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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 20 May 1953

Vol. 138 No. 16

Committee on Finance. - Resolution No. 3—General (Resumed).

Debate resumed on the following motion:—
That it is expedient to amend the law relating to customs and inland revenue (including excise) and to make further provision in connection with finance.

Last night I was drawing the attention of the Minister and the Government to the fact that the 1952 Budget had caused depression in the country and had created undue hardship amongst the most lowly-paidworkers. I pointed out that that Budget was responsible for the depression that now exists in the country and for the unemployment that has reached figures never equalled since the establishment of the State. Apart from unemployment, there has been emigration. In the whole Budget debate we received only one ray of hope, which was by way of interjection by Deputy Davern, from Tipperary, who stated that, in his constituency at least, for every one that emigrated, three returned. Unfortunately for my constituency, I cannot endorse that statement. Within the last month or two even some of the Government supporters have left and have brought their wives and families with them because they were unable to secure employment in their own country. If the Minister has any doubts, he should consult his agents who will agree that what I have stated is unfortunately too true.

There is unemployment and emigration. Men are working on half-time and others are working on a week to week basis, not knowing when they will be on the dole. Then we are told by Deputies who now support the Government that some of the Opposition Deputies felt a wave of depression when they read the Minister's speech in connection with this year's Budget. Naturally, they were depressed when they realised that no concessions had been offered to the business community, that no hope had been offered to the unemployed. Of course, the members on the Government Benches and their supporters cheered and applauded the Minister loudly when he concluded his speech. They cheered and applauded the Minister for continuing a policy that has brought distress and ruin to our country; cheered and applauded a Budget that has created such hardship amongst all sections of the community. The effects of that Budget were brutal because the people did not expect it. They had hoped that Government members who had gone around the country and had met the people would have brought some influence to bear upon the Minister so that, in 1953 at least, there would be some hope that we would not continue to have 84,000 unemployed, that there would besome hope that all our younger people would not have to emigrate. It is not that our young people have any love for another country but that they have no alternative.

If Government Deputies were to go down amongst the people they would find that in the last six months the breadwinners who were formerly in employment are now separated from their families, working in another country. Wives are left to provide for the younger members of the family. The younger members of many families in County Wicklow who were formerly employed are now separated from their families and are working in another country. These are the things for a continuance of which Government Deputies applauded the Minister. This is something that they are proud of.

The Taoiseach announced that taxation had reached the limit. Deputy Allen promised his constituents in Wicklow that no further taxation would be inflicted upon the people unless something unforeseen occurred.

There is no use in talking about stability to people whose parents or whose children have gone to another country. Members of the Labour Party have been lectured here. Personal attacks have been made on a couple of them by some of the Government Deputies. At the same time, we were appealed to to support their policy. We were told by Deputies, particularly Deputy Killilea, of the good things that the Government would do, and were doing, on behalf of the labour movement. I admit that the Government have good schemes to their credit, such as widows' and orphans' pensions and children's allowances. I admit that. All these good things were pointed to by Deputy Briscoe and Deputy Killilea, but they were very silent about the fact that during one particular period they were responsible for a standstill Order which prevented the workers from receiving any increase in wages to meet the cost of living and that there was no standstill as regards the profits of employers. Large numbers made huge profits while the wages of the workerswere kept down. To-day the position is that the increase in the wages of workers in industries giving permanent employment does not meet the increased cost of living. The Government Deputies did not inform the House that in the case of county council employees the increase sanctioned by the present Government was only 2½d. a day, to meet the cost of living. Then we are told that we should not criticise the Government because of some of the things they have accomplished on behalf of the people.

I appealed to the Minister for Industry and Commerce on his Estimate to restore the £50,000 which had been taken away from the Avoca mines. I pointed out that if further unemployment was to take place in that area in addition to the large number of men who were dismissed from the Forestry Department during the last month it would be a serious matter for the people in that area. I am certain that it was not through my influence or as a result of the appeal I made to the Minister that this £50,000 has been restored in the Budget. However, no matter in what circumstances, I am glad it has been restored in order to keep the men in employment. The secretary of the men's union had been notified by the manager that a large number of men were to be dispensed with. Then a phone message was sent to the secretary stating that the dismissals had been cancelled. Apparently something happened in the meantime and the £50,000 has been restored so that the men would be kept in employment.

Unfortunately we have a very large number of unemployed in County Wicklow notwithstanding what has been stated. There was a large number of dismissals from the Forestry Department within the last month. Again, owing to the decontrol of flour milling, some men who had been employed for years in two flour mills in the county have been dismissed and others are on three-quarter time. It is only a matter of time, I suppose, until these two mills will be closed down if decontrol is continued.

The position of the old age pensionershas been mentioned. They were given the magnificent sum of 2½d. per day to meet the increased cost of living. If a shopkeeper in Bray takes compassion on an invalid old age pensioner and supplies him a half-pound of Irish butter he is threatened with prosecution and with having his licence taken from him. It is a nice state of affairs in an agricultural country that a shopkeeper will lose his business if he is found supplying a poor person with half a pound of Irish butter. He must supply the New Zealand butter.

I believe that our representatives in this country should get together and come to a united policy on the question of restoring agriculture to its proper place. There were thousands of tons of fertiliser in stock when the inter-Party Government went out of office and the Government have now put on a 50 per cent. tariff and are charging the farmers 50 per cent. more for every ton of fertiliser which they require. The result is that less fertiliser is being purchased and, therefore, you cannot have a proper yield from the crops.

When the inter-Party Government were in power the old age pensioners could get their butter at 2/10 a lb. The price to-day is 4/2 for the New Zealand butter which they are unable to eat. Bread was 6½d. per two pound loaf; to-day it is 8¼d. and we are now threatened with a further increase. Tea was 2/8 a lb. and it is now 5/-. Sugar was 4½d. a lb. and is now 7d. Flour was 2/8 a stone and it is now 4/6. All these increases have taken place notwithstanding the promises made to Independent Deputies by the Fianna Fáil Party in their 17 point programme that they would not interfere with the food subsidies. The Fianna Fáil Party promised that if they were elected as the Government they would maintain the subsidies and keep food cheap so as to enable the people to purchase more food than formerly. The position to-day is that less food is being consumed by the poorer sections and the Government have reduced the purchasing power of a large section of the people.

Why has all this happened? We were told that it was necessary in order to balance the Budget. The inter-Party Government were charged with squandermania. Last night a Fianna Fáil Deputy—I am sure he must have embarrassed the Minister—pointed out that this was the most unpopular Budget ever introduced. At the same time he went out of his way to launch an attack upon an ex-Minister for carrying out State business in another country. He wanted to make a cheap cross-roads speech by pointing out what it cost. I am sure the Minister will agree that any Minister who has the responsibility of doing State business abroad does not take it on lightheartedly. He goes there at great inconvenience to himself, recognising that he has to do his best for the country. He comes back here a poorer man because the Department of Finance is not over-generous in the allowances which they make to Ministers or Deputies who have to travel on State business. Deputy Killilea himself must agree that when he was in Strasbourg he came back a poorer man than when he went there because the Irish delegates receive the smallest allowance given to the representatives of any European country.

Surely that is far away from the Budget.

The sooner we get away from this cheap attack upon individuals the better. I have been 30 years in this House and I have always opposed any person making an attack upon our Ministers no matter what Government they belong to. We recognise that Ministers are not wealthy men. They are not in a position to accumulate wealth and they are working for their country. I have always pointed out that, no matter what they receive, if they were working at their own private business they would be much better off. I hope we have heard the last of Deputy Killilea's attacks on the Ministers of the inter-Party Government for doing the work which the present Ministers have to do at the present time.

The Minister stated, in reply to a Deputy, that owing to the concessionhe has made by increasing the subsidy houses will be cheaper. I am proud to say that in my county we carried on the erection of houses for the working classes even during the war period. We are providing 40 or 50 houses at the present time on agreed sites. While the Government and the Minister have agreed to increase the subsidy on the £1,200 house we are informed by our officials that that increase will demand a sum of 1/8½ per week, roughly, from the agricultural labourer in increased rate. He can only secure that 1/8½ by demanding increased wages from his employer, and then we are faced again with the vicious spiral of which we have had experience during the last 12 months; one section of the community gets an increase in wages and that increase is passed on to the public. The people are chasing the increased cost of living and they are not able to overtake it.

Serious depression exists in County Wicklow. Unemployment was never so rampant. The Minister's speech held out no hope for the future. Increased taxation has been put upon the people. Deputy Briscoe chided us for voting against the Estimate for the Department of Posts and Telegraphs. Deputy Briscoe said that I would not state in Wicklow the fact that I wanted the unemployed man and the worker to pay for services used by the commercial community. My point is that there is no necessity to increase the cost of telephone calls. That increase is solely for the purpose of making good the deficiency in the telegraphic branch. Telegrams are only used now to send messages of congratulation or messages of sympathy and the telephone users are being asked to pay for the loss sustained on telegraphic communication. Deputy Briscoe thinks that is right. He thinks it is right that the old age pensioner and the unemployed man should pay for the losses sustained by Aer Lingus because passengers are not asked to pay the full fare. Because of that Aer Lingus has to be subsidised and that subsidy is got by means of indirect taxation on the poorer sections of the community.

Would you apply that to C.I.E.?

The same applies to C.I.E.

Would you apply that system to C.I.E.?

Do not embarrass the Tánaiste. That is his baby.

No. It is Deputy Morrissey's baby and the Coalition's baby. They nationalised it, having made it bankrupt first.

The Tánaiste said he would make it pay.

According to Deputy Briscoe and Fianna Fáil it is wrong to ask the people generally to pay for the deficiency in the Post Office but it is quite right to ask them to pay for Aer Lingus so that the people who travel by Aer Lingus can get the benefit of cheap fares at the expense of the public.

Why not increase C.I.E. fares?

That is a matter for the Government. The Minister for Industry and Commerce will deal with that problem.

I would like to hear Deputy Everett advocating that.

Fianna Fáil did increase them.

I would like to hear Deputy Everett advocating the full fare and no subsidy.

Deputy Everett on the financial motion before the House.

Does Deputy Allen deny we have emigration? Does he deny we have 84,000 people unemployed? What solution is offered? What hope is held out? The Government asks us to help them in overcoming their difficulties. They created the difficulties for themselves. We were accused of being gloomy because there was no increase in taxation. We were anticipating some reductions.Those drawing the dole have to meet the increased cost of living and they were expecting some concession. All they are told is to tighten their belts, eat less and save more. How can the 84,000 unemployed save? How can the old age pensioner save? Foreign insurance companies can come in here and raise money. The Minister for Industry and Commerce is appealing for foreign capital to come into the country now because native capital has been exhausted.

