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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 1 Jun 1949

Vol. 115 No. 17

Committee on Finance. - Vote 55—Industry and Commerce (Resumed).

Speaking last night on this Estimate, I had reached the stage of referring to a matter that had been mentioned in the debate and which I regard as a rather delicate subject, and I do not wish to be misconstrued or misunderstood in any remarks I have so far made on the matter. That was the question of employees' share in the management and profits of industry. I hold that that is rather a delicate subject and that it demands something more than has been suggested. It requires illustration and explanation by the protagonists of that system and if we have not that, no matter how highly inspired the motives underlying it may be, I fear that instead of being an incentive to the revival and expansion of industry it might prove quite the opposite.

I suggest that those on the Labour Benches, trade unionists and others, should go into this matter very minutely, explain it by way of illustration and show to the people the benefits likely to accrue from it. As I said, I have no objection to it at all. On the face of it, it looks a good idea. At the same time, business people are business people, and they might look at it in a very different light. In my opinion, they would require definite proof and assurance that it would be to their benefit, to the benefit of the industry and the benefit of the nation as a whole.

I welcome the Industrial Development Authority if it approaches its job in the proper manner. I believe the line of approach must be a liberal-minded one. If the approach is on the too conservative side and if all the difficulties are first summed up and you look at the possibilities through the spectacles of insurmountable difficulty, I am afraid the authority will not get very far. I have always been interested —as has every Deputy from rural Ireland and, perhaps, all Deputies—in the decentralisation of industry. We all would like to see industry dispersed as widely as possible throughout the country. The medium and small industries would be best suited for many of the towns in rural Ireland, particularly in the West. Great industries have sprung up and advanced from very small beginnings.

When this Industrial Development Authority gets into its stride, I would like to see it getting in touch with the teachers in our vocational schools who are teaching handicraft and trade subjects. In that way, the authority would get some very useful information and suggestions as to the type of industries that might be established in medium and small towns. After all, there was a time, within my own memory, when we had such industries in a small way—such as coachbuilding, harness-making, boot and shoe manufacture and the blacksmith industry. In the blacksmith industry in very small towns, even in my own constituency, there would be anything from 50 to 60 employed. The concentration on big industries and the advance in mechanisation, with the change-over from horse to motor transport, has caused nearly all the employees to become disemployed. Many of them are alive yet and, in fact, they are a problem, as they are a type of unemployed for whom it is very difficult to find suitable employment. That is why I would like to see small industries established, and I feel that the vocational teachers could give very useful information on that point to the Industrial Development Authority.

I do not hold that, by way of relieving unemployment or giving full employment, the Minister—any more than any other Minister—can perform miracles, as the employment problem is a difficult one. The easiest side of it to tackle is the unskilled side. On the skilled side it is quite a different matter. That is another reason why I would like this authority to get in touch with the vocational teachers. Persons who invest money in specialised industries requiring technical training are not anxious to give preference to workers who have reached, say, 25 years of age. Preference will be given, in the main, to those from 17 to 25, as people hold they have a clear brain and an active mind and become adapted more easily to the operation of machinery. That will be a growing problem all the time, and provision will have to be made for taking these people into other employment as soon as they become unemployed. The other classes of unemployed could be dealt with in another way. Everything possible should be done to tackle the whole question in its varied aspects in the manner best suited to each.

I believe the Minister is anxious that industry expand and be fostered. My one charge against the present Government in this respect is that, when they took office, a number of them were old, staid, set politicians, who did not take over with the open mind of a school teacher towards his teaching. I thought they would at least continue to operate the very useful schemes initiated by the previous Government. That would show far greater statesmanship than what has happened. It cannot be denied by anybody that, during the first year of this Government, the keynotes were, as far as industries established by Fianna Fáil were concerned, to curtail, abandon and abolish. It would have been much better for the Government itself and for the country if, instead of curtailment, abandonment and demolition, the keynotes had been expansion, protection and improvement.

When speaking on this Estimate last year, I made the suggestion that an important Department like the Department of Industry and Commerce cannot be successfully run, no matter how competent or efficient the Minister is, if he has to devote his time to the day-to-day details of the various matters that come within the responsibility of his Department. Every Deputy will agree that the responsibilities of a Minister for Industry and Commerce are very grave. It was my impression that if there was a reorganisation of the Department and if we had in the Department one or more additional Parliamentary Secretaries to handle the day-to-day routine responsibilities, it would leave the Minister free for the larger duty of planning in a big way. Looking at the work of the Minister during the past year, I have been amazed by the way in which he has been able to deal with all these problems himself. The Minister has one Parliamentary Secretary, a very efficient Parliamentary Secretary. It is the experience of the general public and of Deputies who have to come in contact with him, that he is courteous, efficient, competent and capable and if, in addition to Deputy Cosgrave as Parliamentary Secretary, the Minister had one or two Parliamentary Secretaries of that calibre, it would lead to very substantial improvement in the running of the Department.

Not only has the Minister to deal with the day-to-day routine of his Department, but he has to deal with many other matters, and it amazes me how the Minister can find the time to attend all these public functions he attends, how his constitution can stand up to all the dinners he has to eat and how he can possibly stand up to the strain of preparing all the speeches he has to deliver at these functions. It is impossible for us as a Parliament to expect any one person to carry that tremendous responsibility, and, although I am not entitled on an Estimate to advocate legislation—and I do not intend to do so—I say that much legislation is needed, and if we are to swamp the Minister with all this day-to-day routine it is impossible for him to find time to consider the preparation of the legislation which each and every one of us knows is necessary if the Department is to serve its proper purpose.

The Minister not only has the responsibility of developing Irish industry and providing for employment in Irish Industry, but he has responsibility in regard to the cost of living, which is a very heavy responsibility. He has responsibility in regard to Córas Iompair Éireann and for our whole transport service, by road, air and sea, and, that being so, I again make the suggestion for consideration by the Government that this reorganisation I mention should be put in hands right away. The difference between the Minister and his predecessor is that Deputy Lemass, when he took over the responsibility of the Department 17 years ago, started to build up gradually and over the years, and naturally in the period of 16 years during which he was Minister he handled these problems and these developments right from their infancy. The position is entirely different with any new Minister who has to take responsibility for a Department such as this, because he must make himself familiar with all the legislation, all the rules and all the machinery of the Department, and it is because I believe that no one individual can carry that responsibility that I make the suggestion I have made.

Figures have been given by the Minister which would indicate an increase in industrial employment during the past 12 months, but every city Deputy knows that, in the City of Dublin, there are thousands of boys who have finished their schooling, of 16, 17, 18 or 19 years of age, for whom it is impossible to find employment. That is a serious problem confronting each and every one of us. This particular Department is the Department that carries the responsibility for endeavouring to establish industries and to enlarge or improve existing industries so as to provide employment for those young boys. It is regrettable to see day after day mothers and fathers of those young boys being forced into the position of agreeing that they must emigrate, to take service in British industry or in the British armed forces. The loss of those fine young boys, that splendid material, is a very serious loss to the country, and each and every one of us should be devoting his talents, ability and energies towards finding ways and means of providing employment for those young men at home.

I think it is a pity that we could not have a few more Government Deputies to hear the Deputy who is so fond of calling for a House.

It is an unfortunate thing that when one endeavours to deal in a serious manner with problems such as this we have an interruption of the type I have just had.

There is not a quorum in the House.

There is not a quorum. The Deputy informs me that that is what he meant, although it was not put formally. My attention has been drawn to the fact that there is not a quorum.

I did not understand that.

I did not, at first.

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

If I had known that the Deputy was drawing attention to the fact that there was not a quorum I would have made no comment because I do think that we are failing in our responsibilities as Deputies if we cannot provide the small quorum of 20 out of 147 during the progress of a debate such as this.

I was dealing with the problem of unemployment and the responsibility that rests on each and every one of us to try to solve it. I can see no hope of a solution of that problem if we are to jog along in the way we have been jogging along for a number of years. Some step must be taken, and it can only be taken by the Government, to deal with the problem. It is very little use to be able to say that according to the records there has been a slight improvement in industrial employment when we know that there are thousands of young people unable to find employment in the country. That responsibility to a large extent rests on the Minister for Industry and Commerce but it is unfair for the Government and Parliament to expect the Minister to solve the problem when we compel him to work probably 16 hours a day administering his Department and dealing with the day to day routine of that Department. That drives me back to my original point, which I repeat as a recommendation to the Government, that there must be a reorganisation of the Department if the Department is to fulfil its principal function.

Deputy Larkin and Deputy Connolly mentioned the matter of a comprehensive plan. A comprehensive plan is necessary and unless there is some plan, not simply drawn up as a plan, but drawn up for the purpose of being implemented and put into operation, I can see no hope of this problem being solved in the lifetime of this Parliament and I am anxious that it should be solved in the lifetime of this Parliament. I am anxious that effective steps towards its solution should be taken in the lifetime of this Parliament. That is, in so far as employment is concerned.

The next problem that faces the city Deputy is the problem of the cost of living. I think that all that can be said in regard to the cost of living is that it has been stabilised, that since the inter-Party Government was formed the cost of living has not been permitted to increase. That will be accepted by every reasonable and fair-minded individual. But, we were sent here to do something more than that. Although I agree that stabilisation was necessary as a preliminary step, we were sent here deliberately by the people to reduce the cost of living.

I realise that the reduction of the cost of living is a very serious problem and requires very detailed examination of all the factors that enter into the costs which the consumer has to pay for all the goods he uses. When I see what the producer gets, and when I compare that with what the consumer has to pay, it seems clear that between the producer and the consumer exorbitant profits are being made by somebody. It is the duty and the responsibility of the Minister's Department to examine that intermediate stage between the producer and the consumer and to eliminate, where possible and where necessary, unnecessary profits that are being made by distributors. If we can see to it that there is a rationalised system of distribution, and that the profits permitted in distribution are fair and reasonable only, we must reduce the cost of living. But there is tremendous waste and that is evident without going outside the City of Dublin.

I think the Minister adverted to this waste on the occasion when he referred to the cost and the expense involved in advertising. I can see in my own area of Dublin, and right through the city, enormous waste, that affects the cost of living, in regard to milk and in regard to other commodities. Several milk companies compete with one another to supply milk to the people living on the road I live on. If there were a rational system of distribution one milk-distributing firm would distribute milk in one area. We would not then have the position that five or six or seven different vehicles belonging to different companies—each selling milk of the same kind—move around on that road in competition with one another. I make that suggestion to the Minister without going into the subject of bread. We read advertisements: "Change over to this" or "Change over to that". All bread made in this city is good. It is made under the very best conditions, which are subject to inspection. Similarly in regard to our dairies. Our milk is produced for final distribution in those dairies under the very best conditions and there should be no reason why these firms producing bread or milk or other essentials should be engaged in a cut-throat competition that has to be paid for by the consumer in the long run. I make that suggestion to the Minister as a practical suggestion by which the cost of living can be reduced.

