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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 3 Jul 1946

Vol. 102 No. 2

Industrial Research and Standards Bill, 1946—Second Stage.

I move that the Bill be now read a Second Time. This Bill has two main purposes. One is to provide a more effective organisation for the prosecution of industrial research, and the other is to formulate standard specifications for industrial commodities, processes and practices. For these purposes provision is made in the Bill for the establishment and maintenance of an institute for industrial research and standards.

The functions of the institute to be established under the Bill are set out in the Bill and are, firstly, to undertake scientific research and investigation with the object of promoting the utilisation of the natural resources of the State, improving the technical processes and methods used in the industries of the State and discovering technical processes and methods which may promote or facilitate the expansion of existing or the development of new industries, and the utilisation of the waste products of industry. Secondly, to make recommendations to the Minister for Industry and Commerce as to the formulation of standard specifications for commodities and the provision and use of standard marks for commodities which conform to standard specifications. Thirdly, to test and analyse commodities intended for sale and for use by the public and to publish the results of such tests and analyses.

Before describing more fully the status and functions of the proposed institute, I should like to review briefly the position in this country with regard to industrial research activities. Deputies will be aware that the scientific research conducted in our universities includes a certain amount of research work bearing on industry. Research on manufacturing problems is also carried on as an adjunct to the routine work of testing and analysis in the laboratories of some of our larger industrial concerns, while activities of a research nature are carried on in connection with a number of technical services administered by Government Departments.

Special steps to organise research activities have already been taken by the Government in the setting up of such bodies as the Industrial Research Council, the Emergency Scientific Research Bureau, the Building Research Committee and the provision for an experimental station in connection with turf development.

The Industrial Research Council was set up in 1934 and is functioning at present. The general function of the council is to furnish advice or to take such action as may be approved by the Minister for Industry and Commerce for promoting the use of natural resources and for furthering industrial development by scientific research. The council, the members of which are unpaid, functions under the auspices of the Department of Industry and Commerce. It was established by means of a formal Minute of the Minister for Industry and Commerce and it is intended that it will cease to function as soon as the new body is established under this Bill.

Despite the energy and enthusiasm of the council, the financial arrangements made in relation to its work were not such as to give it the freedom of action which experience has shown to be necessary to implement a useful research programme. The practice is that the council obtains the approval of the Minister for its general programme and, before work involving expenditure can be undertaken, the sanction of the Minister for Finance is also required. The council has no laboratory or permanent research staff. Most of its research work has been carried out in the laboratories of the universities.

In addition to the conduct of research, the council advises the Minister in the administration of a scheme for the annual award of maintenance allowances to students for training in scientific research.

Another feature of the council's activities is the organisation of a library and an information bureau for the benefit of industrialists and others requiring information on technical matters relating to industry. That library and bureau service, which enabled information to be regularly furnished on a variety of problems which were presented to industry by the emergency, proved to be of great value to the Emergency Scientific Research Bureau.

The Emergency Scientific Research Bureau was established in February, 1941, to give the Government technical advice and to conduct research on emergency problems relating to industrial processes and raw materials. The Dáil is already aware of the valuable work done by the bureau in helping to resolve many of the special problems that arose out of the emergency. The bureau worked in co-ordination with the Industrial Research Council and took advantage of the council's organisation and experience. The activities of the bureau were terminated, as the emergency eased, early in 1945. Since then, the services of the Industrial Research Council have been available in connection with problems arising out of emergency conditions.

In December of 1944 a special committee called the Building Research Committee was appointed to furnish advice or take such action as might be approved by the Minister for Industry and Commerce in technical matters relating to the building industry, including the preparation of standards for building materials. A number of standards specifications have been prepared by that Committee.

This Bill has been framed in the light of our past experience. The new institute which this Bill is intended to set up will be so constituted as to preserve the advantages of the three research bodies to which I have referred and to include other features found in research and standards organisations in other countries and considered desirable in the circumstances of this country. The Bill has been framed with recognition of the fact that for research, especially industrial research, elastic conditions of control and development are required.

In order to give the proposed institute as great as measure of independence as is practicable, the Bill provides that the institute shall be a body corporate. The constituent parts of the institute will be: a council, an industrial research committee, a standards committee, and a director of industrial research and standards. It might help the Dáil to understand the scheme of organisation if I explained the separate function of each of these organs of the institute:

The council will consist of the members of the industrial research committee to be appointed under the Bill and of the standards committee to be appointed who shall be ex officio members of the council and, in addition, there will be not more than fifty other members, each of whom shall be appointed for his special attainments. To the first council there shall be appointed as many members of the existing Industrial Research Council as are willing to act. The first council will be appointed by the Government and succeeding councils will be appointed by the Minister. The council of the institute will have advisory functions only.

It will meet at least once a year and will have the duty of considering and making observations on the draft annual report and the programme of work of the institute. It is hoped and contemplated that the annual meeting of the council, which will be held in public, will ultimately take the form of a scientific convention which, by providing an occasion for the reading of special papers for discussion, will help to arouse interest in the work of the institute.

The industrial research committee will consist of nine members appointed for their special scientific attainments applied to industry or because they are capable of giving substantial, practical assistance in the work of the institute. The committee will be appointed every three years by the Minister and will be charged with the general government of the institute and the administration of its affairs, subject to the reservations to the standards committee and to the director.

The standards committee will consist of seven members of whom three must be members of the industrial research committee. The members of the standards committee will also be appointed by the Minister and they will have the duty of formulating specifications for standards at the request of the Minister for Industry and Commerce. Provision has been made for a standards committee as a separate organ of the institute as it is considered that it would not be desirable to give the standards committee a status inferior to that of the industrial research committee. The two committees will be linked by having a common director, as well as by having some members in common. The director of industrial research and standards will be appointed by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, and his primary duties will be to direct and supervise the conduct of research decided upon by the industrial research committee and the formulation of standards by the standards committee. The director will, however, have the right, independent of the industrial research committee, to direct such research as he may think proper on behalf of the institute.

Will the director conduct scientific inquiries himself or direct the workers under him to do so?

He will do it himself and will direct the workers to do it. The Bill gives the director the right to attend and speak at all meetings of the council.

Why should he have that independence?

Because it is considered a more suitable scheme of organisation to have the director an independent organ of the institute. That is a matter on which, I admit, different opinions could be held.

There is no danger of a conflict?

I do not think so. The director is subject to the committee in so far as he is obliged to direct the conduct of the research decided upon by the committee. He can, independently of the committee, carry on routine investigations and research on his own initiative and maintain the normal working of the institute. I think it will prove a satisfactory scheme of organisation, but I admit at once that alternative schemes can be conceived. As I was saying, the director will have the right to attend and speak at meetings of the council of the industrial research committee and standards committee, but will not have the right to vote at such meetings. He will have power to appoint advisory committees to consult and advise him in relation to his functions, subject, in the case of functions with which the industrial research committee or the standards committee is concerned, to the prior consent of the committee concerned. That provision will allow the services of existing organisations of a special kind, such as the building research committee, to which I have referred, to be availed of for the purposes of the institute.

Provision is made in the Bill whereby the institute will carry out researches, investigations, tests and analyses at the request of the Minister for Industry and Commerce, and also on its own initiative. The institute will have power to render such assistance, financial or otherwise, as it thinks proper, to persons undertaking research of a kind the institute is itself authorised to undertake. It can, subject to the approval of the Minister for Industry and Commerce, provide scholarships or other awards for the training of persons in industrial research and pay bonuses or royalties to members of its staff who had made, or had materially assisted in making, important discoveries or inventions. Discoveries or inventions resulting from researches undertaken by the institute will be the property of the Minister for Industry and Commerce, subject to special provision in the case of work undertaken for private persons.

Are the analyses to which the Minister refers analyses of industrial goods produced in the State?

Or offered for sale in the State, or any analysis which the committee or the director think worth while making.

Will these analyses be for the purpose of finding out whether or not goods manufactured here, or goods manufactured elsewhere and sold here, are what they purport to be and are up to the standard they ought to be?

That will be one of the main purposes. Matters of standardisation under the Bill will be dealt with by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, in consultation with the institute. A standard specification will be prepared by the institute, at the request of the Minister, who may then, by Order, declare such specification to be a standard specification. Provision is made whereby the Minister may, by Order, prescribe a mark for use in connection with a specified commodity to indicate that it conforms to a particular standard specification. Provision is also made for the registration of standard marks abroad, for restrictions on the registration of standard marks, for the grant of licences for the use of standard marks, for protection against misrepresentation and for the prosecution of offences in relation to standard marks and standard specifications.

It is proposed that there will be made available to the institute, out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas, first, grants to such amounts as the Minister, with the concurrence of the Minister for Finance, may sanction towards defraying the whole or any part of the capital cost of land, buildings and equipment for the institute; secondly, an annual grant of £15,000 towards the expenses of the administration of the institute and thirdly, grants of such amounts as the Minister for Industry and Commerce, with the concurrence of the Minister for Finance, may sanction for defraying the whole or any part of the cost of special investigations undertaken by the institute, including the cost of any special equipment required in connection with such investigations. The institute will have power to charge, to receive and to recover fees for researches, tests and investigations undertaken by it on behalf of any person other than the Minister for Industry and Commerce. It will also have power to accept gifts of money, land or other property.

Under the scheme of organisation, the industrial research committee will be charged with the administration of the financial affairs of the institute and will have the duty of keeping accounts in approved form and of submitting such accounts for audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General to be laid in due course before the Houses of the Oireachtas. An annual report on the work of the institute will be prepared by the industrial research committee, and, after it has been considered by the council of the institute, will be submitted to the Minister, who will, in turn, submit it to the Government to be laid before each House of the Oireachtas. The Bill provides that the industrial research committee and the standards committee must submit to the Minister such information regarding their activities as he may from time to time require. Each of the committees may, with the approval of the Minister, publish scientific information in the name of the institute. That is an outline of the scheme of organisation of the proposed institute.

As to the need of establishing such a body, I doubt if there will be any conflict of opinion. The importance of science to industry is now generally recognised. Whether a country be large or small, old or new, mainly agricultural or mainly industrial, scientific research nowadays plays an increasing part in the development of its resources, on the provision of employment and on the maintenance of standards of living of its inhabitants. No country desiring to make industrial progress can afford to neglect the fullest use of scientific methods. The less that a country has natural resources the more the need to employ them by research and investigation. Even if great discoveries may not always follow from scientific and industrial research, its results can nearly always be applied to the improvement of technical processes, to the use of substitutes and by-products, and the elimination of waste. In the circumstances of this country there is ample scope for industrial research, with a view to maintaining or improving efficiency and technique and to develop new processes and new products.

As research of this kind is necessarily guided by practical and economic methods, its value tends to be judged by the extent to which its results can be economically applied to production, and the time taken to do so. The stage of development, that is to say the stage between the perfection of a new process of industrial application, first on a high planned scale, and ultimately on a practical scale, may be prolonged, difficult or expensive, but the time, the effort and the money will nearly always be justified by an increase in efficiency and output, or a lessening of the costs of production.

The new institution will, it is hoped, place industrial research in this country on a more permanent basis. The authority responsible will have its own building and equipment. It will have annual subventions which will be available for use at its own discretion. It will be able to apply and call on additional funds from the Exchequer to cover special investigations. All countries have in recent years accepted the obligation to provide for industrial research as a State enterprise, or a State-aided enterprise. In the great industrial States the major amount of industrial research is, no doubt, undertaken by private firms for their own benefit, but in our comparatively undeveloped State, we have no wealthy corporations who could undertake it on an appreciable scale.

Unless the State takes a leading part we are likely to be handicapped in our industrial development, or to leave neglected resources which could be developed for the expansion of the national wealth, or for the provision of employment. The aim to prepare official standard specifications for goods and processes, both from the economic and social viewpoint is, I think, now generally recognised. Standard specifications for industrial materials facilitate business enterprise, particularly in making clear the obligation of parties to contracts, involving the supply of goods, the construction of works or the performance of processes and practices. The need for having Irish standard specifications is linked up with our industrial development programme. The intention is that the institute will prepare specifications for such materials in consultation with Irish manufacturing interests, so that the adoption of such specifications will facilitate efficient production here and, particularly, will not militate against the use of native raw materials. It is intended, however, to go much further than to prepare specifications for industrial materials, and to cover also consumers' goods. The social aims to be served by the establishment of the standard specification is now more generally understood throughout the world.

