Committee on Finance. - Vote 50—Industry and Commerce (Resumed).

When I moved to report progress on this Vote last night, I was dealing with the question of rural electrification in so far as it affected my constituency of North Mayo. I might mention that in my part of the constituency, there is a huge main line service covering a very wide area and a fairly thickly populated area. Ballina is in the centre of that area with a main line to Foxford, a main line to Crossmolina, a main line to Killala and a main line to Ballycastle. These main lines cover a distance of about 30 miles and they take in about 13 parishes that are fairly thickly populated. The people in these parishes have to depend for lighting on the ordinary kerosene lamp and I know that they are very anxious to avail of the facilities of electricity for lighting if such were made available to them. In reply to a question to-day the Minister said the Lahardane area was canvassed in 1947 but the only point I want to raise in that connection is that the standard, as regards the number of consumers who will guarantee to avail of electricity if it is made available, seems a bit high. I am given to understand that it works out at about 85 per cent. of the householders in the area. I think that is a rather high standard and I think it should be reduced to at least 70 per cent. If 70 per cent. of the householders agree to avail of the electricity supply, the possibilities are that 85 per cent. would take it after the work had been completed.

So far as other areas are concerned, I was given to understand that a canvass was carried out in Knockmore about 12 months ago and that the number who promised to avail of the service reached close on 80 per cent. which is very close to the standard laid down. The people of the parish were most anxious to avail of electricity supply but they are held up until a higher number of consumers indicate their willingness to avail of the service. Having regard to the fact that you have main lines running right through these districts, I think it would be an easy matter for the Electricity Supply Board to carry out the necessary extensions to provide the people in the surrounding rural areas with electricity. It must not be forgotten that the money which has now to be sent abroad to buy oil for lighting in these rural areas would be kept at home if the houses were lighted by electricity and in that way a very big national saving could be made.

In regard to the withdrawal of the subsidies, I should like to point out that that will have a very bad effect on business people who are confronted with the problem of increasing their stocks and of maintaining existing stocks. There is also the fact that banks have now restricted credit to a very considerable extent while business people are faced with the necessity of having, perhaps, to give an extended form of credit especially at this period of the year. The withdrawal of the subsidies coming at this juncture will make things very difficult for people who have to cope with that form of business just now. That problem is felt more acutely in the rural areas than elsewhere.

The man who is earning a week's wages is usually able to get credit for a week or for a fortnight. The position is quite different in the rural areas. Small farmers, dealing in certain lines of stock, usually have to wait until they are able to make some money at the fairs during different periods of the year. In between those periods, members of their families may be working on relief schemes or in some other kind of employment. The result is that those small farmers require credit for a fairly long period. The businessman, who is giving them credit, has to maintain his stocks at increased prices. The price of stocks for the businessman to-day is at least 20 per cent. higher than it was before the subsidies were removed. In turn, the businessman can only get limited credit himself from the banks. The position is such at the moment that many business people are finding it hard to carry on in view of limited credit facilities.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce, by the removal of these subsidies, is relieving the Department of Finance of a fairly substantial financial responsibility. The same is true of the Department of Social Welfare. That being so, the Minister should make arrangements with these two Departments to see that money is made available to meet the requirements of the people in the poorer areas along the western seaboard. Money should be made available to provide those people with employment. The position is very bad in the big towns and in the small towns in the western areas. The only way in which those poorer areas can be helped is by providing fulltime employment to enable the families there to maintain themselves.

We are aware that Coras Iompair Éireann are making preparations to reduce their staffs. That is certainly going to create great hardship on men who have been in their employment over a long period of years. I do not think anyone would consider that a seven days' notice to its employees is reasonable. I have here a notice that was given to one of the Córas Iompair Éireann employees on the 2nd July. Between the date of the posting of the letter and of its receipt the man really only got four or five days' notice. I know how the public would feel if any ordinary employer in the country gave seven days' notice to a man who had been with it for years. We have big scheme of land reclamation being carried out all over the country and we have Bord na Móna working in different parts of the country. I think that steps should be taken to see that men who lose their employment with Coras Iompair Éireann will get employment on some of those public schemes in places convenient to their homes.

In conclusion, I hope the Minister will take my advice as to the steps which should be taken by him, following the removal of the food subsidies. He should make representations to the Department of Finance and the Department of Social Welfare to see that no hardship is going to fall on the poorer sections of our people. I have suggested a means of doing that. It is that money should be made available to provide employment for the people in those poorer areas to tide them over the present difficulties and enable them to meet the high cost of living at the present time.

In conjunction with other Deputies I feel rather apprehensive about the question of public transport in this country. Deputies are not the only people who feel apprehensive about it and about the future of Córas Iompair Éireann. Going through the country one hears from the employees of Córas Iompair Éireann that they fear that at any moment they may be given the order to march. There has been a rumour going round—it is a sort of open secret now—that about 2,000 employees of Córas Iompair Éireann run the risk of being dismissed or, if not, put on short time.

It seems to me that we have reached a very unsatisfactory stage as regards the public transport of the country. We have two main factors in our transport, the railways and road transport. I think every Deputy will accept it as a fact that no country can do without its railways. They are necessary, no matter what happens, not only in a time of emergency but in ordinary times. We should maintain them for the carrying of merchandise and heavy transport. We certainly should keep them in existence. I fail to see, however, how the railways can survive as a paying entity when they are put into opposition in every corner of the country with road transport. I think I am right in saying that the last Minister took advice from an expert as to what was the best way of dealing with transport here, and that his advice was that they should be segregated, as far as possible, so that the railways would function in one area and road transport in the other: in other words, that instead of being in opposition to each other they should be complementary. I cannot see any sign of that happening.

As regards the difficulties which the railways have to contend with let me take an example from my own constituency in County Wexford. Take a place like Taghmon which has no railway facilities. If a merchant there wants to get supplies from Dublin and if they are sent by rail to Wexford there is no Córas Iompair Éireann lorry with a plate available there to take them out to Taghmon. The only lorries in Wexford with a plate are owned by private firms. Instead of sending the supplies by rail which would be to the economic advantage of the country, they are sent by road all the way from Dublin to Taghmon. That militates against the railways. The same applies as regards passenger traffic. We have buses going from Wexford in conjunction with the trains. They are going in the same direction. In view of that, is it any wonder that Córas Iompair Éireann is losing £1,500,000 a year? Where is that going to end? Is the country going to go on subsidising this company? Were it not for the fact that it is receiving State assistance it would be heading for bankruptey. If any private concern were to conduct its affairs in that way, would it not have gone into liquidation long ago? If the managing director of a private company were to act in that way, he would soon be told by his directors that he should conduct its affairs in a different way.

Seemingly not with Córas Iompair Éireann. They can do what they like. We will have to vote the money and the country will have to pay for it. The Minister should have an inquiry into the running of Córas Iompair Éireann and, if necessary, he should appoint a commission to look into the matter. He should take every step to try to put public transport in this country into some sort of decent shape. On top of all that, private enterprise has no chance in this country whatsoever. Nobody can get a plate for a lorry on account of the restrictions.

There might be some point in that type of procedure if Córas Iompair Éireann were able to pay their way, but the fact of the matter is that we are sacrificing private enterprise for Córas Iompair Éireann.

Deputy Corish, Deputy O'Leary and myself attended at Rosslare Harbour the other evening after having received an urgent telegram to the effect that for five days running the crane haulage system had failed there. Deputy Corish informs me that he has since been in touch with Córas Iompair Éireann. I realise that, to some extent, they are not wholly responsible for that breakdown and that their replacement there probably broke down as well. There is no need for me to stress the importance of Rosslare Harbour. Seventy-five per cent. of the motor cars coming into this country for the tourist season come in through Rosslare Harbour. It is a pretty poor show when right in the middle of the tourist season this sort of breakdown occurs so that cars have to be got in by auxiliary methods. Of course, Córas Iompair Éireann are doing their very best there.

They are running an auxiliary gib and they are getting the cars in but it is a very slow business and it creates a bad impression on the tourists. The Rosslare Development Association feel very strongly that they should have an auxiliary crane there. They suggest diesel power, which governs and controls these trains and which will leave them independent of the electrical supply. It seems to me that the Córas Iompair Éireann electricians' strike, which has been going on now for some 16 months, has a considerable bearing on this subject. I understand that the dispute between the electricians and their employers is about an increase of 1½d. an hour which, at a rough guess, means a shilling a day or roughly 7s. a week. To a certain extent that strike has a bearing on the breakdown at Rosslare Harbour because the breakdown there is an electrical breakdown of some kind. In addition to the trouble about the entry of motor cars at Rosslare Harbour, I am informed that last Saturday evening 80 tons of general merchandise had to be returned on theSt. Andrew to Fishguard. A good deal of chocolate crumb is shipped through that port and there have been difficulties in that regard also. It is necessary that the Córas Iompair Éireann electricians' strike should be settled as early as possible. I am informed that the diesel engines which are under consideration have certain electrical features and will therefore come under the control of the electrical department of Córas Iompair Éireann. I am informed that it is possible that the port and docks authorities will refuse to handle these engines when they come in. Córas Iompair Éireann seems to be held-up for machinery which was ordered more than six months ago.

New Ross harbour is, possibly, one of the best inland harbours in this country. It is 30 miles from the open sea. At low tide it has 20 ft. of water as far as the Barrow Bridge. For many years past the New Ross Harbour Board have been endeavouring to get some recognition in order to get something done for their town. I am glad to say that at the moment the Office of Public Works are drafting plans which, I am informed, are nearly completed and that when they are completed they will go into the Minister's Department for sanction.

I appeal to the Minister to consider these plans as early as possible. New Ross is a town of considerable size. It is an important town and it lies between Wexford and Kilkenny. It has a vast number of unemployed. There are great potentialities there with regard to transport if the harbour could be put into good working condition. As in the case of practically every town in this country, many men from New Ross have had to leave their wives and families and seek employment elsewhere. If the Minister could see his way to give New Ross the jetty which they have wanted for such a long time it would be a step in the direction of providing employment for some of the people there.

On the subject of the decentralisation of industry, it seems to me, as a countryman, that Dublin gets everything. I suppose it is only natural that persons about to start an industry in this country consider that it would serve their interests best to locate it in Dublin. I want, however, to sound a note of warning. Dublin has its port. It is convenient for transport and it is cheaper and more remunerative to locate an industry there. In my opinion, however, Dublin is too big for the population of this country. After the Versailles Treaty the population of Vienna, the capital of Austria, was 2,000,000, and the population of the entire country was 6,000,000. The result was that Vienna was a dying city. If ever we in this country should experience a severe economic crisis— and if Dublin goes on expanding at its present rate—we shall have wholesale mass unemployment here and the rest of the country will be taxed out of existence to keep the unemployed in Dublin in existence. It is far more economic to locate our industries in various parts of the country. No matter where you may start an industry in this country there will always be a head office of that industry in Dublin and in that way Dublin will get its share of the industry also. I urge the Minister to decentralise industry as much as possible. When I asked him a question on the matter recently I was informed that he has not any great function in the matter. Surely, however, it is necessary to have a licence from the Minister for Industry and Commerce to start an industry? If we establish our industries in the country we will put Ireland on a better economic footing.

Last week I asked the Minister a question on the subject of the price of binder twine. The price has increased by 25 per cent. since last year. The Minister replied that that increase was justified.

He said it was on account of the rise in the cost of imported raw material, and so forth. Is that an indication, taking a broad view of industry as a whole in this country, that everything is going to go up by 25 per cent., because if it is, it is a poor look out for the country. I think that a 25 per cent. imposition on the farmers, particularly in my constituency which is a tillage county, is a very hard burden for them to bear. It is over £3 a hundredweight since last year. I feel he should reconsider it and see if he could have it retailed out to the farmers at a more reasonable rate.

Before I conclude I would like to say: "It is never too late to mend." No matter how it may be glossed over, this country is not in the same happy condition in which it was over 12 months ago. Over 12 months ago there was more employment; there were more industries working. One thing is complementary to another. There was building going on and there were local works going on. There was plenty of development, plenty of money scattered throughout the country and plenty of money in the pay roll of the workers. That was responsible for keeping our factories practically in full production. We did stockpile a certain amount but at the same time we had the people working, there was a demand for the goods and they were being bought. The reason for that was the policy of the late Government who accepted this fact, that this is an under-developed country, that our problem is not our imports and our exports. Our problem is to develop our country to the fullest. If you have got an under-developed country the more you expend and the more you develop it—it is a long term policy if you like—the more you will be able to export.

I believe that the Minister for Industry and Commerce, in his heart of hearts, has always accepted that policy though he is sitting on the bench with the other Ministers who have played a different tune throughout the last 12 months. I also welcome the announcement that the Minister for Finance is contemplating floating a loan. I would like to say what other Deputies have said before. This is a national loan. It is not a loan of this Party, or that Party or any other Party. It is absolutely necessary for the good and the welfare of this country. The success of that loan would mean that industry and commerce, the production and the public works of this country could go ahead and that the people would be kept at home and be able to work. I hope the loan will be a success and I wish the Minister and his colleague, the Minister for Finance, every success with that loan. I will say again before I sit down that I hope they will adhere to that policy and that it is never too late to mend.

Mr. Byrne

I rise to join in the many protests that have been made concerning Córas Iompair Éireann and the bus transport services. Bus transport services in Dublin City at the present moment are totally inadequate, and as the Government built up a monopoly and gave the transport services into the hands of Córas Iompair Éireann, I hold that it is up to the Government to see that Dublin, as well as the rest of the country, gets a proper transport service. Every time we raise a question about the bus services in Dublin or the increased bus fares, the Minister says he has no function in the matter and refers us to Córas Iompair Éireann. I am one of the few who disagree entirely with the Minister about his function in the matter. I hold that if the Government and the country has to find nearly £2,000,000 to pay losses in Córas Iompair Éireann, the Minister and the Dáil have the right to question them in their management of the bus services as well as to deal with the general transport question. I believe it is the members' right in this House to request the Minister at every available opportunity to see that the bus services are complete and adequate to meet the requirements of the people who are waiting for them, who were promised and who had good transport services in the City of Dublin at one time which, as well as giving highly efficient service, gave good profits to the shareholders of the time. Now we find that with the Budget proposals about diesel oil, petrol and all the other requirements for a transport service, we are told we cannot get the full service. We are told we cannot get it at the fares at which we had expected to get a good transport service.

Nearly all of the Dublin Corporation housing schemes go out three, four and five miles. Our next housing scheme will be five to six miles out and we have to transfer people from decaying houses in parts of the City of Dublin four, five and six miles away from their work. The result is that their rent— because you must call the heavy increased transport charge a new charge on their rent—will be very high. To that extent we are entitled to demand a better service and a cheaper service from the Government.

Córas Iompair Éireann also have a pensions scheme about which I was asked to raise a question on behalf of the various men concerned. The Minister is aware that there are men reaching 70 years of age who gave 30 and 40 years' service with the transport company, not altogether with Córas Iompair Éireann, but with the transport company that was taken over by Córas Iompair Éireann with the Government's consent. When they retired they opted for five years to take £1 or 25/- a week—I forget which it is. They are now going to receive 6/- a week when they reach 70 years. It is not fair to the transport service employees who gave 30 and 40 years' service, that the moment they reach 70 and become entitled to the old age pension their pension is reduced to 6/-a week. It is grossly unfair. I raised the matter several times in this House and it is up to the Minister and his Government to fulfil their promise to those people and see that they get fair and proper treatment. The fact that they have reached 70 and that they are entitled to receive the old age pension is no reason why the equivalent of their Córas Iompair Éireann pension should be withdrawn and the 6/- pension substituted.

I also, with others, wish to draw attention to emigration. Emigration in this country is brought about through unemployment. The Minister and his Party generally in the House must admit that unemployment is rapidly increasing. The younger people, who, after a week or two, or maybe a month unemployed and having waited in vain to obtain other employment, take to the emigrant ship. In the old days they used to find their way to America and New Zealand. Now they find it much easier to find their way to England, Scotland or Wales.

It is a great loss to the country and it is a tragedy to see the thousands of young men and young women that are leaving the country every year. These young people were educated and trained and that education and training, which was subsidised by the State, was considered at the time to be a good investment for the future. It would have been a good investment had those young people remained at home and helped to make their own country prosperous. But they are not remaining at home and I would appeal to the Minister now to go down to the North Wall and see the general air of dereliction that hangs over that area and the number of men waiting outside the various shipping offices, waiting to be called for a day's work and not getting even a day's work. I meet these men regularly and they tell me they will not wait much longer. There is always the emigrant ship. The Minister and his Party promised to put an end to emigration. Time and time again, when they were in opposition, they appealed to be put back into government and made the pilots of the ship of State. They said that if they were returned to power they would put an end to emigration.

I do not blame the present Government because they have not done that. Irrespective of what Government has been in power over the last 50 years emigration has gone on all the time. I am half inclined to believe now that successive Governments close their eyes to it. They think it relieves them of paying out money in unemployment benefit and so on. They think it is a good thing that other countries can absorb our unemployed. I think it is regrettable that I should have to say that, but there has been little protest about the numbers going away and little has been done to bring them back again. The only conclusion one can come to is that, as I have heard it said in business circles and other places, emigration is a sort of safety valve, our people were always anxious to earn their own living and always anxious to get away.

The Electricity Supply Board is a magnificent undertaking and one cannot but admit that very good prices are paid for their product. Recently, however, I read a statement in theIrish Independent of June 18th where the chairman of that body said:—

"New plant and machinery being brought into use in the production of electricity may cause an increase in the price of electricity."

The chairman also said that owing to the cost of replacements, which were now costing three times what they cost pre-war, the price of electricity to the consumers would eventually have to be increased. The only allowance made for replacements at the present moment is that fixed some 20 years ago. Industrialists say that the time has come when the Minister and the Revenue Commissioners must get together and give a substantial allowance for replacements. They suggest that instead of imposing increased prices on the consumers, there should be an allowance made by the Revenue Commissioners through the medium of income-tax payments plus any other allowance it is within the Minister's power to make. The Minister's recommendation would carry weight in a matter such as this.

I appeal to the Minister and his colleagues not to go around the country making gloomy speeches and dire prophecies. Sometimes one asks oneself what do they wish to impress upon the people? Why should they seek to frighten the people? Why ask them to be more careful and spend less when by spending less they will create further unemployment? We all know this is a grand little country. It is a prosperous little country. It is a country worth developing. It is a country worth praising instead of constantly running it down. There is no need for all this gloom. If the pessimism were dropped and a little more optimism shown that would encourage the people and they would buy the products of our own industries and therefore create scope for greater employment.