This debate has lasted a long time. There have been several contributions to it and there have been several contributions that have been in no way helpful. There have been attempts made to score points. I heard one Deputy saying that milk consumption was drying up—that we were able to consume less milk in Dublin than we were able to consume some years ago and that there was no market for milk in Dublin because, I think, 90,000 people had emigrated from the city.

What are the facts? The facts were given by the Minister for Agriculture in this House no later than last week when he said that the consumption of milk in Dublin had gone up from 40,000 to 50,000 gallons a day. If those figures which the Minister for Agriculture gave us are correct, then the Deputy who said, on this Estimate, that the whole milk business was falling to bits was entirely wrong. It is a good point, probably, to make against the Minister and to make against the Government, but, from the broad general point of view of the public interest, contributions of that kind are not helpful.

I listened to Deputy Briscoe yesterday. He made a speech that was intended to be mischievous. He dealt with, or tried to deal with, the difference of outlook which exists between the Labour Party here and members of the Fine Gael Party. Everybody knows that there is a difference between the Labour Party and some members of the Fine Gael Party. But there is, in fact, the same difference of outlook on the Fianna Fáil Benches. We have some members of the Fianna Fáil Party who are progressive in outlook and we have some members who are reactionary. That proves nothing. As has been stated, this inter-Party Government is an experiment—and a very necessary experiment—because we had, unfortunately, got into the position in this country that people were being drugged into the idea that there could be only one Government in this country and it was necessary in the public interest that that drug should be expelled from the whole political system. That is the explanation of the inter-Party Government. There are different views on this side of the House—there is no doubt whatever about that—but every effort is being made by those people with those conflicting views to harmonise them in the public interest and that is what is being done.

Hear, hear!

Those of us who have participated as candidates in elections for a period know very well that when we were endeavouring to get votes and to put our cases logically and as best we could we were beaten by a machine that could go out to the unfortunate person who was in receipt of unemployment assistance and tell that person that if he dared to vote for other than the Fianna Fáil candidate the unemployment assistance would be withdrawn. Every Deputy on this side of the House knows that we had to face that, and down in Cavan——

Will the Deputy give his grounds for that statement? We have already questioned another Deputy on the Government side of the House but we could not get an answer.

It is public knowledge.

I will stand over the statement——

Prove it.

——and I am not saying it now in this House for the first time.

More slander.

I have stated it many times before. Not only was that the case in regard to unemployment assistance, but the old age pensioner and the person in receipt of the widows' pension were visited at night —each and every one of them—and told that if they did not vote in a particular way they would lose those benefits. It was necessary to form this inter-Party Government to show those people——

Give us the proof.

——that they had rights and that those rights were superior to political Parties or political leaders.


That was the poison that had to be expelled from the body politic. When it is expelled, the Parties that have come together on this side of the House will take their own directions in their own time, in their own interest and in the interest of the public. But we will have made sure, in the meantime, that that pernicious system that had been developed over a period of 16 years will never be permitted to raise its head again in this country. So let nobody talk about the differences of opinion that exist between us. There are differences— substantial differences—and let nobody fool himself that there are not differences——

Thanks be to God for that.

There are differences and substantial differences, and I am glad, in the interests of the people, that there are those differences. But I think it is a good thing from the point of view of the general public that you can find groups of individuals with substantial differences between them coming together and administering the affairs of the country in the public interest and for the public good.

The debate on this Estimate and the debate on the Estimates before it have, taken up a very large part of Parliamentary time. While the Government take the line that it is the right of every Deputy to discuss and criticise Estimates, that we can spend months and months discussing these Estimates if we want to, I suggest that we are losing valuable time by the tactics which are being adopted. There is a very big legislative programme facing the Dáil. The Party opposite, however, has made up its mind that it is going to debate ad nauseam every particular Estimate. What will the result be? That we shall be adjourning at the end of July and we shall have done nothing. Are we doing the right thing? Is that what we were sent here for—to waste Parliamentary time and do nothing?

My complaint against the Government is that they have not produced all the Bills that are on the stocks waiting to be introduced. They ought to introduce them. It takes very little time to get a First Reading and let the people know the legislative programme which is being held up by these long-winded discussions on the Estimates. In another Parliament a certain number of days is given to the Estimates by agreement. Whatever can be discussed within that time is discussed and at the end of the time the Estimates are passed and the time is left for the work a Parliament should do—the passing into law of the legislation necessary for the public good. It may be good political tactics for Fianna Fáil—I do not know. I have seen political tactics carried out here for the past year which have been a failure. I have seen tactics which were led by Deputy MacEntee in his attacks on each of the individual Parties who comprise the inter-Party Government—Parties that have different outlooks.

I think the Deputy might come to the Estimate before the House.

I am dealing with it as best I can.

I do not see what Deputy MacEntee said on another occasion has to do with this Estimate.

This is a lecture on procedure.

I am dealing with what seems to me a very important matter and that is the length of time devoted to the discussion of the Estimates in general and to this particular Estimate.

You are one of the worst offenders.

Not yet. I have not got the record yet.

What about Deputy Burke?

I am not concerned about that. I will not go into the matter in detail. That will be a relief to the Party opposite. Suffice it to say that these long speeches, which are a repetition of the speeches that have gone before, in criticism of the Minister are a waste of Parliamentary time because when we, by a majority, passed the Budget we accepted the Estimates on which that Budget was passed in principle. Having done that, it has been a waste of Parliamentary time to have had the long discussions we have had on them. However, that is a matter with which I have no power to deal. If the Opposition want to obstruct the business of the Government, they have the power to do so, because this is a democratic country in which they have the right so to act.

In discussing the Estimate I dealt with three matters only which I consider to be of importance. There are many other matters in the Estimate which have been dealt with by other Deputies and I have no intention of repeating what has been said in regard to these matters. I believe, however, that the Minister, subjected as he is to the limitations I mentioned, has worked very hard in his Department, and done valuable work. But the work would have been more valuable, would have more lasting effect and would be more beneficial to the country if the Minister were free from all these administrative details and could be in a position to plan in a big way. It would be better for the country if, instead of wasting time on trivialities here, we were discussing those big plans in a big way.

Reference was made by Deputy Larkin, Deputy Connolly and other Deputies to the speech made by the Minister in Sligo. I gather from the Minister that he will explain that statement when replying. It was a statement that the unemployed are not anxious to work. That was an unfortunate statement for the Minister to make. When the old age pensions scheme first started it was condemned by a number of people who said it was giving away money for nothing and that was not right. The same thing happened when the unemployment insurance scheme was brought in. Unemployment insurance is something to which a worker contributes in the same way as to any other insurance. He contributes his share to the fund and is paid benefit when he becomes unemployed. There is nothing wrong ment; when a person became unemployed and his benefit on the stamps ran out, unemployment assistance was provided. As each of those improvements came along we had people of reactionary mind saying: "These things are bad. Why should a man work when he is getting a few shillings? Why should he work when he is getting the dole?" I am perfectly certain that the Minister, being, as I am sure he always has been and still is, a friend of the workers in his own constituency and elsewhere, never intended those words of his to be taken as a condemnation of unemployment insurance or of unemployment assistance.

I did not.

I accept that. I am perfectly satisfied the Minister never intended that. It has been stated over and over again through the country that people will not work while they are in receipt of certain benefits or allowances. I want to say that I never found that to be so. Where you have a young person physically fit and able to work he wants to work. He much prefers to work and earn a livelihood than draw a dole or an allowance that is insufficient to keep his body and soul together. If the problem is examined as to the number of people who are offered employment and who refuse to accept the employment it will be found that those numbers are very small. It was regrettable that the Minister's statement gave courage and hope to many enemies of the ordinary people who hate to see the facilities, inadequate as they are, that are in operation at the moment for the benefit of those people. I am glad to know that the Minister, in his reply, is going to explain that and I am perfectly certain that when he does so, the explanation will support the views that have been expressed here on this particular section of the Government Benches in regard to that problem.

I would appeal to every Deputy in the House when dealing with this Estimate to endeavour to do so on the lines that I have endeavoured to deal with it——

The Ceann Comhairle would not let us do that.

——in a constructive way. If Deputies will only do that and give up this hen-pecking business that we have had experience of for so many days, it will be all the better for our Parliamentary institutions, and I would say it would be all the better for the country as a whole.

This Estimate is perhaps one of the most important of those that come to be discussed in this House. It is, perhaps, only second, if it is second, to that of the Estimate for the Department of Agriculture. For that reason I feel sure that the Minister himself would subscribe to the statement that it is desirable that every Deputy in this House who has any views on the question of industry and commerce should put these views before the House. I am not going to take Deputy Cowan's advice to follow on the lines which he has taken because I am sure that you would rule me out of order in certain aspects of the discussion if I were to do so.

The Deputy refers to what Deputy Cowan wanted to discuss and was not allowed to pursue.

Well, he pursued it, with all due respect.

That is a reflection on the Chair.

I think it should be ruled out of order.

That is for me to decide.

What I should like to say in regard to the Estimate is that it is an important one and that the views of every section of the House should be given. When Deputy Cowan has spoken here for the best part of half an hour he then accuses the Opposition of being long-winded and does his little best to more or less suggest that we are wasting time and that he is not. I am not suggesting that Deputy Cowan wasted the time of this House. I do not think any Deputy who gets up here and gives his honest views can be accused of wasting the time of the House. If Deputy Cowan had a little more experience of the conduct of the affairs of this House and the attitude generally of the official Opposition in the House he would realise—and he can still realise if he is prepared to go to the trouble of perusing the official Dáil Debates—that the Opposition of the period from 1932 to 1947 wasted, as he described it, the time of the House to a considerably greater extent than the Opposition of to-day.

What has this discussion got to do with this Estimate?

Nothing, except to reply to what Deputy Cowan says.

That is another exhibition of the attempt to stifle the Opposition in replying to members of the Deputy's own group.

You do not have to stifle in order to kill.

I only wish to point out to the House that as far as the Opposition is concerned they are not deliberately wasting the time of this House.

What is the Deputy doing now?

We are criticising in a way that the members of the Government Party do not appear to like. It is our duty to do so and because we feel it to be our duty we are going to exercise our rights to criticise.

An extraordinary thing happened here to-day in respect to a question which was tabled by Deputy Con Lehane. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry and Commerce, in reply to a supplementary question put by the Deputy, said that there was no shortage of labour for essential building. The Minister, in the course of his own statement, said the main limiting factor in the building industry is the shortage of skilled workers. One or the other of these gentlemen is correct, and I am prepared to believe that the Minister is correct because otherwise I feel sure that a greater effort would be put into the construction and the provision of houses for the workers of this city. But, however that may be, the workers are not there, and they are not there because there was no employment for them in the early part of 1947. That, in my opinion, was, in the main, due to the fact that licences for essential building work were not forthcoming, and, naturally, these skilled workers, when they could not secure employment, emigrated.

The Parliamentary Secretary, in the course of his reply to a question to-day, did say that there was work here for any of those men who returned. I think it was on Saturday last that I read in the evening papers a letter which purported to have come from a skilled worker. He suggested that he had returned here from England, where he had been gainfully employed, and that he had returned because of the fact that he had been informed there was plenty of work here for men of his craft. He stated, I think, that he was now back five weeks, and had still failed to find employment. He said that was poor encouragement for his fellow-workers, who were in England, to return here. I do not know if the Minister responsible for housing could make these licences available. If he could, it would, of course, greatly aid the Minister for Industry and Commerce in reducing the considerable number of unemployed which still exists.