The publication of standard specifications for consumer goods will not merely help to raise the quality of our industrial products, but will also help consumers to protect themselves against inferior products by means of the use of the standard mark. For example, the publication of a standard specification for workers' heavy boots would enable the manufacturers to give, and the purchasers to obtain, a definite assurance as to the quality of such goods by the use of the standard mark in connection with them. It will not be compulsory, of course, for any manufacturer to make goods to the standard specification, but only goods conforming to the standard specification can be so described, or can have the standard mark attached to them.

In the course of time, it is hoped to have a whole series of standard specifications prepared and published, and a wide range of goods produced by Irish manufacturers in accordance therewith, and sold under the standard mark. It is also intended that the institute may take any goods offered for sale, and have them tested and analysed, and the results of such tests and analyses published for the information of the public.

The Bill provides in Section 40 that no action shall lie against the institute by reason of such publication. This provision would help to protect the public against the misdescription of commercial goods, or the offering for sale of worthless products by means of glamorous advertising and similar methods. The institute must not, therefore, be regarded as an academic body concerned only with research. Even its research activities will at all times have a decidedly practical basis, and its standardisation work, together with its testing and analysing of commercial goods, will have definite social aims to serve.

The establishment of the proposed institute will add an essential part to the machinery required for the development of our resources and to the organisation necessary to raise the standard of commercial practice. I feel sure that the Dáil will be prepared to approve in principle the establishment of an institute with the powers proposed in the Bill and that any disagreement with its terms will be confined to details which we can discuss more fully in Committee.

The Minister has given us a very full explanation of what appears to be, in many ways, an excellent Bill. As the Minister has said, it seems to fall under two headings, namely, industrial research and standards. It does not necessarily follow that both of those should come within the scope of one Bill, but I have no quarrel with their being combined together in the present Bill. They have a certain relationship. The subject is a wide and complicated one. Many people are of the opinion that this Bill is long overdue. As the Bill is presented to us it seems to me that its value will depend on how the details are worked out. This Bill could be a very great blessing; on the other hand—I do not scruple to say it—it might be a very terrible curse.

As far as industrial research is concerned, I think the Minister is on the right lines. He has made provision for the big firm which carries out its own research, probably part-time, through the medium of its technical officials; he is going to allow them the expenditure incurred on such research. He is also catering for the smaller firms by giving them an opportunity of putting their problems before someone qualified to advise them, and they will be permitted the expenditure incurred upon that as a legitimate expense in the running of their business. As far as small firms are concerned, a number of small problems is perpetually cropping up—whether a particular thing can be done in a particular way, or whether some process can be slightly altered but, at the same time, produce the same results. Certainly, during the emergency the Scientific Research Bureau gave considerable assistance by way of advice and information to a great number of firms. In the majority of those cases no very expensive experiment had to be carried out. The Scientific Research Bureau, with their wider knowledge, were able to advise the manufacturer, for instance, that what he thought physically possible was, from the chemical point of view, impossible and vice versa.

I think a great deal of such help can be given to firms. I think the Minister is also perfectly right in trying to link up the universities with such research because the universities are technical while industry is practical. I do not know how far they can go to meet each other and intermingle, but certainly the Minister has started them off on the right lines.

We come then to another section of this Bill—that is, the standards. I think that there is a danger there that the bureau will carry out a whole series of investigations, draw up a number of standards which, unless they are very careful, will for practical purposes be of very little, or no avail, either to industry or the community. I am quite prepared to admit that it is in the interests of the community that that must be considered in the long run. At the present time specifications and the actual practical work are as wide apart as the poles. Many specifications have been drawn up and are in force to-day which are absolutely unenforceable. Nobody has any intention of ever carrying them out. Nobody thinks that he has been defrauded by something quite different being supplied. The situation is really nonsensical and the sooner that type of specification is done away with the better it will be. I think industry could perform a great service if it selected a number of specifications—they would find a lot of them in Government Departments—and tore them up and said: "These are not going to be used any more."

I was also struck by the way in which the Minister thought of introducing specifications. I think he is on the right lines when he talks about giving a standard to specifications or goods which conform to the ideals established by the institute. I think he is on the right lines there. Any other approach would lead to grave difficulty because one immediately asks oneself where is compulsion in the interests of the community to begin and where is individual liberty to end. I think very few people are aware of the extraordinary differences which exist all over the world.

When I talk about the world I am really, thinking of England, the Continent, and America. As far as our standards are concerned I think that those are the countries which will have the greatest influence on our standards and those are the countries which should influence them. I can sympathise with the Minister's enthusiasm for having Irish specifications for everything. In certain circumstances I think he is quite right in that; but, having regard to the volume and the output of work in the countries that I have mentioned, a great deal of the work of this institute will be done for it. What they have to do is to sift the wheat from the chaff and to see what things they will encourage and what things they will discourage. Our ton is 2,240 lbs. I think the American ton is 2,000 lbs. and they call the British ton a long ton. Their gallon is different from ours. Then when you get to tubes, on the Continent they go by diameter and we go by the bore.

There are other matters that have passed out of the field of controversy and settled themselves. Many years ago cement used to be an unsatisfactory article; you never knew what you were getting. Then one enterprising group of manufacturers brought in the British standard specification. There was later a revised British standard specification and, I think, we are working to that in this country and that everybody is satisfied with it. Of course, that is a case where everybody is satisfied with the existing product and it fills the bill. In regard to thread on tubes and how many threads there are to be to the inch, I think the Whitworth standard pitch is becoming the standard for the whole world. At the same time, plumbers in the past would tell you of having gone down to a distant part of the country to put a boiler right that had gone out of order and having found when they arrived with a couple of couplings in their pockets that there were non-standard threads on the tubes and having to return to Dublin to get non-standard couplings made.

I mention that to the Minister, not with the object of making his flesh creep but, if possible, to point out to him and the House what an enormous field has to be covered and how very considerable sums of money could be expended by this bureau on the wrong lines, the result being that the country would be worse off for the expenditure. I do not know how far people engaged in various industries could be invited to draw up specifications for a start. Whether the bureau agreed with this specification or did not agree, they would start with the viewpoint that one section of the community at least had the benefit of experience.

Another matter that I take it the Minister will try to bring about is one that probably suppliers have dreamt of for generations, namely, the reduction of the number of sizes of certain articles. I will give the Minister an illustration of what I mean by that. Take the pavement lights in front of an establishment. Of course, there has to be a certain variation in size owing to the size of the opening. I think, however, that I am not far out when I say that there are about 50 of these variations, if not more. If the bureau could get down to, say, giving ten of these their blessing for a start—a number of people who have to make replacements have to have non-standard articles that they can supply—a very great advance would be made.

I take it that the Minister is aiming at getting an expert for each section of industry or manufacture, or whatever way he likes to put it. The persons that he will get may be very eminent people but, if they do not attend a certain number of meetings, somebody ought to be appointed in their place. There is an old saying that a live dog is better than a dead lion. I think somebody who attends meetings would be a great deal more helpful than some eminent person who never attends. I thoroughly approve of the Bill and I think the Dáil as a whole approves of the principles. But, if the Minister is not very careful, we might be very sorry that we ever passed the Bill.

The presentation of this Bill to the House it seems to me will place a great many of our spokesmen for Irish industrialists in a very unhappy position. Over a period they have been telling us that what they were suffering from was too much Government interference, that bureaucracy has got out of hand, and that, if we gave a free hand and implicit trust to these good-hearted industrialists, everything would be nice and happy in this country. Now they have the problem of deciding whether, this Bill will be of benefit to them and of measuring up against that what undoubtedly will be increased Government interference by an addition to our existing bureaucracy. It is, I think, worthy of comment that, when the Minister speaks of the lack of sufficiently large enterprises in this country that by themselves would be capable of undertaking this research, he knows that that does not dispose of another side of the matter. We have a number of organisations acting and speaking for industrialists and they could quite easily have combined together to provide this type of industrial research institute. That only seems to have occurred to them. It is a happy thing that it is the community that has to take all this responsibility, because, by basing it on the community, we can take it out of the narrow fields of purely scientific application and the more selfish field of purely industrial application and in that way we can give some sort of value to the community. It is from that point of view we should welcome the Bill and the grounds on which the Minister recommends it.

In so far as the main principles are concerned, I do not think we can have any great quarrel with the Minister. One suggestion that I would like to make has relation to the membership of the institute. I am not speaking now of the research committee or the standards committee, but of the institute as a whole. I should like the Minister not to confine the membership purely to persons who normally would be entitled to consideration on the basis of their scientific and, if you like, their industrial experience. If we are to have some broad, social purpose served by the activities of the institute we should bear in mind that very often the social value of a scientific discovery or the application of some known scientific theory, or even a change in industrial technique, can often be more quickly appreciated by the ordinary citizen than by the scientists or the industrialists.

Even though it might mean that at the general meetings, possibily over a period of years, these non-scientific persons who merely represent the community will sit and provide the audience for their better-trained colleagues, still the fact that they are there would result in this, that there would be brought into the narrow scientific atmosphere the viewpoint of the average citizen and through him the viewpoint of the community. That would be valuable and we would find that on occasions they would make contributions of a useful nature and direct the attention of the more learned gentlemen to problems which might not be of immediate interest to scientists and industrialists, but which would be of great concern to the community.

One of our difficulties in relation to our economy is that not only have we a small country, but we lack certain of the resources on which other countries have been able to build up a widespread economy. In recent years there have been changes in the application of scientific knowledge and we might possibly foresee a bright future for our country in at least one field. With regard to plastics, we have all the basic requirements for the establishment of a valuable industry. There is, of course, the problem of deciding what particular type of plastic development would be of most value. Then we could decide whether our energies should be applied to meet the internal demand or the export market. We could also consider our requirements as regards electrical power and appliances and whether they are such as would be beyond our ability to supply.

These are avenues which will provide alternatives as against the historic arguments of how much we have in the way of natural raw materials. Here we have artificial raw materials, if you like to put it that way. We have the main constituents and it would be interesting to see if this institute could find some line of development which will be of value to the community. I doubt if any of our existing industries will be so interested in the problem as to take it upon themselves to urge the institute along that line. If success is to be achieved, it will require such financial commitments that the community, acting through the State, will have to undertake the necessary exploitation.

So far as our general standards of life are concerned, we know that the scientists have available wide fields of knowledge that would enable them to make drastic changes and improvements in the standards of life of the ordinary people. Scientists, as such, cannot see their way to apply that knowledge, but as citizens, and as part of a community conforming to certain economic and political laws, they find themselves hampered and confined in their activities. We had one exceptional example in America of what scientists can do when given freedom of action. I am thinking of the Tennessee Valley experiment, where a large tract of country, as big almost as our country, was handed over to scientists to solve a natural problem. In the solution of that problem they were able to develop a new standard of life for a large community.

I do not know whether it would be going outside the scope of the research institute's activities if it were suggested that it might be a valuable test of what we could do if we were to give a relatively small stretch of our country to the members of the institute and ask them to apply in that stretch such scientific knowledge as they think will be of value to the area and the people there. The Government might give them financial support and encouragement so as to enable them to put their ideas into practical shape. There we would have an example of what could be done on a small scale and it could be used as a measuring stick for the country as a whole.

In so far as industrial research is concerned, it is not of immediate concern to the community that industry, as one branch of our economy, is provided with an institute to solve its own technical problems. We are concerned to the extent that it will be assisted and facilitated in its work in serving the community. That will be the main advantage of the institute. That implies that it will be able at the beginning to remove itself from the narrow field of industrial application or pure scientific research. It is essential that we should keep to the forefront the possible social value to the community, both of the research institute and the working out of national standards and specifications.

I have the feeling that the institute will meet with difficulty in securing necessary funds. It would be helpful if there was an expression from the Dáil that in so far as the institute applies itself to work which has a communal and social value, the House will be prepared to support the Minister in seeking such financial aid as will allow the institute to carry on its work without being hampered and crippled in the way we know institutes have been hampered and crippled in the past.

Recently there was a comparison made in regard to the amount expended in America and England on scientific research. Even in England, a tremendously wealthy and powerful country, the comment was made that the amount of money was such that practically no value was obtained from the research institutes. They were crippled through lack of funds. Although they were working on a national basis, they had proportionately less money than was made available to private institutes in America, operating on a competitive basis.

Deputy Dockrell referred to dangers that might arise in regard to specifications and standard marks. Again I think if the approach to this particular problem is not of a narrow character, we can avoid that danger. It is true that there are existing specifications that are not only an obstacle but are in fact a joke because they are more concerned with measurements which are not of any particular importance to the job in hand than with quality and fitness for the particular job in hand. If the laying down of specifications proceeds more from the point of view of establishing certain standards of quality and fitness rather than from the point of view of laying down formal technical measurements which may be very important in themselves but are no indication of the ability of the particular materials to stand up to the particular strain involved, we will avoid some of the dangers Deputy Dockrell has referred to.

