarrfaidh mé ar an Dáil agus ar an Rialtas nuair a thiocfas an meastachán romhainn gan an t-airgead so d'íoc go dtí go mbeidh siad sásta go bhfuil na hollscoileanna agus na coláistí ullamh ar an bpolasaí náisíúnta i dtaobh na teangan do chur i bhfeidhm go hiomlán. Táim ag tagairt anois don dá ollscoil—an Ollscoil Náisiúnta agus Coláiste na Tríonóide. Tá sé in am— agus thar am—an sgéal so i dtaobh an Ghaedhealachais sna hollscoileanna do shocrú agus is mithid do lucht stiúrtha na n-institiúit seo a rá go soiléir go bhfuil siad ag glacadh le polasaí an Rialtais, polasaí na Dála agus polasaí fúrmhór lucht íoctha cánach ar an gceist seo.

Tá eúpla rud eile go mba mhaith liom tagairt do dhéanamh dóibh. Tá cúrsaí ime——

Ná fuil rud ar bith le rá ag an Teachta maidir leis na páistí sna bun-scoileanna—50 páistí sa rang amháin?

Rinne an Teachta tagairt don cheist sin ach ní dubhairt sé focal i dtaobh na n-ollscoileanna. Theastuigh uaimse scéal na n-ollscoil a chur fé dhíospóireacht. Tá a lán le rá maidir leis na bun-scoileanna agus na meán-scoilcanna ach beidh ócáid eile againn chun sin a dhéanamh. B'fhéidir ná beimís ar aon-fhocal maidir leis na scoileanna so.

An bhfuil na figiúirí agat?

Má leanann an Teachta den cheist do phlé mar a bhí sé ghá plé b'fhéidir go léigheasfar é i gcionn tamaill mar a leigheasadh a lán ceisteanna eile. Tá a lán scoileanna nua tógtha, scoileanna breághtha, le deich mbliana anuas ach tá a fhios agam go bhfuil a lán eile le tógaint fós.

D'fhéadfai a lán a rá mar gheall ar na hollscoileanna dá mbeimís ar aon-intinn maidir leis na bun-scoileanna.

Má phléidheann an Teachta an cheist annseo b'fhéidir go mbeidh níos mó aontais eadrainn mar gheall air.

Ach isé seó an lá deireannach chun san a dhéanamh sa Dáil.

Ní hé. Ba mhaith liom an Teachta do chlos níos minice san teangain inar labhair sé go díreach anois. Ba mhór an chabhair é don Ghaedhilg.

Rinne Teachtaí tagairt do chúrsaí ime agus dubhairt siad go bhfuil im gann fá láthair. Is fíor é sin ach tá roinnt figiúirí agam annseo ba mhaith liom chur os cóir an Tighe. Sa bhliain 1931 rinneadh 611,171 céadmeáchaint ime agus sa bhliain 1941 rinneadh 663,787 cmt.—52,000 cmt. níos mó ná sa bhliain 1931. Im uachtarlainne amháin atá i gceist agam. Is léir o na figiúirí go bhfuil níos mó ime ghá dhéanamh sa tír ná mar a bhí deich mbliana o shoin. Agus is léir freisin go bhfuil níos mó stuic sa tír ná mar a bhí an t-am san. Ach tá méadú mór sa méid ime atá na daoine a úsáid fé láthair. Is fíor go bhfuil im gann, in áiteanna agus go háirithe sna bailte móra agus na eathracha agus is fíor, leis, go bhfuil níos mó ime in úsáid ag na daoine ná mar ba ghnáthach.

Maidír leis an sgéal so, ba mhaith liom tagairt a dhéanamh do thionnscail na n-uachtarlann. Tá a lán congnaimh ghá thabhairt ag an Rialtas don tionnscail so le deich mbliana anuas. Ba mhór an chabhair é sin; marach an chabhair sin, bheadh deire leis an tionnscal anois. Dá mhéid a rinneadh, níl na feirmeoirí sásta go fóil agus ba mhaith liom san a chur in úil don Rialtas. Sa, chonndae ina bhfuilim-se i mo chomhnaidhe tá dlúth-bhaint cadar an córus feirmeoireachta agus an tionnscal ime. Tá feirmeoirí ann atá sásta leis an scéim atá i bhfeidhm fé láthair ach tá daoine eile agus nílid sásta. Beidh na feirmeoirí seo ag súil le luach níos fearr ná an luach atáid a fháil fé láthair ar an mbainne agus b'fhéidir go mbeidís ag iarraidh congnaimh ón Stát chun luach an bhainne d'árdú. Is deacair daoine do shásamh. Dá mhéid a deintear, is amhlaidh is mó a hiarrtar. Ba chóir don Rialtas bheith ag smaoineamh ar an tionnseal seo agus a chur in iúl do na feirmeoirí conus mar a bheas an sgéal sna blianta atá romhainn.

