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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 9 Jul 1952

Vol. 133 No. 4

Committee on Finance. - Vote 50—Industry and Commerce.

I move:—

That a sum not exceeding £4,985,880 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1953, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of the Minister for Industry and Commerce, including certain Services administered by that Office, and for payment of certain Subsidies and sundry Grants-in-Aid.

The House is, I think, aware that the Estimate which it is being asked to discuss is the revised Estimate recently circulated. A revision of the Estimate was necessary consequential on changes in the amount required for the food subsidies administered by the Department of Industry and Commerce as announced in the Budget statement. Instead of an increase of approximately £2,000,000 in subsidy cost, which the original Estimate envisaged, the revised Estimate assumes a reduction of almost a similar amount. The cost of subsidies in this year will be £7,500,000 instead of the originally estimated £11,500,000.

The total amount required for the service of the Department in the year shows a reduction of approximately £4,000,000 on last year. Leaving out of account the minor changes shown under some of the sub-heads, that reduction in the Estimate is due to five main changes. First, the lower cost of food subsidies accounts for £2,000,000, and, secondly, there is the disappearance of the fuel subsidy from the Estimate which amounted last year to £3,000,000. Against those reductions, totalling £5,000,000, there is an increased provision for housing grants to Bord na Móna amounting to £300,000, and a reversion to the original arrangement for the payment of grants to the Electricity Supply Board for rural electrification, which adds £450,000, and the provision of £250,000 to An Fóras Tionscal.

It is the practice of the Minister for Industry and Commerce when introducing this annual Estimate to review the developments which occurred during the previous financial year affecting industry or trade, or any of the services administered by the Department of Industry and Commerce. In order to avoid speaking at inordinate length, it is necessary to confine the review to matters of major interest or matters upon which Deputies have displayed curiosity during the year.

One of the primary functions of the Department of Industry and Commerce is the stimulation of industrial development. I think it is true to say that notwithstanding the difficulties that prevailed during the year, the progress which was made is satisfactory. The circumstances of the year were not favourable to a rapid expansion of industry. There developed throughout the whole world a trade recession which led to a very marked contraction of production in various industries in all countries. Over and above that world-wide situation and its effects upon our position here, we had some difficulties peculiar to ourselves. The delay which had been experienced previously in securing delivery of new plant and equipment still persisted.

In some directions our progress was held up by a scarcity of raw materials and perhaps even more particularly by some rather violent fluctuations in the cost of materials. In view of these difficulties which, as I have said, affected the industrial position in other countries as well as here, it is pleasing to record that nevertheless some progress was made.

During the course of the past 12 months, 51 new projects which have been in the development stage reached the production stage and a number of existing concerns went into new lines or extended their capacity. Perhaps the most significant development in that connection was represented by the arrangements made for the extension of the cement factories and the sugar factories so as to bring their potential capacities up to the levels at which they will be capable of meeting the whole requirements of the country.

Notwithstanding the circumstances to which I have referred, I am glad to be able to say that there is quite a surprisingly large number of proposals for new industries under examination in my Department. Not all of these proposals will prove on examination to be sound. Some of them may not even be proceeded with by those who have promoted them but I think it is certain that some of them will result in the establishment of new factories. One might have expected, in the rather difficult conditions prevailing, that there would be a falling-off in the number of new proposals reaching the Department. The fact that that is not the case is, I think, evidence of the scope that still exists here for worthwhile industrial development.

The estimate of the number of people engaged in industrial employment in the past year is 220,000 and, making allowance for short-time work which now prevails in some industries, that number has not fallen significantly since. There are, as the House is aware, exceptional temporary difficulties affecting some industries to which I shall refer later but, offsetting these difficulties and their effects upon the total employment in industrial occupations, there have been developments in other directions.

The House, I think, will be anxious to ascertain to what extent the aims of the Undeveloped Areas Act may be realised, the extent to which industrial expansion may extend into the undeveloped areas to which that Act relates as well as other parts of the country. The body which was set up to administer that Act, An Fóras Tionscal, was given autonomous status. It is not subject to ministerial control in any way. I think it is most desirable that that position should be maintained. The reason why the Act was framed in that way and why the board was set up in that independent position was explained when the Bill was under discussion here. I have had to resist efforts made by Deputies, by way of parliamentary question, to find out what was happening in regard to applications under consideration by the board. In my view, it is very important that decisions taken by An Fóras Tionscal upon individual applications made to it by people seeking assistance under the Act for industrial projects in the undeveloped areas should not be influenced, or should not appear to be capable of being influenced, by political pressure or agitation of any kind.

I feel certain that the calm judgment which the board will bring to the consideration of these proposals, if they are left undisturbed in the way the Act proposes will yield far more effective results than anything we might hope to secure by pressure of the kind to which I have referred. The House, however, is aware that the Act is, in large measure, an experiment. Most Deputies will be as interested as I am in ascertaining how the experiment is working or looks like working. We all want to know whether or not it will succeed in securing a significant increase in industrial activity in the western part of the country. I may say that the strongest ground for optimism that the Act will succeed arises from the interest which is displayed in the possibility of securing assistance under that Act by people approaching the Department of Industry and Commerce with proposals for new industrial developments which, in the ordinary way, they would propose to locate in the Eastern part of the country and who are prepared to reconsider the position anew on having brought to their attention the policy of the Government and the provisions of that Act. In quite a number of cases, projects which were under discussion in the Department in the ordinary way developed in the form of proposals to An Fóras Tionscal—proposals which contemplated development in the undeveloped areas. There is, however, another feature which is not quite so satisfactory.

I understand from Fóras Tionscal that they have received a very large number of applications which appear to reveal widespread misunderstanding of the purposes of the Act. I am told that approximately 400 applications for aid under the terms of the Act have been received of which more than half could not be considered by Fóras Tionscal because they relate either to the purchase of agricultural machinery, the building of agricultural premises, the development of some commercial enterprise or projects which could not possibly be described as being of an industrial character at all. There appears to be in some of these counties an impression that the purpose of Fóras Tionscal is to give out grants for any useful purpose. That, of course, is not so, as the House is well aware.

The aim of Fóras Tionscal is to assist worthwhile industrial projects, and it is limited, in accordance with the instructions they were given, to giving aid only where there is evidence that there is some commercial disadvantage in the choice of a western location. It is clear that progress in industrial development in the West is likely to be fairly slow. It takes time to prepare proposals for any worthwhile industrial project, to get these proposals considered by an official organisation, approved of and construction work started.

There looked like being 100 industries established in North Mayo during the recent by-election.

Not 100.

About 99.

Considerably less than that.

They came by every edition of the newspapers.

There were six to be established in Ballina.

Deputy McGrath says you established enough industries during the North Mayo by-election to win the by-election.

Under the Undeveloped Areas Act, none have been established yet, so you cannot attribute your defeat to that particular cause.

It seems to be the quickest way——

The Minister should be allowed to continue his speech.

Was the Deputy in North Mayo during the by-election?

Six industries were established in half an hour in Ballina.

The by-elections are over. The Minister for Industry and Commerce.

I take it the House would desire to see industries established in North Mayo or any of these western counties.

We were astonished at the rapidity with which they were established.

Then do not look so disappointed about them.

I have an order already placed for biscuits in Ballina.

The only information I have on that matter has been made public. It is now public property that Fóras Tionscal have approved in principle a project which was put up to them by Ballina interests involving the establishment of a fairly large factory in that town. It is also known, I think, that Fóras Tionscal approved another industrial project for Mayo under which constructional work was started in the town of Kiltimagh. These are the only two projects that I know of that have been finally approved. There are quite a number of others under consideration.

They will come out at the next by-election.

You were well and truly licked.

Let the Minister make his statement.

If it should happen that under this Act or because of any other measure taken by the Government there are a number of new factories established in the West, be quite certain we will refer to them at the next election.

That is all right. Everybody praises that but we want to separate the permanent factories from the by-election factories. There is no harm in doing that.

The Deputy will have the opportunity of seeing whether they are permanent or not.

I welcome the permanent ones.

The indications so far are that the Undeveloped Areas Act is likely to be reasonably successful in promoting industrial development in the West that would not otherwise have taken place. I did not promise and never did promise that factories were going to spring up like mushrooms. The number of projects which have come through Fóras Tionscal indicates that progress of a significant character is likely to be made.

Dealing further with the activities of the Department during the year on the industrial side, I think I should mention that because of the trade conditions that developed, it was necessary to restore protection in a number of instances. We had pre-war many acrimonious discussions here concerning the value or demerits of the protection policy. I feel certain that few Deputies will fail to recognise that in the circumstances which developed last year some action by the Government had to be taken if established industries were not to be damaged and the establishment of new industries was to be facilitated. There was, as the House is aware, a trade slump of fairly considerable dimensions in neighbouring countries, and, in fact over a large part of the world. Arising out of that trade slump, the decline in sales in these countries, there was an accumulation of stocks for which sale abroad was sought. That accumulation, in the case of Britain, was accentuated by the restriction placed upon British shipments to countries like Australia. It will be remembered that following upon the anxieties which were aroused by reason of the trade deficits experienced by many countries last year, some countries, including Australia, imposed extensive restrictions upon imports. The result of these restrictions was to leave in Great Britain an accumulation of stocks, the owners of which are trying to dispose of them at production cost and sometimes at a loss. A situation of that kind is always dangerous to this country where, because of the smallness of the home market, continued production in any industry can be easily disorganised by a sudden increase of imports. It was facing that danger, a danger which, in fact, materialised in a few instances, that the Government decided to bring back into operation a number of customs duties which were suspended at the beginning of the war, and to impose certain new duties. The number of suspended duties restored during the year was eight, and the number of new duties imposed was seven. Furthermore, the scope of existing duties was altered in two cases, and the quotas prescribed under 13 Quota Orders were reduced. Three new Quota Orders were made applying to woollen and worsted yarns, to spun rayon cloths and to commercial motor vehicles. I mention these matters so that the House will have a general picture of the trade situation we were dealing with during the year.

Each of these measures will have to be separately approved by the Dáil. When an Order is made by the Government altering a custom's duty, imposing a new duty or establishing a new quota system, it has force only for a limited period and thereafter it continues in force only if it is approved by the Dáil. Therefore, in relation to each of these proposals the House will have an opportunity of separate consideration and decision. It is hoped that all these measures will in time restore the position in the industries concerned.

I mentioned last year that it had been decided to limit the scope of the work of the Industrial Development Authority. The Industrial Development Authority was set up by the previous Government and the House is well aware that I did not welcome its creation. When I resumed office as Minister for Industry and Commerce and found that organisation still in existence I decided that it should be used in this effort to promote industrial expansion. I found, however, that the authority had been given such a wide commission and was so overloaded with administrative detail that it had been able to give very little attention indeed to its main function. Not only was its main function being neglected, in my view, but so many administrative matters had been passed over to it that it was constituting a bottleneck and was slowing down action in those matters also.

I decided, as I told the House last year, to take back into the Department all the administrative work which had been transferred to the Industrial Development Authority, to give that body a list of commodities which had not previously been manufactured here and to entrust it with the sole and specific task of endeavouring to formulate proposals for the manufacture of these commodities. The list of commodities which I gave it initially represented imports totalling £20,000,000 in value in 1951. I mention that figure to indicate that I gave them a volume of work which was likely to keep them busy for a considerable period. I am very glad to be able to report that they made quite significant progress in the tasks that I assigned to them. I can now say that there are definite projects in respect of five commodities. That is to say, five new industries will be established and these projects have reached a stage at which there is now not much likelihood of new difficulties emerging.

Over and above the five commodities in respect of which the work of the authority is largely completed, there are schemes in preparation with quite reasonable prospects of success affecting 11 other commodities. In the remaining cases prospects are not good. At any rate, no progress has been made. The list of commodities originally given to the Industrial Development Authority has since been revised and they still have a very full programme to get through.

Over and above the work of promoting proposals for the establishment of new industries within the field entrusted to them, the authority has now also to discharge only limited other functions. It has been entrusted with the management of certain technical assistance projects. Its members act as the advisory committee under the Trade Loan Acts and they undertake tariff reviews in accordance with the provisions of the trade agreement of 1938. There was one such review during the year affecting abrasives.

I mentioned that certain industries were adversely affected by the trade conditions that developed during the year. The industries most seriously affected, as the House is well aware, were textiles and clothing, leather and footwear. With regard to the woollen, worsted and clothing industries, the situation is still difficult. It is obvious that the public are not yet buying with the same freedom as previously. Every Deputy can have his own view as to the reason for that situation. I do not think it can be due now to an expectation that prices will fall. The indications are that that is not likely. It may be that prices are too high and that, at their present level, the volume of sales will be permanently lower than it was previously. Some recovery in sales has been reported. Over and above that, the abnormal stocks which traders were holding last year are being liquidated, so that there is quite a fair prospect of some recovery in these industries in the near future. Orders in greater magnitude are likely to flow to the factories from wholesalers and traders. That is a situation we all desire.

We have tried to speed up that development by imposing drastic restrictions on imports. The importation of all forms of woollen textile cloths has been virtually prohibited, only a nominal quota having been fixed under the quota Order. Recently we made a new quota Order affecting woollen and worsted yarns. The importation of knitted garments has been prohibited under an Emergency Powers Order. In the case of all garments, duties have been increased.

The effect of these measures is to turn whatever demand there is to the Irish factories and to make it clear to traders, wholesalers and retailers who may have been waiting to see how the world price situation was likely to develop that, irrespective of world developments, we will try to get production back to normal in our own factories before modifying import restrictions.

A similar situation, as the House knows, has developed in relation to leather and footwear and that similar situation had been countered by similar measures. In that connection there is one specific matter to which I want to refer because a number of questions were addressed to me recently in regard to it. The House is aware that there was a glut of hides and that considerable inconvenience was caused to persons in that business by reason of that glut. That glut arose from a combination of a number of causes. Just about 12 months ago the hide merchants were withholding hides in an effort to force a revision upwards of the prices then prevailing. Because of the temporary scarcity of hides due to the action of the merchants in withholding them, tanners arranged to import hides to keep their factories going and the release of home hides coincided with the arrival of the imported hides.

Simultaneously, the development of the carcase meat trade resulted in a very considerable increase in hides from that source. The number of hides becoming available from the carcase meat exporters was almost double what was originally estimated. All this coincided with a slump in footwear sales, to which I have already referred, and coincided also with a very drastic fall in hide prices throughout the world. Normally a glut of that kind would not have been a misfortune. It would have been a welcome development had the world market for hides remained firm, but towards the end of last year world prices fell from a figure in excess of 4/- per lb. to in or around 1/6d. per lb.

The marketing of our surplus hides in that situation would have been a difficult process and would further have complicated the prices position.

So far as the hide surplus problem is concerned, I think I can say that it has been solved. An arrangement has been made involving the establishment of a company by the tanners for the orderly marketing of surplus hides abroad. Arrangements have also been made with the carcase meat exporters under which they will export their own hides for the next six months. Generally speaking, the supply has been reduced and hides are moving freely to the tanners and for export and the situation caused by the glut will have disappeared in the very near future.

There still remains a problem arising out of the hide situation which has not yet been solved. The House is aware of the fact that because of the dissatisfaction amongst the carcase meat exporters at the lower price which they could secure for their hides here as compared with the price in export markets an arrangement was made last year to give a higher price, a price of 2/6 a lb., for their hides. These hides were specially marked and the tanners agreed to pay 2/6 a lb. for the marked hides against the prevailing price of around 1/- per lb. for hides arising in the ordinary way. That arrangement would have worked perfectly if there had been no surplus hides and if the world price had remained at about 2/6. With the development of the glut and the collapse in the world market a situation has arisen in consequence of which the tanners owe to the carcase meat exporters a very large sum, a sum of about £500,000 which they cannot pay. In order to enable them to pay, an arrangement has been made under which every tanner will contribute to this company which has been established a levy on every hide purchased. The proceeds of that levy will be transferred to the meat exporters in discharge of that debt. It is, however, too slow an arrangement from the point of view of the carcase meat exporters and the possibility of devising some plan by which their particular difficulty can be met is still being considered.

How long has that arrangement been made?

In the last month or so.

How long will it take to liquidate the debt?

Over a year on the basis of the proceeds of the levy.

What price are hides likely to be?

The prices have now been fixed and have been published. I would not attempt to tell the Deputy what they are because it is a complicated scale based on the condition of the hides, etc. I gave it here in reply to a parliamentary question two or three weeks ago. The point I am making is that the price is now fixed so that nobody should be speculating on the possibility of the price going up or down. It will not go either way. It will be held at that level for an indefinite period.

When will the price be known?

It is known; it has been published. I should perhaps mention the position concerning these industrial surveys which it was intended should be made under E.C.A. We had hoped that resulting from the surveys we would have a great deal more information concerning our industrial possibilities and about the technical problems associated with industrial development. The House is aware, however, that with the termination of Marshall Aid the E.C.A. was wound up and with the withdrawal of the mission to this country these technical assistance projects fell; at least those in respect of which contracts had not been made before a particular date ceased to qualify for aid under the programme. The Government decided, however, to take over and finance themselves some of these projects which offered the most definite possibilities and there is an Estimate for that purpose before the Dáil. Investigations by experts secured under these technical assistance projects are proceeding at present into the paper-making industry, the food-processing industries and the animal feeding-stuffs industries. There is also in progress or about to begin an investigation into fuel economy possibilities.

I understand that the reports from Ceimicí Teoranta regarding the manufacture of sulphate of ammonia and sulphuric acid will reach me in the course of the next two or three weeks. Ceimicí Teoranta arranged to employ the services of external experts to investigate particular aspects of these industries and, having got the reports of these experts, are now preparing their own recommendations which, I understand are now nearly complete

Are the experts from America or from England?

Some are from England, some from America, and some from other countries. Under the new arrangement which involves the financing of these projects by ourselves, we are not limited in our selection of experts in any way. A peat gasification investigation is also in progress. It has reached the stage where it is possible to say that the idea of gasifying peat is technically sound, but the investigation is still proceeding into its economic possibilities.

Is that the investigation which is being carried out in conjunction with the British?

No; it is being carried out independently by ourselves.

Do I take it that the one which was proceeding in conjunction with the British is at an end?

I am not quite sure what the Deputy is referring to. This peat gasification investigation was already put forward in the technical assistance projects to E.C.A., but it did not proceed on that basis and we are now continuing it ourselves. There is a committee of experts and a project manager who are contacting experts in different countries who can advise them on particular aspects of the problem.

Will that be used by Irish manufacturers?

The investigation is into the possibility of peat gasification, and if it proves to be economically as well as technically possible it will offer fairly big possibilities to the country. I would not like to say, however, at this stage how the process may be developed here. That is a question we will have to consider when the time comes.

Are Bord na Móna the Irish agents in the matter?

It is not a matter for Bord na Móna. It is not a fuel problem in the ordinary sense.

Turning from industry to trade, I should like to tell the House, first of all, that I had many doubts during the year as to the policy that we should follow in the matter of building up or retaining emergency supplies of industrial raw materials or essential foodstuffs. I think it will be agreed that the danger of a scarcity arising out of some sudden deterioration in the international situation is still considerable. If there is any danger there would appear to be a case for holding reasonable reserve stocks of these commodities. We have to recognise, however, that on some of the stocks that were accumulated under the facilities given in the early part of last year very serious losses have been incurred due to the fall in prices which took place since. In many cases that loss has fallen on private firms that are not likely to be willing to take the risk of a similar loss in the future. The case of worsted spinning was mentioned in the course of a Dáil debate during the year. It is, I think, known that the principal worsted spinning firm undertook at the request of the Government of the day to carry an additional emergency stock of wool tops. They purchased that stock at a time when the market was at its peak, and the subsequent fall in prices left them with a very serious problem. The potential loss which they faced on these emergency stocks exceeded the whole paid up capital of the company.

That is not shown in the balance sheet.

The Deputy may be an expert at reading balance sheets.

I saw the balance sheet.

The fact is that, because of that prospect of loss, and because of the arrangements we had necessarily to make in fulfilment of the undertaking given to them to facilitate them in avoiding the loss, we have in this country to maintain for some time to come a price for worsted yarn which will run somewhat higher than world prices. That will continue to be so until the proportion of the loss due to the holding of emergency stocks has been liquidated. That situation does not arise solely in that case; it applies to other cases also. It also applies to stocks held by the Government, although the Government is better able to protect itself against loss than a private commercial firm. I mention these facts so that the House will appreciate the nature of the problem that has to be solved before a decision on policy can be made. With the prospect of losses arising from price fluctuations, a prospect based not merely on recent experience but on the knowledge that international markets are at the moment unstable, or if losses on such stocks are to be avoided, that we will not be able to secure a rapid reflection in retail prices of any fall in the price of raw materials, it is an open question whether it is good policy to try to hold exceptional reserve stocks at the present time. The Banks Standing Committee have rightly pointed out also that there is a great deal of bank credit tied up in these stocks, credit that might more usefully be employed in other directions. Nevertheless, my feeling is that because of the dangers still inherent in the international situation we should try to maintain, wherever the Government has responsibility, reasonable reserve stocks, stocks over and above normal trading stocks, for a time yet. That is certainly the case so far as essential foodstuffs are concerned.

We hold quite substantial stocks of wheat, sugar and tea, and I am aware that there are ample stocks of timber and some other raw materials held by commercial concerns. Of course, no stocking is possible in relation to many raw materials, particularly metals of any kind because the difficulty is to get enough to meet current requirements, apart from accumulating stocks.

The trade deficit in 1951 was as the House knows, substantially higher than in 1950. The deficit on visible trade—the excess of imports over exports—was £123,000,000. If we allow for the invisible items, the net trade deficit was approximately £62,000,000 or if allowance is made for receipts in respect of Marshall Aid grants the overall deficit was about £56,000,000. To try to remedy that situation it is obviously desirable that we should by every means in our power increase exports. In order to facilitate exports new trade agreements were negotiated during the year with Finland, Norway, Spain and Portugal, old agreements with West Germany and the Netherlands were renewed and a new agreement with France is at present being negotiated. I think we must do more than that. It was decided to set up a special organisation to stimulate exports to the United States and the dollar area generally. That special organisation Córas Tráchtála was set up to carry out market surveys in this country and in America, to organise collective exports, to advise manufacturing firms as to trading possibilities in the dollar area and to advise the Government of any other measures calculated to stimulate exports. A number of American experts have been employed by the company and have been working here in recent weeks. They are now, I understand, almost at the end of their task and will shortly be making their report to Córas Tráchtála.

Arising out of this situation, I may say that I shall be introducing in the next few weeks a Bill to establish an exports credit guarantee scheme, covering exports to the U.S.A. The House will have an opportunity of considering that Bill when it is circulated and will I hope agree to enact it before the end of the year.