It is very important that the work of the institute, so far as the fixation of standards is concerned, should also be extended to the retail field for the benefit of consumers. There have been one or two instances in recent years where the quality was not only such that it was an outrage to expect a consumer to purchase the particular product but did definite harm to the claims of Irish industry to provide consumers with properly manufactured goods at reasonable prices. When one is aware, not only of the materials that went into the products that were to be sold to the Irish people but the conditions under which they were produced and the profits derived from them, one realises that the institute can serve a very practical and useful purpose on behalf of the Irish consumer.

I do not know whether it would be possible, but I suggest it for consideration, that if we are going to provide a standard mark which will be a guide to the consumer as well as a benefit to the manufacturer, we should have in mind also that a great body of the consumers desire, not merely to buy goods of sound quality at reasonable prices but also to be assured that they are manufactured under proper conditions from the point of view of hygiene and in relation to the workers engaged in their manufacture. Whether we can tie up that particular matter to this or not I do not know. I am aware that in other countries the practice has developed of employing, under licence, in the same way as is mentioned in the Bill, a mark which is an indication that the goods have been produced under fair conditions of employment. That is possibly going outside the range of the Bill but it is a second step that we might have in mind because, as the Minister is aware, there has been in recent years criticism of Irish-manufactured goods, not be- because of their quality or price but, very often, because of the conditions under which they were manufactured. If we set out to reset and to maintain a standard for Irish-manufactured goods in regard to quality and specifications, and also try to maintain equity in respect of the fixation of price, we should also bear in mind that good quality and fair price do not justify the purchase of particular goods if they are manufactured under objectionable conditions from the point of view of public health or of the welfare and claims of the workers engaged in the particular manufacture.

We can all welcome this measure. It is time that we should appreciate the fact that we have spent little or no money on research of any kind. We are completely lacking in proper research institutions, not merely for industrial but for agricultural purposes. We have come to rely on the work of institutions in other countries. Sometimes, particularly in the sphere of agriculture, the results obtained at such institutions do not apply to conditions here. Therefore, it is not in our interest to rely on outside institutions. I agree with the Minister that it is absolutely essential in this country that we should have an efficient research service of this sort. The Minister is right in saying that we have not the type of corporation that can afford to pay substantial sums of money in this way. In our circumstances then it is essential that the State should step in and provide the research organisations that we need. In my opinion it is well to have an institution of this sort divorced to some extent from the work of the university. Research is a very absorbing work, which claims the undivided attention of the scientist. He should not be distracted at his work. I do not think it would be advisable to have a university professor, who may have to leave his research work in order to lecture. If we can get the right type of research worker, we can hope for very substantial improvements.

In particular, it is well that the Minister has combined the question of standards with research. In our circumstances it is essential that standards should be laid down. It is necessary to have protection of industry here so that it may escape the keen competition of older and better developed industries outside. At the same time, the consumer must be protected. Industry should be given a reasonable period for development and within which to reach a certain standard of efficiency. It is right that certain standards should be set for manufacturers here. In fact, I would be inclined to go further and to suggest that protection should not be afforded to an industry beyond a reasonable period, a period that is considered a fair period within which to reach a certain standard.

There are opportunities here for the manufacture of considerable quantities of agricultural machinery. If we are to modernise our methods, it is essential that our farms should be mechanised to a very considerable extent. Some of the attempts at producing machines here have been very crude and, so far as design is concerned, some of the machines in production at the present time are completely obsolete. I would be very anxious that an institution of this kind should concern itself with the quality and standardisation of equipment of that kind. I believe that the mark which a machine would carry from this institute would be a hall-mark of quality, the acid test of quality, so that a purchaser purchasing that machine need not inquire any further but would be quite satisfied that he was buying an article of quality which would bear out the claims made by the manufacturer for it. Too often, an individual purchases a machine, for the efficiency of which great things are claimed, and then finds that he is let down, that the machine is not all it was claimed to be. The cautious individual, of course, makes a considerable number of inquiries and discusses it with people who have used the machine in order to find out its performance.

An institute of this sort would definitely help the consumer and should definitely help the producer as well, because it may substantially improve methods of production and the system in operation in a particular factory. I am satisfied that it is possible to produce good agricultural machines here. Recently, attempts have been made to produce tractor ploughs which were not produced before the emergency. The attempt was made because of difficulties arising from the emergency and a very decent plough is being produced at the moment. It is true that its design has been stolen from a number of other manufacturers' designs, but I expect that the best points of other such implements have been embodied in it and the result is quite a good article, so far as design is concerned. The quality of our metals, however, is rather poor and they break very easily, and in this respect again an institute of this sort would be of definite help in regard to the provision of metallurgists and the putting into operation of the best processes for the production of metals. It is a well-known fact that American metals and American malleable irons are superior to British. I do not know why, but it is the case.

With regard to agricultural tools, I have mentioned before that we have been manufacturing these tools here for a number of years, but that the quality, while it is to some extent good, is not up to the standard one would expect. When we have decent, native ash for handles, I would expect that this institute would fix a standard in that respect which would secure a very substantial improvement in the quality of these articles. I see this difficulty in relation to the proposals for constituting the institute, that, where the ordinary members are industrial representatives, they might be slow to co-operate in fixing a rather high standard. A standard might be fixed which would be too high and which the beginner might find difficult to reach. The Minister may be able to give us more information on that point, but he said that these standards would be fixed by the institute in consultation with Irish manufacturing interests. Possibly, if an industry was rather inefficient in its methods and producing a rather poor article, the representative of that interest might be very slow to agree to the fixing of a high standard, and for that reason the suggestion made by Deputy Larkin might be very useful, that at least some of the 50 members might be representative of interests other than manufacturing interests. They might be representative of consumer interests

So far as agricultural machinery is concerned, some practical farmers who are anxious to see that machines of the right type, machines suited to our conditions, are produced, might be amongst the members. The peculiar thing about the position here is that we are very often forced to buy machines which are designed for bigger farm units than we have here. We have no body which would go abroad to see what other countries have produced for dealing with conditions somewhat similar to ours. This is a step in the right direction for that reason, in that an institute of this sort would concern itself with what was being done elsewhere, with the advances achieved elsewhere in the matter of design and the production of machinery for operation on small farm units.

One example may be given. With our very wet climate, we have a weed problem in arable farming, while most other arable farming countries have a drought problem, so that we are particularly interested in machinery which will deal with weeds at minimum cost. There is far too much cost involved on the farm in dealing manually with problems of that kind, and, when one takes that into account, one can understand the low output per man in this country compared with that in other countries. It is due, first, to lack of technique, lack of proper technical knowledge, and, secondly, to lack of mechanical equipment to deal with problems peculiar to our circumstances. We have discussed on other occasions low agricultural wages here compared with wages in Great Britain. I believe wages are going to remain low until we can step-up man output, and the way to do that is to have the type of equipment we require, particularly in the small farms that we have in this country.

The Minister did not give any idea of what the institute is going to cost. There is provision for a regular Vote of £15,000 a year, but over and above that some sections of the Bill provide for special expenses and special grants. I feel that we should not be cheeseparing about whatever State funds are put into an institute of this type. I want to say now that the Minister for Industry and Commerce has started in the right way as far as industry is concerned. I hope that will be followed by having a proper scientific institute for agriculture. We should not have to take results achieved in other States, and to try to relate them to our circumstances, as very often they are not applicable here. I should like the Minister to give some information as to the probable cost, and the capital that is likely to be invested in the institute. According to Section 6, I understand that the first appointments will be made by the Government and "shall include every member of the industrial research council who is willing and able to act."

The Minister might tell us who the present members of the council are. I am not inclined to agree with the Minister that the director should have discretionary powers so far as carrying out independent research goes. There ought to be one authority to direct research. If you leave the director discretionary powers, apart from industrial research, there may be a clash between himself and the committee.

At all events, he should have permission from the committee if he wants to pursue a certain course. He may have a particular bent that he would want to pursue, but it might not be of advantage as far as the bureau is concerned. The bureau should concern itself with things which are going to be of most economic advantage to the State. If you have an excellent director of research he might have hobbies of his own. Very often a research worker is not concerned with economic advantages of his work at all. He is an enthusiast and is anxious to pursue what is keenly interesting to himself. For that reason I think he ought not to be so free as the Minister proposes to make him. At least, he ought to consult the committee before proceeding.

I cannot understand why the Minister, in Section 10, leaves it to the industrial research committee to fix its remuneration. Section 30 (2) states:

"There may be paid to the institute, from time to time, out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas, grants of such amounts as the Minister, with the concurrence of the Minister for Finance, may sanction towards defraying the whole or any part of the capital cost of land, buildings and equipment for the institute."

The Minister might also give some information on Section 34 (2). Has he any estimate of the amount of capital that will be necessary for special investigations undertaken by the institute, including the cost of special equipment? Sub-section (3) of the same section reads:

"For the purposes of sub-section (2) of this section, the industrial research committee shall prepare and submit to the Minister, in each year, a programme and estimate of income and expenditure of the institute in connection with special investigations."

It appears that that information will not be available to the Dáil.

Money will have to be voted for it.

Where they have to prepare a programme and present it to the Minister. There is not very much in the Bill on which we can offer criticism. When reading this measure I was very doubtful if it was wise to allow the director the discretion that the Minister felt that it was necessary to give him, allowing that he is going to be put in charge and will be responsible to the committee for the work of scientists. I felt that whatever work he wanted to do should have the sanction of the committee beforehand. I do not anticipate any of the trouble that Deputy Dockrell anticipates, as to standard fixing becoming a nuisance. The Deputy knows more than I do about that matter. It may be that there are standards which are now obsolete. I take it that part of the work under this Bill will be to get rid of obsolete standards. I agree with Deputy Dockrell on the necessity of providing standards to deal with a good deal of equipment. Anybody who reads about industry in other countries realises that they are up against the problem of having component parts of machines and trade standards. Take a piston in a motor car or a certain type of wheel. There should be a standard which would simplify the provision of spare parts. I feel that the institute should be concerned with standardising component parts and spares for industrial purposes. I would be hopeful that an institute of this sort, when provided with ample financial provisions, would be in a position to give almost invaluable service to the community. I think the Minister is right, too, in his suggestion that this institute should deal with food and the preparation of food in order to ensure that it is properly prepared and of good quality. I think the same should be applied to animal feeding stuffs in order that the agricultural community would know that they were getting good feeding stuffs of good quality and prepared to a standard specification. They should be in a position to know that the feeding stuffs which they purchase are properly balanced and that they are getting good value, provided such feeding stuffs carry the mark of the institute. In that way the consumer would know that, as long as the mark is presented, no further inquiry is necessary and the mark in itself is a guarantee that the goods are up to standard, that they are reliable and that he can rest assured that he is getting good value for his money.

Deputy Larkin started off this evening by tilting at manufacturers and producers generally, and suggesting that they might be opposed to the provisions of this Bill on the general ground that it constitutes an interference with their business. It is true that producers in general have been objecting to State interference in their ordinary business. I think, however, that Deputy Larkin himself, in the course of his own argument, arrived eventually at the conclusion that the type of interference envisaged in this Bill is such as is unavoidable. Perhaps I should say, rather, that the type of work which this Bill proposes to put in operation is such that the individual manufacturer or producer is unable to undertake himself or which it might be undesirable for him to undertake. I think as far as manufacturers are concerned, they have been advocating the setting up of some sort of institute to fix standards of quality, and I think the progressive producer will welcome the establishment of a recognised body whose decisions will be accepted as absolutely trustworthy and whose standards are reliable. I feel that the two main functions of this institute are vitally essential and absolutely necessary. At the same time, I think there is a third function which might properly be linked with the other two, namely, investigation into and the estimation of costings in all branches of productive industry. I think that a statutory body, enjoying the confidence of producer and consumer alike, would be ideal for the purposes of estimating the cost of production of any commodity produced in this country. I think these three-fold functions—that is, the work of research, the fixing of standards of quality and the estimating of costings —should be linked together. If that is done I think the State will be taking a big step towards assisting private enterprise in regard to production and will, at the same time, be undertaking a work which private enterprise itself cannot undertake. If this work is undertaken by the State you will have, not only protection for the producer but also protection for the consumer, because such a body must consider the interests of the producer as well as those of the consumer.