Dá mbeadh eolas cruinn ag na feirmeoirí roimh ré mar gheall ar an gcaighdeán a bheas i gcúrsaí uachtarlann thabharfadh sé misneach dóibh agus dhéanfaidís a ndícheall ar a gcuid bó bainne do choimeád in áit scaramhaint leo agus beithidhigh sheasca fhághail in a n-ionad. Tá figiúirí agam mar gheall ar an méid bó bainne agus eile atá sa tír agus is léir o na figiúirí seo go raibh 58,000 níos mó beithíoch sa tír sa bhliain 1942 ná mar a bhí deich mbliana roimhe sin. Rinne an Teachta Mac Phárthaláin tagairt d'obair Choimisiún na Talmhan. Táim ar aon-intinn leis mar gheall ar a mholadh— leanúint le hobair Choimisiún na Talmhan. Chuir an Rialtas deire le hobair an Choimisiúin nuair a thosuigh an cogadh. Bhí cúis áirithe leis sin ach ba thruagh gan leanúint le tailte bána do roinnt agus do bhriseadh suas agus ba thruagh eirghe as an obair a bhí ar siúl chun na daoine sna ceanntracha cumhanga— go háirithe san Iarthar—d'aistriú agus do shocrú ar na tailte bána. B'úsáideach an obair sin agus tá súil agam go ndéanfaidh an Rialtas ath scrúdú ar an sgéal agus go leanfaidh siad leis an obair a bhí idir lámhaibh acu nuair a thosuigh an cogadh.

I waited here all the evening because I thought we would hear something from the Fianna Fáil back benchers, but I have to admit that I did not understand the speech we have just heard, and that is all we got from the back benchers. We should like to hear something more. Fianna Fáil always told us that they would reduce taxation by £2,000,000. Instead, we have had an increase of £24,000,000. It would be all right spending this huge sum of money if the people of the country were getting value for it. But there is no thought for the future. For the last seven or eight years we have been hearing about self-sufficiency. We had the present Minister for the Coordination of Defensive Measures telling us that even if every ship on the sea were sunk we would still be able to maintain ourselves here. Taxation has gone up by £24,000,000, but at the present time we cannot even produce pins for ourselves; we cannot even get black wool to mend our socks. That is the self-sufficiency we have achieved. We can see the agricultural industry going down every day. This is supposed to be one of the greatest agricultural countries in the world, and yet hardly anybody here is able to get a bit of bacon at the present time. I know several families who have not been able to get butter for months. No matter what wages the workmen in the country get at the present time, they are of no use to them. They cannot even get a pound of lard. In my young days, the people had plenty of fat bacon, and were quite satisfied with it, but they cannot get it now. Those are the conditions existing in the country under a Fianna Fáil Government. That is the Party which preached to us about self-sufficiency. We are now presented with a bill for over £40,000,000. That is what we get instead of self-sufficiency. There is no thought for the future.

As I have said, our agricultural industry is going down. Our pigs and even our sheep are disappearing. In another 12 months there will be no mutton to put on the table. We used to export large quantities of agricultural produce, eggs, butter, bacon, and so on. To-day, we have nothing to export but cattle. I think that is a very sad tale for the Fianna Fáil Government to bring to the people. I do not know how they can face the electorate at the coming election. During the last fortnight I have seen Fianna Fáil Deputies addressing meetings at chapel gates, but the people walked away. They are so disgusted with the way in which the country is being run that they have got sick of politics. They see nothing facing them but disaster. We should get down to hard facts, forget all the past bickerings, and try to give some return to the people for all this money which is being spent. It would be a grand thing if we could spend, annually, £50,000,000 or £60,000,000 a year if we could get some return for it and if the country was going to benefit by it, but in my opinion things are looking very bad for the country, and I hope and pray that the coming election will bring a change. There is one hope, anyway, and that is that Fianna Fáil looks like going down, and I hope the people will have sense at the next election and vote for people who will be prepared to spend money in the best way for the country and who will sit down and prepare some sane policy that will bring the country through the crisis it is facing at present.