The increase in the price of the loaf from 6d. to 9d. is a very severe burden on the people, particularly on those who consume bread and butter practically three times per day. The increases in children's allowances will be more than off-set by the increase in the price of food. I appeal to the Minister not to permit prices to increase any further. If they do, we all know what will happen. Well organised groups will be able to make a demand for a substantial increase in wages. More power to them if they get that substantial increase to meet the cost of living. There are unorganised groups, however, which cannot make their voices heard. I am referring to the elderly men and women who live on annuities.

These annuities never increase to meet increases in the cost of living and these elderly people will suffer severe hardships. I think these people deserve consideration and I suggest the Minister should be very slow in granting any application for an increase in prices which will further increase the cost of living and especially the cost of essential commodities. Like other speakers, I appeal to the Minister and to the Government to put a stop to the increase in the cost of living.

So many matters could be raised on this Estimate that if Deputies were to deal with them all I do not think there would be any hope of a Summer Recess. I intend only to refer to a few matters which I should like to bring to the Minister's attention. The first is the matter of privately-produced turf. In introducing his Estimate the Minister indicated that Bord na Móna would take privately-produced turf at the end of the year or early next year. A number of people whom I have met since the Minister made his statement were disappointed by that, because turf is produced by these people as a cash crop and now is the time they want the money. This is a time when money is generally scarce in the country districts. In the olden days it was referred to as the hungry month of July. There is a terrible scarcity of cash in the country districts at this period of the year and if the people could dispose of their turf to Bord na Móna now it would serve them far better than at a later time.

As the Minister and the board are aware, it would also be far more remunerative to the producers to sell now because turf ricks which are allowed to remain until next spring will tend to lose considerably in weight. Evaporation will cause loss of weight and that will mean much smaller recompense for the producers. From these two points of view I ask the Minister to request the board to relieve the producers now of the turf, if at all possible. There may be difficulties with regard to storage, but as far as it can be done something should be done in that matter.

The second point I want to refer to is the question of transport. I thoroughly agree with the Minister that this question of national transport is one which at the moment seems almost incapable of solution. It is a big national problem and will have to be tackled from a national standpoint and from a non-political point of view. All sides of the House, I think, agree that it is a problem which seems almost incapable of solution. I feel, however, that there should be available in the country or outside the country people capable of finding a solution for it. I know that during the week-end a number of people were very much perturbed by an announcement in the English Press, and I think over the radio, suggesting the restriction of private haulage. The Minister should ensure that there is no restriction on private haulage. If Córas Iompair Éireann is incapable of providing a transport system at an economic rate, I do not think it is right that there should be a violation or infringement of the constitutional right of the citizen to earn his livelihood by restricting him from earning it in a legal or legitimate way.

A number of people, particularly from the West of Ireland, go down to the south to purchase live stock and they use their own lorries or they hire lorries. It will be a terrible drawback to these people if there is interference with the system. Córas Iompair Éireann is a national concern and it is an important thing to have a good transport system in the country. But there must be reasons why it cannot be run economically. The first thing is to find out the reasons and if the management of Córas Iompair Éireann are able to put up a reasonable demand or able to say why they are unable to pay their way or in what circumstances they would be able to pay their way, the House should take serious notice of that. The concern is definitely being run at a terrible national loss at present. I do not know what the reasons are. It may be that there is redundancy, but getting rid of that redundancy by wastage I am afraid will be a protracted solution.

There should be some commission established to investigate the whole question of transport and, in the meantime, I suggest very seriously to the Minister that there should be no interference with the private hauliers. Many of these hauliers or lorry owners have put all the capital they have into the purchase of these vehicles and they are now alarmed at the idea that they may be deprived of their livelihood by any action taken by the Department or by Córas Iompair Éireann.

I also want to refer to the price of agricultural machinery. The Minister's Department should inquire into the position with regard to the price charged for agricultural machinery. There must be some irregularities there when it is possible to obtain an article in one shop at from £10 to £12 less than you pay in another. I do not know who is responsible for that. I think the manufacturers ought to indicate the retail price of the article. In that way the people who purchase this machinery would be protected. I know from personal knowledge that the price of agricultural machinery is seriously handicapping agricultural production.

Some Deputies have expressed serious disappointment with the Undeveloped Areas Act. I do not share that disappointment. As I said at the time of the passing of the Act, I do not expect anything spectacular or any great rush of industrial development in the undeveloped areas. I think, however, that it will eventually lead to the establishment of a certain number of industries in those areas. I feel that the public have it in their power to make that Act a success or a failure. If you have not the initiative in the various districts or towns, naturally no amount of legislation will industrialise the country. If the people put their minds seriously to the creation of industries in those areas, I believe that the Act will be a success—perhaps not a great success, but at least it will help to relieve what is at present a very serious matter, namely, unemployment in the West of Ireland.

I should like to refer to a few matters concerning my own constituency. I should like the Minister to tell us what has caused the foundries in Wexford and Enniscorthy and the tanneries and the other industries to put their men on short time or to disemploy them. It is a very serious question for the workers concerned. With more unemployment all over the country, Fianna Fáil will have something to answer for to the people because they promised full-time employment and made other rosy promises at the last election and to-day we who represent the workers find our people in a worse condition than they have ever been. The English newspapers last Sunday gave hints of a new Bill to be brought in by the Minister which would deal with lorry transport in the country. That is causing a lot of worry to the owners and drivers of lorries. Some of these people have approached me on the matter. We as Deputies, however, have had no information with regard to it, but the English newspapers could publish that information last Sunday. It is rather strange that this information is given to foreign newspapers.

Of course we have the newspaper strike in this city. That suits the Government and they probably will prolong it as long as they can so that the people will not know what is happening. That strike will probably continue for some time. The Tánaiste at Question Time to-day said that he would not interfere or he cannot interfere; that he will leave it to the Labour Court. Whenever they sit at Griffith Barracks, I suppose the people may listen to the news bulletin from Radio Éireann to find out what is happening.

Deputy Esmonde, Deputy Corish and myself had to go to Rosslare Harbour the other night as a result of a telegram we received. What did we find in Rosslare? We often hear the Tánaiste say that tourism is next to agriculture and that there is more money coming into this country from tourists than from any industry with the exception of agriculture. At Rosslare we found 50 motor cars and some caravans, which people had brought in with them, being loaded into theSt. David by a system such as one would expect to see 50 years ago—men holding ropes and lowering the vehicles into the ship.

I happened to be listening to some of the remarks made by tourists who were on the ship and I heard them say: "We will not come this way any more. See how our motor cars are being damaged by such old-fashioned methods of loading." That was the impression which the tourists carried away with them from Rosslare Harbour. Yet there were five cranes belonging to Córas Iompair Éireann on the platform but they could not be used because they were not connected with the Electricity Supply Board power.

Is it not very bad business on the part of Córas Iompair Éireann not to have even one of these cranes available as a stand-by in case of emergency? Probably as one man said to me Córas Iompair Éireann does not want this port worked at all. They want to divert the traffic to some other port, despite the unemployment which it would cause in that area. The ship which had to leave on time had to bring back half of its cargo unloaded because it could not be unloaded in time. Córas Iompair Éireann apparently is making no effort to send down a steam crane or to provide proper unloading facilities for the people using that port. Apart from the fact that no encouragement is being given to tourists to use the port the employment of dockers at the port is being jeopardised. Simply because the cranes are out of order a boat may be diverted to Dublin, Waterford or Cork.

When the Transport Bill was brought before this House in 1944 the Government was defeated by one vote and the Taoiseach went immediately to the Park and had the House dissolved. Then the Transport Bill was reintroduced and the country was promised a great transport system, faster trains, better stations and waiting-rooms, and better bus services. To-day, however, the cry is that the railways are losing, that Córas Iompair Éireann is bankrupt. This House is voting money to keep highly-paid officials sitting in Kingsbridge while the country people have to suffer to pay the piper. When the Minister for Industry and Commerce is asked for any information in regard to the position of the railways he will say: "I have no function in the matter." Similarly he will say he has no function in regard to the Electricity Supply Board, but this House should have some functions in regard to these matters as representatives of the people. The House should not allow any big monopoly to be controlled by a few. This Parliament should speak for the country in regard to State-controlled establishments such as Córas Iompair Éireann and the Electricity Supply Board because, year after year, we are voting huge sums of the taxpayers' money to keep these establishments going. When a question is put down the Minister evades it by saying: "I have no function in the matter."

We hear a lot of talk recently about industries. Everybody coming in here proposing to start an industry, whether from Germany or any other country, is told: "You are to go to the West to start industries, to the undeveloped areas." Apart from the West, where Fianna Fáil lost seats, no part of the country is to get a new industry. To try to regain the ground they lost they are giving everything to the men of the West.

They are promising them.

Yes, they are just promises. We have a tannery in Gorey piled up with leather and with no outlet for that leather. Half the staff are unemployed and some have gone to Britain. More of them are just hanging on, expecting some market to open up. I was down in Blarney a week ago and I was talking to a man who had been employed in the woollen mills there. He told me that for three weeks the wheels had not turned, and Blarney is one of the best woollen mills in Ireland. Yet Fianna Fáil are asking people to set up industries in the undeveloped areas whilst the South of Ireland, which is far more convenient to harbours near which people would like to start industries, is getting no chance. I have been in touch with people from foreign countries myself and they told me the Government would give them no grant to start industries unless they went to the West of Ireland. These people would prefer to go to the South, to be near Rosslare, Waterford and Cork, but they will get no help if they do not go to the West.

I should like the Minister to tell us something this evening with regard to the position of Pierce's factory in Wexford. That factory, which produces agricultural machinery, is one of the oldest in Ireland, but over 200 people have become unemployed there since Fianna Fáil were returned to power. We, who represent Wexford, want to know why the Minister is not taking some action to ascertain what is wrong. The Government has now been in office 13 months and we are forced to appeal to them to do something in regard to unemployment and emigration. When they were in opposition for the previous three and a half years, we frequently heard their dismal descriptions of conditions in the country. They alleged that the Coalition was destroying the country. Yet the country was in a far better position economically 12 months ago than it is to-day. Notwithstanding the unemployment in industry, they have cut down the grants under the Local Authorities (Works) Act. This country should be entitled to Marshall Aid just the same as any other country.

The Wexford County Council is getting £30,000 this year to provide employment whereas under the inter-Party Government we got £68,000. In the rural areas there are more unemployed than ever before. Of course the Government tell us that they will increase unemployment assistance but that is no remedy. To oblige a man to register at the unemployment exchange is no honour to the Republic we hear so much about. Workers' representatives are placed in a very difficult position to-day owing to the complete absence of any information from Ministers as to what action they intend to take to find employment for people who have lost employment.

Some years ago we had a cement works in Drinagh, County Wexford. In 1932, Fianna Fáil when trying to get into power, promised that if they did, they would open Drinagh Cement Works. This is 1952. Inside a few years the machinery which was in Drinagh Cement Works was sold as scrap. Now we are talking about importing cement and of extending the factories that we have. Yet that industry was closed down. The people who bought it made, I believe, a good deal of money out of the sale of the machinery as scrap.

This Estimate covers practically everything. The Minister for Industry and Commerce is responsible for the running of a big part of the country. People from outside come in here and, as Deputy Giles said, after a few days in Ireland they are called "Paddy this and Paddy that". They make good money and get away with it. I think the first duty of the Government is to help Irish people who are interested in industry and not be going all out for foreigners who come in here and start sweat shops. They employ young boys and girls in sweated factories around the City of Dublin.

I believe they have some clause in the mineral water business that if they employ a boy they dismiss him when he reaches the age of 18, and bring in a young fellow who has just left school. When the boy of 18 is dismissed, there is nothing for him except to join the Irish Army. If he does not, he will have to join the British Army or go and look for work in Britain. Something should be done about that by the Minister, especially as regards employers who take advantage of the youth of the country up to 18 years of age and then scrap them. They are thrown out at the age of 18 years and other young boys, leaving school, are brought in and sweated by foreigners, Jews and others.

That is how the huge profits are made by the foreigners who come into the country. I think we should help our own people first and help Irish industry first and not mind shaking hands with foreigners, Russians, Germans or Belgians. They are caught by the hand and get every help. The Irish people, who are prepared to put up money, will not get the same help. Their applications are put on the long finger. They are told that they are under examination, but one never hears anything more about them.

We have a greater number of unemployed to-day in the Twenty-Six Counties than we ever had before. Is not that a sad state of affairs after all we hear about what Fianna Fáil did in their 16 years of office? They have been back again during the last 13 months, and the position is worse than ever it was. Are the Fianna Fáil T.D.s who are sitting behind the Minister and his Cabinet going to remain as dummies and see Dublin workers getting the same as the workers in Wexford got? Are they going to be "yes men" as they have been for 16 years? I say the day will come when the people will get the chance again to go to the ballot boxes. It is a sad thing to have to come in here as the representative of the workers, and as a worker myself with all the experience of unemployment, national health insurance and the rest, and try to put this before people who are not labour minded, but who are drawn from the capitalist classes. We cannot expect much from them, but they go on election platforms and tell the workers that they are their friends, that they have more workers behind them than the Labour Party.

The workers to-day know how they stand now with regard to the cost of living. The Minister for External Affairs is sitting here now. When in opposition, he used to shout loudest about the cost of living and about emigration. He and Deputy Smith used to throw words across this House and call Deputy MacBride Pontius Pilate and the rest. These things are not forgotten by members of the House who have been here for any time. I think that the sooner the Taoiseach—he is getting old now— takes his Cabinet and his whole Party into the Party room and examines his conscience and asks the members of his Party what their Constituents are saying, the better. The members themselves probably will not be allowed to speak in the House. They belong to the Party and they are either afraid to speak or they are censored. Thank God, when we were in the inter-Party Government we could go into the Party rooms and tell them whether they were doing right or not. We were not muzzled and we told them what the people wanted.

Fianna Fáil is now depending on a few Independents. If they had a majority, without the Independents, it would be God help the country. I say that the Minister for Industry and Commerce is responsible for the unemployment we have to-day. After all the promises he made 13 months ago, our Irish industries are closing down, industries, that were started before ever Fianna Fáil came into power or before this House was set up. You have men signing at the labour exchanges in Wexford and Enniscorthy to-day because industries have closed down. Is that a healthy sign? In my own town, you have boys and girls going to the railway station every night on their way to the boat to become, by and by, fodder for John Bull whom we hear so much about. If England is involved in another war, they will be conscripted, as the Taoiseach said they could be, if there for two years. Is that why the gates are still open to young Irishmen to go to Britain, to the sweat shops in Coventry, Birmingham and other places? When the Taoiseach went to Galway he spoke about the way Irish workers were treated in English cities. What has he done to stop that? Is it his remedy for unemployment and emigration to take off the passports and let them go to the boat?

It is the duty of any Government to provide employment for its people. That is its first duty and not to be talking about the language. What use is the language to the men of the West who are in Britain, Scotland and Wales to-day? We have young people learning Irish, but when they leave school the only prospect before them is to go out of the country. We hear all this talk about the language. It does not matter two hoots to the man who is going to the North Wall tonight or to Waterford Harbour or to Rosslare Harbour. He has to leave his country and seek employment in the country which was the enemy of his country for centuries. The Government should take up this matter and see to it that our young manhood who have to go to that country for employment will not be conscripted there when the next war breaks out. We should not have the position that the present Taoiseach will stand up in this House and say, in reply to a question, that if these Irishmen are two years in Great Britain they can be conscripted to the British Army. These things matter greatly to the working-class people whom I represent. They sweat and toil to bring up their boys and girls and when they reach 18 or 21 they have to leave this country to seek a livelihood elsewhere.

It is the duty of the Government to provide employment for our people. Unless that is done our population will dwindle and we shall have nobody in this country except old people and people who are unable to work. That is a sad state of affairs when we think of all the sacrifices that were made to establish this Parliament and to get freedom for this part of the country.

What is freedom to a worker? Work and good wages. That is the Republic I want to see. If our workers can get employment with good pay here, emigration will cease. So long as the employment position in this country is poor, and better wages can be had in Australia, Canada, Britain and elsewhere, our people will emigrate. They will emigrate until they get a decent standard of living. Our old age pensioners should be given what they are entitled to get. The Fianna Fáil slogans were: Full employment, stop emigration and learn the language. We know now that they were not sincere in these slogans. All our citizens deserve fair play. When the late James Connolly said: "Rise, workers, from your knees" he wanted them to obtain full employment and a decent standard of living. He did not die that Jews and foreigners should come into this country and establish small factories and sweat our young men and women. I do not believe that he or any of the men of Easter Week died for that. They died that we might live in comfort, that industries would be kept going and that there would be full employment for our people.

We hear talk these days about subsidies for Córas Iompair Éireann and about big air-liners. The working-class people are not interested in these air-liners because no worker will be able to afford his fare on the Constellations that we hear so much talk about. The Labour Party policy is: Full employment, short hours and good wages. That is what the men of 1916 died for and that is what the Citizen Army fought for. They did not die so that industries which were started in this country before Fianna Fáil first came into office should now close down, so that husbands and fathers would leave every night to earn a livelihood in Britain. The Fianna Fáil Party are taking no action to remedy the situation. The people are told: "Learn the Irish language and save the nation because without the language we are not free." All that sounds well in the Gaeltacht areas but outside the Gaeltacht the Irish language is not known.

That does not arise on this Estimate.

The Taoiseach says that the language is more important than freedom. I warn the Minister and the Cabinet that if they do not take action immediately we shall have a revolution in this country because the workers are not willing to go to the labour exchanges for a few paltry shillings. Tradesmen, skilled men of all sorts, and craftsmen are to-day unemployed. Who will benefit by all that unemployment? The British employer will benefit. We do not want to come into this House next year with the same story or even a worse one. I am sure that all Parties in this House will co-operate to solve this problem because no matter how we may differ on other questions we are all anxious to see full employment in this country. None of us likes to see the large queues at the labour exchanges. In the past 13 months these queues have doubled. Will the Minister tell the House the reason for this increased unemployment and why the industries are closing down? You will hear many a mother say: "My son leaves for Britain tonight. He has lost his job. They are sacking a certain number in his industry." Is that not a very sad state of affairs? Then we hear talk about the undeveloped areas and about turf.