Deputy Cowan was preening himself more or less on the fact that the cost of living here had at last been stabilised. But that is not what the Parties on the opposite side promised the people. Every single section of them promised to reduce the cost of living by a considerable percentage. One of the bids went to the extent of something like 30 per cent. However that may be, Deputy Cowan is a very much wiser man to-day. He is now inclined to do a little bit of bragging on the fact that the cost of living has been stabilised. He was a member of the Party which promised to end emigration which was bleeding this country white. I am sure that to-day he is a sadder and a wiser man with regard to the position which exists in relation to emigration. Emigration has not been brought to an end, as the public were promised it would be by reason of the employment which these gentlemen proposed they would procure for the unemployed. So that we have that problem still. The Minister himself on one occasion made the statement in this House that it was a problem which could be solved in 24 hours. I have no doubt that he may have believed that at the time he made the statement by reason of the fact that he had not the experience which he has since gained during his period in office. That may be all to the good. It probably means that we will have a much better informed Dáil in the future as a result of the experience gained by the members of the Government while in office.

Deputy Cowan also deplored the fact that boys in this city are unable to secure employment, that they are more or less running wild through the streets of the city, and that parents were caused considerable pain because of their failure to fix those boys in some kind of employment. I would like to remind the Deputy that the former Government did something—I am not going to describe it as a remedy—to try and meet that particular statement of his. At any rate, it was an effort to try and do something to deal with the situation which existed in regard to these boys. I refer to the establishment of the Construction Corps. As most Deputies will remember, it aimed at taking these boys off the streets and of teaching them, as far as it was possible to teach them, a craft, or to give them the skill which it is necessary for a skilled labourer to possess. As a result of the establishment of that corps, quite a large number of these boys, taken away from the dangers which existed on the streets, were trained and disciplined. The teaching of discipline is a very necessary asset for every boy. They were disciplined and, generally, they were made better citizens than they otherwise would be. I am quite prepared to admit that that was not the work of the Army, and if the Minister for Defence conceived it to be his duty to disestablish the Construction Corps by reason of the fact that it was not a unit of the Army, he was perfectly entitled to do so. I mention that by way of suggesting, in reply to the remarks of Deputy Cowan, that perhaps the Minister might consider the possibility of taking over that idea, and that some means might be devised whereby these boys could be given the same type of training as that which was given to the boys who were in the Construction Corps. That is a matter that might be taken up either by the Minister's Department or the Department of Education.

I am now going to refer to a matter that I know is not in the Estimate. I am aware of the fact that the Minister, in reply to a suggestion by Deputy Lemass about Córas Iompair Eireann, said that the work on the station in Store Street had not ceased. The impression that I have from passing that building every day in the week and sometimes twice a day, is that all work on the building has ceased. There may, of course, be a good reason for that.

Perhaps I might explain to the Deputy. The position there, I am informed, is this—the Deputy will appreciate that there are several contracts for different parts of the work—that the main contractors have finished their job. At the moment they are just finishing up prior to the other contractors taking over and continuing with their part of the work. There is no question, however, of instructions being given by anybody that the contract for the building is not to go on.

I am very glad to hear that. I am sure the Minister himself would be the first to realise that the unfortunate people who come mainly from the country deserve better treatment than they are getting at the moment. We all know that they have to stand on the southern quays in what is perhaps one of the draughtiest parts of the city. I am glad to see also that the Minister is going into the question of industrial research. I think that is highly desirable work to undertake. It is work which, I believe, will eventually pay dividends, because if the industries of this country are ever to prosper and reach their full 100 per cent. productive capacity, we must, as far as possible, make our own raw materials available for them. I believe the industrial research which is now taking place will produce quite a number of ingredients which will go a long way towards providing raw materials for some of our industries.

I am glad to see that the Minister is going ahead with the protection of the industries which are established here. There is no doubt that those industries, even though they have been established for a decade or more, will need help, every little bit of help the Government can give, to ensure that they will eventually reach the standard reached by similar industries in other countries. It is only by that type of benevolent protection that that can be secured.

I am not too happy about this industrial authority that is being established here. If the Minister has confidence in it, I suppose that is all that counts at the moment. As long as that industrial authority is not used as a buffer by the Minister, I shall be perfectly satisfied. I hope it will do more than merely recommend that an industry should be placed here and an industry should be placed there. The policy of the former Government was to decentralise as far as possible the various industries as they were being established. If proof of that were needed it can be seen by any person travelling throughout the country. Not only are they scattered widely, but they have been established on what would appear to be a pretty firm basis.

The Minister mentioned that he was, in a limited way, going to end quotas. I think that would be a very desirable thing. It may be that in certain industries quotas will have to be continued, but in the main I think the Minister would be well advised if he set his mind as far as possible against the influx of large quantities of industrial goods.

There were also remarks by the Minister with reference to a prejudice against Irish industry. That is of very long standing and it is something the industry itself will wear down. It can do it by the production of goods of a quality which will at least equal if it does not exceed the quality of those coming in. I have no reason to doubt that our industrialists are capable of producing goods the equal, if not the superior, of any that come into the country.

I am also glad that the Minister is about to carry out experiments in relation to turf. The potentials which exist in regard to turf are to a large extent unknown, but it is quite possible, if the scientific people who will undertake research work in regard to the different classes of things which can be secured from turf are successful, that they will be able to provide to a large extent a lot of the raw material required by many of our industries.

There are undoubtedly a number of matters which arise on this Estimate that require serious consideration and, while I must admit a number of Deputies approached the Estimate in a constructive way, I should like to say to other Deputies, sitting on both sides of the House, that it is no longer political propaganda that is wanted, but planning and imagination. We should have before us an ideal of the country we want to make and a passionate desire so to make it. If we contemplate a little more on this Estimate and what it means to our people, we will do much better for the country.

I want to deal, first of all, with unemployment in the woollen industry. We stand for the necessary protection for all our industries from unfair competition, foreign or otherwise. In standing for that, I should like to see more co-operation from the manufacturers, and a desire to make a 100 per cent job of Irish industry.

I should like to know from the Minister if it is true that of the 12,000,000 yards of cloth required for this country in 1948, there were only 5,445,000 yards produced by Irish manufacturers, and that left upwards of 8,500,000 yards of imported material. I also know that our blanket requirements can be supplied by all the mills in this country. These are situated throughout the country areas, they give very useful employment and it means the decentralisation of industry, as some Deputies have rightly said. I am informed by persons engaged in that industry that in 1936 there were 6,000 pairs of blankets imported and in 1947-48 there were over 70,000 pairs imported. That means that employment of a permanent nature is no longer possible in that industry. I should like to know if it is true that in 1947 there were 8,557,000 yards of cloth imported and in 1948 6,349,000 yards imported. If that is so, and I am inclined to believe it is, that means that the woollen and worsted industry is not sufficiently developed to meet the requirements of our people. My reasoning is that it has never been developed sufficiently to meet the requirements of our people and the industry is able to cater for only 45 per cent. of the nation's requirements, which means that 55 per cent. has to be imported. I want to impress upon the Minister that if that industry were developed to such an extent as to enable it to cater for the requirements of our own people at least the number employed at the present time could be doubled. I am informed that at the moment a good deal of cloth is being exported. That is a very important development, but I would like the Minister to ensure that those directing this industry have not divided interests. Our aim should be to make a decent job of our industries one by one. We should develop them 100 per cent. and give employment to our people. I am not satisfied that some of those in charge of our industries have not divided interests.

With regard to shipping, what control is exercised over our shipping? Who is engaged in looking after our ships and our export and import trade? We have a population of 2,900,000. One-third of that number reside in Munster. Surely the people in Munster should get a reasonable percentage of cargoes coming in or being sent out of the country through their own ports in the South. In Munster we own at least one-third of the cattle population. We own 40 per cent of the horses. What do we find with regard to trading in cattle and horses? In the year 1947, 233, 144 cattle were exported from Dublin; 41,415 were exported from Cork; Dublin exported 11,542 horses and Cork 1,584. With regard to general cargoes, in 1947, 26,808 tons of oranges were imported through Dublin, while 109 tons were imported through Cork. With regard to wheat, 22,361 tons were imported through Cork, while 106,562 tons were imported through Dublin. We come then to sugar; 1,556 tons of sugar were imported through Cork and 19,763 tons through Dublin. The people of Munster consume a good deal of tea, but only 1,919 tons of tea were imported through Cork, while 12,201 tons were imported through Dublin. There were only 2,768 tons of paper imported through Cork, while 21,744 tons were imported through Dublin. Altogether there were 290,880 tons more cargo imported through Dublin as compared with Cork. The people have to pay the extra cost of transport on these different commodities. Yesterday it was remarked that I was appreciative of what was done about shipping by the last Government, but nothing was done until the Government was forced by events to do it. If the Minister will look up the files in his Department he will see there correspondence from people in Cork back in 1941 and 1942 pressing for a revival of shipping through the port of Cork. I remember on one occasion, between 1938 and 1943, when in one year alone Cork merchants paid in freight as much as would have bought 40 ships. Complaint was made about that at the time, but no heed was given to that complaint. I am inclined to believe— I say this out of no spirit of vindictiveness—that the present situation is due to the fact that advice is taken from vested interests rather than from those who are interested in the country as a whole. I think the Minister should safeguard against that in the future. If he wants advice in connection with industry he should take that advice from those who have the interests of the country at heart and who have a proper sense of patriotism.

I endorse all that has been said about the need for increasing our shipping. At the end of the war Norway had 2,700,000 tons of shipping. That has now increased to 4,800,000 tons, and 2,000,000 tons are in course of construction at the moment. I do not know if we have even reached the million mark. A question was asked to-day about the percentage of goods carried in Irish ships. There, again, I am anxious that the Minister should take a hand and make someone responsible to this House for the development of that important industry and its subsequent direction and control.

With regard to our mineral resources, I think nobody can have any doubts as to what our views are. A good deal of unfair propaganda has been spread in an endeavour to make it appear as if the present Government is not interested in our mineral resources. I think mineral resources are something upon which the Minister should concentrate. As far back as 1918 there was a large export through the port of Cork of barytes from a mine in West Cork. When our own Government was formed I presume that vested interests closed down that mine. A rather strange development has taken place in recent months. A Hungarian is now shipping barytes from West Cork. It is odd that we should wait until a Hungarian comes along to do that. I do not think our disinclination is entirely due to fear of investing in such an industry. I think it is due more to the fact that we have not got effective Government control to ensure that these important industries are developed with State help and State supervision.