I assume that the main function of such a body as this would be for the purpose of getting increased production and efficient production and to find out at the same time whether it is possible to open up new lines of production. One thing which strikes me forcibly in regard to this Bill, which has the almost unanimous approval of all Parties in this House, is that, while the main purpose of the Bill may be sound and while it may achieve good results, the human factor must always be considered. There is a danger that such an institute may fall down on its job because of lack of the dynamic force essential to carry out the work with which it is entrusted. There is a very limited means through which the community or the House can judge as to whether an institute of this kind is delivering the goods or not. A research institute may carry on the work of research for many months, or many years, and produce very little results. That may be due to the fact that it is not humanly possible to produce any very substantial results or, alternatively, to the fact that the institute is not working wholeheartedly. It is very difficult for a layman or members of this House to judge whether such an institute is rendering service or not. It is, I think, recognised that the Minister is a very dynamic person himself, but there are so many bodies and so many organisations to which he is expected to direct his energy that it would be absolutely impossible for him to apply any driving force to this new body unless the body itself is willing and ready to co-operate and to carry out the work entrusted to it. In this connection I would like to know if it is possible to make any inquiry—a polite inquiry, if you like—into the methods applied in democratic countries during the war on war research and war production. There is no doubt the democratic nations of the world, such as Great Britain and America, made tremendous drives in that direction and in the matter of research into war equipment. I presume that their progress was due in large measure to the enthusiasm inspired by the urgent need and the driving force of that urgent need to make a success of their investigations and inquiries.

I do not know whether it will be possible to infuse into the organisation which it is proposed to set up the same spirit of enthusiasm which in all probability inspired the research workers in the nations which were at war. But I think it ought to be recognised that the problems which research workers in this country have to cope with are perhaps even more urgent to this nation than the problems which the nations which were at war had to face. There is no doubt that if we fail to overcome all the obstacles in the way of increased productive effort, this nation will decline.

I am not sure whether the Minister explained fully what method he will adopt in the selection of the members of this institute and of the two committees which he is setting up. I assume that he will pick men of outstanding technical ability. I would advise him, in addition to getting men of proved experience and tested ability, to get a certain sprinkling of youthful enthusiasts, young men who have perhaps come recently from the university, who have shown ability there, but who have still youth on their side and who are ambitious to do something of value, not only in their own interests or in the interests of science, but also in the interests of the nation. That, I think, is desirable.

Deputy Larkin referred to many lines upon which research is desired. There is, of course, first the fundamental question of overcoming this nation's poverty in basic materials for industry, such as power and mineral resources. Coal and the other valuable ores were the source of the industrial development of the great industrial nations. It is possible that with the development of science we may be able to overcome our deficiencies in that respect. It is possible that with the further development of electric power we may be able to secure driving power for industry as cheaply as the coal-producing countries. It is possible also that the further development of plastics may give us the materials for many great and important manufacturing industries. These are the most important of the very big lines along which research should go.

It has been submitted to me that it is possible to produce petrol in large quantities from peat. That may be absolutely fantastic, it may be foolish, but it is a matter which requires investigation. Another matter which requires investigation and research, and I think it is a matter in regard to which research will certainly yield useful results, is the conversion of town waste into artificial fertilisers. There is no doubt that agriculture is our most important productive industry. The most valuable asset we have is the few feet of soil that covers the face of our country. The matter of preserving our soil in the highest possible state of fertility is one of the biggest and most urgent problems which scientists should be facing.

Deputy Hughes referred to our climatic difficulties in regard to agriculture as compared with many other agricultural countries. We have a very wet climate which has many disadvantages for the agricultural producer. It produces a more than adequate supply of weeds in our crops which foul the soil and prevent profitable production. Then, when we come to the harvest, we have an excess of moisture in all our cereal crops. These are two matters which have to be inquired into. We have to see how to provide the best possible methods of eliminating weeds and the best possible methods of reducing the moisture content of our grain crops and also of preventing them from being completely ruined by the weather.

In the matter of the fixing of standards of quality, I think there was no need for Deputy Larkin to tilt at the producers in this country because, as far as manufacturers are concerned, they have been advocating the setting up of some sort of institute or committee for the fixation of proper standards, and I think every progressive and efficient manufacturer will welcome the establishment of such a body which will ensure that his products will bear an official stamp of high quality. During the emergency a great deal of inferior substitute goods were manufactured here. For example, there were certain agricultural implements and tools produced here of very inferior quality.

Notwithstanding the fact that the price was much lower in some cases than the price of the imported article, the imported article was found to be of better value. That may have been partly due to emergency conditions which made it impossible to get the proper materials for manufacture, and it may be possible to overcome that. But it is absolutely essential, not only if the consumer is to be protected, but also if confidence is to be established in the ability of our manufacturers to turn out good stuff, that a recognised body should be able to pass such goods and fix upon them an official mark which the consumer can recognise as proving their quality. I hope that the research committee will not rush too quickly into the study of atomic energy. I do not think that this country can afford experiments of that kind.

It might not do any harm.

It might do a lot of harm if we had too much of it. I think that it is not so much in the bigger scientific developments that this research committee will prove itself. There are many small improvements which can be made in the technique of the manufacture of goods and of agricultural production and matters of that kind which might yield great dividends to the State—something that will help the farmer to eliminate weeds, to dry his grain quickly and something that might help in saving turf. Those are things which would go a long way towards assisting production here and they might go perhaps much further than the atomic energy about which Deputy Walsh is so enthusiastic.

I turn now to the suggestion which I have already made to the Minister, and that is, above all things, to make sure that when those bodies are established they will not sit down fiddling for years and fail to get on with the work with the same energy, vigour and enthusiasm as research workers displayed in belligerent countries during the war. I make a last appeal to the Minister to set up an efficient body on the lines outlined in the Bill for the purpose of making a thorough investigation of costings. It is absolutely essential, in the interest of the consumer and the producer, that we should know with certainty the actual cost of production, both in agriculture and in industry.

Major de Valera

I would like to preface any remarks I have to make on this Bill with some observations on the statements made by Deputy Larkin. Deputy Larkin has quite rightly put before us the interests of the consumers. The answer to him is that this body is conceived primarily to see that research work is done; it is not there primarily to advise on what problems should be undertaken from the point of view of the general benefit to the community. For that reason probably the Minister intends, and I think the Bill seems to indicate that the intention is, to cater for industrial research and standards from the practical end, on the assumption that necessary problems will be referred to the institute in general terms. That, in turn, has some bearing on what Deputy Dockrell said.

The scheme of the Bill is sufficiently wide and elastic to be worked on the right lines, but it is also so elastic as to be rather undefined. For that reason I might be in order in analysing some of the things in the Bill in detail. I regret that in attempting to do that we have not had an opportunity of seeing the report of the Emergency Research Bureau. It would have been well, too, if we could have seen a report from the Industrial Research Council, if such were available. It would at least help us to contribute adequately to a debate like this, where everybody is unanimously behind the Minister; it would have helped towards a more informed discussion of the matters at issue. But, we have not got these reports, and every Deputy must go on his own intuition, so to speak. There is hardly any likelihood that the reports will be available before the Committee Stage is reached. So we have the Bill with nothing more than a White Paper supporting it——

And the Minister's introductory remarks.

Major de Valera

Quite so. The Minister will not misunderstand what I meant by that statement. The Minister's remarks merely amplify the general terms of what is in the Bill. There are three things, I take it, that this Bill caters for, and we have to grasp clearly what these three things are. We have, first, research which, in the Bill, is called industrial research. We have, secondly, the question of standards and, lastly, there is the question of analysis. If reference is made to the function of the institute—to test and analyse commodities—it has for me somewhat rather wide and possibly starting implications.

I should like to know from the Minister is he concerned there merely with testing for what I might call standards of measure, what would more properly be called physical standards, or is he concerned with testing the conformity of goods to specification, because there is a vast difference.

The fixing of physical standards is a relatively narrow, highly-specialised, scientific job of relatively small scope; the testing of goods for specification is likely in future to be a huge matter. We have only to think of what is provided for in the Public Health Bill alone. Therefore, I would like to know if there is envisaged a whole system of analyses which would largely duplicate the services of a public analyst; or is the Bill simply directed to the question of conformity to physical standards of length, capacity and so forth—of wavelengths, the calibration of wireless sets, and things of that nature? That question has a big bearing on the size of the institute. In one case it would be relatively small; in the other it means a whole analytical institution.

Very little need be said about the question of standards, at least of standards in the physical standard sense. There, if it is merely the setting of standards, of physical constance and the determination for ourselves of a standard metre or a standard yard or whatever you have in the form of standard units in other ways, while that is a highly specialised job, it is relatively a narrow one. On the other hand, if the Department of Standards, for want of a better name, are to be engaged on the standardisation of commodities and specifications, a different situation arises. For instance, there are certain provisions in the Public Health Bill under which the Minister for Local Government may or may not arrange certain things in regard to food and drugs. Is this bureau of standards to be the body to fix the standard specification?

My opinion is that if it is visualised that the question of standards and the question of analysis are to be taken in the broad sense of dealing with commodities for sale in addition to physical standards, then the Minister should seriously consider the setting up of an almost completely separate institution, because of the volume of work that would be there at the moment and the volume that is likely to exist from what we can see of prospective legislation.

If, on the other hand, it is the more narrow thing that is contemplated, that public analysis would cater for the problems arising under the Public Health Bill and that, say, the State Laboratory would continue its regular work, then of course, standards in the narrow sense are very closely linked with research, and I think the Minister's scheme is quite sound in that respect. I mention this point at some length because, I think, we should realise what is involved. It is very easy for us to come in here to the Minister and congratulate him on his intentions, with which we all agree and in respect of which he has the wholehearted support of the House, but we give him very little assistance if we do not examine the matter and we are doing him, or his successor, a bad turn, because if the thing does not work afterwards, because of some matter of that nature, people will be only too ready to criticise. So, since we can handle the thing in a completely co-operative way on this measure, I think this is the time to talk about it.

On the question of research— again on what would seem to be a small point —I jib a bit at the word "industrial" research. There is an implication in that which, on analysis, is very shortsighted, that industrial research is completely divorced from what is called pure research and there is the implication that was almost given voice to in the House, that the university man, the professor, is an academic gentleman in a glass cage, and that the practical industrialist, the practical research technician is radically different. I would like to point out that that is a complete fallacy and that in fact, when it comes to research, we have to go back to our university professors. Where did we find, for instance, either our Industrial Research Council or Emergency Research Bureau? The majority were our university men, and that was not a matter of accident. It was simply this, that in a question of research there is the practical job of pressing ahead with the problem, the limits of which are very often unknown and that requires a very big fund of general knowledge and what is called "pure" training behind it in order to guess your way and to push it forward and that most problems of so-called "industrial" research depend on the prior solution of some problem in pure physics, chemistry, whatever it is, and, right through the whole progress of the work there will be constantly cropping up problems that are broadly problems of the so-called pure or fundamental research or problems that are so vague that necessitate the coming back to the research standpoint so that you can take stock and see where you are going and get on with your research.

To make that more specific, you may get to the stage where you have a pilot plant experiment, a whole plant filled in miniature, operating with a staff having technical skill. You meet some problem and have to go right back to the laboratory with your small batteries and test tubes and back to your purely academic literature to solve that problem before you can get ahead.

For that reason, I think it is a mistake—I am not suggesting that the Minister is making this mistake but I think the mistake was apparent in some of the remarks made in the debate—I think it is a mistake for us to consider that what is called pure research and industrial research are completely separable things. The two must go together. This is a corollary: as regards the workers involved, there is no difference between the research worker whether he be a pure research worker working on a purely academic problem or for the moment academic problem in a college laboratory or whether he is working on a problem to develop a new fuel in an industrial laboratory. There is, however, a big difference between that research worker and what is merely a skilled technician. You may have an expert on a job on a particular plant. He may know more about the details of a process and the details of this particular plant than perhaps anybody else available but he has not the breadth of knowledge or the general training to enable him to do research because research in its nature is the exploration of what for the moment is unknown and the only person fitted for that is a person who has got sufficient training to be able to feel his way around the particular problem. I cannot in conscience detain the House rather longer along that point but I will say, therefore, that this question of divorcing the practical or industrial research from pure research is a fallacy and that on our last resort we shall be thrown back on reliance on our universities. It is from our universities that our research workers will come or will have to come, or they will not come at all, and it is their very training in the wider and so-called academic fields in the universities that will enable them to tackle a research problem in contrast to the most highly skilled technicians, say, trained in a technical school, who may be in a sense better immediately on a plant job. That distinction is definitely there and must be appreciated.