If the present volume of unemployment continues we shall have mass demonstrations by the unemployed outside Leinster House, as we had in the past. The worker will stand a certain amount of ill-treatment but then he will boil over. The Government should examine the question and find out why it is that industries which were well-established in this country are now closing down and that, at the same time, foreigners are coming in and establishing small little factories in this city and employing sweated labour in them. These are some of the things that concern us and which I am going to fight to remedy so long as I am in this House. In the midst of all that misery we hear the cry of Partition.

I am sure there is not a public representative from any part of this country who is not faced with these problems in his own constituency. The sooner the Fianna Fáil Deputies stand up and tell their Taoiseach and their Tánaiste what is happening in their own constituencies—as it is happening in Wexford, Enniscorthy, Gorey and the other towns which I represent—the better for the workers and for the people who sent them here. It is not right that they should sit on the Government Benches with their tongues in their cheeks and their hands on their heads.

As almost every item in this Estimate appears to have been fully discussed I shall just refer to one or two which, I believe, have not yet been touched upon. The Department of Industry and Commerce is responsible for the coast-watching service which I presume is for the purpose of the protection of shipping along the coast and especially perhaps for the protection of fishermen. So far as I know, in my own area, at any rate, these outposts which were once manned and in working order are now derelict, and fishermen in those areas have repeatedly requested the Department of Industry and Commerce to install once again the necessary apparatus as was done during the emergency and also to man these look-out posts. They would not only be of great use to fishermen in connection with accidents which frequently occur along the coast—and during the past three or four years there have been some very sad occurrences off the South Kerry coast which could perhaps be avoided if the look-out posts were manned as is required—but also these look-out posts would be of immense use in connection with the encroachment of foreign trawlers within the territorial waters. I would wish that the Minister would take note of this grievance and that something would be done in the near future so that these look-out posts will once again be set in working order.

Deputy Finan said he had great hopes as regards the results of the Undeveloped Areas Act. I am afraid I have not the same faith as the Deputy and so far as the whole Kerry area is concerned nothing at all has yet been done to set up any local industry under that Act. However, we are not disappointed in that because we did not expect very much from it. While I hope the position will never arise that we will have a by-election in South or North Kerry, I think it would be the only means by which some industry would be set afoot as was done during the recent by-election in North Mayo; at least the promises were made whatever will be the outcome.

In his conference recently which the Tánaiste, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, had with certain unions representing Córas Iompair Éireann employees we learned that private hauliers will be entirely put off the road. It is a very serious matter to interfere with the employment of any individual in this State. While Córas Iompair Éireann has almost a complete monopoly of transport in this country for some years past it is still in financial difficulties, but surely something can be done to restore the position without depriving people of the work which they are entitled to carry out.

I have seen also a statement recently by the president of the Irish Tourist Association where he complained that it was because of the proclamation of Fogra Fáilte some few weeks ago, that there was no doubt in the world that this year we would have a greater influx of tourists than we ever had before, which has prevented many people from coming here. I believe that because of that statement tourists from England and perhaps other areas who meant to come imagined that hotels would be overcrowded. It may be also due to the restriction of currency. However, I believe that Fogra Fáilte is entirely unnecessary. We have, of course, always the idea in our minds why it was set up but it is better, perhaps, for the sake of peace, not to say too much about it.

Certainly Fogra Fáilte is taking no steps to arrange for internal tourism. That was really the duty of the Irish Tourist Association until such time as Fogra Fáilte was set up, and now we have three organisations overlapping, the Irish Tourist Board, Fogra Fáilte and the Irish Tourist Association. So far as the Irish Tourist Association is concerned I am very much afraid the Minister has already sacked them even though he has not exactly pronounced their extinction.

I would also like to know if any report was issued by the official from Cork who was recently sent to America to contact people of Irish blood and to do something there to advertise Irish tourism. If public expenditure is incurred in sending deputations to various places there should be some report issued because it is the taxpayer who has to pay for all this. Those are just a few matters to which I wish to refer. I do not think it would be fair to prolong the debate any further so far as I am concerned; perhaps other Deputies wish to speak if there is anything else to be said.

It is not my intention to travel the ground which was travelled during the course of this debate, but to draw the Minister's attention to some of the things that have been mentioned with regard to urban areas in connection with unemployment assistance and the Unemployment Insurance Act. Take Wicklow urban area, which is affected much the same as Arklow and many of the other urban areas in the Twenty-Six Counties. In relation to the new arrangement we were promised that under the social services every person was going to be granted an increase to meet the increased cost of living. While I admit the man with a wife and two children received an increase which abolished the two rates in the rural and urban areas and which increased the rate for the man in the rural area, the man living in the urban area having seven or more children is reduced by 1/- a week as a result of the regulation made by the Minister's Department. I do not think that when the Bill was going through the House, any member would have supported it if he believed that it was going to act unjustly towards any section. We were promised there was going to be an increase to all sections.

Government Deputies will find out in their respective areas outside the cities that the man, as I said, with seven or more children, incurs a reduction of 1/- a week in his unemployment benefit. A man with two children will get 50/- a week under the Unemployment Insurance Act. The man with eight children will receive only 50/-. How, then, is the man with the extra number of children to meet the extra cost of living? The rate of his allowance is reduced by 2/6 a week. He formerly had 2/- for every child. With regard to unemployment assistance——

The Minister is not responsible for that.

The Minister stated he was providing a large sum of money to meet the unemployment assistance paid through the employment exchanges. I thought I should draw the Minister's attention to the fact that in the exchanges he controls a person with a family of more than seven will receive less in future than he received hitherto although the intention was that he should be given greater benefit.

The unemployment situation is very grave in my constituency. I have never known so many unemployed. True, a large number are emigrating. Housing is practically at a standstill. We have been told that there is a restriction of credit. I was disappointed that the Minister did not make some statement outlining the Government's proposals to meet the serious situation with which public bodies will find themselves faced in a couple of months' time. Is there any scheme to offset the situation in the autumn so that public bodies will be able to provide employment during the winter months?

The increased insurance on motor cars will have a serious effect upon industry, to say nothing of the effect it will have on the private motorist. There will be a 25 per cent. increase on private cars. That increase has already come into operation despite the fact that there is an inquiry going on at the moment and the matter is stillsub judice. The Minister did not make any reference to that in his opening statement. Possibly that increase has been put into operation with the connivance of the Government in order to compel motorists to transfer their custom to Córas Iompair Éireann but I do not want to dwell on that.

I could criticise the administration of Córas Iompair Éireann in relation to both goods and passenger traffic. I have known a goods train to come into my own town at a certain hour. Two hours later the road transport service arrives and discharges into the goods station and those goods are not delivered in the town until the following day. These things could be remedied by having practical men going around the various depots and seeing for themselves where difficulties can be overcome and better services provided for the people. In that way the need for an extra subsidy might be eliminated.

I want to draw the Minister's attention in particular to a small foundry in Wicklow. The owner of that is the man who invented the hoist and winches for farmers and for factories. On numerous occasions he approached the Minister's Department in an effort to get some protection. He was refused protection. He pointed out that if he got protection he could expand his business and employ more men and he gave a guarantee that he would not alone employ more but he would supply the machinery cheaper than it could be imported from England. In the last fortnight it has been reported in the English papers that a factory has been opened in England and has a representative here. Already some £40,000 worth of this machinery is in process of importation and the little foundry in Wicklow has practically closed down. I would ask the Minister to consider that man's position. If he is given adequate protection he will be in a position to supply nearly all the requirements of the home market and at a cheaper price than that at which they can be imported. I am myself in favour of small industries which can be developed and expanded if and when the need arises.

I am glad the Government is taking an interest in harbours generally. Wicklow Harbour is regarded as one of the safest on the east coast and ships always make for that harbour in a bad storm. A survey of that harbour has been carried out and the report sent to the Department. Time after time the Department has been asked what it intends to do. Will a grant be given for the development of that harbour so that the factories in the area will not be compelled to close down? One merchant has pointed out that he is at present compelled to purchase coal in Dublin and transport from Dublin to Wicklow costs him 2/6 per ton extra. He does not say that he could supply coal cheaper to the people if he brought it into Wicklow but the natural inference is that he would be in a position to do so. Vessels which cannot discharge in other ports invariably come to Wicklow. I appeal to the Minister to give serious and sympathetic consideration to the request to improve the harbour there.

The Department of Industry and Commerce has been acknowledged by both sides as the second most important in the country. Considerable concern is felt throughout the country because of the removal of the food subsidies which brings in train many difficulties that may not have been foreseen when the decision was taken in the first instance. Small shopkeepers are in the unenvious position now of having to compete with travelling shops which are calling at the actual homesteads and supplying the people with all their requirements. Small shopkeepers in the towns and villages must pay their rates and pay their taxes. They now find themselves faced with this unfair competition. In my constituency travelling shops come out from Cork City. I think the Minister should interest himself in this development. I believe the attention of other Departments has been drawn to it.

Attention was directed from these benches some months back to the speeches made by leaders of the present Government in relation to conditions at that time. We feel that it was as a result of these wild speeches that such a feeling of insecurity developed in the country. We feel that credit restriction which is now felt so intensely by business people is something which should have been thought of when Ministers were making statements designed for purely political purposes.

I should like to say in relation to my own constituency that we have not been favoured with many industries. I do not like to hear Ministers or Deputies referring to numbers of industries. I would prefer to get particulars of the number employed in industry, to know how much they have increased in the last 12 months. I would prefer to hear that the unemployment figure has been reduced rather than that we were to have a number of factories erected. We are sceptical with regard to these numbers, because we can remember the time when we heard so much about factories being established and it all came to naught. Some factories, of course, were established and are giving valuable employment.

I would say to the Minister, however, that whatever headway his Department makes in this matter it should not make it at the expense of other industries. If workers are required by Bord na Móna or any other desirable undertaking they should not be drawn away from the land. I have evidence that that has occurred. Workers employed by farmers stayed on with them until the time of the year when work would be really important and then they went off to turf camps or took employment at other work. Some priority should be given to employment in agriculture when we hear so much about its importance. I ask the Minister to ensure that semi-State concerns will not interfere in the labour market in such a way as to take away men who are so vital to our principal industry.

In my constituency the largest town there, namely, Mallow, is notable for the fact that it is a big railway junction and, consequently, a large number of people are employed there by Córas Iompair Éireann. As a result of rumours as to the possibility of large scale dismissals by Córas Iompair Éireann, these workers are very much concerned. It would be a good thing if the Minister would assure these employees that this will not occur, or at least that there will not be such cases as that cited by Deputy Browne in which a man got notice that his employment would be terminated within a matter of days. If anybody in the country did such a thing as that there would be an outcry. It is certainly a matter of concern that a company like Córas Iompair Éireann should do such a thing.

Efforts have been made by various means to attract tourists to this country. No doubt they are a wonderful asset to our economy. We should leave nothing undone, however, to ensure that they will get the maximum in the way of reasonable comfort and that their wants will be attended to. Certain co-ordination exists between the railway services and the boat services. I ask the Minister to see that that is extended to the air services. A number of people arrive in this country by Aer Lingus under the impression that they can get to the places in the South or West where they have booked accommodation. They find, however, that they are stranded in the city without having made any arrangements for accommodation. That is due to the want of proper co-ordination between the services. They have to wait many hours in order to get a connection and they arrive at their destination at the dead of night. We know that first impressions are very often the greatest and, consequently, I ask the Minister to see what can be done by way of informing people who intend to travel by air when they can get rail connections to their destination.

Until recently the meals provided in the dining carriages on the railways were quite good. There was, for instance, a fixed lunch on the Cork-Dublin run. I regret that that has been dispensed with and is not available at a time when the trains are carrying so many tourists to their destinations. It is desirable that we should provide on these trains the facilities that people expect.

Many suggestions have been put forward as to how and where factories could be established. I think Deputy Dr. Browne's suggestion was a wise one. He said that these factories should be related to the processing of our agricultural produce and thus create further employment in that industry. He went a bit too far, however, when he adumbrated a scheme of education for farmers so that they might provide cheaper food. He did not, however, make any reference to the fact that agricultural workers are now called upon to suffer an increase in the cost of living which they did not foresee 12 months ago. He expressed sympathy with the Minister in regard to the difficulties he had to meet. Before he finished, he exhorted organised labour to seek higher wages which he feels, and most people feel, must be given as a direct consequence of the action of the Minister in removing the food subsidies. Where that cycle will end is something which we cannot foresee. It certainly will not bring any good to the country. It is undesirable that people engaged in our industries should be mulcted to the extent that they will have to seek large increases in wages. That will eventually react on the consumer with detrimental effect on Irish industries.

Rural electrification has made considerable progress in recent years. That will help to brighten up the countryside and also provide power for farms and small factories in areas where it was impossible to develop formerly. Throughout the country, organisations have applied themselves with considerable success to instilling into the people the advisability of availing of this electrification scheme. They canvass the people and get them to accept a supply of electricity. I ask the Minister to request the Electricity Supply Board to give preference to areas in which the large majority of the people have expressed their willingness to accept a supply. These organisations have gone to a lot of trouble over a long period to get the people to take advantage of this scheme.

I know of a few districts, however, in which the great majority of the people have agreed to do this, but found that they were far down the list. They found that other places in which no effort was made until a short time ago were ahead of them. We know that this electrification scheme will reach all the areas in time, but it is discouraging to people who make an effort to enlighten their neighbours as to the advisability of taking in electricity to find that some other area is supplied before them. I ask the Minister to look into the matter. If he does so, I know that some better preference will be given to such districts. It would be pitiable if, owing to their geographical position, they were prevented for a number of years from seeing their efforts brought to fruition.

I am not going to cover the ground which has been traversed by so many other speakers. I merely wish to say that I often wonder at the speeches made inside this House and outside the House about the difficulty of maintaining our present standard of living. I should like to pose this question to the Minister. Was there ever a period in the history of this country or of any other country in the world in which the material needs of every man, woman and child could be more easily produced than to-day? Will the Minister deny that? Every process of production has improved by invention and research, and the varieties of production have expanded, increased beyond mention. What is the reason, therefore, why we have so many assertions and appeals that, if we do not produce more, we cannot sustain our present standard of living and that, even if we remain as we are, we are not entitled to enjoy our present standard of living. I should like to hear the Minister's views on that matter.

Listening to the various speeches that have been made in this House I have come to the conclusion that we are trying to operate a system which cannot be satisfactorily operated. I think if even the present Taoiseach and the previous Taoiseach, the present Tánaiste and the last Tánaiste, the present Minister for Finance and the last Minister for Finance got together, having all the desire in the world to serve the people in this country, they would not be able to get the present system to work except they were satisfied to leave only 20 per cent. of the people served by it and the other 80 per cent. with a standard of living that is not worthy of this country. Therefore, I say that the time has arrived when we shall have to consider from the ground up the social organisation in which we live and whereby it can be altered to meet the changing times that lie ahead. We are vainly attempting to fit our needs to a restricted money system instead of fitting our money to our needs. Will the Minister deny that?

Listening to the Minister's speech of an hour and a half—I do not complain of the length of it—I often asked myself was he really serious or did he really believe in many of the things he said and in many of the views he expressed inside and outside of this House in years gone by? I often ask the question why have we not applied ourselves to the changing circumstances of the day. I suggest to the Minister it is because we lack that social faith and that moral courage necessary to do it. I am forced to the conclusion, despite the many things that have been said by the Minister and other members of the Cabinet in the past, that we are just building our industrial system on industrial capitalism. I am not discussing this in any narrow Party spirit but I say that since 1922, since this State was established, we have been building up an industrial system and starting new industries simply with the idea of asking people outside the country to supply part of the capital and the machinery, and asking our own people within the country to supply the greatest portion of the capital, the customers and the workers. I fail to see in that system any of the social ideas that were embodied in the democratic programme of 1919 in the first Dáil Éireann. We have absolutely abandoned them and capitalism has dug itself in.

I say this to the Minister as one who has some knowledge of what is happening round him. It will take the most social-minded people in the country, the most patriotic-minded people in the country with all the resources they can get behind them, to dislodge the grip of the capitalists and the capitalist philosophy that at present holds sway in this country. I want to tell the Minister that there is need for a new outlook in life, and a new outlook in industry. I was listening to Deputy Briscoe the other night giving us a lecture on how we should conduct ourselves towards our industrialists, telling us in other words that we should stop criticising those who are making excess profits. We had Deputy Brennan from Donegal also lecturing the Labour people, telling them what they should do, and of the regard they should have for their employers, and saying that if the capitalist fails everybody fails. To my amazement I heard Deputy Jack Lynch, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Government, also saying that if we had not a certain number of industrialists there would be no working men, and that if the excess profits tax were restored it would kill the incentive to advance industry in this country, etc. Of course, I did hear the Minister himself saying in this House not so very long ago that the making of profits, even excess profits, could not be reckoned as profiteering. Do all these statements imply that nothing can be done or will be done in the way of developing our resources unless some group of individuals can make a profit out of it? I cannot see any other implication in these statements.

I was surprised that during the Minister's whole statement he made no reference to the unemployment problem. Deputy Lynch, the Parliamentary Secretary, congratulated the 74,000 men who were signing at the labour exchange on the fact that they had no desire to run away from the country, and on their faith in better times to come. The Minister also told us the other day that the recession in trade and the consumers' resistance to buying—all beautiful phrases—are going to pass as time goes on. Does the Minister seriously believe that that is going to happen? Deputy Lynch said the other day that the Government would soon restore the normal purchasing power to the people, and that everything would be all right as soon as the consumer resistance ends. I suggest that that is all wishful thinking.

We know that the thousands who are forced to line up to sign at the labour exchanges have practically no purchasing power. Of course, we get every month a copy of the document setting forth the state of unemployment, but I am afraid, to most people, these figures mean very little. If we are to find what is at the back of the whole problem, we ought to try to go into the homes of the unemployed and see the conditions there, see what the position of their families is from the point of view of being ill-fed and ill-clad. All this wishful thinking is not going to get us anywhere. I would suggest to the Minister that he had better change his mind, take a firm stand and deal with the situation as he finds it. He knows as well as I do that, if he does that, 96 per cent. of the people who matter in this country will stand behind him.