No one can accuse County Wicklow of being lax in housing our people but the high rate of interest now is militating against progress. Money should be provided for housing at a reasonable rate of interest. Possibly something will be done about that matter. The ratepayers should not have to bear the full cost of providing amenities. The last Budget had the effect of increasing the cost of maintenance of inmates in county homes and patients in county hospitals. In Wicklow maintenance alone has caused an increase of 2/- in the £ on the rates. That is a serious problem particularly for the unemployed man who has to meet the increase in rates the same as everybody else. Business people may be able to pass on the increase to the consumer. But there is a limit to that too. We have reached the limit now. This Budget does not merit the applause it received from the Government Benches. I cannot understand how Government Deputies can justify themselves throughout the country.

The Minister appears to have no solution for the problem confronting the country. I will take this opportunity of registering the opposition of the constituency that I have represented for so long to this Budget. Soon the people will have an opportunity of registering their opposition. I am sure the vote recorded in Wicklow will vindicate my attitude now on this Budget. The limit has been reached. With the help of Providence, if we are given an opportunity we will remove these burdens and we will give warning to the Government of our intention by putting our man at the head of the poll in Wicklow.

As far as this Budget is concerned there is no increase in taxation but the Budget last year did create hardships. When you take into account that last year's Budget created hardships notwithstanding the fact that money was more plentiful and there was more money in the pockets of the people to meet their ordinary purchases, it is obvious that a Budget with the same taxation for next year will cause very serious hardships for certain sections of the people.

I come from a constituency where there is a big register of unemployed people. It is a big area of small farmers living on small holdings of land. The people depend to a great extent for maintenance on employment on relief schemes. The budgetary policy of the Government has in many ways adversely affected these people. Last year's Budget caused a rise in the cost of living due to the removal of the subsidies. As Deputy Everett has explained there was an increase in the price of flour from 3/2 to 4/2 per stone; a similar increase occurred in the price of the loaf. The price of tea is double what it was before the subsidies were removed. Tea is, of course, an essential commodity as far as the people in the poorer areas are concerned. Deputy Everett also mentioned the increase in the price of sugar. The Government were not satisfied with the increase imposed last year; they had to come along this year and add another ½d., so that the price went from 4½d. to 6½d. and a further ½d. was added on this year.

With all these increases in the cost of living and with the number of unemployed increasing week by week and month by month the country's economic position is precarious. The figure for unemployed persons is now well over the 80,000 mark and these people find it almost impossible to meet the cost of living. We may be told from the Government Benches that provision is made to give employment to people in need of it. But instead of greater provision being made for this purpose, the amount of money that was granted in previous years has been withdrawn. In my county in two of the years of the inter-Party Government's term of office—possibly three years but I think I am quite safe in saying two—the local authority got a free grant of £80,000. However, in the first year after the change of Government it is my recollection, although I speak subject to correction, that that £80,000 was reduced to £50,000. Last year it was further reduced to roughly £23,500 and if my information is correct it will be much less this year. How much less it will be I am not in a position to say but I am given to understand that there will be a considerable reduction. Such a drastic curtailment would have a very serious effect in an area where the people depend for employment on relief schemes. The difference between £80,000 and £23,000 by way of grant for that county represents a substantial reduction and is bound to create hardship for those involved, as it has done. It has done more than create hardship among that section of the community who find it absolutely necessary to secure their week's wages. It has also created hardship from the point of view of credit. Due to the fact that employment was available in the area credit accommodation was readily available but now that the amount of employment has been reduced credit is restricted.

As far as business people generally are concerned in this country, they are finding it very difficult to carry on because credit facilities are so limited. I have it on fairly good authority that the wholesale houses who, in the ordinary way, gave a reasonable amount of credit to the business people, find it impossible to do so now; the same applies to business people who previously gave a reasonable amount of credit to the public. It is now necessary for a businessman to have in his pocket money to meet the cost of goods he wishes to purchase for his customers.

There is no businessman to-day who can get credit or an overdraft on the same terms as he was able to get it before this Government took office in 1951. I am perfectly satisfied that the last loan at a rate of 5 per cent. interest has created hardship for business people from the point of view of what they have to pay if they seekcredit facilities. There was a section of the people in this country who always gave credit and it is from that section of the people that the public secured credit freely, and that is the business people. It is all right for large companies and large combines who have a method of borrowing, but the businessman has a different method and he will not use force or other methods which the banks would use. They are the people who are to-day severely handicapped and who are finding it very hard to exist. Their expenses are mounting and their sales are dropping.

I am given to understand that people generally are eating less, particularly bread. If the consumption of bread and flour is lower than it was before the subsidies were removed, obviously the people cannot afford to pay the increased prices which followed the removal of these subsidies. I should like to say a word in reference to rumours which are current in my county to the effect that the Government have decided to withdraw the turf production schemes operated there in former years. If there is any foundation for these rumours, it will mean that the people living in the poorer areas, the mountainy areas and the bog areas, will be deprived of substantial revenue which for many years past they have enjoyed from turf production. Many of these people have large families which they are trying to rear on holdings of a very low valuation. The cessation of work under the Local Authorities (Works) Act has also hit them severely. The disappearance of these sources of income means that the people will feel the effects of the taxation imposed by this Budget to a greater degree than they otherwise would.

We heard a good deal of talk last night in regard to the allegation that the inter-Party Government had abolished schemes of turf production but these very same Deputies support a Government which proposes to suspend all schemes of turf production in my county. On the 23rd April last, I asked the Minister for Industry and Commerce if it was intended to putinto operation this season the production of machine-won turf in the following areas in North Mayo— Keenagh, Dooleeg, Rathmorgan, Belderrig, Bonniconlon and Killasser. The Minister's reply was: "It is not the intention to produce machine-won turf this season in the areas mentioned." To my knowledge the people in these areas derived a big revenue from these schemes last year. Quite a considerable amount of employment was provided by such schemes and it will be a very serious matter for the people if work is not available this year having regard to the fact that schemes under the Local Authorities (Works) Act are not being operated either.

The stoppage of work under the Local Authorities (Works) Act is all the more serious in that people with small holdings hoped as a result of the land project to be able to add an acre or two of arable land to their existing acreage. If schemes under the Local Authorities (Works) Act are suspended or curtailed in any way, it will mean that much of the land which people intended to reclaim will never be reclaimed. It will be impossible to drain waterlogged land if proper head drains are not provided by schemes operated under the Local Authorities (Works) Act. Inspectors supervising the land project will not permit a land project scheme to be carried through unless proper head drains are provided. That is a serious situation for a county such as Mayo where many people were desirous of taking advantage of schemes under the land project. To-day, in many areas in the county which had the benefit of schemes under the land project, the fruits of these schemes are evident. As a matter of fact, large tracts that were previously waterlogged are now tilled.

Deputy Everett mentioned the question of local rates and I can testify to the fact that the rates have increased to such an extent that the people are unable to meet them out of their limited resources. I do not know what is going to happen in some of the small towns in the country as a result of the high rates which the people arenow called upon to pay. Things are bad enough in rural areas but at least the people there have the benefit of a certain deduction on the rates levied on agricultural land. The small shopkeeper, however, in the town has to pay the full 100 per cent. demand. From what I know of the circumstances of many of these people in the small towns I can say that they are on the point of unemployment. Their business has shrunk and they are faced with a very lean time for the coming year. Last year was bad enough when serious difficulties were facing them but these difficulties are at the doorstep this year. From what I can learn members of the licensed trade, particularly in the smaller towns, are confronted with a serious situation as a result of the increased duties on beer and spirits. I think everybody will admit that the licensed trade generally has always been well managed and was one of the greatest sources of revenue to the Government. I think it is regrettable that the Government should now try to wipe out a certain section of the people in the licensed trade by imposing upon them burdens which they are totally unable to bear. Public houses in a main street where there is always a passing trade are just existing at present but licensed premises in side streets or off the main thoroughfare and away from the passing trade are practically all on the verge of closing down. It is all very well to say that the Government must get revenue but that should not be achieved at the expense of putting a large percentage of people out of business. I believe that if these increased duties were not imposed there would be a much bigger consumption, with the probability that the Government would get the same revenue as they are now securing as a result of the increased taxes, and at the same time nobody would suffer injury.

We are told that as there is no increase in taxation under the present Budget, it will be necessary to bring about certain economies, in order that money will be available to meet the extra expenditure that the Government proposes to undertake in certaindirections. Let me say that if these economies are going to be effected at the expense of curtailing schemes under the Local Authorities (Works) Act, I think that is one direction in which economy should not take place. If economies are to be made there is plenty of room for them in the Army.

There is plenty of room for economies in the Army. I believe the strength of the Army is 12,500 men and were you to speak to any ordinary man with common sense in the country he would ask you what they are all there for and what was the necessity for the great cost of maintaining them. A well-equipped and well-trained Army of half that size, which would be assisted in an emergency by the L.D.F. and other voluntary forces, would relieve the people of 25 per cent. of the cost of maintenance and would give better results.

I have got the greatest respect for the boys in the Army and I had the greatest respect for those who served in the L.D.F. and the L.S.F. during the emergency. Yet once a young fellow joins the Army and subsequently resumes civilian life again, I feel that he is not the same man as he was before he joined up, not that the Army did him any harm but he got into a certain way of life and he is not a man you can put out into the fields or the bogs. There could be a saving of 50 per cent. in regard to the numbers in the Army.

I spoke about the increase that took place in the cost of living last year and also about the effects which last year's Budget had upon the people. During the year further costs were imposed on the people. The road tax was increased. There was an increase in C.I.E. freight charges both rail and road and there were increased postal services. Business was bad, and the number of registered unemployed increased from 50,000 to 80,000. Having regard to all those circumstances and to what the people have to face this year, I feel I am perfectly justified in saying that the Government will have to wake up to their responsibilities andhave more regard to the capacity of the people to pay.

People who are in need of a week's wages and who are short of money on Saturday night are the people who should be considered. Some provision should be made to provide them with alternative employment. Schemes under the Local Authorities (Works) Act were a great help to the people in the areas where they were carried out. The people in those areas are now facing a lean period. On my own responsibility and on behalf of the constituents I represent, I will vote against this Budget.