There has been a good deal of discussion here about the necessity for increased output. I think it was Deputy Briscoe who said that there was an implied threat to the industrialists in the suggestion that there should be part ownership by the workers and some share in the management of these industries. I have long thought and believed that the workers invest all they have got to invest. They invest their bodies, their brains, their skill and their experience and their labour is as necessary to industry as capital is. Surely they have a right to part ownership, control and a share in the management of such industries. The sooner we think along these lines the better it will be. Our present economic system is fraught with contention and strife. The reason for that is because the worker is not treated as he should be. I am satisfied that the workers would respond satisfactorily if they were given some share in responsibility. At the present moment the worker feels that he has no status. Speakers on the Fianna Fáil Benches talk as if the industrialists were alarmed and shocked and as if they had no guarantee and no security. If anybody takes the trouble to analyse the position of the industrialists in this country for a number of years back he will find very quickly that they are well looked after.

In 1938, for instance, 284 concerns were making a profit of over £2,000 a year. In 1947-48 that number had risen to 908. If anyone compares the figures of those liable to surtax in the years 1935 to 1937 and in the year 1944-45 he will find that 1,169 were added to that number. In other words, we created 1,169 new rich. If these people have any worries I cannot understand why Deputies should take the extreme step of trying to ventilate them here. Do not forget that the workers have grievances. The sooner we appreciate the fact that the worker is entitled to a proper status in industry the sooner we shall have industrial peace.

I should like to mention as another important matter the development of our slate quarries. I remember we started an agitation some years ago for the purpose of ensuring that corporation houses in Cork should be roofed with slates. We have slate quarries in West Cork, in Killaloe and various other places throughout the country. Subsequently we got expert advice in regard to the Cork houses. The expert advice prevailed and, as a result, I do not know that there is 1 per cent. of the houses built by Cork Corporation roofed with slates produced in this country. I made some inquiries in regard to the destination of the output of the Killaloe quarry and I discovered that the best customers of that quarry for small slates were the Glasgow Corporation. These are matters which would indicate that we are allowing a group of men in this country to dominate our industrial policy and the result is that we have no decent industrial development. I am glad to see this new body set up. I hope it will be an independent body and that they will set themselves to the task of seeing that industrial development is carried on in this country in the best interests of the people as a whole.

I am informed that there are certain people manufacturing goods in this country who have to pay royalties to English combines on the goods which they produce. The sooner we get down to these things and eliminate such interference with industrial development the sooner we shall develop our industrial arm from an Irish standpoint. Deputy Briscoe last night said he did not think anybody could advocate that workers should have a say in the management of industry. I am at a loss to understand how any man in this House can consistently advocate political democracy if he is not prepared to advocate the same principles on the industrial side. I think any other attitude would be quite inconsistent. The democratic principle of industrial development is that the great mass of the workers should have a say in the industry in which they are employed. I should like to see the Minister get around him a group of men who are not so much interested in the profits of industry, as many of them are, but men who have a sense of patriotism, a sense of justice in their hearts and souls, who feel that they have a duty for the common good rather than towards the privileged few. If there is anything for which I had to criticise the Deputies now in opposition during the 16 years when they had control of the Government it was the fact that they took too much dictation from those people who were interested in the privileged few rather than the Irish people as a whole. If the Minister is not going to teach these people he will have no one more critical of his policy than I shall be. I believe the Irish people want more consideration and are entitled to more consideration than they have got in the past from these people.

We hear a lot about the expansion of industry in this country, but I do not want to see such an expansion confined to petty industries employing little groups of girls here and there whilst the manhood of the country must emigrate. We must try to develop big, heavy industries such as the steel industry. If we are going to make any real industrial progress we must have such heavy industries to provide the raw materials for smaller subsidiary industries. The people of Ireland want changes, bold changes and carefully planned changes in the economy of the country. So far as the working class are concerned, any Party which is prepared to initiate these changes will get 100 per cent. support from them any time they want it.

Bhíos ag éisteacht leis an Teachta Peadar Ó Cabháin ag déanamh an dlí ar modh díospóireachta sa Tigh seo. Bhí sé ag cur síos ar an gcaoi is fearr chun cainte agus ag rá freisin nach raibh ag lucht Fianna Fáil ach oráidí fada gaothmhara agus go rabhadar ag cur fuadar faoi obair na Tí. Ó tháinig an duine uasal seo isteach sa Tigh seo, labhair sé níos faide agus níos minice ar gach ábhar ná aon Teachta eile san am sin.

An bhfuil an Teachta in ordú?

Bhí cead ag an Teachta Ó Cabháin a labhairt.

Tá a fhios agam, ach tá cead agam freisin freagra a thabhairt air-san, agus deirim go bhfuil anáil fhada, fhada, ag an Teachta sin agus go bhfuil teanga glic láidir aige, agus gur chuir sé isteach ar gach meastacháin agus ar gach Bille a tháinig os comhair na Tí ó tháinig sé isteach agus nach bhfuil ceart aige clocha a chaitheamh ó thigh gloine. I really rise in this debate to deal with a subject with which I am fairly familiar and to reply to the contribution made by Deputy M.J. O'Higgins to this debate wherein he referred to the Minister's dealing with the butchers. As reported in Volume 115, No. 15, column 2113, of the Dáil Debates, Deputy O'Higgins said, dealing with this question:—

"I am going to talk about sheep and beef in my own way. At any rate, there were a great number of Parliamentary Questions asked by Fianna Fáil Deputies regarding the Minister's attitude towards butchers. It was not until the Minister put it bluntly to the Deputies opposite what their position was and did they want to see the price going down for the farmers or did they want to see the price of meat raised on the consumers in Dublin, that those very Deputies decided that possibly the best thing they could do would be to revert to the tactics they employed when they were supporting their own Government and so they remained silent."

I contend that no section of the community should be controlled to such an extent that they lose, month after month, in their particular business and are driven to the point of bankruptcy in order to keep down the cost of living. That has been the fate of the butchers under this Ministry. Let me state certain facts. Under the previous Government, retail prices for meat were fixed in November, 1947, when the average price for cattle on the Dublin market was 82/10 per cwt. live weight.

Deputy O'Higgins, as reported in the same volume, also at column 2113, said:—

"These people made no secret to any Deputy on this side of the House of the fact that they had met Deputy Lemass prior to the general election which resulted in Fianna Fáil Deputies occupying the benches on the opposite side and he had promised them an increase, but told them it would not be convenient for him to announce it for the present. It was because that promise was given to them by Deputy Lemass that the present Minister felt that he had to honour it and an increase of, I think, 1d. per lb. was given shortly after the present Minister took office.

The butchers certainly were not content with that. They overlooked the fact that they were not now dealing with Deputy Lemass and I think, inside a fortnight or so, they were back looking for more. After months of effort, and supported in the manner I have indicated by Fianna Fáil Deputies, eventually they decided that they were dealing with a different kind of proposition and a new Minister, and they were not going to get the increase in the price of meat. They realised that this Minister conceived it to be one of his duties to protect the interests of the consumers in Dublin and throughout the country."

Deputy Lemass was approached all right at the time of the general election, but he could not deal with them. His successors dealt with them and in March, 1948, 1d. per lb. was allowed in the price of meat because the price of meat had gone up to 88/10 per cwt. The price of meat to-day, however, averages 103/- a cwt. and in the 12 months up to last April it has averaged 95/- a cwt. It is a case of who will survive now, and the weakest will come to the wall. I contend that this association is entitled to justice. They have shown and can show that they are losing week after week, particularly at this time of the year. I make their case here and Deputies of every Party on the opposite benches know that they are entitled to consideration.

A lawyer, a solicitor, is not asked to reduce his fees by half and neither is any other professional man. Neither is the trade unionist working for the butcher asked to reduce his wages nor the butcher's help nor the landlord nor the supplier of light or water. These particular people have their backs to the wall and, whether it is a case of increasing the cost of living by a point or not, they have justice on their side and need fair play. I ask for reconsideration of the whole matter. I know the trade inside out. I belong to that trade myself and my people for three generations and I know that at present it is a case of the survival of the man with the longest purse. Since the Minister's agreement in March, 1948, the price of cattle has gone up by 15/-a cwt. live weight and any Deputy can compute how much per lb. that is as you can double that for dead weight. These people have a case if they are not to close up and cease business.

Of course you can have nationalisation of that industry. Nationalisation is in the air. I am not all out for nationalisation. I think there is too much of it in this State. Córas Iompair Éireann and the position it is in is being thrown at this Party and we are given to believe that the present Government are for the nationalisation of the railways. I would ask the House to examine the countries where the railways are nationalised and see do they pay. Even in countries where private enterprise is in operation and where road transport is not restricted are any railways paying? It will be found that they are not but that there are huge losses. If the Government have a nationalisation programme they will have to bring in a big subsidy each year to pay the deficit on railway transport unless there is complete restriction of road transport. We have too much nationalisation altogether, of water power, turf and fuel production. We are a threequarters Socialist State.

I am not one of those who stand for doing away with the profit motive. I stand for the profit motive. The greatest incentive to industry is a right and fair profit. I do not believe in the system of going into every shop and pegging a man and nationalising it to the glory of the State, and for its greater advantage, making everybody slaves, State slaves.

Who has agitated for that?

That advocacy is there always. There are more ways of choking a dog than with butter.

The Deputy has talked about the woollen industry and I am with him on that. We should not send our wool across the water to get it back in the shape of yarn. The industry should be developed here from the shearing, the combing and scouring to the manufacture of the yarn. We should not send it to Yorkshire and get it back for the final process of manufacture. I know a little about this, because I buy a small amount of wool in my own area and generations before me have bought it. When the Government tackle this question they are up against a terrific combine, terrific interests, and they will be shown how important it is to do this, that or the other, but it is a problem well worth tackling. The labour content is great. If we have every process of the manufacture here in Ireland, from shearing the sheep to putting the coat on the man or the woman, a wonderful amount of labour will be employed. I know that in Cork certain firms have done wonders and they have not had the whole crop or near it. There is a lot more to be done. I am not an expert, but I know enough from the late Deputy Fred Crowley, who represented Kerry, and who knew a lot about this business, having been trained in Leeds, to know that there is a lot to be done to establish a fully working industry in this country.

Deputy O'Higgins—I do not know his exact words—backed the Minister for Finance in the statement that we were urging people to go on the register in the unemployment exchanges. I do not know what foundation he has for that statement. I urged nobody, and I do not know that any Deputy in my immediate vicinity urged anybody, to register. The unemployed do not want to be told to register, as they know that unemployment assistance is there. I do not know what the basis of this statement was, but I think it was malicious on the part of the Minister for Finance and malicious repetition on the part of Deputy O'Higgins. You have a return of the number of men who are not working and if the Government is to carry out its promises to the unemployed, it should take cognisance of the number on the register. In my own town in January, February and March I see them lined up, having come in several miles to register. They would not have done that if they were not unemployed. I did not put it to them to come, neither did Deputy Carter nor Deputy Childers. They were unemployed and they came in to register. I know a considerable number of schemes in my own locality which could be operated to give them work. I am approaching this subject as impartially as I can. It is a very wrong principle for a Government Department, when there are 100 or 200 men registered in an area in the month of January in a particular year, to start turning over files to find out how many were registered there the previous year and if there were only 25 to decide that they would give an allocation of money only to give employment to 25. That is a case of "Live horse and you will get grass". There will have to be a different approach to the problem. I know you cannot go round from day to day to solve it, but if unemployment becomes bad in an area it should be relieved within a short period.

