Supplies and Services (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1946 (Continuance) Bill, 1951—Second Stage (Resumed).

I think it is important, when discussing the Second Reading of this Bill, to appreciate the reasons which prompted the Opposition to put down the various motions which we have been discussing for the past few weeks. It is important to appreciate that the Opposition felt that, as a result of Government speeches in the few weeks prior to the resumption of the Dáil in the autumn, and during the summer months, a certain lack of confidence in the Irish economy was manifesting itself and that certain panic and scare conditions had started to demonstrate themselves. The Opposition felt, in these circumstances, that it was necessary for the Dáil to discuss the situation and, above all, for Opposition speakers to be given an opportunity to put forward in the Dáil what they believed to be the true facts of the situation. They felt it was necessary for them to do that in an endeavour to bring the Government to its senses and to get, if possible, a proper statement of policy on the economic situation from the Government. If the Tánaiste's speech here in this House when he moved the Second Reading of this Bill is an indication of Government policy, I think the Opposition can claim to some extent that it has brought the Government to its senses.

We have yet to get a coherent statement of policy from the Government on the various economic problems that face the State at present. As long ago as July last a scare statement of the type which became almost a daily occurrence in the newspapers shortly before the opening of the Dáil this autumn was made by the Minister for Finance. I am sure Deputies will recall the banner headlines which followed the statement of the Minister for Finance on the 18th July of last year when he informed the country of the grave economic crisis which the country was facing at that time. His speech was the first of many speeches which were to follow until we heard the Tánaiste's speech in this House a couple of weeks ago, in which the country was described as living beyond its means, as being engaged in a rake's progress, and in which we were warned of the immediate crisis which we were facing. In the course of the speech by the Minister for Finance on the 19th July last—as reported in the Official Report, Volume 126, No. 12, column 1898—the Minister for Finance put his finger on what was, I think, regarded by the Government in those months as the kernel of the economic problem which the country was facing. He brought out what he regarded as the chief difficulty with which the country had to contend. At that column in the Official Report he is reported as follows:

"It is a grave matter for reflection that our external assets have been reduced by £90,000,000 during the past three or four years, that a further reduction of £60,000,000 is in prospect this year and that only a small fraction of this total disinvestment is off-set by an addition to our productive capacity."

Concluding his speech, he is reported at column 1900 as follows:

"It will be seen from the figures which I have put before the House and the country that the present predicament of the Irish nation, of this State and of the people of this State, is grave and serious and must be dealt with accordingly."

That was the first indication the country had received for a very long time of the grave condition in which it was alleged to be by the Minister. His speech was followed by many speeches by the Tánaiste and by other Government speakers referring to the crisis. I think the whole tenor of these speeches was to the effect that the country was living beyond its means and that the people were consuming too much. The problem, as enunciated by the Government speakers, was that the yearly deficits over the last few years indicated a dissipation of our external assets, that the situation was a really difficult one, and that a crisis was about to develop in a very short time.

On the 27th July the Tánaiste said that the first thing which was necessary was to get a clear grasp of the fact that the Government and public between them were spending more than the nation could afford. On the 12th October—again returning to the attack—the Tánaiste, as quoted in the Irish Press, said that the time to give serious notice to this situation was overdue: he was referring to the deficit in the balance of payments. He said that it was now more than obvious that if we wanted to keep on buying foreign goods on the present scale we would soon be in a very real difficulty in paying for them. He said that we were able to do so for the time being because the external assets accumulated in the past were not yet exhausted, but that they were, however, rapidly nearing the point of exhaustion.

It was in the context of this debate, when the country was being told that its external assets were being dissipated, that the report of the Central Bank was published. Incidentally, it was dated the 25th September though it was some weeks before it was made available to the public. In that report the many specifics which the Governors of the Central Bank advocated should be applied to remedy the situation were all put forward because they believed that the fundamental fault in our economic situation was to be seen in the balance of payments. In paragraph 12 they said:—

"The long continuance of the deficit position and the progressive weakening of the economy by loss of external reserves and the incurring of foreign debt ... have reached a stage where measures directed to the restoration of stability have become an urgent necessity."

We are all conversant with the remedies suggested by the Governors of the Central Bank. It must have been with a great deal of relief that the country heard the statement from the Tánaiste that he for one would overthrow these recommendations. I can only trust that the Tánaiste has brought the rest of the Government with him and that what the Tánaiste said was, in fact, Government policy on this matter.

The remedies propounded by the Central Bank are of a very grave and serious type. The deflationary remedies which they advocated mean, in effect, a reduction in the capital investment programme undertaken by the Government. They advocated also the abolition of subsidies, increase in taxation and what was tantamount to a standstill policy on wages. The results of such a policy are only too apparent. Already, in the last few weeks, we have witnessed what is tantamount to a minor form of disinflation when we have seen the restricting of credit which is in operation at present by all the banks throughout the country——

Throughout the world.

——and the drop in employment of which every Deputy must be aware. It is no mere coincidence that Dublin City Deputies and other Deputies throughout the country have had brought to their notice in recent weeks an increase in the amount of unemployment in their constituencies. I think it is true to say that we are experiencing now a minor form of disinflation which, if the Central Bank Report is accepted, would develop and gather momentum so as to bring about large scale unemployment and emigration and a lowering in the standard of living of our people.

I make these points so that the Government can realise the full force of what a disinflationary policy means and so that we can be quite clear and the Government can be quite clear that any such policy would mean a very real reduction in the standard of living of our people and very real hardships to many innocent men and women. I think it is necessary to stress this because the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs did, in fact, advocate some form of disinflationary pressure either by Government action or by the banks.

He did not specify what that pressure was to be, but it is implicit in any form of disinflation brought about by Government action, advocated by Government speakers or brought about by the management of the banking affairs of the country that you will have unemployment. You will have emigration increasing and you will have more and more people being subjected to hardships which, we claim, are unnecessary if a proper financial policy is adopted and if a proper, sane approach is brought to the economic conditions of the day.

We claim that it is because of the scare speeches which were made over the summer months we have now a form of disinflationery pressure in operation. I think it is fair to say that many of the hardships which have been brought to these men and women who have been put on half-time or who have been unemployed completely would not have been brought about if these speeches, which we have endeavoured to counteract in the Dáil for the last few weeks, had not been made. It conceivably could happen that if the Irish economy was to deteriorate into such a state of emergency the remedies advocated by the Central Bank should be brought into operation. It is conceivable in time of grave emergencies that some—perhaps all—of the remedies advocated by the Central Bank should be adopted by the Government of the day. We would require very strong evidence of a very real emergency for the Government to be warranted to accept the remedies proposed by the Central Bank. I believe that no such emergency exists, or there is no possibility of such an emergency existing for many years to come. It is right for us now to reject out of hand the deflationary policies advocated by the Central Bank and it is right for us to criticise the Government for endeavouring to put forward a case to the country that we were facing a real crisis.

As I have said, the problem put forward by Government speakers and by the Central Bank was on the basis of the figures giving the deficit in the balance of payments over the last few years. That deficit shows that in the last four years—from 1947 to 1950— there was a deficit of £90,000,000 odd in the balance of payments. It has been in the interpretation of the effects of that deficit that the Government and the Central Bank have gone wrong.

Even if it were possible to show that the external assets owned by this country overseas had been reduced by £90,000,000, there would still have been no cause for crisis. That is very far from being the case. It must be denied out of hand that a mere deficit in the balance of payments amounting to £90,000,000 over the last four years means automatically that the external assets of this country overseas have been reduced by that amount. It is necessary to stress this because that statement was made by the Tánaiste and the Minister for Finance in July and it was repeated again by the Taoiseach in Cork, if he is reported correctly in the papers.

In interpreting these figures I think another error has been made by the Government. It has been part of the Government case in creating this crisis atmosphere to say that the large scale imports which brought about the deficits in the balance of payments were mainly, if not wholly, comprised of consumer goods. The Minister for Posts and Telegraphs quoted in the Dáil the figure for the import over the last few years of producer capital goods ready for use to show what a small quantity of capital goods was imported during those years. I do not think it is a correct estimate of the amount of capital work in progress and the amount of goods imported to aid that capital investment programme at home to read, as the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs has read, the figures for producer capital goods ready for use. The figure—I think it was 7.6 per cent. —merely shows the total amount of imports for last year as having been capital or producer capital goods ready for use.

It must be appreciated in relation to the capital investment programme which was so tremendously accelerated over the years of the inter-Party Government that, when a capital investment programme is undertaken, it does not take the form of importing houses, hospitals or such goods as will show themselves in the category of producer capital goods ready for use. It takes the form of importing many of the raw materials for the work it is necessary to undertake and it takes the form of importing the near capital goods which are necessary for putting into the capital investment programme at home. It must be appreciated that in any large-scale capital investment programme a large portion of any given amount spent on capital investment will be spent, in fact, on wages, and that, in the case of the building trade particularly, where £1,000,000 is invested by the Government or local authorities in a housing scheme, between 40 and 60 per cent.—probably nearly 60 per cent.—of the £1,000,000 will go in wages and that, of course, will mean an increase in the consumption of the recipients of the wages and a further drain on our balance of payments position.

It must also be appreciated that one of the consequences of a large-scale capital investment programme is increased imports, not merely of producer capital goods but consumer goods and near capital goods. It is wrong to infer from the small proportion given in the break-up of the figures for imports to producer capital goods that, because that proportion is small, the rest has been spent on consumption goods. It is far from the case. Any large-scale programme of capital investment as envisaged by the previous Government and, as I hope, to be carried on by this Government, will mean a large-scale increase in raw materials for industry and agriculture, which of necessity go into the make-up of the capital investment programme.

There has been a lot of talk in this House and elsewhere about the repatriation of our sterling assets and it is important to get clear in our minds what we mean by repatriating sterling. Speeches have been made by Government speakers which appear to indicate that they believe that repatriation of sterling takes place when sterling assets are sold in England and the money is brought back here. It is not true to say that the mere sale of sterling assets in England will bring about a repatriation of these assets. The only way in which repatriation of sterling assets can take place is by deficit in the balance of payments. The only way in which we can bring back sterling at present in England and invest it here at home is by deliberately incurring a deficit in the balance of payments, by deliberately having an excess of imports over exports, and, if that fact is accepted, perhaps the Government speakers will look with less terror on the deficits which have been incurred over the past few years.

It is also important, when talking about the principles by which any Government should work when deliberately following a policy of repatriating sterling assets, to remember that there are such things as good investment and bad investment of these assets in this country. It is no justification for bringing back sterling assets if you are going to put them into a bad form of investment in this country. The Minister for Finance asked—I think he threw it out as a taunt—why we in the inter-Party Government did not buy the large Constellations and repatriate the sterling in that fashion. We did not do it because it was going to mean a bad form of investment and because it was better to leave these sterling assets where they were rather than create a drain of that nature on the Irish economy. Another principle which I think it is important to accept when dealing with this question of repatriation of sterling assets is that, as a general principle, in a time of rising world prices, it is better that these assets which are depreciating in value annually should be repatriated rather than left in England to decline in value.

There has been this deficit in the balance of payments over the past four years and, as I have said, the crisis talk has come about by reason of a false interpretation of the effect of that deficit. I think the proper test to apply when regarding a deficit of the magnitude we have seen over the past few years is the test which Deputy McGilligan, when Minister for Finance, applied in his Budget speech in 1950 when he introduced for the first time the double Budget system and launched out, for the first time on a large scale, on a capital investment programme. In Volume 120 (11) at column 1646 the then Minister said:—

"The Government favour the repatriation of sterling assets where it is clearly in the interests of domestic development. To ensure that the general standard of living of the community is at least preserved, the reduced purchasing power over imports resulting from the loss of income from the sterling investments realised should be made good by a compensating expansion in production for the home market or for export. Even if the external balance is not fully restored by increased exports or reduced imports arising from higher domestic output, some net loss of external purchasing power may be regarded as a premium worth paying for the expansion of employment and the greater economic and social security which domestic investment is expected to afford."

He then went on to say:—

"Repatriation can take place only through imports of goods and services in excess of current earnings, that is, through a deficit in the balance of payments. Only in this way can the realisation of sterling assets add to the pool of resources available."

In the next column he said:—

"Effective repatriation also takes place when bank deposits are drawn upon to pay for imports, and the sterling holdings of the commercial banks are thus reduced. It is necessary to bear in mind not only that the essential condition of repatriation is a deficit in the balance of payments, but also that the mere existence of a deficit is not evidence of the repatriation of sterling assets for domestic development."

And then later:

"It is only if the deficit in the balance of payments is accompanied by a corresponding net increase in capital outlay at home that it can be said that sterling assets are being realised for domestic development."

I would like that the test laid down by the Minister for Finance in that speech should be followed, so that some reality may be brought into the economic situation. Government speakers have been guilty of merely stressing the liabilities incurred by the State over the last few years, while they neglect to point out the assets which the creation of those liabilities makes possible. It can be demonstrated that, over the period when the deficits in the balance of payments were being incurred, much greater capital investment was taking place at home and that that capital investment—which produced goods and services, which increased the wealth of the State, which gave employment and helped to improve the standard of living at home— was made possible only by the deficits which have been lamented by Government speakers.

If we apply the test laid down by the then Minister for Finance—and I would like the Tánaiste, if he objects to that test, to say so and state its defects— we can see that last year there was a deficit in the balance of payments of £30,000,000, but to compensate for that there was domestic capital formation of £45,000,000, excluding stocks. If stocks are included, it would be very much greater. There has been the extraordinary situation, which has not been fully grasped by Government speakers, that that £30,000,000 deficit last year was not financed by drawing on the sterling external assets of the banks. The external assets in the banks on December 31st, 1949, were £241.6 millions and at the end of a year, on the 31st December, 1950, it had gone up to £245.4 millions. They were, in fact, financed by drawing on the Dollar Loan Account amounting to £20.8 millions and by the inflow of capital to this country to the extent of £13.3 millions. During that year there was no decrease in our sterling assets, there was an inflow of sterling into this country amounting to £30.3 millions and there was the incurring of dollar debt up to £20.8 millions.

If that test is applied over the period of four years during which the deficit of £90,000,000 was incurred, it can be seen that during that period net domestic capital formation increased by £178.7 millions. As I have said, it would not have been possible to have had that large-scale investment in this country and to have maintained our standard of consumption at the same time, if we had not got the deficit over those four years.

Far from being alarmed at the deficit for that period, far from trying to prove that the external assets declined during those years, if a proper valuation of what occurred in that period is made we will see that in those four years the real wealth of the nation was increased by £178.7 millions—and that during that period there was no reduction in our sterling assets. The external sterling holdings of the banks during that time increased in value and the evidence would show that there was no corresponding drop in the general sterling assets of the country as a whole for that period.

That deficit of £90,000,000 was not financed—as has been alleged by the Taoiseach and other Government speakers—by drawing on our external assets. It was financed by the creation of dollar debt amounting to £36.9 millions and by an inflow of sterling amounting to £51,000,000 during those years. I hope later to refer to the manner in which the White Paper has dealt with this inflow of sterling over those years. Every country in the world with a balance of payments problem welcomes the inflow of foreign capital to its country, in order to help alleviate that problem. The Minister and the Minister for Finance and the White Paper appear to deprecate it and appear to consider it as something which has created liabilities rather than assets. There can be little doubt that this year 1951 will see for the first time, but only for the first time, a reduction in our sterling assets. That will have been brought about because the dollar loan will have been exhausted, because the deficit in the balance of payments will have been increased and because the inflow of foreign capital will not be sufficient to make up the deficit. It must be appreciated that it is only this year—and not, as has been stressed by Government speakers, over the last four years —that we are going to have a reduction in sterling assets.

I think it is quite apparent to anybody who appreciates the realities of the situation that this year is an exceptional year and one very unlikely to recur. It is exceptional because of the large-scale stockpiling which was undertaken by business men in every form of business; it is exceptional because of the large-scale increase in import prices, which has already begun to flatten out; it is exceptional because the terms of trade moved strongly against us and the price of our agricultural exports is likely to increase and the terms of trade are likely to move once more in our favour. None of these items has been pointed out by the White Paper and no weight has been put on these exceptional circumstances. The White Paper has endeavoured to establish that this country is facing an economic crisis. It is also demonstrated from the figures given by the White Paper that the suggestion of a crisis is not warranted by those figures.

The import figures given in Table 1A of the White Paper show a steady decline from the peak period in June last and the import surplus has been going down steadily since May. It was 14.2 in May, 14 in June, 10.6 in July, 7.5 in August; it again decreased in the month of September to 5.8 millions. The Minister for Finance has endeavoured to make the point that this month of September was exceptional and that the drop in the deficit was due to the shipping strike which held up exports and imports. Since he made that speech, however, the figures for the import surplus for October which have been published show a deficit of £9.07 millions and if the average is taken for the two months September and October, as I suggest is a proper course to take, it will be seen that the import surplus for those two months is £7.3 millions.

The case that the Opposition is making against the White Paper is that it has failed to take into account the fact that the heavy increase in imports and the heavy import surplus has been steadily declining and that its figures are based on the false assumption that the large import surplus would continue. The figures since June show that there has been a steady decline in the import surplus and we claim that it is wrong to base the conclusions which the White Paper has reached on the fact that there was in the first six months of the year such a large-scale import surplus.

I further challenge the statement contained in paragraph 5 of the White Paper that there was dissipation of external resources merely to boost current consumption in the past year. I think that that statement is not borne out by the facts or by a proper appreciation of the large-scale investment programme which it was necessary to finance by means of the Budget deficit last year.

There is also another statement in the White Paper which is of a highly questionable character. Paragraph 31 states:

"If this year's deficit amounts to £70 millions, the accumulations of 1940-1946 will have been offset by subsequent realisation of sterling or by the incurring of dollar and sterling debt."

I object to the use of the words "sterling debt" in that connection. I did put down a question to the Minister for Finance to find out what was meant by the phrase "sterling debt," and he referred me to the June edition of the Trade Journal and in particular to the items under the capital account for the inflow of foreign funds into this country over those years and what the White Paper refers to as the incurring of sterling debt is, in fact, the inflow of miscellaneous funds which the Trade Journal puts on the credit side. I think it is incorrect to call this a sterling debt, a sterling liability, when, in fact, what has happened is that there has been a certain extra inflow of money into the country which has enabled us to finance the deficit in the balance of payments and has, in fact, helped to create assets in this country at the same time.

The White Paper further endeavours to establish that this country last year and in this current year was also engaged in some sort of consumer spree, that we were consuming too much and that our inport of capital goods and goods which would help to increase production in the country was too small. If a proper valuation of figures for imports of consumer goods and of other types of goods in 1950 and in 1938 is taken it will be seen that in 1938 of the total amount of imports 10.8 per cent. represented food, drink and tobacco, while in 1951 it was 10.5.

It will be seen that other imports of consumer goods in 1938 amounted to 20.5 per cent. of the total and that this was only 17.4 per cent. in 1951. In this year the figure for producer capital goods is 7.6 and it was only 7 in 1938. Materials for industry which comprised 51 per cent. of the total amount of imports in 1938 had risen to 57.9 this year. The figures demonstrate that we are not engaged in the consumer spree which, the White Paper alleges, exists. They demonstrate that we are in fact enjoying a high standard of living and that that has necessitated a great increase in our imports but that does not prove and the import figures do not prove that we are in fact consuming more proportionately than we did in 1938.

One of the purposes in the minds of the movers of these motions which are before the House at present was to get if possible a statement of Government policy. I do not think that that has met with any great success. We all welcome the Tánaiste's statement that he is in favour of the capital investment programme and the large expansion of capital investment projects. Again I trust he is not speaking for himself but for the Government, because if he is speaking for the Government it is evidence of a very recent conversion indeed to the principles of capital investment enunciated by the inter-Party Government. On July 18th last when the Minister for Finance was dealing with the problems which confronted the State, he referred to some of the matters which, he said, clamoured for discussion.