I was surprised and, indeed, disappointed at the casual way many of the Deputies dealt with the problem of unemployment. One Deputy told us that unemployment was more apparent than real. Another Deputy proceeded to quote from the Manchester Guardianand other English newspapers to show us what the unemployment position was over there, and the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs tried to convince us that the cause of increased unemployment was due to a world slump and to a recession in trade. It is interesting how all those phrases can be adopted by so many people. We were told there was a buyers' strike; that the buyers' strike was now over and that we had a recession in trade.

Quite candidly I consider unemployment a challenge to society. The 82,000 or 85,000 unemployed that we have in this country to-day are human question-marks. They are even more. They are living, striving human beings, unused producers of wealth and are unable to produce the wealth that thousands of our fellow-workers are crying out for. The paradox of poverty in the midst of potential plenty is an insult and a challenge to our intelligence. I think the time has really come for us to accept that challenge courageously and bring about the necessary financial adjustments to enable our people to buy the things they are capable of producing.

Taking the total number of registered unemployed and their dependents as 82,000 it is not unreasonableto say that there are at least 240,000 of our people on the verge of poverty. They are faced with poverty because they have not been allowed to produce so that they may be able to purchase the bare necessaries of life. What is wrong is that we are trying to operate a system that makes unemployment and poverty inevitable; we have thousands of unemployed and willing workers and undeveloped resources. I think it is a terrible reflection on our social system to have such a position existing. We should be able to make the system operate so as to allow all those people to live as human beings ought to live.

I listened to the Taoiseach speaking on the Vote on Account on the 18th March, 1953. I also heard him speak on the Budget statement. He made this statement on the 18th March, 1953:—

". . . we believe that taxation generally is as high as the community can afford, as high as it is wise, in the general interests of the community and even in the interests of the Exchequer, to push it."

The Taoiseach made that statement here on the 18th March, 1953. I suggest there is no message of hope in that statement for the 84,000 unemployed. Doubts are being expressed whether we can afford the miserable pittance of 24/- a week to them, which is only equal to 11/- a week in 1939. I remember reading a statement made by the Taoiseach in this House on the 19th December, 1934, as reported at column 1748 of the Official Report. The statement was as follows:—

"I said that it would be possible, with the resources of this country, for 17,000,000 people to live here in a higher standard of comfort than that in which the present people were living."

He emphasised that by saying:—

"I stand up to that. I believe it is a fact that the resources of this country, with proper organisation, are sufficient to give to 17,000,000 people a higher standard of living than the present people are getting."

Picture the position. Nineteen years after that statement was made we have not yet reached a population of 3,000,000 people. The Taoiseach told us 19 years ago that we could keep 17,000,000 people in a higher standard of comfort. Is it not worth investigating why we have the position we have to-day, with 85,000 unemployed and their dependents? We have 57,770 drawing home assistance. We have 161,000 old age and blind pensioners drawing 21/6 a week each. The purchasing power of 21/6 to-day is only 9/8 compared to what it was in 1938. Is it not time that every member of this House would set himself the question: what is wrong, 19 years after the statement which I have just quoted was made, that we have that position in the country to-day? A lot of people talk here about the economies that could be made by reducing this and by reducing that. In January last the Minister for Health addressed the annual meeting of the Cork Chamber of Commerce. In the course of his statement he said:—

"Industry, including agriculture, should be encouraged to increase production and, if possible, to provide more employment. An unemployed man could not contribute to the national income."

It would be interesting to know on what grounds the Minister for Health stated that the unemployed could not contribute to the national income. Is it not because they are not allowed to work and produce the goods that we require? What a pass we have come to—a nation of people all wanting food, clothing, houses and the ordinary comforts of life, all possessing the physical power to produce the goods that we require, and yet we are living in fear of want. The Minister went on to say:—

"Every day that the worker was out through sickness meant a loss in production. A rough estimate of the amount lost to the country by the absence of workers through sickness amounted to about £12,000,000 a year. That is a considerable sum in a country where the estimated national income is approximately £360,000,000per year. It has to be remembered that it is only part of the total cost of sickness because it took no account of the actual cost of providing curative treatment for those who became sick. A rough estimate of the cost of such curative treatment amounts to about £16,000,000 per annum or about 4.5 per cent. of the national income."

I submit that if it costs the nation £16,000,000 a year in the loss of goods and in the loss of national income for one year, that the loss to the 85,000, 87,000 or 89,000 unemployed is still greater.

I find, from looking up the statistics, that the total number weeks of illness in respect of which benefit was paid in 1951 was 1,763,700 as against 1,640,000 for 1950, or an increase of 123,700. According to the Minister for Health, this was a considerable sum representing a loss in production of £12,000,000 in a year.

Let us try and analyse what was the estimated cost to the nation of these 85,000 or 87,000 unemployed workers during the past year. I submit that these workers should be earning at least from £4 to £6 a week or £208 or £312 a year, because the average wage to-day for an unskilled worker is about £6 a week. I am allowing for women workers a wage of from £4 to £6 a week each. On these figures, I submit that from £18,000,000 to £26,000,000 worth of goods were not produced which could have been produced by having these people employed producing food, building houses, extending the electrification of the country, on afforestation, and in improving our land.

Yet, in that situation we had dead silence from responsible Ministers. As far as the Minister for Finance is concerned, he did not refer at all to the unemployment problem in his Budget speech. I suggest that taking the average cost at £6 a week, or £312 a year, there was a loss of £26,560,000 in goods and service to the nation by having those people unemployed. I want to suggest to Deputies and to the Government that this is one of the things on which they should concentratetheir thoughts if they want to improve production. There has been a good deal of talk about inflation. I submit that there is no need to discuss inflation while you have that number of unemployed people. I am satisfied that, as long as sufficient goods can be produced in the country, there is no danger of inflation.

I want to emphasise for members of the House, especially when they talk about all that they have in mind, that while I estimate that we lost £26,560,000 last year in the production of goods and services, that figure does not include the £822,832 paid in the form of unemployment benefit to the unemployed or the administrative charges which amounted to £332,771, a total of £1,555,603. Will any member of the House question my saying that it can be truthfully said that the costliest thing in the world is idleness, and that the most profitable thing in the world is well-paid labour?

I would like to see Deputies in all parts of the House take more interest in this serious problem of having our workers employed rather than in talking about what this Government did, what the last Government did, or what some Government in the past did—in other words saying: "What you can do I can do better."

I first of all listened to the Budget statement read by the Minister for Finance, and, when it was printed, I read it. Stripped of its window dressing, I want to say that it was good banker's language. He told us that the Government were going to float another loan, and that he was quite confident that the banks would respond and meet any reasonable request for assistance made to them in financing State capital projects, as well as those for C.I.E. and the Cork Corporation. I want to refer now to a very serious matter as far as my own city is concerned and those whom I represent are concerned. I am glad that my two colleagues, the Lord Mayor of Cork and Deputy MacCarthy, are present to hear what I have to say. I saw by the newspapers this morning that the Cork Corporation has now got permission to float a loan for £750,000at 5 per cent., the issue price to be 97. That to me means that it is going to cost 5? per cent. Is it any wonder that the banks would be anxious to underwrite that loan which is guaranteed by the corporation and the State, as well as to underwrite the loan for C.I.E. at 5 per cent.?

During the past year, the citizens of Cork paid £140,861 on working class dwellings for the year ending March, 1952. We have 3,500 tenants. Last year they paid in rents £112,000. I am giving round figures. They also paid £27,000 in rates and over £25,000 for the repair of houses belonging to the corporation. They paid over £13,000 in income-tax, and over £6,000 in salaries to the officials dealing with the housing problem. In addition to all these payments, they paid the enormous amount of £71,000 odd in interest on the money borrowed. In other words, the cost of interest on the money borrowed was over 52 per cent. of the entire cost of housing in Cork City last year. The cost on the rates in respect of the housing programme of Cork City last year was less than 1/2 in the £ of 31/6. The cost of the interest on the money was almost 6/- in the £. We were told this morning that Cork Corporation are floating another loan of £750,000 at 5? per cent. We should keep in mind the implications of the Minister's statement in which he congratulated the banks and said that they are coming to the rescue in all these things. In addition the Minister, in his speeches during the past week, congratulated some of the corporations across the water for subscribing to the last loan—for which we are now paying £1,000,000 interest until it is paid off.

I should like to know if the Government agree that the present system of financing projects is satisfactory. When the Cork Corporation get this loan from the banks, all the banks will do is to write in on both sides of the ledger and charge 5? per cent. to the ratepayers of Cork for doing it. I am quite satisfied that very few members of this House have taken any interest at all as to how the public are being placed by the system of paying intereston money for such socially desirable purposes as the building of houses, electrification, and so forth. Does the Minister or any member of this House assert that bank credit is superior to State credit? Does the credit of the citizens gain anything by being written into the books of a bank — which is privately owned — and lent out to the people? Should we not cease wasting the time of this House talking nonsense and, instead, get down to a serious consideration of what should be done for the people of this country?

The Minister also made a statement on how he is to get money in the future. I was interested to hear what he said about the Post Office savings. When I raised a question here about Post Office savings and where they are invested I got rather a curt reply from the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs to the effect that he has no responsibility in that matter. Needless to remark, I took that for granted. However, speaking outside this House during the past week, the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs talked about the "pseudo economic experts who talked clotted sentimental ignorant nonsense on foreign assets." I do not care if the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs accuses me of talking nonsense about foreign assets. No matter what intellectual arrogance he has displayed either inside or outside this House, he has not convinced me that we are doing the right thing with the Post Office savings of the people.

I looked up particulars of savings banks over a period of time. The amount due to depositors in the Post Office Savings Bank increased from £36,900,000 at the end of 1947 to £53,400,000 at the end of 1951. In the same period of time the amount due to the depositors in the Trustee Savings Banks increased from £5,400,000 to £8,200,000. The assets held against these totals were in British and Irish securities. I discovered, in going through these accounts, that at the end of 1947 British investments were 73 per cent. of the total assets. They were then reduced somewhat and at the end of 1951 they were 57 per cent. I submit, from the accounts, that in 1951 thesecurities held by the Post Office Savings Bank earned interest to the amount of £1,906,547 and that the amount of interest paid and credited to depositors amounted to £1,438,591. The balance, after providing for expenses, was put against depreciation in the value of securities. The cost price of these securities was £65,043,876 and were valued, apart from accrued interest, at £57,841,006 at the end of 1951. I submit that there was a loss of over £7,000,000 in the investment of Post Office savings in gilt-edged securities in London. I now ask the Minister in all seriousness, and with a full sense of his responsibility, if he will deny that during the past year there has been a further loss of £1,000,000?