One further important aspect of our trade position requires special mention. Recently I made an Order suspending the operation of the general Order prescribing hours during which shops could remain open. I have received many suggestions from Deputies and others that the general Order should be repealed and replaced where necessary by special Orders affecting special trades or special areas. I may say that the original intention—at least my original intention when proposing to the Dáil before the war the enactment of the Shop Hours Act—was not to have any general Order and that the regulation of shop hours should be made solely by means of special Orders.

During the war, however, by reason of the need to economise fuel and because of the special circumstances existing, an Emergency Powers Order prescribing the hours of opening for all shops was made. It was thought that the situation had become sufficiently stabilised to make a general Order under the Shops Act to replace the Emergency Powers Order when it lapsed. I had so many and such conflicting recommendations that I was in some doubt as to what to do. All the interested organisations, trade bodies, trade unions and others were circularised and asked for their opinion, and I got as many opinions as there were bodies.

While I have made no final decision —I want to make that clear—I have suspended the general Order until September next, outside Dublin, Cork and Dún Laoghaire. In order to avoid a misunderstanding I want to make it clear that all the special Orders relating to particular trades or areas are still in force. If any trade wants to initiate proceedings for the making of a special Order relating to itself, or if any area wants a special Order relating to that area, they are at liberty to do so. I am hoping that as a result of experience we shall be better able to make a decision.

What body makes the applications?

Any body can do so, but generally if the majority of the people concerned in any trade or area want an Order they can get the Order.

The period of office of the Prices Advisory Body expired during the year and it was reappointed. Most questions affecting prices which arose during the year were referred to it, and some public inquiries have been held under its auspices.

I had in mind the desirability of promoting proposals for permanent legislation—proposals such as were before the Dáil in 1947—but I hardly think that the position is sufficiently stabilised to do so yet.

There are 65 specific retail price Orders in force, and if you ask me what value they are I cannot tell. I do not know, as I have said elsewhere, whether our price control arrangements are in present circumstances keeping prices up or keeping prices down. I think, in view of the trade recession which has developed, and of the unrestricted competition operating now in the case of most commodities, that the time has come when the need for any special measure of official price regulation can be reconsidered.

Has the Minister any evidence that when a price Order was removed it was followed by a reduction in price?

I think so.

And not up?

No. When a price Order was removed there was no longer detailed information available. I am talking about retail price Orders fixing specific maximum prices for goods sold by retail. The profits of manufacturers and traders are still regularly reviewed. In that regard, I want to say that, as a result of investigations which have been proceeding and of my personal examination of the results of these investigations, there is no evidence whatever that the profit margins taken by either manufacturers or traders are excessive.

The Minister should look at the expense account of some of them.

These accounts are very carefully examined by experts. There was a very detailed investigation of a representative cross-section of manufacturers. The investigation included manufacturers who are engaged in the production of 15 commodities of an essential kind, and they have between them an average turnover of £68,000,000 a year. When I say that it was a representative cross-section, I am not minimising the extent of the investigation. All the manufacturers are engaged in the production of 15 essential commodities with a turnover of £68,000,000 a year.

50 or 15?

15 essential commodities. The investigation showed that the rate of net profit made by these manufacturers was 5.66 per cent.

Net profit?

I know the Deputy does not like to get that information. It upsets his theories. But that is the fact, a fact which was established by our investigation.

Will the Minister say if the investigation was made by the Prices Advisory Body?

By the prices branch of the Department.

And before setting anything aside for reserves?

Allowing everything which, in the opinion of the investigators, should be allowed for production costs, the net profit worked out on that basis. Not merely is that not excessive but, having regard to the return which it is now possible to get on gilt edged investments, where there is no risk of capital loss at all, it is dangerously low. If we are going to get a substantial development of industry by private enterprise we must, I think, hold out the prospect of a reasonable return.

Is that on turnover?

What is the percentage profit on turnover?

On turnover? If you relate it to turnover, it is not an excessive profit.

Surely the figure you are quoting is on turnover and not on capital?

I do not want to make a statement that would not be strictly accurate or based on facts which I only recollect. I am saying that, in that particular case, there was no evidence that excessive profits were being made by manufacturers. I want to say also that a similar investigation was carried out in the case of a representative cross-section of traders, of people engaged in the retail trade—in ten main groups of commodities. In that case the net profit on turnover was 4.56 per cent. No one would hold that excessive.

In the case of the firms that had a turnover of £68,000,000, will the Minister say if the 5.66 per cent. profit was a net profit on turnover or on capital employed?

On turnover.

It was not so bad.

We can all have our opinion in that regard. In my view, if we are going to get money invested in Irish industry so that we can secure an expansion of industrial productivity, then we have got to hold out the prospect of a fair return to investors. We have to hold out to them the prospect of getting a substantially better return by investing in Irish industry than they are likely to get by investing in British Government securities.

What is their paid-up capital?

I do not know.

What does the 5.66 per cent. on turnover mean on the capital employed?

I could not say. The position regarding prices is relatively stable. How long that will remain so I do not know. To be quite honest with the Dáil and the public, I can hold out no prospect of a general reduction in prices even if the world prices of raw materials should fall. Internal costs which enter into prices, such as wages and transport, are rising. We must also recognise the fact, whether we like it or not, that our position will be affected for better or for worse by what happens to sterling. Sterling is hanging on at the moment by the skin of its teeth. It is important to us that it should continue to do so, because if it does not, there is almost certain to be another upward movement in prices. I can only offer an opinion in this matter. I am not pretending to be able to foresee the future with any accuracy. I do not know what is going to happen. One can only make deductions from facts as we know them. The facts as we know them are that international world prices of materials appear to be more or less stabilised. Internal costs are tending to rise while, on the other hand, consumer resistance to the present level of prices still persists.

In the case of foodstuffs, one can be more definite. A reduction in prices is not likely at all. Taking flour and bread, staple articles of diet, Deputies know that we have guaranteed a substantially higher price for home-grown wheat in this year. That will mean that the cost to the millers will be higher. The International Wheat Agreement, under which imported wheats are purchased, is due to expire in June next. That agreement regulates the price we pay and the quantity we buy of imported wheat. I do not know whether it is likely to be renewed. The Wheat Council met in May last to negotiate a renewal of the agreement. It failed to do so and adjourned without having reached any conclusion. If it should happen that the International Wheat Agreement is not renewed, then there will be a general scramble for supplies, and the probability is that the cost to us of imported wheat will increase. On the other hand, there has been a very significant fall in freight during the past couple of weeks.

Bread and flour are, of course, still heavily subsidised. I should, perhaps, make it clear that no further changes in the price of these commodities are contemplated this year. What next year may bring is another matter.

We are holding quite a substantial stock of tea. The price of tea in India has tended to fall this year, but obviously it will be some time before the benefit of that fall will be enjoyed by tea consumers here because of the stocks which we are holding and which must first be liquidated. As these stocks are exhausted, there is some expectation that tea prices may be lower.

The position in regard to sugar is the same as in the case of wheat, except that sugar is no longer subsidised. We have guaranteed a higher price for sugar beet this year. Consequently, the cost of manufacturing sugar from that beet will be higher— so much so that, in fact, it may necessitate a revision of sugar prices when this year's sugar crop comes on the market. That revision will, of course, be subject to the dimensions of the harvest and to the world prices prevailing at the time.

Will the Minister say how we are to expect an improvement in the quality of the tea inasmuch as we have a two years' supply on hands?

We have not a two years' supply on hands. The amount is less than one year's supply. Normally, for ordinary trading purposes, a five or six months' stock would have to be carried. The emergency stock, over and above the ordinary commercial stock, would be less than half a year's supply.

If we have a year's supply, would it not be reasonable to assume that the quality will be the same as what we have been used to in the past few years?

In the new circumstances, tea wholesalers can purchase teas of varying qualities and blend as they wish. They have now a variety of teas to purchase at different prices.

Then it is unblended tea?

Yes. No reduction is likely in regard to butter. Deputies are aware of some agitation for higher prices for creamery milk. No reduction in the price of creamery butter is to be anticipated.

The internal prices of meat and eggs are largely regulated by export prices. Again, no reduction is likely. My own view is that, for 20 years ahead, the terms of trade are going to favour the agricultural producer—that is, that agricultural prices will tend to improve relative to the price of manufactured goods. That is a picture beneficial to this country rather than the reverse.

Jam prices have been reduced consequent on the reduction of the price of sugar to jam manufacturers. Recently, also, the price of margarine has been reduced, following a reduction in the price of imported oils. I am thinking of decontrolling margarine prices. The effect of control is to keep all margarine of uniform quality and at the same price. I think it would be an advantage if the margarine manufacturers were permitted to sell different grades and qualities on the market, as before the war.

The policy is to export creamery butter and to eat the margarine at home.

We are not exporting it yet. We have built up a substantial emergency stock of United States coal. All the old stocks of coal and turf and firewood are practically gone. As a result of the Supplementary Estimate last year, the losses incurred have been cleared off. There is a new stock of United States coal amounting to 287,000 tons. It is coal of general purposes quality. It could be used for gas production as well as for industrial or domestic purposes. It has been decided to hold it as a reserve stock. It represents a substantial investment which is financed by bank overdraft.

What was the average cost per ton?

The cost per ton would be higher than the cost at which coal can now be imported. That stock represents a continual annual expenditure both in interest and storage charges. There is no provision for that expenditure in this year's Estimate but it will be necessary to make such provision in next year's Estimate and in all future Estimates so long as that stock is held. I am considering the desirability of writing off by an annual Vote a proportion of the initial cost so as, ultimately, to get the cost of the coal down to the level of the current price, whatever that may be. There are practically no restrictions now on the importation of coal from Great Britain. It is freely available and imports from the United States have ceased.

Does it come in through Fuel Importers, Ltd.?

No. Fuel Importers, Ltd., have gone out of business except as the holders of this stock. I come now to the subject of hand-won turf. While coal remains at its present price, it is to be assumed that there will be a ready market for hand-won turf. The Government helps hand-won turf producers by giving grants for bog development, by the activities of the marketing section of Bord na Móna, which tries to put the individual producers or their organisations in contact with potential customers, by publicising turf, and in this year we have announced a special arrangement, under which there is an undertaking to purchase at the prevailing market price any hand-won turf of this season's production left unsold after next Winter.

Who determines the market price?

It is a matter for negotiation between the producer and the purchaser.

Area by area?

Yes. In that connection I want to express my personal perturbation over recent developments involving the conversion to the use of fuel oil of a number of industrial establishments and public institutions, particularly in the Midland areas. In the White Paper which we issued in 1946 we stated that we would regard as a condition to be fulfilled by any industrial concern seeking protection from the Government that it should use turf where it was the most economical fuel. We made it clear, also, that we would expect the public authorities or bodies responsible for the management of public institutions to give a preference to the use of turf. Latterly, quite a number of commercial concerns in the Midlands and some public institutions have arranged for the installation of oil-burning equipment. I note that in a number of new institutions which are being built by public authorities—some in Offaly, Galway, and other turf-producing counties—oil-burning equipment has been specified. I think we should express strong disapproval of that trend. It may be that the management of some of those industrial concerns or the directors of those institutions are not able to achieve the most economical use of turf or had not equipment for its most economical use. To them I would say that Bord na Móna will give them free of charge any technical advice they require. They will examine their existing equipment and recommend any alteration required or they will advise them on the purchase of new equipment and generally help them to achieve through the use of turf costs as low as can be realised by any other fuels.

Were these plans approved by the Department of Local Government and the Department of Health?

I do not think so.

Is this House being heated by oil?

Do not ask me. I do not know.

I understand it is.

One of the more substantial purchasers of hand-won turf is the Board of Works.

We ought to put our own House in order.

Is that not a reflection on the county managers in those areas?

It is not only the county managers. I have seen only to-day a report of a discussion at a public authority meeting where the majority of the public authority supported the decision to use fuel oil.

They are the people who wanted us to use turf.

They are the people talking to us about hand-won turf.

The provision in the Estimate this year for the special scheme which Bord na Móna operates is £364,500 and that represents some increase on last year. The special scheme is a continuation of the wartime county council scheme which was taken over by Bord na Móna and involves the production of turf by a semi-automatic process. This year there have been operations on 52 bogs in nine counties. I think the future of that scheme will require careful consideration. In the peak period approximately 1,700 men are employed under it, and that is a substantial amount of employment which we cannot lightly disturb. On the other hand, we know Bord na Móna has experienced difficulty in disposing of the turf produced and I am personally doubtful whether it is desirable that Bord na Móna should be in competition with the private producer of hand-won turf for local authority, industrial and private consumption. It might, on the whole, be better in the national interest that whatever market is being supplied under that special scheme should be made available to the ordinary private turf producer. No decision has been taken but the matter is under examination.

I have not referred, and I do not propose to refer, to Bord na Móna's main operations because I will be introducing a Bill relating to Bord na Móna here in the next couple of weeks, a Bill for enactment this year, which will give us a fuller and more satisfactory opportunity of discussing Bord na Móna's future development. The same applies to the Electricity Supply Board. We have had a Bill providing for its future programme, which was fully discussed, and I do not propose to refer to it.

The House will see in the Estimate that a change has been made in the matter of the grant payable to the Electricity Supply Board for the rural electrification scheme. The previous Government decided, instead of giving the 50 per cent. grant in each year as the expenditure was incurred, that they would capitalise the grants and charge an annuity on the Estimate. We think that is a bad system and have reverted to the old system this year. Rural electrification is proceeding. I would like to see the work going a little faster, but it is proceeding at a somewhat accelerating pace. The schemes have been completed in 52 areas and there are 80,000 consumers connected. I told the House earlier I had been discussing with the Electricity Supply Board an alternative method for selecting areas for priority in development. I received the board's proposals in that connection in the last couple of days. It seems to me to be an improvement on the old method, but I have not decided on that and I do not want to refer to it until I have so decided.

The Department of Industry and Commerce is also responsible for transport policy, and under the heading of transport I want to refer, first of all, to Córas Iompair Éireann. The financial position of Córas Iompair Éireann continues to deteriorate very seriously despite a very substantial increase in charges for all these services applied in September of last year and a further increase in freight rates this year. It is quite obvious now to me that the board is going to lose this year more money than will be covered by the provision for subsidy in the Budget. The estimates made at the beginning of the year of the extent to which the board's revenue might fall short of its expenditure was based upon last year's experience and on the expectation that these higher charges would expand the revenue to a significant degree. I do not think these estimates were wrong.

This explanation for the board's precarious financial position is that the gap between revenue and expenditure is continuously widening. I do not want to comment on that position from the point of view of the management functions of the board. I am concerned, as the House is aware, with policy and with legislation, and it seems to me quite obvious that whether we like it or not we are going to be forced to take soon important decisions on future transport policy. I do not want to pretend that I see an easy solution to the position. I do not. It would, in fact, be an exaggeration to say that I see any solution at all. On that account I have arranged to consult everybody who is entitled to be consulted and who may have useful ideas for consideration.

I have arranged to meet the representatives of all the trade unions who have members employed by Córas Iompair Éireann on Friday next and the House will appreciate why I do not want to deal at any length with this matter in advance of these consultations. I should say, to avoid misunderstanding, in view of certain Press reports which have appeared, that the meeting with the trade unions will be concerned with questions of policy, questions of legislation, and not with any details of management.

In the case of the Great Northern Railway the House is aware that negotiations were successfully concluded with the Minister of Commerce in Belfast during the year for the joint acquisition of that undertaking. The heads of the agreement which was made have been published. The legislation to give effect to that agreement has been under discussion with the Ministry of Commerce in Belfast. Nothing has emerged from these discussions to suggest that any of the details will create difficulties. Progress in framing the two Bills has, due to accidental circumstances, been somewhat slower than anticipated but I still hope that the legislation can be enacted here and in Belfast this year. It is intended that the two Bills should be published simultaneously, but a time-table has not yet been fixed. It may be fixed during the present week.

If that time-table should involve publication of the Bill here earlier than the date fixed for the resumption of the Dáil after the recess I will arrange for a First Reading of the Bill before the recess but, as the Parliament in Belfast has already adjourned for the summer recess, I do not think that contingency is likely to arise.

The House is, I think, also aware of decisions taken affecting Irish Shipping, Limited. In accordance with the policy of the Government, Irish Shipping, Limited has been authorised to place orders for four new cargo ships of 9,500 tons, for one tanker of 3,000 tons, and also for one smaller cargo vessel of 1,350 tons, which we hope will be built in this country. It has also been decided that refrigeration should be provided on each of three new vessels to assist in the development of the chilled and frozen meat trade to the United States. The cost of that programme is £3,500,000, and that will involve an extension of the Government's investment in Irish Shipping, Limited, to that extent. When that programme has been completed, Irish Shipping, Limited will have a fleet of 18 vessels totalling 118,000 tons, which is about half the size of the fleet it was earlier decided represented our minimum requirements.

Where will the new ships be built?

I think most of them in Britain. The difficulty was, of course, to get orders accepted, but they have been placed.

What ports will they be able to enter outside of Dublin?

Dublin, Cork, Waterford and perhaps others, but I would like to examine that question before I give a definite answer. That is in relation to the larger vessels. The smaller vessels are capable of entering any port.

How many will be built here?

The smaller vessel of 1,350 tons. No shipyard in this area would be capable of building the larger ones.

Have we any tankers?

There is one 3,000-ton tanker. That, of course, will not be suitable for transatlantic operation, but, arising out of our recent experiences, it is important that we should have it. Irish Shipping, Limited, has maintained a satisfactory profits position up to the present, but, as I have indicated already, there have been very sharp reductions in freight and charter rates, and these reductions indicate that Irish Shipping, Limited, will now have a much tougher fight on its hands to get full employment for its ships than it previously experienced.

In the case of our air services, Aer Lingus is still showing an all-round improvement. In 1951, there was a 21 per cent. increase in passengers carried and a 47 per cent. increase in freight cargo. The company made a clear profit in that year of £14,646. A number of new planes have been ordered, four Vickers Viscounts and four Bristol Wayfarers, which will be delivered at various dates up to 1954. In the case of Shannon, the airport there is now used regularly by nine foreign airlines, and it is very gratifying for me, in view of all the dirges of the Jeremiahs, to report that there has been a noteworthy increase in traffic at that airport in the present year. It is interesting also to note that the number of passengers disembarking at Shannon this year has also increased considerably. The investigation of the practicability of reviving the Aer Linte project—that is the operation of an Irish transatlantic service—is proceeding, but, to avoid any misunderstanding, I want to make it quite clear that no decisions have yet been taken.

Is the examination proceeding on the basis of an exclusively Irish company or an American-Irish company?

No decisions have yet been taken. There are three other matters affecting transport to which I want to refer. During the year the Government decided to make a grant to the Sligo-Leitrim and Northern Counties Railway to keep the line working. The Six-County Government is making a somewhat similar grant. This is a cross-Border line. A supplementary Estimate will be introduced to provide for that grant. It was with considerable reluctance that I recommended to the Government any extension of its commitments in the subsidisation of transport. In this particular case it is a temporary arrangement following an investigation of the state of the roads in the area served by the line and the recommendations of the local government engineers that these roads are not capable of taking the traffic that would be diverted on to them if this line ceased to operate. The giving of financial assistance to keep the line running is to be regarded as a temporary arrangement and one that will not necessarily be continued in the future.

The Transport Tribunal, for which provision was made in the Act of 1950 but which had not been set up following the passing of that Act, was set up during the year and is at present in session examining various applications from Córas Iompair Éireann for the closing of branch lines.

Deputies will note that in the Transport and Marine Service Vote there is an increase of £253,000 in the provision for grants to harbours. About 15 harbours will benefit from that expenditure and about 70 per cent. of the expenditure will be of a capital nature. A scheme has been approved for Wexford involving the dredging of the channel; another has been approved for Cobh involving the dredging of the liner anchorage there, while a third scheme has been approved for minor works at Ballina. Work is in progress at a number of harbours at present under schemes approved previously, some of them approved as far back as 1945 and 1946. I want to express my very considerable disappointment that these schemes are proceeding so very slowly. There may be some members of the Dublin Port and Docks Board here and, if there are, I want them to take that remark as applying specially to them. It is now seven years since the project for the new graving dock and other harbour improvements at Dublin was approved. Progress appears to be very, very slow, and very, very limited.

In August last I received the report of the Commission of Inquiry into Youth Unemployment. That report was presented to the Dáil in October. I am sure Deputies have read the report and realise that very few of the recommendations of the commission relate directly to the work of the Department of Industry and Commerce. Most of them relate to the functions of other Departments and copies of the report were sent to these other Departments and they are now considering independently what action they will take upon these recommendations.

Arising out of the report, however, and because of the observation of the commission, I have been considering the position of the Apprenticeship Act, 1931. We must conclude, I think, that that Act has been a failure in so far as it aimed at introducing here a system of regulating apprenticeship that would apply generally and work efficiently. Only four trades have established committees under that Act. I have decided, therefore, that further action is necessary and I have invited the two trade union congresses and the Federated Union of Employers to consider and make proposals for new apprenticeship legislation. I hope that progress by agreement with these bodies will be possible. That would certainly be the most satisfactory way to proceed but the House knows that this is a matter upon which the State has already taken a certain position and if progress through agreement is not practicable, the obligation to consider the amendments to the 1931 Act will have to be undertaken anyway.

During the year also the period of office of the Labour Court expired. I decided, first of all, to reappoint the existing members, all of whom accepted reappointment, and, secondly, to avail of the opportunity to consult with the trade union organisations and the employers' organisation as to the working of the Industrial Relations Act, 1946. I asked them whether, after five years' experience, they felt any amendment of that Act was necessary and, though the discussions were useful in their bearing upon the procedure of the court, they did not reveal that there was any need to amend the Act, and no amendment of the Act is in contemplation.

Later in the year the chairman of the Labour Court, Mr. Mortished, resigned his appointment on securing another appointment with an international organisation. I think I can say that we were fortunate in being able to induce Mr. Keady, the former head of the Bolton Street Technical School, to accept the position. I use the word "induce" deliberately. Mr. Keady was reluctant to take the post——

I am not surprised.

——mainly because of his very keen interest in the work he had been doing under the Dublin Vocational Education Committee, his feeling that that work was coming to fruition now, and a consequent reluctance to sever contact with it. He did, however, recognise the very great importance of the Labour Court position and the value of the work the Labour Court was doing and, under pressure, he accepted the post.

In 1946 the Supreme Court decided that Part 3 of the Trade Union Act, 1941, was at variance with the Constitution. There the matter has been left since, and nothing has been done to remedy the unsatisfactory state of the law relating to trade unions, following upon that decision of the Supreme Court. It is my view that, if we have to deal again with trade union legislation, we should try to make a good and permanent job of it. Holding that view, I invited both trade union congresses to submit to me their views as to the form that good and permanent legislation should take.

I am hoping to be able to get some outline of the new legislation on paper later in the year as a preliminary to discussion with the trade union organisations and other bodies concerned and with a view to the submission to the House of proposals for legislation next year. That programme, in the event, may prove to be a bit optimistic, but I will work to it if I can.