Two of these matters early on in the list of things which clamoured for discussion were, first of all, the character and adequacy of the current year's Budget and, secondly, the problem presented by an unwiedly programme of capital expenditure. One would not have thought, reading the Minister's remarks, that he was in favour of a capital investment programme which he described as unwieldy. It is, however, of interest to know that when he refers, in his recent speech in this debate, to the four problems confronting the country now, the problem of the unwieldy capital programme is left out.

It must necessarily also be a matter for surmise as to whether in reality the Government's conversion to the capital investment programme is a complete one, at any rate, as far as the Minister for Finance is concerned. I asked the Minister for Finance a couple of weeks ago if it was the intention of the Government to expend the sum of £29.4 million on items of a capital nature as had been provided for in the Budget prepared by his predecessor and his answer was "Yes". That answer must be welcomed by every side of the House. But, in answer to a supplementary question as to the spending of the American Loan Counterpart Fund, when asked if it was true that the £18.5 million which had been spent by the Government between June and October of this year was a dissipation of the American Loan Counterpart Fund, the Minister said: "Yes, it was, if it meant spending on the follies of our predecessors.""The follies of his predecessors" could only have meant the capital investment programme and, if he described that capital investment programme as folly, it is hard to appreciate the complete nature of his conversion to the principle of a capital investment programme, and his complete acceptance of the view that a large scale capital investment programme is of great necessity at the present time.

It is in the context of these remarks and these earlier speeches, and also in the context of the memory of the large advertisements which were plastered around the City of Dublin last year, which stated that the country was being put into pawn by the inter-Party Government, that we are entitled to doubt the conversion of the Minister for Finance to the capital investment programme. If he has been converted, we will all welcome it. If he does intend to spend at the rate of £29.4 million this year, we will welcome that, and if he does intend to maintain this large scale capital investment programme, he will also obtain our support. It is evidence of that conversion that we think is lacking at the present time.

Whereas we are in agreement with the Government if they intend to develop the capital projects which the last Government put into operation, we must join issue with them as to the means of financing these items of capital expenditure. It is of interest to note that the Tánaiste, in his recent statement to the House, referred to the ease with which the last Government could finance the capital investment programme. In Volume 127, No. 2, column 314, he is reported as saying:

"It is true that our predecessors were able to borrow with considerable ease because they had available to them the American Loan Counterpart Fund and whenever they ran short of cash they could borrow from that fund. That made it possible for them to maintain a level of investment by State organisations higher than the amount they were able to borrow from the public would have permitted."

I think it is fair to say that the Tánaiste was implying that we had available for disbursement the American Loan Counterpart Fund which they had not got and that things were going to be more difficult for them.

In that connection it is interesting to read the reply made by the Minister for Finance as to the amount spent out of the American Loan Counterpart Fund by the last Government and the amount spent by the present Government. The figures were given by the Minister for Finance. Between 19th January, 1949, when the proceeds of the American Loan became available for expenditure, and the 13th June, 1951, when the Government left office, the total amount spent from the proceeds of the American Loan was £18.1 million. The total amount spent between 14th June and 25th October by the present Government was £18.5 millions.

The figures given in this answer demonstrate that it took the present Government less than four months to spend what the inter-Party Government took 30 months to spend. The charges of prodigality in the expenditure of the American Loan Counterpart Fund which we witnessed over the last few years, and in more recent days also, are not borne out by the figures given by the Minister for Finance in answer to that question, and the answer demonstrates that they spent the American Loan Counterpart Fund at a rate nearly seven and a-half times faster than the inter-Party Government did.

It is also of interest to recall the remarks made by the Minister for Finance in his speech on 18th July, when he referred to the spending of the American Loan Counterpart Fund. The warning which the Minister gave at that time must be borne in mind. He said, at Volume 126, No. 12, that whatever may have been the position in theory some time ago, the release of counterpart moneys now must be regarded as having a predominantly inflationary influence.

I must endorse that statement. It is a statement which his predecessor also made. It is a statement which any prudent financier would make, that in present circumstances the expenditure of the American Loan Counterpart Fund must have a much greater inflationary effect than the expenditure of money borrowed from the public would have. It was with the realisation of that that the Government has engaged in this dissipation of the American Loan Counterpart Fund over the last four months. It is not unfair to say that that money would not have been spent by the inter-Party Government if it had been in power in the manner and at the rate at which it was spent by the present Government, because they long ago would have raised a loan in order to pay for this capital investment programme.

The Tánaiste's speech also contains statements with which I should like to take issue. He states, as reported in Volume 127, column 311, of the Official Reports:

"Our financial difficulties, I believe, are internal, not external. I believe that what is wrong is not that we have been using up our external assets but that we have been using them for the wrong purposes— that the Government has not been paying its way at home. The deficit in our balance of payments is merely a symptom of the unbalanced Budgets of recent years."

First of all, I should like to point out, in relation to that statement, that the Minister appears to be accepting the interpretation of the phrase "Budget deficit" given by the Central Bank. He is using that phrase to mean, incorrectly, I allege, payments on matters of a capital nature which are properly financed by borrowing, and the Central Bank in their report referred to, what they termed improperly, "Budget deficits", when they lumped together the total expenditure of the Government for the current year irrespective of its capital or current nature and put it side by side with the total revenue and alleged that the difference between the two was a budgetary deficit. It must be said that there were no budgetary deficits in any year in which the inter-Party Government were in power and the term as used by the Tánaiste is wrongfully used.

If, without prejudice, one does use the term "budgetary deficit" to include the difference between the total State expenditure, including capital, and the total revenue, it is true to say that they have brought about a deficit in the balance of payments. It is true to say that the large-scale investment programme of the last few years has been a deliberate item of Government policy designed to bring about a deficit in the balance of payments.

It was done deliberately with full knowledge of the consequences and, I claim, successfully, if a proper reading of the figures is made and if, instead of looking at the liability side of the balance sheet, we look at the assets that were created over this period. But it must be taken from the Tánaiste's statement that if—again to use the word without prejudice—the deficit which has existed between the current and capital expenditure of the Government and the total revenue had been made up by taxation instead of borrowing, as was the fact for the last few years, it would certainly have meant a reduction in imports and a consequent reduction in the deficit of the balance of payments.

That is the very policy we are against. If it is Government policy to reduce consumption by forcing savings on the people by means of taxation, we are against that policy. If it is their policy to finance the capital investment programme by taxing the people to do it, we are against it. If they intend to bring about forced savings on the community by taking the money out of the hands of the people which was being spent on imports, we are against that policy. It is for these reasons—the various quotations which the Ministers have given, the various statements against borrowing and the increase in the interest on State debt which they deprecated in their past speeches—that we very much doubt their full conversion to the principles of the capital investment programme.

A statement was made in this House by the Minister for Finance in which he declared that the last Government had faked and cooked the Budget. Again, I want to join issue with the Minister for Finance on that statement and to say that the Minister's predecessor had a Budget which was perfectly balanced in accordance with sound financial theory and that, if there is anything faked about the current Budget, it is the alleged deficit. I believe that the deficit which the Minister is talking about is a faked deficit because he has included, when estimating the increased expenditure for the current financial year, this sum of £3.07 millions for fuel subsidy.

It is of interest to see what the Central Bank has to say about that sum of £3,000,000 odd. It would appear that the Minister is almost more conservative in his dealings with this sum of £3,000,000 odd than the Central Bank, because page 12 of the Central Bank report referring to this item states:

"The debt position cannot be fully understood without some reference to liabilities incurred on the contingent basis. The State guaranteed bank overdraft to Fuel Importers Limited referred to in our report for the year ended 31st March, 1949, still remains undischarged so that the estimated loss of some £3,000,000 being in effect a State subsidy on fuel has not as yet made its appearance as a charge in the public accounts."

Then it makes this interesting statement:

"The capital amount is accordingly not included in the foregoing debt figures nor is the interest included in the foregoing particulars of debt service."

The Central Bank were of the opinion that this sum of £3,000,000 odd was properly to be regarded as a debt to be funded and paid back, and not to be regarded as an item to be paid for in one year. This was a debt incurred by Fuel Importers Limited over the period of the emergency, and it is bad finance to say that it should be paid back in one year and not funded, as was the intention of the last Government. I may be wrong in this point, but I should like to be corrected if I am. I think the Tánaiste, when in Opposition, suggested that this £3,000,000 odd, owing to Fuel Importers Limited over the last few years should, in fact, be funded. That was the proper policy to adopt. I suggest that it is little short of fraud to bring into the current financial year this debt which was incurred during the war years.

As to the figures given by the Taoiseach yesterday, the sum of £10,000,000 deficit for the current financial year, he estimated that there was going to be a saving of £1.5 million; there was the £1.5 million surplus which his predecessor had budgeted for and there was going to be a £2,000,000 increase in revenue. The Taoiseach deducted that the deficit therefore for the current financial year would be in the region of £5,000,000. If you exclude this £3,000,000 odd to be paid out of the current year to Fuel Importers Limited, and if you add on the £2,000,000 odd which were in the Exchequer when the present Government took office, that deficit is wiped out. I think it is correct to say that if the proper financial aspect is taken of this debt to Fuel Importers Limited, and if the Government will refrain from trying to make political capital out of the situation by falsely increasing the alleged budgetary deficit, it will be found that there is no deficit at all.

The Minister for Finance referred last July to budgetary deficits and very rightly made the following comment at column 1876 of Volume 126 of the Official Report:—

"No one with even a rudimentary acquaintance with economics should be complacent about Budget deficits in present circumstances. I think that all will concede that, in an inflationary situation, as exists in the world to-day, the least the State should do is to refrain from making things worse."

I maintain that the Government has a bounden duty to balance the Budget if there is a deficit; I maintain that the Government is neglecting its duty, if there was a faked Budget, in not balancing it. This Government came into office six weeks after the Budget was introduced. If it was a faked Budget the Government has stood over that faking for the last five months and has done nothing about it.

I think it is a fair interpretation of the situation to say that the Government is deliberately trying to muddy the waters by dragging in items which should not be brought in at all in order to cover up the increase in taxation which would have been necessary to pay the increased subsidies on wheat and milk which they themselves introduced. At any rate the Tánaiste has come forward in favour of the idea of large-scale capital investment. We welcome his statement in that regard.

I would like to see a national investment board set up—a body something on the lines of the Industrial Credit Corporation. We must keep in mind two principles in connection with the policy of capital investment. First of all we must ensure that our capital investment is of an economic character and that it is not wasteful; and, secondly, we must ensure that the other part of the capital investment programme is an investment in capital of a social character, such as houses and hospitals. During the period in which the capital investment programme is in progress and planning for the future it is essential that the various aspects of the programme should be kept under constant review.

It might be that in any Government one particularly strong Minister could bring to bear too great a pressure on the Government of the day in order to secure investment in connection with his own particular Department as a result of which the investment programme as a whole might become lopsided. For that reason I think there should be some sort of semi-independent investment board to plan the future capital investment needs of the country and to keep a vigilant eye on the current investment programme in order to ensure that investment would be made only in works that are in fact economic.

I know the Taoiseach seems to hold the opinion that such a planning authority would not be of any great assistance. The days when investment was on an insignificant level have gone. Now that investment is on such a large scale and at a time when the Government's capital investment programme is of such vital importance and plays such an important rôle in the economics of the State, I think an investment board of the kind I have suggested could perform a very useful function and play a very useful part in ensuring that the proper principles were applied and the proper plans made in relation to the policy of investment in the future.

The second principle which should be applied in the present situation in order properly to face current financial difficulties is that of borrowing. The Government should borrow for capital investment projects. They should not raise the necessary finances by means of taxation. I think the Government has failed in its duty in not floating a loan during the autumn. The Minister for Finance in the inter-Party Government announced last May when introducing the Budget that it was the intention of his Government to finance the capital investment programme by floating a loan in the autumn. So far we have had no explanation from the present Government as to why that loan has not been floated. If it is floated now and if it is a failure, as it may easily be, the fault will lie with the Government and with no one else.

I stated last July that this was a matter above Party politics. I stated that the issue of a national loan to finance the capital investment programme was a matter which should not be subjected to the Party political machines. I still maintain that is true. I think the finances of the State should not be subjected to Party political bickering. Be that as it may, we are entitled to say to-day that the present Government has created a situation in which the banks have become chary and are unwilling to lend, and in which the people have become scared of the financial situation. Should the Minister float a loan now and, should that loan prove unsuccessful, the blame can only be laid at the feet of the Government's spokesmen who have brought about this situation of semi-crisis.

The third item of any proper financial policy at present is the institution of the double Budget system introduced by the last Government. I hope that the present Minister for Finance when introducing the Budget next May, if he is still in office, will continue to bring in the double Budget so that the total amount of capital expenditure both above the line and below the line will be quite clear to the people, and so that the people will not be taxed under the supply services heading for items which come, in theory, under supply services but which are, in fact, items of a capital nature.

The fourth ingredient of a proper financial policy at the present time is one which has been singularly lacking from all the Government statements which we have heard here over the last few weeks, and that is, the great need for increasing exports. Now, it must be apparent to anyone who understands the financial situation to-day that the solution of the balance of payments problem cannot be brought about by reducing imports. By reducing imports you are merely swopping one form of inflation for another form of inflation, so that the only real solution to the long-term problem of the balance of payments is to be found by increasing exports. Our main effort under the capital investment programme should be directed towards increasing agricultural production, and, far from cutting down on investment, as has been advocated by the Central Bank, far from reducing the amount of investment at present by the Government, the amount should be increased. The only way in which we can bring the agricultural industry into a position in which its products can be properly saleable on the world markets is by investing more money in it, and by bringing down the costs of production.

I do not know why the Government has been so silent about the need of increasing our export drive. I think that we are almost in the situation in which the British found themselves shortly after the war when the members of that Government found it necessary, in speech after speech, to impress on their people the need for exports. As I say, I do not believe that we are in the same financial circumstances as the British found themselves in at that time, but the problem is still the same and the remedies to be applied are similar. It is the duty of the Government now to endeavour to see that our exports of agricultural produce are increased.

The fifth item in what I consider to be a sound financial policy is another one which has been singularly lacking from the speeches made by members of the Government in this debate, and that is the necessity for increasing the savings drive. It must be admitted, I think, that the savings drive is of the utmost importance so as to ensure that there will be available for the capital investment programme a sufficient amount of resources to help finance it. If we do not increase the savings drive we are going to put a greater strain on the balance of payments.

Again, it was singular to see that, in most countries of the world during the war, large-scale savings drives were instituted, and that nothing was being done in this country. I think it is also true to say that a savings drive is something which should be above party. The last Minister for Finance did state that the Government of that time were preparing plans to institute a large-scale savings drive throughout the country. We have heard nothing about those plans from the present Government, and we have heard little or nothing about savings from the present Government. I would like to see a reorientation of Government policy towards increasing savings, towards making the people savings-minded, and towards bringing in local authorities, schools and other institutions to aid in the savings drive.

I feel, as I have said earlier, that, if a proper and realistic approach were made to the problems of the day, there was no need for the crisis talk which we witnessed over the past few months. There is, of course, no need to be complacent about the situation. The last Government looked with legitimate pride on the increase on the standard of living which was brought about during the years it was in office. It looked with determination to the problems which confronted it. It did not endeavour to create a panic in the country, but did endeavour to point out the difficulties which confronted the people. The task of the present Government or of any Irish Government is not an easy one.

The problems needing a solution are, as we know, many. It should be the primary duty of any Irish Government to secure full employment; it should be the equal duty of any Government to bring down emigration, and it is its bounden duty to see that proper housing and proper hospital facilities are there for the people. The Government also has the task of producing a proper social security scheme, a proper mother and child scheme, and proper health services generally.

These are not easy things to do. Men of ability, with proper financial and economic theories behind them, are required to deal with these difficulties. As I have said, I do not feel that the present Government is capable of bringing about conditions of full employment, of reducing emigration, of increasing housing and hospitalisation, of increasing production, generally, in order to finance those schemes, of bringing in proper health services or a proper social security scheme. It is because I do not feel that they have that ability, that I would like Deputies to treat this motion, as was suggested by an earlier speaker, as a vote of no confidence in the Government, to ensure by their votes the defeat of the Government and the opportunity of electing a Government which will face these many problems in the same manner and with the same policies as the inter-Party Government did.

This debate has wandered rather leisurely and aimlessly over a rather restricted area. We are, or ought to be, discussing the Second Reading of the "Supplies and Services (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1946 (Continuance), Bill, 1951," a Bill which deals with matters of substantial importance, such as power to control prices, power to operate rationing schemes, power to exercise control over exports and imports and exchange transactions, and to provide and operate cheap fuel schemes and other social welfare services.

That is the Bill that is under discussion, but the debate up to the present has been limited by the two amendments which have been put down by Deputy Costello and Deputy MacBride.

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

I have been listening for some weeks to this particular debate and, if I were a Churchill, I might say that never in the history of Dáil Eireann have so many words been said by so few Deputies over such a long period. They were not the words of wisdom which Charles Dickens said fall from the lips of the wise men in autumn.

We are hearing them now.

I am afraid not. My senses have been dulled considerably——

Since you went over to the other side?

——by this debate. It has certainly not lived up to the expectations of the newspaper writers who told us that we were in for a general election before Christmas. Those alarmist elements have been grievously disappointed. There has not been any talk or there is not any talk of a general election or of the fall of the Government since the Tánaiste spoke.

That is in your hands.

If that is so I think the Government is safe for a considerable period.

We are all quite well aware of that.

There was a cartoon in the Irish Press to the effect that Independent Deputies could be bought.

There should be no allegation about buying Independent Deputies.

It was the Irish Press which published that statement. We never said it. Your friends said it.

Give the child a bottle.

I do not think it is proper to say such things at any time and I do not think it is right to say them in this House. The great majority of Deputies, in fact, as I understand it, all Deputies have a sense of decency and a sense of honour.

Could we pass on to the Bill now?

I do not know of any Deputy who would want to sell his soul for the paltry price he would get for it.

Take that up with the Irish Press.

I heard Deputy Dillon making that same observation on a number of occasions in this House.

All this is not very relevant to the Bill under discussion.

It is relevant to an interruption which I think was unseemly and improper. What has been produced by the political writers of certain newspapers who suggested that the Government would fall on this particular measure? There has been produced some form of artificially inseminated mare's nest. The debate has had one characteristic, and it is this. Very little knowledge of monetary matters has been shown in the majority of the speeches that have been delivered throughout the debate. We have had references to all kinds of technical terms such as inflation, balance of payments, external assets and the repatriation of our external assets. It has been perfectly clear that those phrases have been used by people who had no understanding of them or no idea of what they meant. It is desirable that as many Deputies as possible should acquire a knowledge of monetary matters, but I think it is both necessary and desirable that those Deputies who pretend to have a knowledge of monetary matters should make themselves acquainted with the fundamental principles thereof. The Central Bank has been subjected to considerable criticism during the course of the past three or four weeks by Deputies, particularly Deputy MacBride, who could, during the past three years, have sought amendment of the law, so as to give the Central Bank the power which Deputy MacBride says, and rightly says, the Central Bank ought to have now.

Taking up the Order Paper, day after day, during the past three or four weeks, one is surprised to see the numerous questions on matters of fact in relation to the Central Bank which have been addressed by Deputy MacBride to the Minister for Finance. The answer to every one of those questions ought to have been obtained by Deputy MacBride when he was a Minister in the previous Government. I see very little difference between the report furnished by the Central Bank this year and the report which they made available last year, the year before, or the year before that. This artificial atmosphere has been deliberately created in regard to the Central Bank, or the Central Bank has been used in connection with this artificial atmosphere, for the purpose of diverting public attention from more important matters. I have said, on a number of occasions in this House, that the Central Bank had not sufficient authority to operate properly in the public interest. That was the policy of the Labour Party, as I understood it——

I hope you will not be told you are talking nonsense.