Going through the last returns of the Post Office Savings Bank, I found that in 1939 there was £2,198,000 in British war bonds at 3½ per cent. In 1946 there was £5,628,050 in British war bonds at 2½ per cent. and also £200,000 in British war bonds at 3 per cent. These are very interesting figures especially when we remember that we are charging the Irish Sugar Company — a company that is doing a fine job for the people of this country — 4 per cent. in respect of £93,000 invested in producing sugar for our people and that we are charging our young men who are trying to build homes for their wives and families 5¼ per cent. for loans of £1,000 or less to be paid over a period of 20 years. The amount, if you please, set aside for provision against depreciation in value of securities was £328,562.13. I wonder if that would be so high if the money belonging to our people in the Post Office Savings Bank were invested in Irish industry. The remarkable thing is that deposits in the Post Office Savings Bank for the year ended 31st December, 1951, amounted to £13,645,273 — making a total of £70,321,809 due to depositors. Of that, we have £5,954,000 in England at 2½ per cent.; we have £12,421,010 in England at 3 per cent.; we have £13,147,420 in England at 3½ per cent.; and we have £4,450,000 in England at 4 per cent.; making a total of £35,972,430 of the savings of our people invested inBritish securities. We have Cork Corporation now saddled with a loan of £750,000 at over 5? per cent. for building houses for our people. Then we hear all this talk that has taken place here in the last fortnight and scarcely five minutes of it is worth considering as having any effect on the conditions of our people.

And the Minister can afford to smile.

If he can smile, he can smile the last as far as I am concerned, and so can anyone who wants to smile. I suggest that the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, with all the intellectual arrogance he likes to display, will tell me whether any of the figures I have given in the last five minutes are correct or not.

Deputy Briscoe was inclined to be very controversial in his speech on the Budget, but he did not leave me in any doubt that he stood for the present capitalist system and the private enterprise system. I have lost any hope of ever converting Deputy Briscoe to any views I hold. I am not finding fault with him.

You would have a bit of a job if you started on your own benches first.

Probably. I have my views and there are very few Deputies who have given any serious thought to this question as to who should control our money and our credit.

Address yourself to some of the plutocrats of the Labour Party.

The Minister would be very wise if he addressed himself to the aristocrats on his side.

I am talking about plutocrats. Aristocrats are generally poor.

I am sufficiently conscious of the problems facing us and I am not going to make a Party speech. I know people in Cork City— and my two co-Deputies here will agree — condemned to live in so-calledhouses and in slums and flats that it is a disgrace to any country to tolerate for one 12 months.

Shame on Cork.

Shame on the whole system. Shame on all those who are trying to maintain it and shame on all those who have that slavish mentality, trying to build it up by patching it, as we have been doing for the last 30 years. If there is any evidence as to who is guilty — I do not care what Party it is — the figures given of the way the savings of our people have been treated in the last 30 years of native government, show all these millions going into the banks, on which our people get only 1 per cent., and that money being sent across the water and then sent back here to start industries. I would like to know from the Minister — and I want to put every Deputy thinking about it — if the money in our banks is not lent in London at 2 per cent., to people who are using it here against our own native people to build factories and other things, to the detriment of our own progress. I was informed years ago that if certain groups outside this country wanted to get money to start a factory, they could get it more cheaply in London — Irish money sent across to England from the Irish banks and sent back here and lent to our people at high interest rates.

I had a question recently to the Minister for Agriculture, arising out of a statement he made in the debate last year, when he talked about the importation of manures. In the speech he stated there were landing charges, storage charges and bank charges. I started to think as to where the bank charges come in. I put down a question some months ago and asked the Minister the amount of money he had to pay to the banks for bringing in imported manure, fertilisers for the land, and he gave me the answer that he did not know at the time. He gave me the figures subsequently. I discovered later that last year we had to pay the bankers £38,000 for money lent for the time being in bringing in fertilisers to give to our farmers. I putdown a question last week, asking the Minister for Finance what amount of money the sugar company, who are the agents for the Minister for Agriculture, paid to the banks for money borrowed over a period last year and the year before and I was told it was not customary to give the information asked for. Then I was told: "Perhaps the Deputy could ask the sugar company for the figures." I did ask the sugar company and the courteous, nice, brief reply I got was that it was not customary to give the information the Deputy required. The result is that I am without the information.

Ask the banks.

I got two jobs to do last week when coming up here, from two of my friends in the country. One was to find out how a man could buy a tractor on the best terms and the other was from a friend who wanted a loan of £300 from the Agricultural Credit Corporation. I went into this particular place I was asked to go, and was rather surprised to find that it was an organisation which was completely outside the country but was operating here. I was told that my friend could get a tractor on 12 months' credit, 24 months' credit or 30 months', the maximum, credit. When I got all the figures, I discovered that he would be paying about 14 per cent. on the money he would pay for the tractor, for the 30 months which he had got to pay for it.

Could he not stop smoking and save up for it?

That is what the Minister would like the poor people to do.

That reply from a responsible Minister is typical of him.

I do not see why other people should provide the money.

I will address myself for a moment to a deliberate statement of the Minister for Finance on the Sunday Pressof 13th November, 1949, that this country lost in 12 months£120,000,000 because of the devaluation of the British £. I ask him, as a Minister who has a responsibility to the people, if that is true? I believe it is. I would not expect him to put it in black and white otherwise. He had plenty of time to think about it; it is not a spontaneous outburst such as he is capable of making here. He said that in one 12 months the people lost £120,000,000 because of devaluation. If that is true, is it not time now that we should start here — apart from Party politics — and discuss whether it is not time for us to withdraw from the £ sterling and have a currency of our own and a Government of our own in charge of that currency and credit? Is that talking nonsense? I suppose that is some of the clotted nonsense that the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs is inclined to put across to us in his intellectual arrogance.

To get back to my point, I went from there to the Agricultural Credit Corporation. I just picture a poor farmer coming from the country and trying to get to the offices of the Agricultural Credit Corporation. I went in with the hope of going to the office. I was hailed by the man inside the door who said I would have to deal with him first, that I had to sign a docket. I said: "Is all this necessary?" and he asked whom I was looking for. I said I was looking for the gentleman in charge of the Agricultural Credit Corporation. He wanted me to sign documents, but, with all due respect to everybody, I think that day has gone. I told him who I was and what I was looking for, and he brought down a gentleman who interviewed me. The information I got was that the man could get the £300 for building a house at 6 per cent. over a period of 15 years. We talk about increased production on the land, but does anybody believe that that is the way it can be secured?

The Deputy is in order in discussing the Government's financial policy, but not the policy of the Agricultural Credit Corporation, which is a body outside this House.

I should be very sorry to criticise anybody unduly, but the Agricultural Credit Corporation is a State organisation.

It is an autonomous body.

Even though there is a board, it is the State which is responsible for the money in that corporation. All I am trying to indicate is the need there is for change and I ask anybody here if there is anything useful that can ever be achieved otherwise than by change. I know that the great obstacle to progress is the fear of change, yet there is nothing permanent in this world except change, and I submit to the Minister that nothing useful can be achieved except by change.

The whole problem is how to bring about the change.

A change in the representation of Cork City would be very beneficial.

Let us have a change in the representation of East Cork first.

Is it not a fact that you want to steal the Labour seat there?

The Minister did his part before in trying to unseat me, with the aid of all the vile and foul propaganda it was possible for any individual to make use of.

That does not arise.

He need never worry about my representing Cork City. If the Cork City people do not want me, that is their affair, but that will not prevent me trying to convey to the people the truth of what is happening to-day, and the position is that we have kept from the people who matter the truth of the story which lies behind all our doings. That is what is wrong and it is time people were told bluntly the truth about the situation here. Why should an institution from across the water be allowed to operate here,fleecing our people with high interest charges?

We were told here that the soul of the country was being sold through foreign capital coming in here, but I was surprised to see in the Press that the Minister for Industry and Commerce recently invited foreign capital into the country. I was not quite so surprised by the Minister for Finance who, when addressing another outside organisation in the Mansion House during the week, invited them to put more of their money into Irish loans. Will anybody who has read the bank returns for the past 12 months or the past few years tell me that there is not sufficient money in the country? Let him read the Irish Pressleading article after the last loan was floated in which it was stated that there was plenty money in the country. We have responsible citizens telling us that the amount of foreign money coming into the country would shock the imagination of the people but we had the Minister for Finance telling us that we should look for foreign capital to come and the Minister for Industry and Commerce saying that this was a safe place for the investment of outside capital.

What road are we travelling on? Is this what all the sacrifices were made for? There is no doubt that Terry MacSwiney was right when he said that he did not doubt that the people of Ireland would get their freedom but that he was not quite sure of the use they would make of that freedom. Nobody could be satisfied with what we have done after 30 years of native government. I am convinced — I do not care who looks on me as a crank— that we are just children in this House, without power or effectiveness in relation to doing anything we wish to do for the country, so long as we have the financial system we have. The sooner we get down to amending the Central Bank Act and giving the Government elected by the people the right to control our money and credit, the sooner we will be able to make the progress we are entitled to make.

Deputy Hickey's last statement with regard to what is notbeing done for the country is amusing, when on realises that during the past 20 years or so, this country had to face an economic war and an international war, and that when we tried to take the step of retaining the land annuities in this country, the people whom Deputy Hickey chooses to side with now——

That is not true. The Deputy will please withdraw that statement. Deputy Hickey is standing on his own, regardless of one side or the other.

The people whom Deputy Hickey supported for three and a half years did everything in their power to stab this country in the back——

We must have the dirt.

——and to compel us to continue paying that sum of £5,000,000 to the British Government.

The then Government got 100 per cent. support from the Labour Party in doing it.

We did not. Do not start me telling the inside history of Deputy Norton's intrigues during that period.

Read what the President said about the Labour Party.

Deputy McGrath is in possession.

Does Deputy Hickey think it is wrong for the Minister for Finance to ask an insurance company to invest here the money they are collecting in this country? Does he think it wrong to appeal to these people to leave a good portion of the money in the country for the benefit of the people who gave it? That appeal was made by the Minister to the Royal Liver Insurance Company: to invest here the money——

Which they collect here.

——which they collect in this country. Surely if an attemptis made to keep here money which is collected in this country, no attack should be made on anybody making that attempt.

We should have our own insurance.

That is another matter. That insurance company operated during the three and a half years of the inter-Party Government and no steps were taken to do away with it.