There is one further aspect of that question I should perhaps refer to. The existing legislation relating to factories and workshops is very much out of date. It was enacted many years ago, and there has been for a long time a need to replace it by up-to-date legislation. That Bill is being prepared and I hope to have it introduced this year. A Bill dealing with restrictive trade practices is before the House at present.

There is another organisation to which I want to make some special reference and that is the Institute for Industrial Research and Standards. The report of the institute is at present being printed and will shortly be circulated to Deputies and therefore it is not necessary to refer to the work of the institute during the year. I have, however, taken advantage of various occasions during the year to emphasise the importance which I attach to the standard specifications prepared by the institute and published on the authority of the Minister for Industry and Commerce and the use of the standard mark in relation to these specifications. A number of standard specifications has been published and a large number of new specifications is under consideration. It is intended to have standard specifications of quality or dimension for the largest possible number of commodities manufactured here.

I have said that I personally would judge the efficiency of any manufacturer by the extent to which his products compare with a specification published as a standard specification, and his intention to maintain the quality of his products by his willingness to apply for a licence to attach the standard mark to these goods. The number of applications for licences to use the mark has been very disappointing. On many occasions in the past Irish manufacturers were subjected to criticism that was unfair and that was not based upon facts. Here is one criticism which can be fully substantiated. It is a far more telling criticism in my view than many voiced previously. Any complaint about the quality of goods produced here can be met effectively if the manufacturer can show that his goods conform in quality to a standard specification and his confidence in his ability to maintain that quality by attaching the standard mark to them. Any manufacturer who is unable to guarantee that his goods are of that quality or is unwilling to take the risk of attaching the standard mark to them is in my view failing to fulfil the whole of the obligations he undertook when State assistance by way of protection or otherwise was given to him. I hope I will have the goodwill of the whole House in encouraging the use of the standard mark as indicating the general intention of manufacturers to produce goods of standard specification quality.

I do not intend to review the work done by the tourist organisations during the year. We had a long discussion on tourist policy on the Tourist Traffic Act which has now become law. It is unnecessary to go over the same ground again. I want to refer, however, to this idea of An Tostal. The idea is that there should be organised here every year a festival— call it any name you like—that there should be a period in the year during which the Irish people would be "at home" to persons of Irish race or Irish origin and to Irish organisations in any part of the world and that, in order to induce our people abroad to regard that as the right time to come here and visit this country and their relatives, there should be arranged here a series of special functions of one kind or another.

We are not unconscious of the fact that if we could organise such a festival every year around Easter we would be incidentally solving one of the problems of extending our tourist revenue by lengthening the tourist season. Apart from that economic interest, it will be of benefit to the country generally. The success of that project requires the active co-operation of public bodies and organisations associated with social and cultural activities. I hope we shall have the goodwill of Deputies who are members of local authorities or who are connected with sporting or cultural organisations in the efforts which are being made to arrange the programme.

The organisation of An Tostal has been entrusted to An Bord Fáilte. They have set up a special sub-organisation under Major-General Hugo MacNeill for the purpose of directing it. I feel that it will have the goodwill of everybody. I want to emphasise, however, that more than goodwill will be required, particularly at the beginning. In order to make it a success, active co-operation will also be called for.

There are one or two other matters which I know are of interest to Deputies, but I decided that I would not refer to them at this stage. If Deputies want me to deal with them, they can mention them during the course of the discussion and I will deal with them later.

The Minister has devoted over one and a half hours to this group of Estimates. I am not complaining of the length of time the Minister occupied. I think if the House were to get a clear picture of any one of these major Departments covered by this group of Estimates, an hour and a half could very usefully be devoted to any one of them. May I make the suggestion to the Minister, in relation to this Department where you have so many major branches, that in future years the question of preparing in advance a review of the work—what has been done and what is proposed to be done in respect to each branch of the Department, Bord na Móna, the Electricity Supply Board, and perhaps the transport side of the Department's activities—might be considered with a view to having it circulated, either on the day on which the Minister introduces his Estimate or, if possible, the day before, so as to give Deputies an opportunity of getting some sort of grasp of the tremendous variety of work which comes within the purview of the Department of Industry and Commerce.

I said I had no fault to find with the length of the Minister's speech. I am afraid I was disappointed with the speech itself. I am afraid that Deputies from all sides of the House must have been conscious that, as the Minister proceeded, he himself felt pressing on him and on his Department the depression that is abroad in the whole country. I do not think it unfair to say that the Minister's speech in itself was depressing. I am not blaming the Minister for that. I think it is much better that the Minister would deliver a realistic speech, that he would not be trying to paint a picture of a situation that did not exist and that is not likely to exist in the coming 12 months.

Mr. Coburn

In other words, tell the truth.

I think it would be much better if there was that realistic approach, not merely inside the House, but outside the House. I am sorry that the Minister did not devote more than ten minutes of his one and a half hour speech to the general industrial situation in the country. The Minister devoted about ten minutes to that. In the course of those ten minutes, he said that, having regard to the circumstances of the past year, the progress made was not unsatisfactory. He mentioned the number of those engaged in industry as 220,000, and he conveyed to us that we had to take it that the position was satisfactory, because the numbers engaged, having regard to unemployment and underemployment, did not fall below that figure. It must be remembered, however, that that figure was relevant to the very early part of 1951 and not to this year.

I am not going to take the line that would be taken by Deputies opposite if they were sitting on these benches. I am not going to take the line of saying that the present Government is responsible for the spate of industrial depression that has been in existence in this country for the last eight, nine or 12 months. I know as well as the Minister, and I am quite prepared to admit it, that, to a large extent, it is due to circumstances entirely beyond the control of this Government or any other Government that might be in office here. That is something, however, that would never be admitted by members of the present Government if they were sitting on this side of the House at present. I do want to say that the situation in this country was very much aggravated by the campaign initiated by certain members of the Government 12 months ago. There is no doubt whatever about that in anybody's mind. I doubt if there is even a query in the Minister's own mind on that.

I want to say that in my judgment whilst we could not have had any hope of escaping the impact of what was happening throughout the world in relation to trade, industry, commerce and finance, it would not have hit us so quickly or so severely if certain people for their own particular purposes had not seized upon the situation which was arising and used it, perhaps it would not be right to say unscrupulously, but certainly used it unfairly without any regard to the consequences for the general community. There is no doubt whatever that Irish industry generally, and certain industries in particular, suffered a severe setback in the last 12 months. There is no doubt that there has been a reduction, a fairly substantial reduction, in the number of persons employed in many industries in this country. There is no doubt that there is a very considerable number of people who are under-employed, working short-time. I am not saying that for the purpose of trying to make any political capital out of it or for the purpose of scoring a debatable point. I want, however, to make the point that I think we should be fairly satisfied that Irish industries were in such a strong position, and had been so well-rooted, that the impact on them from outside was not much greater or more severe than it actually has been. May I say in passing that that security, that deep-rootedness, is due in a large measure to the fact that during the last few years it had been put beyond any question in the minds of industrialists, in the minds of those working in industries, in the minds of Irish people who are prepared to support Irish industries, and to purchase the products of Irish industries, that the continuance of industry in this country was not dependent on the maintenance in office of any particular Government in the country. I think that perhaps the greatest service that could be done to industry in this country was to put it beyond any shadow of doubt that the continued existence of industries, much less their expansion, was not dependent on any particular political Party getting a majority of seats in a general election.

I should like to have got from the Minister some idea as to whether in the last two months the position of the woollen, worsted and textile industry generally, the footwear industry, the leather and tanning industry, had shown any signs of improvement and whether we could look forward in the fairly immediate future to a return to the position that we had, say, two or three years ago.

The Minister knows, perhaps better than anybody in this House, that one of the great tragedies of a recession— to use the word that is now so commonly used here—such as we have been through in the last 12 months is that not merely are we likely to lose, but that, unfortunately we have lost many of the skilled operatives whom it had taken years to train and bring to a high pitch of efficiency. If there is to be a continuance of short time employment in those factories, with a consequent reduction in weekly earnings, particularly at a time when prices generally are rising, I am afraid that the temptation to get out and go across to a country where full-time employment may be available may prove too great, and that we may lose those people. I know of certain industries myself that have been rather hard hit. I know that many skilled operatives were well trained in those industries over recent years, and that they have had to be let go for the time being. Many of them have gone out of the country.

I do not want to over-emphasise the general trade depression in the country but it is very serious, probably one of the most serious trade depressions that has hit this country for a very long time. I am not even going to succumb to the temptation of placing the blame for it, but it is there. I do not think that those who are engaged in trade, commerce and industry, or in the community generally, are being served by some of the statements which are being made by those not merely in Government or with governmental authority, but by those in authority in some of our financial and economic institutions outside. I do know that many well established business houses in this country are in more straitened financial circumstances now than they have ever been before perhaps in their business lives. That is fairly well known. It is also fairly well known that it is difficult, if not almost impossible, for people in business to get financial accommodation from the finance houses or banks or what you like to call them.

Hear, hear!

It is equally well known that many employers, some of them very large employers and small employers, have been carrying staffs when there is not business or work to warrant the carrying of a full staff. They have been doing that in the hope that there might be an improvement and some easing up of the very definite restrictions that are there. I feel, as I have said, that it is on that aspect of the situation that the Minister might have given us more information, and also his own views at somewhat greater length than he did. I do not want to dwell on this much further. There are members on both sides of the House who are far more competent to deal with that aspect of the matter than, perhaps, I would be.

My difficulty on this Estimate is not to know what to talk about, but to decide on the things that I should not be tempted to talk about. I should like, if I may, to follow the sequence of the Minister. May I say that I was very glad to hear that there were no fewer than 51 new projects, and that there are many more coming along? The Minister said he was surprised at the number of new proposals that came along—surprised to find the number of people who still had faith in the future of this country, who still believed that it was sound business to start enterprises here. I am not surprised. I just want to refer back to what I said earlier. I think it has been shown conclusively that people, irrespective of any change of Government here, who are prepared to invest their money, their brains and their skill in developing particular industries in this country are perfectly safe in doing so. Allied to that, of course, is the fact that I doubt very much if there is a more creditworthy country in Europe to-day. I do not know if I need confine it to Europe. In fact, I know of no country where there is greater stability and security. The Minister himself, within the last few days, referred to that when speaking about the forthcoming loan. I think that could not be overemphasised.

Let me take advantage of this opportunity of saying that I believe, and always have believed—I believe it now as I believed last year, the year before and for many years—that there is not any country in the world where money can be as safely or as securely or as remuneratively invested as in this country. There is not any country that I know of, or that I have heard or read of, where you have the same stability as you have here or where you have the same measure of peace and understanding amongst the people generally. Those are the factors which go to make, not merely what the Minister was talking about earlier—a reasonable return on the money invested—but that will secure that the capital value of the investment, if it is not enhanced, will certainly not be lessened.

Who is causing the trouble?

There are, unfortunately, people still in this country who have caused trouble. Unfortunately, there were speeches made in the last 12 months which were not conducive to building the people's confidence in the country.

They were not justified in any sense.

Of course, they were not justified, and nobody knows that better than the Minister. I want to say again that it is to everybody's interest to assert what is the truth in relation to the stability of this country. We do not want to paint a picture that is not true. There is no necessity to do that. At the same time, people, and particularly people in authority, ought to be very slow before they try to decry the state of this country. For what my opinion is worth, I think that this country is probably more prosperous to-day than ever it has been since this State was created. The prosperity of this country is largely, if not almost entirely, derived from the land of this country. There is no question about that. There is more prosperity flowing into the land of this country to-day than ever before. The Minister knows that, notwithstanding the slump, we are meeting our industrial requirements out of our own resources to a certain extent and from inside our own borders to a larger extent than probably we ever did before. I should like some of the new financial experts and some of the new economic theorists to think over these two solid facts before they make gloomy pronouncements about this country being on the verge of bankruptcy.

The Minister referred to the underdeveloped areas and to the legislation passed in connection with those areas. I was glad to note that the Minister spoke of that matter—I am quite prepared to admit it—in the same cautious way in which he spoke when he was putting the Bill through this House. If anything, he was a little more optimistic, in view of what had happened in the short time since it became law, about the future and what it might achieve than he was when it was going through this House. I could not agree more wholeheartedly with anything he said than with his statement that the board that is charged under this Act with its operation should not be subjected in any way to any sort of political pressure, good bad or indifferent. While I am long enough in the tooth in politics to make allowances for what people may say during elections, whether by-elections or general elections, I very much deprecate the use which certain members of the Minister's Party tried to make out of that particular piece of legislation in the West of Ireland recently.

And the Minister himself, also.

I am dealing only with what I was listening to myself when I was down there. I think that that Bill was welcomed by all sides of this House. I think every member of this House is hopeful that it will be a success. If it is a success, the Government can claim and have all the credit to which they are entitled.

The Minister referred to the Industrial Development Authority. I do not suppose that the Minister and I would be in full agreement about that particular body but I am glad to note that we are much closer to agreement about its usefulness now than we were perhaps at any time since it was first mooted here in the House. I am very glad to know that they were able to give valuable assistance. I think the Minister said that very significant progress had been made as a result of their efforts and, if you like, with their help. I think he mentioned five projects and then he mentioned 11. The Minister considered it wise to make certain major changes in the way in which that particular body was operating and in the sort of projects and enterprises and questions with which they were dealing.

I doubt if the Minister was wise in doing what he did although I have to admit that at one stage they were so overloaded with detailed examination of such a variety of matters as had to be referred to them that, for that period and perhaps even up to the time when the change of Government took place, the major functions for which they were intended could not get the attention which they should have got or could not get attention at all. That was a situation which could have cleared itself though perhaps not as quickly as one would have liked. The fact of the matter is, I think, that there is a very considerable measure of agreement between us as to the amount of useful work which can be performed by the Industrial Development Authority—and perhaps, in that, we ourselves, like the Industrial Development Authority, have made considerable progress.

There are two major changes in the Estimate—(1) in relation to food subsidies and (2) in relation to fuel subsidies. I am not going to be tempted to talk about fuel subsidies. I am not even going to allow myself to talk about hand-won turf. I only hope that if the Minister still occupies his place on the Government side of the House when the time comes to liquidate the 287,000 tons of American coal, there will not be as big a bill to be met as we were forced to meet for the previous stocks. While saying that, I do not want it to be taken that I am criticising the Government for importing that American coal even at such a very high price and for building up that reserve. In the circumstances, nothing else could have been done. I said that in relation to the previous stocks and I want to say it in relation to these stocks also. The fact that there is now available and is likely to be available in the future an adequate supply of British coal at a much lower price does not, in my opinion, take from the wisdom of building up that reserve in the Park. I only hope that we shall never be called upon to fall back on it through necessity.

I should like the Minister to give us a little more information in relation to mineral development and particularly in relation to Avoca. I should also like to know whether the Minister has any recent information on the preliminary work that was going on in Sligo. I want to know whether anything has arisen regarding a certain project which was at least mentioned in relation to west Munster.

I would like to feel that the Minister and the Government were taking all the steps that are available to them to induce people, if necessary outside Ireland, with the technical knowledge and experience, the capital and the equipment, to carry out prospecting and exploring work in this country with a view to discovering any worthwhile minerals that we may have.

I understood the Minister to say that there would be a Bill coming on in relation to Bord na Móna. If that be so, I think we might pass that over.

Again, I am going to resist the temptation to say a few words about the tourist set-up in the country, and I will pass that over also.

On this question of price control, I gather from what the Minister said to-day and from what he has said outside in the course of the last couple of days, that he is rather doubtful if price control is of any use at all. Apparently he has doubts in relation to certain commodities, anyway. He goes as far as leading anyone to believe that, actually, they may be harmful to the public interest rather than otherwise. I am afraid I cannot agree with him. I am afraid the experience has been that every time a price control Order has been removed the prices went up. I know as well as the Minister that, although the Department only fixes maximum prices, the case is always made "remove the prices Order and we will bring down the prices". It very rarely happened.

There is no effective control of prices in this country now. Price control, of course, was never fully effective and never could be fully effected but it is less effective now than ever it was. There are many things that one could say about price control and I know the difficulties about it; at least I know some of them. I do not think and I do not want to pretend that I have anything to say at the moment that would be very helpful.

Transport. The Minister referred to the position of Córas Iompair Éireann and said that it was not improving. It would be impossible for the position to improve there. The Minister knows that at least as well as I do if not better. When people talk of the subsidy which has been paid to Córas Iompair Éireann they ought to remember this, that if the position had remained static the losses to-day would be less than they were four or five years ago. I think I am correct in saying that the losses which have to be met by the taxpayer in relation to working losses are more than offset by the increased cost of materials and the increases in wages and salaries which have been granted over the last two or three years, that the increases in wages and salaries and the increase in the cost of materials are greater than the total working losses on the whole system.

The Minister said that certain important and certain major decisions would have to be taken in relation to transport if this position was to be remedied or if Córas Iompair Éireann were to be put, I will not say in a position to meet their competitors equally—I doubt if you could put them in that position— but as near as possible to the position of being able to meet competition. Wages, additional costs of materials and the enormous increase in road transport competition over the last three years have greatly increased the burden. I have not the exact figures here before me but I do not think I would be exaggerating if I were to say that there must be somewhere in the neighbourhood of between 10,000 and 14,000 more commercial vehicles on the roads to-day in competition with Córas Iompair Éireann than there were even four years ago. The Minister said some major steps or drastic steps will have to be taken. I think I said that myself on more than one occasion, so I am looking forward with a certain amount of interest.

Let me say this, and again I know I am going to be misrepresented, but I do not care whether I am or not. Everybody in this country cries out because we are subsidising Córas Iompair Éireann to the tune of £1,000,000, £1,500,000 or whatever it is, and remember that subsidy is keeping an absolutely essential service in existence because not even those who are using the roads with motor transport could continue if the railways were not there; and there are certain commodities, certain materials and certain pieces of essential equipment coming into this country which have to be transported and which could not be transported otherwise than by rail. It is not merely an essential service but it is a service that gives employment to no fewer than 22,000 persons. Deputies inside the House or the public outside cannot have it both ways and the fact is that people outside have themselves elected to pay voluntarily not for one system of transport but for three different systems of transport, but we can go into that when the time comes if it does. May I say in passing—and I do not say this to deprecate in any way whatever our airports; I am probably as proud of those airports as any other Irishman; they are a credit to the country—that we are subsidising the two airports in this country to the tune of over £500,000 and there is not a murmur about it. If one were to challenge the ordinary taxpayer as to which was the most essential for this country's good I think there could be no doubt as to the answer one would get. No matter what I say I know that my words will be twisted, but if I were in the Minister's place tomorrow morning I am not saying that I would not stand over £500,000 for Shannon and Dublin. Perhaps Deputy McGrath would like to interject here and include Cork also.

In connection with the criticism that we get from Córas Iompair Éireann, those who are employed in Córas Iompair Éireann, who are in good employment there and fairly well paid employment in relation to the rest of the country ought to have some regard to the fact that the ordinary man in the street has to find £1,500,000 to keep the wheels turning and to keep their employment going.

A couple of hundred have dismissal notices in their pockets at the moment.

Food subsidies have been reduced by something over £4,000,000. They are still £7,500,000. That reduction of £4,000,000 was made on the grounds that we can no longer afford to continue subsidisation of the principal items of food. In case the Minister and his colleagues might be tempted later this year or next year to remove the balance of the amount provided in the Estimates I want to put my view on record here. This reduction in subsidies may make things a little easier for the Government. It may give a round figure of £9,000,000 to the Minister's Estimate now before us instead of £13,000,000 but that does not in any way lessen the burden on the community. On the contrary, I am perfectly satisfied that the additional burden on the community will be three times £4,000,000 or £12,000,000 in all because in the first place the Government, to put a coating on the pill, introduced certain services which they specifically stated were introduced not because they were desirable in themselves but because the Government felt they had to give some increases and some additional services to cushion the very poorest sections of the community against the impact of the reduction in the subsidies. Take your choice. It was argued here week in and week out on the Finance Bill and on the Budget that these extra services would cost the taxpayer another £2,000,000 or £3,000,000 per year.

Every worker is now demanding and must get a very substantial increase in wages and salaries to meet the increase in the cost of foodstuffs consequential upon the removal of the subsidies. In many cases agreement will be found as between employers and employees in connection with the demand for increased wages and salaries. In many cases agreement will not be found and there will be strikes, the closing down of industry and a consequential loss of wages the result of which will be an additional burden on the people of an excess of £4,000,000 despite the increased social services specifically provided for the purpose of cushioning to some extent the removal of the subsidies.

It is my view—this has been my view from the beginning and not just this year or last year—that it will cost the community infinitely more to remove the subsidies rather than it would had they been continued. I am as sure of that as I am standing here. I doubt very much if the Minister does not hold the very same view himself. For what it is worth I want to put that view on record. I hope that the demand for increased wages and salaries—a demand which will grow in volume— will not lead to any disruption or dislocation in trade or industry. Industry has got enough jolts in the last 12 months. It is not in the best condition to sustain any more shocks. When all these factors are taken into account I think it will be found that the cost of removing the subsidies will be far greater than any savings set out here.

The picture painted by the Minister is not one likely to give rise to any undue optimism. I am not a pessimist and I believe that this country can, perhaps more easily than other countries, lift itself out of the present depression provided the people are given a little encouragement and are allowed to do their work without having a lot of people going around making dismal, doleful, gloomy prophecies about the future of the country being so black it is not worth while anybody making any effort. The country is all right but I believe it can be made much better.

I hope that if the Minister is in office this time 12 months he will have a rosier picture to put before the House. I hope that the recession in trade and the consequential depression in industry will have passed long before then and that we will have resumed the position in which year by year more and more of our own people were finding employment in Irish industry.

The best way that people can help towards that end is to show their confidence in their own country and its future by responding to the appeal which is going to be made to them. I want to remind, if it is necessary, the Deputies here and outside that this loan is not a Government loan, it is not a Fianna Fáil loan, it is a national loan. This loan will be required not merely to continue national undertakings and capital works but to keep in employment thousands of men whose employment depends on the money being forthcoming. It is not for me to go into the wisdom or otherwise of the Government's timing. Other people who know a lot more about finance than I do have already had their say on that.

All I wish to say, in conclusion, is that I have indicated a number of ways in which the prosperity of the country can be secured, a number of ways in which people can pull us out of the present depression, a number of ways in which we can arrest what has been happening over the last 12 months. But I have kept for the last my suggestion as to the quickest, the most effective and surest way of changing over from the gloom to the sunshine—and that is for the people, as soon as possible, to make a change over here from one side of the House to the other.

I wish to congratulate the Minister on his very comprehensive statement in introducing this Estimate. He has pointed the way to the future in relation to the various bodies, organisations and sections which come within the ambit of his Department. It is most important for those in the industrial world to know what they are to expect in the future and what the policy of the Government is. The Minister's speech will be particularly noted for its candour and honesty and for its straightforward approach to each and every difficulty which lay in the way in the past and is likely to confront us in the future. All the organisations concerned will be grateful for his help.