And it was the policy of the Clann na Poblachta Party. There have been a great many criticisms of the Governor of the Central Bank. I understand that when executive members of Clann na Poblachta endeavoured to bring about a change of Governor in the Central Bank, the Deputy who is so vocal in his criticism now of the Governor of the Bank—Deputy MacBride—resisted the efforts of his Party to remove that Governor or rather to replace him by somebody who would have a different idea in regard to finance.

Your information is entirely wrong. Are we going to have the Clann row revived again?

I do not think the directors or the controllers of the Central Bank come into this debate. It is quite undesirable that the personnel should be discussed.

There have been several references to the fact that the personnel of the Central Bank were appointed by the last Government. Several references have been made in this debate to that matter, and I merely want to make that particular comment and observation in regard to it. The Central Bank, in my view, has not been invested with adequate powers to protect the integrity of our currency or to safeguard the national interest. The result is that while our commercial banks have the power to create credit, no such power is given to the Central Bank. Our commercial banks create credit for their own purposes and for the purpose of making profit for themselves. The Central Bank, which should have that power to create credit in the national interest, have not been given that power in the statute which has established the Central Bank. Consequently, the functions of the Central Bank are entirely limited and restricted by the powers that have been given them in the statute.

I believe that until those powers of the Central Bank are extended and until the power to create credit for productive works such as housing, afforestation, etc., is given to the Central Bank things will not be satisfactory in this country. We will have the situation that has arisen now and has been spoken about in this debate in regard to restriction of credit by the commercial banks. That has been mentioned here in this debate as if it were something new. Deputies will recollect that on numerous occasions during the period of office of the last Government I put questions to the then Minister for Finance in relation to the restriction of bank credit as to whether that was done by his order or by the order of the Government. On every occasion on which that matter was mentioned Deputy McGilligan, the then Minister for Finance, said it was done without his authority, without his knowledge, and certainly it was not done on his instructions. Therefore, this restriction of bank credit is not something new. It has been happening over a period of three or four years.

And longer.

Probably longer.

You remember the economic war.

I am not concerned with the economic war.

You should remember that time if you were here.

Bank credit has been restricted by the banks and that has been taking place, to my knowledge, over the past four years. I suggest it is unfair to say, as has been said here and elsewhere, that the banks are restricting credit now because they have been so instructed either by the Government or by Ministers of the Government deliberately or through speeches that have been made by Ministers here and there throughout the country or in this House.

The restriction of bank credit in certain circumstances is a very serious matter. It can affect seriously employment. It is absolutely incorrect that a power to affect employment in the country by the restriction of credit in the way it has been done and is being done by the commercial banks should be in the hands of the commercial banks who, apparently, are not subject to any Government in this country but are controlled by some power that is outside the country. We have had a long struggle to bring about political freedom and a certain amount of economic freedom but we cannot have the full exercise of freedom until the commercial banks are under the control of the Government that has been elected by the people. I do not for one moment suggest that any Government should have the right to interfere in their ordinary business but the banks should not have power to bring about unemployment or to create very serious situations for manufacturers and business men generally, through the operation of the power of restricting credit on the instruction of some power or authority outside this State.

I agree with those Deputies who have said that any restriction in credit now, any reduction in wages now, any reduction in the standard of living now, would be wrong, and I think the speeches we have heard in this debate, particularly the speech that has been made by the Tánaiste in opening the debate, indicates clearly that there is no necessity whatsoever for alarm, that those old ideas which operate in the minds of the directors of the Central Bank or operate in the mind of the Governor of the Central Bank will not be permitted to interfere with the progress of this country. I often think, reading statements by alleged financiers, that they have only one idea and that is to get back to the pre-1914 period. They forget that there have been two world wars, that there have been enormous changes all over the world and they want to get back to the old ideas that operated pre-1914. Just as that period has gone, those ideas have gone too.

I often thought that it would be a good idea if the Government, any Government that is in power in this country, had the services of some acknowledged expert in finance, not the services of persons who have become expert in what might be termed State accountancy, who have become expert through study and through activity in the Department of Finance or in some State Department closely related to our present Department of Finance. It is not in that atmosphere that one can get the imagination that is necessary to deal with financial and monetary problems in this part of the twentieth century. I certainly should like to have, as members of the Board of the Central Bank, men who would be acknowledged experts, in whom the people would have confidence, but it is clear from this debate, if anything is clear, that nobody in this House, on the Government side or the Opposition side, has any confidence in the Central Bank as at present constituted.

Except the Minister for Finance.

The Taoiseach has spoken, the Minister for Finance has spoken, the Tánaiste has spoken and an examination of the speeches made by them clearly indicates that, while they accept the factual statements and the statistics set out in the report, which must bear certain interpretations, not one of them accepts in toto the advice or the recommendations of the Central Bank. That is not a very happy position for the Central Bank to be in, and it is not in the national interests that it should be so. The Central Bank is an independent organisation——

Without power.

Without power. That is the whole trouble in regard to the Central Bank, that it has not the power that is necessary to carry out its functions properly in the national interest.

It is pretty conscious of that.

It has power to do harm —blackening the country in the eyes of the world.

If this debate has served any purpose it has served the purpose of drawing attention to the fact that the Central Bank has not the power or the authority which is necessary, if it is to fulfil its functions in the public interest.

Considerable reference has been made to prices. Prices of necessities come under two heads—the price of those commodities that we produce ourselves and of those that we import. In so far as we import foodstuffs, we have very little control over the price except such control as we may exercise by means of subsidies. I myself for a long period have wondered whether, in the long run, subsidies are an advantage at all because if you apply certain subsidies to reduce prices, the money for these subsidies has to be obtained by taxation. If it is followed to its logical conclusion it may be—I have not been able to get figures—that these subsidies are not a very substantial relief at all to individual families. We have the food that we produce ourselves and it has struck me that one great difficulty in regard to the price of the food which we produce is that to a large extent it is governed by the price we are able to obtain in the English market. As the price of eggs or the price of beef goes up in the British market, the price goes up to our own consumers here at home. It seems to me that we could exercise substantial control in regard to the price of those commodities that we produce ourselves.

If we were to have an agricultural marketing board that would be responsible for, and in control of, the export of all agricultural produce, that board would be bound by law to pay prescribed prices to the farmers, in other words, guaranteed prices and any profit that could be made or should be made in exports would be profit available to the State for the benefit of the community in some other way.

In that way, the price of beef and the price of eggs and the price of other commodities that we export could be controlled and kept at a reasonable level for our own people who purchase these commodities for consumption at home. If such a marketing organisation is not established then every time the price of these commodities goes up on the English market the price goes up here in the shops in Dublin City and in the other cities and towns of the country. In that way we lose the power to control those particular prices in our own interests. I have mentioned that matter on many occasions before. I think the idea is a good one. Like all ideas of that kind, it will require a considerable amount of propaganda before it is generally accepted. I can see no objection to it from any direction. I think it is nationally desirable and that it ought to be done. I strongly recommend it to the Government.

I have been impressed by statements that have been made here from time to time, particularly by Deputy Corry, in regard to beet and sugar. We import a considerable quantity of sugar from abroad. I understand that if our farmers were paid a sufficient price they would produce all the beet we need for our own purposes and that the money we pay for imported sugar would more than pay the farmers the price they ask for the production of a complete crop of beet. It seems to me that that is one way in which we can alter to some extent the balance of payments, which has been mentioned so often in the debate. I agree with all those speakers who say that there is only one way in which we can effect that balance—and that is by exports. The main commodity we can export is agricultural produce. Therefore, there must be more and more production of agricultural produce. More land must be brought into production. New methods must be employed. All the new and up-to-date machinery that can be obtained must be obtained. If possible, every acre must be made to produce twice as much as it has been producing. The responsibility for that rests to a large extent on the farmers.

The Government, and the previous Government, decided that compulsory tillage is not to be enforced. I think that that particular matter must be left open. If, by encouragement and advice, the farmers will not produce the amount they should produce for export, I feel it will be the duty of the Government to compel them to do so. There is no other way out. It is in the national interest. In that particular type of fight the farmers are in the front-line trenches. If encouragement, advice and help can get them to produce what is necessary and what can be produced, well and good, but if that is not sufficient, then other methods must be applied. I do not know whether the average farmer in the country objects so much to compulsory tillage if he is guaranteed the right price by the Government.

That is the trouble—the price.

I agree that the farmer must not be asked to produce at a loss. The farmer ought to be paid the proper price but he must do his duty, because the responsibility for getting this State out of the particular mess in which it is at the moment rests on the shoulders of the farmer.

I do not intend to follow the lead that has been given by some other Deputies of speaking ad nauseam and for hours. Within the scope of this debate it has become apparent that both sides of the House and all the Deputies recognise that there is a serious situation to be met and dealt with. Apart from long-range and short-range political sniping there is a general feeling that something must be done and done quickly. If all of us are united in agreeing that something must be done and done quickly, then the solutions that have been advanced by the Tánaiste when opening the debate will be seen to be wise solutions and will have general support when the measures which he mentioned are brought before this House for consideration.

Unlike many of the speakers who have spoken in this debate I do not intend, except in passing, to touch on higher economics. I think the time has come to bring to this debate a bit of realism.

It is perfectly true that if a crisis does not exist Fianna Fáil are the experts at making one. There is no doubt that they have succeeded for whatever purpose they wanted to in creating a false air of crisis at the moment. I would rather, in my approach to this problem, take the crisis, whether it is artificially created or not, analyse it and try to find the remedy for our present difficulties. I do not think that it means twopence to anybody in this country at the moment except, possibly, economists who are interested in the theories of external disinvestment, internal reinvestment, and who may have some interest in the problems of parity and convertibility. Beyond that, the ordinary man and woman throughout the length and breadth of this country are interested in two facets only of this problem: what is the cause of the unprecedented rise in prices and what can we, as a Dáil, do about them?

This time last year we saw the then Deputy Lemass, now Tánaiste, laying the foundations of his election campaign on this measure in an all out attack on the question of rising prices, We saw then the typical ingenuity and dishonesty of the Fianna Fáil Party zdisseminating talk of rising prices, implying that the Government were in some way to blame and implying that the Government was responsible for them. Let them and each and every one of their supporters throughout the length and breadth of the country swallow the fact that the rise in prices since their advent in the Government has been infinitely greater and far more unprecedented than it was under the previous Government. Let not the Tánaiste think that he will get away with suggestions that there were piles of orders awaiting confirmation on his desk that were held over after the general election.

Whether he likes it or not, the ordinary unfortunate housewife dealing in essential commodities realises the position fully. Before I finish speaking, I shall show the advent of the gloom and the hair-shirt policy advocated by Deputy MacEntee, the Minister for Finance. Until the start of this debate, the Tánaiste, realistic politician as he is, realising the tempo of the country and the reaction to this gloom and hair-shirt policy, took his courage in his hands and threw the Department of Finance, the Central Bank, his Minister for Finance and all overboard and came in here with his typical courage and typical effrontery to tell us that he for one realised now, with his responsibility as Tánaiste, that the policy he had been bitterly attacking and which he had done so much to discredit was really a sound policy and that he was all for it. He is not converted. Let nobody for a moment think that the Tánaiste is a new convert. He is not. He is playing, as he can play, the political game with all the adroitness that has made him Tánaiste again.

The crisis is there. How was it created? It was created, in the main, maliciously and, fundamentally, villainously. Deputy MacEntee, as Minister for Finance, comes in here to ullogone and moan about a Budget that was not balanced. He is trying to play two sides of the fence. He is trying to avoid the unpleasant course that will be necessary, if the Budget is not balanced, of bringing in a supplementary Budget and finding, by taxation, the deficit. At the same time, he is trying to create a feeling of panic that his predecessor in office has left a gap of £10,000,000 to be filled. He knows perfectly well, and every Government spokesman knows perfectly well, that that is a deliberate, malicious and intended lie and that that is not, in fact, the financial situation of the country.

That remark should be withdrawn.

On what grounds, Sir?

The expression "lie".

Untrue, then or, to put it this way, completely at variance with veracity.

Ornate verbosity.

The position is that the country was fortunate in having the Minister for Finance that it had. It is fortunate to the extent that the advent of an inter-Party Government had increased the general level of prosperity to such an extent that revenue had a buoyancy it never had before. I will nail here and now a complete departure from veracity that the Taoiseach was guilty of last night. He was giving his little homily about the Department of Finance. We should not criticise that. The Central Bank is the body that we should not treat with contumely. He mentioned that the Central Bank had criticised investment in land rehabilitation that cost up to £500 an acre. The Taoiseach said last night that it would not yield a return of 1 per cent. To-day, the Minister for Local Government, answering for the Minister for Agriculture, had to admit that the greatest expenditure on an acre of land was £100. That is exactly five times less than the Taoiseach suggested. If the figure is right in respect of the 1 per cent., on that basis there should be a yield of 8 per cent. on an investment of £100, which is a little bit more than one-half of 1 per cent., the return on the investment of the money by the Central Bank in English securities.

We are up against a problem which nobody so far in this House has had the courage to face. There is talk about the balance of payments. Where is the squeeze coming from? I think that Deputy Hickey and myself are the two people in this House who have a realistic idea of where the real squeeze is coming from. It is coming from the Bank of England, and the sooner we realise that the better for ourselves. We have joint stock bank companies in this country. We know as well as anybody else that the main control of that committee does not rest with this Government or rest in this country. The real exaggeration and aggravation of our balance of payments problem may be the difficulty of England's own balance of payments. Why not face up to it? If we are to find a solution to our problems we will want to see the Tánaiste having a kind of rehabilitation himself, getting back the early enthusiasm that was once his and having the courage to break the financial connection if it is necessary, in the interest of the development of the country, to do so. That is the problem that needs analysis more than Central Banks, more than the trend of external payments and more than any document produced by the Department of Finance.

What needs analysis is the problem of currency at its basis. The Taoiseach admits that at the moment sterling is a leaking tub. There has been devaluation and by devaluation one-third of our sterling assets were wiped out. We had no say in the matter. We may be on the verge of further devaluation. Is it not time for the Government to ask itself seriously the question: Whither sterling? Is sterling on the way out? Has the time come to cut our losses and face a new problem? It is a problem which needs analysis before we can get to grips with the difficult situation which has arisen now.

We must ask ourselves honestly what is the nature of the present crisis and what are the best remedies for it. Much of the crisis has been dissipated by the fact that the Tánaiste, at the eleventh hour, came in here and said there was no crisis. He knew perfectly well that there was no crisis, but one thing is certain: a succession of speeches laying, and, as I say, deliberately intended to do so, the ground for a Central Bank Report that was so gloomy that it took the concerted efforts of Deputies on all sides to blow the roof off it, and this document produced by the Department of Finance—the speeches, the Central Bank Report and this document—were all part of a deliberate plan to cover up the real situation—that we are in the throes of a trade recession and in the grip of a restriction of credit that we cannot break. There is no good in anybody trying to say there is not rigid restriction of credit in this country at the moment. Anybody speaking to the smallest person in trade or business to-day will get from him a clear and positive indication of the financial stringencies being imposed by the banks.

The Tánaiste says that no directions have been given by the Government with regard to it. If that is so, where has the direction come from? Has it come as deliberate policy from the people who control our commercial banks? If it has, and if these people can act against the best interests of this State, if they can act in such a way as to create an artificial crisis such as has been created at present, the time has come for the House and for the Government to ask themselves seriously whether or not there should be some way by which the direction of the country's financial policy should come within the orbit of control by this House and the Government.

We have a problem in which there is trade depression and mounting unemployment. There is only one answer to that problem and that is, the courage of full-scale investment at home. There is one blight on this land, a blight which has been on this land for hundreds of years and there has not yet been any real drive to remove it, that is, the blight of underinvestment in this land by Irish people. I want to ask the Tánaiste and the Government a fair question. Is there anything more secure in the investment of £80,000,000 of Irish money in English securities at a rate of half of 1 per cent. than the investment of that money in the land, the houses and the welfare of the Irish people at home? Is the latter investment not likely to pay an infinitely better dividend and what is wrong with advocating that, instead of letting our money go to provide cheap loans for people who live outside this country, we should do something about getting control of it ourselves, so that we will be able to make available for capital investment, for production and for developments in agriculture at a reasonable rate, money to the people of Ireland at home in Ireland?

These are the problems we must face and if there is to be any solution of the crisis, the answer to our problem is increased production. We are all at one on that. We must have a greater and a greater output, and we can only get that, I suggest, by the introduction of more modern methods, by the development of a better agricultural technique and by the investment of large sums of money in capital equipment and the improved machinery necessary to give an impetus to this drive for production. It is necessary for us to improve and to keep improving more and more land, and surely it is infinitely better for the Irish people to see Irish money being ploughed back into Irish land and into Irish development than to see it being squandered out of a leaking tub in an international situation over which we have no control.

If the crisis is there, if we are facing this danger of wholesale unemployment and this danger of a collapse of our standard of living, the way to meet it is not by gloomy speeches and not by an effort by the Government to add hysteria to a panic which is rising. If the Government had one duty in that situation, it was to steady the ship, and to ensure that no action of theirs would tend to increase the hysteria. That is their responsibility to the people of this country and I say that, instead of discharging their responsibility, they deliberately added fuel to that fire because they knew there was to be a long recess and that we would not have an opportunity of nailing the various gloomy prognostications and of exploding once and for all their hair-shirt policy until the Dáil reassembled at the beginning of November. Without any regard for the national situation, without any regard for their responsibility as a Government to the people, they used the long period of the recess for making speeches, which, in the interests of the country's effort, it would have been better were never made.

It may be quite true that we have difficulties, but every Government has difficulties, and I will go so far as to say that there are very few countries in Europe with fewer difficulties than Ireland has at the moment. If we had courage, foresight and a Government of capacity, there would be no difficulty in surmounting them. The problems are that there is a restriction of credit and there is a lack of production. How are we to get over these? Are we to get over them by the Government giving expression to sentiments which are increasing panic or by facing realistically up to these problems ourselves? We are not going to have compulsion, but we want a very large increase in agricultural output. There is only one way we can get that, and even Deputy Corry will agree with me in this. The only way we can get it is by giving the farmer adequate prices for what he produces and all the help, in the shape of fertilisers, machinery and technical advice, we can possibly give them.

You could have done it for three and a half years.

We can do that, not by ullogoning and hyena-like screeches such as we get from the Deputy from East Cork——

Why did you not do it three and a half years ago?

You are merely an infant and only here by accident, so keep quiet.

You are acting like a baby.

You should go back to your loan society.

You know more about loans than I do. Ná bí ag cainnt.

The farmer has the will and the anxiety to help, but he must have two different types of encouragement. He must have the capacity to improve his land, the equipment, the modern machinery to do it, and he must have a contented workmate, whether he be a single farm labourer or a number of them. That can only be done by realising, as I have asked this House to realise before, that the farmer and his worker are entitled to the amenities and the wages to which any industry is entitled. When you have the situation persisting that there is such a differentiation between the earning capacity of industry and that of agriculture, there will be a constant flight from the land towards jobs in industry in Ireland or outside Ireland. I have always contended that that differentiation should not be there, that the farmers should be able financially to pay wages competing with any industry in any of our cities. We are up against the problem of too great centralisation in our cities, particularly in Dublin. We are up against the fact that the social amenities of the city are tending to draw gradually away from the land of Ireland, not only the labourer, but even the children of the farmer, who may have some hope of succession in the land itself. That is a cancer that must be stopped. It is not going to be stopped by Central Bank reports, by Department of Finance statistics, or by any of the speeches that were made here so far. It can be stopped only by a realistic approach.