Some Deputies have spoken of small industries. I should second their efforts in stressing the importance of sustaining the ones that exist and establishing new ones. In the debate on the glass-houses a year ago, we heard Deputy Cowan's repeated loquacious "How many do they employ?" in a most sarcastic way. It does not matter whether it is 100 men or only a few. If I can get ten or even one man extra into employment, it is ten or one taken off the dole and getting something approaching a living wage. Every man put into employment is to the national good and every man who goes out of employment is a national disadvantage. It is not essential we should have big numbers. Are we to wait for an industry capable of employing 1,000, and turn down one that will employ only 900? The baker and the candlestick maker have a place in our economy and the more diversified it is the better for everybody.

I again make the case for the butchers, who are hard working people in a hard industry which requires strength and skill and who are an essential section of the community. They are working at a loss and cannot be asked to do so indefinitely. They have a just case, which the Minister may examine under a microscope if he likes. The more microscopically he examines it, the more he will find it is impossible for them to continue. I plead with him, with the Government and with the House to give them justice.

This is one of the most mixed Departments we have in the State. It is much too unwieldy for one Minister and should be divided amongst three or four. The nation is satisfied that we have the right man at the helm, a big, broadminded man, who has a national outlook. I know the nation has full confidence in his steering of our industrial development. He has a hard and difficult task and many problems to solve which are unsolvable to the ordinary man. There are many muddles, some of which were left by the last Government and which should not have been muddles at all— there is the transport muddle, the turf and coal muddle, the dumps in the Park, the black-marketeers, the Border smuggling, and so on. These things have been let go on for six or eight years, and leave a bad taste in our mouths. Something must be done to clear them off before we can get a proper industrial organisation. The Minister has the sympathy of everybody in clearing up these messes. The transport mess is a headache for him. Some people have decried nationalisation. Who wants nationalisation if it can be avoided, but how can we avoid it in transport? How can an efficient transport service be provided out of the present muddle otherwise?

I agree with Deputy Hickey that one of the chief drawbacks is the want of a proper mercantile marine to carry our goods to and fro. This is an important question and I hope the Minister will make a drive for a first-class mercantile marine. Then, if another emergency occurs, we will be able to weather the storm.

Turf is one of our principal industries and, properly handled, it can give immense employment and provide a valuable fuel. The machine-won turf on the market at present can be of immense value to the whole country, and I hope the Minister will further the machine-turf plans in every way. By having our bogs properly utilised, we will provide work for our people and avoid importing vast quantities of coal as in the past.

The Minister's statement shows that he has the decentralisation of industry clearly centred in his mind. That is as it should be. In the early stages of our industrial development far too many of our bigger industries were allowed to become centred in big places like Dublin and Cork. That was all wrong. Once they were allowed to get a grip in that way it is hard to change that. The only hope of a properly balanced economy is to start new industries around other centres of population. There are many fair-sized towns which have been passed by in our industrial development. It may be that the local people had not proper initiative or that there was not the right drive at the time. A town like Mullingar in the centre of Ireland could be a thriving industrial town, but it is not, and I would ask the Minister to keep it in mind. We will change the whole face of the country if towns like that are given a proper balance.

Our industrial arm is slowly but surely taking shape on proper lines and we will have a balanced economy if it goes on as it has gone for the last eight or ten years. In another ten years our country will be properly balanced. I am satisfied that, under the guidance of the present Minister, it will go in the right direction. There is necessity for the select body the Minister is setting up. It is not to-day or yesterday it was needed, but many years ago. The public were not getting proper value and opportunists got into the industry and held control. They were not there for the good of the country but were out for quick and easy money. Too many of them got that and then they cleared out while the going was good. There are ruins and wrecks of so-called factories which were started by Fianna Fáil when they came into office. Every back street has its ruins in town and city. The nation had to pay for that damage. We should see that Irish capital and Irish management is used almost completely in the development of our industrial arm.

I do not believe in outside interference in these matters. There is such a thing as an industrial development which is not capable of being brought about within the country and in respect of which outside guidance is necessary, but, as far as possible, Irish management and Irish capital should be our object in our industrial development drive. Many of the industries which have been started in this country were started by men, slick men, who will not use their own names, and I believe that no industry should start in this country unless under the name or names of the men or group of men starting them. There are men using Irish names and using Irishmen as "stooges", while they, international hoboes of a type we would be better off without, remain behind the scenes. I believe they should be forced to put their own names over their doors. It is one of the matters which has been allowed to drift, and I know that there are many industries with Irish names which are being used by international slick boys to get away with rich rewards, and I hope that in future these men will be compelled to put their own names over their doors. Many of us would be unable to pronounce the names, if they were put over the doors, but they should be forced to put them there.

Many people say that there is so much adverse criticism of Irish industry that it cannot succeed, but it is only right that there should be criticism of industry, if it is not being carried on on the proper lines, and, over a great number of years, industry here was carried on on lines which were not calculated to create public confidence in them. Many of the articles produced by Irish industrialists were not of a superior quality and I remember that, when we started making spades and shovels, the articles produced were of very inferior quality, so much so that farmers hated to buy them, but, as the years went on, vast improvements were made and many of these articles being produced to-day are as good as any that can be imported. I saw farmers buying shovels and spades the handles of which were rotten, with the result that, before a cart was loaded, one or two handles had broken. In addition, one could hear the "bothered" sound in the spade or shovel, and a good farmer knows by the sound of the metal whether a spade or shovel is good or not. People were paying dear prices for these articles and they were entitled to be critical of faults of that kind. The industrial drive under Fianna Fáil was satisfactory, but I feel that they allowed too many outsiders and slick boys to get control of the management of many of the concerns, with the result that there were flops, and there was no need for flops because the tariffs imposed were adequate to prop up the industries. Many of these men, however, did not want to be propped up; they merely wanted to get out while the going was good.

I know that the Minister cannot do very much with regard to the supply of cigarettes, beyond asking the different manufacturers to help those starting new shops. In the past six or seven years many small shops—some owned by ex-Army men—have been started and the owners find that they cannot get a cigarette quota. When they ask the manufacturers for a supply, they get the curt reply that they cannot get it. That is not fair, because I know that many of the people who were getting a full quota, in my area at any rate, were not giving them across the counter to their customers.

The Minister has no responsibility in that matter.

I know that they are controlled by the manufacturers and I want the Minister to try to induce the manufacturers to ease the position because there are many people throughout the country to-day who cannot get a quota. As I say, many of those who were getting a quota were not selling the cigarettes across the counter. In the Midlands, vans came down weekly or monthly and went from shop to shop collecting cigarettes, which were then brought across the Border. There were, and are, men reaping immense profits out of this practice and I think it should be stopped because it is time that such racketeering was stopped.

The Minister can do nothing about it.

If he gets to hear about one of these vans—and the vans are there—he will put a stop to it.

With regard to asbestos sheeting, the Minister for Agriculture has embarked on a drive in connection with poultry and nearly every farmer is endeavouring to build a poultry house in his yard. They find that, when they look for the topping for the house, they cannot get the asbestos sheeting, and I should like to see an effort made to make more of this sheeting available, by importing it if it cannot be provided by a manufacturing process here. Many of these men have to leave their poultry houses unroofed because they cannot get the sheeting.

The Minister has a hard task, a thankless task, but I believe he is capable of standing up to it. It is only a man of his type who can clear up many of the messes created by the war and by the mishandling of industrial matters by some of the Fianna Fáil Ministers in the past. He has the confidence of the people in doing his work and the confidence of every group forming the Government. We say to him: "Carry on the good work. You are laying the foundation of a real Irish industrial arm and we hope you will make every effort to see that Irish industrial development is controlled by Irishmen in the interests of Irishmen."

We have had a strike in the Castlecomer collieries for almost the past two months. The Labour Court made an effort to settle the dispute and I should like to ask the Minister to use his good offices in an endeavour to have the possibility of a settlement re-examined and not to allow the position to obtain, if it is the position, that matters will be left in the air. As Deputies have mentioned, these industries in rural Ireland are of the greatest importance to the communities who depend upon them and the fact that there are nearly 500 men out of employment creates a very serious loss not alone for the men affected and their families, but for the traders and the economic life of the district.

The factory opened in Kilkenny last year for the manufacture of metal products had occasion to have recourse to the Department for certain assistance in regard to the reorganisation of their business, and I trust the Minister will be able to give them the assistance they require. It would be very unfortunate if, when an industry is started through the enterprise of local people who have shown their interest in the undertaking by subscribing a substantial amount of capital, its progress should be held up through initial difficulties and even its chances of ultimate success jeopardised.

References have been made to the boot and shoe and the woollen industries, in both of which industries I am interested. I was glad to hear the Minister state that, in respect of boots and shoes, he is examining the possibility of securing an export trade for the over capacity which apparently exists in the Irish boot and shoe manufacturing industry. There is a very considerable amount of valuable employment for skilled labour and highly paid operatives involved in this industry. This industry did very good work for the community during the emergency period and I hope that the Minister's efforts to secure an export trade will be successful. If they are not successful, I hope that any further steps that are necessary and that can be taken for the limitation of imports will be taken in order to guarantee secure employment to those employed in the boot and shoe factories.

The woollen trade is one of the oldest Irish industries. It has a special reputation even outside this country, and I would be glad if the Minister, when he is replying, would let us know what are the possibilities of developing an export trade greater than that which already exists. In 1947 we exported about 356,000 square yards of woollen and worsted tissues, and in 1948 we exported 403,000 square yards but, as far as I can read the figures, the amount which we received for the 403,000 square yards was £166,000, as against £203,000 which we received for the 356,000 square yards, so that although the amount of our exports increased there seemed to be a substantial fall, in the neighbourhood of 40 per cent., in the amount received per square yard. Then, in regard to yarns, we exported 886,000 square yards in 1947 and that brought in £286,000. In 1948 we exported only 564,000 square yards which gave a return of £241,000, so that there was an actual diminution in the return we received.

When the Minister was recommending the Anglo-Irish Agreement to the House he stated that we would have a considerable free list in the English market, and I think he mentioned that about £750,000 worth at least would be sold. At a later stage the Taoiseach mentioned that a figure of £1,500,000 worth of exports was being considered. He did not say that that amount had been exported but the implication from his words was that it was expected that about £1,500,000 worth would be exported under that free list. I think the Minister ought to give the House whatever information is at his disposal as to whether the expectations in regard to that free list have been justified or not.

The House will remember that in regard to the homespun industry the Minister for Lands told us that that industry was practically dead, that it was impossible to find an outlet although, when the Anglo-Irish Agreement was signed, there was very extensive propaganda in some of the newspapers about the looms being set working and additional factories being started. I hope that what has happened in the homespun industry is not characteristic of what is happening in other branches.

The Minister mentioned seaweed and seaweed products. He said it would be very valuable for the Gaeltacht. We would all be glad to help the Gaeltacht if we can get markets for their products.