All this talk about profits, all this talk of our being an irresponsible people condemning excess profits must cease. We know very well that excess profits are being made. Anybody who comes in here and tries to lecture us across the floor of the House on excess profits is not making an honest attempt to deal with the evils of the situation. I saw on the paper the other day, only on the 11th of this month, where one firm published a statement showing that they had made £158,000 net profit in the present year. That was £90,000 more than in the previous year. It went on to say that the net profit of £158,000 represented an increase of £90,500 over the previous year, as shown in the auditor's report. Does Deputy Briscoe tell us that that was not an excess profit for those people? Their net profit was increased by thousands, and yet we have thousands of people unemployed at the labour exchanges.

Deputy Briscoe, in giving us that lecture, was evidently speaking the mind of the Government. If he was, I say it is a terrible tragedy that we should have anyone in this House advocating a continuance of excess profits while we have thousands of our people ill-clad, ill-fed and badly housed. The Deputy also gave us a lecture about Dunlops. He said that if they made so many thousands of a profit and if that amount was reduced to pence on the articles sold it would only come to a fraction of a percentage in the price of the articles. I happen to have some cuttings from newspapers here. I see that Dunlops in their report show that their profits went up by no less than £42,298 to £194,548. Yet the Deputy came in here and told us to be complacent, not too critical and that we should not attack those people for having such excess profits. They said that the provision for taxation showed a big increase at £100,358. The previous dividend, of course, was maintained. There was provision made for depreciation, reserves, and so on. Will Deputy Briscoe and the Minister not agree that some of that money should have been set aside for those who produced those profits? What was the reward for some of those people? Some of them were thrown out of employment and others kept on four days a week.

We are told that we have our cement factories because of the action of the Fianna Fáil Government. When the inter-Party Government was in power I was as critical of the cement factories and of the control of them as I am when the present Government is here. In their last report they give particulars as regards profits and reserves. The trading profit for the year to the 30th September, 1951, amounted to £268,831 as compared with £287,364 the previous year. Allowing for interest, dividends on investments and the amount set aside for depreciation, directors' fees, and sinking fund, the provision for debenture stock, provision for taxation, etc., there remains a net profit of £59,775. The depreciation reserve was increased by £114,436 to £887,453. Does the Minister or Deputy Briscoe suggest that all that is not reflected by an increase in the price of housing and in the cost of living? What I condemn the Minister for is that he allowed the company to increase their dividend by 2 per cent. when he came back in 1951. Did the Minister consider that an 8 per cent. dividend was not sufficient to any group engaged in the production of cement? Instead of leaving it at that figure, he allowed them to raise it by 2 per cent.

Is the profit to be made on industry going to be regarded as the dominating element in our economy? I say that we are carrying on our industries on the capitalist system in its worst form. No group of individuals should have been allowed to increase the dividend by 2 per cent. in view of the fact that they are producing an article which is a monopoly one here.

Deputy Briscoe proceeded to give me a lecture on those matters the other day, as if nobody knew anything about industry but himself. If he were here I would tell him what I feel about the whole thing. I read in another journal in this country of a certain firm which made an increased net profit of £48,281. It paid a 20 per cent. dividend. Listening to the Minister about Dunlops, and about other people engaged in many branches of industry, one would think that they were only able to get 5 per cent. on their capital. I would like to know what was paid on the capital in that firm. When the 2 per cent. increase was given on the dividend paid by the cement factories, it put about £2,000,000 extra into the capital of the company. I suggest to Deputies, and particularly to members of the Fianna Fáil Party, that we should be able to run the cement industry here in the interests of the people, and not be charging them the prices which we are charging them for the cement they require to-day.

I can tell the House an interesting story about the cement business. I happened to be travelling to Cork some time ago. I was introduced to a man in the carriage. I did not know him, but I learned afterwards that he was a very big man in the commercial world. When he heard my name the first thing he did was to congratulate me on "the 10 per cent. that we have now got on our cement manufacture". I may say that I have not one shilling in the cement factories. There is, however, a man of the same name, who has perhaps thousands of pounds in the cement factories. This man was congratulating me as the man who had the thousands in the cement. He thought that I was the same man.

Tell us the end of that conversation.

I leave that to your own imagination. The Minister, when talking on the Budget, said that it did not matter who controlled the banks. I said that of course it did, and that that was where the trouble was. He answered me back by saying: "We are not going to establish the Soviet system under which the life of every individual is controlled." He said that what I wanted was to have the right to order everybody about and to confiscate property. He said: "I am against that and I will fight very hard against it." I want to tell the Minister that was an unfair remark for him to make. I do not believe in Sovietism or in any "ism" outside this country. What I said was that this Parliament should be the sovereign power in this country. I think that such remarks are most unbecoming for a responsible man. Of course, they had double meaning, in other words that Deputy Hickey belived in Sovietism and Communism. Deputy Briscoe was trying to insinuate something similar on Friday morning last. I resent those remarks. Our problems are too serious to be trying to add a meaning to a statement honestly made in the Dáil.

When talking about profits we had the same language from the Minister for Finance. He cast slurs and treated any remarks I had made with a certain amount of cynicism.

What do we find? We find that in the 15 years ending 1940 the net profits of the tin banks operating in Ireland amounted to £22,406,000.

Surely that does not arise on the Estimate.

We are trying to develop our resources in this country and we are not allowed to do so because the banking system has such a strong control over us. We are not allowed to do what we want to do.

We are discussing the administration of the Department of Industry and Commerce during the past 12 months.

Am I to be told that profits, which are referred to by the Minister in his statements—profits, excess profits and no profits at all—have no relation to industry?

They cannot be debated at length on this Estimate.

I am not going to debate them at length. The tin banks operating in this country have remade their capital four times over within the past 26 years in net profits amounting to over £36,000,000.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce, who is responsible for the Vote before the House, is not responsible for the policy of the banks. The banking policy cannot be debated on this Estimate.

Quite recently, in my hearing, the Minister said that it did not matter who controlled the banks——

The matter cannot be discussed on this Estimate.

I bow to the ruling of the Chair.

On a point of order. Might I inquire if banks can properly be related to commerce? I understand that the Tánaiste is Minister for Industry and Commerce.

We are discussing the administration of the Department of Industry and Commerce.

I am glad to notice that the Minister admits some connection with commerce. The banks are associated with commerce.

I will come back to the administration of the Department, because the problems facing this country are of such a serious nature that they call for immediate and drastic action by the Government. I shall not continue with the question of how far and how closely the banks are associated with the Minister's Department.

The Minister lightly touched on the matter of shipping. For quite a considerable time past we have heard gloomy speeches to the effect that this country is financially embarrassed and some people have told us that we are almost bankrupt. If we invested anything from £10,000,000 to £15,000,000 in shipping, including tankers, does the Minister think that we would be going beyond our means? Is the Minister satisfied that we have enough ships to enable us to do our trading satisfactorily? Recently I had occasion to look up the amount of oil which we import. The most recent figures were in respect of the year 1950. Between motor oil, petroleum and lamp oil, gas and fuel oil, and lubricating oil, we imported in 1950 no less than 165,320,000 gallons. Three hundred gallons equal one ton. Therefore 165,320,000 gallons equal 550,107 tons. A 10,000-ton tanker would have to make 55 round trips in a year to bring that quantity of oil to our shores, or six tankers would have to make nine round trips in a year to do the job. Despite that, we are without a tanker. Does anybody on either side of the House suggest that we should be in that position after 30 years of native government? As far back as 1939, the Minister met a deputation from the Labour Party asking him to buy a number of ships. In 1940, a conference was arranged with the Minister and his Department asking him to buy more ships. The reply was that it was not an economic proposition. In other words, the advice of the vested interests was taken rather than the advice of people who were anxious that this country should be independent as regards our shipping. That is why we are still in the same position to-day as we were 15 and more years ago. According to the latest returns, Switzerland has 18 ships totalling 100,000 tons and have some more ships on order although they have not a port of their own: they are nearly 90 miles from the nearest port. Here we are in Ireland, surrounded by water, and, in all, we have only something more than 100,000 tons of shipping. I should like the Minister to deal with these matters more vigorously and to tell us what he intends to do in that connection in the near future.

I thought we lost 17 ships during the emergency.

We did not lose them. Do not draw me out, Deputy, about what was done during the war. The Minister will find correspondence in his Department, relating to the years 1940 to 1943, advocating the purchase of a number of ships.

A good time for buying ships.

In 1939 representations were made by the Labour Party for the purchase of at least ten ships. On a former occasion I was able to tell this House the amount of money paid by the Cork port for freight. More money was paid over two years by the port of Cork than would buy the 40 ships sold by a certain Government in 1942.

I am afraid that the Deputy is somewhat off the track in regard to his statistics and as to what is being done at the moment

I listened to what the Minister had to say the other day on that subject. That is the reason why I am now raising the matter.

If the Deputy were listening to the Minister he would have heard that there are five or six ships on order.

And I know how soon they will be in commission.

Come on, Cork.

I hope that Deputy MacCarthy will not take my remarks as being detrimental to the interests of this country. I am complaining about the little that has been done by our native Governments in the past 30 years.

Would it be in order for the Lord Mayor of Cork to occupy the Chair in order to settle this matter between Deputy MacCarthy and Deputy Hickey?

There is nothing between me and Deputy MacCarthy so far as this matter is concerned.

You will be tre na cheile after that row.

It is a shame not to have the Lord Mayor of Cork here.

I intended to refer to the matter of the airfield at Cork but I think the speeches which were made by Deputy McGrath and Deputy Lehane have covered the matter. I hope that that is sufficient and that the Minister will bear their remarks in mind.

And it is not through The Bleeding Horse that he is coming in either.

In the Estimates for this year, a sum of £540,370 is provided for meteorological services. Cork City will contribute roughly £48,000 towards that sum. I am at a loss to understand the resistance in the Department of Industry and Commerce towards the use of Cork airfield by private enterprise. We have heard quite a number of complaints on the subject of private enterprise. A group of individuals are concerned in this case, and are prepared to do the needful in respect of the development of Cork airfield. These individuals are getting no encouragement from the Department of Industry and Commerce to enable them to bring that matter to a successful conclusion. I hope the Minister will be able to tell us that something positive will be done in the matter in the near future.

I want to deal now with the matter of insurance and the manner in which it is operated in this country. I have been asking questions in this House about that matter for the past three years. I am often at a loss to understand what is behind all the seeming efforts to prevent me from getting the information which I am seeking. While the inter-Party Government were in office I remember seeing certain advertisements in the newspapers by the Office of Public Works asking for tenders from insurance companies registered in Ireland.

The very year that was done the insurance from that Department of State was given to a foreign insurance company. When I asked a question, everything was, as it were, disposed of by telling me it was all done under the 1936 Insurance Act. Since the Fianna Fáil Party have come back into power I have been following the matter up and I find the self-same resistance to give the information. I was given a list of the syndicates and the list I got was most interesting. The titles some of them had you certainly would not get in Ballyvourney or Ballingeary. Then I got a list of people with numbers and I asked were any of those whose designations were given living in the Republic of Ireland. I was told that all the addresses given were from London, which means that a Department of State instead of giving their insurance to an Irish insurance company have given it to a foreign insurance company.

I had a question down here some time ago and I discovered that within the past three years the foreign insurance companies have collected in this country anything up to £30,000,000. What they collected for last year I have not yet been informed. The returns are not there, but I would be surprised if there were less than £10,000,000 insurance money collected in this country. I saw in the papers some time ago that we had at least one member of the Minister's Department travelling to the United States looking for business in insurance. Is it not a contradictory thing that we send officials of a Department off to America looking for insurance business and that we find another Department of State instead of trying to have their insurance done by Irish insurance companies having it done by somebody outside the country? Surely it is about time we tackled that problem. I do not know what is preventing it from being done. I must say that when the Opposition was in power I found the same reluctance in dealing with the question as I find now.

I had a question down because I read in one of our newspapers that two vocational school committees of management gave their insurance to an English firm rather than to an Irish insurance company.

The Minister would have no responsibility in that matter.

I am inclined to think that he has, because I put a question to the Minister who I thought was responsible, the Minister for Education, as to why he sanctioned the giving of insurance to a foreign company, although the Irish company tender at a lower rate. He told me he was not responsible for that end of the business, and I take it that the Minister for Industry and Commerce is the man responsible, dealing with the Insurance Act, 1936.

Not so far as the vocational committees are concerned.

I am talking about insurance generally. Why should any authority in this country accept a tender from a foreign insurance company while an Irish insurance company gave a lower tender and was rejected? One of the questions that was asked by a member of the vocational committee when the tenders for insurance were being considered was: Are they giving satisfaction? And another was: Are they employing our people? The British Empire, when they ruled this country, were employing many of our people, and even though the English were giving satisfaction to some of our people, the men of 1916 gave their lives in order that they would have no further say in this country. It is rather strange that any Irishman, I do not care where he came from, could accept a tender from a foreign insurance company and turn down an Irish insurance company, although the latter tendered at a lesser rate. Is it not time for every Deputy, no matter what Party he belongs to, to see that this situation is rectified immediately?

I merely intend to say a few words about Córas Iompair Éireann because I understand the Minister is dealing with the people who are directly concerned, and I hope, as a result of that, we will not see the people who are earning their livelihood on the railways and in the transport service generally being made the victims of any changes there. However, I do this fact. There was machinery taken from a Cork engineering works recently and transported to Dublin.

The machinery was used by the Cork Dockyard Company and other firms at times. I am not at all satisfied that it was wise to take that from a place like Cork, the capital of Munster, and transfer it to Dublin. There is sufficient centralisation here already without making it worse, and no matter how much the Minister might say it is not his function. Surely there is somebody to whom we can appeal in the last analysis as regards the removal of that machinery from where it was in Cork.

The best part of Cork came up to Dublin.

I am saying that quite seriously. I am one of those who at the time the Transport Bill was passing through this House advocated that matters of that kind should be subject to this Dáil. I believe that questions like that should be under the control of this House.

Deputy Palmer made some reference to tourists and gave his reasons for the failure of the expected number of tourists to come to Ireland. I am not prepared to agree with the reasons he put forward. The reason we have not more tourists in this country is that the system under which we are trying to operate here is operating in England. There is a restriction of purchasing power as regards people who came here year after year for their holidays and I am quite satisfied that it is due to the conditions in England affecting the people which has caused a reduction in the number of tourists. There is no spending money in England any more than there is here.

That brings us down to the question of the changes to be made to improve the position as far as our industrial development is concerned. I would say to the Minister—I am pretty sure he has been informed by Deputy MacCarthy, being conscious of his obligations to his constituents in Cork— that the position in Cork is very serious from the point of view of unemployment.

I hate to be exploiting the question of unemployment, but is it not time that we should demand that our standard of living should be based on production and effort and not on any arbitrary standard by our financiers. That is what it has come to. The pound is mightier than the people. Deputy Briscoe can lecture me as long as he likes. He is entitled to his opinion. I do not say this in any disrespectful way to him or to anybody else who talks to me about my views on money or about my views in regard to the interest that should be paid on money. All I say is that the time has come when the Minister and the Government will have to take charge of our money and our credit system. To-day we have thousands of our people unemployed, prevented from producing the goods that they require, and seeing their children and their dependents without sufficient food and clothing and other essentials of life. They will not be allowed to produce the goods the people want because those who control our finances and our credit say "No". They will not do it unless there is a certain profit out of the transaction, and therefore men must remain idle. That is the position. It is not a question of Party politics. This is a really vital issue for the people who are trying to live. I think of the numbers of decent men who have been building houses for the past three or four years, and are prepared to shoulder commitments of £2 2s. and £3 3s. per week rent in order to have homes for themselves and for their children, and see them now thrown on the community to be kept by the community after their labour has been exploited and a profit made out of them for years. Is it not time we changed that immoral system?

Deputy Briscoe tells us that our Constitution says we must have private enterprise. He forgot to mention Article 45. Where is the equal opportunity for the people who are signing on at the labour exchange? What standard have they? What security have they? Let us remember that while figures on a sheet of paper may mean little to people who talk about the unemployed there have been nearly 13,000 cut off the register in the past month under the Employment Period Order as if they were now employed. They are not employed. They have been thrown to the wolves. Add to the 72,000 people that should be registered the number of unemployed in the Six Counties. Add 53,000 to 70,000. What have you? One hundred and twenty-three thousand in Ireland. Do not forget that these are at the moment unorganised. They are not vocal, but the probability is that they will not long remain in that condition. There is a good deal of talk here about what this Party has done and what the other Party has done, but all that talk will not stand up if these people start to think for themselves and if they assert themselves and say: "Have we not got as good a right at least to the bare necessities of living as the people who flaunt their luxury and their wealth in our streets?" Recently I was told that I am too critical of the wealthy classes. Let me say that the sight of great wealth is as disgusting to me as the spectacle of dire poverty is distressing.

Those of us who over the years have been accustomed to hearing the Minister for Industry and Commerce introducing his Estimate here and speaking on it must have been struck this year by the change in his tone, in his demeanour and in his outlook. Positive assertions were gone and the whole tenor of the Minister's speech was one of apology for the story he had to tell. It is, indeed, a change to have Deputy Lemass as Minister for Industry and Commerce coming in here and speaking in a halting and apologetic fashion. So well he might.

No one will suggest for one moment that all the troubles with which we are faced at the present moment are due to the present Government, but everyone who understands and appreciates the position as regards industry and commerce knows very well—I am quite certain the Minister knows it—that that serious position has arisen because of the exaggeration of world tendencies in relation to our country by the Government. More than 12 months ago, prior to the general election of 1951, this particular line started, and it is at the root of all the difficulties with which we are now faced.

The Government on taking office immediately adopted a line that bore no relation to facts, and they adopted that line for purely political purposes. The effect of that has been not merely to increase throughout the country what has been euphemistically called purchaser resistance, but to smash any possible hope of an industrial revival arising out of the slump that has come upon industry and business generally. Wherever one goes business people tell the same story. Business is at a standstill because of the policy of the Government, a Government which has exaggerated world tendencies out of all proportion so far as this country is concerned.

The part the present Minister has played has not been anything like so damaging as the part played by his colleague, the Minister for Finance. We shall be dealing with that on the Estimate for his Department in a few days. Deputy Lemass, Minister for Industry and Commerce, has failed utterly in his responsibilities, and the people in the business world who for years regarded him as their idol, have now discovered that he has feet of clay so far as his political handling of his Department is concerned. The Minister must have known 12 months ago that the depression was being accentuated by the unnecessary scare created by his colleague, the Minister for Finance. The officers of his Department must have told him that. He must have known that a trade recession was then beginning, and any attempt to create a scare for purely political purposes was bound in the long run to turn that recession into a slump.