Deputy Hickey talks about what the devaluation of the £ cost the country. Deputy Briscoe, when in opposition, warned the then Minister for Finance, Deputy McGilligan, that the devaluation of the £ would involve £6,000,000 worth of dollars for this country in repaying the Marshall Loan and I did not hear Deputy Hickey making any protest on that occasion. The rates of interest on loans to local authorities were raised during that period from 2½ to 3¼ per cent. and I did not hear any protest against it. Deputy Hickey was a member of the Cork Corporation over 20 years ago — he is not now a member — and he knows that the corporation issued stock at 5 per cent. in 1930 or 1931. The people on the other side tell us that the value of the £ is much less than half what it was then. There is no doubt about that. One need not go very far to find it out. Deputy Hickey knows very well that the Cork Corporation failed on several occasions to get the money they looked for.

Of course I do.

Even within recent years they failed to get it at 3¼ per cent. Does Deputy Hickey or any other Deputy think that we should leave our people without houses and put ourselves in the position of not being able to finance housing by appealing for money at a lower rate of interest, as we did a couple of years ago, when we only got £200,000 out of £500,000 and the Government had to underwrite the rest? Does not he think that it is much better for us to secure the money at 5 per cent. and make sure that therewill be no impediment to the progress of housebuilding for our people?

I agree with Deputy Hickey entirely that the people in Cork are badly in need of housing. I believe that Dublin and Cork are the two places most in need of housing. Their position would be far worse if a lot of the people on the opposite side had their way and if we had not got rid of the enemy that was in this country. Everyone will admit that our had housing position is a legacy of the British Government. At that time our people lived in conditions in which they are not prepared to live now. Now everybody wants a house. The people are not prepared to live ten and 12 in a room if we can obviate the necessity for that and we are doing our best to do so.

During the last year of the period of office of the inter-Party Government there were only a little over 100 houses built in Cork. During the past financial year we built over 300 houses.

Do not blame the inter-Party Government for that.

I am just telling you what happened. In the present year we expect to build, and have estimated for, 400 houses. We hope to increase that in the following year. We had a deputation a couple of weeks ago, of which Deputy Hickey was a member, to the Minister for Local Government and we were told that as far as housing was concerned money need not stand in our way while he was Minister. Is not that a fact? We were told before that we would be short. We are certain now that the money will be available. With all due respect to Deputy Hickey and everybody else, it is better to get in the money. I do not know if Deputy Hickey has money to invest.

I am not so fortunate.

I suppose, like myself, he has nothing.

That is right.

If he had money to invest, I am sure he would not think that 2½ per cent. now would be as good as 2½ per cent. was 20 years ago.

He would be lookingfor the rate for the job, as he says himself.

That is what you think.

Many people who invest money are dependent on the interest. Deputies on the other side know that as well as Deputies on this side. When the value of money is so small, it is wrong to suggest that they should give their money at the same rate as obtained formerly.

I believe that we are progressing as far as housing is concerned. I appealed to the Cork citizens last night to invest their money in the Cork Corporation loan at 5 per cent. I have heard a great deal of talk about money being invested in savings banks at a lower rate of interest. Many people who have money on deposit in those places are also dependent on the income therefrom. It would be a great advantage to those people to invest the money in corporation stock at 5 per cent. for housing. I am sure that Deputy Hickey and every other Deputy from Cork believes that Cork Corporation stock is as gilt-edged as any other and that there is plenty of security for it.

I hope that the loan will be a success just as the issue of C.I.E. stock was a success. The fact that people were prepared to invest £2,500,000 in C.I.E. stock in a little over a day goes to show that the people have faith in the country and have faith in the Government and the people in charge. A couple of years ago that company was left without any provision at all to continue their employees in employment. The people who are talking about employment now made absolutely no provision for them. According to their Budget, they did not care whether the 20,000 people employed in C.I.E. were thrown out of work. They may not have meant that directly but that is what their action implied. C.I.E. were told by the Minister for Industry and Commerce at the time that they would have to work within their means.

When we took over there was not enough in the till topay their wages for that particular week.

The people have so much faith in C.I.E. now that they have invested £2,500,000 in it. They realise that things are being done in a businesslike fashion. They realise that the people in power now would not allow a chassis shop to be sold as scrap and the machinery given over at scrap prices and the men who would be still employed making chassis for the whole country thrown out of employment. These are the people now who talk about unemployment, the people who were the cause of closing up the Lockheed workshops in Shannon, when they shut down the transatlantic air service, the people who refused to allow the cement factory to expand and left us in the position of importing or trying to import foreign cement at a higher price than the price at which we were producing it here. We had to subsidise foreign cement, as everybody knows, in order to have a uniform price in the country. These are the people who are talking now about unemployment and high finance, the people who objected to appealing to an insurance company to invest the money they collected in this country in an Irish railway or Irish housing. They objected to our expanding our cement factory. I heard Deputy Hickey say they would not agree to give so much per cent. but they did not care what percentage the factory in England was getting out of the cement that they were making. They went so far as to subsidise the cement manufacturers in England and we had to charge 10/- a ton more for our cement at one period.

Do not draw Deputy Hickey out about cement.

We had to put 10/- a ton extra on Irish cement——

And a lot more.

——because we were importing it at a higher price from England.

That is right.

Deputy Hickey was not worried——

——what percentage the company in England was paying. It did not worry him. All that was worrying him was to make sure that the men working here and producing at a lower rate than the rate at which it could be brought into this country——

Have a sense of fair play. Do not misrepresent me.

The Deputy knows very well that the price of Irish cement was lower than the price of English cement coming in here.

There was a question of 10 per cent.

Even with the 10 per cent. they were producing it at a lower rate here.

Do not you know he will not tell the truth?

I am telling the truth and no one knows it better than Deputy Morrissey.

I know the whole story. I would not be blackmailed by any company.

Then they talk about unemployment.

And Terence MacSwiney.

Yes, or Thomas Ashe and the rest of them. We have forgotten everything they fought and died for by allowing those fellows to dictate.

Deputy McGrath should be allowed to speak without interruption.

I will not be drawn into a discussion on those times. Deputy Hickey, during his time in charge of the dockers in Cork, often saw a little red brick building with the name on it "John Furlong and Sons" in which was manufactured all the flour that was manufactured in the South of Ireland.

The Deputy should relate his remarks to the Financial Resolution. The Deputy is getting away from the Financial Resolution.

I am referring to the question of unemployment to which Deputy Hickey referred. In Cork at present you can see fine mills and silos, as well as Dunlop's tyre factory, Sunbeam Wolsey and the others which sprang up during the period of office of the Fianna Fáil Government.

And the price of a Ford car increased and a German car is selling cheaper.

Those people talk about unemployment. Yet they scrapped the chassis shop because only three chassis per year would be required by C.I.E. We could not make them for the E.S.B. and the sugar company. We could only make them for C.I.E. and so we had to scrap the machinery and the people had to look at it being cleared out of the place and the chassis shop abandoned. In a debate on the Budget I would have imagined that somebody would have talked about the Budget.

Hear, hear!

I would have imagined that some of the Opposition would tell us what services they wanted cut down. But, from what I have heard and read, only two Deputies on the opposite side made any suggestion, Deputy Kyne, the chairman of the Labour Party, and Deputy Browne, and they said that we were spending too much on our Army. I would be sorry to hear that anybody thought that the freedom of this country which was so dearly bought for this country should be neglected and that in a time of war we should leave ourselves in the position that we would have to hand it back to the people from whom we wrested it. If we were not prepared to do our utmost to have an Army strong enough to make it uneconomic anyway for any other Power to take this country and to do everything in our power to defend that which was won for us by the blood of Terence MacSwiney and other peoplelike him, we would be doing a very wrong thing.

When all the people in the world are talking about preparation for war, it is a very wrong thing for anyone in this House to stand up and tell us that when a man goes into the Army he will be useless when he comes out. Men who went into the Army during the emergency were not useless when they came out. They were prepared to give their lives during that emergency and those of them who got employment when they came out are working as good as anyone else. I think that attempts like that to sabotage recruiting should not be allowed in this House. We want an Army that will be able to put up a decent fight if the need arises and that will not be left without the best equipment we can provide for them. We were being promised that for three years but nothing was done. We are doing it now and we are being accused of spending the people's money. That is the only service that I heard suggested should be reduced.

Everybody on the opposite side was saying that sufficient money was not being provided for the social services and the health services. Even to-day Deputy Hickey was suggesting an increase in old age pensions. I agree that it is nearly impossible for an old age pensioner living alone to live on what he gets. But, while being in agreement with that, I am not opposing the Estimate for old age pensions nor am I opposing the Budget which includes that Estimate. We had Deputy Costello saying that he would be prepared to spend even more than was provided for under the Health Bill, that the cost would not matter to him at all. Then he goes down the country and talks about our becoming a welfare State. Deputy Larkin says he does not see anything wrong with a welfare State. I wish some of these people would make up their minds as to whether they are for or against these things. Judging by the attitude of the Labour Party, they are not agreed about them because only six of them turned up to vote for the Health Bill in Committee.

Do not take that as an illustration.

The Deputy is now beginning to discuss the Health Bill.

I thought we were entitled to discuss the Estimates for the different services. These people want to get a lot more money for some of these services. I am suggesting to the people on the other side of the House that they should tell us which of the services they want reduced. Let them make their case on that and not be talking about things they know nothing about, such as high finance.

Apart from the financial aspect of the Budget and the Minister's statement, there is one matter I should like to refer to. Deputy McGrath has stated that we in the Opposition do not give any specific examples of what items we would like to see increased. I want to give one now. I regard the Government's attitude to the Civil Service pensioners and the local authority pensioners as a scandalous disregard of the principles of social justice. It is a scandalous thing that that unfortunate under-privileged and comparatively defenceless body of people in this State are not getting the increase in pension to which they are morally entitled. It is wrong that the Government should have refused to give to the Civil Service pensioners and the local authority pensioners an increase in pension even commensurate with the Civil Service arbitration award to which I believe they are entitled.

I put down a question some weeks ago to find out what it would cost the Exchequer to increase the pensions of Civil Service pensioners. It may be of interest to Deputies to know, as they may not have seen the reply to the question, that to increase the pensions of Civil Service pensioners on the scale of the Civil Service arbitration award would have cost annually only £62,000. We now have a Budget of over £100,000,000, and yet we cannot find £62,000 to give to the Civil Service pensioners. I believe it is morally wrong for the Government to refuse togive to Civil Service, local authority and other State pensioners an increase in their pensions in view of the increased cost of living, deliberately increased by the Government's own action last year in last year's Budget. If it is right to increase the salaries of civil servants, the Army and the Gardaí it must equally be right to increase the pensions of which State officials who have now retired are in receipt, State officials who have given such valuable service to the country in the past.