It is only natural that those of us who come from the congested areas would be particularly interested in Bord na Móna, which governs so much the industrial activity of the western seaboard and the Gaeltacht areas. I was glad the Minister mentioned that legislation was pending in relation to future policy and expansion of Bord na Móna. We in Donegal have a decided grievance regarding the board's method of arriving at prices. We find that an overall figure is struck which applies to the price of turf from all the centres, irrespective of what it costs at a particular centre. In Donegal the price of turf at the Bord na Móna works is £2 16s. 10d. per ton. We believe that turf can be produced in that centre much more economically than that. Private production can put hand-won turf on the market at a much lower figure. We believe that Bord na Móna should have a separate scale in each centre, based on the cost of production in that centre. On that principle, applied to the centre which I have in mind, turf could be marketed at a much lower figure than I have mentioned and that would lead to increased sales at that centre.

I am glad the Minister has stated definitely that he is making arrangements to take at the market price any surplus turf which may be left over after this season.

As I mentioned a few days ago on another Estimate, we in the turf areas believe that coal is too readily available at the moment, being imported too freely into the turf areas. A great many people have based their future on turf production and have undertaken it as a source of stable employment. If they are to find themselves in competition again with imported coal, in places where it might not be so necessary to have coal, they will feel that they cannot continue to look to turf production as a means of livelihood. I would again urge the Minister to ensure that coal is not unduly imported into turf areas.

Regarding the Electricity Supply Board, we are glad that a further station is mooted for Donegal but we feel that the extension of the network to the rural areas could be accelerated. Again, we would ask that the fixed charges based on the floor space of premises should be relaxed in relation to the Gaeltacht areas. I think that is not too much to ask. No matter how much these people may desire the great amenity of electricity in their homes, they are bound to find an added difficulty, in comparison with the average person in wealthier homes, in this fixed charge. In some cases this charge will be a prohibitive one, unless there is some amelioration in the present rates in relation to the Gaeltacht areas.

On the question of industry generally, the Labour Deputies are always anxious to probe into what private enterprise is likely to get by way of profit out of any concern. However, if we are to have real harmony between employer and employee, the trade unions should realise that they have a responsibility to the employer as well as to the employee.

I think that in that respect the trade unions are sometimes not fully conscious of the responsibility which should be theirs. It is quite evident in many cases in Dublin where you have employees thoroughly guarded by a well organised union that you have business premises where there is sometimes a noticeable lack of courtesy which was at one time a characteristic of Irish business. Whether the people who reside in the city are aware of it or not it is fast fading out. The old courtesy that was extended to people by the business profession, when one went in as a customer, no longer exists in very many concerns in this and many other cities. That is mainly due to the fact that the people are trade union employees and do not give a hoot whether they serve the customers or not.

That is a good one.

That is something which the trade unions can very suitably interest themselves in with a view to guarding the interests of the employers as well as the employees. Some people want to be all the time playing up to the workers for a purpose but they should realise that the success of the employers is equally important. The employee could not get employment unless the employer makes a success of his business and makes a reasonable profit. The employer has to live too. He is the important man in the long run. If he fails, all fail.

Take the question of Dublin garages at the moment. I do not know whether the Prices Advisory Body has any function in this matter or not but I can, from experience, state that I have gone into Dublin garages with my car and got an estimate of £9 10s. for repairs which I got carried out for 10/-in the country.

Is the Minister responsible for anything in connection with this?

I think that, in so far as the Prices Advisory Body is concerned, they should have some function in that matter. Surely somebody is responsible.

I do not think the Minister is.

The Minister is not responsible for gross exaggeration.

I can prove it on figures to anybody. There is no exaggeration. Many members of this House are well aware of the truth of what I am saying.

10/- for £9 10s.?

Many members are well aware of it. It was stated that the removal of price control would have a tendency towards an increase in prices in some instances. I do not think that is likely to happen. The real way to control prices is to have sufficient goods to meet the demand. There are more goods now than there is a demand for. The supply exceeds the demand. I do not think there is any likelihood of prices being increased if control is removed. I think the time has come when it should be removed. Already you have a number of cases where people are selling articles under the prices marked on them. That, in itself, is proof that, if the price control is removed, prices will have a tendency to drop rather than increase.

There is another matter to which I should like to refer—the Minister referred to it in his opening statement—and that is the question of protective duties and quotas which have been imposed to protect some of our home industries. I know that the particular one he mentioned was very desirable. In fact, it was overdue but I wonder if he is aware that those quotas and tariffs on imported worsted cotton and other yarns have had a rather adverse effect on firms manufacturing goods for export?

There are many firms who have a big programme of exports on hands, based on patterns supplied as far back as last year. They are committed not merely to supply goods on order, according to patterns submitted in the past, but they are likely to have a continuance of orders for similar goods. This particularly applies to the tweed industry which is very much upset by the recent introduction of quotas on imported threads. That is bound to have a serious effect on the export trade if it is not smoothed out immediately in order that that business can carry on with the least possible upset.

I know firms who are doing a considerable trade in Donegal tweed with outside countries, particularly America, and the smooth working of their export machinery has been considerably upset by the red tape which necessarily revolves round the introduction of quotas and import duties. While we all agree that these are absolutely necessary and essential, in so far as they go to protect home industries, arrangements should be made to ensure that those engaged in the export trade are in no way whatever hampered and that they will have the facilities to expand their exports as time goes on.

Export is not something which is built up from day to day. It is based on contracts over a long period and firms now engaged in the export of tweed are preparing orders for the export of the necessary cloths for next spring. It is usually six months in advance at least. Any firm that is properly geared up for export business is really working half a year at least in advance and any upset to that business, as a result of the introduction of quotas or delays in yarns being held up at the Customs, usually results in the temporary unemployment of weavers. Consequently, when these people are wanted again they may not be available.

We have a good many weavers employed in the tweed industry in Donegal and the likelihood is that if they are paid off as a result of any temporary stoppage in work they may not be available if they are wanted again because they can move out of the country.

The same applies to gloves. In Donegal, where the making of gloves is one of the best cottage industries in the country, the people have been experiencing considerable difficulty recently as a result of quotas and import restrictions on imported thread. They are trying to fulfil orders which are according to sample submitted a long time back. They must entirely conform with that particular pattern. It is absolutely necessary that they should be allowed to import, free of duty and with the easiest facility, the raw materials required for the production of these articles in order to keep workers employed and, at the same time, maintain a high export trade which fortunately, I am glad to say, has been increasing over a long period.

In conclusion, I want to again congratulate the Minister on the comprehensive statement he made at the outset and for the manner in which he has pointed the road to the future so far as the various bodies who come under his Department are concerned. I think it is particularly helpful and refreshing to have such an open, honest and satisfactory statement of policy in so far as this Department is concerned.

Coming from the constituency of West Cork which, indeed, has been sadly and, may I say, completely neglected so far as industrial expansion is concerned, I would like to make a few comments on this Vote. I agree entirely with the remark of Deputy Morrissey that agriculture is the main industry in this country. I know very well that agriculture is not a matter for debate on this Vote. We would all like to see industries established in this country. We know very well that, since the State was set up, various efforts have been made by Governments to establish industries here, there and everywhere.

We know very well that a number of these industries, instead of being an advantage, were a disadvantage, and a few of them were costly items so far as the taxpayer was concerned.

I do not intend to deal with this Vote on a national basis because, so far as the people I represent are concerned, instead of industrial expansion being an advantage, it has adversely affected them. In the whole of West Cork, not one penny of money has been spent by any Government in the development of industry. My reason for saying that industrial expansion has adversely affected us is that while we have not benefited by one penny, we have to pay our proportionate share for the development of industries in other areas. We are as broadminded and as nationally minded as the people in any part of the country. If there were not resources for industrial development in West Cork, we would have little to complain about in contributing to industrial development in other parts of Ireland but the position is that in no part of this country are there more mineral resources for industrial development than there are in the area which I represent, West Cork.

Time and again representatives of the West Cork constituency have mentioned in this House on the Estimate for this Department the necessity of developing a number of industries which would undoubtedly succeed in West Cork. One particular industry is the slate industry. Since the inception of the State the desirability of developing that industry has been mentioned time and again by various Deputies in this House. Nothing has been done about it. The present Tánaiste states that it is entirely a matter for private enterprise and that, if there is an extensive slate deposit in West Cork, private enterprise should come to the rescue and develop it.

It is quite true that portion of the industry is being worked successfully by private industry but, unfortunately, in the case of the very extensive quarry, the Benduff, Froe, Madranna, quarry, which is known throughout the length and breadth of this country, private enterprise has entirely and completely failed.

I do not disagree altogether with the remarks made by Deputy Brennan so far as private enterprise is concerned. We are entirely in agreement with him that, while a trade union owes a duty to employees, it also owes a duty to employers. The Deputy need not comment adversely on Labour Deputies in this House in the way he did because, while we expect to get from employers a decent wage for the work their employees give them, we also expect from employees a decent output in order to compensate the employer for the wages he pays them. We know very well that unless employees, whether they are State employees, local government employees or employees of private enterprise, give a reasonable output, the business in which they are concerned is bound to flop. We do not advocate getting everything for the worker and nothing for the employer. On the contrary, it is our policy to take a broadminded view of their relationship.

So far as part of the statement made by Deputy Brennan on that particular matter is concerned, I agree with him and I am very glad to say that in the area from which I come and in which I know the workers intimately and personally, they have always taken that particular point into account and have always given a reasonable return.

I want to make it perfectly clear that so far as private enterprise is concerned, I am not against it but so far as the particular quarry that I have referred to is concerned it has failed completely. In view of that fact and in view of the fact that there are these extensive deposits, there is a definite onus on the Minister for Industry and Commerce to come to the rescue and to develop the industry.

It is a sad state of affairs that in areas contiguous to these extensive slate deposits almost every other day men and women are flying from the land to England or some other country to seek a livelihood. Probably a number of them work in coal mines and others work in slate quarries in England while this work should be available to them at home at their very door.

For 30 years we have heard a great deal from various Ministers about expanding industry. It has often been mentioned in this House, so far as the slate quarries I refer to are concerned, that help would be given, that something would be done, but, so far, no move has been made.

I could not over-emphasise this very important matter. It is a scandal and a shame that even for local authority housing in West Cork, not to mention houses erected by private individuals, tiles have been imported from Holland and Belgium and in other cases synthetic slates are used. In the year 1952 that state of affairs should not be allowed to continue.

I mentioned this matter when the Undeveloped Areas Bill was before the Dáil but, judging from the Minister's statement, he has no intention of giving us any help so far as the development of those particular quarries are concerned. Deputy Corry will be blowing later on about what Fianna Fáil have done for industry. So far as West Cork is concerned, they have done nothing and I do not believe that they have any intention of doing anything.

It is what the Minister has done that we are interested in now.

I am dealing with this Vote. I am referring to an industry which I consider very important.

The Deputy is referring to a political Party. The Minister is responsible to this House for the administration of his Department. The Deputy will please refer to the Minister and his Department.

I intend to do that.

He has been doing it.

The Tánaiste knows nothing about the industries in the area I come from or other areas but he knew everything about industries in North Mayo. I asked him a question in the Dáil about some of our industries in West Cork. He said he had no function in the matter, that it was a function of the new board which was set up under the Undeveloped Areas Bill. That is not what he told the people of Ballina or Belmullet. He was entirely responsible for the setting up of industries in those areas and he told them that they would be set up, when he was looking for their votes. There is no doubt that he did get votes, as has been mentioned by other Deputies, on the false pretence that he was going to erect overnight six or seven industries.


Deputy Fanning's stay here may be a very short one because 10,000 people in the three constituencies that were contested gave an adverse vote to him and to his Party. He can make nothing else out of the count.

Deputy Murphy is entitled to speak without interruption and he should be allowed to do so.

What I want to know from the Minister is what he is going to do so far as the development of industry in West Cork is concerned. I believe I am right in saying that it is the only area in which not one 1d. has been expended for the establishment of industry. It is a shame to see young men leaving West Cork when there are industrial resources in the areas that they are leaving.

The same could be said about another deposit which is to be found extensively in the area, that is barytes. Barytes is a very durable mineral. Local people have not sufficient capital to develop this mineral in West Cork, and no help was given to them by successive Governments to enable them to do so. However, during the emergency a few gentlemen either from Austria or from Holland came to West Cork, developed the barytes resources there and exported a good deal of the minerals at, I feel sure, a handsome profit. If men from Austria or from Holland can develop a barytes industry in this country and export the mineral at a handsome profit, why does not some body such as Fóras Tionscal do likewise? Employment would be given to local people if this industry were developed.

We have been promised, particularly prior to general elections, that a bacon industry would be established in West Cork. Bantry has been picked out for the location of this industry. Undoubtedly, this industry would prove to be a great boon and, as far as I am aware, local people would subscribe £24,000 towards its establishment. There are more pigs reared in West Cork than in any other part of the country. The labourers and the cottiers engage in pig rearing as well as the farmers. I cannot for the life of me understand why an area which produces pigs so extensively is not entitled to a bacon factory. It must be realised that, for years, they have contributed their share to the subsidisation of the bacon industry all over the country. We know very well that, if there were a free market for pigs, the producers would get a much higher price than they receive at present.

I cannot understand why, if cottiers and small farmers rear pigs to make a little profit, they should be asked to sacrifice on average, two or three pounds per pig in order to stimulate a bacon industry in Cork City or in some other area. It would prove to be much more advantageous to the people I represent if the pigs were sold on a higher market, and if half the bacon factories in this country did not exist. The bacon factories in Cork cannot buy all the pigs offered for sale by farmers and cottiers.

It is my belief that the bacon industry could be given a greater impetus than it is receiving at present. It may be said that this industry would come more appropriately under the Department of Agriculture. I believe that the farmer and the cottier in West Cork, or in the other isolated parts of this country, who are rearing pigs at the present time are not getting a square deal from the central authority. Fianna Fáil have made a lot of promises in various places throughout this country including West Cork. I hope that the two matters in connection with the West Cork area which I have raised here will be attended to, namely, the development of the barytes resources there and the establishment of a bacon industry. These two undertakings would provide much-needed employment in the area.

Emigration has taken greater toll of West Cork than of any other area in the country. It is quite easy for the Minister to ascertain whether or not I am correct in that statement. Take Berehaven Peninsula, for instance. This peninsula is 45 miles long, and it contains some of the worst land in Ireland. It is nothing but a mass of rocks with a few fertile fields between them. Nobody in this House could realise the disadvantages under which the people of this particular peninsula are labouring, because one must live there to understand how the people eke out an existence. They carry on agriculture in a small way and they are also helped to live by the cheques which their sons and daughters, who had to fly to that supposedly old enemy of ours, send them. Any member of this Assembly who visits the peninsula will ascertain the correctness of my statement.

Bearing in mind the fact that the Berehaven Peninsula is the poorest area in the country and that the people there are labouring under disadvantages which do not obtain in any other area in this State, why cannot the Minister or Fóras Tionscal do something for them? On last Saturday night electric current was switched on there. Now that they have overcome the difficulty of current, I cannot understand why the new board or the Department of Industry and Commerce do not take cognisance of the exceptional circumstances which obtain in that area and establish some industry there.

Berehaven was one of the principal fishing centres in this country up to 15 or 20 years ago. The same thing could be said for many other areas around the coast. The fishing industry in Berehaven has almost disappeared due to reasons made very clear in this House when the Sea Fisheries Bill, 1952, was under discussion. I cannot see why an industry based on fishing cannot be established in this particular area. Such an industry would provide much-needed employment.

I would sooner see the Tánaiste in the Front Bench than the Minister for Justice, though I do not dislike the Minister, because, as I have already said——

Mr. Boland

I have a full note of what the Deputy has said.

——we have not got any financial assistance in West Cork. The little village of Ballydehob has applied for a knitwear industry to Fóras Tionscal. A large number of prominent citizens and workers in the village have got together, and they intend to initiate this industry in a very small way. They are seeking help from An Fóras Tionscal, and I would appeal to the Minister to accede to their application. Employment will be given to perhaps 20 or 30 girls in such an industry.

I do not mean to say very much more. Possibly, I have said too much already. We have been listening for 30 years to empty promises. I trust that the days of empty promises have gone and that something useful will now be done for the part of the country which I represent. It may be said that, in dealing with Estimates, Deputies should not confine themselves to a discussion of circumstances in their own particular areas. However, I felt I was in duty bound to draw attention to my area in view of the circumstances that obtain there and in view of the fact that we have not benefited there in any way from industrial expansion in this country.

There is another very important item, which definitely comes within the scope of the Vote, to which I want to refer. I mentioned it previously by way of question and the Minister was as immovable as any statue in the city with regard to it. I believe there was no justification for his complacent attitude towards it. I refer to the move at present being made to wipe out the small traders of the country. The first oppressors are the oil companies which are operating in that part of the country and I feel sure that it applies to the country generally. These people who used to be in great opposition to each other—passing each other out on the road and trying to sell five gallons of oil here and five gallons of oil there —have now formed a ring and have agreed that, on no account, under pain of dismissal, are any of their drivers to supply kerosene in quantities less than 40 gallons to any customer, irrespective of who or what he is. There may be some case for asking shopkeepers in isolated rural districts to take a minimum quantity of paraffin oil on economy grounds, but I cannot see any justification for such a move so far as towns and villages are concerned. In common with other Deputies from the constituency, and probably Deputies all over the country, if this operates in other parts of the country, I have been approached in the matter——

The Deputy put down a question on this matter and he gave me notice of his intention to raise it on the Adjournment. The Minister was quite specific in his reply —he had no function whatever in the matter. I ruled out the question on the ground that the Minister had no function in the matter and, therefore, the Deputy cannot discuss on this Estimate what he could not raise with the Minister on the Adjournment.

I have the greatest respect for your ruling, Sir, but I thought I was entitled to deal with this matter. I had not developed my argument.

I allowed the Deputy to open his argument so that I could see what he was reaching. He was reaching the very same matter which he endeavoured to reach by question and by raising it on the Adjournment.

The Minister said he had no function in the matter, but that does not mean that the Minister is infallible in that regard.

It has always been accepted that, when a Minister says he has no function, that is so.

Deputies opposite know that as well as any of us.

I got that answer not so long ago from the Minister and he changed his mind.

So far as I can ascertain from the Department concerned and other sources of information available to me, the Minister has no function whatever in the matter which the Deputy is endeavouring to raise.

I understand that there is a Bill before the House, the Restrictive Trade Practices Bill, and——

The Deputy may not anticipate a Bill on an Estimate.

In view of your ruling, I propose to deal with it under the heading of small business industry in this country. We are dealing with industries and——

The Deputy will not endeavour to do anything by a sidewind. The Deputy is endeavouring to deal with a matter in which the Minister has no function. He will have to leave it at that.

Very well; we will leave it at that. It is very peculiar that no Minister has any function in regard to dealing with matters such as I have complained of. What are we coming to at all when people in advantageous positions, like supplying concerns or large industrialists or distributors, can now—if I may use the term—blackguard the small people of the country? That is what I believe this move on the part of the oil companies is leading to.

I warned the Deputy before. He is endeavouring to get in by a sidewind a matter in which the Minister has no function. The Chair understands perfectly well what he is endeavouring to do and he need not think that the Chair does not understand. I am warning him that he will have to pass from the subject.

I will, but it is very peculiar that the State has no responsibility in regard to such a matter.

I am not concerned with what is peculiar. I am concerned with what is a fact, that the Minister has no function in the matter.

I heard Deputy Morrissey mention that we were expending £1,500,000 in subsidising railways and £500,000 in subsidising airports. I agree that it is a justifiable expenditure to subsidise the railways, because, as Deputy Morrissey pointed out, the country could not get on without them, but I cannot for the life of me see—I was not aware of it until I heard Deputy Morrissey make the statement—any justification for subsidising airports to the extent of £500,000. A sum of £500,000 would do a lot in other directions and I think it should be more gainfully employed in other directions.

Deputies may say, and probably correctly, that it is very useful to develop our transatlantic services and so on, but there is no danger that the majority of people in this country, the fellows who have to pay the piper, will ever see the inside of one of those planes. We know well that the transatlantic services are entirely and exclusively availed of by the people in the higher income groups. If these people are not satisfied to avail of the rail services or of transport by ship, if they want to get along quickly and enjoy themselves in the air, they should damn well pay for it. I do not see any justification for devoting £500,000 of the taxpayers' money, money which this Government is pulling from them in the hardest manner possible, to subsidising joy-rides for some of these well-to-do people—the 1,500 or 1,600 who have incomes of £10,000 and £11,000 a year.

And more.

If they want to avail of air services, with all their thrills and experiences, I suggest to the Minister and to the House that they should be made pay the last penny for it and that the plain people who constitute the vast majority should not be asked to subsidise them. There is no justification in the world for applying £500,000 of our money to the subsidising of that system of transport.

While I should like to see every man retained in the employment of Córas Iompair Éireann, and would be very annoyed if any person were to lose his employment there, I believe, from my own experience, that some of the losses which Córas Iompair Éireann have incurred over the years could be avoided. Take what is happening in my own district. Every morning of the year a very comfortable train leaves the town of Bantry for Cork City. I dare say that, on an average, it would be capable of conveying at least nine times as many passengers as avail of it for transport to Cork. At the very same time, two buses leave the same town and the train and the buses travel side by side, one on the other side of the fence and the others on the road, all the way to Cork, a distance of 59 miles. I have travelled on that train over and over again, and I know well that it is just as comfortable as, if not more comfortable than, the bus.

I know very well that it is quite capable of conveying every passenger who leaves Bantry for Drimoleague or Dunmanway, Bandon or Cork. There is no reason to have, running side by side every evening and every morning, that train and two buses. No firm or private individual would stand for that state of affairs. It is a downright shame. If what is happening between Bantry and Cork is happening in every part of the country it is quite understandable why Córas Iompair Éireann have to be subsidised by the Irish people to the tune of £1,500,000. That is wanton waste and while I do not want to see any man unemployed I say that that is unproductive employment. It is a waste of manpower, oil and petrol to employ buses to do work which could be more efficiently done by the train. That is true regarding this ever-growing bone of contention, the subsidising of the railways. Until the system is overhauled and the general manager and those responsible for the administration and direction of road and rail services take cognisance of that fact, no solution can be found. You have a train and bus running side by side for miles in the area I have mentioned. I do not want to refer to anything in a general way without putting a name and address on it. I am putting a name and address on it now—the service between Bantry and Cork. You have stations all along the way and it would not be a hardship on the general public if the bus service were removed. None of them would have to walk more than two or three miles to the nearest station.