It is very easy to start a trend like that, and it is very easy to exaggerate the trend. It is almost impossible to stop the trend when it has been started. I believe the Minister now appreciates the effect of the statements made at that time by the Minister for Finance. I believe he is anxious to stop the trend, but cannot stop it.

All over the country the position is serious, particularly in relation to unemployment. In Newbridge to-day there are 150 employed in a factory that 12 months ago employed 350 people. Those who are employed are daily in fear of their employment coming to an end. Nobody can suggest that that is due to mismanagement or bad handling of the situation by the owners. The factory in question is controlled by a supporter of the Minister's, and I say without fear of contradiction that he is one of the finest industrialists we have in this country. He takes every advantage of all the opportunities that offer. If the industry is not progressing, it is certainly not his fault. The same situation is causing grave uneasiness all over the county. The mills in Celbridge are closed. Deputy Norton asked recently for particulars of the number on the unemployment register, and the figures he got show an alarming increase as compared with last year. Apart from the number unemployed, all over the country there are people working on short time. We can only end the present grave situation by giving the people new hope, by encouraging them in the belief that we will get out of the trade recession and out of the depression. The way to do that is not the way adopted by Deputy Briscoe last Friday when he tried to suggest that prices would fall still further. The more the people are told prices will fall the stronger consumer resistance will be and the less purchases will be made. The more the people hold back, the greater will be our unemployment.

Quite apart from our internal marketing position, there will be a difficulty in regard to our exports. No matter what one would like to think, this is a small country, and in regard to many lines of modern industrial products we can consume all the products that any particular factory may make within a very short space of time. If there is to be full-time work, full-time production for these factories, we must, in addition to ensuring that we have the home market, ensure that there is an export market.

The Minister, in introducing this Estimate, referred to the trade agreements which had been made during the year. I noticed particularly that he did not refer to any agreement with Great Britain. When the Minister was on this side of the House, he never lost any opportunity of saying that the 1948 agreement was a very bad one and should be scrapped at the first available opportunity. The Minister should remember that it was the 1948 agreement which got us out of some of the straitjackets into which we had been put by him under the 1938 agreement with regard to exports of industrial products. The Minister is in the situation that, if he had wished, from the 1st April last he could have scrapped that agreement. If his criticism when on this side of the House was well-founded, he has the opportunity now of delivering the goods, so to speak, and producing the answer which he suggested when he was in opposition should be produced.

We have to face up to the general difficulty that, so far as modern industry is concerned, with its specialisation, if we are to have an industrial plant going whole-time for the 52 weeks of the year we will have to get for a lot of goods a market for more than can be consumed at home. It is because that is so absolutely obvious and essential that we should welcome the establishment of Coras Trachtala, the successor of the Dollar Exports Committee set up in June 1950 and in respect of which the plans were then made. But we want it not merely for dollar exports, but for exports to other countries.

The Minister made reference in his opening statement to a guarantee system. I hope that that reference was intended to mean that the scheme which was in its embryo stage with the Dollar Exports Committee for providing some system by virtue of which there would be a central organisation to collect for Irish manufacturers in foreign countries payment for the goods exported, is to be a reality. It is difficult for any small industrialist here to make suitable arrangements to ensure that he cannot be made the plaything of a foreign trader to whom he has exported goods unless there is some central organisation to look after all the exports in that country.

I do not want to refer in any identifiable way to any case that is in any waysub judice at the moment. The Minister, however, will know the case to which I am referring. If there was a body such as the company which is now being set up to see not merely to payment against the bills of lading as the banks do, but in addition to that to see that there could not be any default in credit and that there would be proper acceptance of the goods at the other end in a fit state after the voyage, then you would not have that action which, regardless of the result of it so far as the parties are concerned, certainly has done and will do considerable damage to Irish exports and Irish manufacture as a whole.

The position, so far as trade throughout the country is concerned, is one that must cause considerable apprehension to everybody. Even at this stage, so far as our internal position is concerned, I believe it could be remedied to a substantial degree if the Government would get the banks to give an indication that they are going to extend credit; if the Government were to give an indication that they now realise it was untrue to say that the ordinary people were living beyond their means, because it was that scare headline by colleagues of the Minister's which went from one end of the country to another that got the people to cease purchasing. As soon as they cease purchasing, then obviously production will pile up, and we shall have a cycle, from which it will be very difficult to extricate ourselves.

To-day we received from the Statistics Department certain information showing that the views expressed on this side of the House with regard to trade over the past 12 months were correct views. Last year we were urged every time any of the present Ministers spoke as Deputies or any other Deputy of the Fianna Fáil Party spoke to remember that we were on the immediate brink of a European and probably a world war, and that it was essential that we should get all the goods we could at the earliest possible time. In these circumstances, and in the general wave which there was throughout the country, it was inevitable that, last year, there would be an entirely unusual import figure and a scale of imports which was not likely to be repeated in any other circumstances to the same degree. Time and time again we said that that was inevitable and that the picture which would be seen when we came into the year 1952 would be a very different picture.

To-day we get from the statistics department a sheet which shows us that the adverse balance of trade is £24,000,000 less than it was a year ago. Is not that what was bound to happen when the scare about war, which was largely contributed to by Ministers, had passed for the moment? If the Minister had taken heed of the advice offered to him at the time and had not tried to make mere Party capital out of the situation, we would not have had much of the damage and the hardship which have arisen during the past six or seven months particularly.

It is not merely the position as it is up to the moment which worries me. Unless there is a new surge of hope created throughout the country—and the Government must lead in that surge—I am afraid that during the coming winter we shall have unemployed on a scale which we have never seen before.

I am afraid that unless the people get a lead from the Government, we shall see a picture in the autumn and the winter of this year which frightens anybody who has any contact with the business community. I am satisfied that was the basis behind the halting speech of the Minister in opening the Estimate because he realised that these difficulties were there. They can be surmounted but they can be surmounted only if the Minister's colleagues and the Minister himself— though I admit to a lesser degree— stop playing Party politics and make sure that the people of the country get a lead towards securing the business prosperity that they want and which they can secure if they are only given the chance and the opportunity, if only the restrictions are removed that have been unnecessarily imposed upon them by the banks, to some degree I believe, at the instigation of the Central Bank and in the case of the Central Bank itself at the instigation of the Government.

Turning from the general position, I want to say a few words about individual features. I was surprised that the Minister in his opening statement —though I admit quite frankly that if the Minister were to touch on every aspect of his Department he would have kept us a great deal longer—did not give any indication or forecast in regard to the volume of industrial production, of industrial employment, or in regard to the prospects of getting away from short-time to full-time employment.

In so far as I can remember, the only reference he made at all to the matter was to the fact that there were now 220,000 people in industrial employment, that is as against 206,000 in 1949 and 218,000 at the end of 1950. I do not know how many there were in the middle of 1951 but I think the Minister himself realises that the figure of 220,000 does not represent the increase that one would have hoped or wished for when you take into account the rate of increase in the earlier years. Unfortunately the position is, quite frankly, that the year through which we have just passed has been a year of recession or turning back instead of a year of progress.

I do not know whether the view that the Minister holds and to which he gave expression on 21st March last is the Government view, or whether the view which the Taoiseach expressed on 22nd April is the correct interpretation of the Government's view. When speaking on 21st March, as reported in Volume 130, column 246, the Minister for Industry and Commerce made it quite clear that he regarded the danger of inflation as being entirely over, and that the danger was now one of deflation. I think he was right.

Of course he was.

Anybody, however, who takes up the Official Debates and reads the speech which the Taoiseach delivered on 22nd or 23rd April will see that the Taoiseach's view was that he did not know whether we were in a period of inflation or deflation, that he did not know which was the danger that was confronting us. You cannot expect people to have any confidence in making future business arrangements when you have the Taoiseach talking in one vein and the Tánaiste in another. It merely adds to the general uncertainty and the Minister— while he may not agree with me on other things, will at least agree that the worst thing for trade in business is uncertainty.

Which will be the effect of Deputy Sweetman's statement.

My job as a Deputy is to try to get the Government to lead the country back into the prosperity in which they found it. What is wrong with Deputy Davern is that he lost no opportunity of repeating a statement which he made which could be very damaging. We had one quotation from that, and the Deputy got an awful wigging from his own Party for having let the cat out of the bag. If the Deputy likes I shall come back to that on the Vote for Agriculture, to which I hope it is completely relevant.

In his opening statement the Minister referred to the new approach he had made in regard to the work of the Industrial Development Authority. I am not prepared to suggest that there is not an awful lot to be said for the line which the Minister is taking, that there is not a great deal to be said for the suggestion that it is better to get the Industrial Development Authority to concentrate, so to speak, on a few big projects rather than to deal with matters of detail. The only point I want to make about it is that at one time the Minister thought that the Industrial Development Authority was a useless body. I am glad to see that he has now sufficient confidence in it to entrust to it the job of trying to find ways and means of dealing with projects for the production of commodities to replace the £20,000,000 worth of imports to which he referred. I think in his opening statement he said that five of the projects had gone beyond the blue print stage, beyond the stage at which it was likely that there would be difficulties.

I think the establishment of the Industrial Development Authority was an extremely wise step because no matter how much help may be given by the Department—and let it be quite clear that I am not criticising any of the officials of the Department or the help given by them—it is impossible for people dealing with departmental matters, such as high officials in the Department of Industry and Commerce, to attend to the job of assisting industry in a way that a body like the Industrial Development Authority can. Realising the desirability of being able to get somebody who is able to see the wood for the trees, I have every sympathy with the new outlook—I was going to say the "new look"—the Minister has provided for that body, in suggesting that they would deal with main projects rather than with pure matters of detail.

I think it is now the Department, as against the authority, that deals with the issue of duty-free licences. For a time, I admit, it will be necessary to issue duty-free licences but we should try to get away from the position as much as possible so that in respect of things that are not being produced here there will be no necessity to apply for a duty-free licence. I can see the Minister's point of view in trying to ensure that there will not be anticipation of a product that is coming to the home-production stage. There are, however, many products a long way from that stage and it would save time and unnecessary difficulties for the business community and public expense if the Minister cut down to the barest minimum the necessity for the issue of such duty-free licences.

When I was speaking a moment ago about the Industrial Development Authority I forgot to put in a word for one particular town in my constituency. When the Minister goes down to the South of Ireland I am fairly sure he goes by car and so through the town of Monasterevan. I am sure he must feel, as I do, that it is an eyesore to our main traffic artery to the south. That town, some 30 years ago, lost its distillery. It lost it, I understand, because the family took too much money out of it and did not leave enough money to enable the distillery to carry on. Since then, there are people in Monasterevan, hardworking young men up to 40 and 45 years of age, who have never known what it is to have a permanent job. They are merely existing by going from one job to another. I know perfectly well that the Minister is not in the position of being able to wave a fairy wand and say: "Hey presto! —here is an industry for your area." Things cannot be done like that. You have to consider the position with regard to raw materials, transport facilities and whether there are likely to be large imports or large exports. You may, therefore, find it necessary sometimes to site your factory near a port.

Years ago, before the war, I remember reading in a book that the Americans were at the stage of trying to see whether they could develop synthetic rubber from peat. I do not think it has got to the stage yet of being a complete success, but when that day does come, and I believe it will, when we will be able to get synthetic rubber from peat, then, I suggest, that would be a very suitable type of industry, with its raw material at hand, for this area. The area is undoubtedly one on a part of our main traffic routes which is suffering, and has been suffering, very much all through the years.

There is another difficulty which Deputy Palmer mentioned also in respect to his area. All around the fringe of the Bog of Allen there always has been a custom and habit over the years for the people to cut in the early part of the year a certain amount of turf, to sell that turf and, with the proceeds of the sale—having a sufficient sum of money in hands—to start a second cutting. The position this year is that they have made the first cutting, but have been completely unable, to a large degree, to sell it. The result is that they have not got sufficient funds to start in on a second cutting. I think the Minister should suggest to Bord na Móna that they should now see whether it is not possible for them to cough up the money for the first cutting so that the people concerned may have the necessary funds to start on the second cutting.

One reason, of course, for that situation is that coal is now becoming freely available again. Another reason is that the market they used to have for the hand-won turf is not there. People have got used to the machine-won turf, and some prefer it, if they can get it, to the hand-won turf. There is, undoubtedly, a problem there. It is going to become very much worse from another angle in the coming year, because the Allenwood Electricity Supply Board Station has been built, and so there will not be the same amount of employment in the area as formerly. If, in addition to that, there is only half the amount of turf cut in the area during this year, then there is only going to be half the amount of money available there to carry the people over the winter months.

There is a committee sitting at present dealing with company law reform. I had hoped that it would have produced some results by now, and that the Minister would have been able to give us some indication as to when he expects to be able to produce something from the work of that committee. I do not know whether the committee is thinking of producing for us the complicated series of company laws which they have in Britain. If they are working on that basis, I suggest to the Minister that it is an entirely false and unwarranted assumption. There is no use in taking the English Companies Act of 1929, with the subsequent amendments to it, and trying to suggest that it is necessary to evolve for us here a new statute as complicated as that for us. As far as this country is concerned, the investor here depends more on knowing the people who are in the concern. In England, with their big population and their wide industrial activities they are not in that position, and so they have to have a very much more complex series of safeguards than it would be necessary for us to have here.

I would ask the Minister to urge on the committee that what they want here is a much more simple modification of the old 1908 statute than the modification and safeguards they would get if they tried in any way to copy for us the very complicated provisions in the 1929 and subsequent Acts in England. That may be necessary in England. That type of complicated machinery is not necessary for a small country like ours where investors judge much more on the personnel associated with a firm rather than on published figures or reports.

That brings me to a question which is a very big one to start a discussion on at this hour, the question of profits and bonus shares. I want to say that there has been an awful lot of nonsense talked about profits and bonus shares from all sides of the House. It may seem rather sententious to say that. My information is that 95 per cent. of the people engaged in industry are honest, decent people trying only to make a fair living for themselves and their families. Whether 5 per cent. is a fair percentage one way or the other I do not know, but there is a small percentage of people who are undoubtedly no credit to industry because they are taking out of the pockets of consumers more than they should justifiably take. It is, of course, difficult to separate the wolves from the sheep. That is made far more difficult because the good industrialist stands up to defend the bad ones. It would be much more to the advantage of the good industrialists if they realised that the wolves amongst them are doing them damage and that they should not try to defend them.

That applies to every profession.

It does, even to farmers. So far as the profession of lawyers is concerned, the necessity does not arise for them to defend each other in the same way.

Nevertheless, they do.

They do, and sometimes when, by reason of their special training, they refrain from saying things, even though the opportunity is there, the people concerned should be rather thankful. If Deputy Cogan interrupts me I will get on that line and he will get much more than he bargains for because I know facts which I do not want to have to tell in the House. But one day, if I am roused on that subject, I will explode on it.

What is the innuendo?

I want to discuss this in a serious way if the Deputy does not want to. There is a small percentage of industrialists who are no credit to industry.

The remarks that were made about them should be interpreted as referring to them and not to the mass of industrialists as a whole. Similarly, on the subject of bonus issues. The capitalisation of past profits by means of a bonus issue is not something wrong in itself. What can be very wrong indeed is when the industry concerned has already taken what is a reasonable dividend out of the industry and then, in addition to that, creates the bonus issue. I know one company, for example, the directors of which, since it was started in 1935, have taken only very modest amounts out of it. I am not associated with them myself, lest any Deputy might think that I am. They are two whole-time people. They have taken very much less out of it in fees than their skill and their hard work would have entitled them to take. They have never taken one penny in dividend on the money they have put into it. As the years have gone by, they have put aside what would otherwise pay a very small dividend. They put aside the equivalent of that small dividend for the purpose of keeping it in the business and ensuring, by capitalisation in bonus shares, that it would be there for modernisation and for new machinery, and so forth. They deserve every credit for doing that.

I would have no objection to that.

I know another firm which, as well as being able to take a very large dividend each year, has also been able to capitalise past profits. I mention these two cases for the purpose of showing that you cannot generalise on a question such as the capitalisation of past profits by the issue of bonus shares. The issue of bonus shares, in itself, is not the test. The test is whether the concern has made a reasonable or an unreasonable profit over the years, bearing in mind the type of industry which it is and the type of risk which it will have to carry. A great many of these concerns will have to carry losses during the current year.

Is there a possibility that some industries are over-capitalised?

I cannot see how any industry that was started on a capital adequate to enable them to carry on their business before the last war can now be over-capitalised, having regard to the way in which the value of money has depreciated and the extra cost of the stocks and raw materials which they have to carry together with that of machinery which has to be replaced. It is not the capitalisation that is wrong. What is wrong—if there is anything wrong in any particular case —is that a position was permitted by virtue of which the industry concerned was able to earn more than a reasonable rate of profit. I do not accept the Minister's viewpoint that any rate on turnover, no matter what the percentage, is the appropriate method of calculating what is reasonable: it should be on the capital employed in the industry. No matter what percentage you take, if it is on turnover, it cannot give you a true figure. Whenever I hear a defence put up in regard to percentage on turnover I always feel, whether with or without justification, that it is put up, because the true defence is not there, namely, the defence that the interest rate or profit received on capital employed is a reasonable one.

When Deputy Browne was speaking last night the Minister suggested that he had no responsibility for rural electrification.

For the selection of areas.

That was not the point Deputy Browne was making. I agree that the Minister is not responsible for the selection of areas. Deputy Browne's point was that there was a responsibility on the Minister for the overall position in regard to rural electrification. The Minister, I think, was Minister when the 17½ times ratio was fixed about the year 1946. Since 1946 the capital cost of erecting transmission lines and building up rural electrification areas must have increased fairly substantially. About last October I asked the Minister a question in regard to that matter. I think he told me that, at that stage, there was an increase of about 8 per cent. or 10 per cent. Costs must have increased since then. With every increase in the capital cost for the erection of these lines, so long as you keep to the same 17½ capital ratio, there must be a decrease in the number of places throughout the country that are going to be sanctioned under the existing rural electrification scheme. I do not know whether the Minister's viewpoint is that he prefers to wait until the existing scheme is completed, but, if the increase in costings is as high as I am afraid it must now be, the keeping of the 17½ capital ratio must be a thing that is going to deprive many people of supply —people who, when the Act was passed here in 1946, were believed to be going to benefit by the scheme. At some stage or other it is a matter that will have to be faced. I ask the Minister to give us some indication, when he is replying, of the time which, so far as he is concerned, he thinks right for facing that difficulty.