The Minister, in presenting his Budget a couple of weeks ago, went to considerable lengths to avoid stating clearly the financial manipulations he had indulged in in order to bring about a balanced Budget this year and he carefully contrived to avoid a clear statement as to how he was balancing his Budget this year. I would like briefly to give to the House what I regard as a true picture of what occurred in the Budget this year.

The Minister had to meet expenditure this year when the Central Fund service, the Supply Services and the payment to the Road Fund were added together of £116.6 million. He then found he had to add on to that figure a sum of £.75 million for proposed Supplementary Estimates and he decided — and we all agree with him in this — to give to the civil servants and other State employees the amount of the award granted under the recent arbitration proceedings and he estimated that expenditure as £2.5 million. The total expenditure above the line, therefore, which the Government had to face this year was £119.7 million approximately and the Minister decided, in accordance with our policy — a policy which he criticised very adversely and very bitterly — to deduct, I believe correctly, from that figure of £119.75 million the capital services which were included in the Supply Services last year and which amounted to a figure of £14.1 million. He then had to face expenditure of £105.5 million and that expenditure had to be met out of taxation.

We have available the figure for expenditure last year. Taking intoaccount all the expenditure above the line, taking into account the Supplementary Estimates introduced last year and deducting the capital services which were included in the expenditure under Supply Services last year, the expenditure above the line which had to be met out of taxation was £98.5 million, £7,000,000 less than this year. We have now the extraordinary situation that expenditure to be met out of taxation last year amounted to £98.5 million and this year there is £7,000,000 more to be met but there is not going to be one penny extra in taxation. We are entitled to know how that is going to be done. We are entitled to be told what magic the Minister has worked in order to ease the already over-harassed taxpayer because of the impositions placed upon him.

When we examine what the Minister has done we find that the Minister applied principles which were suggested to him by us in the debate on the Financial Resolutions last year. Last year we suggested certain items which we held would be in ease of the taxpayer, but the Minister laughed such suggestions to scorn and in order to meet his alleged Budget deficit of £15,000,000 last year he increased taxation and slashed the food subsidies. This year he has to face an increased expenditure of £7,000,000 and he resorts to the very steps that we suggested last year in order to ensure that the already overtaxed community would not have to pay still more in taxation. The revenue last year, non-tax and tax revenue, brought in £95.7 million. With expenditure this year of £105,000,000 the Minister has a deficit of £9.8 million to bridge. He does it in this way: he first of all makes a reduction of £.9 million for what is now called defensive equipment but was hitherto described as warlike stores. Every year in which it was possible, purchases of warlike stores were made. We suggested last year that it was wrong that the taxpayer should be taxed fully for the full amount of warlike stores. The Minister disregarded our arguments and taxed the taxpayers to the full amount of warlike stores brought inlast year. The original estimate for warlike stores last year was £850,000. Subsequently a Supplementary Estimate was introduced which increased the total expenditure on what is now called defensive equipment to £1.7 million and the taxpayer last year was taxed for every penny of that amount. This year the Minister has decided that is not correct financial policy and he has decided, therefore, to deduct half of the total expenditure on warlike stores or defensive equipment; defensive equipment this year will cost £1.8 million, according to the Estimates, but the taxpayer is only to be taxed to the extent of half that amount and there is, accordingly, a deduction of £.9 million in the Supply Services to be met out of taxation. But the gap was still too great and the Minister then proceeded to make further deductions and he deducted a sum of £3,500,000 for what he described as economies. Last year we called them overestimation.

The Deputy is, of course, quite wrong.

If the Minister would state——

If the Minister would state what these proposed economies are we would understand the position but the facts are that last year we suggested that in a bill of £94,000,000 for Supply Services it was normal and usual for overestimation to occur; we suggested that it was usual to have savings running into several millions of pounds on the proposed expenditure on the Supply Services. There were savings last year, savings which made it possible to bring in Supplementary Estimates without increasing taxation. Last year there were savings of over £3,000,000 on the Supply Services. We said last year that that would occur. We said it would be possible to give an ease to the taxpayer by allowing for this overestimation or, if the Minister prefers to use the phrase, economies.The Minister, however, decided to ignore that argument and he preferred instead to tax the people to the limit and slash the food subsidies.

This year he has thought better of that policy. This year he has decided to deduct £3.5 million from the Supply Services and he presents to the House a sum of £101.1 million to be met out of current taxation. Taxation last year only brought in £95.7 million. The Minister had to present what appeared to be a balanced Budget and he made reference to an item to which we drew attention in the Budget debate last year; speaking of that item this year, the Minister called it an allowance for the natural increase in revenue. He said that this year, allowing for that natural increase in revenue, he hopes to get £2,000,000 more out of current taxation. What is that but buoyancy in revenue? Why did the Minister not allow last year for buoyancy in revenue or for what he now calls the natural increase in the revenue? Why did he not give an ease to the taxpayer last year? Why did he not say that revenue would be buoyant, as it was every year before the Minister's Party came into office? Why did he not say: "I will not increase taxation by £2,000,000. I will make an allowance for buoyancy in revenue, for the natural increase in revenue, and allow the taxpayer off that £2,000,000." He chose instead to bring about the policy of higher taxes and higher-priced foodstuffs which was the charactertistic of his Budget last year.

There is also, in ease of the taxpayer this year, an estimation of £3.2 million increase in the non-tax revenue. The Minister evidently hopes that the non-tax revenue over and above the Post Office services which are under the control of his colleague, the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, will increase this year so that the taxpayer will not be required to pay any more in taxes into the Exchequer. The Minister's colleague, the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, was accused in the last couple of weeks of increasing taxes when he brought in his proposed increased charges in respect of the telegraph and postal services. Hedenied it hotly, but if it were not for this £.9 million which the Minister estimates he will get from non-tax revenue, it is quite apparent that the Minister would have to balance even this precariously balanced Budget by increasing the tax yield from the tax revenue side of the account in order to have his Budget properly balanced.

We are entitled to ask the Minister some questions. We are entitled to ask the Minister why he did not make an allowance last year for the natural increase in the revenue. Why did he not make allowance last year for economies amounting to £3.5 million? If the Minister, at column 1208, Volume 138, No. 10 of the Official Report of 6th May, 1953, stated:—

"There is little reason to doubt that within the framework of an expenditure of over £100,000,000 significant economies can be made without impairing efficiency or curtailing essential or useful services."

why, in a Bill of £94,000,000, would it not have been possible to make significant economies? Why did the Minister not make allowance last year for significant economies in ease of the taxpayer?

Has the Deputy not answered that question himself? What about the social welfare forecast in the Budget and other items that must be met?

I do not think the Deputy quite understands the argument I am making. When the Minister brought in his Budget last year, he added on certain Supplementary Estimates which he proposed would be brought in. This amounted in all to round about £97,000,000. The original Supply Service Estimate for last year was £94,000,000. The Budget last year was to have balanced at £97,000,000 including the social welfare services and including the proposed increase in what was called compensatory social welfare benefits. The argument I am making is that with expenditure at £97,000,000 including these things it is a very strange thing that there could not have been significant economies in that sum if there are going to besignificant economies in a sum of £100,000,000.

We are also entitled to ask the Minister why he did not, in ease of the taxpayer, make some allowance for the defensive equipment which was paid for last year. Every penny of the sum of £1.7 million which was voted in the original Supplementary Estimate for the Department of Defence was met out of taxes last year. This year the sum of £1.8 million is estimated for defensive equipment but only half of it is to be met out of current taxation. We are entitled to know what was the reason for refusing to give an ease to the taxpayer last year in these three fashions. If it was right this year to give relief to the taxpaper in these fashions, why would it have been wrong last year?

There is still £2,000,000 short.

We have an extraordinary paradoxical position in this House. We have a Government here which says it has come in to restore order into the economy of the State bringing in a Budget which they say has a deficit of £2,000,000. According to the Minister for Finance last year the outrun of the 1951 Budget had a deficit of £6,000,000. The outrun of his Budget has a deficit of £2,000,000 and that is meant to be order in the-finances.

No. We are just catching up. That is all. We did not say we would do it in one year.

All I can say is that I hope he does not have another year in which to try it. The facts, I think, are quite clear. What happened last year was that the Government and the Minister for Finance in particular became bemused with the balance of payments problem. The thought of the deficits on our balance of payments account obsessed their minds to such an extent that they were unable to have proper regard to the real problems which confront this country. The Minister this year in his Budget speech described the balance of payments problem as "our greatest anxiety."What I object to in the policy of this Government since it has come into power is that they did regard the balance of payments problem with the greatest anxiety and that they did not regard the problems of the unemployed, the problem of increasing production both agricultural and industrial, the problem of expanding the national economy of this country as problems demanding priority over the problem of our balance of payments.

I believe that the Minister last year did not make allowance for the buoyancy of the revenue, did not make allowance for overestimation or for the stockpiling of defensive equipment when introducing his Budget because he wanted instead to tax the community, because he wanted instead to use the phrases that are spattered around his Budget speech last year such as: "reduce consumption in the State." I do not accuse the Minister of reducing employment deliberately. I think the Minister is too experienced a politician to set about such a course; nor do I accuse the Minister of deliberately setting about to reduce production. What I do accuse the Minister and his colleagues of is setting about a policy of reducing consumption in this State when there was no need to do so and when the natural consequences of such a policy were foreseeable last year, were pointed out to him, and which were rising unemployment, the reduction in industrial production, rising emigration and, let it be said, the reduction in the balance of payments.

The balance of payments account last year shows that we finished the year with a deficit of £9,000,000. I want to say categorically that that deficit is too small, that when you have a deficit of £9,000,000 brought about by reducing consumption in the State, by reducing imports, as the Minister succeeded in doing last year, the result is to increase sterling assets abroad.

It is interesting to observe the figures of sterling holdings of the commercial banks. The House may be interested to know that for the year from the 31st December, 1951, to the 31st December, 1952, the sterling assetsof the commercial banks increased by £9,000,000, the amount of the deficit in the balance of payments. We shall not have the full figures until the June Trade Journalis published but it is quite apparent that, as a result of the deficit in the balance of payments last year being only £9,000,000, we shall have substantially increased our holdings of sterling. We had the situation developing last year that we had to reduce the deficit in the balance of payments, that we had to reduce consumption in the State, that we increased the number of unemployed and that we reduced industrial production, while at the same time we increased our sterling balances. It is that financial policy that we on this side of the House are against. It was that financial policy, brought about, I believe, by the misreading of the economic situation, which we have been attacking for the last 12 months and longer — since the Government came into office. The Minister for Finance set himself the task last year of reducing consumption in the State. He did it because he believed it was necessary to reduce the amount that we import. He saw no hope of increasing exports or no hope of the price of imports coming down. He then brought about a situation, by increasing taxation, by slashing food subsidies, in which the people of the country were unable to purchase imports. In that crude fashion he brought the deficit in the balance of payments down to £9,000,000.