These considerations bring one logically to a question of the consideration of the organisation of matters proposed in this Bill and, in order to take them seriatim, as they appear in the Bill, I must for the moment break my sequence and leave the question of the organisation of research in its proper order there. With regard to the set-up proposed by the Minister in this Bill, the objects of the council as defined in Part II of the Bill are adequate enough and wide enough. The only trouble is, as I have said already, that they might be too wide; to try to put them through in their widest sense would involve an organisation that would be too big, really, for the purpose of one institute. With regard to the Minister's decision to constitute an advisory council, there, I think, he is to be congratulated. He is to be congratulated on a point of view that lies a good deal beyond his Department. He is prepared to consult and have the benefit of the advice of people who are best equipped and the idea of an advisory council like that is, I think, a very fine one.

The Minister for Education notwithstanding?

Major de Valera

We are merely concerned in this Bill—I should like to tell the Deputy—for the moment, with research. It is a fine idea and I think we are all agreed on that. The Minister's practical turn of mind then shows itself—he puts in an organisation to make the Bill work, which is as necessary as the first is desirable, but in this respect I find a certain difficulty just as Deputy Hughes found a difficulty. I am rather worried about the position of the director. It is obviously desirable to have a research committee and a standards committee, and the Minister is perfectly correct in having these separate, but I would suggest to him that, from the point of view of practical working and from the experience of most people of committees, he might very profitably reduce the number in the industrial research committee from nine to five or six. If it is to be a working committee and it is overloaded, we all know what happens. Everybody has to express his views; hours elapse; the meeting finishes; and the matter is adjourned, to be reconsidered at the next meeting. That is the fate of all big committees, and I suggest to the Minister that it might be well to reduce the size of the working committee, especially as he has this advisory council with which this committee can be in touch.

This brings in the question of director and, frankly, I am worried about two things in relation to the director. He is apparently to be a director of research and he is in some way undefined to be responsible to the committee; in other words, responsible to the research committee for research directed by them and he is responsible to the standards committee for their particular end. At the same time, he has certain wide liberty. Frankly, I think there is some point in Deputy Hughes's fear in this respect, and I make the suggestion to the Minister that the director should be either the chairman of the committee, the executive committee, or he should be subject to the direction of that committee—one or the other—in the interests of smooth working.

It is possible to argue both ways. Perhaps somebody on the opposite side may say: "Appoint the chairman of the executive committee and let that committee direct all the functions, except the standard functions of the institute; in other words, constitute them a board of directors, with a chairman, and leave the technical director as the executive officer of that board." That is one possible solution. If for some reason—and the Minister has examined this matter more thoroughly than any of us—such a procedure is not acceptable, the director could be considered as the chairman of that committee. I would, however, like to see that particular point tightened up and made definite, because there is a fear of friction, and, apart from that, there is the question of getting work done.

I think the Bill is a little optimistic in that, having said that the director will carry out the proper functions for the standards committee and the proper functions for the research committee, it adds that he may do research on his own. He would be rather a marvellous director who would do any research after doing all the research for the others. But there is another more serious objection to the complete autonomy of a director of that nature. With the development of modern technical knowledge, no one man can be such a complete expert in the various matters that will arise that he can deal with any sizable problem on his own.

The experiences of the Emergency Scientific Research Bureau were very informative in that regard. On that body, there were five very eminent people in the scientific world here, with varying and complementary specialities. The chairman, Professor Dowling, was an expert on physics and applied physics, and his qualifications ideally fitted him for the position of chairman, and then there were an electro-chemist, a chemist, an engineer and a physicist. Whoever picked the team—and I suspect it was picked on technical recommendations — appreciated that point. The chairman had seen to it, and there was in that body a balanced team, and when a problem came up, such as a problem in respect of research on some plant, the team combined to solve them. Certain plants were developed, a phosphorus plant being one—and there were chemical problems, engineering problems, problems of physics and electro-chemistry involved.

No one person, even if he were a super-scientist, could, on his own, have been able to solve all such problems. In effect, if he were appointed a director and let loose, he would have to consult others, and I therefore suggest that we realise that point at the start and that one or other of the solutions I have proposed be adopted, so that, in constituting that executive committee—in the Bill, called the industrial research committee—a balanced team of that nature will be appointed which will, in effect, be the directing power, the directors of the research, with the director either the chairman or their executive. The research should be all under their control. That is a view which I should like to press on the Minister, but, as the Minister said, it is very difficult to arrive at a completely satisfactory solution of the problem. He very straightforwardly said that there are different views on the matter.

With regard to how that body is to initiate work and get work done, a good deal of criticism was levelled against the old industrial research council because of want of results. The Minister pointed out in his opening speech that one of the great difficulties was that the old industrial research council was so hampered by administrative and financial restrictions that it was not the success it was hoped it would be.

The emergency enabled us to gain some experience with the Emergency Scientific Research Bureau, but if, apart from the personnel of that bureau, I were to be asked what were the principal factors which contributed towards the relative success of that bureau, I should be inclined to give two general answers. The first would be that definite concrete problems were formulated to them and this gets back to Deputy Larkin's point. It is rather asking too much of a research committee to ask it, on top of everything else, to sit down and propound their own problems for solution. Matters should be referred to them— it makes for good work and good organisation.

Let us suppose that the Minister was desirous of having a certain commodity produced here. In the case of the Emergency Scientific Research Bureau, the problem was referred in concrete form to them. The problem of producing phosphorus, chlorate, or anything else was given to them and they were asked: "Can that be done? If so, do it." Thereafter, the administrative facilities were available. The chairman was able to organise things. There was none of these terrible hampering delays. Nothing kills research when you want to get a drive on like the administrative delays, and of course under pressure of the emergency financial facilities were afforded. Administrative facilities and financial facilities made all the difference in the working out of the Emergency Scientific Research Bureau. That should be borne in mind when the Bill is put into operation. I think it will. The Minister has given us every hope that it will. We must follow it a little bit further. We have got this far. Let us assume that we have a body as competent and as enthusiastic as the late Emergency Scientific Bureau sitting in a room. What are they going to do next? Are they going to have to set up elaborate laboratories and are they going to have that room packed with so many research chemists all ready, so that you press button A and in walks B? Is that what is visualised because the first step of the problem will be a relatively pure research stage. It will be what is called the laboratory stage, a preliminary investigation.

That will tell whether you can go on with your final stage or will indicate the line you should take. That investigation will involve normal preliminary work in the laboratory together with research in literature, and in many cases academic literature at that. The question arises, are you going to have an organisation on tap that is going to be ready to handle at that stage any possible problem referred to it by the Minister or by the Department? If you are, let me warn you that there is going to be very substantial expense and a very substantial permanent staff involved. On the other hand, I throw out a suggestion, what about our universities? During the emergency our universities gave very excellent service to the bureau in that regard. I can think of a number of researches offhand where the bureau having considered problems referred to them referred them to the professor of chemistry in one of the colleges to work out the problem. I mentioned the question of phosphorus. The problem in phosphorus was referred to the late professor of chemistry and to the State Laboratory. That was the chemical end. Later the final part of the laboratory stage was solved in the precincts of University College engineering department. The preliminary researches on chlorate by the Scientific Research Bureau were conducted in Trinity College. If these facilities had not been there and had not been used it would have been necessary to equip—and it could not be done during the emergency—a complete laboratory and staff. Let us face up to the problem from the point of view of actual practical working on the laboratory stage of any research. I think that should be considered carefully because from the point of view of general economics it may not be such good business to build more laboratories if your present facilities are capable of catering for your needs.

Let us pass from the laboratory stage. What is the next phase? The next phase, the pilot stage. That is an installation built not quite on a full scale but duplicating full scale as far as possible with the idea of finding out how it will work. That again involves space, materials, facilities, personnel and organisation.

Is the Minister going to consider the maintenance of permanent organisation to cater for such a matter or will he attempt to use some existing machinery? In other words, the same problem is going to arise on this stage as arose on the first stage. It is perhaps a little more difficult because there will be more unskilled people brought in there, so to speak, than in the other stage. In other words, you want more general labourers, foremen and carpenters, etc. Are you going to maintain a huge staff of that nature which will be only intermittently employed? I do not think a bureau of this nature is likely to be occupied on pilot research all the time. It may have no pilot research going on for periods. Are you going to keep an organisation of that kind or are you going to use some other organisation? I know that somebody will say "all right, what organisation could you use?" I can only make another suggestion which concerns another Minister, but I think I had better make it. I should like to suggest to the Minister that at this particular phase the Government might be able to find some very useful work for the technical departments of the Army. I must digress to this extent to explain. One of the problems in the Army has been during normal peace time to keep the technical branches going, the corps of engineers and the army ordnance corps. They fall into the routine of peace time. It is very, very difficult to keep them alive, especially the professional men like trained chemists, qualified engineers and people like that, because there is no practical problem before them. I should like to suggest to the Minister that he might consider that here the Army might be of considerable assistance and reciprocally they might be of considerable help to the Army. We have actually had a little experience of that. When the emergency scientific bureau was up against this pilot problem of research for the Department of Defence the experiment was tried of using Army technical officers, chemists and engineers and Army personnel to do this work.

In other words, the Army was put on the pilot plant stage working under the direction of the bureau. I think the experiment was a very great success. There was no friction of any kind. The Army carried out the orders of the bureau and put its advice into effect. There was no difficulty as regards control. The bureau did not interfere with Army administration and the Army officers merely took the technical advice of the bureau, put it into effect, and did it remarkably well. I throw that out merely as a suggestion to the Minister so that, when he is building a chemical plant and some research work has to be done on the pilot plant scale, it might be a good idea to use the ordnance and engineer sections of the Army to carry out the work of experimentation, erection, and operation. In that way, it would be possible to keep alive in the Army scientific interest and would, at the same time, provide it with a substantial training ground which would fit them for a war which, please God, we shall avoid as we did the last one. I made some criticisms and I think it is incumbent on me now to make some constructive suggestions and, therefore, I ask the Minister to consider that.

It is not necessary to deal with the last stage because, once that stage is reached, the plant is in full operation and in actual process of production.

On these other questions, one comes immediately up against finance and administration. There will be great need for clear thinking in regard to these matters and a proper appreciation of the fact that, when you come down to bedrock, it will be upon your university graduates and on university trained research workers you will be dependent for the carrying out of the work. More surprisingly still, it will be the academically distinguished university graduate who will give you your best results in industrial work. In the new problems which will emanate from industrial research in the future it will be through the university graduates that you will find your solution to those, rather than from any other source. It should be remembered, too, that we need not go beyond the limits of this country for our personnel. All we have to do is to give our universities a chance to train that personnel and they will do the job better than any imported expert will do it.

I can remember one very difficult engineering job which had to be carried out here during the emergency. Experts from other places maintained that for us the particular problem was incapable of solution. But it was solved. It was solved by a young Electricity Supply Board engineer, who was a temporary Army officer, working under the direction of the Professor of Engineering in University College. Not only did he solve that problem, but he solved a number of others. The reason for that is not far to seek, and it is as well that we should realise it.

In the past we have often imported expert technicians to advise us on the setting up and operation of new industry. I think we have learned by now that that was a mistake. I wonder do we appreciate why it was a mistake? The reason is, if I bring in an expert from Central Europe in glass making, or anything else—I am not now making any specific reference to anybody— that expert is experienced in the production of glass in some town in Central Europe. His expert knowledge is limited by a number of factors—the raw material available to him, the proximity of the source of supply, the type of clays available, the power supply, its cost and so forth, the particular type of plant evolved in his factory, the standard of the work, and, possibly, the nearness of some other industry. He has worked so long in those surroundings that he has become an expert in a very narrow sphere and in a very limited sense. Bring him over here and establish a similar industry under his control and direction. What is the result? His immediate reaction is that he tries to duplicate completely the conditions in his home town in Central Europe or he simply says that the work cannot be done at all. In other words, he cannot accommodate himself.

Some of them accommodated themselves very successfully.