Deputy Brennan referred to a matter in which I am interested, the development of the turf industry. Of late, of course, since the price of coal was reduced, there may not be the same desire to produce much turf or the same amount of turf as was produced in years gone by. I know very well that in public offices many officials have adversely commented on the use of turf as a fuel. I believe that whether they like it or not, the State should set an example. While we can produce in this country turf which will give productive employment to workers and will give sufficient heat to meet the needs of the people no coal should be imported for fires in offices or that type of work. I know that it must be imported for other work. No office under the control of the Government or a local authority should use anything but turf alone. They owe it to the people and to the workers, particularly the workers in poorer areas where turf is to be found, to set the example, and if they do it will be followed by other concerns.

I do not see for the life of me why we should send money to John Bull or to America, as we did in years gone by, to buy fuel when we have such unlimited supplies of turf throughout the country. Whether any officials like turf or coal let them go and be damned to them. Stern measures should be used by the Government to implement that argument. I am very sorry to say that in the area I come from the production of turf has been almost completely cut out. One of the causes for that is that local authority offices and institutions like hospitals were reluctant to burn turf. I know very well that you have a number of people in the country who are out to kill that industry. To tell the truth, I have sufficient reliance on the Minister to believe that he will not allow that to happen and that as much turf as possible will be produced in the country.

In his opening remarks, the Minister spoke of finding a market for hides. I was very interested in that item, because butchers all over the country, and particularly in my area, were complaining about the necessity for finding some market for the disposal of their hides. As many of these people are in business in a small way it has a very adverse effect on them. Some of them were fearful lest the hides they have in store would go bad—assuming that they do deteriorate over time. The Minister says that the whole crux arose because butchers and hide merchants withdrew the hides from the public market some time ago and instead of selling them at the prices then obtaining held on to them with a view to getting better prices from buyers. I heard that opinion expressed before. It may be true as far as the hide merchants are concerned.

I am not in a position to say whether it is or is not, but as far as small country butchers and butchers in provincial towns are concerned there is no truth whatever in that statement because usually those people are not sufficiently well off to hold over stocks of hides looking forward to increased prices. It is regrettable, of course, that so many hides were imported recently, and I believe that the Minister's Department must accept some responsibility for the bungling of the hides question. I do hope—and I infer it from the Minister's statement—that in the not too far distant future the position will be rectified. I feel, therefore, that there is no necessity for me to dwell on it any longer.

Electric current has been extended to a goodly number of areas all over the country, even isolated areas. In the constituency I come from seven or eight areas are looking forward to getting an extension as soon as practicable. I would ask the Minister to instruct—I am assuming that he can do so even though he may say that he has no function. That is the usual touch of Ministers: to say that they have no function in this matter or that —the Electricity Supply Board to expedite all those schemes which are pending.

My next point is the development of the slate industry in West Cork. I feel sure that the Minister has been made aware again and again in this House by various Deputies of the resources which are there.

We claim that we are entitled to a bacon factory as my area is the biggest bacon producing area in the country.

Remote areas like Schull and the Berehaven peninsula are under a disadvantage, and I hope that the Minister will take cognisance of the circumstances which obtain in those areas, and which are not to be found elsewhere in the country.

We have not got one farthing so far as industrial development is concerned in West Cork. We are very glad to see industrial expansion all over the country, but it has been of no benefit to us. On the contrary, it has adversely affected us because we have had to pay for the subsidies and to provide the money necessary to extend industries in other parts of the country. We deem it a national duty to do so and have no complaints. But, in view of the fact that there are so many resources to be developed in our area, we feel that we are entitled to get some share of the loaf and that we are entitled to get some industrial expansion in our district.

I wish the Minister every success in his efforts to expand industries. I hope that more useful industries will be established, because I cannot see the use of establishing an industry in any place if there is not a reasonable hope of its succeeding. There is no use in establishing an industry unless on a very sound basis. I hope that as a result of the Minister's activities industries will be established on a sound basis, particularly in a few places in my constituency. I hope that we will not be forgotten in the future as we have been in the past and that we will get our rightful share in West Cork of the national loaf.

In his opening remarks the Minister referred to the fact that one of the functions of his Department was to stimulate industrial development. I presume that has been one of the functions of the Department since it was established. But, if we look at the history of the stimulating process during the last 30 years, there are very few results to be seen in the West of Ireland. When I listen to the debates on these Estimates I become more disillusioned on each occasion. To be frank, I have very little hope that the present Administration, any more than the last Administration, will do anything concrete to remedy the dreadful position which obtains west of the Shannon.

The alternative to industrial expansion in the West and to the creation of employment is emigration. That has been the only alternative there for the last 30 years. I admit, of course, that in other parts of the country, especially in Dublin and Leinster areas, efforts have been made to establish suitable industries and to give essential employment. That, however, does not relieve this Government or any other Government of their responsibility to ensure that those areas which are not as well off as the others should not be neglected. I looked up some figures recently in order to see the lay-out of the industrial development which has taken place in the last few years. It will be an eye-opener for this House to realise that, although almost 20 per cent. of the population live in the five counties of Connaught, there has been little or no industrial development in that region. According to the most recent figures I could get, of the entire number of factories and industries set up in the Twenty-Six Counties under native Governments, 42 per cent. are situated in Dublin and Dún Laoghaire; 20 per cent. in the rest of Leinster; 26 per cent. in Munster; 5 per cent. in Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan; and 7 per cent. in the entire province of Connaught. These figures prove conclusively that successive Governments have completely ignored the West of Ireland.

Whether or not the present Administration woke up to this fact while they were in opposition or whatever the reason for it, when they got back into power they decided to tackle this problem and, as a result of their efforts, they introduced the Undeveloped Areas Bill, which is now an Act. As I described it when it was going through this House, that Act is nothing else but a sop to private enterprise. I do not like making rash statements, but I am convinced that that Act will do little or nothing to improve conditions in the West of Ireland.

I make no apology to anybody when I say that I have a first-class knowledge of several counties in the West of Ireland and I have interested myself in the matter since the Act was passed to see in what possible way that measure could be made successful in the West. Although I disagreed with the title of the Bill when it was introduced, I was prepared and still am prepared to help in all possible ways in view of the necessity for securing industrial expansion west of the Shannon. I am afraid, however, that all this Undeveloped Areas Act will do is to postpone the day when the State will have to step in and set up industries there and control them for a limited period.

The Minister had very little to tell us about what has been done under the Undeveloped Areas Act. Actually I think his remarks were confined to dealing with what is about to take place in Mayo. Without favouring any political Party in this House, I am inclined to believe that a by-election in each county in Connaught would be a very useful thing, because when I took up the Sunday Press during the recent by-election campaign I found in black letters in five different places on the one page headings such as “New Industry for Ballina”, “New Industry for Kiltimagh”, as well as hope being held out for some other places. I could nearly see the smoke rising out of the factory chimneys before the result of the by-election was announced. That is the type of propaganda which I deplore. Not alone are Fianna Fáil to blame, but all Parties in the House are to blame for holding out a carrot in front of the people and saying: “Vote for us and you will get this, that and the other.” If something was done it would be all right.

Do not sacrifice yourself on the altar.

I suggest to Deputy Corry that he should not "draw" me on that question because the Party to which he belongs did the same thing for the 16 years they were in office previously. They made promises, but there are very little results to be seen west of the Shannon from these promises. In fact, the only results are empty farmhouses because the people have gone to England and America. I will say that a great part of the blame can be laid on the Party to which I belong as well. In other words, none of us have been awake to our responsibilities for solving this problem of emigration. I will go further and say that it has been a godsend to every Party in the House that emigration does exist. The problem of unemployment at present is not as serious as the problem of emigration.

I wonder how this Government, the last Government or any Government would feel if to-morrow morning 50,000 Irish boys and girls came back or were sent back from Britain to find work in their own country? I am inclined to the belief that until Britain goes as low as she possibly can economically, and until Irish boys and girls are forced to return and set up a clamour at Leinster House, no Government will move sufficiently fast to provide them with the employment that it is the duty of the Government to provide for the youth of the country. I think it was Dean Swift who said that he never knew any man who could not suffer another's misfortunes perfectly like a Christian. That has been the attitude of political Parties in this country for the last 30 years; they have deplored emigration and unemployment and shed crocodile tears about these terrible twin evils but when it came to a question of taking active energetic steps to solve these problems, nothing of a practical kind was ever done.

In connection with the Undeveloped Areas Bill, I wonder whether Deputies realised at the time the measure was going through that they were really handing over something to private enterprise without any further control on the part of the State, that a present was being made to a group of private individuals who wanted to set up factories in order to make profits and that the taxpayers' money was being handed over to these individuals?

If Deputies realised that, have they taken into consideration the Tánaiste's statement to-day in which he tells us that it is necessary to allow high profits to our industrialists rather than have them putting their money into British gilt-edged securities? According to the Tánaiste it is essential that they be allowed high profits rather than allow that money to be exported and put into British gilt-edged securities. I am perfectly sure that the Tánaiste is aware that there is not a country in Europe to-day allows its capital to be exported outside its own territory. That applies to Italy, Germany, France or any of the other countries in Europe. If an Italian wanted to invest money in Ireland to-morrow morning, he would not be allowed to take out a sixpenny piece. The same applies to France or to any other country in the world which needs its money for capital development internally. So far as Ireland is concerned, any man who is lucky enough to have anything from £1,000 to £10,000, can invest it in Honolulu if he wishes to do so. He is going to be told that that is his privilege, that that is what private enterprise means in this country. Steps should be taken by the State to see that such money is utilised to provide the security of employment for people who need it. Of course, there are bound to be people who will tell you that it is a Socialist doctrine to say that private enterprise should be attacked. I do not care what it is called and whether inside or outside this House, I shall repeat that statement without fear of the consequences.

As I have said the Minister mentioned Mayo. I do not want to become parochial in this debate, but I am going to mention my own constituency of Roscommon for the moment. I think it is unique amongst all the counties in Ireland in that no industrial employment is given in that county. There is no factory of any description functioning in that county. The rate of emigration from it has been extremely high for the last 30 years. The county was blessed for 16 years with a Fianna Fáil Minister as one of its representatives, but in spite of that no industrial employment was given. Several abortive attempts were made by interested parties to try to get something going at various times, but all these efforts proved of no avail.

One of the main reasons, to my mind, why little success attended the efforts of these people is the fact that they have no knowledge or experience whatever of industrial concerns. What we call the "know-how" is just as essential in industry as the financial aspect. That is lacking, and until first-class advice is given or made available by the Department, we shall see little fruitful results in that county.

I shall give the Minister an example. In the vicinity of Roscommon town there are large deposits of clay that in years gone by were utilised for the manufacture of pottery of various sorts. In order to experiment and to explore the possibilities of starting an industry on those lines, it is essential that a survey be made of the clay and mineral deposits over a large area in the county. I believe the State should step in to do that. That is where a mineral research council, with funds at its disposal, could be of advantage, in making available to any interested group in Roscommon or any other town, full details with regard to the properties of the soil and so forth in the vicinity of these towns. Instead, when a group wish to carry out a big experiment like that they must provide funds themselves. That is a great disadvantage, because people are always cautious in subscribing to what, as far as they are concerned, may prove to be an abortive project. Consequently, their confidence must be aroused by the State stepping in and helping in the initial stages.

There was one point I overlooked when I mentioned Mayo, the project that is taking shape in Bangor-Erris. To my mind, that is an excellent scheme and I hope it proves very successful. I know that, so far in the initial stages, there is a very sceptical outlook amongst people in Mayo with regard to this project. One of the extraordinary features about it is that, in spite of the fact that you have a big number emigrating from Mayo every year and that there are large pockets of unemployed, those responsible for the operation of this scheme find it almost impossible to get men to work. I know for a fact that they could give employment to five times the number of men working there at the moment. Is it not essential that the reason for that should be thought out and that the proper remedy should be applied? The first thing that strikes my mind, at any rate, with regard to that locality is that a tradition has grown up there, over the last 50, 60 or more years, under which groups of young men go to England every year for a limited period of from two to three months.

If they make, perhaps, £200 or £300 working on beet and potato digging, they come home and get temporary employment with the county council or on special employment schemes with the Board of Works for portion of the remainder of the year. That tradition will have to be broken. The only way to do it is to pay decent wages. From the information at my disposal, the wages at present are not going to tempt any of those men to work on this scheme. We have the position that there are lorries travelling ten and 12 miles every day to collect four or five men to go to work. On one morning, the lorry may collect 12 to 15 men, and the next morning it will collect four. Therefore, the overhead expenses in regard to transport of staff will be enormous so far as the scheme is concerned. In my opinion, it would be a much sounder economic proposition to pay high wages to those men who would cycle seven or eight miles to the work. I want to mention that to the Minister because I sincerely hope that the scheme will be a success.

Did the Deputy say that those men could earn £200 or £300?

They can earn from £200 to £300 in a period of three months in Scotland and England on potato digging and on beet work. With regard to Bord na Móna, I understand the Minister is bringing in a Bill in the near future. There are only one or two aspects of the board's work that I want to deal with. I was very much surprised to hear that we have local authorities who are prepared to use oil or foreign coal in preference to the native peat or native coal. I think the Minister would have the backing of every member of the House in any steps he might consider it necessary to take in order to bring it home to these local authorities and institutions, as well as private firms, how important it is that we should utilise the native fuel resources we have.

I should like to know from the Minister what he meant by saying that there will be a reasonably good price for hand-won turf this year. He mentioned market value. I think Deputy Norton asked him what the market value is to be. The Minister said it would vary from area to area. I do not think that is a fair answer to give with regard to the market value of hand-won turf.

The price of hand-won turf is bound up, to a great extent, with the importation of foreign fuel. If we could import to-morrow morning as much British coal as we desired that would be the death knell of hand-won turf, because all the talk in the world is not going to persuade the housewives in the towns and cities to take turf if they can get coal, even though the price of the coal would be much dearer.

I think the Minister should examine the possibility of giving a guaranteed price for hand-won turf. There can be various objections put up to that, but I cannot see why he should not explore the possibility of offering, say 12 months ahead, a guarantee that hand-won turf will fetch such and such a price, and that producers will get so much a ton for it. The question of quality and so forth is a matter that could be examined apart from that. I see no reason why the producers of turf should not get the same treatment as the producers of coal. There is a guaranteed price for coal in Britain. Coal is a raw product in England, one of their most essential products, and no one is going to produce coal there without that guaranteed price. I see no reason why we cannot do the same with our fuel resources in turf.

In regard to Bord na Móna, there is another point that I want to raise about the transport of fuel. With regard to its transport to Dublin and elsewhere, complaints have been made to me on several occasions by private hauliers down the country. These men are anxious to get a few days' work now and again from the board in hauling turf to Dublin and elsewhere. Instead of that being done, contracts for the transport of the turf seem to be placed in the hands of one or two individuals in Dublin. I think it would be only fair to give men in the country who have trucks, and who live in the vicinity of the bogs, a chance of earning something in transporting the turf. I would ask the Minister to look into that.

The question of increasing our exports to America in order to earn more dollars is one which, I am sure, has caused this Government grave concern, if one is to judge from statements made by the Minister and other members of the Government. Bearing those statements in mind, it would appear that they are anxious to expand our industry to such an extent that far more dollars will be available to us than are available at present.

I should like to repeat a suggestion I made here before in connection with increasing our dollar earnings. I know it cannot be done overnight. It would certainly take a few years, but if a start had been made in 1948, when I advocated it here, I have no hesitation in saying that we would have increased our dollar earnings to a very large extent to-day. My remarks at that time, in 1948, were directed towards the whiskey trade. At the risk of being misrepresented again, I am going to try and impress on the Minister that Irish whiskey can be one of the best dollar earners available to us if proper steps are taken to expand the trade. Our whiskey exports to-day to America are negligible. It is admitted that the best whiskey in the world is made in Ireland. We have the raw materials available for its manufacture, good malting barley, and yet we see that the world market for it has been captured by foreign distillers who have no qualms of conscience whatever in suggesting that their product has been produced in Ireland.

This very important industry has been left in the hands of private enterprise. Those gentlemen have done little or nothing to expand the business, and so increase the national wealth. I would say that 50 years ago we had at least a score of distilleries in Ireland. To-day, I think the number is approximately six. I think the time has come when those who control this very important industry should be made realise their duty to this State, otherwise steps will be taken to see that they do.

I need not explain in detail to the House the tremendous benefits that would be conferred on the farming community if the whiskey trade were expanded. There would be employment when the barley went to the maltster, there would be a rich cash crop for the farmer, there would be employment for workers and, with a big export of whiskey, you would have the residue of the grain which could be utilised for feeding live stock. It would be retained in the country. I have not exact figures as to what is the amount of Irish whiskey sold in the American market. I know it is infinitesimal when compared to what the Scottish distillers, who got into the market before us, are able to earn. I see no reason why the Minister could not get the distillers in Ireland together and point out to them the necessity to co-operate and to produce one or two blends of Irish whiskey that would be sold abroad as standard Irish whiskey. It need not be sold here in Ireland at all. It could be sold abroad as first-class Irish whiskey, and it could be given some name such as "Moonlight in Mayo". I leave it to the imagination of the Minister who, I know, has a good one, to think up a better name for it. I hope some heed will be taken of this suggestion. The taxpayer will not have to be bled in order to put up the money for it as for some such scheme as the transatlantic air service. My suggestion is a far simpler way of collecting dollars. The unfortunate taxpayers of this country will not have to subscribe another £1,000,000 towards something that may not prove to be successful.

Córas Iompair Éireann has been mentioned. It is disappointing to learn that the state will be faced next year with the task of providing a further subsidy—perhaps an increased subsidy—to keep Córas Iompair Éireann in operation. I hope that the Minister, irrespective of the political consequences, will take steps to bring this organisation into line as soon as possible. I understand that, at the moment, a number of the staff are quietly being laid off in various areas. If there is a question of staff being laid off, I think that it should be done on a fair basis. It is no good to start with the unfortunate man at the bottom just because he happens to be at the bottom and to lay him off first. I am quite convinced that a great clearance could take place in the top and second highest storeys of the administrative side of Córas Iompair Éireann. It is very difficult to clear out those particular storeys when these people themselves have the responsibility of reducing the staff. Certainly, they are not going to reduce their own ranks when the ranks below them have to be depleted. It would take an outside body to go thoroughly into the question of Córas Iompair Éireann and employment in Córas Iompair Éireann.

Complaints were made to me here in town—I do not know how true they are —that there is a considerable wastage of money with regard to staff cars, and so forth, utilised by the executive and higher officers of Córas Iompair Éireann. I am not mentioning the names either of the persons about whom I heard the complaints or the persons who made the complaints. I am informed that every morning from 10.30 onwards it is an impossibility to get a Córas Iompair Éireann staff car because most of them are being used to bring the wives of the higher executives out shopping. That is a matter into which the Minister can look himself: he is in a better position to do so than I am. I would point out that these matters have been discussed by the lower ranks of Córas Iompair Éireann and that that is how they came to my notice. I am inclined to believe that the source of my information is pretty reliable.

There is great overlapping with regard to the Córas Iompair Éireann inspectorate staff in rural areas. A staff car leaves a particular town in the country to make a spot check on the buses. Another staff car leaves for the same route and makes a spot check for the haulage department. In other words, two cars are utilised where one car could do the job, but under the present system the bus inspector and the inspector belonging to the haulage department travel in different vehicles. I presume they think it would be improper for both of them to travel in one vehicle in connection with the carrying out of their duties.

I am sure that a great deal of money could be saved if there were a thorough check-up on the administration of Córas Iompair Éireann. I think there are too many bosses in Córas Iompair Éireann and too many people who are able to pass the buck to the next fellow. The position could be remedied greatly if an independent inquiry were held into the running of Córas Iompair Éireann itself by experts in the Minister's own Department.

There is another matter in regard to Córas Iompair Éireann which I am anxious to bring to the Minister's attention and to the attention of the company. I brought it to the attention of the company myself but so far I have got no satisfaction or, at any rate, I have not received any word as to whether they are going to do anything about it. It concerns bus tours in Connemara. I understand that every week the radio train leaves Dublin for Galway and that the passengers are then taken for a bus tour through Connemara. On their way down to Galway on the radio train the passengers are given a great description of the beauties of Connemara and of all that they will see there in the course of their bus tour. The route of the bus tour from Galway through Connemara was, until recently, an excellent route. The bus would leave Galway, pass through Oughterard, Maam Cross, Maam itself, Cornamona and back to Galway by Headford. Recently, a new route was made out for the bus tour and it is as follows: Galway, Oughterard, Maam Cross then off to Screeb, Derrynea and Spiddal. Anybody who knows Connemara knows that there is no more desolate or barren country in Ireland than can be seen during the latter part of that route. Several American tourists whom I happened to meet in Galway complained to me about this route. I do not know whether or not they were serious but some of them said that they would never come here again. They said they were led to believe that they would be shown wonderful scenery and that they would see the Maam Valley and Connemara at its best. Instead, a new tour was made out and it avoided the really beautiful spots in Connemara. There is a still more serious aspect of the matter in relation to this tour. A picture was filmed in Cong—The Quiet Man: I understand that it is being shown in Dublin at present.

The scenery for that film was shot in the Cong and Headford areas. Many of those visitors to Ireland to whom I have referred have seen this film in Dublin and when they go to Galway they want to see the area where the scenes for that film were shot. The former bus tour passed through the area in question because the bus went through Headford. However, now that the film in question has come to Ireland some genius in the top storey of Córas Iompair Éireann has seen fit to change the bus route and has avoided the area where the scenes for the film were shot. I hope the Minister will bring that matter to the attention of whoever is responsible for it in Córas Iompair Éireann. I am not the only person who has received complaints about this matter. I understand that various people in Galway have taken up the matter with Córas Iompair Éireann but that, so far, they have met with little or no success.

The Minister mentioned the high prices for clothing and the drapery position in general. He took the opportunity the other night to tell the public that he did not believe that there would be any further reduction in the price of clothing and that it was practically the duty of the public to turn round now and start buying clothing again. As far as I am concerned, in any publicity that is ever afforded to me down the country or elsewhere, I will tell the people the very opposite. It is just too bad that the big stick is going to be held over the people that if they do not buy clothing now they are going to be responsible for causing unemployment in the clothing factories, and so forth.

I think that is untrue. The position is that most of these large drapers, at any rate, have stocks on hand, and due to the fall that has also taken place outside this country in the price of wool and clothing of all sorts, they are now faced with the position that they have to reduce the price of clothing. They do not want to do that and they have held out for the last 12 months. They were very well able to hold out for the simple reason that they accumulated very great profits for the last nine or ten years. It is not too much to ask them to reduce still further the price of clothing and I would appeal to the public, in their own interests, not to buy and thus force these individuals to reduce the price of clothing still further. It is just too bad, as I said, to hold the big stick over the public's head: "If you do not buy you will cause unemployment in the factories." I say to the drapers: "If you do not reduce your prices you will be responsible for causing unemployment," because I have no hesitation in saying that, if the prices are reduced, the public will buy them. They are on strike at the moment against buying dear clothes and I think the public are right in that.