We had a discussion here last Friday —the report of the debate is not available owing to the printers' strike—in which the Minister stated, in reply to Deputy Davin, that he never suggested that the word "efficient" was one of the words he used in regard to Córas Iompair Éireann. When speaking on this Bill, in 1944, the Minister gave it as his opinion that the scheme which the Government was then bringing in was all that he had to suggest in regard to transport.

It was a long-term scheme and not a scheme that we were to consider in relation to and in the light of the temporary emergency difficulties that then existed. It was a long-term scheme and at column 2435 of Volume 93 of the Official Reports the Minister is reported as follows: "In other words, it is a scheme to cheapen transport, to reduce the charges transport must bear and consequently to enable either reduced rates to operate or better services to be provided." Looking back to that time in 1944, I think the Minister must admit that his prognostications have hardly come to fruition. The difficulties in regard to Córas Iompair Éireann must be faced regardless of what Government may be in office. If I may refer, in passing, to what I understand is impending legislation, and if the reports contained in some of last Sunday's British newspapers were accurate, I do not think that the Minister's approach is the correct one. I do not think that to restrict private firms in the delivery of their merchandise to a limit of 20 miles is going to make for either cheap or efficient transport. I think it is going to mean much dearer transport and much less efficient transport. Where firms are able to have their own deliveries there is almost certainly far more efficiency and if they were able to get efficiency and cheapness by handing the job over to Córas Iompair Éireann they would have done that long ago and no restriction of this sort is going to improve that situation.

We had a very long discussion here on the Tourist Bill and I do not propose to weary the Minister with any lengthy reference to tourism at the present time, but I must say that I was a little bit surprised to discover since that the Minister has issued a direction that Fogra Fáilte is now to be the sole deciding agency in regard to the approval of any scheme for the expenditure of public money by the Irish Tourist Association. I did not quite appreciate on the passage of the Bill that that assignment was going to be taken away from An Bord Failte, as it now is, and handed over to Fogra Fáilte.

So far as the expenditure by the Tourist Association, as the agents of Fogra Fáilte, is concerned, I can understand it, but I do not understand it as regards the other public moneys that are in the hands of the Irish Tourist Association. I wonder is that what the Minister intended? If that is what he did intend, in fairness I think it would have been better if that had been disclosed on the passage of the Bill. I do not think there can be any doubt in one's mind but that it is now operative because the chairman of Fogra Fáilte at a meeting on 3rd July said that he had a direction from the Minister to that effect. That means that you get away from the position which, as I understood it, was the intention on the passage of the Bill, that Fogra Fáilte would, in fact, be a publicity organisation but that the ultimate control of policy, and so forth, would remain with An Bord Fáilte. While I can quite see that most of the activities of the Irish Tourist Association would be in regard to publicity, and it would be very desirable, therefore, for Fogra Fáilte to have a link-up and to have a scrutiny of the capital expenditure, I think it is wrong from the point of view of the framework of the Bill, that An Bord Fáilte which was to be the director of policy of the organisation, should not have the ultimate approval; it should, before giving its approval, or otherwise, take advice from Fogra Fáilte as to whether the manner in which the money was going to be expended was wise or not in its view. But the final decision should rest with An Bord Fáilte not Fogra Fáilte.

I do not want to keep the Minister any longer. I must say one thing about the Minister, that, whatever unpleasant things I have said, he is a good listener. This has been a long debate and the Minister has rarely been absent from his seat. Particularly as I kept him when he thought he was about to be called on to conclude earlier, I feel I must pay him that tribute.

I want to end as I started. There is a slump or was a slump throughout the world. That slump was horribly accelerated and exaggerated by the viewpoints, by the pronouncements and by the scares that were started by the Minister for Finance and which all the other Ministers all along the line pursued in the wake of the follow-my-leader-game for pure Party politics. The result of that scare meant that the depression got out of hand. It can only now be ended by a very, very big effort by the Tánaiste and the Government. It is their job to give the lead in ending it and the line that was taken by Deputy Briscoe as regards the cost of living is not the line to follow. The line to end that slump is to impart a note of confidence, not a note of halting until prices fall further.

In the world in which we are to-day it is doubtful if, taking one year with another, prices will ever come down very much. It would be much better for people to be told to face the issue, to be told that prices are not likely to come down and that whatever they are going to buy it would be wiser to buy it now. That will start off a train which will mean business here and business there. As each little bit of business is brought, that is going to mean more employment. That is the way to get out of the slump and depression into which we have gone.

During the course of this rather protracted debate there were a number of speeches and they can be divided into three categories. There were those which dealt with major and fundamental issues of policy; those which were concerned with particular problems of a class or industry or a locality; and those that were concerned solely with supporting or criticising the Government. I realise that many of the issues of policy which were raised in the debate are very important and that it is largely through their discussion here that public opinion about them is formed. In present circumstances that discussion is likely to be less valuable than at other times and, consequently, I propose to confine myself mainly to the particular matters that were raised and to refer to those general issues only as they have a bearing upon the particular matters.

If in the course of these observations I dispose of some misrepresentations it will merely, I hope, make my remarks less halting and boring than they were when I was introducing the Estimate.

I did not use the word "boring".

It is natural enough for Deputies in opposition to seek to put on the Government in office the blame for everything that has gone wrong. It may not always be wise and I want to suggest to the Deputies opposite that in seeking to attribute the whole blame for present trade conditions—the decline in sales and the repercussions of that decline upon factory employment— upon the Government they are convicting themselves of misunderstanding the position and, in fact, of having given no serious thought to it.

Whatever caused this trade recession, it was world-wide in its effect; similar trade recession has been experienced in almost every country in the world and in some countries much more acutely than here. It may be a convenient political argument to say that the recession here was due to Ministers' speeches or to Budget policy or restriction of banking credit. But, on the face of it, none of these things can be the whole explanation because our speeches did not influence conditions in Great Britain any more than our Budget or banking policy influenced conditions in Belgium, Holland or France. It is of course possible to contend that this world-wide cause of trade recession, whatever it was, was aggravated in its effect here by internal factors. The fact is, however, that the depression was less acute here than in Great Britain, or France, or Belgium, or Holland, or any other country in Western Europe. I read inThe Economist this morning that in Britain the number of people totally unemployed in the textile industry despite the fact that recovery has been in progress for the last two months is still 136,000 and we know from similar reports that the depression is still very acute in these other continental countries to which I have referred.

Why was it less violent in its effect here? First of all, because remedial action was taken by the Government By the imposition of various quantitative restrictions upon imports, by the revision of tariffs and similar measures, the whole of the available demand, whatever it is, was concentrated upon Irish producers. That, in normal circumstances, would be completely effective to get the wheels moving freely again in these industries, but we have here a special problem arising from the carry-over of abnormal stocks imported in the early part of last year under the facilities then granted. I will not raise the controversial question whether it was good policy to have given those facilities then, whether they should have been allowed in respect of manufactured goods or confined to raw materials. The fact is that these stocks are still there, and until they have been brought down we cannot expect normal replacement orders to the factories and mills. We have, however, made it clear to the traders and the wholesalers concerned that they will not be facilitated in drawing supplies from abroad until our mills and factories are again working to capacity. I hope that the clear indication that has been given to that effect and the general support of that policy that has been expressed here will have the effect of preventing some of these traders waiting to see which way the cat will jump, waiting to see if there is any possibility of a fall of prices abroad sufficient to make it possible for them to import, even subject to the payment of duty. I do not think there will be that fall in prices abroad, but we know that a small country like this is always in danger when there is an accumulation of stocks in a large industrial country close by, since a very small proportion of such stocks shipped into our market can upset our production for a very long period. That is why in the case of textiles and yarns it was necessary to deal with the situation by the quantitative restriction of imports rather than by revision of customs duties.

Would the Minister care to give a short opinion of stockpiling from the point of view— I think I mentioned this to him before in private conversation—that a substantial amount of goods have been imported, not this year but in the years gone by, in the name of stockpiling? Would it not be logical to say that those goods so imported should be kept in bond, so to speak, for an emergency? That has never been done. The goods have been sold out.

I referred to that matter before. There are difficulties in deciding upon the right policy to follow in relation to this matter of stockpiling. One would have to be able to foresee the future with a reasonable degree of certainty before knowing the right course to take. Individual traders will be slow to carry excessive stocks at the present time because of the fact that a number of them got involved in losses in stocks already carried, and because of the general uncertainty of the trend of prices throughout the world.

And because of credit restriction.

It is true that the banks have rightly pointed out that a substantial amount of banking credit is tied up in these stocks at the moment, credit that might be more usefully employed in other directions. If the Government decides to do any stockpiling of these commercial materials then, of a certainty, they will be left carrying the whole of the stock because the ideal situation for any trader in the prevailing uncertainty is to let the Government carry the risk and draw from the Government stockpile on a day-to-day or week-to-week basis. The Government would be slow to undertake the responsibility involved. We have taken measures to ensure a reasonable stock of the most essential things, but the less essential things must, I think, be left to the judgment of the commercial firms concerned. Over and above the measures to which I have referred, the trade recession was less acute here because our industrial production is, in the main, based on the home market. Exports represent a much smaller factor in the production plans of our industries than they do for the industries of Great Britain. That meant that we did not suffer an abrupt curtailment of sales such as that experienced in Britain, when certain export markets for which goods had been produced were shut down overnight. We also have comparative prosperity in agriculture. In any case, I think the trade swings are always less violent in a country whose economy is based on agriculture than in one in which the economy is predominantly industrial.

Nevertheless we have many problems to face in the trade situation. Deputy Dr. ffrench-O'Carroll said that the trade recession is the most important problem of all and that the fate of the Government would depend on it. As a statement of fact I will not disagree with him but there is an open question as to the extent to which it is possible for us, or any other Government, to take action to deal with this situation. The Government must by its measures, legislation and general administration try to clear the way to progress, urge the people to take that way but it cannot by itself and of its own volition produce all the results required. Deputy Dr. Browne said that the expansion of industry is now our only hope of ending unemployment and emigration. I would not be as pessimistic as he has shown himself to be as to the prospects of agriculture but I do agree that a large part of the effort to end emigration and to reduce unemployment must turn upon an expansion of industry. It is not merely enough, if we are to end emigration, to create new jobs. We must create a wider variety of jobs so that people will feel they have an opportunity here of profiting by the exercise of their own individual talents and not just of working to get wages. The business of expanding industry, however, requires a great deal more than Government action. It requires an understanding of what is needed by every section of the community and a willingness to cooperate to that end. I was struck— I do not know if other Deputies were—by a statement made by the leader of the team of American experts who were in this country recently investigating the possibility of developing an export business in industrial goods and who gave an interview to Press representatives at Shannon Airport yesterday prior to leaving the country.

He said that if we are to get anywhere in regard to industrial exports we have to get rid of restrictive practices. He said we had too many restrictive practices. He referred to trade unions and trade associations and other matters. He said that we have to understand what a successful export business takes, and that we are not within reach of that understanding yet. I do not know what he came up against from his own experience which led him to make that statement, but that is what he said.

Does the Minister propose to publish any formal report?

The report was made to Córas Trachtála. I have not seen it yet. It was only submitted yesterday I understand. So far as it deals with individual firms and what they can attempt, it will no doubt be published to these firms, but whether it should be published generally is a matter for consideration. The view expressed to newspaper representatives is something over and above the report. It is a general comment on the Irish scene as witnessed by members of the team.

So far as the report will deal with the general question of potential for development will that be made available to us?

The Deputy may take it as certain that any part of the report which it will be valuable to publish will be published. The aim is to get a general understanding by everybody of what is to be done if we are to develop an export business in industrial goods and, so far as publicity will help that, I will ensure that publicity will take place.

I want to say that if our trade is to be restored, it must be restored on a healthy basis. Deputy O'Higgins said that this situation could easily be averted by a Government which knew its business, but he did not indicate precisely what such a Government would do. If we tried to deal with this situation by paying out borrowed money for unproductive purposes, I do not think it would make an iota of difference to our situation. This theory of inflationary finance to arrest a slump is all right in great States or self-contained communities. Our economic conditions are so influenced by the prevailing circumstances outside our shores that there is not much we can do along that line to stimulate trade. Knowing the problem facing the Government in raising money for investment purposes, we must recognise that if any of these funds are diverted to a non-productive purpose, some of the capital projects to which we are all looking forward must be postponed. We have considerable difficulties, but I am certain that we can get out of them. Our potential strength is very great, and the aim of our policy must be to translate that potential strength into reality.

I want now to get down to the specific things mentioned and which have a bearing on the Government's policy. Deputy Dr. Browne said that our first industrial phase ended with the removal of the Cumann na nGaedheal Government—the phase of tariff commissions and hesitation about the wisdom of industrial development. The second phase started with the advent of the first Fianna Fáil Government in 1932 and the protection policy designed to secure the establishment here of industries to supply the home market. But he argued that that second phase is almost over, and we are entering on the third phase, in which industrial expansion will depend on our ability to open up export markets. I think that is fair enough, although I would question whether we are as near the end of the second phase as he indicated.

It is obvious from our trade and shipping statistics that there is still a substantial home market which we can develop from our own production, and our ability to develop an export market will depend very largely upon our success in consolidating the position of our industries on the home market. All these developments must be taken step by step.

We had to develop the business of manufacturing apparel before it was possible to extend the manufacture of cloth and woven materials and the manufacture of woven materials had to be pushed ahead before we could enter a further stage and produce yarn with which to weave material. Even though it is quite true that most consumer goods are now being supplied or can be supplied from our own factories, there are developments possible in the production of materials for these industries which still offer considerable possibilities.

I have been quoted, and other Ministers have been quoted, as having said last year that our people were spending too much. It is quite true that I said last year that this community as a whole was spending too much and I made that statement in reference to our external trade situation. It is a misrepresentation of what was said to apply that expression to individuals and to say that there are individuals in the community who are living beyond their means and who should cut down their spending. If that phrase had not been shortened for the purpose of effect, it would have read that we are spending too much on imported goods. The reference was to the deficit in our balance of payments, to the adverse trade balance and the need for eliminating that deficit if we were to make progress. When I said recently that people would be well advised to buy now, I must guard myself against misrepresentation by saying that I meant "buy Irish-produced goods now." It will not solve any problem if people seek to buy imported products when Irish products are available.

Apart altogether from the relevance of these observations and suggestions to our external trade situation, it has to be recognised that there has been a substantial change in the whole situation as between the present time and July of last year, a change which has taken place throughout the world and prompted Governments in all parts of the world to modify the policies they were following. I am not sure that there has not been a modification of policy on the part of the Party opposite. If my recollection is correct, last year the adverse trade balance was being justified as representing the repatriation of our external assets. A couple of days ago, Deputy Costello in Cork said that the Coalition would have had to remedy it anyway. These grasshopper tactics of the leaders of Fine Gael must make matters difficult for the back benchers who try to follow the Party line.

Your own gyrations are difficult to follow.

There has been a deliberate effort made by the Government here to cut down that deficit in the balance of payments. I think we shall succeed in that. It is obvious that the reduction in the adverse balance in visible trade in the first six months of this year by £24,000,000 holds out a fair prospect that there will be no deficit in the balance of payments this year at all. That is very satisfactory. It means that the weakness of the national economy which was glaringly exposed in the exceptional circumstances of last year and which existed for some years before is in process of being rectified. I ask Deputies to note particularly from theTrade and Shipping Statistics the character of the change in our trade which has taken place. In the monthly Trade and Shipping Statistics now published in a new form there is a great deal of interesting information. If Deputies study the import statistics to the end of May— the June figures will be shortly available—they will note that, although there was a susbtantial reduction in the total value of imports, imports of things like machinery and industrial raw materials increased. The whole of the reduction was achieved through the elimination of apparel and other manufactured consumer goods which we should not have been importing at any time because we can make them quite well for ourselves.

Amongst the difficulties with which we have to deal is the rise in the cost of living. I think it is well that we should consider that situation as calmly as possible. I realise it is not always possible to be calm about it but if we are to understand clearly what is the wise course to adopt in relation to it, then calmness will help towards understanding. Deputy Morrissey said here that the increases in wages that are now being demanded by workers in various trades are due to the reduction in the subsidies. I doubt if any trade union leader would accept that contention. When allowance is made for the revision of the payments made under the children's allowances scheme the maximum extent to which weekly outgoings in a family have increased by the reduction of subsidies is 3/6 per week. I am talking about the family that confined itself to purchasing only rationed supplies of bread, tea, sugar and butter and that did not purchase any off-ration supplies. If they were in the habit of purchasing off-ration supplies the increase in outgoings would be less. We know that most of the demands for wage revisions contemplate a greater increase than that and the reason given for these demands is that a greater increase is required to compensate for the rise in the cost of living since wages were revised previously. Let us get clear about that.

Deputy Cosgrave said the increase was 15 points and some other Deputy said 25 points. Neither was correct. In November 1950—I take November 1950 because it was the date to which the revision in Civil Service remuneration related—the cost of living index figure was 102 and by May, 1952, it was 115. That is to say, between November 1950 and May 1952, there was an increase of 13 points but that is not the whole story. Of that increase of 13 points, seven points represent the increase which took place before May, 1951. The increase since May 1951 was six points.

And an additional ten points since.

What the subsequent increase may be has not yet been ascertained.

All I can give you is the figure given to me when I addressed a question to the Taoiseach asking what increase was attributable to the withdrawal of the subsidies and the figure supplied by the Central Statistics Office was ten points.

What the official cost-of-living figure in August is going to be, I do not know.

That is the official figure given to us.

How can the official figure be given to you until it is published? It is not due for publication until August.

I asked what was the amount of the rise due to the withdrawal of the subsidies, and they said ten points.

I am not saying the Deputy was misinformed. I am only saying that the point at which the official figure will stand when next published is uncertain because in the preparation of that figure not merely will the price of subsidised commodities be taken into account, but the price of all other articles of common consumption.

The Minister gave us figures for November, 1950, and then gave us the figures for May in a particular year. Would the Minister give us the figures, say, from May in one year related to May in the next year?