Even though some city Deputies— and some urban Deputies as well— labour under the delusion that the farmer is getting too much, they must realise that if he is the primary producer and the basis of our primary industry he is entitled as a right to have the best share of the profits from that production.

If he gets that type of encouragement, that type of lead, we will get the increased production. For that purpose, the Government will have to undertake a big programme, to make fertiliser available, to bring soil that is in poor condition immediately into heart. The Government will have to face up to the necessity of bringing more and more land into full production and will have to realise that there is a fundamentally sound basis for investment in land rehabilitation. Every acre of land brought back into heart will produce more. The better you make the land the more you can produce; and the more land you get producing more, the more you will be able to bring up your exports to narrow the gap between exports and imports. The problem here is not an abstract problem of external disinvestment or of repatriation of assets; it is a problem of facing up to the job, of how we can best by capital investment develop our country at home.

We have a secondary arm to agriculture; it is the industrial arm. The time has come for the Government to face that problem. We have tariffs, protections and quantitative restrictions. The time has come for us to ask ourselves as a nation which of these industries we can afford on an economic basis, how many of them are supplying the home market, whether the degree of protection or quantitative restriction they require is too big a burden on the ordinary people to allow that industry to subsist. I have always contended, and still contend, that it is very unsound economically to allow an industry to flourish behind a protective wall of tariffs, that will not supply the full needs of the home market and that will not supply a quality of product which could compete with the imported article. No industry should be maintained purely out of increased prices that the Irish consumer is forced to pay because foreign competition is not let in. That whole problem needs a complete examination by the Government.

We must ask ourselves what industries we could plan, what types we could properly develop. It immediately presents itself to us that the ones we must try to develop are those for which we have the raw materials, or for which the raw materials are most readily available. Those industries should be built on the principle of making use of our agricultural products, whether it is for the purpose of home processing, by way of tinned vegetables or tinned meat, or by way of selling in quick-freeze carcases, or exports of that nature. That brings me to a facet I have time and again aired in this House. We are talking about sterling and the external loan we have from the United States of America. Most of us Deputies are aware of the fact that there are big openings in America for the marketing of certain types of Irish goods. Beef in frozen carcases is one of them. It would be possible to develop a market for pork in frozen carcases.

It is common knowledge that, if we tin certain types of foods here, there would be American purchasers for them. That is why I have been pressing the Tánaiste so assiduously about restrictive practices. I think the time has come for the ring that is exporting carcassed beef to America to be broken and for the farmers to get a little bit of the rich profit that is available in that market. That market can be developed and made bigger if restrictions are removed and if a fair and honest crack at this export trade is given to the people in that business generally and not to a specific or a limited class. The time is well ripe for the exploration of various facets of agricultural produce that America might take from us, particularly an America in the situation of stockpiling and getting ready for another world war and anxious to buy in the line of tinned meats or other tinned goods that can be preserved over a period.

The whole air of gloom that has been created in this debate can be dispelled by a realistic approach to the genuine problems of our economy. We are up against many difficulties and one of them is that there is a general inclination all over the world, and certainly here at home, to do less and less work for more and more pay, if we can get it. The question of production in this country is tied up with two things. Labour will have to get a satisfaction of its proper and just demands with regard to wages; and the country is likewise entitled to get from labour its proper and adequate return for the wages so paid. I think the time has come for a drive to be made by all sides of this House to get that stimulus to work back into our effort.

I have a feeling that we are playing at our problems without really coming to grips with them, and I think that what we should do, having fixed the standards as high as we possibly can for the labouring and working sections of the community, is by encouragement to get as much work as we can out of the executive side of business as well. At the same time we should have a realistic approach to the question of luxury spending and savings. Those are all simple matters that the ordinary person understands as distinct from the balance of payments, trends of external payments or trends of anything else. I really feel that our problem revolves on the capacity of the Irish people to work a bit harder in the present situation and to produce a bit more. That is the real basis of our problem. There is only one real source of expansion in this country. It all ultimately comes back to the land, and it is there that our first effort must be made.

There is no good in damning with faint praise capital effort that has not yet borne fruit. One cannot expect capital investment of the nature of land reclamation or big drainage investment to show immediate short term results, and I think that what has happened to this Government is that it is inclined to rush bull-headed at its problems and condemn things that have not even started to work yet. You must devise and perfect a scheme of system—I contended this before when the inter-Party Government was in office, and I return to the same contention now—whereby the land that has been dehabilitated, the land that has been burned out by over-production during an emergency, can quickly be brought back into heart. Whether help is given to the farmers by way of grants-in-aid, fertiliser grants or anything else, a scheme should be devised whereby quickly, rapidly and readily all the farmer needs will be available to him to put the land back into good heart.

Deputy Cogan has bewailed and bemoaned in this House for a long period the difficulty attaching to credit facilities for the farmer. His bleat has been strangely still since he found his new bed fellows, but I think that it is time for the Government to realise that there is infinitely more merit in investing money by way of loans to farmers throughout Ireland for the development of the productivity of Irish land than in allowing the Central Bank to invest millions of money at microscopic interest in foreign securities.

I think we are inclined to get rather alarmed when we go too closely into the questions of the balance of payments and the repatriation of our assets. I think it would be excellent in our financial difficulty to try on the one side to develop bigger and bigger exports to dollar areas to create a fund in that currency block and, at the same time, to hold a limited sterling reserve. Have we any confidence or can we have any confidence, when we analyse the present situation as adverted to by the Chancellor of the English Exchequer, have we any real hope, of the return to par of sterling? Are we tied to a ship that is sinking, sinking, sinking? Is it not now time for us to take stock and see whether we can arrive at the point where by increased production and exports we can build up a large reserve in the dollar currency block?

These are the problems that must be faced. This country is in the throes of a difficulty to which nobody has adverted in this debate yet. The difficulty is the haemorrhage of emigration. The wound is wide open and bleeding very strongly again and unless we can take very strong and positive remedial measures here at home we may find by the time the next election comes that there is a very wide gap between the number of people on the register and the number of people who actually vote. That is a serious problem which is above politics. It is serious because ultimately and fundamentally all productivity of this country will rest on our man-power or woman-power as the case may be in each particular industry.

If we cannot do something realistic to stop that constant seepage from the national pool we may find ourselves in the position that, with all the good will in the world, all the financial backing in the world, we will not have the manpower, the individuals, to give the impetus to the production drive which we need. I think that the time has come for a united effort by this House to encourage the farmers to work that much harder to produce that much more and to encourage industry to make for that extra efficiency, to encourage the people throughout the length and breadth of the country to save that much more so that, from the point of view of luxuries at least, our imports will diminish.

Our problems are not insurmountable. There is no real crisis. Our people have not got to face the austerity of hunger or of an excruciatingly narrow ration of various essential commodities. Our people, I think we can proudly assert in this House, enjoy a standard of living that is comparable to the standard of living anywhere in the world and better than that of most places. If we want to preserve that for our people we must find a solution for the present dislocation. The Tánaiste has from time to time at Question Time indicated that stockpiling may have crippled certain types of industries and may have caused people to be put on part-time employment or to be disemployed completely. If that is so I charge the Tánaiste with the task of devising a method whereby that stockpiling material will come on the market very gradually, so as to minimise trade dislocation. I do not think that is beyond the capacity of the Tánaiste and his Department and it would do tremendous good to the nation.

I feel that it is the restriction of credit more than stockpiling that has hit business. We have seriously to analyse the question as to what control, if any, the Government and the Parliament have over finances. People have many divergent views on this problem, but the time has come for us to analyse in a realistic way where our future should lie. We have the frank admission of the Government that they have given no instructions about restriction of credit. Is it a good thing that people outside the Government, not amenable to this House, not subject to Government control, can completely turn on the screw and effect a squeeze? That is our real problem.

We have had a good deal of criticism in this debate of the financial policy of the last Government. Let us get away from the high level of economic theory and get down to the realism of the individual. No matter what arguments may be advanced by economists or theorists in this House, one fact emerges, starkly, clearly and realistically out of the period of the inter-Party Government and that is that the people were in general better off than they had been before. That is a fair yardstick and test of their financial policy.

We invited the Party opposite when in Opposition; we invite them now, as a Government, to indicate what was improper or what was impracticable about capital investment in land reclamation, drainage, houses for the people, hospitals for the sick and various social amenities for the people? We have asked time and again is there something sinister or something wrong about the investment of Irish money in Ireland for the development of Ireland? If there is, the Government have now an opportunity of telling us where this sinister streak lies or what is the reason for throwing cold water on such a programme.

We had large advertisements, which have been already referred to, about putting the country in pawn. Is there some crime about investing money in houses and hospitals, not only for this generation but for future generations, and funding it by way of loan? What is wrong with it financially or economically? There is nothing. It is true that we have very fine economists in this country who were born too long ago and who do not move too quickly with the times.

We are inclined to shape our difficulties to economists' theories rather than to make our economic policy deal with our immediate problems. There is nothing wrong financially with raising money by way of loan from your own people for reinvestment in the development of Ireland. It is true that Fianna Fáil has not gone to the country for a loan. I wonder is the answer that they were afraid or that they had done so much damage with their unwarranted speeches that they could not possibly venture to do so?

If the Tánaiste is in earnest that he wants an increase in capital investment, why has not somebody in this Government told us where the money is to come from? The possibility of a Supplementary Budget is receding. Fianna Fáil suffered one political disaster on a Supplementary Budget. They are not prepared to risk their insecure tenure of office on another. The Minister for Finance comes in alleging huge Budget deficits. On the other hand, the Tánaiste advocates huge capital expenditure. Will somebody on the Government side enlighten this House as to where this money is coming from? We do not mind the Government borrowing for the purpose of capital investment. We give them a free and open undertaking to give them all the assistance that is possible in raising from the Irish people the money to finance sound, reasonable, capital investment in this country, but we want to know, if there is not going to be borrowing, if there is not going to be a Supplementary Budget, where is this money to come from?

We are entitled to ask in this debate for what purpose this artificial air of crisis was created. Was it political? Was it purely an effort to discredit for discredit's sake, or was it purely an effort to discredit to cover up the ineptitude of the Government itself to do anything, to try to cover up the differences and difficulties that obviously exist, not in the country, but within the walls of the Fianna Fáil Party? Was it that the palliatives that had to be offered to the Independents who make this new Coalition were slowing up Government effort? Did the Tánaiste, the Taoiseach and other Ministers repeatedly have to consult the doubtful five, one of whom has now returned to the fold? Is that the reason why we had gloomy talk spread over the country and no Government action? Why did the Government, in a situation in which they said there was a crisis, allow the long period of the summer recess to go by without convening this House or without bringing the big problems that were said to exist into the forum of the Irish Parliament for discussion? I will tell you why. The whole facade of crisis has been built up on political trickery and now the facade has tumbled, like the house of cards it is, and here we are to-day with the Tánaiste speaking with one tongue, the Minister for Finance speaking with another, and the Taoiseach coming in to give us a lecture about not criticising the Department of Finance or the Central Bank.

It is true that the Central Bank Report rivals any speech of the Minister for Finance in gloomy prognostications. That does not worry me. In fact I would have been seriously worried if the Central Bank had shown drive, initiative and courage in tackling a problem because I seem to recollect reading the Report of the Banking Commission of 1938 in which many of the schemes that have since proved to be so beneficial to this country were condemned as unlikely to be of any use. One that is paramount to-day occurs to me. I shall quote in a few moments from the Banking Commission Report about it.

The Tánaiste has announced that we are to have a development of the sugar beet industry. I am glad to know that he is going to do that. Apparently the "white elephant" that was built in Carlow is now becoming the lifesaver of our economy. But the Banking Commission's observations are worth reading. On page 85 of their report the second part of paragraph 133 says:

"The figures in paragraph 128 include £1,500,00 of capital raised directly from the public for the Irish Sugar Company, which also in effect is unproductive as it can furnish a return only by virtue of arrangements which amount to taxing the public for the purpose."

That is the banking gentlemen's conception of finance. There was a general condemnation by economists of the electricity supply scheme which has proved such a boon to this country. The project was so big that they thought it was unlikely to succeed. Indeed, if my recollection serves me right, the Minister for Finance described this as a white elephant.

But do not let any gloomy prognostications of economists stultify our courage to conceive projects for the benefit of the country and find a sound way of financing them. I think the Tánaiste and the Government are right if they can develop economically the sugar industry without putting a burden on the people, so that it can fulfil our full requirements. I think they are right in stepping up the industry to do it. I think they are right in stepping up economic industry at home to meet the nation's requirements, if that can be done. But I am warning the Government that it is fallacious and very unsound financially and economically to bolster up by tariff walls industries which will not supply the home demand, will not endeavour to improve in quantity and quality the articles that the people demand from them.

One has to find a level for industrial development. Industry must be developed on the basis of giving fair wages and conditions of employment and fair profits. That is the only rational basis on which to develop industry. It is the only rational basis on which competition can survive, and I suggest to the Government that when planning new industries or when discussing possible protection of existing industries they should remember that the worst ulcer on the back of the country is an uneconomic industry bolstered up. Find industries that are indigenous to this country. Find industries that are within the capacity of the people or likely to be within their productive capacity. Develop agriculture on the basis of an adequate and fair return to the farmer for everything he produces. Deputies who represent agricultural constituencies are placed in an invidious position when they come to the House and find the disparity that exists between the price that the primary producer gets and the price ultimately paid by the consumer. One part of the prices problem which has to be tackled is the intervening wall that seems to rise so high.

Prices have risen alarmingly in this country. I am not trying to take political advantage of that or suggest that all of it is the responsibility of the Government. I know perfectly well that some of the items were completely out of the Government's control. But I do know that the direct Government action in decontrolling the prices of meat, bacon and pork brought about a sudden increase in the city of Dublin and the other cities. The Tánaiste said that his predecessor did not sanction increases that were recommended by the Prices Advisory body. The Tánaiste is a very realistic person in many ways. He knew perfectly well, and the Government as a whole knew perfectly, that once they decontrolled these commodities competition was certainly not going to keep down the prices, and eventually the facts proved that it did not. But is the primary producer of beef or bacon getting a price that is anything like commensurate with the price ultimately got from the consumer? Can the Government not find some way of circumventing the intermediate jump between the price paid to the primary producer and the ultimate cost to the consumer? It is there that there seems to be some room for considerable improvement.

If licence duties on certain imported tinned goods are causing an increase in the price to the poor in the populous areas, the Government should forego whatever revenue is derived in order to give the general public the benefit of these goods at a lower price. Many items have gone up that I think, if realistically tackled. need not have gone up. I am not blaming anybody for that. The international situation worsened for a period. It seems to be improving slightly now. But we are up against this real problem—that the wages which seemed adequate to people twelve months ago have not now, by virtue of price increases, the purchasing power which would keep people at a reasonable standard of living. —If you have prices rising suddenly without any control—and there is virtually no control at present—you will have again the problem of wages chasing those prices unless something can be done to deal with it.

It is extremely difficult to-day for anybody with a wage or a small salary to exist at all, because from day to day and week to week there is a constant variation in prices. The unfortunate breadwinner does not know what next week's packet will buy in the way of sustenance for his wife and family. That is a very uncertain and hazardous condition for the country to be in and that is the problem which the people of the country are anxious to hear something about. They are a lot more anxious to hear something about what is going to be done with regard to the cost of living than about the theories of economists with regard to external disinvestment, or repatriation, or whether we are to have any convertibility of sterling, or any of these other international financial problems.

The burning question for the housewife in the more populous areas to-day is the steadily increasing cost of her weekly food supplies and the other essentials for her home. This is a problem to which the House will have to direct its attention in a concerted effort to bring about some alleviation of the present situation. When we were in government we suffered the full onslaught of the Fianna Fáil opposition in relation to rising prices. I shall not try to make any petty capital out of rising prices to-day. I think the present Government should face this problem and make an effort to find some solution towards bridging the gap between the price paid to the primary producer and the ultimate price paid by the consumer.

We are up against innumerable problems in relation to this present Bill. We are up against problems to which reference is made daily. We are up against the problem of certain types of industry which may give employment but in relation to which I would like the Tánaiste and the Government, when they are reviewing the general economic situation, to ask themselves seriously whether it is sound economy to permit such industries as motor car assembly and various other parasitical trades of that nature to exist.

We must get down to the problem of readjusting our economic structure on a practical basis. One of our Sunday newspapers has given immense publicity to a very extraordinary situation which has arisen in recent times. We have a Government asking for more production and for greater development. We have people who are trying to stimulate and improve the country so that it will be more attractive from the tourist point of view and from the national point of view; yet, these people suffer the impost of increased valuations merely because they improve their premises towards that end. You have simultaneously a peculiar kind of "carry-on" on one side of the fence and you have with it a denial of the development of those amenities so essential for our agricultural community if we are serious in our resolve to keep the agricultural community on the land and working the land.

The time for talk about crises has passed. The time for concerted effort in planning has arrived. The time has come for a realistic analysis of the difficulties that exist both in our agricultural economy and in our industrial economy. The time has come for a readjustment of the economy of the country as a whole in order to approach as near as possible to self-sufficiency. It is true that production should and could be greater. Can this Government get down to the problem of how to make production greater? Can it give us a solution which will induce our people to go back to the land? Without people on the land, how will we increase production? Machinery alone will not do it. The personnel must be there to man the machines. How will the Government do that? For what type of agricultural economy will the Government plan? Will it plan on the basis of giving the farmer a fair margin of profit on all he produces? Will it plan on the basis of fixing prices for a large range of products and allow the farmer to select for himself which product will be the most profitable for him?

If agricultural development is to be stimulated, prices will have to be increased still further. Some prices have already been increased by this Government and we give the Government credit for the increases it has effected. Some regard agriculture as completely overrated. It is not. There is quite a good living in agriculture for the hardworking, decent farmer who uses his head. There is a good living in agriculture, but if we want to get a new impetus in agriculture and bring about a drive towards increased production the conditions under which the farmers and their employees work will have to be considerably improved. Instead of improving already existing amenities in the more populous areas, an effort will have to be made to bring rural amenities up to standard as quickly as possible. An effort will have to be made to bring to every farmer's home the normal sanitary and electrical amenities available to the city dweller. The farmer to-day is conscious of this lack, and it is that lack that is, in the main, responsible for robbing the rural areas of their population and for driving them into the city or, if they cannot get into the city, across the water.

In order to bring about increased agricultural production we will have to make the agricultural industry a more pleasant one in which to work. Agriculture has been described as backward, and, because of that, technical development and technical assistance will have to be stepped up considerably. The development and improvement of the soil will have to be carried out more extensively and more effectively. Mechanised equipment will have to be made available in such a way as will not cripple the farmer financially.

It is, indeed, a pity that the rancour of party politics must inevitably intervene as between Minister succeeding Minister. It is a pity that the present Government is not big enough to continue schemes of national development, improving them or enlarging them where they can, rather than turn a debate such as this into a cockpit for the ventilation of bitter satire and political rivalry. This problem is above politics. There are people yet unborn to whom we shall ultimately be answerable if we fail to steer the ship of this little State of ours through its present difficulties.

There is no crisis there. That has been emphatically said by the Tánaiste. I assert that the difficulties which are there are capable of solution if a courageous approach is made to them, but not the approach of crippling the country by further taxation. I do not see anything unsound or unreasonable in asking posterity to pay for posterity's gain. I do not think it is putting any country in pawn to ask the people who are going to get their share of the benefit to bear their share of the cost, even though they are yet unborn. I have infinite faith in the capacity of this nation to live and to continue to live, infinite capacity in the economy of the country to withstand at this stage the shock of funding any loans which the Government may seek. While that situation exists, why should we be hesitant in adopting a courageous policy that will enable us to keep our Irish boys and girls at home? Why should we not have the courage to pour Irish money, Irish brawn and ingenuity into the development of our own country rather than dissipate, as we have dissipated millions of our money by investing it in securities which are giving this country practically no return?