I am sure the Minister for Finance feels rather cheap to-day when he looks back at the promises he and his Government have been making for the last 11 years. We had a promise from Fianna Fáil, when they were seeking power before the 1932 election, that they would reduce taxation by at least £2,000,000 a year. I am sure they are feeling very cheap now. I hear a lot of talk about the butter shortage. Deputy O Briain says that there is plenty of butter in the country, but I say that there is not. It is just like the promises that were made about all the new industries. They were to grow so fast that our exiles would have to be brought back from America to keep them going, and we were promised that this would be a land of milk and honey. The bacon business has been killed wholly and solely by the Pigs and Bacon Board and by the policy of the Minister for Agriculture—that you can feed pigs economically and profitably on potatoes, barley meal and oaten meal. I never heard such childish talk. Any practical man knows that if you have not plenty of milk, barley meal, meat meal, and other mixtures, you will have nothing but crampy pigs, but the Fianna Fáil people know very little about that. The poultry industry also is in a sorry plight through the wrong ration for poultry. If you have not a properly balanced ration for dairy cows, pigs or poultry, you will be very short of poultry and pigs and of butter and bacon.

Stall-feeding is an industry that concerns the county that the Minister for Agriculture and I represent. The farmers of County Wexford generally till anything from 50 per cent. to 70 per cent. of their land, but now that we have no artificial manures and that there is a big shortage of farmyard manure, what is going to happen to our land? The fertility of the land is being wasted, and the result will be that in two or three years' time, instead of a prosperous country, we will be living in a desert. I see that the Taoiseach said, when he was addressing a Produce More Food meeting, that the land of this country could stand ten years on this ration of manure with practically no loss of fertility, but I tell him that it cannot stand three years. You had an example of that this year in regard to your beet crop.

A lot of beet was produced around the coast where seaweed could be used as manure, and counties along the coast, therefore, had some chance, but inland counties had none. In County Wexford the yield went down by four tons an acre and that will mean a big reduction in the amount of sugar available for the people of this country. The Government seem to be satisfied that you can go on ploughing and tilling your land year after year, and that it will give the same yield of crops, but that is a great mistake. It is necessary to till the land in proper rotation.

The Minister for Agriculture told us last year that twice a year was sufficient for the renewal of horseshoes. Coming from a farmer's son, as the Minister is, that is a very silly statement, because in my experience they would not last two months. Many blacksmiths throughout the country are idle because they cannot get iron and can only get the very worst type of coal. Many of them had to use rusty old scrap iron in order to carry on. Now, with the reduced lighting, they cannot carry on in their workshops at night, and the cost of materials is exceedingly high. Yet we are told that all these things can be done. In the case of farm implements also, what are they costing to-day? It is very hard to get parts, and many of them are soft and bad.

Another matter that I have often raised is the payment of 10/- a week to old age pensioners. It is ridiculous to expect people to subsist on such an amount. The same applies to the blind pensions and the widows' and orphans pensions. They cannot exist on what they get. There is no encouragement for the farmer and his children to stay on the land. It was always the practice of the farmer to try to keep a little money by for the rainy day, and it is a great mistake to put him in the position that he cannot do so now. The Minister for Agriculture did a great deal of boasting when he gave the farmers 30/- a barrel for wheat, but he did not consider the consumer at all. At that time, he could have bought Canadian, American or even Russian wheat at 13/- or 15/- a barrel.

Now, of course, we have to grow all the wheat, potatoes and barley that we can produce in order to feed our people, but in the first year of the war, when you could have bought Canadian wheat in the British corn market at 9/- a barrel, the Minister for Industry and Commerce refused to give licences to the corn merchants to buy it up. If Fianna Fáil had been alive to that situation, the corn merchants of this State would have their stores all full of wheat that was bought at 13/- a barrel, and that would help not alone the farmer, from the point of view of feeding his stock and allowing him to produce more bacon, butter, poultry and eggs, but it would also help to feed the poor people. They would have had a good, cheap white loaf for at least three or four years. The agricultural worker with a family finds it hard to exist at present. He cannot rear healthy children on the wages he receives, and the farmer is not in a position to give him any more. The result is that nearly all the good agricultural workers have left the country. Only an odd worker who cannot get away is left, and nearly all the young fellows have gone.