Certainly. In May, 1951, the figure was 109, that is between November, 1950, and May, 1951, there was an increase of seven points, and between May, 1951, and May, 1952, there was an increase of six points.

Has the Minister any figure for May, 1950?

No. That figure would not be relevant. The claims for increases in wages are based upon the increase in the cost of living since November, 1950, and between November, 1950, and May, 1952, there was a rise in the cost of living, according to the index figure, of 13 points. Seven points of that rise occurred before May, 1951, and if there has to be responsibility placed on somebody for the increase of living, we shall have to divide it equally between us.

And the ten points that have come since.

I shall take full responsibility for that and justify it both from the point of view of the workers and every point of view. I want to make it clear that, to my knowledge, this present movement for a revision of wages began before the Budget was introduced at all. I was personally involved in some discussions at that time with representatives of trade union organisations and representatives of employers' organisations. I thought it fair to tell them or at least to foreshadow the possibilities of a change in food subsidies, so that they could take that into account in any negotiations that were proceeding. It is certainly completely misleading to suggest that these demands for higher wages are due solely to the changes effected by the Budget and are related only to these changes.

Deputy McGilligan, in the course of his speech criticising these Budget changes and other things, said that it was Government policy that wages should not increase. I know that Deputy McGilligan said that in order to create as much mischief as he could. But, in case anybody who heard him was misled or that anybody who listened to his speech, as reported on the wireless, was induced by it to interpret Government policy in that way, I want it to be quite clear that no such statement was ever made. The whole basis of the case against food subsidies is that it is better to let the price of essential foodstuffs find their natural level and fluctuate with changes in costs, even if adjustments in wages must necessarily follow. It is better, in present circumstances, to have wages related to real prices rather than to fictitious prices maintained by subsidies.

Is that not always true?

It is not always true. As the author of the food subsidies, in the first instance, I have to justify their introduction in 1947, which, as I have often explained to the Dáil, was based on an assumption which we now know was wrong. That assumption was that the rise in the cost of living in 1947 was a temporary rise due to the exceptional conditions which prevailed in 1947 and would disappear in 1948. We introduced the subsidies with a view to preventing that rise in prices, which we thought was going to be very temporary, occasioning a permanent increase in our production costs. We were wrong in that assumption. The rise in prices was not reversed in 1948. It has not been reversed since, and probably never will be reversed, and, therefore, this policy of food prices subsidisation should have been reconsidered long ago. The essence of our policy is that it was far better to keep our prices realistic than to conceal from the people by subsidies the consequences of changes in costs.

Would it not have been better to have allowed wages to catch up on the cost of living before the removal of the food subsidies?

That is asking for something that never happens. The tendency is for wages to lag behind prices, whether prices are going up or down. That must inevitably be so. I should think that before the increase in prices which occurred in May of last year the increase of wages had outpaced the rise in prices and that there had been an improvement in the real earnings of workers.

There is, however, something to be said in this regard. Any policy of increasing wages all round is bound to have economic consequences anyway, and its effect on prices also. It is clear that changes of that kind cannot be made without a great deal of consideration. I know, from published statements, that many trade union leaders are fully conscious of the responsibilities which they are taking upon their shoulders in advising their members in these matters, that they recognise—this is a quotation from the speech made by one very prominent trade union person:—

"The need of minimising the risk of increased unemployment in the depressed industries and not unduly to increase the cost of living."

These are factors that I am, naturally, concerned about. While one would like to see any hardships amongst workers occasioned by a rise in prices or by the Budget changes offset by adjustments in their remuneration, it is necessary to keep in mind also the possibility, at least in present circumstances, that a further increase in costs might promote wider unemployment.

Hear, hear!

There is a case for balancing advantages one way or the other. I am quite certain that in the normal processes by which these matters are settled that balancing will take place. In that connection, I would again stress the point made by Deputy Noel Browne of the importance of developing an industrial export business. If industrial expansion is to take place, and if we are not satisfied to stop when we have developed our industries to the limit of a home market and leave off there, if we are to go on from that stage and open up new opportunities for industrial employment, we have got to contemplate an export business. An export business will be possible only if our costs are competitive with those of other countries.

Many Deputies referred to this question of rising prices, and the effect of rising prices in relation to our price control arrangements. I said, when introducing the Estimate, that no general fall in prices is to be expected. In the course of the debate that became shortened into "no fall in prices is to be expected". I did not say that. It is quite obvious that some prices are going to fall. During the past week the prices of cement and biscuits were reduced as well as the price of jams and other commodities in which sugar is used. All the commodities in which vegetable oils are used were reduced. Similarly, price fluctuations, up and down, are taking place in the case of other commodities. Some prices are likely to rise, but on the whole it can be said that most international raw material prices are now becoming stabilised. On the other hand, our internal costs are likely to increase. Therefore, I think it is a fair picture to present to our people that no general fall is to be expected, that, in fact, the tendency may be slightly upward, and that tendency will become accentuated if the evidence that a new inflation is about to begin in the United States is reliable.

There has been, so far as I am concerned, no change of mind in regard to price control. I think Deputy Dr. ffrench-O'Carroll suggested that there was. I am certain that if any Deputy looks up the Dáil Debates of the past he will find that I never professed to place any very great reliance on the effectiveness of official price control in regulating prices in such international conditions as those through which we have been passing. Many times during the war years, when speaking on the Estimate for the Department of Industry and Commerce in outlining the policy we were trying to follow in relation to price control, and in trying to provoke discussions in the Dáil on that policy, I very rarely got a response. Official price regulation is, I think, desirable in many circumstances, but it is useless to think that it can be made 100 per cent. effective if there is a real scarcity or real inflation. In those circumstances, economic forces will be more powerful than any control that we can impose. In other countries during the war, as I have often reminded the Dáil, Governments resorted to the death penalty for offences in regard to prices, and even then were not able to eliminate extensive black marketing. Similarly, in times of falling prices, or full supplies, price regulation by free competition will always be ten times more effective than any official system of regulation in keeping down prices.

Get competition amongst the people producing the essentials of life.

I recognise fully that there are commodities produced in this country in relation to which there is not likely to be free competition either because there is only one producer or because producers have made arrangements to eliminate competition amongst themselves. I do not want to make now the speech which I am going to make on the Restrictive Trade Practices Bill, but, wherever there is any circumstance likely to eliminate or restrict competition, wherever there is a scarcity of any commodity or where the public believe that a scarcity may arise or any other circumstance that may induce people to pay more than a fair price for goods, then official control has to be maintained, and so far as I am concerned official control will be maintained.

I am, however, coming to the conclusion that, in respect of some commodities, we may be suffering disadvantages by the unnecessary retention of control. I mentioned margarine as a case in point. Someone said it was my policy to compel people to eat margarine and not butter, but I mentioned that merely by way of illustration. Margarine happens to be a commodity which we have controlled at 1/7 a lb. No one can sell it at a higher price than that. All the margarine sold is, therefore, of uniform quality and price. We know that, before the war, there were varieties and qualities of it at different prices on the market. Many firms, in fact, produced what the public came to regard as a very acceptable mixture of butter and margarine. Firms in this country marketing such a mixture were able to develop quite a substantial export business. I think that, with full supplies of raw materials now available and with manufacturing capacity in excess of our own requirements, we can allow margarine of different qualities and at different prices to be sold again to the benefit of the public, at least to those sections of the public which use margarine either for cooking or as a substitute for butter. I have had the feeling for a long time that the regulation which requires a manufacturer to mark the price at which the retailer must sell wearing apparel was no longer desirable, that the "Government mark up" price arrangement, as some traders used to call it, was, in fact, keeping up prices instead of keeping them down. I became convinced of that when I looked into particular cases and found that there were traders with supplies of goods of a kind which they could purchase now at a lower price, but who were holding off purchasing while the dearer articles marked with the higher price were on their shelves. We have now removed that obligation to mark the price in that way, although the Prices Order is still in force, so as to give these traders an opportunity of averaging the price of the old and the new stocks and in the hope that they will be encouraged thereby to place more orders for stocks with the manufacturers.

It is completely untrue, as Deputy McGilligan alleged, that we are throwing the towel into the ring in the matter of price control. We believe it is far wiser to be frank with the people, to tell them the position as we see it, the future trends as we estimate them, and let them make up their own mind as to their individual courses of action rather than try to cod them along with false information.

I never said that no manufacturer was making an excess profit. Only a very foolish man would make a categorical statement of that kind. I said that from investigations carried out by the Department into a representative cross-section of manufacturers there was no indication that manufacturers generally were making excessive profits. It is possible that some manufacturer, because of some special advantage, is making what we would regard as an excessive profit. I am far more worried in present circumstances about the number of manufacturers who are not able to make any profit at all. I think most Deputies should share that worry rather than go witch-hunting after those other manufacturers.

Is it not a bad thing to see any manufacturing firm publish a statement that they made £92,000 more than in the previous year?

A statement of that kind means nothing unless it is related to the facts of the case. If I were running a factory and doubled its capacity by the investment of new capital I should be very disappointed if, the following year, I did not double the profit.

That is not the case.

Some people would prefer more foreign cement to come into the country.

If Deputy McGrath is referring to me I can assure him that he is wrong.

Cement has been mentioned. Deputies have been looking for new cement factories for their constituencies. A decision has been reached on that matter. The decision has been to increase the capacity of the existing factories. That decision has been implemented. The necessary capital has been secured by a public issue of shares and work is in progress. It is unlikely that another cement factory will be required.

Is that because it is the most economic thing to do——

——or because there is a cement ring?

It is because I am satisfied that it is the most economic thing to do and that any other method would mean a very much higher price.

Would another factory mean a potential export?

There is nothing to prevent anybody from coming in and establishing a factory. I do not want to suggest that I will refuse a licence to anybody who wants to manufacture cement. I do not think that a new factory could hope to compete in the internal market with those factories which were established before the war, and whose capital charges would be so much less on that account.

The Minister will not prevent Deputy MacCarthy but certain other factors will.

The fact that he is not likely to make money.

That is one of them.

It is a rather important one.

It is the paramount consideration.

Deputy Morrissey asked me how the mineral development work at Avoca has been progressing. It is estimated that in West Avoca the work will be finished by May of next year. A sum of £72,000 is provided in the Estimate for the completion of that work. The indications are that there will not be shown to exist in West Avoca a sufficient volume of ore to permit of the commercial working of the deposit although a substantial volume of ore exists there. For that reason, Mianraí Teoranta proposed a drilling programme in East Avoca to establish the extent of a body of ore which has been proved to exist there. That has been approved, and the expenditure to cover that investigation is also provided in the Estimate. Mianraí Teoranta have also been authorised to carry out certain other investigations in various parts of the country. We are currently following up certain indications of the occurrence of asbestos: some money will be spent on that work this year. I do not want to hold out any hopes that anything useful will result from the investigations, but it is worth while making them.

The position in regard to the Slievardagh coalmines is very unsatisfactory. That concern has not yet succeeded in getting into the profit-making stage. It is still incurring losses. It has not got its production up to the level at which these losses would be eliminated. Unfortunately, the limit of the advances fixed by law in 1947 to Mianraí Teoranta for the purpose of that undertaking has been reached. At the moment we have that position under consideration.

Why is there such difficulty in disposing of coal at present from, say, Wolfhill?

I would not attempt to offer the complete answer to that question. It is true that in recent weeks there has been quite a substantial falling-off in demand for anthracite coal from our collieries. Possibly the explanation is that Welsh anthracite is freely available and that people anticipate a fall in prices.

British coal exports are up again.

It is true that there are no longer any restrictions on Welsh anthracite coming in here. That may have led to some hope that a fall in prices will take place. Other people have attributed the falling-off in demand to the very mild winter which we have had and to the fact that people did not, therefore, use up all their stocks of anthracite and have carried some of them over for this winter. I would not attempt to offer a complete explanation. Certain discussions are proceeding which, I hope, will clarify the matter and indicate what action, if any, should be taken.

There is a serious situation affecting Laoighis-Kildare.

I am aware that the workers in a number of collieries there have either been laid off or are working short time. Deputy McQuillan asked for information regarding certain clay deposits in Roscommon. All the information which anybody proposing to undertake the commercial development of a deposit of that nature would require is available in the Geographical Survey Department. If Deputy McQuillan knows anybody who is interested in that matter and if he sends him along to Kildare Street I will see to it that he will get that information.

I want to deal now with Córas Iompair Éireann for the purpose of removing certain misunderstandings. References were made to my plan to curtail the operation of private road vehicles to a limit of 20 miles of their place of registration. That is not my plan. That is a proposal which was made to me by the Board of Córas Iompair Éireann in response to my request for their suggestions as to what action could be taken to secure more traffic for them and thus help them out of their financial difficulties. They suggested these very drastic restrictions on private road transport vehicles. They also suggested that, over and above the 20-mile limitation upon all private road vehicles, all public bodies, county councils, statutory bodies such as the Electricity Supply Board, and protected industries should have all their transport carried out by Córas Iompair Éireann even within the 20 mile limit suggested for other forms of private transport. Now it is obvious that any plans of that kind could not be put into operation without a great deal of consideration and consultation with interests likely to be affected, and without recognising that some people were going to be hurt by it. If it is true, however, that we have got here, as some Deputies said, an uneconomic excess of transport facilities and if it is necessary to deal with that in order to remedy the position of Córas Iompair Éireann, then it is clear that some interests are going to be affected and some people will lose their employment on that account.

I am by no means attracted to these proposals of Córas Iompair Éireann. I feel that I am in duty bound to consider them as they come from that source, and to investigate fully the reaction to them. I think it is no harm that these proposals are made. Deputy O'Leary said he had been approached by various interests operating private transport and workers employed by them, protesting against this proposal. That is all to the good. If we have to deal with this transport situation it is very desirable that the whole of our attention should not be concentrated upon the measures taken by Córas Iompair Éireann to deal with redundancy in their own staffs, or the possible effect of further measures which may be taken. The Dáil and the public should see both sides of the picture at once, and the other side of the picture is that anything we may do to force traffic back to Córas Iompair Éireann is bound to mean that the people who are now carrying that traffic will be affected in their interests, and the workers that they employ will not continue to have that employment available to them.

I do not think there is an easy solution along that route or any way. The easy solution that occurs to some people is that we should keep on increasing the amount of subsidy given to Córas Iompair Éireann. My own personal belief is that that solution is not available to us at all. However we may be concerned over the prospects of people losing their employment, we must not allow that concern to lead us into an impracticable course of action.

If Córas Iompair Éireann is really interested in the railways of this country, would they consider taking some of their lorries off the road?

I am dealing with this in a general way. I will deal with that question later. Deputy Davin referred here to an undertaking which he said was given by Deputy Morrissey as Minister for Industry and Commerce that no employee of Córas Iompair Éireann would be sacked. I want to say I have had a search made of the Dáil debate on the Transport Bill, and I could find no such record of any undertaking given. But the Deputy may have had in mind the section of the Transport Act, 1950, which provides for compensation on dismissal for redundancy in certain circumstances. That section is of course in force, and would be operated in the case of the workers to whom it applies. I do not think it affects this situation at all.

Deputy McGilligan said here that a solution to this situation would emerge if an undertaking was given that no worker would be dismissed. That represents a rather interesting change of mind on the part of Deputy McGilligan. On February 3rd, 1951, the board of Córas Iompair Éireann communicated with my predecessor as the Minister for Industry and Commerce, to tell him that the board had decided as definite policy that all increases in costs, whether through increased wages or higher prices of materials, would be passed on immediately to the public in the form of higher fares. Córas Iompair Éireann said there was an old loss of roughly £1,000,000 and that they should not be expected to wipe out that loss in 1951. They said that they were investigating the incidence of redundancy amongst their staff and the possibility of economies, but they wanted time to complete that investigation, and urged that they should not be asked to wipe out that loss of £1,000,000 in that year. That communication from Córas Iompair Éireann was transmitted to the Department of Finance, and from the Department of Finance there came a minute—which expressly states on the face of it that it was sent on the directions of the Minister and after the matter had been considered by the then Minister, Deputy McGilligan— indicating that he was not prepared to listen to that argument, that the board should proceed to conduct its business so as to wipe out the whole loss—not merely to meet, by increasing fares, the higher charges expected to arise during the year and the higher wages expected to be paid, but to wipe out the whole loss on the undertaking in that year. In order to emphasise his point, he added that he was omitting from the Estimate of the Department of Industry and Commerce the provision of any subsidy for Córas Iompair Éireann.

My immediate predecessor as Minister for Industry and Commerce thought that his colleague, the Minister for Finance, was putting too heavy a burden on Córas Iompair Éireann in asking them not merely to offset rising costs by raising fares but to effect economies so as to eliminate the loss of £1,000,000 a year. He asked later if provision could not be made in the Budget for a subsidy to Córas Iompair Éireann to be covered by a Supplementary Estimate later in the year, and, as the House knows, Deputy McGilligan, then Minister for Finance, refused to do it. Therefore, when Deputy McGilligan talks now about giving the workers a guarantee against loss of employment from the service of Córas Iompair Éireann it represents a very considerable change of mind from that which created the situation last year in which Córas Iompair Éireann was expected to carry on without any aid from the Central Fund at all and which forced us to bring in a Supplementary Estimate towards the end of the year for £2,250,000.

This year the Estimate and the Budget contain provision for a subsidy of £1,300,000. It will be remembered that the increase in fares which the company were speaking about in February, 1951, did not in fact come into operation until September, 1951, whatever the reason for the delay. Reckoning on the basis of their estimate of what that increase in fares would bring in in a full year, and what they might be able to secure over and above that in this year by a further increase in fares, it seemed, on the basis of last year's experience, that a subsidy of £1,300,000 should be more than ample to close the gap between their expenditure and their revenue. It is now clear that it is not going to be so, that the gap is widening as it has been widening in every previous year, and that we have got to face the situation.

I said to the conference of trade union representatives which I met last week, that, apart from some members of the Dáil and the employees of Córas Iompair Éireann, I could not see much sign of enthusiasm among the Irish people for keeping Córas Iompair Éireann in existence at all. I said that one of the things we have failed to secure is good will for Córas Iompair Éireann, and I said what I believe to be true, that any proposal to the Dáil to impose either serious restrictions upon private lorry-operators or new taxation to increase the subsidy provision for Córas Iompair Éireann would not merely be difficult to get through the Dáil, not merely would be subject to substantial opposition and criticism here, but that it would set going in the country an agitation for the revision of the whole transport law and the withdrawal of some of the existing restrictions on road transport upon which Córas Iompair Éireann depends for whatever trade it is getting. My experience has been that I am far more frequently approached by Deputies on both sides to ease the restrictions upon private lorries by granting new haulage plates or some other facility than I have been approached by Deputies seeking an increase in restrictions in the interest of Córas Iompair Éireann.