I do not want to prolong my contribution to the debate or to hold up other people who wish to intervene in it. I do want to say in all earnestness to the House that, with a little bit of co-operation and with a fair amount of our traditional courage and a realisation of confidence in our own people, there is not any difficulty existing now, and no difficulty will exist in the future, which we cannot surmount if we have confidence in ourselves and in our people to survive.

During the past fortnight we have been listening here to Deputy Collins, Deputy Larkin and others complaining, apparently, that this Government had put some restriction on credit. We heard that from a body of men who had in operation in this country for the past three and a half years an abeyance policy on advances. Deputy D. Costello complained to-night about the men and women who, he said, had been put on half-time in our industries around the country. Why? We were told that the reason was stockpiling. Was it? There are 10,500,000 yards of cloth required in any 12 months to meet the requirements of the people of this country.

Let me tell the House that in the last 12 months there were dumped in this country, on authority given by the people over there when they were the Government, 7,500,000 yards of cloth. If that cloth was for stockpiling, why was it not put on one side? I suggest that it was not stockpiling, but that it was the old dirty game that was played before in this country by the Fine Gael Government when they were in office from 1927 to 1932, the same old dirty game of dumping into this country everything which the foreigner produces.

As I say, our requirements were 10,500,000 yards of cloth, while 7,500,000 yards were dumped under authority from the Minister for Industry and Commerce in the last Government. We had 6,500,000 yards produced here. When I went down to Midleton to ascertain the reason why the people there were on short time; what did I find? I found 250,000 pounds' worth of cloth piled up in a heap because the foreigner had got the market here and had been paid, but there was no money for the purchase of Irish cloth. That was the same old dirty game that drove Irish industry under the ground from 1927 to 1931. Revenge was a pretty big portion of it.

On Tuesday, when travelling up by train, there was a gentleman with me in the carriage, and when I asked him what was bothering him, he said that what he was anxious to know was, when he would get back again from the present Minister for Industry and Commerce the right to bring in the material which had left the Tullamore job as it is. That may interest Deputy Flanagan, who stands up here and complains about unemployment in Tullamore. I wonder what he was doing when the licences were being given out to bring the foreigners' stuff in here. That was the time when he had the right to be pretty busy, but he always was asleep when he was wanted.

I will make my own speech.

That is what is wrong with Deputy Flanagan, Jack of all trades and master of none. I say that the people of this country, and particularly the people of Cork, of Tullamore and elsewhere, are entitled to know the reason why this abnormal quantity of cloth was allowed into this country, resulting in the shutting down of our Irish industries. We are entitled to know who is responsible for it. We are entitled to have the buck responsible for it sent down so that the unemployed people may have a chat with him.

Do you know where you will find him?

I will deal with Deputy Davin.

In Yorkshire.

That is only one small item amongst the sinister activities of the gentlemen over there. We have heard a lot about agriculture. We heard from Deputy Larkin and Deputy Seán Collins about the advances that must be made, and about the increased agricultural production that must be got out of the old farmer. Deputy Larkin commented on "the complete failure of Irish agriculture not merely to respond to the policies that have been applied in the hope of increasing production here but to meet the rightful demands of the community upon it". "Every country in the world," he said, "was looking for food and the community were entitled to a return." Then he commented on the reduction in our live stock. Deputy Collins followed on the same line, but may I say that both Deputies were responsible for the tragedy which inflicted Deputy James Dillon on this country and on the agricultural community during the past three and a half years as Minister for Agriculture. They were completely responsible for that.

What could you expect from the farmers when they had, first of all, a guarantee that there was a market in Britain for ware potatoes at £10 13s. 6d. per ton, and that 50,000 tons were required? Under that guarantee, the farmer got out his horses, started to plough, and planted the potatoes. When the harvest came and he dug the potatoes, he had no market for them. We had Deputy Davin coming in here wailing and moaning that, instead of the £10 13s. 6d. a ton, the farmers in his area were only getting £5 a ton. These are the farmers that are to produce more and that is one of the reasons why they did not respond. A Deputy had to come in here and make an open statement that Deputy Dillon's £10 13s. 6d. a ton was all eye-wash, that when a farmer had gone to the trouble and expense of growing this commodity all he got was £5 a ton.

Similar advice which the farmers got in the same year was to grow oats. They grew the oats and they were told: "Any one of you who has a surplus call up the Department of Agriculture and I will have the surplus taken off your hands immediately." Lo and behold! The surplus was there and nobody came to buy it. As a matter of fact, I was present as a member of a deputation, composed of Deputy Lehane, Deputy T. Walsh, now Minister for Agriculture, and others who waited on the Minister in connection with this matter, when the Minister jumped up from his seat, cracked his fingers over his head and said he did not give a fiddle-de-dee about the farmers of this country. That was the Minister's statement. That was the Minister for Agriculture whom the gentlemen opposite inflicted on our country for the past three and a half years. Then Deputy Lahiffe came along and complained that he could only get £7 a ton for his potatoes. This gentleman who complained tried to suggest that the price should be £10 13s. 6d. "You could get £7 a ton for your potatoes, Deputy? You are one lucky man." That is what the farmer had to go home with and these are the gentlemen about whom Deputy Larkin is surprised that they did not respond. These are the gentlemen who had to go to the Argentine and pay £26 10s. a ton for oats—£26 10s. for the oats that Deputy Davin's constituents had to sell for 22/- a barrel. Then all the sympathy for the farmers in the House they preached from all quarters I could feel myself swelling with pride here——

You reneged them last night——

There is another one of them who trotted around that Lobby to prevent the farmer getting another 1d. a gallon for his milk. Now he wants more production. If you took the whole mixum-gatherum of queer fellows that composed the previous Government and sorted them all out you could not find a more obnoxious individual as far as the farmers of this country are concerned than Deputy James Dillon, who was in charge of agriculture in the previous Government.

What did you do last night?

In regard to the four sugar factories what was his attitude? What was his idea about beet? "Beet is going up the spout after peat and wheat. God speed the day." That was a public announcement made in this House by that gentleman whom the assembled intellect over there put in charge of agriculture in this country.

We will put him in again.

I am quoting from Volume 101, columns 1512-1513 of the Official Debates, June, 1946:—

"Do Deputies realise what the beet sugar is costing this country? The present price of beet sugar consumed by the consumer in Ireland, without any customs and excise duty of any kind, is 5d. per lb., and that price is based on the present rate paid for beet. Does any Deputy anticipate that the price for beet is going to be materially reduced in future or does he not agree with me that if the cultivation of the beet crop is to be maintained in this country, the price must be raised, if not at least maintained at the present figure? Do I exaggerate when I say that prior to the war the price of cane sugar, refined, delivered free on quay, Dublin, was about three halfpence per lb. and that, postwar, we may anticipate when things have settled down, it will fluctuate around 2d. per lb.?

If that estimate is correct the cost of the beet scheme in this country is 3d. per lb. of sugar; call it £30 per ton; £30 per ton on 100,000 tons is £3,000,000 of money per annum. Give me that money and to-morrow morning we can increase the family allowance going into every house from 2/6 to 7/- per child. Is there any Deputy who would argue with me that our community is getting better value in the maintenance of that daft scheme at a cost of £3,000,000 per annum than it would get if we were in a position to raise the family allowance in every poor house from 2/6 to 7/-? Every farmer in this country who had four children in his house could receive for the benefit of these children 14/- a week in lieu of the 5/- he is now getting; 14/- a week every week in every year until the children have passed the age of 16, with the money we propose to squander on maintaining the beet sugar crop."

That is the statement made by the gentleman whom those intellects over there put in charge of agriculture in this country for three and a half years.

When poor Deputy Hughes intervened in the debate and said that the poor old Britisher maintained 40 beet factories of their own Mr. Dillon said: "There are lunatics in Great Britain and in the United States of America."

And in Cork to send you here.

"If instead of growing beet and converting it into sugar we imported refined sugar into this country there would be £3,000,000 more sterling for the national Exchequer and that £3,000,000 sterling can be used to increase children's allowances in every home in Ireland from 2/6 per child to 5/- per child."

I am going to inflict no more of the Minister's daftness on this House——

We have enough at the moment.

——except to give you the result of the criminal lunacy that placed that man in charge of agriculture in this country.

In 1948, at the conclusion of a costings which was carried out, a claim was made by the Beet Growers' Association to the Irish Sugar Company. It was agreed both by the Irish Sugar Company and by the Beet Growers' Association that the beet growers were entitled to an increase of 4/6 per ton. That recommendation was submitted to the then Government. It was not very long until their reply came back saying that the previous Government had been far too generous with the farming community and that they could not see their way to allowing any increase in the price of beet. 4/6 a ton increase was all that was looked for and yet it was refused. The area of beet dropped by 6,600 acres that year, and then we had the fun and the excursion abroad for the twopenny sugar—1½d. per lb. landed in Dublin—and this is what it cost— 1948-49, 4,872 tons of raw sugar at £30 9s. 0d. per ton. I would like to inform the House that out of every ten tons of raw sugar one and a half tons are lost in the refining process. We have to do the refining ourselves and pay for it. The amount of refined sugar was 6,685 tons at £43 5s. 0d. per ton. The prime cost of sugar manufactured from home-produced beet was approximately £37 a ton to the Irish farmer and £43 a ton to the niggers in Formosa. I made appeal after appeal on the condition of affairs that was manifested to the then Minister for Agriculture and to the then Minister for Industry and Commerce. On the 1st March, 1949, I made an appeal in this House to the Minister and it was turned down.

You made another last night, and withdrew it.

I made another in 1950, which was again turned down. I am quoting now from Volume 119, column 959 of the Official Debates dated 1st March, 1950:—

"Mr. Corry asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state (1) the present economic price (c.i.f) of imported sugar, and (2) the economic price of sugar manufactured from home-produced beet.

Mr. Morrissey: The present c.i.f. cost of imported sugar, which is mainly in the unrefined state, varies from £40 to £45 per ton. The cost of sugar manufactured from home-produced beet is approximately £37 per ton."

That question was asked on the 1st March, 1950, and that was the reply that was given. I quote now from column 963 of the Official Debates of the same date:—

"Mr. Corry asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he will state (1) the estimated tonnage of sugar required to supply the population of the country in the coming year; (2) the total tonnage of sugar obtained from the 1949 beet crop; and (3) what steps he is taking to have the acreage of beet increased in the coming season?

Mr. Morrissey: The quantity of sugar estimated to be required during the year beginning 1st April next for consumption by the population and for consumption in manufacturing processes is 120,000 tons. I am advised by the Irish Sugar Company that the total quantity of sugar obtained from the 1949 beet crop was 88,700 tons. The third part of the Deputy's question should be addressed to the Minister for Agriculture."

I was told that the third portion of my question should be addressed to the gentleman whose opinions I read out here to you a few moments ago, the gentleman who thought beet-growing in this country was a daft scheme and who was paid £2,500 a year by the Irish farmers for carrying out this daft policy.

Who started the first beet factory in this country?

You should be put into one and manufactured, though you would not be very palatable. I will continue my quotation:—

"Mr. Corry: Would the Minister not consider that there is a very serious position, where you will have to pay the foreigner something like £2,000,000, to make up the deficit in sugar, and where you will have to pay him practically £500,000 over what you would have to pay, if all our sugar were produced here? Seeing that it has been already stated by the Parliamentary Secretary that the beet crop is down by 15,000 acres in two years would he not consider that sufficient to call a conference so as to make sure you shall get the sugar we need?

Mr. Morrissey: The Deputy has made many statements here about the reduced acreage. Of course no one wants to import sugar if we can get our supplies from home sources, but the Deputy has not told us if an inducement has been offered to get the maximum increase. What is the Deputy suggesting?

Mr. Corry: My suggestion is that there should be a conference between the Sugar Company, the Beet Growers' Association, the Minister and the Department of Finance.

Mr. Morrissey: For what purpose?

Mr. Corry: To increase the acreage."

That was their attitude. I then went to see the Minister for Agriculture. Deputy MacBride was with him. I suppose he was in need of some gunman's protection.

Is that remark in order?

The Deputy will withdraw that remark.

He knows something about protection.

I will withdraw it. When I put up the case to the Minister I got the same answer: "Nothing doing." Let us then follow what happened. In 1948-49 14,000 tons of sugar were imported, and in 1949-50 18,315 tons of sugar were imported.

Again, on the 1st March, 1951, as reported in column 938:—

"Mr. Corry asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether he is aware that some 8,000 tons of foreign sugar are at present being imported and that, according to Press reports, a further cargo has been purchased and, if so, whether he will state (1) the total number of tons purchased; (2) the price per ton f.o.b. at Dublin, and (3) the present cost of Irish sugar produced by our own farmers and workers.

Mr. Cosgrave: Comhluct Siuicre Éireann, Teoranta, has purchased 74,000 tons of Cuban raw sugar to be landed before the end of June at an average cost of £47 19s. 0d. per ton landed at Dublin. The cost price of beet sugar produced during the manufacturing season which closed last month is not available."

However, I happened to ask another question during the last week from the present Minister for Industry and Commerce and he informed me that the prime cost of sugar manufactured from home-produced beet was approximately £37 per ton in each year. You paid £37 per ton to the Irish farmer, the Irish labourer and the Irish factory worker for producing sugar and you went out to Cuba for unrefined sugar and you bought it, according to Deputy Cosgrave, at an average cost of £47 19s. 0d. a ton—£30 a ton to the Irishman and £47 a ton to the Cuban nigger. I wonder whom did this Minister for Agriculture represent? Was it the Irish farmer, the Cubans or the Formosans? Then we wonder why agriculture is not responding and producing more.

We heard from Deputy Collins all about the cost of living. I put down a little question about that too, for I was anxious to know how the consumer responded to the appeal to pay more to the Cuban and the Formosan for his sugar. I got an answer to that.

"Mr. Corry asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if he would state to what extent the high price paid for imported sugar is responsible for the recent increases in the price of sugar to the consumer.

Mr. Lemass: The recent increases, totalling 1d. per lb. in the price of unrationed sugar would have been obviated to the extent of approximately two-thirds of 1d. per lb. if purchases of imported sugar had been replaced by increased supplies of home-produced sugar at current production costs."

Two-thirds of 1d. per lb. on sugar represents 18/6 per ton on beet. Let us get down to realities and to hard solid facts. Is there any Deputy in this House who would say that, if you offered the farmers of this country another 18/6 per ton on beet, you would not get sufficient sugar to supply our full requirements? Why refuse the farmers of this country the price which you have to pay whether you like it or not, to the Cuban and the Formosan? Where is the justification for that kind of attitude? Take the long, sordid sad tale of advancement and progress that is represented in that picture.

Are you referring to the Taoiseach?

Advancement and progress! Increased production! Fifteen thousand acres of beet gone and, mind you, it is far easier to let a man go out of production than to get him back into it. That is only one portion of the picture of the tragedy of agriculture in this country for the past three years. Think it over. Five million of the taxpayers' money paid in dollars to the Cubans for 93,000 tons of sugar. In that £5,000,000 you paid him £837,000 more than you paid the Irish farmers, the Irish agricultural labourer and the Irish worker in the beet factories for producing 93,000 tons. One-fifth more was paid to the foreigner. "And now is the time," says Deputy Collins, "to button our coats and get to work to expand production."

And to tighten our belts.

Is that to be the basis of production? Is that to be the line of production we are to follow? We have the hard sneering face to the farmer and the labourer. "The previous Government were far too generous to the farming community. We cannot agree that the farmers were entitled to 4/6 a ton increase in the price of their beet." We cannot agree to it but we can agree to pay the Cuban for 74,000 tons of unrefined sugar, £800,000 more than we pay the Irish farmers.

I have an idea the Deputy said that before. In fact I think he said it three or four times.

I hope to repeat it several times in this House. Thanks be to God, I see the day when I can repeat it here now and when it is not falling on the deaf ears of a daft Minister for Agriculture nor a deaf Minister for Industry and Commerce.

I suggest to the Deputy that he should not repeat it, otherwise the Chair would not be too pleased. I am sure he would not like that.

That, Sir, is the history of the sugar, the saga of the sugar. That is the programme set forth with malice aforethought, by this gentleman who declared solemnly that "Beet had gone up the spout after the peat and the wheat, and God speed the day."

We also heard that before.

There is the result! Then we have Deputy Costello, Deputy S. Collins and Deputy Larkin asking why the farmer did not respond and produce more—the farmer whom they held up against the wall and crucified for the past three years, the farmer on whom they were increasing the costs of production week by week and year by year, while holding him there and saying: "You shall not get any more. We will pay anybody before we will pay you."

Then, a while ago, we had the same kind of tragedy that I have already spoken of—the tragedy of Deputy Davin's potatoes and oats.

We heard all that.

Have you the three jam pots?

I am now going to give the sequel to all that. The sequel is that the following year we had no oats. Mind you, we had contracted to send John Bull another 30,000 or 40,000 tons of potatoes and when we were not able to fulfil the contract ourselves— because the farmers, having learned their lesson, did not grow them again— we had to go to the foreigner. I rather think that we had to go to the Canary Islands, among other places, seeking potatoes in order to fulfil the contract which we had made with John Bull. That happened because Deputy Davin's constituents, to whom Deputy Davin had promised a guaranteed market of £10 13s. 0d. per ton for their potatoes, decided that they were not going to be fooled a second time and be given £5 per ton again for their potatoes. That is why they did not grow the potatoes.

But we had to make another trip, yet. We decided that the poor pig should be properly fed. I remember hearing, long years ago, some racehorse owners in the Curragh declare that Irish oats were not at all good enough for the horses and that they would have to get some from Russia. I believe they got them.

That was just about the time Deputy Boland was in Russia, I think.

Ah, no. It was in the good old days before the Cumann na nGaedheal Party fell from grace the first time. It was before the people found you out the first time. However, Deputy Dillon went to Iraq and bought £320,000 worth of a stuff which he called barley. I brought samples of it into this House on one occasion. I am sorry that some of the new Deputies opposite were not here to see the samples because the barley for which he went all the way to Iraq was nothing but a mixture of black oats and sprouting grain. Deputy Dillon, who was then Minister for Agriculture, paid £26 10s. a ton to the Iraquian for that barley—against 22s. a barrel for Deputy Davin's constituents' oats. You are all wondering why eggs are 6s. a dozen now. That is the reason—fed on Dillon's muck.

In my constituency you could see a farmer go out in the morning and look at his pig. Then he would say: "That beggar has just been given three bags of stuff—and look at the cut of him." The hair would be standing up on the pig's back after the foreign barley that was given to it.

Are you talking now of the black pig?

Do not forget that Deputy Dillon, who was then Minister for Agriculture, paid £26 10s. a ton for the Iraq barley. But that was not all. He came to another wild decision. He said: "We will grow that at home"— and he issued another declaration to the Irish slave. "I, James Matthew Dillon, who paid £26 10s. a ton to the Iraquian for his barley, will be pleased to pay the natives of this country £16 a ton for barley, if they will produce it." He paid £26 10s. a ton for the Iraq barley and his offer to the Irish farmer was a price of £16 a ton. Then the Deputies in the Labour benches are wondering why the wages of agricultural labourers are so low! It is because the gentleman whom you exalted and made Minister for Agriculture decided that the Formosan, the Cuban and the Iraquian were entitled to double the wages of the Irish farm labourer: at least, he was going to pay them double what he was willing to pay the Irish producer for anything they produced.