I do not know whether I am entitled to raise the question of Cement Limited, on this Estimate, but I understand that there is a Bill on restrictive trade practices coming into operation shortly and any remarks I have to make on both Cement Limited, and on the cigarette manufacturers I will reserve for that particular debate.

I would like to ask the Minister, if he is entitled to give this information, whether there are any reasonable prospects of industrial development in any part of my constituency within the next 12 months. I think that is a very fair question. I repeat what I said at the beginning of my remarks that it will be essential that we have a by-election in that constituency in order to get the Minister down there, as he went to Ballina and said that he would start an industry within the following 12 months, and we must also decide whether it will be the Minister for Justice who will resign or myself——

We cannot lose a Minister. Toss up with Deputy Finan.

I think it will not be safe for him to appear in the constituency in view of the fact that nothing has been promised by the Tánaiste there. As it is not likely that we will have the by-election—I trust the Minister will give us results without going to that extent.

The first thing I would like to do is to join hands with Deputy McQuillan as far as Córas Iompair Éireann are concerned. It is time that this House and the Government had a show down in regard to Córas Iompair Éireann. When you have a firm or a body of men brought into control of an undertaking or something and where that body of men start off with the knowledge: "Carry on, whatever way you like. Whatever loss you have we will pay up at the end of the year," you are bound to have the mess you have in Córas Iompair Éireann at present and I say it is, on the part of those responsible, a deliberate mess. Would anybody outside a lunatic asylum dream of running six trains a day from Cork City up to Dublin? I can quite understand a morning train, a mid-day train and a night train but why on earth should there be a train at 8 in the morning, another one at 11.25 a.m., a third one, for fear anyone would miss that, at 12 o'clock, another at 1.15 p.m., another at 3 p.m. and another at 9 p.m.

And all single tickets.

All heading for Dublin and anybody travelling in them will have this knowledge that he will have no bother in getting a berth. All he has to do is to go in and lie down. No one will bother him. He can reserve a carriage to himself and sleep all the way from Cork to Dublin.

That is the condition of affairs which, as I have said repeatedly here, it is time to stop. I admit we cannot expect anything better when the generalissimo comes only once a month from Belfast to have a look around. I do not know how much he gets for the trip.

To whom is the Deputy referring as coming from Belfast once a month?

I am not here to be questioned. The Deputy was long enough in charge of Córas Iompair Éireann to know a little about it

The Deputy obviously knows nothing about it. There is nobody who comes from Belfast once a month.

Is there not?

All right.

There is one statement nailed.

I suppose it is nailed because you say it.

The Minister will copper-fasten it, I suppose.

Anyone who likes can copper-fasten it. I would say this, that we have succeeded in getting Irishmen in this country to prove themselves masters of industry, who proved that they were able to take up industries in this country and make a success of them. I need only allude to the Sugar Company and to Irish Steel as two examples. Surely there is somebody else left in the Twenty-Six Countries that you could put in charge of Córas Iompair Éireann and get rid of the duds. As far as the rural community are concerned, anyway, they have come to the breaking point as far as the restrictions and manceuvres towards further restrictions are concerned. You cannot take a lorry such a distance. You may not go to Mallow with a lorry-load of beet. You may not do this, you may not do that, you may not do the other. All these taboos are there in order to feed a company that, despite all the food it gets, cannot live within its revenue.

How many transport firms could we have here? How many successful transport firms have we seen operating here in the past? I have seen successful firms in Cork travelling up to Dublin once or twice a week with goods. Here is a company with all the transport thrown into its lap, and yet it cannot make a success of its business. I wonder what it costs to run these six trains to Dublin every day? Is there any end to it? The rural community is bled white in order that these people may carry on with their figaries. I do not want to go into this matter any further now. I shall deal with it by means of question later on. We will probably find a Belfastman in the middle of it.

The Deputy should not name individuals. It is not the practice of this House.

I have named no individuals. I was very careful not to do so, despite the invitation of an ex-Minister who ought to know better. I have here before me the imports of clothing during the past four months. There is the extraordinary sum of £615,000 for personal clothing and wearing apparel. Is it possible that there are 156,000 people here who cannot blow their noses unless they have English handkerchiefs to blow them in? Thirteen thousand dozen handkerchiefs were imported at a cost of £5,000 odd. For what? Does nobody in this country make them? For hats and caps we paid £39,000.

I live in a constituency where the people have paid the piper for foreign imports over the last 12 months. We have no intention of continuing that. Surely there are manufacturers here who could make caps for the men and hats for the ladies. Why this extraordinary sum of £615,000, more than half a million, for personal clothing and wearing apparel imported during the last four months? I suggest it is time that stopped.

We hear of the thousands who are flying from Roscommon and elsewhere because there is no work for them. I look round the towns of Midleton and Youghal, and I see the unemployed there. Another item that amazes me is the import of horseshoes at a cost of £9,000 during the past four months. I thought we had been completely mechanised. Apparently the horseshoes are now being brought in ready-made and shoved on to the nags.

Since the establishment of our own Government, I have heard people both here and on public platforms state that those garrison towns that lost through the removal of the British soldiers would be their first care in so far as the establishment of industries is concerned. Thirty years have passed since the British soldiers cleared out of Fermoy and in those 30 years no industry has been established there to provide employment for the people. The town is left derelict. Surely it is not beyond the ingenuity of the Department of Industry and Commerce to find an industry for that town. We have heard a good deal of the special areas west of the Shannon. I have a deep feeling for the people west of the Shannon, but I cannot close my eyes to the position of my own constituents.

I asked the Minister a question to-day about the extension of the Haulbowline steelworks. I congratulate the Minister on the steps taken to put the sheet mill into operation. I was a long time appealing for that across the floor of this House and being put off from Billy to Jack. I am glad the mill is now being built up, but there are other mills in Haulbowline that can also be put into operation. I suggest a tinplate mill should be the first of them. We are now establishing canning industries. Last year we paid Britain £2,051,000 for cans and tins. If war breaks out and we enter another period of emergency we will find ourselves in a serious position unless steps are now taken to establish a tinplate mill here. Only for the steps taken by the Minister in connection with Irish steel in the past we would have found ourselves in a very precarious position between 1939 and 1947. I realise that, but I suggest that now is the time to go ahead. We have already lost three and a half years in which we could have made substantial progress.

The time has arrived now to get going on it.

I would suggest further to the Minister that there is room for a canning factory in Fermoy which would be near enough to a steel mill to get its raw material. That is an industry that would give employment to 150 or 200 men, decent employment which would end the block which at present exists in my constituency. It is time it was ended.

I am anxious also to know whether there has been any developments in connection with Cloyne Clay. I understand that the E.C.A. officials paid a visit there when they were in this country some time ago and that they suggested some developments there. I wonder what the Department of Industry and Commerce has done about it. I suggest that it is time they got a move on, to save me the bother and annoyance of asking questions here. I do not wish to be plastering the Order Paper with questions, but I can promise the Minister that until the matters I have spoken of here are rectified —and there is room for rectification— I will be a bit of an annoyance.

I am anxious that the progress made in Irish Steel would be continued. The information I have received is that Irish Steel can be expanded in Haulbowline to give employment up to 1,200 men, that that goal has been set and that all that is preventing that goal from being achieved now is the delay in the Department of Industry and Commerce getting a move on and arranging the necessary finance to get it going. I suggest that where we are paying £2,000,000 to the foreigner for tin plate alone and paying some £9,000,000 a year for other iron goods, there is an opening there for us in East Cork to extend our industry and give employment to our people.

I am gravely worried about the position in Fermoy. I suggest to the Minister that it is time that this talk of its being the function of private enterprise should be dropped. Whatever Government is here, whatever Irish Government is in this House, it has a responsibility to the towns that were garrison towns in the British period and that responsibility will have to be lived up to. It is a sad condition of affairs that men living in that town should have no industry to give employment. They see their families growing up, with no outlet for them until such time as they reach 24 or 25 and, if they have not gone before then out of the town, they are then known as unemployable, to be a burden on the rest of the people of the country for their lifetime.

Whether we like it or not, we must go ahead with industry until we come to the point where this table of imports will be practically wiped out. Any Deputy who goes down to the Library and goes through that list will find in it food for thought as regards employment possibilities. He will see in it plenty of opportunity for industry, to give every young man decent employment in his own land. I know that what has been manufactured by Irish Steel during the past 12 months would have cost us at least £1,000,000 more for the same amount of material if we had to import it. That much has been saved to us, besides giving employment to 600 decent young Irishmen in that industry. I am also informed now that that number can be doubled if the Department of Industry and Commerce will just get a move on. I suggest to the Minister that whatever particular cog is out of tune there, he should get rid of the cog and get the work on.

When I got this revised Estimate yesterday, I was expecting to see in it a number of reductions. There has been just one change, the change in the subsidies. I was anxious to see what the administrative expenses would be. If the subsidies are off, you immediately expect that the cost of the Civil Service connected with it would be reduced. Instead of that, I see that, even in the revised Estimate, the cost of salaries, wages and allowances is increased by £15,000. I was led to believe that cost would be very much reduced. On Thursday, 1st May, the Minister for Finance said here, replying to the debate on the Budget:—

"By a tax scheme of this kind the £15,240,000 is collected without any highly elaborate machinery. But to give it back again to the million or so persons from whom it was originally collected requires a most elaborate organisation, heavily staffed with civil servants, millions of ration books and millions upon millions of coupons, each of which, in theory at least, must be carefully kept, then surrendered and checked and finally given up to those who first issued it.

It costs quite an amount to collect the £15,240,000 from the taxpayer but it costs a very great deal more to give it back again in the subsidised tea, bread and butter. The consumer, as taxpayer, pays the cost in both cases."

That is taken from Volume 131, column 955.

Now the consumer is paying the cost, the subsidies have been taken off, and one would expect that he would get relief in the second case, and that there would no longer be that big staff employed. Apparently there is no change so far. When Deputy Corry asked a question this evening, another Deputy asked: "Do you want unemployment?" I do not want unemployment, but I suggest that that staff could be sent to other Government Departments. As a matter of fact, I was in the Land Registry to-day, and they seem to be 12 months behind time. Some of the staff from Industry and Commerce could be sent to the Land Registry to bring it up to date and to give people the title to their plots that they are looking for, instead of it taking 12 months as it does at present. That would give people a chance to get their titles within a reasonable time.

I was very glad to hear the Minister tell us of the progress that has been made since he introduced the Undeveloped Areas Bill. I am very glad to hear that something like five new factories have been started and that there is talk of 11 more. My opinion is that, outside Dublin, Waterford, Cork and a few other east coast towns, the remainder of the Twenty-Six Counties is an undeveloped area.

There has not been one decent industry started in my own city or county during the past 15 years. We have some very fine towns but no industry has been started in any of them. I would suggest to the Minister that the application of the Undeveloped Areas Act should be extended to these other towns. Industrialists and others who come here to start an industry should get some special inducement by way of relief of rates for ten or 15 years or by remission of the corporation profits tax. Unless they get those reliefs, industrialists will establish industries in the City of Dublin and around the seaport towns.

On my way to Dublin, I see new industries started at Inchicore and other places. Inchicore is extending very far down the road now. When I leave my own town and county, I see no industry at all. The fact that industries have not been established in my county is not the fault of the people. It is not the fault of the people that industries have not been started in Kilkenny City. Within the past 12 months, the Chamber of Commerce has sent several deputations to the Department of Industry and Commerce. They were told that they should procure the book of imports for the previous 12 months, study it and, when they had done so, to come back and state whether they were able to do anything. The deputation was informed that when people came to the Department with a view to having industries started they had in mind where they would start them.

There is an overflow of staff in the Department of Industry and Commerce and I would suggest that the Minister should require that staff to devote its special energies towards developing industries instead of having them tell people to study a book of imports when they come on a deputation to the Department.

We do not want big grants like the people in the West of Ireland are getting. We in Kilkenny are able to put up the money in reasonable amounts if the people think there are reasonable prospects of success. They would put up £50,000 or £100,000 in the morning if they had any prospects of success. Within the past few years, we had a rather unfortunate experience as regards a local industry but we got over that. The business people and the workers are anxious to see that the city should go ahead in the industrial life of the country.

Every year we hear of Dublin becoming top-heavy. It is getting top-heavy. I would suggest that the Minister should try and provide some facilities by way of a remission of rates for ten years or a remission of the corporation profits tax.

The Minister says that, when industrialists got special facilities in the West of Ireland, some, who intended starting industries in the east, changed their minds and started them in the west of the country. Industrialists should get some special facilities, especially in the inland towns. We have a very large industry in South Kilkenny. It was established there by reason of the fact that it is on the seaboard. We could not get anything like that in Kilkenny because it is an inland city. It is up to the Government to give us help. We do not want anything free. We will pay our way and we will put up the money if we get the facilities to which I have referred.

The Minister referred to the rates of manufacturers' profits this evening. I think he mentioned that 5.6 per cent. was the rate of profit on the turnover and that it was 4 per cent. or 5 per cent. for retailers. I am sure the Minister is right. He mentioned two people who formed part of a chain, but there is a third person who often forms a link in that chain. I refer to the wholesaler.

Quite recently, the case of a wholesaler in Dublin was brought to my notice. I do not know whether he has a showroom. He might have an office. He collected 25 per cent. gross profit on a transaction. He came between the manufacturer and the retailer and collected the 25 per cent. Possibly, the Minister did not investigate that. The Minister stated there were two people. They would want that profit and a little more, too, to carry on with the purchasing of machinery and other things. There is another person who just cashes in. He merely uses the telephone, and in the particular case that was brought to my notice he collected 25 per cent. on a certain transaction.

The Minister also mentioned that he was going to decontrol margarine and that we would have better margarine. What is the motive behind that? Does he expect that the people will be unable to purchase the butter at the new price and that he will give them a better quality margarine? It looks very like it.

As regards the decontrol of prices, the Minister stated that in certain cases decontrolling of prices would mean a reduction. I know of one particular industry in this country who looked for a decontrol of prices but it did not mean a reduction. That was the bacon industry. I remember it being said that if the price of bacon was decontrolled there would be a reduction, but the price of the bacon increased, while the price of the pigs did not. At the present time, bacon is a luxury on everybody's table. The ordinary townsman might get a bit of bacon once a week. That is the result of the decontrolling of prices in that way.

The Minister glided very lightly over the unemployment position. He mentioned that the trade recession was due to the high prices of cloth and to buyers' resistance. This time 12 months the Minister tried to put the blame for unemployment on the inter-Party Government's stockpiling and on the amount of material imported. He said that caused unemployment in the woollen and other industries. The 12 months have passed but the unemployment problem is still there. The people in one particular industry in my own town have not worked a day for the past eight months. The people in another industry have not worked for three or four months. The position now is that of one day off and one day on.

The same applies to the boot and shoe industry. In that connection we have a very progressive firm in Kilkenny. They procured foreign markets and they are able to get on fairly well but the business they do is nothing compared with the business they did during the period of the inter-Party Government. Some industries are lucky to be able to drag out full time. The boot and shoe industry is the one industry in Kilkenny that is working full time and I want to congratulate them.

The Government should help those industries. It has the power to do those things. It is the Government's responsibility to do it. The former Minister for Industry and Commerce took it very nicely. I could not go back to the unemployed in Kilkenny and say that the Government cannot help them owing to the world situation. It is up to the Government to help. There is no use now attributing the unemployment problem to stockpiling or anything else.

In the Dáil recently I asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce whether he would state the allowances which had been granted to bakers on the purchase of flour. The Minister stated that millers were permitted to get certain allowances and that recent representations were made to him suggesting the flat price for flour supplied to all bakers was being examined but he could foresee serious difficulties in giving effect to such a scheme. I would like to draw the Minister's attention to the fact that there is one firm in Dublin alone who, through those extra allowances, collects in the region of £600 a week or £30,000 a year.

When the Government have to collect taxes to subsidise certain articles, I do not see why one particular firm should be able to get £30,000 per year from the Government to carry on and to compete with those who do not receive that amount. It is up to the Government first to save a certain amount in taxes and to give everybody in industry a chance. Why should one firm be subsidised? It might have been all right in 1938 when bakers were prepared to leave contracts for a 12-month period with millers in order to get a big reduction. There is no such thing now. There are fixed prices. It is only fair to the trade which asked me to put these questions that the Minister should seriously look into the matter. There is no reason why one firm should be subsidised by the Government to the tune of £30,000.

I feel that it was the gloomy speeches made in the beginning of this year and the bank restrictions, which were suggested to the banks by the Government, that were in a great part the cause of the trade recession and the present unemployment. The Government went out, from a political point of view, to create the impression that this country was bankrupt. It is not bankrupt. It is a fine country that can be compared with any other country. Speeches were made by members of the Government purely for the purpose of Party politics. I regret that that should be the case. If we do not get a change of Government, the present Government should change its line in making speeches on this subject.

I would like to start on a personal note inasmuch as I want to compliment the Minister on his restoration to health, and on the vigour with which he is applying himself to the work of his Department. Over the past year there has been a considerable amount of work put into the whole sphere of industrial development. The legislation passed by this House has been of a progressive nature, and has been fairly comprehensive. We have had the Undeveloped Areas Act, the Tourist Act. the Electricity Supply Act. All these pieces of legislation are designed to expand industrial development, and to promote the investment of additional capital in our resources. That is what the country requires.

A good deal has been said over the past year about the necessity to repatriate external assets. The only effective way to repatriate external assets is to develop our resources in every possible way, and to get industries going wherever that can be done.

Deputy Morrissey was quite right when he said that the period of inter-Party Government had shown that industrial development does not depend on one Party, that other Parties are not opposed to industrial development. It was necessary to prove that because the speeches of many prominent members of the present Opposition Parties would lead one to believe that the Fine Gael Party, in particular, were very strongly opposed to industrial development. We have had fairly savage attacks in this House from time to time on prominent individuals, and often during the past years on industrialists, who were described as racketeers. It is undesirable that that type of attack should continue. If there is a particular instance of a manufacturer or a merchant profiteering, it is right and proper that that should be exposed, but it is entirely wrong to brand the entire community engaged in the development of Irish industry as racketeers or profiteers. That attitude has done considerable harm to industrial development in this State.

I do not quite endorse the views expressed by Deputy McQuillan. His speech, to a great extent, was an attack on private enterprise. He said that the State should go out and establish factories all over the country. We have some experience of the State running enterprises. We have Córas Iompair Éireann, for example. I do not think that experience is very encouraging. I would prefer that private enterprise should get a fair chance. If the State were to undertake the production of boots, clothing or other essential commodities, we would find it a very expensive business and perhaps a very burdensome one so far as the taxpayer is concerned. We have enough invalids to carry on our back at the present time in Córas Iompair Éireann.

Deputy McQuillan was expressing a point of view which is too prevalent in this country. He said there were no industries in Roscommon. It is no wonder that there are no industries when a representative of Roscommon has the viewpoint expressed by Deputy McQuillan in regard to enterprise. If it is the attitude to wait for the Government to establish factories in any county and to run them, there is no hope of industrial development.

Deputy McQuillan criticised the Government for merely giving initial grants for the establishment of industries in undeveloped areas and then leaving the companies to fend for themselves. He suggested that the State should not only establish the industries, but should run them. We must get away from that attitude. It is to a great extent the cause of the lack of speed in industrial development. It is gratifying to know from the Minister that there is under consideration at the present time a very large number of new industrial enterprises. I think the Minister mentioned over 50, which are in course of consideration or development. That is encouraging.

I would like to see a little more of that development in my own constituency. In East Wicklow there has been a considerable amount of industrial development but in the western portion of the county very little has been done. The people there are anxious to promote some small industry if they can do so. They are not too ambitious. It is not easy to get a new industry under way. It requires the goodwill of all sections of the community and the goodwill of all Parties in this House to get a worthwhile new industry under way.

I was one of those in the House who were pleased to hear the Minister say that as far as food production is concerned the prospect for the next 20 years is good. He did not say it in that way. I think he said that there was very little prospect or likelihood of any reduction in food prices over the next 20 years. A country that depends mainly for its existence and its prosperity on the production and export of food should be gratified to know that the prospects for the main industry are relatively sound.

That reminds me that, because of the world wide demand for food, all industries associated with the processing and finishing of food products, mainly for export, should be developed to the fullest extent. As we know, there is a world wide shortage of food at the present time. Everything possible should be done to make the maximum use of the food available in this country and to export any surplus at the highest price which can be procured. It is gratifying to see that the meat processing industry and the carcase industry are expanding. I feel there is room for a big expansion in our bacon industry. Pig production should be speedily expanded and this would naturally lead to a big expansion in the bacon industry.

This may be a small matter, but I often wondered why an industry has not been established in this country for the utilisation of our surplus rabbits. At the present time rabbits are threatening the very existence of our agricultural industry, because they are overrunning a large portion of the country. I do not know whether or not it would be possible to establish an industry for the utilisation of the meat, the skins and the furs of rabbits. Such an industry would be both welcome and desirable. It would not only have the effect of relieving the agricultural industry but it would also add to our export trade. As we know, rabbits are not saleable, to any great extent, during the summer, and that is the time they do the maximum amount of destruction.

Deputy Morrissey and Deputy Crotty were inclined to blame the present Government for the recession which has come about in certain industries, particularly the textile industry, during the past year. I cannot believe they were really serious in these accusations, because there was a similar recession in every other country. If the making of gloomy speeches has an effect on trade, Deputies in the Fine Gael Party should certainly curb Deputy McGilligan, who recently made one of the most gloomy forecasts in regard to trade and industry in this country that has been heard for a considerable time. I feel he served no useful purpose in publicly stating during the past week that there are prospects of increased unemployment and of a further recession in trade in this country. In my view, the recession that has taken place has, to a great extent, spent itself and we can look forward to steadily improving conditions. The progressive measures adopted by the present Government have tended to bring this about. Judging by the policy adopted over the past year by the present Government, I think there is a reasonable prospect of further development.

I was glad to hear the Minister referring to the necessity and to the desirability of promoting increased use of home-produced fuel in every possible way both in industries and in institutions under Government control. There is no reason why State Departments, local authorities and State companies should not be foremost in promoting the utilisation of home-produced fuel. State companies are helping the development of other Irish industries. Bord na Móna has purchased a considerable amount of turf-cutting machinery which has been manufactured by Irish firms. The Irish Sugar Company has done very useful work in promoting the manufacture in this country of up-to-date agricultural implements of various kinds I feel that is a step in the right direction.