The Department of Industry and Commerce is a very large Department and it is, I think, charged with responsibility for the industrial alcohol factories. I understand that a certain proposal has been under consideration there for the production of sulphate of ammonia and copper sulphate. I wonder could the Minister let us know whether these proposals are to be implemented and whether the graduates who are expecting to get employment as a result may rest assured that they will not have to leave the country. The Minister might take a special interest in the position of young Irish graduates who, certainly, if they have to leave the country will not find very much difficulty in getting employment elsewhere. In Great Britain and possibly in other countries there is intense demand for Irish chemists and graduates in engineering and science, and if we cannot hold our graduates, in the first place, by trying to create openings for them, and, in the second place, by assuring them of reasonable remuneration, we shall lose them, and our industries will suffer as a consequence.

While I am very glad that the Minister has taken up the plans which were there in regard to turf and means to go ahead to the fullest possible extent, using all the resources necessary to exploit the bogs so far as the machine-won turf programme is concerned, I am sorry that he had no word to say about the hand-won turf. Even though the concentration is to be almost entirely upon machine-won turf, the hand-won turf industry is of such importance in a large part of the country that I think the Minister might at least have given Bord na Móna some kind of controlling influence, some kind of supervisory duty in regard to that industry, that he might have asked them to encourage the formation of co-operative societies or, at least, to see that producers will feel that the Government have not entirely lost interest in the hand-won turf. Even if it were only from a token point of view, some responsibility should attach to the organisation which is charged with control of machine-won turf to review the position in the hand-won turf areas occasionally.

Naturally, in these machine-won turf projects certain parts of the country will not benefit. I think we can all agree with Deputy Lemass that there is a great deal that could be done by voluntary effort to encourage local authorities to provide turf for their institutions, as they have been doing, to encourage State Departments—the Army has always given a very good example in that matter—to get their fuel requirements as far as possible from the turf areas, and also to try and get the local authorities to do their share. It was the intention that, where State assistance was being given to industries or institutions or local authorities, the State should endeavour to see that, in so far as was possible, home-produced fuel would be utilised. I am sure it is only necessary to mention that matter to get the Minister to take an interest in it. Otherwise, if home-produced fuel is to disappear completely nobody is going to have any responsibility in regard to the matter.

I notice that in Westport when the Minister was addressing the chamber of commerce—I did not know they had a chamber of commerce in my native town, but apparently they have—one of the statements he is reported to have made was that

"the need for considering carefully the wider implications of major proposals was the main reason for the apparent slowness in making decisions which the public found so hard to understand. The development of industry came within that category."

I do not know exactly what that means. It seems to me that Government policy in general in regard to larger issues has to be determined and decisions have to be come to in regard to larger issues before smaller issues dealing with industrial development can be reached. The general complaint we have of the present administration of the Department is that it is lacking in that drive and enthusiasm and that capacity for quick decisions which is necessary if industrial development is to proceed as speedily as Deputies from all sides of this House seem to desire. In setting up this Industrial Development Authority, as Deputy Lemass has pointed out, it is surely obvious that instead of speeding up industrial projects there is the greatest likelihood that they will be further delayed. As Deputy Lemass said, it is like adding a fifth wheel to a coach. I do not intend to go into the question of the industrial authority very fully at this stage. I simply want to remind the House that its terms of reference are as follows:—

(i) to initiate proposals and schemes for the creation and development of Irish industries;

(ii) to survey possibilities of further industrial development;

(iii) to advise on steps necessary and desirable for establishing new industries;

(iv) to advise on steps necessary for the expansion and modernisation of existing industries;

(v) to investigate the effects of protective measures, with special reference to employment, prices, quality of goods, wage levels and conditions of employment;

(vi) to examine, if and when required, any proposals submitted to the authority by the Government relating to the imposition or revision of tariffs, quotas or other protective or developmental measures;

(vii) to give advice and guidance to persons contemplating starting new industries or expanding existing industries, and

(viii) to advise on any other matter relating to industrial development referred to the authority by the Government.

We had a full-time tariff commission here and I think most of the time of the commission was occupied in dealing with matters which came before them. In regard to any one of these eight headings which I have read out I think it would nearly take a full-time body to deal with them adequately. It is obvious that unless this authority is going to have quite a large number of officials and a great many specialists to hand—if they are given work to do under all of these headings or even under most of these headings—there is bound to be considerable delay. When the authority reports to the Minister, obviously, no matter what Deputy Larkin or others may say, there will be questions of Governmental policy. It will not be entirely, I presume, a question for the Minister although the principle of collective responsibility is not always strictly adhered to in the present Government. There is also the question of the personnel of the authority. In appointing representatives to commissions or authorities which are going to have executive or advisory powers, I think we will all agree that it is not advisable that those appointed should be said to represent specific particular interests. There can be no objection, I think, to putting a banker or an industrialist or a labour man or a civil servant on an authority. It does not matter what particular interest the individual may come from, but if the individual feels that on that authority he is there to represent that particular interest, obviously difficulties may arise. Take, for example, the appointment of a labour representative on a concern dealing with banking. He goes on to that banking concern, not by any means giving up his own particular point of view, but simply acting as he thinks right in the general national interest. He does the best he can from day to day, as matters arise, and he deals with them, like his colleagues, having regard to the general interest. He does not come to the decisions he has to make hampered by previous announcements and statements in which he expressed definitely particular points of view.

For example, let us take the question of nationalisation. If a person who is appointed to a particular authority of this kind has definitely and publicly proclaimed in his former capacity that he stands for nationalisation, and that certain industries in the country should be nationalised, are we to take it—if the question of the future of these industries is referred to the industrial authority—that they are to be considered from the point of view of nationalisation, having regard to the former Party programme of a member of the industrial authority or have we any assurance that such a person will forget his previous predilections or previous pronouncements in regard to nationalisation?

May I suggest to the Deputy that if he thinks it desirable to criticise individual members of the Industrial Development Authority which started its business yesterday morning he might defer that until the Bill comes before the House?

I do not want to be in any way unjust to any individual, but when individuals are appointed to any authority it is inevitable that their general fitness for the appointment should come under review.

Is that to apply to judges and everybody else?

I simply want to know under which thimble the pea is going to lie.

Will that apply to the Central Bank?

I have given the Central Bank as an example. In that case, so far as I know, we had not, as we have in this case during the past few months, pronouncements with regard to nationalisation. However, I do not want to be in any way unfair. We shall have another opportunity of discussing the matter. We have had references to private enterprise in this matter of industrial development. Until this question of nationalisation began to loom so largely in connection with Córas Iompair Éireann and other industries, I assumed that the main Party in the Government stood for private enterprise and for the encouragement by every means possible of private undertakings. It is quite obvious that you either stand for private enterprise and are going to encourage private individuals to establish business, to extend them, to give employment, or else you believe in State ownership.

In other countries we see that the whole position is drifting towards complete control by the State of anything that can be described as being necessary in the public interest. Only time will show whether or not that is a good policy. It may be that it has very strong social grounds behind it and that in the long run it will benefit the community socially. From the point of view of those employed in the industry, it may be a much better solution. But, from the point of view of the ultimate economic independence of the community and their ultimate prosperity, I doubt very much if, after a period of years when the present boom conditions and high prices pass away, all these huge schemes of nationalisation and so on will be found to be as attractive as they seem to be at present.

Whether we are to have a certain amount of nationalisation, a certain amount of these State corporations or not, I think it is rather a pity that Ministers have given the impression in the country that they feel that a great many of those who are interested in tariffs and industrial development are really only anxious to feather their own nests. I think men like Deputy Hickey will admit that we have always had patriotic Irish citizens who put their money into Irish industries very largely for the purpose of giving employment. That was true of Cork City; it was true also of Dublin City. When Ministers like the Minister for Industry and Commerce tell us that there are certain people fleecing the public, would it not be better to take action against these persons in whatever way the Minister thinks appropriate rather than have the public treated, as they have been treated on so many occasions, to lectures in which, apparently, a large proportion of Irish industrialists were being put in the dock?

Whether Deputy Hickey likes it or not, profit is the reason why people go into any kind of business; self-interest is the governing motive. If Deputy Hickey wants to do away with profit altogether, well and good. But so long as we give allegiance, or maybe only lip-service, to private enterprise, we have to recognise that people are entitled to reasonable profit, and on other occasions Ministers, from the Taoiseach down, have recognised that. Probably in order to justify their past utterances and their attitude to the protection policy when they were on these benches, they have, however, stressed very much the defects and deficiencies of certain industrialists who are nameless and the numbers of whom we do not know and have given the impression to the country that the thing is, as they used to argue, very largely a racket.

Is it not the position that many millions of pounds have been put into Irish industry? When the head of the Irish hosiery manufacturers, Mr. O'Higgins, said that £43,000,000 was invested during the war in Irish industry, was he speaking for some body of persons who are not entitled to consideration from the Irish public or on behalf of persons who, as the Minister for Education said so far back as 1946, deserve the thanks of the Irish people for the work they have done during the emergency? This is the statement made by Mr. O'Higgins which was published in the Press on 17th December last:—

"From 1933 to 1945 they had under a native Government the very heartening spectacle of new industries springing up like mushrooms all over the country. In those years over £43,000,000 sterling which would otherwise have left their shores had found its way into Irish industries, and these, with existing industries, had surely kept the country both from starvation and complete emigration, as well as providing the Government with practically its total income from taxation."

Very many millions of pounds in that way were repatriated and invested in Irish industries. This is forgotten by the Taoiseach when he refers to the under-capitalisation of Irish industry and the under-employment in the Irish countryside. So far as industrialists generally are concerned, it can be claimed that, like other sections of the community, they have, in the main, acted up to their responsibilities and obligations and, on the whole, they carried out a very good job of work for this country during the emergency.

We are now faced with the position that the buyers' market, so long threatened, is actually in operation. According to the president of the Distributive Workers' Union, speaking a few months ago, we have slump conditions; we have the position that trades people find that they are stocked up with goods which they are unable to liquidate or realise. In these circumstances, business people, whether they be industrialists or distributors, are entitled to all the consideration and encouragement possible from the Government if they are to give employment and to contribute to the revenue of the country in the way in which they have been doing. When charges are being made against the industrialists, it is forgotten that they have had very great difficulties to contend with even since the war period. Wages have been substantially increased. As far as essential raw materials like wool are concerned I think there is no great reduction. There is even a likelihood of an increase in respect of some of the more important ones. There have been increases in rates and in regard to other services. In fact, the Minister for Finance pointed out recently that the State is absorbing about 25 per cent. of the total national income for administration. Therefore, it can be said that industry is contributing a very large share of that. I think, therefore, that industrialists are entitled to consideration. Nobody thinks they should get more than they are entitled to but if we believe that private enterprise should be encouraged I wish that Ministers would say what they have to say to industrialists directly and deal with them as they think appropriate, if they consider they are deserving of punishment or of reprimand. Those general statements do not get us anywhere and are really a clog in the way of progress.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce told us in his opening statement that there had been certain reductions in regard to the prices of certain commodities. In regard to the staple foods like beef, mutton, bacon, butter, milk and bread, I do not think that he can point to any reductions. In fact, as we know, there have been increases. I do not know whether it is a tribute to Deputy Cowan or my colleague, Deputy Crotty, who wonder that we do not refer to the cost of living. It seems unnecessary for us to belabour the question any further when we have the Minister for Finance in his Budget statement announcing that:—

"... the cost-of-living index, which averaged 183 for 1948, as compared with 178 for 1947 and 100 as at mid-August, 1938."