Again I had to go to that misguided man and plead with him on behalf of the unfortunate farmers to whom he was offering £16 a ton for Ymer barley. I said to him: "You need not be one bit afraid. It will be far higher than that. Have a bit of pluck and try and induce them to grow it." The present Minister for Agriculture, who was then Deputy Walsh, and Deputy Lehane were with me. I think Deputy Beegan was with me, too. We waited patiently on the benighted Minister and we pleaded with him and begged him to give fair consideration and treatment to the Irish farmer. Lo and behold, he came into this House three nights after that, stood up in the Government Bench and solemnly announced that, due to the appeals of Deputy Corry, he was prepared to increase the price for feeding barley by £4 a ton. He was prepared to pay £2 a barrel—40/—to the Irishman and 53/- to the Iraquian! With malice aforethought, Deputy Dillon while he was Minister for Agriculture fixed the price to prevent the Irish farmer from growing it.

What Irish farmer will grow Ymer barley at £2 a barrel? This nation lost at least 200,000 tons of barley because the then Minister for Agriculture, Deputy Dillon, did not take the advice of the deputation from the Beet Growers' Association who waited on him. I remember that I reminded him of the action which a previous Minister for Agriculture, Deputy Dr. Ryan, took in 1934 when he found himself in the same awkward position when he guaranteed a price. As a result of the action taken by Deputy Dr. Ryan the State did not lose a penny. Had the Minister, Deputy Dillon, anything like the interest of the Irish farmer at heart and had he come along and said: "Very well, I am prepared to do my part. I am at present paying £35 a ton for the nigger's corn. I will give £26 a ton to the Irish farmer if he will grow barley"—had he done that, and this would only be 52/- a barrel, 200,000 tons more Ymer barley would have been grown in this country.

The Deputy should refrain from describing those people as niggers. They are human beings just the same as the Deputy.

Do not insult the Deputy.

Apparently the Minister whom Deputy Corish put in charge of the agriculture of this country thought that the Irish people were niggers, because he wanted them to work for less wages than niggers receive. And yet we wonder why the Irish farmer is not responding! I suppose the idea of some Deputies is that the Irish farmer is like the nigger, the more you kick him the more he will produce, and the tighter you make him draw his belt the harder he will work. Is that the idea behind all this? Was there any justification for the paying out of Irish taxpayers' money some extra million pounds to the foreigner for producing that which could be produced here at least as cheaply?

One gentleman here to-night with a very nice little voice told us that it is only a small matter of £90,000,000 which was on the wrong side. That was a mere bagatelle, but putting 4/6 a ton on the price of beet was more than a bagatelle. That was the second portion of the Rake's Progress.

We come now to the basis and foundation of Irish agriculture, which is the cattle industry. The cattle industry has as its foundation the milch cow. I was only a greenhorn in this House and nearly as green as my colleague, Deputy O'Sullivan, is now——

That would be very hard to imagine.

I resent the comparison.

——when I heard the first Minister for Agriculture, the late Deputy Hogan, God rest his soul, speaking. He stated that if the Live Stock Breeding Act was carried out as it had been carried out during the period he was Minister, you might get fine looking cattle, but it would be impossible to get a decent milch cow. That was his verdict on the policy he had carried out for six and a half years. He made that statement from the seat now occupied by Deputy O'Sullivan. It will be found in the Official Report.

Was he a Minister then?

No. I do not think I would be stating anything wrong were I to say that the policy of the Department of Agriculture, as I know it, has been carried out on that particular line up to the present day.

You can say that there are about six milk producing counties out of the 26. These six dairying counties produce the butter for the nation. The farmers in these counties are compelled not only to produce the milk but to produce the good looking calves for the rancher in the Midlands to fatten and send them over to John Bull. The milk production of each successive generation of cows has dropped at least 60 gallons. At the same time, God between us and all harm, you had a Department of State giving money for the improvement of dairy herds. That money was spent in premiums for Herefords and Aberdeen-Angus bulls. Is it any wonder that our cows are now in the position of being able to produce only half the milk yield of any other dairy herd in Europe, a milk yield of 50 per cent.? I dealt with this matter last night, and I do not want to go very deeply into it again to-night.

You are getting away with murder.

I am dealing with facts.

What has this to do with the Central Bank?

It has a lot to do with the Central Bank and with supplies.

What has it to do with the cost of living?

It has a lot to do with the cost of living and a lot to do with the money that the Deputy's Party dished out for the past three years and of which they robbed the Irish farmers.

One of the last things that Deputy Smith did before leaving office as Minister for Agriculture was to fix the price of milk.

Before leaving office?

In March of 1947 he fixed the price of milk.

That is the time he made the statement about compulsory tillage.

If there was a bit of compulsion applied to get the Deputy to shut his mouth he would be better off. Every year from March 1947, right up to February of 1951 there was an increase in the cost of production. Each year further burdens were thrown on the agricultural community. More is being paid for labour, machinery and artificial manures. More will have to be paid for everything, but the farmer will get only the self same price as he got in March, 1947, from Deputy Smith. That was the policy and Deputy Davin need not look at me in such a manner. Deputy Davin voted against the farmer getting an extra 1d. per gallon for milk not 12 months ago.

Would you answer me one question? What did Mr. Walsh promise the farmers when he was a Deputy? He promised them 1/6.

The Deputy was tongue-tied for three and a half years. At one time the Deputy attacked the chief nabob, Deputy Dillon, who was Minister for Agriculture, in regard to the miserable price that the poor farmers were getting for their potatoes.

I think the Deputy would have been promoted long ago were it not for that, but that is one of the misfortunes of the trade. Deputy Davin walked into that lobby not 12 months ago—I think within a fortnight of giving a week's holiday and a half-day to agricultural labourers—and voted against giving the farmer the wherewithal to pay those labourers. Deputies opposite are annoyed with me when I say they do not represent agriculture, but they do not, because no man in his senses would dream of adopting the attitude they adopt towards agriculture. No Deputy with any sense of honesty would stand up here and advocate increased production by the farmer while at the same time tying that farmer down in such a way as to make it impossible for him to produce. It is as if I were to handcuff Deputy Davin's hands behind his back and put a hobble on his two legs and send him out to run a race, but that is what Deputy Davin did with the farmers and that is what has resulted in over 65,000 young men clearing out of the country during the three and a-half years of the régime of that misguided Government.

How is it that you are not the Minister?

These young men are not there now to produce. I had a job for Deputy Davin which I hoped he would fill. I am sorry he did not get it.

We had better keep to the Bill and the amendments and not discuss Deputy Davin.

Then perhaps Deputy Davin will keep quiet. I am surprised that a man with his experience would not be a little more mannerly.

Look at the master of manners!

And of honesty, a few moments ago.

I will teach you a lot before I finish, if you will have patience. That position with regard to milk drove the Irish people into sending abroad and paying more for butter than they paid the Irish farmer. They got in Brian Boru's stuff which Deputy Murphy, in his wisdom, described as having walked in and walked out.

Crept out.

Walked in and crept out. That is the kind of stuff the people got to eat because Deputies opposite would not pay the Irish farmer the cost of production for his milk. Let us have all these things out. You will have to bring 3,000 or 4,000 tons of that butter in this year to make up for what you lost and it has got to be paid for. The price I have seen quoted abroad for it is far above the price which I heard the Minister for Agriculture giving here. The price which the Irish creamery managers tell me they will have to pay for it is between 450/- and 550/- a cwt.

On a point of order. Is is fair that Deputy Corry should attack the Minister for Agriculture, his colleague, when he is in Rome?

I am not an authority on what is fair, but on what is in order. The Deputy's point is not a point of order.

I am not attacking the Minister.

By inference, you are.

I cannot blame the Minister—because the late Minister when leaving office ran away with the only two copies of costings in the Minister's Department—for being so stunned when he heard the figures.

We had enough of costings the other night. Let us get on to the Bill.

When the present Minister got from me the actual position with regard to the price of milk, he was so shocked that he went over to Rome to get forgiveness from the Pope for the small increase he gave us.

I want to tell Deputy Corry—I hope the Deputy will listen—that while I have a good deal of sympathy with what he says, he is going into too much detail. His remarks would be more appropriate to the Vote for Agriculture. While there is a good deal of relevancy in what he is saying, he is going into too much detail.

Is the last remark of Deputy Corry in order?

I do not know what the Deputy's last remark was.

The reference to the Pope.

I did not hear the remark.

He said that the Minister in a previous Cabinet should go to the Pope.

I can only rely on my own senses and I did not hear the remark with reference to the Pope. If such a remark were made, it should not have been made.

What was the remark?

Get it off the records.

I might be going into too much detail, as you say, Sir, but I have only given here the reasons, asked for by practically all Deputies, why the farmer will not produce more, and I stand fully over the farmers' action in not producing more until he is paid for doing so.

So you will sow no wheat.

The farmers are offered a lower price for their produce than any Government is prepared to pay the foreigners for theirs. The figures in that respect are there, given by the Minister to me last week in regard to sugar and butter. Why should we ask the one section of the community who are workers and producers to accept a rate of pay which is only 50 per cent. of what any unskilled worker gets in this country to-day? What hope have you, while that condition of affairs exists, of getting any increased production? We are told from all sides that the one hope is increased agricultural production, and you will pardon me, Sir, if I have dwelt overlong on what, if we are to get that increased production, will have to be done. I have quoted the questions I asked Deputy Morrissey when he was Minister for Industry and Commerce, and this week I addressed the same questions to the present Minister. If we are to put an end to sending out £4,000,000 or £5,000,000 to the foreigner, let us call the two parties together and let us fix the basis on which it can be produced and let us then go with our heads up and tell the farmers: "We want you to produce the requirements of this nation in your own country and you have got to do it."

We will be entitled then to go out and ask them that, when we are prepared to pay them a price that will allow them to pay their sons and their workers a decent wage and end the condition of affairs that exists to-day where you have the vast majority of the young men, whether they be farm labourers or farmers' sons, clearing out of the land because they can earn with their four bones, which is all they have, double as much in any unskilled employment as they could gain as skilled men in agriculture.

Would I be in order, in view of the serious nature of this part of the speech, in moving that we send for the Taoiseach to hear his colleague, Deputy Corry, preach the policy of sabotage?

No; that would not be in order.

If Deputy Davin considers it sabotage——

——to call the two parties together, the Irish Sugar Company and the Beet Growers' Association, who can and could and will provide the beet to end the imports of sugar by producing it here, then Deputy Davin has been guilty of acts of sabotage every week of his life when he tries to pull his strikers and Córas Iompair Éireann and the rest of the gang together.

We have any amount of talk here about the nervousness of the Government. How nervous were those gentlemen over there when they were a Government. I spoke here of the policy of abeyance. I will give a picture of it. Down in Haulbowline there was a contract for the building of a wharf. I do not know what happened —it might be an act of Providence or an act of something else—but the very day that Deputy John A. Costello sat here as Taoiseach the work stopped and not another bag of cement went into the building of that wharf until Deputy Eamon de Valera came back again as Taoiseach. Deputies will be aware of—or if they look up the Official Reports they will see it—the long line of questions month after month and week after week I had to address here to Deputy Michael Donnellan when he was Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance. The fact remains—I cannot account for it—that by some mysterious means the last Government prevented progress on that work. Facts are stubborn things. The week they came in the work stopped and the week they left the work started again.

Obviously we cannot go into a discussion of every work in the country on that basis.

I am making a comparison between this wonderful advance that Deputies over there claim was made—and I have been patiently listening to them for the past three weeks——

The general policy on reconstruction and industrial development and agricultural development is quite relevant, but the details are not.

I have finished with agriculture and am going on to industry. I read about a fortnight ago a statement about a distinguished colleague of mine who said the inter-Party Government conceived the new sheet mill in Haulbowline but it was a stillborn babe for it took three and a half years. The greater portion of the machinery for it was brought in in 1939 but portions were missing and it was impossible to get them during the war. In November, 1947, the present Minister for Industry and Commerce gave guarantees regarding that sheet mill. I will not inflict the details on the House, as I do not think it would be fair.

I am of the same opinion.

If any Deputy doubts it, I would be more than willing to read them out. I have here the answer to 16 questions asked from September, 1948, to March, 1951.

The makings of a good bonfire.

You made a good bonfire there before and, thanks be to God, you got out in time before you made another one. Those opposite claim that they were advancing industry. I say they were retarding it—deliberately. The answers I got said "it had been referred,""it was being inquired into,""it was being investigated,""it was a serious matter and would be very seriously considered"; and then, lo and behold, we found a scapegoat and it was "referred to the Industrial Development Authority." When the Industrial Development Authority got hold of it they kept after it and through a long line of five questions they were considering it. They were trying to solve this problem, for which Deputy Seán Lemass had guaranteed the cash in 1947. It took three and a half years of investigation from the inter-Party Government to deal with this one problem of unemployment in a town in my constituency concerning at least 300 able-bodied men. That problem was left there with the consent and approval of the Labour Party.

There is no need to shout over it.

We had a few smiles every time the question was answered. As a matter of fact, in the last answer I got—I had forgotten it until the Deputy interrupted—the Deputy jumped up and said the report of the Industrial Development Authority was there, and Deputy Cosgrave had to contradict him. That was about March of 1951. If Deputy Flanagan were the Minister, we would have got the answer all right.

What happened to it between 1945 and 1948?

The machinery could not be got until the war was over. There was plenty of opportunity for getting it from January, 1948, right on to 1951 —far easier than it is now. The members of the Industrial Development Authority were turning over their £2,500 per man, and they were too busy spending that and had not the time for anything else. That is only one item. Every Deputy can only judge by the activities he knows of in his own constituency. Some genius over there will read out the report received by the Parliamentary Secretary on the reason why the sheet mill could not be started until Deputy Seán Lemass came back as Minister for Industry and Commerce. Perhaps some of the Deputies will enlighten us on that.

Thank Peadar Cowan for that, not Seán Lemass.

It cannot be done.

Deputy Lemass waited for Peadar.

The last Government had no Seán Lemass. If they had it would have been a different story. If they had a Tom Walsh and a Paddy Smith they would be right.

They would not have gone to the Formosan. I do not pretend to be a genius on finance. I never had enough of it; I never will have enough of it, and will never have much of it either. No honest man in this country ever had much and you will not find any in the farmer's hands. However, when I hear accusations I judge each as I see it, and I judge each Government as I see it, and I see a Government that carefully refrained from spending anything and that stayed looking at that plant and machinery lying idle knowing that it could give employment, and decent employment, to 300 able-bodied men. They were not prepared to spend the money necessary to get the balance of that machinery or to put that plant in operation. Then I see a Minister who comes along and within one short month of his appointment goes down there and puts the wheels moving and gets the men on the job. At the present moment that plant is being erected in order to give employment.

I have warned the Deputy before against repetition.

We wonder how the people opposite can claim: "We are the people who were prepared to spend and those are the people who are too tight to spend." That is the only basis on which I can compare the situations.

I am speaking for the agricultural community in my area, for the tillage farmers of the country, for the working farmers of the country, and I say—and I do not care what Party is in power or in office—that until such time as we have a Government that is prepared to give the agricultural community a fair crack of the whip and put an end to the £3 6s. 0d. on one side of the fence and the £5 12s. 0d. on the other side you will not have the production that is absolutely essential to pull this country out of the hole she is in. There is very little use in our talking of production and mouthing sentiments unless we are prepared, as representatives of the people, to act up to what we preach and to go to the farmer and say: "Come along. We want you to produce so much wheat, so much beet, so much feeding for your animals, so many acres of each of those things and sufficient milk to give butter to the people of the country, and we are prepared to pay you at least the cost of production plus a fair profit. We are prepared to pay you sufficient to enable you to pay your labourer and your son something more than £3 10s. 0d. a week." Let us act on that basis and see how it will work.

We know the cost of production of beet. Let us give every man as much as he will get if he goes across the road into the factory to handle the other end of it. Let that be done and I am prepared to guarantee on behalf of the farmers that the farmers will pay their labourers that wage. If the cost of production of beet is made up at £4 10s., or even £5 a week; I guarantee that every farmer working in beet will pay that wage to his labourer.

There is no making. The farmers of this country treated their agricultural labourers decently before ever they heard of the manoeuvres and the regulation brought in here as a wedge between themselves and their workers during the past 10 or 20 years. There is no making. I told Deputy Corish, in speaking here six or seven weeks ago, that I was prepared to meet the Labour Party more than halfway in this thing because I cannot stand by and see labour flying from the field every day of the week until you have a condition of affairs when you cannot have increased production. Any able-bodied young man at the present day has only one thing. He says: "Very well, all I have are my four bones. I will sell them in the best labour market I can find. If the best labour market in agriculture is £3 10s. I will go somewhere else if I can get £5."

I and people like me who want to see labour decently employed and who have been accustomed to seeing contented labour on our farms will be left in the position if this condition of affairs continues that in a few short years nobody will be left on the land of this country but old-age pensioners and cripples and you can get all the production you want from them.

I am glad and very glad that we are in a position to-day to change the policy which was carried out towards agriculture for the past three and a half years. I am proud of having any part in getting rid of the old man of the sea who was tied around the unfortunate farmer's neck. His sentence is ended and I have very little respect for the Deputies of any Party who stood by while that villainy was being perpetrated on the people they pretended to represent. I cannot pretend to have respect for the men who stood by and sat in that Cabinet and refused to pay the unfortunate farmer 4/6 a ton extra on his beet——

I thought you had finished that an hour ago.

——and who were prepared to go out to Cuba and to pay an extra £1,000,000 for the same article. Is it not time that that kind of thing was ended? What respect can any decent Deputy, looking at that condition of affairs, have for the individuals who sat in that Cabinet and allowed that daft creature to get away with that kind of work for three and a half years?

There is a very good book which was written by Phillip Gibbs, who was at one time a member of the British House of Commons. It makes most interesting reading. The title is In the Middle of the Road. There is a character in the book whose name appears on practically every page —Moleskin Joe. Moleskin Joe frequently said: “There is a good time coming if I live to see it.” Every word that the Taoiseach uttered last night in this House reminded me of the words of Moleskin Joe. There are good times coming if we live to see them. The good times that Moleskin Joe expected did not come. He died before the good times came. If the Moleskin Joe of Dáil Éireann thinks that he is going to pull wool over the eyes of the members of this House or of the general public outside, he is making a very grave mistake.

Everybody who knows the Taoiseach knows quite well that when he says he is going to achieve a particular aim, he means the very opposite. Everybody who knows the Taoiseach knows that every promise he made in this country he broke. So, if he is to be judged by his promises, we can see that all those promises that were made in the past were never fulfilled.

Quite the contrary. Quite the contrary.

Every promise he made was broken.

He said on one occasion that he would bring back the emigrants.

No, you brought them back.

They never came back. He said he would abolish the Seanad. He did, and he instituted another Seanad for his own friends.

Tell us what the judges said about you.

Will the Minister have the manners to listen and take his medicine? I have listened patiently to the Taoiseach. I did not interrupt him. I listened to the Tánaiste and did not interrupt him.

They did not make foul charges.

I am also prepared to listen to the Minister in his feeble attempts to make speeches in this House. Every promise that Fianna Fáil made was a promise made to be broken. Now let us judge them on their record. If the Minister for Defence comes into the House at this late hour of the night to endeavour to justify the broken promises of Fianna Fáil——

To suffer listening to you.

Is it in order to make a speech as to when or for what reason the Minister for Defence comes into the House?

The Chair is waiting for the Deputy to relate his remarks to the Bill before the House.

If the Irish people are expecting——

The Irish people are not fools.

I will let the Deputy make a speech if he wishes, but, whether he likes it or not, he is going to listen to me.

Provided you are in order.

I am in Parliament and what I have to say I will say.

What you have said so far is little credit to you.

Deputy Flanagan must be allowed to make his speech without interruption.

I was referring to the Taoiseach's speech last night. I came into the House for the purpose of interrupting the Taoiseach. I must confess that. But, when I saw such a poor spectacle presenting such a feeble case and such a bad case, my conscience revolted. It would not permit me to interrupt him.

When did you get it?