In this country we are dependent to a great extent upon foreign enterprise in regard to the mechanisation of agriculture. A firm with capital, such as the Irish Sugar Company which is primarily interested in agriculture, can do, and I am happy to say are doing, a good deal of pioneering work in promoting the production of agricultural implements suited to our particular agricultural conditions. Many agricultural implements manufactured in other countries are primarily designed for conditions which operate in the United States and in other places. What we need here is machinery designed for our own peculiar conditions. There is room for very wide expansion in the home production of modern agricultural implements. In this case, it is not a question of tariffs, of quotas or of anything else. If Irish firms had a proper design for their implements and if they were encouraged to produce implements which would in the main be suitable for tractors, they would be cheaper than the imported ones. The price for many standard tractor implements is very high. We are all aware that not only is the manufacturers' price high but that there is a very substantial rake off for agents and for those who handle distribution. It is necessary to examine this problem with a view to cutting down the cost of such implements and with a view to manufacturing them here, so giving additional employment to Irish workers. Those who are engaged in the manufacture of agricultural implements should be encouraged to be more progressive and more modern in their approach to this matter. If existing industries are not prepared to meet the needs of the agricultural industry in this respect, efforts should be made to establish new industries who would take up this work.

The Minister referred to the fact that there has been a considerable increase in grants for the development of our harbours. This is particularly important from the point of view of the east coast. The harbours at Wicklow and at Arklow are crying out for development. Manufacturing industries are fairly extensive in both these areas. Both these harbours are in very bad condition, and money spent on their development would benefit not only the towns concerned, but the industries which depend to a considerable extent on them.

I should like to know if the Minister could indicate what are the prospects of continued mineral development in the Avoca mines. These mines have been worked over a long period, and, in the past four or five years, they have been developed by the Mineral Development Company at considerable State expense. There is the prospect of the discovery of a large quantity of workable ores in the area, and I should like to know what success has attended the exploration efforts over the past couple of years. Exploration work in the area has been very considerable, and a large amount of public money has been expended. The people in the district, and particularly the workers, are anxious to know what is the prospect of getting these mines into permanent production, because, so long as the operations are in the exploration stage, as at present, there is very little real stability about them. I should like to know if the Minister has any information as to whether they are proving worthy of development. It is a very important matter for the district and it would be no harm if we had a reassurance in regard to it. The mines contain quite a number of valuable ores, but everything, of course, depends on the quantity and their availability. There is a certain amount of uneasiness amongst the workers in regard to the future of the mines, and it would be a good thing if the fears expressed by some of the workers were set at rest.

I was glad to hear the Minister say that it is the intention of the Government to review the entire position with regard to apprenticeship in industry. All restrictions upon the entry into industry or skilled trades should, so far as possible, be removed. The trade unions concerned should take a broad-minded and farseeing view in the matter of the entry into industry of young workers. I do not think anybody will contend that any serious harm can be done in giving every young man a chance to take up any skilled trade he has a bent for. We should give youth its full chance and, by so doing, we may create new industries, because it is in the brains and enterprise and initiative of young people that lies the hope of expansion and development in industry. No restriction whatever should be placed upon the entry into various skilled trades of young apprentices and they should be given every encouragement to learn the manual skill which is far more important at present to this nation's economic life than the academic qualifications and degrees obtained in our secondary schools and universities.

It is deplorable that there does not seem to be any real immediate prospect of Córas Iompair Éireann becoming a paying concern. The position will have to be tackled fairly drastically and something done to ensure that our transport system is put on an economic basis. I am one of those who never agreed with centralisation, and then the nationalisation, of the entire transport system. I felt that it would lead to inefficiency and to a certain amount of heavy overhead costs and, perhaps, a certain amount of overlapping.

Did you vote for it?

I am afraid I voted against it.

I am afraid you voted for it.

I doubt if the nationalisation Bill was put to a vote but, at any rate, I said I voted against the centralisation of the transport system earlier on. When the last nationalisation Bill was going through, I felt that there was very little could be done about the matter, that the stage had been reached when it would be very hard to go back on what had already been done.

That is my feeling to-day. It is very hard now to dissolve Córas Iompair Éireann and allow all and sundry to take their chance on the roads. I suppose the railways would disappear if Córas Iompair Éireann were dissolved, but it is very hard to turn back now from the position into which transport has been brought and the question is how the position is to be improved. I think there is a general feeling, a strong feeling, certainly amongst the business and farming community, that the whole transport organisation is not very efficient. Deputy Corry referred to six trains coming up to Dublin from Cork each day. He did not mention how many went back. But it seems to me that even six coming up is an excessive number and that a lesser number would be sufficient.

He did not mention those from Cobh to Cork though.

In every branch of that system, we see a considerable amount of overlapping and waste, particularly in the road freight section. There is a feeling that that section is run on very expensive lines. I am not blaming those in charge because it is very hard to control and manage a huge fleet of lorries and to ensure that they will have loads in each direction. The businessman who keeps one or two lorries can usually manage to ensure that his lorries will be loaded both ways, but when it comes to a matter of hundreds of lorries run by a big concern like Córas Iompair Éireann, it is very hard to ensure that they will all be working at high pressure and as economically and efficiently as possible. It would be a tragedy to allow the railways to disappear, but there will have to be a drastic overhaul of the whole system if they are to be maintained.

I do not think that the country would favour any drastic restriction on the use of private lorries by businessmen or manufacturers. Those men have built up a system of transport of their own which they find relatively efficient and satisfactory. It would be a very great hardship if they were deprived of it and offered instead a system from which they could not expect the same service. It is hard to see why for long distance transport Córas Iompair Éireann with their rail system could not deliver goods more cheaply than a merchant could carry them with his own lorry. It requires two men to every lorry carrying five or six tons while a train carrying many hundred tons of goods can be operated by a staff of two or three.

There seems to be a lack of enterprise and initiative which adds greatly to the cost of running the transport system. As Deputy Corry pointed out, the fact that the taxpayer is standing behind Córas Iompair Éireann and guaranteeing them against loss does not tend to promote efficiency. I am sure that the Minister has this position very well in mind, and I hope that he will take steps to remedy it in the near future.

I am sorry that I was not in attendance for the whole of the Minister's speech this afternoon. I was certainly very anxious to hear it as I am always anxious to hear the Minister.

Listening to various speeches from both sides of the House this afternoon and evening I wondered to what section of this House Ireland belongs. Ireland belongs to us all, and it is incumbent on every one of us during our term here to do what we possibly can to help the land which bore us all. From one side of the House optimism seems to radiate while the other seems to be plunging into a gloomy abyss. I am not one of those who hold either view.

I feel that of all countries in Europe at the present moment we have most reason to feel thankful to God. Ireland is ours, and it is for us to make or mar its progress. Every one of us is keenly interested in his motherland, and I must confess that I have been rather horrified by the gloom in this House this afternoon and evening. I take a particular interest in my own country, and I think it cannot be denied that each successive Government over the last 30 years since we took over control ourselves has done its best for our own little land. We may have embarked on seas that were not perhaps too propitious, but I do feel that we here are better off than any other country in Europe at the moment.

I came into the House as the Minister was speaking of Bord na Móna and the turf problem. We in the South of Ireland have very unhappy memories of the turf problem. I would like to see the products of our own land used for fuel, light and all the other necessities, but I look back at the emergency years and I see, passing my own door day after day—I would not call it turf—lumps of earth with whiskers on it as long as the most copious head of hair which any Deputy in the House has at the moment. I look upon the turf industry as it was carried on in those days as the biggest racket ever perpetrated on this unfortunate country—and that at a time when the people could not afford it. There is no denying that. I well remember seeing people in my native town crying and coming into various shops, my own among them, asking for a few boards or cardboard boxes to try to light these lumps of sodden earth. Remember, I am for the development of our own industries, but in any industry you must give service to the people who pay for it, and during the emergency from 1940 to 1945 the conditions under which people were supplied with fuel were appalling. The Minister is, I know, as anxious as all of us to foster native industries, but in every sphere you want value for money, and we did not get it in those days. Turf is our own product, and it comes from our own land; but if you are going to force the people to use it again, then you will have to give them value for the money they spend. The Minister said that Bord na Móna would not be in competition with private turf producers. Is that right?

I did not say that they are not in competition at the moment. I said that I was anxious if possible to devise an arrangement whereby they would not.

For local authorities' supplies?

For local authorities.

If the Minister peering into the future intends to put Bord na Móna into competition with private producers I am glad, because the ordinary man living at the side of the street will get better value.

Otherwise he will have to fill the boglands of Ireland, West and South, with inspectors to ensure that people will get proper turf. None of us wishes to see turf going off the market, but I assure you that if you lived in the South of Ireland, as I did, during the emergency and saw the filthy muck which was served to the unfortunate people you would be appalled. If an emergency arises again—and I sincerely hope it will not—I hope that the Minister will flood the country with turf inspectors to see that people get value for their money.

Various references have been made to Córas Iompair Éireann. The Minister has a terrific problem on his hands in regard to that. How he is going to surmount it I do not know. He is a far abler man than I am, but I think that even if he were a Solomon he would have his hands full. To me, at any rate, it seems an insoluble problem. I really do not know what has happened. When I was a young fellow, one of the most secure investments for Irish money was Great Southern and Western Railway Stocks. Now I would give anybody in this House a present of the scrip we received in those days and I hope he will be adequately compensated in the years to come. For my own town of Youghal there are three or four trains running every day, passing through Killeagh, Mogeely, Midleton, Castlemartyr and on to Cork while there are three or four buses running almost alongside the railway.

That is happening all over the country.

I realise that, but I am referring to East Cork at the moment. How can Córas Iompair Éireann pay when you have a duplicate service running within 50 yards of it from Youghal to Cork? That must be quite apparent to any Deputy. I realise, of course, that the bus service taps parts of the countryside which trains do not serve. A man living three or four miles from a town, if he is in close proximity to a bus service, need only walk perhaps a quarter or half a mile to catch a bus. If he wants to travel by train he has to drive three or four miles to the station. There is, however, something wrong there. How can Córas Iompair Éireann pay when you have services duplicated all over the country?

Competing services.

Yes, competing services, both under the aegis of Córas Iompair Éireann. It does not seem sense to me. I sympathise with the Minister, because I really do not know how he can solve the problem. It is a very difficult one. If the Minister succeeds in making Córas Iompair Éireann pay he will deserve credit from all sides of the House. I should like to see it happen, but it is like running up against a stone wall.

I was glad to hear the Minister, in introducing the Estimate, state that it was the intention of the Government to make considerable financial grants available for the development of various harbours, but I notice that most of them were big harbours. In Youghal we have a harbour in which we did a reasonably good trade. We imported various commodities from across Channel up to 1939, when the war broke out. Then the ordinary cross-Channel schooner traffic was finished as far as we were concerned. In those days we imported coal from the Bristol Channel. I happen to be a member of the harbour board, and with the money that we received we were able to give reasonable attention to our docks in Youghal harbour. During the war, however, no vessels came in there.

The turf racket was on then. Unfortunately, when the war was over we were not in a financial position to improve our berthage for vessels of eight, nine, ten or 11 feet draught. We made several applications to the Department of Industry and Commerce but we were turned down on every occasion. That is a pity, because it is putting a damper on the initiative of men who wish to look after the small harbours throughout the country. We did not ask for a lot of money. If we had got something in the region of £1,000 it would have helped us considerably.

What I dislike is that everything is for the bigger places. Down the country you hear people say every day that everything flows into Dublin, that Dublin is Ireland. Every Deputy must realise, however, that if the small towns and villages fade out there will be no Dublin. I ask the Minister to consider very seriously helping the small harbours which are unable to help themselves, but which were able to help themselves up to the outbreak of the war in 1939.

I was also very glad to hear the Minister state that he was giving a considerable grant for the dredging of Cobh harbour. I need hardly tell Deputies what Cobh means to Ireland. We read of the Golden Gate in San Francisco, but the Golden Gate for those with dollars coming to Ireland is at Cobh. Whatever the Minister may do for other harbours, it is absolutely necessary that Cobh harbour should be properly dredged. I realise that the Minister is interested in the matter, otherwise he would not have made the grant. Even if the Government have made the grant, it is the Minister who has given it his imprimatur.

The Minister also mentioned that it was the intention of the new Tourist Board to inaugurate a festival in the coming years. That is a very good idea. It is a grand thing to attract home to their motherland those who emigrated within the last 25 or 30 years, as well as the fathers and grandfathers who emigrated before them. I think they will see a better Ireland when they come back after 25 or 30 years. The Minister suggested that the festival should be held about Easter time. I suggest to him that if he is desirous to induce people to come here the fares from the United States should be substantially reduced at that particular time.

We all realise that the holiday season in Ireland is becoming shorter and shorter. At one time in Ireland you could reckon as the holiday season the months of June, July, August and September. But, as one who comes from a very important seaside resort in the County Cork, I can say that we realise there that the holiday season is becoming shorter. The tourist season now is confined practically to the months of July and August. Most people are not desirous of going to the seaside in the other months. One reason is that the schools and colleges do not break up until the 22nd or 23rd June. It takes a family a week after that to get ready and they generally go to the seaside for the month of July or the month of August. The reopening of the various schools and colleges throughout the country takes place about the 4th or 5th of September. That means that a family man cannot go to any seaside resort in the month of September or in the month of June. For that reason, I suggest to the Minister that an attempt should be made to induce people from abroad to come to Ireland in the months of April, May, June and September. The accommodation at most of the seaside resorts is overtaxed in the month of August and in the month of July the hotels and guesthouses are reasonably full. I throw out that suggestion to the Minister for what it is worth and I know he will bear it in mind.

There is one matter which concerns me very seriously, a matter which occasioned me a lot of worry recently. During a visit to Cobh within the last ten or 12 days I learned from friends of mine in whose word I have implicit confidence, that for the last three or four months some of the biggest firms in Cork have laid off 300 or 400 men. Quite a number of these people live in Cobh. Everyone is aware that the largest employers in Cork are the firm of Messrs. Henry Ford and Son. They provide employment for workers not alone in Cork but in various towns around Cork.

I understand that there are at least 100 to 150 men in Cobh on the unemployment list who were previously employed by Fords. Many workers from Midleton were also employed in Fords. It is rather a tragedy that these men are now unemployed having regard to the fact that, as I said at the commencement of my remarks, we are living in one of the best countries in the world to-day, a country in which there is plenty of money. I think nobody will deny that the agricultural community were never in a better position than at present and if you have a happy and contented agricultural community, the prosperity which they enjoy percolates and radiates into the various villages and towns in the district in which they live. It does seem a pity that so many people should be laid off in the various industries throughout the country.

I take a very particular interest in Irish industry. A businessman myself, I always place on my counter the products of Irish manufacturers. By so doing, I feel I am helping some man in my own country to make a livelihood. That is a duty which should be incumbent upon every one of us. I stated when speaking on the Supplies and Services Bill last October or November that when I was quite a young fellow in my native town of Youghal more years ago than I like to remember, some 35 or 40 years ago, it was not too popular to advertise Irish industry. I remember my late father putting an advertisement in the window with the words: "Buy the products of your own country and encourage Irish manufacture." That tradition was handed down to me and I follow it at the present time. When a company is being floated, to promote any Irish industry, if I have any spare cash— I have not much now—I am always anxious to invest in that company. What I detest is the hypocrisy of people who talk about encouraging Irish industry but who will not invest anything in it. A lot of them even come into this House and talk about Irish industries as if they were the most ardent supporters of Irish industry, but they never invest in Irish industries. I think that is a horrible trait in any individual. If a man has confidence in his own country, the best way he can show it is to invest his spare capital in Irish industry. In that way, he will probably be helping someone who grew up with him to make a living at home. I hear a lot of people talking about Irish industries who have not even the proverbial "bob" invested in an Irish industry.

I now come to deal with a phrase, of which we have heard much of late— the recession in trade. Undoubtedly, there has been a very great recession in trade for the last 12 months. Nobody will attempt to deny that. I was glad to read in the paper this morning on my way here that the Minister, in his speech at the Drapers' Chamber of Trade yesterday, advised people to buy now. No trade has been hit harder in the last 12 months than the textile trade or the drapery trade. People were put off buying by certain statements which were made, and they said to themselves: "Things are bound to get cheaper." I was glad, as I say, to read this morning that the Minister had advised people to buy now. I am grateful to the Minister for having given expression to that advice, because I know employers throughout the South of Ireland who have kept on their staffs for the last eight or nine months, even when they were not making adequate profits to pay them. When you have good men, however, you do not want to let them off. Any decent businessman will hurt himself first before he will hurt one of his staff.

I hope that the period of depression in the drapery trade is passing and that the mists of depression which have surrounded it during the past year will be dissipated by the sunshine of prosperity in the next few months. Men engaged in the drapery trade usually carry heavy stocks. Any man in a reasonable way of business even in a small country town will have stocks on his shelves valued from £7,000 to £10,000, and his book accounts will run to another £4,000 or £5,000. When one looks at these large stocks on one's shelves and hears all the talk about depression in trade, it is not calculated to put one in good humour. While I willingly pay tribute to the Minister for his most recent pronouncement, I feel that the Minister himself and some of his colleagues were in a large measure responsible for that depression. Most of us were getting along reasonably until we had certain emissions from the Minister for Industry and Commerce and the Minister for Finance some eight or nine months ago. We were told that the country was on the verge of a financial crisis. The crisis, after a short time, became a problem, and the problem for people in various trades throughout the country since has been to make ends meet.

I do not think there is any financial problem, no matter what is said in this House. Every Deputy realises that, for its size, there is not a better-off country in the world than this little land of Ireland. Therefore, as I have said, it behoves every one of us to wipe away this gloom and particularly in this House, because it was from here that all the gloom and the depression emanated. No one can deny that. I really feel that the Minister himself and one or two of his colleagues were responsible. That came as a bit of a shock to people who had heavy stocks on hands. Then, to make it worse, the banks on whom we all have to lean occasionally, put on the squeeze. I am sure all of us have, at some time or another, to lean on the banks. I do not mind making the confession in this House that I have to do it, and I think any businessman will have to do it. But when the banks did put on the squeeze, it nearly drove many people distracted.

Now, I do not blame the banks for putting on the pinch. People were living beyond their means. I feel there was a little too much of that in our country. If one man had a Humber Hawk, I wanted to have a Rolls Royce, and if the next man had a Rolls Royce, then somebody else wanted to have something better, if it could be got. A certain number of people were undoubtedly living beyond their means. The people that I am referring to are the decent men and women in this country who believe in paying 20/- to the £, people who believe in paying their way, people who meet their statements at the end of every month, and had that tradition handed down to them. These are the people that I am worried about. Naturally, if the banks squeeze you and if you are not getting in your money from those who owe it to you, well it is just too bad, and you are in a horrible quandary, if I may put it that way. I think it should go forth from the Government that, where decent people are concerned, people who never defaulted in meeting their obligations, there should not be the same severity in the matter of bank credit as there has been for the last six, eight or 12 months.

To come back to the question of Irish products, of buying the products of your own land. I do not think it is necessary for anyone in this country to go outside the shores of Ireland for anything they want. I think that the products of our own country are comparable with the products of any country in the world, even countries which, over the last 100 or 150 years, have been highly industrialised.

What about tea?

I hope to have some of it in about half an hour's time. I like to talk about things that I know something about. As Deputy Davin has put this question of tea into my head, I would suggest to the Minister that is a matter that he would want to look into. I do not know much about tea even though I am very fond of it and drink a good deal of it. The Minister should see to it that we get decent tea. When, sometimes, I look into the tea caddy at home I see as much dust in it as tea leaves. The tea situation wants to be looked into. The Irish people are the biggest tea drinkers in Europe. There are no greater connoisseurs of tea than we Irish people. No matter where one may go, it has always been recognised that the Irish people are the best judges of tea that can be found. I sincerely and respectfully suggest to the Minister that he should look into that matter. The tea that we have been drinking may have been pretty hot, but I would say that, for the last five or six years, the quality was not too hot. India is now exporting tea to us again, and since we cannot re-export the Indian tea, why not keep the best tea for ourselves? I think the Minister should do that.

As I was coming into the House, my colleague, Deputy Corry mentioned that something should be done for the town of Fermoy. I said here before, I think last December, that Governments do not start factories. Factories in any town are started by people with ability and business acumen, by those who genuinely desire to help their own people. I quite well realise that Government, do not start factories and I want to disabuse people's minds throughout the country by saying that there is no use in appealing to any Government to start a factory in any town or village in Ireland. Factories must be started by ourselves and, as I said before, by men who are prepared to put their own hard cash into them. Talk in Dáil Eireann never started a factory and never will.

I would suggest to the Minister that there is one town in my constituency which has been hard hit since this State was established and since we took over control ourselves, and that town is Fermoy. When I was a young fellow it was one of the best towns in Ireland. In those days you had all types of big shots living there, brass hats with incomes of £5,000, £10,000 and £20,000 a year. I am afraid that the brass hats who succeeded them cannot boast of having those incomes. They have got no brass while the others had gold. That was a terrific loss to Fermoy. I have been over there during the last two years, and I am aware that several business people and other local people are genuinely anxious to have something done for Fermoy. It appals one to think that a town which, under the British régime, enjoyed such an era of prosperity should, as soon as our own Government took over control of our own state finances be plunged into such an abyss of gloom and depression.

Fermoy is a grand town. I know that the Minister, in view of the status which he holds, will have different people coming to him within the next year or so asking him for advice as to where to start a factory. I suggest to him the town of Fermoy. It is the only town in my constituency at the moment which has not a factory of any type. I understand that some business men interested in the welfare of their town came together a little while ago and in a small way were able to give employment to 25, 30 or 50 people. The position at the moment, however, is that you have 200 or 300 men going to the Labour Exchange day after day. That is a depressing sight to any man. If the Minister could do something, I personally would deeply appreciate it.

I said a moment ago that Governments do not start factories no matter who occupies the ministerial benches. I would ask the Minister to pay heed to what I have said. The money is there, but the people who are, if I may say so, born in a small town are not big enough to do it, or perhaps the investing public have not sufficient confidence—shall I say? —in a project which emanates locally to put their capital into it. If the Minister gives it his blessing and those Deputies who sit behind him are genuine in their interest then something will be done. In Cobh, you have Irish Steel, and in Youghal you have two magnificent factories thanks, as I said on a previous occasion, to the best industrialist, in my opinion, this country ever produced, the late Mr. William Dwyer. In Youghal, Seafield Fabrics employ up to 200 persons, and in a couple of months we hope to have Blackwater Cottons employing the same number of people. That initiative and enterprise was due solely to the efforts of a man whose memory we in my home town will always revere.

A few moments ago Deputy Cogan said that the recent speeches of the former Minister for Finance, Deputy McGilligan, produced nothing but gloom. I do not like gloomy utterances by any Deputy. Ireland belongs to every one of us. We should give up talking of gloom and depression and try to radiate some of the happiness which, undoubtedly, is to be found throughout the country. If we do that, then in the years that lie before us we shall have a more contented, a happier and a more prosperous Ireland.