Dealing with the position in 1948, he said that:—

"Wholesale prices advanced 5.8 per cent. between 1947 and 1948 under the influence of the increase of 10 per cent. in agricultural prices. Import prices showed an increase of about 3 per cent, and retail prices, as already indicated, of less than 3 per cent."

The most that he can say is that:—

"On the whole, it appears that the upward surge in prices has spent itself and that, if the forces making for inflation are held in check, further increases will be avoided."

As Deputy Traynor reminded the House we were told definitely by the Government in the clearest and most emphatic terms that their chief purpose as a Government was to reduce the cost of living. There was no question of stabilising the cost of living or maintaining it even at the position it had reached before he left office. The Taoiseach said that:—

"All other considerations must be subordinated to the overriding necessity of reducing the cost of living and increasing the value of the people's incomes. The first task of the new Government will be vigorously to grapple with and provide a solution for the problem of the soaring cost of living which is menacing the economic life of the State and the happiness of the people."

When the Government took office they definitely laid down in their ten points a reduction in the cost of living. I do not know whether they claim now that the reduction in the beer and cigarette duties represented the reduction they had promised. It seems to me that it is a commentary on the Government that they have no excuse to offer or no justification to put forward to the country for their utter failure to carry out their promises in that respect.

The Bishop of Limerick, speaking some time ago, referred to the fact that a year ago the Irish Bishops had referred to the emigration problem as constituting one of the gravest evils with which the country was confronted. He said:—

"Over a year ago the Bishops of Ireland expressed their grave concern at the continuance and growth of emigration. It still continues and gives cause for apprehension. It would be possible to view the matter with greater equanimity if one could be sure that the young people who leave our shores are always bettering themselves materially, and incurring no grave dangers to their faith and morals. But it is questionable if very many of them ever succeed in saving a penny for a future day and few return home in better circumstances than when they left."

That is not the first time the Hierarchy expressed concern about the emigration question.

I know. The point is that the Minister stated this question of unemployment and emigration could be dealt with quite simply. Is that not so? The Minister has left the House. He stated that if there was a will to deal with the problem it could all be solved within 24 hours.

Deputy Lemass said on a famous occasion when they got into office that they would have to go out with a trumpet and call back the people.

I am not concerned at the moment with what Deputy Lemass, who is not in office, has said, but I am concerned with what the Minister for Industry and Commerce did say. He has found out now that there is a reluctance to take up employment on the electric schemes and the turf schemes, and presumably the excuse that the Fianna Fáil organisation is swelling the numbers of the unemployed who have registered is going to be offered as an anathema. It seems to me, considering the arguments that we hear in this House year after year regarding emigration, how the life blood was pouring out of the country and nothing was being done about it, that the Government have very little to show. I see by the figures for emigration for the past year that in the western counties to which the Minister has directed the attention of the new industrial authority, we had an Emigration Commission set up also, presumably largely to deal with the problem in those areas. In all the western counties, practically, the number of young men who left during 1948 increased from 50 per cent. to 70 per cent. over the figures for 1947. In the City of Dublin and in Limerick the figures were well over 100 per cent. greater in 1948 than in 1947.

We are told that the Government are going to spend large sums of money on capital expenditure, but in view of the attitude of the present Ministers for Finance and Agriculture to the tourist industry and to the development of aviation in this country, I am really astonished that the Taoiseach, or the Minister for Industry and Commerce, or whoever may be responsible, has succeeded in persuading these Ministers that it is to the national advantage to spend these large sums of money on these industries. The argument two years ago, in the words of the Minister for Finance, was: what do we want roads for, what do we want telephones for, and why do we want tourists coming into the country consuming our limited food supplies? Now all that has changed. The Minister tells us, in his opening statement, that he is going to do everything possible to develop the airport so that the greatest possible facilities will be made available. The chiefs of the E.C.A. tell us over the radio of the importance of the tourist industry, in fact, they definitely assure us that it is the only way in which we can earn dollars and that, after a period of a few years, it is difficult to know whether we will be able to carry on unless we do something to secure dollars either by exporting commodities or by getting American tourists into the country.

Mr. Taft is reported in the news papers of the 3rd May last, in a broadcast address, to have stated that:—

"Ireland had cut her dollar imports from 1947 to 1948 more drastically than any E.R.P. nation, except Sweden. However, it would be especially difficult for Ireland to cut her dollar requirements further in the final years of the recovery programme and find a satisfactory substitute elsewhere in the world. Her increased dollar earnings would not be sufficient even in four years to make the change an easy one. The E.C.A. was anxious that money to Ireland should stimulate permanent projects to improve living standards. If, after four years, the money was absorbed in consumer goods, E.C.A. would not be happy."

"All must realise," said Mr. Carrigan, in the same series of broadcasts, "that they have been living on what was being produced plus borrowings and savings. Such a programme, if long continued, would lead to disaster unless eventually the answer was to produce more or consume less."

Mr. Carrigan stated that the chief way in which E.C.A. thought that we could earn dollars was by the encouragement of our tourist trade with the United States of America.

We are, at the present time, according to the trade figures, importing about £5,750,000 of goods per month more than we are exporting. Reports have appeared in the newspapers of trade agreements with a large number of continental countries. I would ask the Minister to let us know, when replying, whether his anticipations have been fulfilled in regard to the export of Irish manufactures under the British free list to the British market. I should also like to know what he has to say with regard to the export of linens and other commodities to the United States, France, Holland and the various countries with which trade negotiations went on during the year.

Finally, since the Minister for Industry and Commerce is responsible for the administration of the Apprenticeship Act, I would like to ask him whether he intends to do anything to try and bring conditions regarding apprenticeship into line with the position that now obtains in regard to industries in this country. When the Apprenticeship Act was originally passed we had not a great deal of experience of industries in this country. I think the time is ripe for a review of the position and that with the co-operation which the Government can—and which I know from experience the trade unions will —give in the general examination of that question, better results can be secured.

We have heard complaints of a shortage of skilled labour. The late Minister for Local Government, God rest him, referred to this matter shortly before his untimely death. On various occasions references have been made to the shortage of skilled men. If the Minister would take the representatives of the building unions into consultation, I think it ought to be possible to work out an apprenticeship scheme which would bring a larger number of operatives into industry. I notice that in Great Britain this matter of apprenticeship is not regarded as a question between the individual employer and employee. It is regarded as a question for the industry as a whole, and in regard to the printing trade, the building trade and engineering trade national bodies have been set up, representative not only of the employers and employees in a particular industry but of all other interests concerned. Joint apprenticeship boards have been set up, and local bodies, duplicates of the national body, have been set up to keep in close touch with the technical schools. In that way, they have evolved a scheme by which the apprentice has the advantage of working under the most up-to-date conditions possible in industry, while at the same time he has the benefit of the exactness, theory and the necessary additions that are made to his skill and training in the technical school.

When the building drive was started after the war, I know that a section in the Department of Industry and Commerce was entrusted to an officer who had long experience of this matter of apprenticeship. He was entrusted with the duty of dealing with priorities for the building industry. Unfortunately, that officer, I think, has now left the service. I wonder whether any steps have been taken, in view of the very serious situation in the building industry, to discuss this whole question of new entrants to the industry, and the possibility of securing greater numbers of young people with a relaxing of the restrictions that already exist —whether any conversations have gone on, or whether it is proposed to take any steps in the future? I know, from my own experience, that in cases in which apprenticeship committees were set up it was not the unions' or the men's representatives who were in any way to blame for any slowness there was, or for any lack of progress. It was rather on the employers' side, but the need in the housing industry being so great and so urgent, I feel that both the employers and the unions would be anxious to come together to try to improve matters from the point of view of providing skilled workers.

The two main problems confronting this country to-day are housing and unemployment. Housing, I am glad to say, is moving in the right direction, due largely to the efforts of our late Minister for Local Government—God rest his soul. At the same time, the Government must keep pressing; they cannot afford to relax, because it will take a number of years before we have the housing problem solved.

This debate has taken quite a long time and almost all the problems of our national life have been discussed. I heard a reference made to culm by Deputy Halliden. He said there was a scarcity of culm for lime-burning and a scarcity of anthracite. I have heard a lot of Deputies speaking about developing our own resources, but when we have them developed they all seem to close down. I have in mind the colliery at Castlecomer, which produces anthracite and culm for lime-burning purposes. I happen to be in the coal trade and, with others in the South, I bought British anthracite. I am glad to say that Irish anthracite is quite as good as British.

Whatever is wrong, whether the workers or the directors are responsible, something should be done to reopen the Castlecomer colliery. We all look to the Minister for Industry and Commerce to solve our problems, but he needs co-operation, and I think if people looked on these things from a national rather than an individual point of view, they would see how desirable it is to co-operate and try to compose their differences. This strike must be settled sooner or later. I understand there are 200 men employed there. It is not 200 who should be employed in Castlecomer, but 400, 500 or 600. I understand there is enough anthracite in this country to supply all our requirements and I appeal to the Minister to see if it is possible to develop the anthracite position.

Deputy Ben Maguire spoke last night and he made a brilliant speech. He dealt with Irish coal mines. I would be prepared to give wholehearted support to Irish coal mines, even though the coal may not be up to the standard of British coal. We have been importing a type of British coal for the past six or seven years and it really was disgraceful. What we have been importing from Britain in recent years is not coal at all but rubbish, the washings of the collieries. Before the war they washed their coal and the washings were dumped. Thousands and thousands of tons of that stuff have been imported during and since the war, and it is even still being imported. I must pay a compliment to the Minister for giving permits to me and to other coal importers to bring in Polish coal. If it does nothing else, it will help to bring the National Coal Board to their senses. We bring in small cargoes and in those cargoes there are five or six types of coal. One householder may get good coal while another householder may get a quantity of slates. Now that we have permission to import Polish coal, we can bring the National Coal Board to their senses and perhaps they will export coal of a better quality.

The Polish coal costs Irish merchants a few shillings more than the British, but it is far superior. It is being sold at the same price all over the country. It is definitely superior in size and quality. We got it analysed and we found that the percentage of ash was only 2 per cent, or 3 per cent, as against 10 per cent, for the British coal. The Minister is to be complimented on issuing the permits for the Polish coal because, up to that, the nation was being robbed through the importation of British coal. We should not have all our eggs in the one basket. We have been tied to the British coal too long and I think we could go further afield.

A good deal has been said about the American coal, but I will say that the ex-Minister for Industry and Commerce, Deputy Lemass, did a good day's work by bringing in American coal. The only fault that I might find with him is that he brought in perhaps a little too much of it, but, of course, it is very easy to comment the day after the fair. He certainly did good work when he brought that coal in.