My heart, which is by no means tender or soft, would not allow me to interrupt the Taoiseach, because I was sorry for him. He was a sad, weary man, trying to hold the men he had behind him together, trying to build up and make a case that would look good out of something that was not a case at all.

We all know that he has the worries and the cares of endeavouring to keep the Government together. We know that. He has that responsibility. With men like Deputy Cogan and Deputy Cowan that is no small job to-day.

What has that got to do with the Bill?

Oh yes, it has something to do with the Government.

Will the Deputy try to deal with the Bill?

With respect, we are here to censure the Government severly. We are going to do that.

I thought we were talking about supplies and services.

We are going to do that. If the Minister for Defence is anxious to hear about supplies and services, he will certainly hear about supplies and services. But, before he hears about supplies and services, it is only right that his attention should be directed to the fact that for the past six months, since the present Government took office, his colleagues have been going through the country delivering speeches of despair and depression, lowering as much as they possibly can the morale of the people, telling them of bad times, telling them of the deplorable mess in which they found the country after three years of the inter-Party Government.

That is right.

It is true. They did not have to be told. They knew it.

Before the last general election, the present Taoiseach told the people that if he was re-elected he would reduce taxation. Every spokesman of Fianna Fáil told us that taxation would be reduced and that we were living in a time of spend-thrifts——

——and that the inter-Party Government was squandering money and spending too much money, and that it was time to exercise economy.

Quote the speeches.

We were told, furthermore, that the very moment the inter-Party Government would be removed from office the people would be relieved of the already heavy burden of taxation that was placed on their shoulders. Of course, the poor gullible Irish believed it again. They believed it because of Government propaganda. On the Irish Press, on the Irish Independent, at every railway station, on every dead wall in the country, we saw huge posters bearing a photograph of the worried housewife and right beside it was the sad, dreary spectacle of the Taoiseach and underneath it the words: “You can trust Dev. Put him in.” Right beside it was the worried housewife, with painted fingernails, and she was expressing in her countenance Tegret at the manner in which the inter-Party Government had allowed the cost of living to go up. This paper says: “Every housewife knows that the cost of clothes, coal, soap and other household commodities has risen to a dangerous level. No amount of statistical juggling can prove otherwise.”

What paper is that?

The Irish Press.“A pound note goes nowhere in the household shopping of to-day. Every housewife knows that. Yet, the Coalition is attempting to prove by statistics and false arguments that the cost of living has not risen. What do you think? Is this honest? Does it even make sense to the housewife? Vote for a new deal, a straight deal, vote for Fianna Fáil.”

Is not that all true, every word of it?

Before the last election Fianna Fáil made so much capital out of it we had the housewife saying: "An increase in butter, in soap, in shoes, in gas, in coal and in electricty," and the Government crawled meekly into office pledged to the housewife and the fathers and mothers of families that if they were elected to office the commodities that the inter-Party Government had been responsible for increasing, as they maintained, would be reduced and that in addition the alleged increase in the cost of living at the time would be brought down. There was to be no further increases and no further taxation. Last night, however, the Taoiseach had changed. The speeches he made before the election had served their purpose. He got the votes, he captured Deputy Cogan and Deputy Cowan in the mousetraps and he secured office under false pretences. He gulled the people successfully again. But last night he did not talk about reducing the cost of living or about reducing the already heavy burden of taxation. This was what he said.

Will the Deputy give the reference?

The report of the Taoiseach's speech as published in the daily papers this morning.

He said:

"If the people want Government services we must make provision for them by getting the equivalent revenue. That will mean that we will have to face additional taxation."

The Minister for Finance, in a recent speech, I think it was on last Friday night, said that it was now all too clear that the people were living beyond their means. The Tánaiste, on more than one occasion, has stated that the country is living beyond its means. Recently in Cork the Taoiseach stated that we were going to face good times and that prosperity was coming, but at the same time he said: "Tighten your belts because I think there is a pinch coming and we are not very far away from it." Before the good times come we are going to have some bad times. When "Moleskin Joe" made that speech in Cork——

Take me as protesting against the observations of this Deputy. The personal observations he is making should not be made even on a dunghill not to speak of in this House.

The Taoiseach will have to be referred to as the Taoiseach.

The Taoiseach made a reference in Cork—I do not know if Deputy MacCarthy was present at the meeting because from the report it appeared as if there was no one there except the Taoiseach.

I am not objecting to criticism of the Taoiseach, but I am objecting to the dirty personal observations of the Deputy.

Now that Deputy MacCarthy has satisfied himself with his protest, will he allow me to proceed?

Let him continue his mudlarking.

"A good time is coming although I may never see it" that was in practically every chapter of the book I have referred to, In the Middle of the Road. The Taoiseach carries on on identically the same road. We now find ourselves in the position that, if the Taoiseach's statement last night is correct, we are going to be faced with further taxation. I should like to know from the Taoiseach or from the Minister or from some spokesman of the Fianna Fáil set-up, what else is there to tax in this country or whom is there to tax in this country? That is something I should like to have answered.

A Deputy


Are we going to tax the necessities of life?

Who is responsible for it?

Who said that?

You are a good man to be able to say anything at all. I want to know what is going to be taxed and I think the Dáil is entitled to know what is going to be taxed. If there are to be new taxes, we are entitled to know how that additional new taxation is to be levied and on whom it is to be levied. Is he going to tax the 80,000 agricultural workers in this country? Is he going to tax the 170,000 old age pensioners? Is he going to tax the 30,000 widows and orphans. Is he going to ask the agricultural workers, the small farmers, the widows and orphans and the lame and the sick to tighten their belts and to reduce their standard of living? Is he going to ask them to take off their decent clothing and get back into the rags and weep as they did for 17 years under Fianna Fáil? That was very gloomy reading this morning for the people who voted for Fianna Fáil candidates in the belief that taxation was to be reduced. They now find that Fianna Fáil have changed their policy. Instead of reducing taxation and bringing down the cost of living, they are going to permit the cost of living to rise higher and higher and taxation is going to be increased. We must take that as an established fact, and the unfortunate housewife, who was spoken of so very often on Fianna Fáil platforms during the last general election, cannot be used by Fianna Fáil any more.

The Tánaiste in this House said that when he took office there were piles of files in the Department of Industry and Commerce containing recommendations of the Prices Advisory Body for increases awaiting the Minister's sanction. He said that when Deputy Dr. O'Higgins was Minister for Industry and Commerce the Prices Advisory Body made various recommendations for increases in the prices of various commodities and that the then Minister just left the files on one side until they piled up.

And they were both listening and did not contradict him.

We were told that the files were permitted to grow several feet high. I am proud of that. Neither Deputy Dr. O'Higgins nor Deputy Morrissey denied that because they were quite right in leaving those files there and that is what any shrewd, sensible Minister for Industry and Commerce would do.

But they had appointed the board themselves.

I want the House, and particularly Deputy MacCarthy, to realise that the Prices Advisory Body was established for the purpose of giving advice and making recommendations and that the Minister was not, is not and could not be bound to act on their recommendation. In their wisdom and in their foresight and because of their charity for the poor throughout the country, conscious of the fact that it was their aim and policy to keep down the cost of living, they were quite right in leaving those files there.

It would indeed have been far better if the Tánaiste had left those files alone instead of adding further to the distress and discontent of the unfortunate housewife, in whom he professed to be so interested and over whom he wept so bitterly before the general election. But he soon forgot his tears, and one of the first steps he took on coming into office was to go into the room where those files were stacked and say: "Shake the dust from them; knock the cobwebs off; I want to sign these recommendations for increases in order to inflict more hardships on the poor by making them law." He did that. Having thrown the housewife on the scrap-heap, the present Government had no further use for her. They had already captured her vote. Their first act was to put 2d. per lb. on every lb. of butter going into the workingman's home. The unfortunate widow and the orphan are compelled by order of this dishonourable Government to pay 2d. more on every lb. of butter they buy. The unfortunate old age pensioner must pay 2d. more. Every lb. of butter that goes into the home of the farm worker, into the home of the civil servant, into the home of the Garda Síochána and into the married quarters in our barracks, carries 2d. per lb. extra as a result of the Order made by the Minister. Every lb. of butter that goes into our hospitals carries an extra charge of 2d. Every ex-tuberculosis patient who has been ordered butter must pay 2d. per lb. more for it. Deputy Cogan may feel quite proud that he has achieved his aim by inflicting such a severe punishment and hardship on the unfortunate people to whom I have referred.

Deputy Cogan has already told you what he thinks of you.

The Minister for Defence knows quite well that one of the most brutal acts that can be performed is to deny the poor butter on their bread. This unwarranted and unreasonable increase was one of the first burdens imposed by the present set-up. An announcement appeared in the papers—dark, gloomy reading it made—which proclaimed to the housewife that butter would be dearer and that the hole that had been punched in the bottom of her purse would get bigger and wider with every lb. of butter she had to buy.

Deputy Dr. Ryan, in his capacity as Minister for Health, has on more than one occasion made appeals to the people to arm themselves against disease, to eat well, to clothe themselves properly and, above all, to make sure that they have butter and milk in sufficient quantities. The unfortunate school children of Dublin, their fathers and probably their older brothers and sisters taking lunch with them are to-day denied butter because of the prohibitive price Fianna Fáil has placed on butter.

They had not got it for three years.

At one time they had only two ounces.

The unfortunate housewife on whom Fianna Fáil gambled and won can no longer have butter. One of the slogans for the next election should be that they have now put butter beyond the reach of the housewives.

Why is butter being imported, then?

One of the first items they taxed was butter and Deputy Cowan asks now why butter is being imported. Deputy Cowan knows that for a long time the people had only two ounces of butter. I would not care if butter came from the farthest part of the globe provided the people had butter. I never want to see the people with only two ounces of butter again. I want them to get all the butter they can eat.

Irrespective of the price paid to the Danes or the New Zealanders?

I do not want to see any home denied butter. It is true that the inter-Party Government were bitterly criticised by Fianna Fáil because butter was imported. We were told that the butter that came from Denmark formed fours on the tables. We were told that it practically walked around the table. More butter has come in in the past six months than in the whole three years of the inter-Party Government. It is coming in now. Surely if it was capable of "forming fours" during the inter-Party régime it ought to be a little further advanced now; it ought to be able to slope arms and stand to attention.

According to Deputy Murphy it crept.

The Deputies who found fault with the imported butter. whose nostrils almost went back to their ears at the mention of imported butter, have now lost their sense of smell as well as their sense of decency. They find that the butter is now all right. When it was imported under Deputy James Dillon it was bad and had a smell, but when imported under the present Minister for Agriculture it is all right and does not smell. It is strange that the Deputies who made capital out of our imported butter are now very silent and have not a word to say.

Why is it being imported?

There is very little difference between the butter manufactured in our creameries and the Danish butter. The only difference is that the Danes make their butter out of what is known as ripened cream.

And the price?

When the inter-Party Government made an effort to place a pound of butter on the table of every home in the country, and to see that every child got all the butter it needed; one of the firsts acts of Fianna Fáil was to deprive these homes of their reasonable supplies of butter by putting 2d per lb. on it. So much for butter. The unfortunate housewives then realised that they had been deceived and let down, and that Fianna Fáil did not mean a word of what they had said. But if the housewives or the poor of this country knew Fianna Fáil as well as I do, they would not have been surprised. I have been looking at Fianna Fáil and listening to them for almost ten years, and I am not at all surprised at their successful attempt to deprive the unfortunate people of the country of their supplies of butter.

That was only one item in the household bill. Two days after, what did we find? More gloomy reading for the housewives. The headlines in the newspapers were: "Condensed milk dearer". Just as the people were recovering from the shock of the increase in the price of condensed milk and butter, the Minister for Industry and Commerce lost no time in finding another file of the inter-Party Government. This time he pinched out a file for tinned peas and beans, and decided to increase their price lest any worker in the city or country would consider that his lunch would be more appetising with peas or beans. With a stroke of the pen, on the recommendations of the Prices Advisory Body, and without due consideration for the consumer, no time was lost in depriving those with a taste for peas and beans of them. Fianna Fáil increased the price.

You must eat a lot of peas.

Will Deputy Cowan be able to justify this at Fairview Corner provided there is no lioness in his constituency?

They are all here on this Fine Gael list.

Not being satisfied with that, we see how Fianna Fáil proceeded to tax the commodities purchased by the working-class people. Butter was 2/10 per lb. during the term of office of the inter-Party Government. Fianna Fáil succeeded in bringing the price up to 3/- a lb. Chef sauce was increased from 1/- to 1/2, and T.D. sauce, which Deputy Cowan probably finds appetising, was next increased in price.

And milk of magnesia.

It is only on the side of the bottle the Deputy will find the "T.D." after the next election. The T.D. sauce was increased from 1/2 to 1/4. Vinegar, which was 1½d. during the period of the inter-Party Government, went up to 1/2. They next increased the price of the tin of cocoa. Every country Deputy knows that there is a tin of cocoa on the mantelpiece in every home in rural Ireland, and that the cocoa is usually taken at night. It was increased from 6d. to 8½d. a tin.

You may call it a packet in Fairview but we call it a tin in Laoghis-Offaly. The next thing to be increased in price was something which I would recommend to the Tánaiste—Andrews' Liver Salts. It went up from 1/- to 1/2 a tin. I would recommend the Tánaiste to take an overdose of this so that he would be able to realise where he stands with the cost of living. It probably would clear his head and make him realise his responsibility towards the poor of this country and of the unfortunate people who have to purchase those commodities. Cheese was then increased in price. I suppose Deputy Corry was one of those mainly responsible for that. That was more of the gloomy reading which we had in the newspapers on the 29th August. It was gloomy reading for the housewives. The members of the Lower Prices Council wrote to the Minister asking him to have a public investigation as to why there had been an increase in the price of cheese. The inquiry has not yet been held. There is no regard for the unfortunate consumers of cheese. The Minister for Health, Deputy Dr. Ryan, tells us that cheese is a nutritious diet, but the Tánaiste lost no time in denying cheese to those who have a desire to eat it. When asked to hold an inquiry into the unreasonable, unfair and unjust increase in the price of cheese, he did not do so.

The Lower Prices Council wrote to the Minister and told him that the increase approved of for cheese had no relation whatever to the increase that the farmers got for their milk, but I do not know that the Lower Prices Council has had a reply from him. Strong and repeated representations were made by other sections of the community for an inquiry to be made into the unreasonable, unjust and unfair increase of cheese, but the Minister remained silent. Not one word of protest came from any member of the Fianna Fáil Party. Did Deputy Corry raise any objection? He did not. Did any speaker from the Fianna Fail benches protest or support the request of the Lower Prices Council in their demand — their reasonable demand—for an inquiry into the Minister's transaction in that respect? I challenge any Deputy—any Dublin Deputy—to say that he stands over the Minister's cruel and unjust act in permitting such an increase in the price of cheese.

We all know that this commodity is purchased, to a very great extent, by the working-class people. Workers whose hours of employment do not enable them to return to their homes for lunch partake of the cheese sandwiches which they have packed into their bags before setting out for work in the morning. Even the members of the Defence Forces, for whom the Minister for Defence has such sympathy, moryah, are adversely affected by the rise in the price of cheese. When they go on manæuvres, they may take cheese sandwiches with them. They now have to pay more for it than they did when the inter-Party Government were in office.

Who pays more?

Anyone who purchases cheese pays more for it.

We are told that nobody uses cheese except the swanks, and that cheese and biscuits form portion of their luncheon menu. It is quite true that the swanks use cheese, but it is also the diet in many a humble home in this country. In fact, many a poor man once put cheese in a mousetrap, but he cannot do it to-day. If he did so he would expect to catch within the springs of the trap something more substantial than the poor, unfortunate mouse.

All this is not relevant to the Bill under discussion.

I say, without any fear of contradiction, that the Minister has failed miserably with regard to this matter and that he has been responsible for this serious jump in the price of cheese and for making that Order without consultation with the proper authorities.

We next come to some very gloomy reading. Published in the daily papers, we saw: "Dublin to pay more for gas."

We are getting it free now.

"Dublin to pay more for gas." The people of Fairview have had their gas on occasions.

I do not think you will go there so often.

Deputy Cowan will remain in Fairview with the "lioness". He will not appear in Fairview so often. The people to whom promises were made that the cost of living would be reduced have found that the price of gas had been increased and that such increase was approved by the Government. The Gas Company stated that the increase was due to the increased price of coal. That same day another warning notice appeared in the newspapers. It said: "Coke will also go up £1 per ton from to-morrow."

The daily papers which published this distasteful and unwanted news to the wage-earners also announced that the Minister for Industry and Commerce had, on the recommendation of the Prices Advisory Body, increased the price of oaten meal. Even oaten meal, or, as we call it down the country, "the plate of stirabout", could not be let pass. The unfortunate poor of this country, who enjoyed the plate of stirabout, oaten meal, porridge, or whatever name one may like to call it, were penalised. The Tánaiste would know it better by the name of plain stirabout. He saw it fit to allow the price of this commodity to rise recklessly. Another increase was announced on the same date which would probably affect the Tánaiste's constituents and Deputy Cowan's constituents more than it would affect mine—the price of sherry was increased. Few of us are drinking, but any who do drink find that we pay more for it than we did when the inter-Party Government was in office.

Shortly after Fianna Fáil took office there appeared in the daily papers the news that the people of this country would have to pay more for eggs. The announcement ran: "Eggs to cost more from to-day." At the present time eggs have reached such an exorbitant price that no wage-earner can purchase them. When Deputy Dr. Browne was Minister for Health he said on one occasion, if my memory serves me right, that he wanted to see an egg on every plate in every house at least three times daily. What is he doing about it now that he is more influential with the Government than any of us, because he put them there; he had to put them there? Now, as a result of the actions of his comrades and of himself eggs have reached a prohibitive price in this city, and the Government have remained silent about it. There is many a home in this city, in the towns of Portlaoise, Tramore, Carlow, Mountmellick, Birr and Edenderry—I am saying this for the use of the Official Reports—the working class inhabitants of which cannot afford to purchase eggs.

Who told us to choke the hens?

The price of eggs has now become reckless and, according to the Fianna Fáil Government, the egg is to be purchased only by the banker, the professional man and the upper ten—the swanks. The egg is to be forgotten by the labourer, the widows and orphans and the poor unfortunate sections of our people. The Tánaiste must know that half the wage-earners of this country, if the information contained in this disgraceful document is correct, are earning approximately £3 10s. per week. We find ourselves in the position that no home of the working-class people in this city or in any of our provincial towns can find it possible to purchase eggs.

Be that as it may, the Tánaiste was not satisfied at that. Very soon afterwards we saw that when they succeeded in depriving the workers of this country of eggs, they said: "Our next step now to cripple them properly will be to deprive them of the egg's pal in the pan, the rasher." And they did so most successfully. Fianna Fáil are making wonderful strides in starving the people of this country.

Next we saw, on the 27th September in all the daily papers, this spectacle: "Bacon and pork decontrolled. Prices Order to be revoked." It was bad enough to deprive them entirely of the egg. Here we see bacon and pork decontrolled. It is quite true to say that during the term of office of the inter-Party Government every home in this country that wanted bacon and eggs could have had them twice a day at least; the bacon was available because the price was controlled, and the eggs were available.

But to-day the eggs are for the rich. The controls are off bacon and that is for the rich because they can charge what they wish for the bacon. The price of bacon, rashers, ham or pork to-day is completely outside the control of the working-class people of this country. The Tánaiste might well be satisfied. He has done a good job. The people can well tighten their belts now if they have any hips to keep the belt from slipping off entirely if Fianna Fáil is to remain in office for very long.

They have scored one point. They have achieved their aim of starving the poor. They are winning and doing well. They are succeeding in starving the people of this country and in making prices so prohibitive that the housewife or the wage-earner or the head of the family will be unable to purchase the necessaries of life to keep the bodies and souls of his family and himself together.