Major de Valera

Some of them did but, in the main, there were difficulties. I am not now making any specific references. I am merely expressing the inherent psychological difficulty of their accommodating themselves to new conditions. Our own people are not suffering from that particular type of inhibition. Given the proper basic training, they will make a better job of it. That is perhaps a small point, but I think we have learned now by our experience in the past. We need not go beyond our own people but the sine qua non is that they must be properly trained. That brings me back again to our colleges. Let us not be narrow when it comes to a question of pure research. It may be that some particular section of a college is at the moment dealing with something that appears to be purely academic. If the director of such a college is training students in physics and chemistry—he is doing a good job of work. Quite often, if local interests develop he is the man who will help in the solution of the practical problems that arise. Do not stint him. I would ask the Minister not to consider so much little scholarships to individual workers as the making available of sufficient sums for the purchase of substantial apparatus and the provision of such facilities as are vitally essential in our research work. I make that plea because I believe that that in itself would be a substantial contribution to industrial research.

We have not here in this country, as far as I know, any school of electro-chemistry. I imagine electro-chemistry has a very important bearing on modern industrial research. I would appeal to the Minister to help in the establishment of some school for research students in electro-chemistry in one of our colleges. In that respect it is essential that this new institute committee should be consulted with regard to the facilities that should be provided. As a natural corollary to that, it will be our college professors in the main who will provide the background and the driving force behind the scientific part of this work. I will go so far as to say that I would defy anybody to set up such a body and omit our university professors from its personnel. I would ask the Minister to consult them in regard to the link up with their colleges. I think that is sufficient comment from me on a Second Reading.

There is one other matter to which I wish to refer. I think it was mentioned by another Deputy to-day. I think it would be easier if the question of the remuneration of the executive committee were decided apart from themselves and the question of the director vis-à-vis the others should be considered separately. The Minister will get every bit as good service and as loyal co-operation from the committee with their chairman as their executive officer as he will by this rather hybrid arrangement of a director, subordinate, and semi-independent at the same time. The administration of the institute calls for no further comment except that it must be realised that normal Civil Service procedure will have to be abrogated to some extent here. Now it is unfair to say this to the Minister whose Department above all other Departments of State has shown such an appreciation of practical difficulties in the solution of problems without being unduly tied by administrative routine and in saying this I should like to congratulate the Minister's Department on their achievements there. But I think they will have to tackle the question of the relationships of this bureau very much in the same way as they tackled the relationships of the air transport problems and so on; that they must be prepared to realise that this is something which will have to run itself or not run at all, that delays resulting from administrative routine will kill any constructive project.

Just imagine yourself a research worker engaged in a problem. You are all keyed up and need a piece of apparatus. If you have to get the sanction of the Department of Finance, if it has to go through routine channels, it will take months, and by the time the thing comes back, you have forgotten what you wanted. As I say, it is hardly fair to the Minister to raise it in connection with his Department which is conspicuous by its efficiency and its attempt to act in a practical manner. I know his officers will co-operate in every way they can in the problem, but I think it is a danger inherent in the system and I think that some steps should be taken to guard against it. It all depends on what the Minister decides with regard to the director. There may be the question of status.

But let us not make the director of research subordinate to a principal officer in the Department of Finance. Let us not do that or anything like it. This man should—if he is the chairman of the committee—have direct access to the Minister and the Secretary of the Department. If not, then the chairman of that committee should have direct access to them. An arrangement something like the State laboratory would not be in any way suitable for this.

I think we should look at this matter clearly and analyse it down. I should like to know what the Minister visualises most specifically in regard to the functions and in regard to the building. I suggest that by the time he comes to the Committee Stage he should have a very clear idea as to what is involved, because there is no use in setting up an institute like this with the most grandiose notions and general terms of reference without making any proper provision for efficient working. On the other hand, if proper provision is to be made for its efficient working, let us realise that it will have to be worked in a business-like manner. After all, research is a question largely of organisation and business and that, in turn, will involve the selection of proper personnel. Once selected, give them their general problem to work upon, not hampering them, but giving them a free hand to do the job without undue administrative restrictions and without interference in the conduct of their work in a way that would prejudice it.

So far as this Bill provides for the establishment of a bureau of standards, I think it is a very valuable measure. When we come to the question of industrial research, however, I think if Deputy de Valera can be correctly interpreted as saying that no distinction should be made between industrial and pure research, he is barking up the wrong tree.

Major de Valera

I never said any such thing.

I am relieved to hear that, because there seems to me to be a very wide and fundamental difference. It seems to me that they are two operations that will have to be carried on by two entirely different types of men.

Major de Valera

Not necessarily.

I will tell the Deputy a story connected with the employment of pure scientists for the resolution of an industrial research problem. I invested my money at one time in a company which was going to extract a mineral from the bosom of mother earth and which we proposed to sell for export abroad. In the course of operations we discovered that there was, running through the commodity we were proposing to export, an impurity. Our industrial problem was to get the impurity out of it. We did not care what the impurity was. All we wanted was to get it out. If we could get it out, we could sell the commodity. If we could not, the commodity was virtually so much dross. If we had gone to a firm like Baker, Perkins and Co., Ltd., one of the industrial research enterprises in Great Britain, and dumped our problem in their lap, they would have put their technicians on it and either provided a solution or charged no fee. We did not do that. We consulted very able scientists of the purest possible kind who were scientists pur sang. They went to work on it and we waited; the equipment and the building and the machinery grew, and grew and grew, and the impurity steadfastly and resolutely remained. When we would up the company in insolvency, with all our capital gone, the scientists, in perfect good faith, told us that an expenditure of another £2,500 and a further 18 months of time would probably bring them to the solution of the problem with which they were confronted. But by that time we had no money left, nor had the company. As the Minister knows, our enterprise reached an inglorious end. That was largely due to the fact that there was not a proper understanding of the fundamental difference between pure research and industrial research. Therefore, I want to say to the Minister that I very much doubt if a body of this kind will serve the purpose that he has in mind. So far as I know, if I understand the term “industrial research” correctly, it means the resolution of particular and peculiar problems of industrial enterprise in this country which their own resources are not adequate to resolve.

There are in existence in every industrial country in the world a group of firms, of which Baker, Perkins and Company Limited, is one. They are engaged in the manufacture of bakers' ovens and bakehouse equipment, but they have a subsidiary that undertakes to resolve the industrial problems of a particularly small group of industries. If you are operating an industry within the ambit of that small group and come up against some such problem as confronted us, instead of rambling round laboratories in order to get well-intentioned scientists, you simply go to one of the best firms, like Baker, Perkins and Company, dump your problem in their lap and say: "Can you resolve that difficulty for us?" I understand the terms are that they will undertake to solve it. If they succeed, you have to pay a very stiff fee, but the understanding is that if they do not succeed they make no charge. So far as I can recall, there is no firm in any industrial country in the world which will hold itself out as being prepared to tackle the industrial problems of any industry. It may be that I am wrong, but I never heard of such a one.

What we are proposing to set up in this country is a body of persons with virtually no industrial experience, because we have not very much industrial experience in this country to draw upon, together with a group of scientists. We are going to charge them with the responsibility of accepting an assignment from any industry in this country to investigate any problem that may be dumped into their laps. I do not believe that you can constitute such a body at all. I think it is an altogether wrong approach. There are, I think, Deputies who imagine that, if we set up a body of this kind, great and epoch-making discoveries will be made under its patronage by Irish brains. I do not believe for a moment that the Minister for Industry and Commerce has any intention of proceeding along those lines.

Let us consider what the procedure is. If you want to facilitate a scientist who is conducting what we may describe as research at large, you must have some prospect at the end of his operations that he will get somewhere, that there will be some concrete result of his work. Now, in the capitalist countries, as I understand it, the prime examples are du Pont in America and the I.C.I. in England.

If their talent scouts locate in any university a young chemist of particular brilliance in a particular branch of chemistry, they are prepared to go to that fellow and say: "We will give you £600 a year for ten or 15 years, a laboratory and unlimited resources to go in and follow your particular bent on the condition that whatever turns up in the course of your experiments will be the property of the firm that employs you." It is in that way that most of the great revolutionary discoveries in the world of science were actually made. Sulphonamide drugs were discovered by a gentleman who was speculating with dyes in the Fahrben Industrie of Germany. It was the German equivalent of I.C.I.

Is it suggested that this body will set up a laboratory for a brilliant student of one of our universities, give him a long contract and an unlimited endowment, and tell him to get to work to see if anything will turn up? I can picture the face of the Minister for Finance if any such proposal is pressed upon him. In any case, even if the attempt were made I do not believe it would work, because if you put a fellow in an isolated laboratory of that kind, outside any great organisation such as the Imperial Chemicals Institute or du Point or the German Fahrben Industrie, that measure of isolation cuts him off in a way which will render his activities sterile and ineffective.

Therefore, I come back to the query, what is this research body intended to do? I very much doubt if any Deputy, or even the Minister, has any clear view of what is intended. But it is a lovely idea, setting up an industrial research council and any of its discoveries will become the property of the Minister. You could imagine somebody discovering the counterpart of the safety pin, the Minister for Industry and Commerce patenting it, and the Irish Exchequer making millions out of it. But, it is just not going to happen, and so I am rather inclined to believe that this is just another bit of Fianna Fáil window-dressing.

It is like the Institute of Higher Studies, a home for scholars, set up by our scholarly Taoiseach, and it ultimately becomes a repository for all the broken-down old duds in the country, a mighty citadel from whose portals nothing will emerge but thrice ten thousand times checked manuscripts of unprecedented precision and perfection. Some of these publications would disgrace a well-run national school. But, of course, nobody gives a damn.

There is nobody in this House competent to read them, whether they were well or ill-written, and anyone daring to criticise them would be described as an acrimonious and contentious politician who was trying to make little of the Taoiseach, while anybody who declares them to be the most perfect production of learning since the dawn of time, is invited to the next tea party given in Dublin Castle as a man who has given ample evidence of his high cultural equipment and his capacity to appreciate the products of the Institute of Higher Studies, which is now a decrepit and rapidly declining damp squib.

I think it would be a pity if we set up a counterpart here and have another dud of that character upon our hands. I do not deny that it may be desirable to have a body which would have at its disposal funds to endow a specific research proposition that might be submitted to it by a duly accredited student or professor of any university in the country. It is quite true many excellent students and savants in this country have been prevented from pursuing very desirable research because they had not the money with which to finance it. If the Minister sets up a body which would, on occasion, if they were satisfied that a specific piece of work was worth having done and there was a competent man prepared to deal with it, he might recommend to the Treasury the issue of an adequate grant to enable him to do the work, much might be said for a proposition of that kind. If the Research Council is to take that form, I think it is something the House should favourably consider.

The next point I come to is this. If, despite my warning, an attempt is made to establish a Research Council which proposes to undertake the work of a research department, such as Imperial Chemicals and du Pont, to solve any problems that are thrust upon them by the industrialists of the country and to endow individual pieces of research, Section 37 is suicidal, and if we pass Section 37 there is no use abusing the higher officers of the Department of Finance for being bureaucrats. If you make the accounts of the industrial research tribunal, or whatever you call it, susceptible to examination and control by the Comptroller and Auditor-General, that imposes on the officers of the Department of Finance certain statutory duties which they will have to discharge and the odium for the clog that they must be on the work of a body of this character will rest, not on the officers of the Department of Finance, who do their duty, but on this House, which imposes that duty on them.

If you want a body of that kind, then your only hope to give it any chance of survival is to treat it on the same basis as the Congested Districts Board was treated in the old days, and that is to give them an annual grant and let them make the best use they can of it and let us judge at the end of the financial year from their report whether, by and large, we got good value for the money we gave them. If we did we should not be harrying them with the necessary regulations that must be imposed if you require the Comptroller and Auditor-General to account to this House for public money. It is perfectly proper to give a body such as this a Grant-in-Aid and make each year's appropriation depend on whether this House is prepared to grant it or not, having considered the value for money represented by the previous year's report of progress. But, once you give it to them, let them use it to the best advantage they can and let us judge by the results, not by a report made to the Comptroller and Auditor-General. I say that as a Deputy of this House more solicitous, I imagine, than any other Deputy for the maintenance of the authority of the Comptroller and Auditor-General over the expenditure of public funds. It is a great mistake to allow a mistaken solicitude in that regard to delude us into bringing the Comptroller and Auditor-General into matters where he cannot function efficiently without preventing the enterprise we have set up from functioning at all—and no one would be quicker to tell Deputies that than the Comptroller and Auditor-General himself.

The next thing I want to mention is a matter which I consider to be of vital importance, not only to the plans envisaged by this Bill, but to the country. If we are going to embark on a policy of experimentation and research, let that be segregated from other current operations that are now in hands and have for many years been in successful progress in this country. There is one glaring case and that is the experimentations that are being conducted by the Turf Development Board in the use of turf for the purpose of generating electricity. It is quite possible that that will be passed over to this new research body.