Some Deputies from the turf areas spoke eloquently about hand-won turf. I say that turf will never be an economic proposition because you have to depend too much on the weather to save it, and then you have difficulties with transport and other things. It is not all a question of transportation. You bring the turf to the cities and store it in dumps. In Cork, we have had it stored that way for two or three years and the same applies to Dublin, Waterford and Limerick. It has to be re-handled, and if the weather breaks it is as bad as ever. Perhaps it might be better if the stuff we have dumped were left there. Thousands of tons have been dumped already. You simply cannot compel people, especially in the cities and towns, to burn turf. During the emergency they were compelled to buy and burn it, but we cannot expect them to continue doing so, particularly in the cities. Turf is all right in the rural districts, but not in the cities.

Another matter I would like to refer to is the pottery industry. If you go into any restaurant or hotel and look at the delph ware, the cups and saucers and plates, you will see from the stamp that they are British made. That should not be so. I appeal to the Minister to encourage the pottery industry because it could be made an important industry. I know the Minister is doing his best, and so did the previous Minister do his best, and I am sure future Ministers will do their best. Some people say that the present Minister for Industry and Commerce is not interested in Irish industry. That is not so. He is interested very much in the progress of Irish industry. He has been only one and a half years in office and in that time he has made great strides.

As regards the woollen industry, in Cork we have 70 per cent, to 80 per cent. of our people employed. At the present time, I am sorry to say, a number of people are disemployed at the Blarney Woollen Mills and in the Sunbeam Wolsey Mills. That is due entirely to the dumping of British-manufactured goods in our stores. I daresay the same applies to other parts of the country. I was speaking the other evening on the telephone to Mr. Dwyer and I asked him what was the position at the Sunbeam Wolsey Mills. He said that there was a slump due to the dumping of British goods. I think that instead of putting a tariff on those imported goods the Minister should work on the quota system. I feel that the British manufacturers will import stuff into this country even at a loss in order to open an export market. During the emergency Mr. William Dwyer built and opened three new factories.

That in itself was a great achievement at a time when no one else could get building materials. The late Minister for Industry and Commerce, Deputy Lemass, opened these factories. While Mr. Dwyer may differ at some points from the present Government, I think, nevertheless, that he is one man who should be accommodated in every way. He has done more for industry in County Cork and for the country generally than has any other man. He has his failings. But so have we all our failings. I ask the Minister to come down to Cork some time and put in a day or two going around these industries. He can be quite sure that he will be welcome and Mr. Dwyer will be glad to show him over his premises. Any encouragement or help that Mr. Dwyer wants should be given to him.

Some points have been made with regard to the scarcity of labour for building. That scarcity is due, as Deputy Maguire said, to the policy of the "closed door" followed by the trade unions. I hope that will be remedied very soon so far as the carpentry trade, plasterers, masons and so on are concerned. The unions at the present time are not taking on enough apprentices. I believe the matter will be remedied fairly soon.

With regard to shipping, we have made good strides in the building up of a mercantile service. I hope the Minister will go further and procure more new ships. It is very essential that we should have a good merchant navy and it means that we shall save freight which is now being paid to foreign shipping companies.

I know that Deputy McGrath is anxious to get in before the clock strikes seven——

Is the Deputy fixing the order in which Deputies are to be called?

I do not think there is anything further I want to say other than to congratulate the Minister and compliment him upon what he has done during his short term in office. The Government as a whole is doing well and, if the Government gets co-operation from both sides of the House, I am sure that the twin evils of unemployment and emigration will cease and we shall have a better standard of living for our people and a better national economy.

Everybody remembers the great industrial drive that was started by Fianna Fáil in 1932 and everybody remembers the way in which that drive was slowed down by the outbreak of war in 1939. There is very little use in people talking about the little factories in the back lanes in the City of Dublin and elsewhere. There is abundant evidence to show the strides that were made during those seven years from 1932 to 1939. I think most people anticipated a continuation of that progress as soon as the war was over and as soon as raw materials became available again. But, as far as I can see, we are not making the progress that we should be making. The unemployment figure still stands at 80,000. In the City of Cork between 3,400 and 3,500 people are signing on at the labour exchange. I worry more about these people than I do about the manufacturers, though the Minister may think otherwise. I see no schemes in preparation that would absorb these unemployed. I do not know what will become of them. Deputy Sheehan knows as well as I do that every hour and minute of every day people are coming to him looking for work. As part of the development of Cork port it was necessary to reconstruct one of the quays. That work started a couple of weeks ago. Every unemployed man was looking forward to getting employment on it. We all gave letters to the labour exchange, to the managers of the port and to the contractor but there were so many unemployed a man had to have a wife and five children and be in receipt of the maximum amount of dole before he would be considered. I know that has been done by Governments in all these schemes where Government grants are given. I think the system is wrong. I think young men leaving school or men with Army service during the emergency should get employment on schemes of this kind and they should not be placed in the position of going to Deputy Sheehan, Deputy Hickey and others asking them to find work for them.

There is no use in talking about full employment. We all know that full employment and no emigration were merely vote catching devices. That fact has come to many people since the election. Last week, while Deputy Corry was speaking, the Minister said that he had work for so many thousands if they would take it and so many thousands refused.

I am sure that the Minister was not referring to the unemployed in the city when he spoke about that particular work. Deputy Larkin answered him very effectively by saying that one cannot expect a man to break up his home and go away to work on a turf bog because the money he would get would not provide for himself and for his wife and family. Many single men living in towns have dependents. They are supporting widowed mothers and sisters. They all hope that something will turn up in their own neighbourhood. They are not anxious to work under conditions which, according to the members of the present Government when they were in opposition, were not too healthy at all. We were told on several occasions by Deputy Flanagan that conditions on the turf bogs were a disgrace. I am afraid that that sunk into the minds of a lot of our people and the young men are not a bit anxious to work in the turf bogs now.

Is the Deputy aware of the wages they get and the conditions under which they work?

I am aware of the wages.

And the conditions?

I am aware of the conditions because of what I have been told by some of the people coming back. I have not seen the conditions for myself, but I am aware of the fact that some people would not go to the bogs again. Leaving the conditions aside altogether, I am sure that men with homes in the city would not jeopardise their chances of getting employment locally by going away to the bogs. Going to England is a different matter.

Perhaps the Deputy would allow me to make this point here. When I spoke in Westport—I shall quote from the actual speech later on—I said I was dealing specifically with the rural workers.

That is good enough for me, but I can tell the Minister that some people have complained to me that it was bad enough to be looking for work without being called slackers. That is the impression that has been created down the country.

That is because what I said was distorted and misrepresented.

I do not know whether or not it was distorted, but you were undoubtedly supported by the Minister for Local Government. Are you aware of that?

I am, and I am surprised I am not supported by more people on both sides of the House. However, I shall deal with the matter when replying.

If the Minister says that he was referring to rural workers only, that does not affect my constituency very much, although part of my constituency embraces a rural area. I am sure he would not suggest that rural workers in Cork should have to travel 100 miles away to look for work because many rural workers have homes and families to keep and they could not maintain two households out of what they would get.

As regards the woollen industry. Deputy Lynch went very fully into that matter last week and he gave the Minister many details which were supplied to us by Sunbeam Wolsey. Deputy Hickey, speaking to-day, said that the woollen manufacturers seem to have tackled the job in such a way as to be unable to supply the complete demands of the nation. I wonder would anybody in business start out to supply the complete demands of the nation if their surplus stocks on hands were increasing day by day and they were not able to sell what they had on hands, due to the fact that people were using certain means of getting around the quota system? Suits are being made up of material of a certain weight, this material being just under the seven ounces per square yard which would have made it liable to a tariff. Material which they call gaberdine was imported ostensibly for weatherproofs, but was afterwards made up into suits. All that is still happening. What I am concerned with is the fact that workers have been laid off. These workers come along to me and to my friend over there, to ask us to try to get them jobs, a thing which we cannot do.

In the finishing woollen industry there are also immense surplus stocks which cannot be got rid of. Many workers in one of these factories have been laid off and there is another which is working only every second week. The Minister, at an earlier stage in this debate, intervened to state that he had looked for certain information from the proprietors of these industries and he had not got it yet. I would like to know, if these people do not give the information, is the Minister going to take no steps to see that the people formerly employed in these industries get back to their work? Is he going to wait until he gets the figures which he has asked for? I am almost certain that figures were submitted to his Department showing the surplus stocks of woollen materials. I think that if the home manufacturers are in a position to meet all the demands of the nation no foreign stuff should be allowed in.

The prices charged by the home manufacturers are controlled by the Department of Industry and Commerce. These prices, I understand, are equal to, if not lower than, English prices, but the unfortunate feature is that the drapers or the distributors, when they hear of the English goods coming in, will rush for them was to have something newer than the man next door. A couple of years ago drapers were anxious to collar all the stocks they could as the supply was hardly equal to the demand, but the situation has changed now. There is a plentiful supply and nobody is anxious to buy more than he can easily sell. I suggest to the Minister that until manufacturers can get rid of their surplus stocks he should take steps to ensure that there are no further imports of these goods. As I stated before, the Minister can control the prices of these goods. He can stop any attempt at profiteering, although to my mind there has been a good deal of exaggeration in the allegations as to profiteering. We heard some references here a short time ago to the fact that the sugar company were paying 6 per cent., but is it not much better that people should put their money in native industries than that they should be investing it in foreign industries? It is my experience that firms that are able to pay 6 or 8 per cent. generally give better conditions of employment than people who are only just trying to keep their heads above water. I should also like to ask why some of the big labour unions do not invest some of their money in industry themselves.

It is contrary to law to do that.

They take very good care to invest it in good, sound investments and they are probably right. Any man who invests money in industry has to run the risk of loss as well as looking forward to profits. We hear Deputies here talking about the cost of living and about profits and at the same time they were ready to vote to increase the interest on housing loans from 2½ to 3¼ per cent., thus increasing the cost of living because the increased cost of houses adds to the cost of living.

When I went back to Cork last Saturday, I saw the report of an interview with the managing director of St. Patrick's Woollen Mills, Mr. Murphy, who had just returned from America. In the course of that interview he said:—

"My visit to America was to increase our outlet for Irish-made tweeds and I found that there was a ready market there. With so many Irish people and people of Irish descent in America, there is quite a demand for goods bearing an Irish label. But I am only one individual, and one person cannot do a great deal on his own. If Ireland had a trade commissioner in the States, our exports could be increased considerably, for the prospects are very good."

The Minister was over in America not so very long ago, and I would suggest that he should investigate the suggestions made by this industrialist, who is a very enterprising gentleman, and is doing a good business. As a result, we might be able to increase our trade there. We all know the importance of dollars at the present time and it is quite possible that an outlet could be developed for other industries if we had a trade commissioner there to represent us. I was also asked to suggest to the Minister that if we have any trade agreements with Holland or similar countries, he might endeavour to develop an export trade for motor tyres with these countries. The factory in Cork at the present time is in a position, I understand, to cater for an export trade, if they had it. I move to report progress.

Progress reported; the Committee to sit later.