We do not want to make political capital out of it, but none of us can blind our eyes to the fact that there is practically more unemployment in the country at present than ever before. In my opinion, a good deal of that unemployment is the result of the gloomy talk in this House. If there is gloom, people are inclined to tighten their purse strings and to cease spending. That, in its turn, has its repercussions on every section of the community. I hope that, from now on, things will take a turn for the better and that we shall have a brighter era in the future. Unfortunately, up to the present, as Deputy Morrissey stated this afternoon, world conditions had a great effect on the business life of this country, no matter which Government was in power. However, if any Party did its best to expedite our delivery into the gloomy abyss, I think it was the Fianna Fáil Party.

I hope and trust that the economic blizzard has now blown itself out. I am interested in the ordinary man who has to make his living on the side of the street—a man whose door is open to everybody, be he beggar or millionaire. He cannot close the door, no matter who is coming in. He must keep it open all the time. I can assure the Minister that these men have been through a pretty tough time in the past 12 months, and I sincerely trust that better times are ahead for them. As I have said already, Ireland belongs to each one of us, and it behoves us all to do our best to make Ireland a decent home and fit for decent people to make their living in their own land.

This is probably, in general, one of the most disastrous Votes that has been introduced in this House for a long number of years, because this Estimate enshrines two extraordinarily contradictory approaches by the Government to our present-day problems. On the one hand, we find a savage attack on the larder of the people of the country by the withdrawal of the subsidies, and on the other hand we find further flights of fancy in Grants-in-Aid for the development of a transatlantic airline. The time has come for this House to face reality.

Will the Deputy say where, in the Estimate, there is any Vote for the transatlantic airline?

It is in the air.

Yes, in any event it is in the air. In fact, we read with interest in the organ of which the Minister once had control, news of exploration by the general manager of Aer Lingus and some of his colleagues as to the possibility of the re-establishment of this airline.

It is not in the Estimate, Deputy.

With respect, the Minister is responsible for air services and, as such, it must be relevant to the administration of his Department.

It is not contained in the Estimate. It is not relevant.

With respect, I submit that the Department deals with air services and that, therefore, it must be relevant.

On a point of order. The Minister in his statement referred to it.

And what did I say?

Life is too short to remember it. The Minister referred to it.

I said that there was nothing in the Estimate about it and that no decision had been made.

The Minister referred to it.

I might take that to be a very adroit effort by the Minister to avoid discussion on something that, certainly, is in the air even if it is not in the Estimate. There is no doubt that, to the general mass of the people of the country this Estimate, in conditions of increasing unemployment and of no relaxation of the trade recession, is a severe blow. It seems extraordinary to me that a Minister of the undoubted responsibility and ability of the present Minister for Industry and Commerce has been party to the removal of a large part of the food subsidies.

I come into this discussion to-night mainly on the note on which Deputy O'Gorman finished. He laments that in his constituency there is one town without a factory. My lament is that I have a constituency with no town with a factory. While I do not hold the Minister responsible for that, and while I accept it that the initiative must come in the first instance from a group of the local people themselves, I would ask the Minister, in so far as it lies in his power, to do what he can to establish some industry in the forgotten peninsulas of West Cork. But there is a bigger problem lurking in the background of rural Ireland, and one to which I should like to direct the Minister's attention. There are acute difficulties arising in the small towns of rural Ireland as a result of certain types of trading by creamery organisations and competition from travelling shops and stores. I say frankly to the Minister that I do not know what the solution to that problem is. I am warned, as I am sure my colleagues in West Cork have been warned, that with the abolition of rationing there will be even a more considerable falling-off of the normal trade in provincial towns. That is a major national problem, and one which I feel it is my duty to direct to the Minister's attention. As I have said, frankly I do not know where the solution lies, whether it lies in the demarcation of the type of products or processed goods that will be sold by the creamery as against the type of goods that would be normally sold in the shops of the town, and whether it is possible to place some reasonable licence fee or some reasonable impost on travelling shops that will even up the element of competition.

I want to say to the Minister quite seriously that, in so far as my constituency is concerned, it has become a very serious problem. I direct the Minister's mind to it in the hope that some solution may be found. I cordially offer any assistance that I might give in finding that solution. I do not raise it in the spirit of controversy nor do I raise it in a spirit of politics. I raise it in the spirit of trying, in some way, to ensure the survival of these vital units in my constituency. The Minister is aware that these provincial towns carry a large burden of the cost of the various services. They carry a large burden by way of rates and, in the main in years gone by, the trading community of these small towns have carried their fair burden of contributions to the Exchequer. Some of them are now in serious difficulties. I am prepared to concede to the Minister that much of that difficulty is not his responsibility, that much of it may be influenced by circumstances over which we cannot expect him to have any control. Nevertheless, I do appeal to him in the over-all picture of his Department, to come to grips with that problem before it becomes impossible of solution.

I am prepared to concede, and always have been prepared to concede, that much industrial progress has been made in the period of government by ourselves in this country. I am also prepared to concede all his fair share of that credit to the present occupant of the office of Minister for Industry and Commerce. But I do feel that the time has come for a review in a general way of the whole industrial policy, particularly where preferential rates, tariffs or quantitative restrictions apply. I want the Minister to face the problem of industrial development at home on the basis that the industry would, at a reasonable price, supply the needs of the country in as good a quality article or nearly as good a quality article as any that would be imported.

I do not feel that in some lines of industrial development we have achieved a standard that would warrant the quantitative restrictions or protective tariffs that some industries have. In the general problem I would urge the Minister to approach the development of new industry and the continuation of established industry in this country on the basis that it must work within a margin that is fair to the public, fair to the employee as well as fair to those who have invested their capital, and that any industry which cannot supply a reasonable portion of the needs of the country and a reasonable quality article, should not be allowed to trade behind either a quantitative restriction or a protective tariff that is militating against the public getting articles at a price that they are worth as distinct from the enhanced price that they might have to pay for them in view of tariff protection.

This industrial development problem is a difficult one because one must not alone equate in the normal way the social benefit that an industry can give to an area in the quality of the article it produces, but one must take into consideration the hidden quantity of keeping people in employment and keeping people at home and working out what is a reasonable margin to allow for such activity in the ultimate cost of the product. I suggest to the Minister that it is necessary when dealing with the development of industry at home, to ensure, first of all, that the industry so starting is given a reasonable period in which to get on its feet, but having been given that period of protection for its growth, it should then be forced to become, as rapidly as possible, a competitive industry. If it cannot survive on a margin of 10 or 12 ½ per cent. preference against foreign products and if it cannot maintain a reasonable standard as against foreign products, it should not be forced on the public behind a protective tariff wall or a quantitative restriction wall.

I appreciate the many complexities of the Minister's own Department. It spreads through a very, very wide field, and I suppose to anybody less dynamic than the present Minister it might be a completely unwieldy Department. However, I do feel that, with the country slipping into the slough of depression, with unemployment rising, that the vital rôle to be played in the immediate future must be played by the Minister for Industry and Commerce. It is necessary for some action to be taken to break the present trade recession.

I know and realise that the Minister himself is most anxious to see that recession relaxed. It is hard to know how we are going to do it, because we had the unfortunate—if I might describe it—hysterical gloom of the last nine months and we had, whether the Government is directly responsible for it or not, a gradual strangulation of credit. We had undoubtedly the situation financially becoming so tight that many enterprises in their exploratory stage had to be dropped and many embryo industries never got an opportunity to become realities. I do not know myself what exactly might be the best way to break the grip that this recession has on the country. There is definitely the situation that large stocks are being carried even by the smallest retailers and that there has been a tremendous consumer-purchase resistance.

The solution of the country's difficulties must come from a free turnover in trade and an increase in the purchase of consumer goods. If the stocks in the factories are to be dissipated through the wholesalers and ultimately through the retailers to the consumers in order that the wheels of industry will keep turning there must be an increase in purchasing power.

I am at one with the Minister and my colleague, Deputy O'Gorman, in pushing Irish goods. A first-class Irish product can always compete successfully with any imported article. That is particularly true of the drapery trade. Footwear, clothing, shirts, ties and socks and various other commodities of wearing apparel can be successfully produced here in competition with the imported article, and in order to keep Irish industry in operation the Minister is justified in reducing to an irreducible minimum imports that compete with the home manufactured article.

Something will have to be done to break the present trade paralysis. I do not know how the Minister can impress upon the bankers the need for some relaxation on their part in order to allow the country to develop. These people have not proved amenable in the past. I will be 100 per cent. behind the Minister if he seeks power to stop the present trade recession even though that may involve forcing the banks' hands.

The way to overcome our difficulty is not by way of retrenchments. I am sure the Minister does not want to see the general standard of living depreciate. The situation is becoming acute because of rising unemployment. Because of threatened unemployment many people who would normally be in the market now for some new range of articles for themselves and their families, are trying to make do with what they have. That is militating against a revival in trade. I do not lay the blame for that at the door of the Minister, but it is his duty in the position he occupies to give a lead or take some action which will put a new stimulus into trade. We do not want the spectre of unemployment to grow any larger. We do not want an increase in the flight from the land and consequent emigration.

The solution to our difficulties must be found within the scope of the policy of the Department of Industry and Commerce. This country is primarily an agricultural country, but it has an important industrial arm. It is the workers in agriculture and in industry who are the biggest consumers of the goods produced here. The solution to the present problem needs careful consideration. Unemployment is rising. For the first time in a generation some businesses have gone on short-time. Others have virtually closed down. In others the employees have the threat of dismissal hanging over them. The only way in which to remedy the present situation is to dissipate stocks by way of sale.

I do not know what the Minister will do to increase the purchasing power of the ordinary individual, particularly in view of all the gloomy prognostications and the fact that wages will now buy less than they did up to the 4th July. It is in that direction that the main problem lies, because if the lower income groups cannot afford to buy trade will inevitably be strangled. It is on the large turnover on the type of articles bought by the lower income groups that trade in the main depends. It is not the luxury article that gives a fillip to trade. It is the buying capacity of the pay packet of the worker. How to get the ordinary wage-earning section of the community to buy under present circumstances is a difficult problem. If there is to be a return to normal activity the purchasing power of the pay packet will have to be increased.

The Minister must be aware that the situation is as I have portrayed it. There is unrest in industry. Too large stocks are being held in the factories and in the wholesale premises. The bankers are choking the credit of even the smallest traders. It was normal hitherto for the small trader, particularly in the agricultural areas, to have extended credits whereby the farming community was able to purchase the various consumer goods it required. The present strangulation of credit is having serious repercussions and in some places that type of trade has disappeared altogether. There are constant complaints that the banking community want reduction after reduction in the present trade overdraft.

The Minister is not responsible for banking policy.

I am merely correlating that to the difficulties in his Department. It is a passing reference and I think it is relevant in the context of the Minister's responsibilities to industry.

The Deputy cannot discuss everything on this Vote.

I submit to the Chair that the matter is relevant in the particular context.

The Chair cannot see its relevancy.

Surely, with respect, if the general trade recession can be related to difficulties which have arisen from the bank situation, that comment is relevant when discussing the question of some solution to trade recession?

We cannot have a debate on banking policy.

With respect, I am not debating banking policy.

The Deputy will have to pay some attention to the Chair.

I am making a submission to the Chair that it is relevant in the context.

The Chair has ruled on the matter, and it is out of order.

I would like the Chair to tell me why it is out of order.

It is not the duty of the Chair to say why it is out of order.

The restriction of credit has caused unemployment. The Minister knows it well.

It is not a bit relevant. This is an Estimate for the Department of Industry and Commerce.

Did the Minister hear Deputy Morrissey?

I am quite sure that the Tánaiste had a chat about the restrictions on credit. I am only trying to trace the background for the Minister of the difficulty that exists in trade and commerce, which is surely within his ken. We come here to try to discuss in a factual way with the Minister his difficulties. There is one thing that every Deputy should be unanimous on, that is, in trying to find a solution to the present rising unemployment and the possibility of a further rise. Mind you, the record of the last year is a sorry one for anyone to look at. We see a switch from a country ready to go ahead and expand to the slough of depression and despair. We find in this year, as an alternative to 1,000 people per month going into employment, 1,000 and more per month going out of employment. Surely it must be germane to any discussion on the question of unemployment what some of the contributory causes are and it is only in that context that I make any reference to restriction of credit. I am sure that the Tánaiste will agree that, in so far as it is a contributing factor to that facet of the problem he has to face, it must be relevant to this debate.

The Chair has ruled that it is not relevant. The Deputy may refer to it in passing, but we can have no discussion on banking policy on this Estimate.

With respect, I never discussed banking policy: I purely referred, in passing, to the effect of the restriction of credit on general trade. I sat in this House to-day and heard two speakers talk extensively on the same subject and they were not ruled out of order.

Having referred to it, the Deputy should now pass to the Estimate.

With respect again, I submit that I am perfectly in order on the Estimate. I am dealing with the question of unemployment, and surely that is relevant to this Estimate. I am ad idem with the Minister in trying to find a solution, but I think I am entitled to come here and advert to the situation as we know it. As I frankly told the Minister, I am not charging the responsibility completely at his door. I do in no uncertain way levy part of the charge against the hysterical, gloomy, caterwauling of some of his colleagues in the Cabinet, who rushed this country headlong into a situation where people are unconsciously and unnecessarily becoming timid in their approach to our economic problems. You cannot have stability, you cannot have a progressive approach by potential investors to the question of Irish industry, where you have a Government playing ducks and drakes with our economic structure.

The Minister will have to realise that it is only in the return of stability and the return of confidence into the heart and mind of the person with money to invest that we can have industrial development that may offset the present rising unemployment. The people with money to invest have a wide field to travel, and some of them, in their investment, may not be activated by a strong sense of nationalism that would compel them to find, if possible, Irish sources of investment. The Minister must do something to still the wails of people about "living beyond our means" and that type of claptrap, if we are to deal with the problem of unemployment. We have heard the whole economic policy of the previous Government thrown into review in a political way that has led to Fianna Fáil being hoisted with its own petard. Only last evening or the evening before, the Minister announced that the present Government was going to accept the policy of getting large investments and repatriating foreign assets for the purpose of development here at home.

I wish the Minister luck and I hope he is more than successful in getting plenty of money to invest in Ireland for the benefit of the Irish people. I hope he can get all the money he requires, to put back into employment the number of people who have been disemployed since he took office; and that when he has that task completed he will be able to continue the good work of putting 1,000 per month into employment for as long as he lasts as Minister. That is his main task. There are works within his ken, particularly within the field of Electricity Supply Board and Bord na Móna development, where large sums of money can be spent and large avenues of employment opened up. It is my earnest wish that he will get the money necessary to open up those avenues of employment again and to do so as quickly as possible.

We must come into this House with a sense of responsibility and ask the Minister to face up to the difficulties that exist. On the one hand, this Estimate slashes the food subsidies and the ordinary people ill-fitted to bear the burden are now carrying more than their share. At the same time, you have that ghoulish spectre of unemployment getting larger; you have factories closing down and factories on short-time; and the general air of uncertainty creeping into many of our industries. It is a difficult task for the Minister, but it is one that will have to be faced in the realism of the present situation. I say to the Minister that it is extremely urgent to get what money he needs to develop the works under his control and open up immediately avenues of employment for people disemployed. I note that there are minor adjustments here and there in this Estimate. One of the items which shows a considerable reduction is that in respect of the Industrial Development Authority. I wonder if this is purely temporary because there was one person absent or will he be replaced?

There has been no change since last year.

There is shown here in the Estimate what appears to me to be a decrease in the salary of a member of the Industrial Development Authority. There is a decrease of £1,700. That is why I have referred to the matter. If the Minister refers to his own Estimate he will see it.

That is so.

What I really wanted to ask was whether the industrial authority would be brought up to strength or the working of the authority gradually closed down?

No. I made a statement in introducing the Estimate. I had better refer the Deputy to that. I dealt fairly fully with the work of the Industrial Development Authority.

It just struck me that one member would not be replaced.

The work was done last year.

The bacon industry is being gradually taken off.

I hardly think that the Lord Mayor of Cork is warranted in describing this particular authority as a bacon industry. The machinery is there to remove the authority. The threat was made by the Tánaiste, when he was in opposition, that he would do it. Apparently the Tánaiste is satisfied that the industrial authority serves some useful purpose.

"Some" is right.

I gather that the discussion on this Estimate is to range in general over the Minister's Estimates and that the Votes will be taken separately. Am I entitled, at this particular stage, to deal with tourism?

You can refer to it.

I think the Minister must realise that difficulties have arisen this year in the tourist industry. The anticipated boom in respect of the isolated areas and in regard to non-first class type of accommodation has not, in fact, been realised. I wonder whether there has been an abortive propaganda campaign. I wonder whether a good deal of harm was not done by the propaganda that we were booked out in this country for the tourist season. I do not know what the explanation is but having regard to the amount of public money being spent on the fostering and developing of this industry, I would like that the Minister would have a survey made to ascertain what was the difficulty that caused, particularly in the month of June and at the end of May, a tremendous slump in the anticipated arrival of tourists.

Tourism is a most valuable industry. I think all in this House will agree on that issue. The fact that people may not have as much money as before to spend on holidays may have contributed to the cause of the slump. But whatever the cause, I would like the Minister, if he has any information on the subject, to let us know what were the unforeseen and unprecedented difficulties that arose. I note that certain people in the trade have made reference recently to difficulties. I would like to know from the Minister whether these are difficulties which can be surmounted or avoided in the future.

We have a good deal to offer to tourists in this country. I have always contended that we have not, in the main, been able to put the story across. I am glad that the publicity end of the tourist industry is to be given an impetus. I think that is very essential. All over the country, wherever display posters can be put up, one sees posters extolling travel in Switzerland, Belgium and other countries. It would do us no harm were we to extend our poster propaganda into some of those countries which have succeeded in reaching our country with their posters.

I would like the Minister to deal generally with the outlook for the tourist industry and tell us whether it is likely to be of permanent duration or to what extent he feels it will be of permanent duration. Tourism at the moment is a tremendously valuable contributor to our general economy. As such, I feel it merits very special attention.

I regret—I am sure the Minister does also—that difficulties arose in general and that many of the smaller hotels and boarding-houses did not have the anticipated bookings. I am anxious to know if that could be traceable to some specific cause and if it is possible to find a solution to the difficulty. It will take a reasonable amount of co-operation and a good deal of goodwill on all sides of the House if we are to get over some of the difficulties, particularly that of unemployment. With wages in a continual spiral it will take a good deal of co-operation to deal with that problem. Having regard to the fact that the good of the country transcends our personal considerations, I feel that we should have a good spirit in this House in facing up to these problems.

As the Minister is well aware, we have, apart from an industrial or a stockpile problem, the problem to which I adverted initially, that of the general decay in the towns in rural Ireland. There is no type of factory or industry in my constituency from Clonakilty to Castletownbere, from Macroom to Castletownbere, or in any of the other towns. I am not charging the Minister with the responsibility for establishing industries in that constituency but I do urge upon him to keep the peninsular areas in mind as potential sites for development. It is ironic that West Cork, which grows a considerable amount of flax, is going to supply a factory in East Cork. At least, it is a welcome feature that such an industry as Blackwater Threads has been started to ensure that there will be a consumer of the flax that is grown.

The main problem in my constituency is that, with rural depopulation and gravitation from the land, industry must be established to keep the people at home. That is particularly true of the isolated peninsula of Beara, where recently electric current was laid on. Will it be possible for the Minister to use his good offices in the establishment of an industry in view of the fact that power has been laid on? It is a question of evacuation or of doing something to keep the people in Beara. All these isolated areas present a particular problem to the Minister's Department. I realise the difficulties. I realise the impediments in the way of directing industry to these areas, but I plead with the Minister to direct a suitable industry into that area. If he does that, he will be rendering an enduring service to the people therein.

I sincerely regret that this Estimate enshrines the withdrawal of the main part of the food subsidies.

Brighten it up a bit.

Do not tell me you are depressed.

You have made me melancholy.

Maybe the Deputy will be able to create rapturous joy in the House with his solution for the difficulties of unemployment and all the rest of it.

Brighten it up.


Surely I am entitled, without facetious stupidity from the gob from Wexford or good-humoured raillery from Deputy Briscoe, to tell the story of the economic difficulties that exist in my constituency.

They have been there for the past three or four years.

I know. As long as I am able to raise my voice to help to find a solution, I am entitled to do so.

I appreciate that.

The Deputy may have problems in his constituency, and if he has my tenacity and capacity for sounding these problems year after year he will be able to give good service to his constituency.

That is a good note now.

I do not think it merits anything but commendation from my colleagues that I have the tenacity of purpose to keep fighting for these people and no quips will obstruct me in doing my duty and presenting to the House the case of the constituency that I have the honour to represent.

Do not you think that you could have mentioned those problems for the last three and a half years?

I am delighted to know that the Deputy read my speeches with interest during those three and a half years.

It was your speeches that got me here.

And a few votes from Glasnevin Cemetery.

Deputy Collins is in possession. If the Deputy wishes to speak he will get an opportunity later.

Deputies will be delighted to know that they can go home because I intend to report progress.

That is all you could do.

It took the Deputy a year and a bit to get where he wanted to get.

He did not win by a furlong.

No, but he brought a furlong back. We regret what is particularly noxious in this Estimate. This was not the opportune time to impose the burden on the poorer sections of the community that the withdrawal of the subsidies has imposed.

We had that out on the Budget. Give it a rest.

I will make my speech. You can whistle yours, if you like.

I will sing it.

Say it with flowers.

As the Minister facetiously said, I will say it—not with flowers, but with flour. This is not the time for the Minister to say it with flour in a very vicious way so far as the ordinary working community are concerned.

In a situation where there is rising unemployment, trade recession, consumer resistance, no stimulation in trade, I do not think it was the time to make an attack on the purchasing power of the pay packet which is the inevitable consequence of the withdrawal of food subsidies. No matter how one plays around with the various increases that may be granted it leaves each home of any size with anything from 7/- to 16/- a week less in purchasing power of the wage earner. That is all adding to the Minister's difficulty. The Minister appreciates that where the pay packet remains the same and where the purchasing power of the pay packet is distorted, as it is now, by increased outlay on essential foods, the difficulties are increased.

I want to refer to the question of tea. I did not hear the Minister's opening speech. He may have dealt with Tea Importers and the necessity for the continuation of the present system of tea purchase and distribution. I would like to know the real reason for it and why it is not possible to open up normal trade channels to the people who, prior to the setting up of Tea Importers, were in the normal way direct importers. Does the Minister not know that if that were done not only would a wider variety of tea be available but that an infinitely better quality tea might be made available by direct importers? They might give the service that was given to this country in a very effective way long before the idea of Tea Importers and bulk-buying was conceived. There may have been justification for it in certain difficulties that faced the Minister, but I want to know what is the necessity for the time-lag in getting back to the normal basis of competitive trade. The Minister did suggest here that advance notice would have to be given to these people of any types of blends, etc., that you might want to buy for the purpose of the trade. I move to report progress.

Progress reported; the Committee to sit again.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Thursday, 10th July.