Our case against the Government is that that was unnecessary. Our case against the Government is that because he did that, all the evil things that have happened in the State naturally flow from it. The Minister had to reduce imports, the people were unable to purchase imports, but it was not imports of consumer goods that were reduced; it was the whole scale of imports. There was a reduction in the volume of imports of materials for agriculture and a reduction of 15.7 per cent. in volume of imports of the materials for industry. That, of course, affected employment here at home.

Deputy Hickey this afternoon referred to the unemployment situation.The number of unemployed on the 8th May last stood at 81,000. On the 8th May last year it was 64,000 and the Trade Journalfigures show that on the 8th May, 1951, it was 49,200. There has been an increase of 30,000 in the number of unemployed in the last two years. Industrial production last year declined to the extent of £3,000,000. The commercial banks' returns show that there was a reduction in loans and advances by the commercial banks to their customers of £4,000,000. As I say, during that time the sterling assets of the banking system increased by £9,000,000.

I think it is time that that financial policy stopped. I think it is time we had a Government in power who did not regard the balance of payments as the greatest anxiety. I think it is time we had a Government in power which regarded the number of people unemployed as the most important thing to be remedied, who regarded increasing production, both agricultural and industrial, as of paramount importance, a Government who regarded the expansion of our economy as the desired end to be achieved. It is time that we had a change of Government. It is time, I think, that we had a Government in power that looked to the real needs of the people. This Government is now in office but it is no longer in power. The country, I think, is drifting out of the control of the present Government. The policies of the present Government are makeshift policies and it is time there should be a change. We have challenged the Government to move the writ for Wicklow. We believe that the verdict of the people in Dublin NorthWest was a verdict symptomatic of the feeling of the whole community. We believe that the Government is now a minority Government, that the country needs a change of Government and a change of economic policy.

I am always intrigued by Deputy Costello's contributions to these financial discussions. It is true, as I have said on former occasions, that he has mastered a considerable amount of the technical language of finance. He can very properly make use of phrases such as"above the line" and "below the line" but whether he really understands what he advocates is another problem. I said on a previous occasion that I understood his speeches were prepared by a former official of the Department of Finance who apparently disagrees with the policy of his former comrades.

The Deputy should not refer to any former Government official in that way.

That explains the speech we have just heard. If I interpret this speech correctly, and I did my best to do so, in its early stages, it was a speech of satisfaction with the policy adopted by the Minister this year. The Deputy said: "The Minister was wrong last year. He is right this year. He has taken our advice. He has done the right thing this year," and then he wants an explanation as to why he did not do it last year. I wonder what is the reason for that change?

The House has listened for the last three weeks to a discussion on the Budget and I myself have listened for the past couple of days to the speeches that have been delivered here. Deputy Hickey spoke at some considerable length and he made it perfectly clear that he is not satisfied with the present system. He did not indicate how he would propose to alter that system. He says he wants change but the trouble in regard to Deputy Hickey's contribution is that he has made no suggestion as to how that change should be brought about. During the time I have been listening to the discussion I have heard nothing but repetition. A whole series of points have been mentioned covering every phase of what one might term political platform oratory. Every point has been used up here whether or not it fitted in or was relevant.

I feel that there is very little hope for the country if we are going to continue this practice of humbug. A debate such as that on the Budget ought to be a debate with an air of reality. I am perfectly certain that if any of our people were brought from any area in the country to listen to the nonsensethat was spoken in this debate they would not think very much of this House and they would probably be satisfied that there was very little to expect from this House. I take the view myself that what we really require is a completely new national policy and a programme of hard work.

If ones travels through the country one is amazed at the waste of agricultural land that one sees. Farms are derelict and not properly developed. Land is going to waste and farms are closed down. At the same time, we have very considerable numbers of our people who are very anxious to have that land and to use it properly. I think we will have to adopt a policy of more land division. We will have to adopt the policy of more tillage and we will have to consider whether or not the traditional policy of producing bullocks is the best policy for the country.

I hear a lot about the flight from the land and I hear a lot about unemployment but we cannot stop unemployment by talking about it here. We can only solve unemployment by doing something real about it and we cannot solve unemployment when we have so many acres of our land going to waste as it is at the moment—untilled and improperly used. What are we going to do about it? I suggest that we should agree—there should be no difficulty about agreement—on what we might term the maximum economic farm and that beyond that maximum economic farm no individual ought to be permitted to acquire land. If we could do that we could settle many more thousands of people on the land of the country.

Yes. A maximum. In other words, that there ought to be an acreage beyond which, in my view, no person ought to be permitted to acquire land. If we did that we could settle many more families in the country and we could provide them with the means of a decent livelihood. I am not too sure—in fact, I am very doubtful—whether the policy that isbeing operated for some time and which has gradually been introduced, the policy of mechanisation of our land, has been beneficial to the country. I do not think it has.

This would be more relevant on the Estimate for Agriculture than on the Financial Resolution.

With respect, Sir, if I am to be driven like everybody else to talking nonsense, very well.

You are not being driven.

If I am going to make certain suggestions as to how we are to end unemployment I think I am perfectly relevant.

The whole agricultural question certainly cannot be debated on the Financial Resolution.

I am only touching upon the matter. I am not going into it in detail. I believe that in a small country like this we can have more prosperous people and many more prosperous families if we used our land properly and if we used implements that, perhaps, we could manufacture and use ourselves without the introduction of petrol and those other foreign things we use now. I do not want to go into that question in any greater detail but I do think this is a matter that will have to be considered very seriously if we are to make any serious effort to end unemployment.

We want a big programme of constructive works. We will have to build not only in our cities and towns but we will also have to embark upon a programme of constructing municipal buildings which are badly needed, libraries, courthouses, municipal and rural halls. There are quite a number of things like that. Public parks might also be constructed. Only a few years ago there was a proposal to construct a new road from here to Bray. Everybody knows that was a necessary work but apparently it was killed by criticism from the very people who now say that we should have done something to ease or end unemployment.

There are some dangerous turns to be removed near Mullingar as Deputy Cowan knows.

If Deputy Giles thinks that is a proper observation to make he is entitled to make it. If they were removed I suppose things would not have been so bad. Unfortunately, our great difficulty is that we must be personal about everything.

The first sentence you started off with in reference to Deputy Costello was personal.

I made a reference with regard to Deputy Costello?

It was personal.

It was not. Anyhow, if we want to solve unemployment or even to ease it we have got to do something practical about it. I do not think we are going to solve it in the way suggested in this debate, particularly by members of the Fine Gael Party. I listened to Deputy Browne and his only solution was to reduce the Army. Deputy Rooney last night felt that everything that was being done at the moment should be reduced in cost and that the things that are not being increased in cost by the Budget or by Government action should be increased. In other words, the line is being taken of appealing to every element in the country for votes, rather than of making constructive suggestions as to how we are to deal with this problem.

I think, as has been mentioned, that after 30 years we must get away from this purely Party political line. The Minister brings in his Budget. It is a Budget for the year. It does not matter what Budget the Minister brings in, it will be criticised for roughly three weeks, and that much parliamentary time will be wasted. Unfortunately, the speeches will be speeches repeating what somebody else has said at some other time in the past.

Now, Deputy McGilligan may be following me. We know that he will be quoting, for perhaps an hour, statements that were made by somebody at one time or another, and that willbe the full substance of Deputy McGilligan's contribution to this debate. He will, of course, say a few nice things about me and about some other Deputies.

I will flatter you.

He does that. He will quote what the Minister said in 1922, 1932, 1942 or 1952. Now, what good is that? What use is that? Is not that a waste of parliamentary time and a waste of Deputy McGilligan's abilities? Could not Deputy McGilligan make some constructive suggestions as to how things could be improved? He could go back to the period of the inter-Party Government when he himself was Minister, and he could state clearly where he was at fault, where he failed to do the things that would have led to an increase in employment.

He had 30,000 fewer unemployed than there are now.

There was one important matter mentioned here this evening by Deputy D. Costello. I am glad he mentioned it. It is the matter of Civil Service pensioners, local authority pensioners and Government pensioners generally. I certainly support the case that is being made for the same treatment for those people as for others. There is one particular section of those Civil Service and local authority pensioners that Deputy McGilligan, as Minister for Finance, intended, if he had been longer in office as he has stated, to do something for. I heard Deputy McGilligan last year ask the Minister to treat those particular men on the same basis as the others. During Deputy McGilligan's period of office, I interviewed him on several occasions and asked him to do it. But, unfortunately, it appears he changed his mind in regard to them too late.

You have more power now and should use it.

I know we must have a Budget debate every year. I would much prefer if we could deal with our financial business for a longer period than one year, and if our budgetary preparations were for aperiod of, say, three years instead of one year, I think that would be much better for the country and much better for stability. However, that cannot be done under our Constitution and so we have to get one of these annual Budget statements.

I certainly think, however, that the occasion of the Budget should be used for the purpose of making constructive suggestions as far as the Government is concerned. This business about a by-election in Wicklow and as to what the possible result of it may be, or a by-election in Cork and as to what the possible result of it may be, I think has really nothing to do with the financial business of the country, but it is being trotted out all over the debate just for the purpose of wasting public time.

Quite right. I agree with you that it will take a general election to clear it up.

You fought a general election to clear things up in 1950.

To clear them out.

And you made a mistake.

That remains to be seen.

I do not want to venture into the realm of prophecy but I do think, after what has occurred during the past year — after the stability that has been brought about —that Deputy Morrissey might be considerably disappointed if he had to go to the country to-morrow.

Would you not be glad of that?

Last year, when discussing the Minister's Budget — it was a severe Budget and was so described by everybody—I said that it was necessary for us as a nation to take those steps so that we would correct the wrong tendency and the wrong inclination that was there. I am satisfied that it was necessary to take the steps the Minister took lastyear. I am satisfied that the Minister has been able to bring in this an "as you were" Budget with substantial benefits for civil servants and others as a result of last year's Budget. I feel that unless we are able to pay our way as a nation nobody else will pay for us.