What has happened there? The Turf Development Board is concerned to justify its own existence, as this body will be concerned to justify its own existence. They marched in and informed the Electricity Supply Board, whose primary function is to supply the power, light and heat that our people require, when they require it and where they require it, that they must abandon their development programme in order to adopt the fantastic, daft schemes at present sponsored by the Turf Development Board for the generation of electricity by turf. Does this House realise that the Electricity Supply Board, having been set up in this country and having achieved such a degree of success, achieved that success largely because at a very early stage of their development they said:—

"A body of our character must plan not only for next year but, with the statistical information available to us, must plan as precisely as we can for a ten-year period ahead. We must anticipate the demand, where it is going to be and its volume, and we must have a ten-year programme of development all the time in front of us so that we will be in a position to be always one jump ahead of the effective demand, never in a position of having our machinery or resources labouring under what consumers actually require."

As a result of that look at what the Electricity Supply Board has done for this country. Look at the phenomenon of service and efficiency and informed foresight that it has been.

Into that whole complex scheme of planning and foresight and devising to ensure that our people would always have, not only enough, but the economical minimum surplus to ensure a full supply of power, light and heat at every stage, the Turf Development Board come prancing and they say: "Tear all that up because we want to build a power station in a bog in West Mayo. Your plan of development provides for a station here, a station there, a hydro-electric scheme somewhere else, a careful marshalling of resources so as to bear the load effectively without over-burdening any of your equipment. Tear all that up. It does not matter that, in your plan, development should be located near Cork and Dublin so as to ease the load on the Shannon or on the Erne or on Poulaphouca. We are going to put a station in Ballycastle, in North Mayo, because there is a bog there.

We are not interested in the fact that the size of the station we have planned will consume the whole bog in 25 years and that there are not enough people within 100 miles of the station to consume one-quarter of the energy we propose to produce there. So, you must put down your plant beside a fuel supply which we reckon will last 25 years, which will be costing countless thousands to dry and carry it to the furnaces to produce the electricity, and you must then carry the electricity clear across the country, losing a large percentage of it on the way in dissipation in the air."

If that kind of draft, crazy, political rackets are going to be run in this country let the bodies responsible for them bear the responsibility. Let them get technical help and advice from the Electricity Supply Board, but let the Turf Development Board or the Research Council operate their own crackport turf station and, when it collapses and is revealed for the rotten fraud it is, let the blame be borne by those who foisted it upon us. Let it not be concealed in the accounts of the Electricity Supply Board and justified by the reputation of men who accept the responsibility for these crazy, draft enterprises because they are too loyal to speak in public the views which I have very little doubt they communicated to the Minister under the seal of official secrecy.

I want to warn the House. It is bad enough to have the Turf Board as a blister on the Electricity Supply Board but I can envisage a day when some of this industrial research business might be planted as a blister on industries in this country that are standing on their own feet and ask no help but demand that they shall not be interfered with.

If the experience of the Electricity Supply Board is anything to go by, I do not envy the prospects of industrialists who come in contact with this creation, but I take this opportunity of directing the attention of the House to the real, to the grievous injury which is at this moment being done to one of the best things we have created since an Irish Government was set up here in the name of the rotten, draft, political racket of turf.

Do Deputies know that you cannot get from the Electricity Supply Board permission to heat any premises at the present and that you will not get it for the next five or ten years because the Electricity Supply Board will not be allowed to carry out the development requisite to undertake the load that would exist were heating facilities made available to the public? Do Deputies know that if you want to put in a heating installation to-morrow you will not be allowed to do so? You must use another fuel because the Electricity Supply Board have not got, and will not be allowed to get, the means of supplying electric power for heating purposes.

Surely due to the emergency.

It is not due to the emergency. It is because they must carry out the crazy, draft, political racket promoted by the Turf Development Board for the purpose of pretending that the turf scheme was ever anything but a mixture of incompetence and political racketeering.

The racketeering is all in the Deputy's imagination.

On a point of order, what has either the Electricity Supply Board or the Turf Development Board to do with this Bill?

Nothing whatever— that is the answer.

I have listened for the last half-hour to the Deputy, who is entirely out of order.

I do not think he is out of order.

I know he is.

Of all astonishing pictures, Deputy Corry in the Chair of this House is the most extraordinary I know.

The Deputy is only an idiot.

The trouble in this House is——

What did I hear Deputy Corry say? Did he say the Deputy was only an idiot?

Not at all. He made a hoarse noise and nobody knew what he said.

The Deputy must withdraw that expression with reference to another Deputy.

Do not mind him. He made some kind of a hoarse noise. I do not believe he used that word at all. Did the Chair hear it?

The Chair will not allow that expression to be used in the House.

I am sure it was not used.

That expression should not be used of another Deputy and I must ask the Deputy to withdraw it.

In those circumstances, I withdraw it.

As we are dealing with points of order, I want to ask you, Sir, for a ruling as to whether Deputy Dillon's speech is relevant, in view of the fact that neither the Electricity Supply Board nor the Turf Development Board have anything to do with the Bill.

In relation to research, the Deputy is pointing out that one of the matters which may be concerned with research is the development of heating, lighting and power.

No, that has nothing whatever to do with it.

The Minister says it has nothing whatever to do with it?

That is right.

Deputy de Valera spoke for three-quarters of an hour. What is to stop this Research Council——

It was not I who started raising the points of order, but, as they were being raised, I raised the point that the Deputy was completely irrelevant and out of order.

That is the usual astute manoeuvre of the Minister to cover up his tracks. I am exposing them and he does not like it. Deputy de Valera spent three-quarters of an hour telling us all about the laboratory, the pilot plant and the commercial unit. When he came to the commercial unit, he shied away. What I am trying to tell the Deputies is that, so long as these institutions will carry their own babies, I do not mind, because then we will know who is responsible for the baby and when it grows up and proceeds to eat us out of house and home, we will know where to lay the blame. I am pointing out to the House that when the pilot plant stage has been passed——

Would the Deputy tell us who was responsible for the confiscation of the electricity undertakings of the Dublin Corporation, the Cork Corporation and all the others?

That is another day's work.

It has as much to do with the Bill as the Deputy's speech.

When we have passed the pilot plant stage, to which Deputy de Valera referred so eloquently, all I am concerned to ensure is that the baby will not be passed to the Electricity Supply Board, to Guinness's, to Jacobs or to some other industry which can stand on its own feet and is doing a good job, but that it will be kept by the person who first brought it into existence, so that, when it reaches its final gargantuan and hideous appearance, its true progenitors will still be living and will not have succeeded in passing it on to somebody else. I am perfectly entitled to submit the analogy in relation to the Turf Development Board. That board began for the purpose of developing the hand-winning of turf. Deputies will remember the bags and the Minister for Industry and Commerce telling us that he solemnly declared that hand-won turf would yet be the greatest industry in this country, save only the agricultural industry, and that he looked forward to the day when 75,000 able-bodied men would be earning a good living on the bogs of Ireland cutting turf for their neighbours. That was the genesis of that plan. The bags went down the drain— they vanished—and the hand-won turf went down the drain.

Not yet.

But the Turf Development Board——

You are ruling, Sir, that this is in order on this Bill?


While I do agree in the main——

Do not let him intimidate you into changing your ruling.

I am asking the Chair to give a ruling.

I am not changing my ruling. On Second Reading a Deputy is allowed a good deal of latitude because the scope of the Bill is not very clearly defined——

He wants to finish tonight—that is his trouble.

—until the Bill has been accepted by vote of the House. The Deputy has, I think, developed for too long the matter of turf in relation to this Bill. He is quite in order up to a certain point, but he is taking an undue percentage of the time in developing his ideas on the matter.

I cannot quite understand that. If it is in order, it is in order, and, if it is out of order, it is out of order. If it is in order, I can talk about it, and, if it is out of order, I cannot. The fact that the Minister is becoming impatient because Deputy de Valera spoke for three-quarters of an hour is no reason why I should be prevented from speaking. It is either in order to talk of turf, or it is not. Turf was the object of experiment and investigation by a board set up for that purpose.

Can the Deputy relate the possibilities of the development of turf to research?

Can he relate the administration of the Turf Development Board to the Bill?

Is that not what he is talking about?

I suppose the Leas-Cheann Comhairle has ears of his own. I want an assurance that bodies set up under this Bill will nurse their own babies to maturity and answer for them. I am warning this House of what is happening under its own eyes. I challenge members of the Fianna Fáil Party to say how many of them know the consequences to the Electricity Supply Board of having turf planted on it. If this proposal passes into law how long will it be before this House wakes up to the position?

As to standard value, I think it has a certain value, in so far as it authorises a standard for specific commodities which will be allowed in to be stamped with the mark described in the Bill. To anyone familiar with trade that is, in fact, of little consequence. I remember how it was due to this device that one of the most delicious deceptions—not to use any stronger word—I ever witnessed was perpetrated.

I remember when the Cement Bill was before this House that, at the time, the Danish cartel wished to establish themselves inside our tariff wall. At that time the Danes wanted to come into the industry with a guarantee against competition from the Polish and Spanish cement industries. One of the recommendations that the Minister for Industry and Commerce advanced for the Cement Bill was that this Danish cartel had undertaken to produce in Ireland Portland cement, under standard British specification, and I remember Fianna Fáil Deputies getting up and asking, who wanted anything better than standard British specification. We never thought we would get that here. But they were quite oblivious of the fact that the standard specification referred to was fixed in 1902, had not been revised, and that there was no cement merchant in the four corners of the earth, no builder, no contractor and no architect, who would use cement of British standard specification. All the cement now used is British standard specification, plus 60 per cent. As a matter of fact, two years before the war there was a new British standard specification.

Certainly. Is not this body going to set up a standard specification for Ireland? Do Deputies understand the position at all, or do they know what they are doing? That is the tragedy of it, Deputies do not know what they are doing. If that is the only use this Bill is going to be put to, in practice it will be found that standard specifications mean nothing, because they are no sooner made than they get out of date. The ordinary commercial specification far outstrips any rigid specification. You may create the illusion in the mind of the average consumer that an article which, in commercial practice, is marked "standard specification" is perfection. Deputies were fooled in that way. The obligation imposed under the Cement Act on the cement company was to produce cement of British standard specification. If they ever produced or attempted to sell it they would have gone out of business long ago. Instead of that, they are selling a very fine quality cement, which is 60 per cent. to 70 per cent. better than the British standard specification referred to in the Act under which it was set up. If that is the only purpose here I suggest that the House should think twice about it.

There is another function for the bureau, and that is, that if we invest it with authority to examine medicinal and other proprietary preparations put upon the market, with the right to buy commercial samples of such commodities and to examine them, and having done so to determine whether the claims made by the proprietors in respect to them are true or false, and so declare to the public, then that bureau will serve some purpose. In America the Bureau of Standards has a right to come down on the makers of preparations which claim to do that which their constituents manifestly cannot do. Deputies will remember that four or five years before the war a firm was set up to sell cattle food which was supposed to perform miracles, on the grounds of its vitamin qualities, and it was found that there was very little that could be done about it. If the bureau was there it could have bought a package of that stuff, examined the claim of its manufacturers, side by side with the scientific analysis of the laboratory, and then published notice that the preparation was fraudulent, and that persons were warned not to touch it. I am not surprised that I cannot find in the Bill any such power.

The Deputy has not read the Bill. If he reads the Bill he will find it.

The Minister can correct me when he is winding up. If this body has power to do that, and has effective means of enforcing its decisions, then I think that is well. Do not expect more than it is right and reasonable to demand. I think you could put a proviso in the Bill to restrain the research department of the bureau from passing the baby to somebody else. You could put that obligation upon them to carry them out until they fall to pieces, like some of the experiments we have seen here below. Subject to those precautions I am thoroughly in favour of the establishment of some kind of bureau. Let us remember, however, when we are asked for the money to pay for it the true nature of what we may hope to get and let us take effective precautions to ensure that it does not become a dumping ground for the Fianna Fáil crocks, as so many analogous institutions of this character have been made in the past.

A characteristic of a democratic Assembly is the right of a member to talk nonsense, if he wants to, subject to relevancy. The Chair is the arbiter on relevancy. Deputy Dillon has just demonstrated the democratic character of this institution by talking utter nonsense. That is his right, and every Deputy in the House will protect his right to talk nonsense. They may think it a shame that at this late hour in the day time should be wasted by Deputy Dillon in talking irrelevant nonsense on a Bill he has not read and treating us to a fandango of misrepresentations and grotesque inventions which have no relation to the matter under discussion here and which were reiterated by him merely for the purpose of wasting the time of the House. A democratic institution can be brought into contempt by representatives like Deputy Dillon.