At the same time as bacon and pork were decontrolled, that bacon went up and pork went up, pigs went down. Can anyone understand that? Will the Tánaiste say how it was that the price of pigs fell when bacon and pork were decontrolled. I cannot understand that, and it is something that would take explanation.

On 7th July, 1951, we saw a notice appearing in all the papers which has had a very serious effect on the rise in the cost of living, and which stated: "Increased charges for electricity supply." We know that Fianna Fáil cannot possibly put a charge on the wind, on the rain or on the sunshine, but they had to do it with the light and did it fairly successfully. The very people who were bringing down the cost of living five months before, here is their record to date. Rate-payers throughout the whole country who pay for public lighting out of the rates—and I want members of local authorities to mark this—have to pay more for public lighting than they had to pay when we were in office. The man with the factory, with the mill, with the shop, with the dwelling-house, with the four-walled cabin—unless he uses the wax candle—is paying more for electric light than he was paying when the inter-Party Government was in office. The electric light bill is a bill which every housewife views with the gravest possible concern.

Sack the board.

No time was lost in seeing that the Electricity Supply Board had approval for their increase. I fail to understand, when we have additional power stations working, when we are making more electricity, when there is more of it being consumed, how this institution can get away, with the silence and consent of the Government, with robbing open-eyed the people of this country that consume electricity. I say that the Electricity Supply Board charges are mad and that no responsible Government outside the mental hospital would approve of the Electricity Supply Board charges. There are people paying for electric light in flats and in their ordinary humble homes. People in every walk of life must have light——

I agree with the Deputy.

——and here we find that Electricity Supply Board is allowed to stick their two hands into the trouser pockets of the workers who need light. That not alone affects the workers, but the business man, the professional man, the man with his office, the man with his mill, the man with his factory, the shopkeeper. Every section of the people are feeling the pinch of the unreasonable, unfair and unjust charges for electricity.

We find that nobody even sneezed on the Fianna Fáil benches about that. Did Deputy Corry mention it? Did any of the Deputies who have spoken to date refer to the way in which the Electricity Supply Board is robbing the people—and I deliberately use that expression? The people are not getting a fair return from the Electricity Supply Board. Electricity Supply Board charges are at least five times too high. It is all right for the Tánaiste, who can switch on here and switch on there. He can meet his Electricity Supply Board bills, but take the ordinary worker with a wage of £3 10s. per week who has to use electric light in his kitchen or in any of his three rooms at night time.

He is forgotten completely. Almost everyone in this country, as a ratepayer, is paying for public lighting. and in that way is affected by these increased charges. The Electricity Supply Board has got away with it so far, and they will get away with it while Fianna Fáil are in office, because Fianna Fáil will always cater for the needs of institutions such as the Electricity Supply Board. Please God, at a later stage in my speech I am going to advocate that the Electricity Supply Board be completely nationalised and I have a series of questions to put to the Minister for Industry and Commerce on this issue at a later stage.

Deputies from rural Ireland may say: "Oh, the increase in the electricity charges do not affect us very much as we have not yet got the benefits of rural electrification." Let these Deputies not think for one moment that they escaped because they did not escape. When the Tánaiste saw that the Electricity Supply Board charges were approved, he was happy because he said: "Now the people in the towns and cities will have to pay more." Then he thought: "The lads in the country are going to get away with it; how am I going to get my hands into their pockets? Paraffin oil! I will get them on that." Therefore, you see an announcement in the daily papers of the 27/7/51, and in particular in the Irish Press:“Price of paraffin oil up.” So after hitting the man in the towns and cities, the men on the hills and in the valleys, in the weary, dreary parts of rural Ireland have got to feel the pinch as well. They have to purchase paraffin oil. Their only alternative is to sit in the dark to lament that Fianna Fáil is in office and that they have to pay more to the Tánaiste for his paraffin oil.

The unfortunate farmer who lights his paraffin oil lamp at 4.30 on a winter's evening, and who keeps that lamp lighted for his game of cards or his chat or even to entertain the Seanachie, as people do in Deputy Cunningham's constituency, will have to pay an extra charge for his paraffin oil. He must either do that, sit in the dark or sit by the light of his fire, because of Fianna Fáil's attempt to raise the cost of living by increasing the price of the quarter of a gallon of oil that he buys for household purposes. They succeeded very well in their attempt. I am sorry that Deputy Corry is not here now. However, his twin brother, Deputy Cogan, is here, and he will bear with me for one moment when I say that the unfortunate farmer who has to purchase paraffin oil——

The Deputy has said that at least half a dozen times.

He has to use paraffin oil for farm purposes as well as for household purposes. If a beast becomes ill during the night time, the farmer has no alternative to lighting his paraffin oil lamp to enable him to go to the aid of the sick cow, the sick calf or the sick pig, as the case may be. He finds that that is more expensive now than it was six months ago when the inter-Party Government was in office. Does he realise that he has been gulled and blinded and that the Fianna Fáil Party have done their damnedest to deprive him of his light, to make him sit in the corner of his humble homestead in the dark, blindly lamenting the fact, probably, that he voted for Fianna Fáil?

Here is what we see next. A notice appears in all the daily papers on the 14th September, 1951, and this is the way it reads: "Stonger, but dearer, ale." They did not even let that escape. The bottle of ale was the farmer's consoling drink on a fair day. It was there to quench the bog worker's thirst. The bog worker in Clonsast, Turaun and Boora, in my constituency, got the next touch. An unfortunate man, after a long, hard day's work in the fields, between the handles of a plough, following his horses from sunrise to nightfall with skill and industry, when his throat becomes parched with thirst, likes to have a bottle of ale.

You would want one now.

He got that bottle of ale at a reasonable price when the inter-Party Government was in office but he finds now that he has to pay more for it. What is the sad part of all this? The sad part of it is that some of these thirsty people, who drink ale, are to-day lubricating their throats with dearer ale and shouting "Up, Dev." at the same time. Is that not the sad part of it? Is that not the part that is hard to understand when we find a big section of our people——

Anybody who understands monetary reform could surely understand that.

When Deputy Cunningham has been as long in this House as I have been, he will have more manners. Deputy Cunningham is an apt pupil in a certain school but probably we shall be able to give him a better certificate if he comes back after the next election. We see no regret whatever amongst Deputies on the opposite side for depriving the unfortunate working man of the pleasure and delight of quenching his thirst with a bottle of ale after a hard day's work. Fianna Fáil were certainly very successful in inflicting that deprivation on him.

That takes us a little further. Two days afterwards, on 30th July, 1951, we read in the newspapers—not gloomy reading this time for the housewife but gloomy reading for all local authorities —"Cement prices up from to-day". They were not making enough out of it —and I say here that there is a hell of a racket in cement in this country. Cement was increased on 30th July, 1951, by 12/6 per ton. The fact that there was an increase in the price of cement meant that building costs increased considerably. That increase occurred under this Fianna Fáil Government which was shouting to house the people—"Provide houses. Get along with the building."—and that was asking the farmers to build proper piggeries, cowsheds, barns and various other outoffices. We find that in order to make building work prohibitive, in order to curtail building activities, in order to make it impossible for anyone to build privately and in order to make it difficult for local authorities to get on with the housing drive, cement was increased by 12/6 per ton.

How many tons of cement would build a four-roomed house?

I say that the price of cement to-day is daft and that more consideration should have been given to the cement question by this Fianna Fáil Government.

What is the price of cement?

Deputy Cunningham should restrain himself.

The price of cement was increased by 12/6 per ton to 22/6 per ton as from 30th July, 1951.

If you can buy it at that price you are all right.

There was an increase of that amount per ton.

All imported cement, because the factories were left as they were when I left office.

I do not believe a word of it.

The Tánaiste relaxed the restrictions on luxury building the moment he came back into office.

You were exporting in 1946 and 1947.

And will again, please God.

And leave the farmers and builders without cement.

There was an increase from 12/6 to 22/6 per ton in the price of cement. If Deputy Cowan wants to know the price of a ton of cement I can tell him that he will get it for £8 now, and that he would have got it much cheaper six months ago when we were in office.

How many tons of cement will it take to build a four-roomed house?

Deputy Cowan knows that he is responsible for inflicting this burning hardship on the people.

Why will the Deputy not answer my question? I asked him how many tons of cement it will take to build a four-roomed house.

Why add £3? I know the £3 would be nothing to Deputy Cowan. He would be able to get £3, while he would be looking around him, for giving advice.

It would be good advice.

However, why that £3. To a very great extent, the cost of building has gone wild since the present Government took office. The price of timber has vastly increased. The price of steel windows has vastly increased. Lead cannot be had, and if it is available an impossible price is asked for it. Slates and tiles have increased in price. Paints of all kinds have vastly increased in price. Pitch and tar have increased in price. The price of all these commodities has increased, and the cost of building has gone sky high since this Cowan-Cogan Fianna Fáil set-up has taken office. These are the fruits of the present set-up.

Local authorities now find that they cannot proceed with the housing drive because of the increases sanctioned by the irresponsible Tánaiste for materials which are essential in the building of houses. Local authorities find that if they do proceed with the housing drive the houses will be set to the tenants at a rent which they cannot pay—so it is as broad as it is long. We find, therefore, that as far as building is concerned, this Government, instead of encouraging it, has done everything it can possibly do to prevent it by sanctioning unreasonable and unnecessary increases in essential building materials.

We read of the increase in the price of cement on 30th July, 1951. The next day, the 31st July, the papers announced more price increases. Milk got a touch this time in Dublin and elsewhere. The price of coke was increased and the price of oatmeal was increased. We cannot help remembering the good old days when Deputy Dr. Browne was advocating a "Drink more Milk" campaign and when the present Minister for Health, Deputy Dr. Ryan, was advocating a "Drink more Milk" campaign. Both Deputy Dr. Browne and the present Minister for Health forgot their appeals to the people to drink more milk in the interests of their health when they deprived the schoolchildren in Dublin of their bottle of milk and when they deprived the council worker and the factory worker of the milk that coloured their black tea. Every Deputy in this House knows that what I say is true.

Who increased the price of school meals? Did that not take place during your time in office?

The price of milk to-day has increased considerably in comparison with the price of milk six months ago when the inter-Party Government were in office. The people of this city—and the people of Fairview: we must not forget them—are paying more for milk to-day, thanks to Deputy Cowan, than they had to pay for it when the inter-Party Government were in office. Mothers with young children must now pay an increased price for milk for their children.

We say that has been done successfully by Fianna Fáil again and the Tánaiste must take responsibility for the sadness, despair and discontent which is in practically every household in Dublin and in our provincial towns.

Milk is a very essential part of our national diet because, without it, it is impossible to exist. The Irish have been noted tea drinkers. Having to drink tea without milk is distasteful, but it is the policy of the Fianna Fáil-Cowan-Cogan set-up to bring the people in Dundalk, Drogheda, Mullingar, Dublin City, Cork, and in every other large city or town back to the days of the black tea. Milk, and now butter and cheese have become luxuries.

There is more milk drunk in Dublin than ever before.

That is not true.

It is absolutely true.

The Deputy knows it is not true.

So does Deputy Flanagan. There is more milk drunk in Dublin than ever before.

Not at all, and the Deputy knows it quite well. He is only trying to justify himself voting for this increase.

To say that a Deputy is saying a thing which he knows to be untrue is to charge that Deputy with telling a lie.

It may be a falsehood and not a lie. The price of milk has been increased to such an extent that there are families to-day which cannot purchase it. The House may say that Deputy Flanagan has told us everything about what Fianna Fáil has put up and nothing about what they brought down and that he has, so far, given a one-sided story and he has not given them credit for bringing down anything. On 3rd October, 1951, this notice appeared in the paper: "Prices Fall in the Dublin Market." That is what they brought down. To their disgrace and disgust Fianna Fáil were not satisfied until they brought down the prices that Deputy James Dillon, when Minister for Agriculture, got for our live stock. Is that to their credit? It is to their disgrace. They are the people who told the farmers they would guarantee them prices. They could not guarantee them the prices Deputy James Dillon got for them.

Deputy Corry speaks with anger and bitterness against the former Minister for Agriculture, Deputy James Dillon, but he knows within his heart that as far as ability or intelligence is concerned, Deputy Thomas Walsh, the present Minister for Agriculture, could not wipe the heels of Deputy Dillon's shoes.

You ought to cut out those personal references.

The personality of the Minister does not arise on this. Everything that is true does not arise on this.

We are not discussing everything.

The personality of the Minister does not arise at all.

Certainly the Minister's actions must arise on this.

I am telling the Deputy that the personality of the Minister does not arise.

I have accepted the ruling of the Ceann Comhairle on that, but I am still entitled to criticise the Minister's action which is bad, wrong and unsound. The least the Government might have done was to keep on the price for live stock which was guaranteed by the former Minister for Agriculture.

Keep the price of beef up.

The notice "Prices fall in the Dublin Market" appeared in the newspapers for all the farmers in the Midlands to read. So, Fianna Fáil brought down something. Did they bring down anything else? They did and I will give them credit for it. Here is what dropped under the Fianna Fáil administration: "Cheap travel for tourist planes." Put that side by side with what appeared in the papers on the 1st September: "A Jump in Córas Iompair Éireann Bus and Train Fares." Bus and train fares went up and aeroplane fares went down. A leopard never changes his spots and it is hard to beat an old dog off his track —very hard. How many of the poor people in Dublin who travel by the 2d. bus are now able to do so because the fare has been increased to 3d.? How many of them will ever see an aeroplane on the ground much less use it for transport? The Tánaiste is more concerned with the la-de-das who can fly from Shannon to Collinstown than he is with the worker who has to travel from Crumlin and Kimmage.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce in the inter-Party Government used his sound judgement as far as Córas Iompair Éireann fares were concerned. We all know the real motives behind the Minister's permitting Córas Iompair Éireann to increase the train and bus fares. I will say nothing more about that. The House has its own intelligence. This is the poor man's Government. It is the workers' Government. It is the Government which will bring down the cost of living but for what section of the community? Is it for those who travel in aeroplanes or for the unfortunate workers who have to use the train or bus? This Government are the poor man's friends. Look at them for an outfit of poor men's friends!

St. Paul once wrote that much was expected of those who know much, but we cannot expect much from those who know little. The Government were more concerned with the cigar smoker who could walk in and book a ticket to fly through the clouds leaving a trail of smoke behind him than they were with the unfortunate worker who has to board the bus in O'Connell Street. The unfortunate countryman, who had no other means of travelling to the city except by train and bus, had, at the request of the Tánaiste and with his full consent and approval, to bend his knee to Córas Iompair Éireann and allow Córas Iompair Éireann to stick their hands down into his trouser pockets and take out additional money for fares. The toff, however, who could fly in his aeroplane, had his cheaper fares.

But that is not at all the best of it. We then find that after the Córas Iompair Éireann bus and train fares had increased and after the "cheap travel for tourist planes" was announced, the next thing we saw was: "Aer Lingus cuts the excursion fares." The excursion fares were not low enough so they cut them again to make sure that they would cater properly for the well-to-do and the la-de-da who could fly, but John Citizen had to run or walk, or else pay more for his bus or train to bring him to or from his work, or from the city to his local town. The gentleman who could fly, however, got special consideration. Not alone were the excursion fares fixed at a reasonable level, but they were further cut, in order to suit the well-to-do man's taste. Now we know where the poor man's Government comes in and we know who are concerned with the poor. In the eyes of the De Valera-Cogan-Cowan coup, the man who can fly is more important than the unfortunate man who needs transport by Córas Iompair Éireann bus or train. We have been threatened that even though Córas Iompair Éireann increased its fares, that is not enough and they are still running at a loss.

What is the point?

And in the near future we are going to see a number of men allowed to go on to the unemployed list, which is big enough already. It is increasing steadily every day. I have the figures here and I shall be quoting them to-morrow because I have to deal with the White Paper and with the misleading report of the Central Bank. I have not touched these yet.

You will be like a clog dancer in a Russian ballet, if you deal with the Central Bank.

Córas Iompair Éireann were permitted to stick their hands down in the people's pockets. I am telling you this again because, as sure as we are here—we have been told that Córas Iompair Éireann is running at a loss—an attempt will be made to make Córas Iompair Éireann run on a basis which will pay by putting the fares up on the unforunate users of rail and road services or by dismissing the workers employed in Córas Iompair Éireann. That is the only alternative. Córas Iompair Éireann is a badly managed institution —it must be. Why would it not be when foreigners and aliens are dictating its policy?

Who is the foreigner?

Do you want his name?

A fellow by the name of Stuart is one—not an Irishman. I will give Deputy Cowan any information he wants and he knows well that what I am saying is true. Córas Iompair Éireann are fleecing the people in their freight charges and how could it be otherwise when they have embarked on their wild, crazy scheme of running road transport in competition with the rail services. Is there any one of us would run our business in that fashion?

Is the Government responsible?

Yes. The Minister for Industry and Commerce has definite responsibility.

I do not think that is so.

You may not know as much about it as I know.

The Chair is of opinion that the Minister for Industry and Commerce is not responsible for the running of Córas Iompair Éireann and until some evidence is produced to the contrary, I suggest that the Deputy might leave the subject.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce appoints the Board of Córas Iompair Éireann.

I have no responsibility for the board.

But you have responsibility for sanctioning increases in bus and train fares.

I have nothing to do with those, either. That is the law you passed—that I should have no function in the matter.

The Minister approved of them.

It was not asked for.

Did you protest against it?

The law you passed set up the board and gave the board full authority in the matter.

When the Minister was on this side of the House, he protested vigorously and determinedly but now the shoe is on the other foot and the Minister is as meek as a mouse.

We cannot discuss every business organisation in the country on this Bill.

So much for Córas Iompair Éireann. All this painful and distasteful stuff that has appeared in the papers since the de Valera-Cogan-Cowan coup took office——

Imagine men dying to bring this about.

If Deputy Cowan is ashamed of being linked up with de Valera and Cogan now, why was he not ashamed at the outset?

The Deputy is bringing the debate to a very low level.

Drag yourself down if you like, but do not drag down the House.

Let us have Deputy Flanagan on the Bill and amendments.

Unrationed sugar is to cost more. That is the notice that appeared in the following day's paper.

Who said: "Blow up two factories"?

Who said they were white elephants?

"Put beet and wheat up the spout."

Might I ask if this is question time?

Sugar is to cost more. I want to tell the House that while Deputy Cogan and Deputy Corry may make reference to the acreage under beet in connection with sugar production and with reference to my remarks about the Minister's unreasonable increase in the price of unrationed sugar, in 1939, there were 41,661 acres under beet in this country, and, in 1950, under Deputy Dillon there were 60,002 acres. There was never more beet grown than was grown during Deputy Dillon's period of office. That is the answer to Deputy Cogan.

We grew it in spite of you.

I know that a lot of the Deputy's talk would make good manure for the beet. There was never more beet grown than was grown when Deputy Dillon was Minister, and the Tánaiste knows that.

The smallest acreage for 20 years.

The Tánaiste has the figures before him, as I have.

You have not. If you have, you are not reading them. The acreage in 1950 was the smallest for 20 years.

That is not true. In 1950, 60,002 acres and, in 1939, when the Minister was Tánaiste, 41,661 acres. He cannot deny these figures, nor can anybody else deny them. These are figures published by the Department of Agriculture. The Tánaiste did not get at them to change them. Deputy Cogan knows these figures, but through rottenness of heart and jealousy, he will not admit that Deputy Dillon had a record acreage under beet in 1950. We are proud of that acreage, because it shows that there was a great attempt made by the farmers and that it followed on the encouragement given by the Minister. Under a Fianna Fáil Government in 1939, the acreage was less than the acreage grown when Deputy Dillon was Minister for Agriculture. I hope that Deputies now realise that the farmers did grow and produce beet in abundance in 1950.

Debate adjourned.