Is not that the obvious tendency? Nobody ever asks a Government to impose taxation. They always ask a Government to ease it.

I think we have to tackle the situation on the basis of seeing what we can do to get a transport system that will serve the needs of the country, give reasonable security of employment to its staffs, and be able to carry on without Government financial help. I do not want to suggest that I am making that a requirement for next year or the following year.

If we were starting anew, I think, in building a transport organisation for the country we could do that successfully, but a large part of the problem is that there exists this uneconomic excess of transport facilities and certain established systems and practices which may require adaptation if they are to be fitted into a more efficient transport organisation. It is in relation to these matters that I am seeking the opinions of others.

Deputy Keyes suggested that my approach to the trade unions with members in the service of Córas Iompair Éireann was unwise. I recognise that in a matter of this kind trade unions, because of their special position and function, may have difficulty in taking responsibility for positive proposals. I do not want to impose upon any union, or group of unions, responsibilities that they do not think they should have, but I do feel that here is one issue upon which we should try to get a pooling of ideas, and I am sure, if we do that, something useful will result.

It may be that there is not a solution of this problem in sight at all, but at least we should go looking for it. In that connection I want to correct one very serious misapprehension of Deputy Keyes. He said that during the past few years the staff of Córas Iompair Éireann was reduced through normal wastage by 3,000. The very reverse is the case. Over the past six or seven years the staff of that body has increased by 3,600.

What reduction took place in the last three years?

No reduction. I will give the figures.

Will you start with the pre-war figures, because in later years there was a special fuel difficulty?

I have not got the pre-war figures, but in 1948 the total number employed was 20,728; in 1949 it was 20,397; in 1950 it was 20,804; in 1951 it was 21,544, and in 1952 it was 21,280. While the increase that I mention relates back to 1945, it is quite obvious that the tendency has been an upward one, and there has certainly been no reduction in numbers through wastage, as suggested by Deputy Keyes.

That is in respect of both services?

That is so.

Is it not possible there has been a reduction in the railway services?

That is the most striking point of all. While it is true that there were increases in respect of road staffs, there was a simultaneous and still more striking increase in the number of persons employed upon railway operation. The conciliation staff as it is called—that is to say the traffic department, goods depots, the permanent way staff, the locomotive department and the carriage and wagon department— illustrates that. The numbers there in 1948 were 7,792; in 1949, 7,259; in 1950, 7,100; in 1951, 7,595 and in this year 7,717. Although it is quite true, as stated here, that passenger traffic on the railway has declined substantially—the number of passengers carried in 1951 was not much more than half that carried in 1949—and although there has been no great increase in goods traffic, nevertheless the total number of people employed has increased. There is one possible explanation and that is that in order to maintain that volume of goods traffic the railway had to operate a very substantially increased mileage and that fact must be borne in mind. That all adds up to one explanation as to how it is that these increases in costs are proceeding continuously and proceeding far more rapidly than the increases in revenue which the board has been able to get by raising fares. The board now tells me that they are satisfied that their charges are at the highest level at which it is practicable to put them and if they go up any further they will lose revenue rather than gain it.

Bus fares went up a week ago.

That is the maximum increase they can carry.

Are the casual workers employed on maintaining the permanent way included in the figures given by the Minister?

Possibly they are. There would have been some arrears of maintenance work in progress during those years.

Deputy Keyes was talking about the reduction in established staff.

I am not at all sure that the figures for the conciliation staff are not for established staff. I think they are. Practically every Deputy who spoke was critical of Córas Iompair Éireann management in one respect or another. They complained about the unnecessary and uneconomic duplication of services, the transfer of machinery from Cork to Dublin, or operations in other parts of the country which they thought indicated wrong managerial policy or the ineffective application of whatever policy there is.

There is nothing new in that line of criticism.

We have been listening to that for a long time. None of us can pretend to be experts in the direction of transport undertakings. While, up to the present, I have taken the line of standing clear from these questions of management and refusing to intervene in any way, I have said that when we come down to consider this whole position as it has now emerged, with all the serious potentialities it offers, I would not preclude from my consideration suggestions or ideas for the revision of managerial policy, a revision which might improve the position of the undertaking, as well as suggestions and ideas for changing the legislation.

I would not be forgiven if I made no reference to Cork Airport. Let me be quite clear about one matter. British European Airways has nothing to do with it. Aer Lingus would provide a passenger service from Cork to-morrow if there was an airport suitable for its operations. Aer Lingus, at my request, carried out a traffic survey and reported that they would regard it as a desirable service to operate if the proper facilities existed there. I am quite certain that there would be no difficulty in getting a licence from the British Ministry of Civil Aviation for the operation of that service if we were in a position to establish it.

Why did not Aer Lingus when investigating the possibilities of Cork Airport contact the people responsible for the airport?

We know all about the Cork Airport for a long time. Might I remind Deputy Lehane that this question is of pre-war vintage? When Dublin Airport was built with Government funds, Cork naturally started an agitation for an airport there. In 1939, the Government made an offer to provide 50 per cent. of the cost of an airport in Cork if the local authorities of the area would provide the balance. In those days airport construction costs were much lower than they are now. The planes in use could operate from grass runways and the modern type of airport with heavy concrete runways was not in general use.

Did the local authorities in Dublin and Limerick provide 50 per cent. of the cost?

The offer is withdrawn.

Is the Minister not aware——

I have not started yet and the Deputy cannot know of what I am aware until I tell him. During the war the question of an airport in Cork, as a post-war development project, was again taken up and in 1944 we carried out an investigation of possible sites in the vicinity of Cork. That inquiry revealed that there were two possible sites. One was near Midleton and the other was adjacent to the place where the present private airport exists. Supplementary to that investigation of the terrain and its suitability for the construction of an airport, meteorological investigations over a number of years were carried out and, on the basis of those investigations, the location of the present airport was ruled out and Midleton was deemed more suitable. The report to me was that not more than 80 per cent. regularity could be ensured at the Ballygarvan site because of the incidence of fog.

I licensed the private airport there for the operation of private and chartered aircraft. It is a grass runway airport, and I would not be prepared to license the airport for the operation of scheduled services. I have responsibilities as Minister to protect the public safety and, in the interests of public safety, I could not license that airport for the operation of scheduled services unless substantial expenditure was incurred on the airport, and unless there existed the necessary meteorological and flight control services. The present estimate is that the construction of an airport in Cork suitable for the type of planes which Aer Lingus operates would involve an expenditure of £1,000,000. That is the snag. I would very much like to see an airport there. I would ask the Government to put the construction of an airport there upon our capital project list, but I do not think I should urge that it should get priority over many other projects which are on that list, and which I would like to see proceeded with without delay. It is true that at one time a British company operating charter services undertook to operate services from the airport as it stands, if I were to give a licence.

I want to make clear my position in regard to this agreement with Great Britain. In 1946, we made an agreement with Great Britain under which we agreed that, instead of operating air services on the basis of two independent national companies, we would combine the companies into one joint undertaking, and give it a monopoly. I have often asked myself in recent years whether the policy we adopted in 1946, which I was quite certain was very much to our advantage then, should be still maintained. I think it should.

I am aware, however, that just at present in Great Britain, with a Conservative Government in office, pledged to restore to some extent private enterprise in transport undertakings, there is probably pressure on the British Government to secure facilities for the operation of air services to this country and other countries by British privately owned undertakings. It is obvious that if we were to breach that agreement by giving a licence to a company here to operate into Great Britain the agreement would go to pieces and the British Government would almost certainly insist upon a similar facility being given to a British company. The whole policy would have to be revised. That might be a good thing or a bad thing, but it certainly should not be decided upon except after careful consideration.

If Aer Lingus are not prepared to do something, ask them to allow other people to do something.

That is not a matter for Aer Lingus. It is a question of Government policy and not a matter for Aer Lingus.

There are people prepared to do it.

Aer Lingus have nothing to do with that. If the agreement of 1946 is to be scrapped and private operators are to be allowed to operate cross-Channel services, it is the Government who must decide.

I have here a list of specific matters to which Deputies referred, and perhaps I should run over some of them briefly just to remove certain misunderstandings. Deputy Hughes asked about flour allowances. For many years there was a practice under which certain bakers got an allowance from millers on the price of flour according to the quantity purchased or some other conditions of the trade. At the beginning of the war, when we took over control of flour supplies, we had a general idea that we should disturb existing trade practices only to the minimum extent necessary. Therefore, the scheme of payments for flour brought into operation in 1939 provided for the continuation of these allowances wherever they existed in private trade before that. That has persisted ever since.

There was always a hope that we would get back to pre-war trading. That hope has diminished with the years and the prospect of getting back to the pre-war position in regard to wheat imports and flour distribution in the near future is not very great. I am looking into the question of these allowances, but it is obviously a difficult matter to disturb a trade arrangement of that kind which grew up in private trading and has been in existence for many years, even though, on the face of it, it appears unfair that some firms, because they had certain arrangements which gave them cheaper flour than their competitors before the war, should still be getting flour on that basis when subsidised out of public funds.

Deputy Collins referred to the operations of co-operative stores and travelling shops. I have put on record my view that I know of no reason of public policy why the State should intervene to deprive residents in rural areas of the advantage of buying their groceries and similar supplies from motor vans. There may be some repercussion from that development upon certain towns which we may have to look at, but the suggestion which is frequently made that we should prohibit these so-called travelling shops is something I could not support. I know of no reason of policy why the State should intervene to stop a development of that kind.

Deputy Morrissey asked me for the cost of the coal stocks. It is roughly £2,500,000. There is a Parliamentary Question put down by Deputy Hickey the reply to which will give some additional information regarding coal stocks.

A number of Deputies referred to the increased price of binder twine. Although the price of binder twine has not been controlled for some years, I have had it investigated. The position is that the binder twine going into use this year will be made from material imported last year and on the basis of what that cost the increased price this year is justified. In fairness to the manufacturers I must say that the price at which they are manufacturing and selling the binder twine is lower than the price in Great Britain. This year the cost of material is falling and there is some possibility that a lower price will prevail next year, but it is not possible at present.

Deputy Coburn referred to a promise that I made to do what I could to get some industry for Greenore to compensate the locality for the closing down of the Dundalk and Greenore railway. I made that promise and I have fulfilled it, in that I have done everything I could to secure such an industry for the locality. I have had two considerable disappointments.

Mr. Coburn

You did not promise definitely but you said you would do what you could.

I said that I would do my best. I want to tell the Deputy that since I gave that undertaking we had two projects lined up which appeared to be completely satisfactory and they were definitely committed to Greenore. One withdrew for the time being because there was an English firm associated with it which lost so much money last year in England that they decided they could not venture on a new enterprise. It may, however, be revived. The other finally decided on another location. I promise to keep on trying. I would ask Deputies who are interested in this matter to remember that there exists at Greenore buildings of an exceptional character, the former railway station, the running sheds of the railway undertaking and port facilities which were at one time used by the Blue Ribbon route across the Irish Sea together with other facilities which can be got dirt cheap because we have an option on them. I know that some other Deputies who are looking for facilities will be jealous of the facilities at Greenore, but I made a promise to the people there and I have to try to keep it.

Reference was made to the decision of Tea Importers, Limited, to sell tea wholesale ex-store Dublin, Cork and Limerick and it was suggested that that arrangement was unfair to wholesalers in Waterford and Sligo. When these complaints were brought to the notice of Tea Importers, Limited, they said that if there was free trade in tea it would come into Dublin anyway and would have to be railed from there. That is not quite a completely satisfactory explanation. I want to interfere with the trade as little as possible but when the suggestion is made that Tea Importers, Limited, is an organisation directed by certain tea wholesalers in Dublin and that the arrangements they have made operate against other wholesalers I have to look into it.

Deputy O'Sullivan referred to the procedure adopted by the Electricity Supply Board in the selection of rural areas for the development of electrification schemes. I told the House before that I would ask the board to reconsider the basis on which these areas are selected. At present the basis of selection is the capital cost in relation to revenue. I argued that it seemed a fairer basis to take the actual percentage of residents that were willing to accept the supply. I argued that local committees going around canvassing felt they were deceived or misled when they got a 90 or a 95 per cent. acceptance of the scheme and still found themselves at the bottom of the priority list, below districts which gave a more favourable return in respect to capital charges. The Electricity Supply Board answered that suggestion by certain criticisms some of which appeared to me to be sound. I asked them whether it was possible then to combine the two ideas. They have worked out a system now which appears to me quite good but which I have not yet fully considered and by which they would determine the order of priority by reference to both factors, that is the percentage of acceptors and the capital cost. My difficulty is that to make any change at this stage would involve a big upset in the existing list. I got a list of the areas in their present order and I realised that any change would involve bringing certain of the areas that are near the top at the moment down to the bottom and if that should arise I am quite sure that Deputies from areas that were brought down would be very displeased. I shall have to discuss the matter with the Electricity Supply Board with a view to bringing the change into operation gradually, so as to avoid any big upset in the present order of priorities.

Finally, I have to refer to Deputy Cowan's mention of An Tostal. The House may not be aware of the fact, great minds thinking alike, that this idea of an annual national festival emerged from the Department of Industry and Commerce simultaneously with the proposal of the Dublin Corporation sponsored by Deputy Cowan and others for a Dublin Festival in 1953. I am glad to say that the Dublin Corporation willingly withdrew their proposal and combined it with the wider and more permanent scheme when the wisdom of that course was made clear to them. They are now working, I understand, wholeheartedly to do their part in the preparations for next year's festival. I attach very considerable importance to that. Deputies will I hope bear in mind, particularly Deputies who are also members of local authorities, the exhortations which I addressed to them earlier in the debate to get local authorities or any sporting or cultural organisations of which they are members to play their part in making the festival a success. I believe that if we start off well in 1953 it will grow in importance year after year and ultimately become an occasion of very considerable economic and cultural significance to this country.

I apologise to a number of Deputies who asked me to deal with specific points. Some of these Deputies raised points which I had already mentioned in my introductory speech which they may not have heard. Others raised issues with which I could deal only at considerable length.

Would the Minister say a word in regard to the very important and urgent problem for the 500 people in my constituency who have become unemployed in the agricultural machinery factory?

I have given the Deputy all the information I have about it. The manufacturers say that this year there has been no sale for horse-drawn mowing machines. They were also caught on the wrong foot by the fact that the hay harvest was earlier this year than was usual. They say that they are going over to the manufacture of mechanically-drawn machines, and that they are making preparations for that. So far as I know there is only one firm seriously affected yet. They indicated that their plans for the production of mechanically-propelled mowing machines are well advanced.

For the sake of clarity, would the Minister correct or corroborate a statement made here on Thursday to the effect that the reason for the unemployment in that factory was the flooding of the country with a particular type of a machine for the last two or three years?

A statement that some Irish machinery was inferior in quality?

No, but Deputy Allen's allegation that the reason for the unemployment in Pierces was that the last Government had allowed big imports of machinery.

All I can say is that the explanation given by the firm to me was the slump in trade due to the bad demand for horse-drawn machines.

Now that the fog has been swept away from Cork City, might we not hear something about the airport in Midleton?

Question put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 67; Níl, 58.

Tá.

  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Blaney, Neil T.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Brady, Philip A.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breen, Dan.
  • Brennan, Joseph.
  • Brennan, Thomas.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Browne, Noel C.
  • Buckley, Seán.
  • Burke, Patrick.
  • Butler, Bernard.
  • Calleary, Phelim A.
  • Carter, Frank.
  • Childers, Erskine.
  • Cogan, Patrick.
  • Colley, Harry.
  • Collins, James J.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Lemass, Seán.
  • Little, Patrick J.
  • Lynch, Jack (Cork Borough).
  • McCann, John.
  • MacCarthy, Seán.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • McGrath, Patrick.
  • Maher, Peadar.
  • Moran, Michael.
  • Moylan, Seán.
  • Ó Briain, Donnchadh.
  • Corry, Martin J.
  • Cowan, Peadar.
  • Crowley, Honor Mary.
  • Crowley, Tadhg
  • Cunningham, Liam
  • Davern, Michael J.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • de Valera, Vivion.
  • Duignan, Peadar.
  • Fahy, Frank.
  • Fanning, John.
  • ffrench-O'Carroll, Michael.
  • Flanagan, Seán.
  • Flynn, John.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Gilbride, Eugene.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hillery, Patrick J.
  • Hilliard, Michael.
  • Humphreys, Francis.
  • Kenneally, William.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • Ormonde, John.
  • Rice, Bridget M.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Mary B.
  • Sheldon, William A.W.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Walsh, Laurence J.
  • Walsh, Thomas.

Níl

  • Beirne, John.
  • Belton, John.
  • Blowick, Joseph.
  • Browne, Patrick.
  • Byrne, Alfred.
  • Carew, John.
  • Cawley, Patrick.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Collins, Seán.
  • Corish, Brendan.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Costello, Declan.
  • Crowe, Patrick.
  • Davin, William.
  • Desmond, Daniel.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry P.
  • Dockrell, Maurice E.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Esmonde, Anthony C.
  • Everett, James.
  • Fagan, Charles.
  • Finan, John.
  • Flanagan, Oliver J.
  • Giles, Patrick.
  • Hession, James M.
  • Hickey, James.
  • Hughes, Joseph.
  • Keane, Seán.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Kyne, Thomas A.
  • Larkin, James.
  • Lehane, Patrick D.
  • Lynch, John (North Kerry).
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • Madden, David J.
  • Mannion, John.
  • Morrissey, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, Michael P.
  • Murphy, William.
  • O'Donnell, Patrick.
  • O'German, Patrick J.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F. (Jun.).
  • O'Leary, Johnny.
  • O'Reilly, Patrick.
  • O'Sullivan, Denis.
  • Palmer, Patrick W.
  • Reidy, James.
  • Reynolds, Mary.
  • Roddy, Joseph.
  • Rogers, Patrick J.
  • Rooney, Eamon.
  • Spring, Dan.
  • Sweetman, Gerard.
  • Tully, John.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Ó Briain and Killilea; Níl: Deputies Doyle and Mac Fheórais.
Motion declared carried.