You do not blush to say that.

I do not blush to say it.

You ought to.

I am stating something which every Deputy in the House already knows and understands. In case anybody in this House was misled by Deputy Dillon's statements in relation to the Electricity Board and the Turf Board, I want to repeat that his statements were utter nonsense. There is not a scintilla of truth in them. They are the product of his own imagination, or of the imagination of somebody who has been pulling Deputy Dillon's leg, a pastime of which most of us in this House have become a little wearied. This discussion was proceeding in a rational and common-sense way until Deputy Dillon arrived. We had listened to a number of useful contributions to the debate, practical speeches on the issues involved in this Bill. I had hoped that the discussion would have continued upon that note and it would, in fact, have concluded on that note had not Deputy Dillon arrived, a little bored with whatever he had been doing previously, to listen to the discussion, find out what it is about, and to make a long speech without having given the matter any previous thought or study.

We are proposing here to establish an industrial research institute and a standards institute combined. It is quite true that we could have decided to establish two separate organisations to discharge both the functions given to this institute. In most other countries there are separate institutions for industrial research and for standards. Having regard to our limited resources in personnel I think it is desirable to utilise the one organisation for both purposes. It is clear we must have two supervising authorities and the Bill provides for separate authorities in relation to industrial research and in relation to standards. These authorities, however, will work in the same institute, utilise the same equipment and the same staff. I think that such an arrangement will be not merely economic from the financial point of view but it will be also economic as far as our resources in staff and equipment are concerned. I do not fear, as Deputy de Valera seems to fear, that the standards work falling upon the institute will be so heavy that the staff will necessarily be occupied with it to the exclusion of the industrial research work. I shall deal more fully later with the question of standards, but it is contemplated that the resources which will be given to the institute will be sufficiently adequate to enable it properly to discharge its functions as set out under the Bill. It is not necessary to draw any distinction between pure research and industrial research for the purposes of understanding how this institute will work. The functions of the institute are clearly stated in Section 5. It is not concerned so much with scientific research as with the application of scientific knowledge to industrial problems. Its purpose is to undertake and foster scientific research with the object of promoting the utilisation of the natural resources of the State, improving the technical processes and methods used in the industries of the State, and discovering technical processes and methods which may promote or facilitate the expansion of existing or the development of new industries.

The best illustration I can give to the House of the type of problem contemplated for investigation by the industrial research committee is that dealt with by the existing Industrial Research Council. Deputy de Valera made some references, which I could not understand, to the reports of the Industrial Research Council. The annual reports of the Industrial Research Council have been published and are available to the Deputy in the Library of the House. That council was given specific tasks to perform and specific subjects to investigate. It was, for instance, known that peat contained wax. They were asked to carry out experiments in the extraction of wax from peat with a view to utilising commercially the process of extraction thereby discovered. Their report on that subject was eventually prepared and published. It is known that certain industrial materials can be obtained from seaweed. The Industrial Research Council was asked to investigate whether the types of seaweed utilised in industry were available on the Irish coast and, if not, whether it would be possible to cultivate them around the Irish coast. That investigation is still proceeding. It is known that turf will burn. The council were asked to investigate the most suitable type of equipment for the burning of turf and a report on that subject was published which led to the commercial manufacture of the Taylor range and other types of turf burning apparatus. I mention these matters merely for the purpose of illustration and to indicate the practical basis upon which the institute will carry out the functions given to it under Section 5. It is quite clear that, while as a result of the activities of the industrial research committee, the technical possibilities of various industrial processes will be established, the economic potentialities of these processes must be further examined. Deputy de Valera referred to electro-chemical industries. So far as I can discover, most electro-chemical industries are practicable in this country from the scientific point of view, but are impracticable from the economic point of view.

It may be that there are considerations which would justify some development of these industries other than economic considerations; but, having regard to the existing state of industrial development here and the cost of electricity, the size of our market and other problems, there are economic difficulties which may militate against the development of this type of industry long after the industrial research committee has demonstrated their scientific practicability. In that connection I would like to explain that this industrial research institute will have no responsibility for demonstrating the economic possibility of any industrial process. The economic possibilities of industrial processes will be primarily a matter for examination by private enterprise. We have here, I think, a deficiency in our organisation in so far as it is not at present possible to do more than undertake scientific investigation of industrial processes, which will be done by the new industrial research institute. I may, at some stage, bring to the Dáil proposals to give powers to some existing organisation to investigate and report on the economic possibilities of such developments where it is obvious the developments will not be undertaken in the near future or on an adequate scale by private industrial firms. Deputy de Valera considers it would be wiser for the industrial research committee to work through the laboratories of the existing universities. I do not agree. It is intended that the institute will have its own laboratory.

May I interrupt to inquire if the Minister proposes to conclude to-night?

I had hoped to but the Deputy effectively stopped that.

By Standing Order No. 20, as affected by subsequent resolutions, the House should rise at 10.30. However, if there is unanimous agreement, the sitting can be extended to allow the Minister to conclude. I do not know whether any other business is to be taken. The adjournment would then be to——

Next Tuesday.

Is there unanimous agreement that the Minister should be allowed to conclude?

It was the intention to pass the Appropriation Bill and, I understand, the Continuation of Compensation Schemes Bill to-day. So far as we are concerned, there was no intention of raising anything on the Appropriation Bill and it was understood that we would facilitate the Government by giving them all stages of the Bill without discussion. So far as the Continuation of Compensation Schemes Bill is concerned, there is nothing that arises on that so far as I am concerned. We got a certain amount of information on the Second Reading and no further discussion arises on that Bill, either on Committee or Report. Therefore, if the position is that the Minister could conclude on this Bill by 10.50 or 10.55, I see no reason why the other two Bills should not be passed then.

Would it be in order to take other business?

Yes, if unanimous agreement is reached.

I could finish in less time than that.

Then we would be prepared, if everybody is agreed, to sit until 11 p.m. to complete the business as contemplated so that the Seanad could have the Appropriation Bill next week.

Is there unanimous agreement on that?

Being a very magnanimous man, I am prepared to agree.

Then it is agreed that the other two Bills will be passed without discussion?

Could I not ask a question on the Appropriation Bill about what the Minister is doing in connection with the dock dispute in Dublin?

That would not arise on it, in any case.

Let the Minister conclude on this Bill.

I want to know whether the other two Bills are to be taken or not. The Chair must have some agreement. Is that the agreement?


I should like to state my point of view on some of the matters raised by Deputies who might have in contemplation amendments for consideration on the Report Stage. I want to make it clear that I contemplate an institute which will control its own laboratories and its own staff. They may assist financially in the undertaking of individual researches in the laboratories of universities; but, primarily, they will work independently of the universities. It should be understood that this Bill is not intended to be a device by which public funds can be made available to provide equipment or develop the research resources of university colleges, nor is it intended to be a means by which useful occupation can be found for the technical department of the Army. As a general principle, I am against trying to kill two birds with one stone. I have always found in my life that it is a foolish thing to attempt to do. We are setting up this institute primarily with the intention of having industrial research work carried out. If, incidentally, assistance can be given to universities or work provided for the technical department of the Army, well and good. But it should be understood that the responsibilities of the committees of this institute will be to undertake the functions set out in the Bill and no other function.

Deputy Hughes stated that we have not spent and are not proposing to spend enough on industrial research and that it is undesirable to rely for scientific knowledge and information on institutes in other countries. While there is a great deal to be said for that point of view, we must approach this matter in a practical way. It would be foolish to ignore scientific work that is being done in the institutes of other countries and that is available to us. One of the most important services undertaken by the Industrial Research Council was through its library and information bureau which made available to industrialists and the Emergency Research Bureau an accumulation of information on scientific matters and industrial problems secared through the activities of research institutes elsewhere. I feel that a large part of the work of this committee on industrial research must be devoted to adapting to the particular circumstances of this country the conclusions which industrial research institutes elsewhere have arrived at in relation to other circumstances.

Deputy Dockrell, I think, need not be concerned at the prospect of the standards committee producing a number of impracticable standards which will be a handicap to industry. It is my intention to ensure that the committee will endeavour to work in the preparation of standards in close consultation with the manufacturing and trading interests concerned. The preparation of a standard specification can serve many purposes. It facilitates business contracts. Reference was made to the standard specification for cement. The existence of such a standard specification facilitates contracts between persons for construction work involving cement, because they need merely specify cement of the prescribed standard without having to enter into elaborate details to ensure that the work to be done will be of the quality they require. The publication of a standard specification, therefore, facilitates commercial contracts and it helps to promote industrial production by the reduction of the number of types of goods in commercial use and by adapting the requirements of commerce to the productive capacity of Irish manufacturing concerns. The standardisation of component parts should also be an aim to be achieved.

Over and above these economic conditions, there are social aims which must not be lost sight of. I refer to the development of a standard specification for workers' boots. That would not mean that a boot would be described in the specification which would be so perfect that it would be impossible for any existing manufacturing concern to produce it and too dear for any worker to buy. Clearly, such a specification would be prepared in consultation with the manufacturing interests and would have to be related not merely to the requirements of the market, but also to the productive capacity of existing Irish concerns. By means of such a standard specification not merely can the manufacturing industry of the country be facilitated, but the public can also be helped to protect themselves against inferior quality by reason of the fact that articles conforming to the standard specification will bear a standard mark.

It should be made clear that the institute will not be concerned with the efficiency of industry. It will have no responsibility either in relation to the efficiency with which industries concerned are carried on or the cost of production. We may have to have some other organisation to meet public requirements in that regard. The function of this institute is to facilitate industrial production and raise the standard of commercial practice by means of its standard specifications.

Reference was made to interference with industry. There can be no misunderstanding the provisions of the Bill. There is no question of interference unless where articles which do not conform to the standard specification are falsely described as being of that character.

Deputy Dillon, apparently not having read the Bill, naturally did not realise that one of the main functions given to this institute is to take articles offered for sale and analyse them and publish the result of such tests and analyses. It is intended that the protection of the public against false descriptions of goods and other undesirable commercial practices will be assisted in that way. By one of the sections of the Bill the committee is protected against any action for damages by reason of the publication of the results of such tests and analyses. Reference was made—and this will illustrate the point—to an attempt made recently to put on sale as a cattle medicine a material which, on analysis, proved to be only iron filings. The Minister for Agriculture published that fact and took full responsibility. The person concerned started, but did not continue, an action for damages. If this Bill had been in operation, such an analysis would have been carried out by the institute and the result would have been published by the institute and an action for damages would not arise.

There is in America a body which publishes a very interesting publication which goes under the name of One Hundred Million Suckers. It sets out to give an analysis of proprietary goods sold under proprietary names in America. That book is published and widely circulated. The body responsible for its publication proceeds on the assumption that its facts are so well founded and easily demonstrable that no action for damages will be taken against it. I understand that no successful action has been taken against it. This institute will have the responsibility of protecting the public against goods of inferior quality by the simple process of analysing the goods offered for sale and publishing the result of its analysis without risk of action in the courts.

I think the arrangement contemplated by this Bill for the establishment of a director with functions independent of the committee for industrial research is the wiser method. We can discuss that matter in Committee, but I should like to point out that even if the director has an independent status, the control of the finances of the institute will rest firmly in the hands of the industrial research committee.

The funds of the institute will be made up in three different ways. First of all, there will be a grant for the erection of buildings and the provision of equipment. The amount cannot be specified now, because the committee will have to be established and will have to prepare its plans and get an estimate of the cost of the works which it contemplates undertaking and the equipment it requires before a definite sum can be mentioned. When that estimate is received from the committee a Vote of the Dáil, will be required to provide the money. In addition, it will have £15,000 a year, over the expenditure of which it will have absolute discretion. That money will be given to the committee to spend as they think best in the discharge of their functions and it is not required that they should obtain prior sanction from anybody for the use of that money in connection with industrial research or any other matter.

In addition to that £15,000 annual grant, it may get special grants voted by the Dáil to cover the cost of special investigations approved by the Minister for Industry and Commerce. Apart from fees that might come in from private persons, all its finances will be from public funds and all will have to be voted by the Dáil so that the Dáil at all times will be in control of the situation. The scheme of giving an annual subvention of £15,000 ensures that the institute will be able to operate without danger of being tied up in red tape, as Deputy de Valera fears. There are other matters with which I would like to deal, but in view of the time at my disposal I will not do so now.

Question agreed to.

Committee Stage fixed for Tuesday, 9th July.