With regard to the Land Commission, I have previously advocated that when land is being given to landless men and uneconomic holders, they should be given enough to live on, and if the Government are not in a position to give these people money at a low rate of interest, they should not give them land at all, on which they will die a lingering death, or which they will set as soon as they get it. Land is given to these people with a view to affording them an opportunity of making a living, and, to my mind, anything less than 25 or 30 acres is of very little use to them.

With regard to fuel, the turf we are getting in County Wexford is mere mud. There is almost 100 per cent. of water in it and the poor people cannot get turf that will burn or firewood in towns and cities. Another thing which I have sought to get for farmers is paraffin oil for their storm lamps in the winter time. In winter, there are only about seven hours of daylight, with the result that a man who has a lot of stock to feed must grope around in the dark. In the sheep-breeding season, it is very necessary for farmers to have kerosene for their storm lamps. Foxes are so plentiful now that sheep must be watched at night when they are dropping lambs.

Everything Fianna Fáil has done up to now seems to be wrong. They cannot turn the right way. They boasted about alternative markets and thanked God that the British market was gone and gone forever. They talked so much "codology" that they are nor now able to go over to England and negotiate trade agreements. The sooner they wake up, the better. If they propose to seek office at the general election, they will have to turn over a new leaf, because the people have found out that they are an incompetent lot and unfitted to run an agricultural country.

The most alarming feature of this huge Estimate is the fact that, year after year, the demands made on the taxpayer continue to mount up steadily. No attempt seems to be made in any branch of the public service to restrict expenditure and the people are beginning to ask where it will end. They are also beginning to ask why some attempt is not being made to secure from this huge administrative machine some adequate return for the enormous expenditure it involves. In every sphere of national activity, we find stagnation and decline. We find the people without the essential foodstuffs which it should be the duty of the Government to see are provided. Last year, in the course of the debate on the Vote on Account, I ventured to forecast that, before the end of the year, the people would be without sufficient supplies of bacon and that it would be necessary to ration bacon. My forecast, unfortunately, was justified in the course of a few months although at the time we were discussing the Vote, we were told that the bacon factories were glutted with bacon.

There has been no attempt on the part of the Government to direct the administrative machine responsible for the proper management of the affairs of the country to plan intelligently with a view to ensuring that the people will have a means of living within the country. The result of this failure on the part of the Government is to present us with a situation in which we are unable to provide employment for the limited population of the country and unable to provide sufficient supplies of essential requirements to maintain that population.

The Minister for Finance, in his usual jaunty and light-hearted manner, will tell us that the general taxpayers are making a huge contribution towards agriculture. I deny entirely that any real contribution is being made to agriculture out of this huge Estimate. I deny Ministers' repeated statements that the agricultural industry is being subsidised by the general taxpayers. The agricultural industry is the basic industry of the country, and it is out of the produced wealth of the country that all national services have to be financed and the huge volume of revenue required to run this country provided. Because of failure on the part of the Government to plan for proper agricultural development, the capacity of the agricultural industry to provide the necessary food supplies for our people has been impaired.

The trends of all activity in this country at the moment are in the wrong direction. Productive work is less profitable than unproductive work, such as employment by the State, in sheltered occupations or in distribution and commerce. Production is discouraged and other activities encouraged, and we even find that while Government policy is directed towards tillage, as it should be, the grazing of land is more profitable than the cultivation of land. We find every inducement to our people to obtain the means of living in our cities and towns rather than in agriculture. We find every inducement to them to get out of this country, to go to some other country rather than to remain in production at home. We find everything that is undesirable and contrary to the interests of the nation being encouraged, while everything which makes for the permanent development and strengthening of our national position is discouraged. That is the sum total of the return which the taxpayers are getting for this expenditure of over £40,000,000.

I move to report progress.

Progress reported: Committee to sit again.
The Dáil adjourned at 9.30 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Thursday, 11th March.