I had very serious misgivings as to the way we were travelling during the latter period of the inter-Party Government. I made no bones about that. I had the feeling, and I expressed it, that this country would be run on borrowed money — that whatever money could be borrowed outside the country would be borrowed — and that the country would be run that way. I believe we have taken steps to halt that. It was only by halting it that we were able to preserve our freedom and our independence. Deputy Hickey has said something which I did not catch. I am talking about our political freedom and political independence which has been preserved and maintained by the fact that the people of this country are prepared to pay their own way. If we want to lose our freedom, if we want to lose our independence, we can easily do it. There is no trouble whatsoever about it. I think, however, that every person in this country would prefer, even at the cost of some little hardship, to maintain the political freedom of this country.

What about our economic freedom?

As I said at the beginning, Deputy Hickey stated that he is not satisfied with things as they are. In that, Deputy Hickey and I have agreed over many years. The difference between Deputy Hickey and me is that I indicate how we can bring about the change; Deputy Hickey does not.

I told you. Take control of our money and credit. That is the first step.

I agree and I have always said that I agree with the policy of extending the powers of our Central Bank. I have always believed in that. But how is Deputy Hickey going to bring that about?

That is not so difficult at all.

Let Deputy Hickey try to convince Deputy MacEoin, for instance, or Deputy Morrissey, that that should be done.

You are in a much better position to get it done yourself.

Or let him try to convince Deputy Dillon.

You would have trouble, too.

I have no doubt that I would have trouble. We would all have trouble trying to bring it about — that is, if it is to be brought about by an ordinary vote in this House. However, the time will come. Pending the determination of that question, Deputy Hickey has to make up his mind what change he wants and how he is going to bring about that change.

I am very clear on that, Deputy.

I think that the very first thing that Deputy Hickey must ensure is that the political freedom of this country will be maintained.

Deputy Hickey should not allow himself to be drawn at every second sentence.

If the political freedom of the country is maintained, then it will be possible to bring about these changes. The only difference between Deputy Hickey and me is that I have my eye on the target.

Where is the target?

The Skibbereen Eagle.

They might be travelling on the same beam as the Skibbereen Eagle.

I only wanted to make these observations. I do not want to follow the line that I have criticised of the very long speeches— many of them nonsensical and most ofthem irrelevant — that we have had on this Budget debate. It goes without saying that the Budget has been welcomed by the country.

Try it out.

I read prophecies in the newspapers of the removal of further subsidies, of increases here and increases there.

And reliefs.

I think that the financial experts of the Fine Gael Party had convinced themselves that there must be extra taxation this year.


Not only had they convinced themselves of it but they gave that feeling to the country. The country, in that state, would have been prepared for extra taxation.

We got an assurance——

The fact that the Minister was able to introduce this Budget without any increase in taxation was very welcome news to the country, and that fact might have been accepted in much fewer words in this House than it has been.

That was a most weighty and constructive contribution. I was rather sorry in a way that the Deputy did not expose his hand fully as to what he would like to have done with the land of this country.

We will leave that now to Deputy Morrissey to suggest.

The Deputy gave us some idea of where the glance from his eye was travelling.

The target.

I do not propose to waste very much time on Deputy Cowan except to say — and I suppose it is hard to blame him — that he has tried to justify his support of the present Government. The difficulty of that task is clearly demonstrated bythe feeble effort which a very able Deputy such as Deputy Cowan was able to make. Deputy Cowan talked about unemployment.

I did not think the occasion demanded any display of ability.

Deputy Cowan cannot laugh off or whistle off or flippantly toss aside the fact that, to a greater extent than any other individual member of this House, he is responsible for the fact that there are at the moment 30,000 more unemployed persons on the register than there were two years ago. He cannot toss aside lightly the fact that he and some of his colleagues—including those whom the Irish Timesto-day said were elected to oppose the present Government — are responsible for increasing the cost of essential foodstuffs to the people of this country by anything from 50 per cent. to 100 per cent. over the price at which these essential foodstuffs were available to the community two and a half years ago.

We are exhorted to deal with facts. These are facts. Deputy Cowan tells us that the people heaved a sigh of relief at this Budget. Is that something from which he can take satisfaction? If it is anything, is it not merely an indication of what the people have come to fear from the present Administration which the Deputy is supporting? The Deputy talks about a "standstill Budget." This is not a "standstill Budget." In itself, the Budget is designed to take £7,000,000 more than last year out of the pockets of the Irish taxpayers.

Deputy Cowan did not say one word about the increase in the price of domestic sugar — an increase which has been announced in the past few days and which is made by regulation and not in the Budget. Has the Deputy any idea of what that additional halfpenny per lb. in the price of domestic sugar will yield? Has he any idea, or has he sought to have himself informed, as to where the fruits of that extra halfpenny will go? Is the Deputy aware that that proposition, which is now being given into by the present Government, was sought also from theprevious Government and the previous Government refused absolutely to increase the price of domestic sugar? Deputy Cowan is as well able to see that picture as I am. Nobody can see it more clearly and there is no man here who, if he made an honest approach to it, could not analyse and tear asunder this particular Budget and the Budget of last year and what has flowed from it.

I have here a copy of to-day's Irish Pressin which there is a three-column heading: “Dishing Up Figures To Confuse The Issue”. It is we on this side who are accused of dishing up figures to confuse the issue. I could find, in every speech that has been made from the far side of the House or by those who are supporting the Government, confirmation of that headline, from the Budget statement itself down to the Deputy who has just sat down. Let me take just a couple.

Deputy Bartley, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, as reported at column 1665 on the 12th May, told us that his Government had refused to accept an American loan. That statement is not true. If the Parliamentary Secretary or any member of the Party or any Minister wants to stand over that statement, I would like they would give this House and the country the date they were offered that American loan, the amount of the loan they were offered and the terms of it and the date on which they refused to accept it.

Does the Deputy suggest that it was accepted?

No, I am saying that the Parliamentary Secretary said that they did not accept it. "Dishing up figures to confuse the issue"—I will have a couple of references from the Tánaiste later on about sticking to facts and trying not to distort the position. In the same column, a little further down, Deputy Bartley said:—

"We were not vouchsafed the benefit of a grant. Our successors got both the grant and loan and they spent it."

This statement came from a Parliamentary Secretary. It is absolutely untrue.The loan was got, but less of that loan was spent by the inter-Party Government than was spent by the present Government. Approximately £18,000,000 was spent by the inter-Party Government and £24,000,000 or £24,500,000 by the present Government.

What does the Deputy mean by "spent"?

That is the difference. "Spent" is what he said.

The Deputy can have his choice. In any case, £40,000,000 was obtained and there was £24,000,000 in the safe when we left office.

But spent.

Unspent. As far as the grant is concerned, we never spent a penny of the grant. It is still there and still cannot be spent because of the muddling of the present Government in relation to it. That is on record.

If it could be returned it would be a good job?

The Deputy wants to make his views on that matter at home and abroad. He made them abroad, to his own notoriety but perhaps neither to the welfare nor the desire of this country.

You seem to know all about it.

If any of you want to support what he said in Strasbourg, you can get up and do it.

A Cheann Comhairle, I wish——

I refuse to give the Deputy an opportunity to repeat that sort of thing.

I want to hear what Deputy Cowan is raising.

I want to deal with this.

Shut up. I refuse absolutely to give way on this.

Deputy Morrissey is in possession and unless he gives way——

If he does not give way — that is the same attitude as sending over speeches to be read out in Strasbourg.

The trouble about this is that it is all right, while they are making speeches themselves, to attribute most unworthy motives to any member of this House, but no one is supposed to have the right to reply to them. I am demonstrating this from the Official Report and I was not referring to Deputy Cowan. He knows that.

You availed of the opportunity to throw mud.

The Deputy provoked me into doing it.

It is very hard to provoke Deputy Morrissey if he does not want to be provoked.

You are making a good shot at it. I was quoting from the Official Report the exact words of Parliamentary Secretary Bartley and was confirming——

And probably——

Deputy Cowan will have to restrain himself.

——that the statement made by Deputy Bartley was not true.

I will have to start quoting, too.

"Dishing up figures to confuse the issue." Deputy Briscoe is nobody's fool; he is an intelligent man and he is a very intelligent person when he is dealing with finances and he knows what he is talking about. He spoke for over two hours on this Budget, I think, and he had some passages with Deputy Everett and others. In column 1614 of the 12th May, he said, as reported at thebottom of that column, in reply to Deputy Everett:—

"Is the Deputy suggesting that, during his time as Minister in the Coalition Government, there was no subsidy taken off food, or does he want me to prove that to him?"

You turn over to the next page where, a few lines from the top of the column, Deputy Briscoe says again:—

"Does the Deputy deny that food subsidies were removed during his time as Minister?"

There were a few interruptions or interjections then. Further down that same column, Deputy Briscoe went on to say this:—

"Deputy Everett has been speaking about food subsidies. I have something here which I should like to read for him. It occurred during the time when he was Minister in the Coalition Government. I propose to quote from the Dáil Debates, Volume 110, column 1041, of the 4th May, 1938. This is the quotation:—

‘Estimates for the present financial year were framed on the basis that food subsidies would cost £15,143,000, which compares with £4,426,000 estimated in the Budget of May last year. Of the additional duties imposed to meet the cost of the increased subsidies provided for in the Supplementary Budget, the Government have already abolished, at a cost to revenue of the order of £6,000,000 in the present year, those which they felt bore heavily on particular classes of the community. . .'

There you have £6,000,000 worth of subsidies taken off the backs of the taxpayer because Deputy Everett said it was unfair to have them subsidising the poor. Now who is shouting about food subsidies?"

What is the Deputy trying to prove.

I will explain it, and I think Deputy Cowan will see the point I am making. Deputy Briscoe was setting out in his own words toprove to Deputy Everett and to the House that we had taken £6,000,000 off the subsidies in May, 1948. But the £6,000,000 to which he was referring specifically was, of course, part of the additional duties imposed in the Supplementary Budget, which was Deputy Aiken's Supplementary Budget —he was then Minister for Finance— in 1947. The £6,000,000 we took off before May, 1948, was not £6,000,000 in subsidies, but the £6,000,000 additional taxation imposed on beer, spirits, tobacco and cinema tickets.

Surely this is a cross-roads speech?

Is it a cross-roads speech——

We all know the facts. Why talk to us?

Deputy Cowan will have to restrain himself. I am giving him that warning.

You can always know when you are getting home, when you are making a telling point, because Deputy Cowan always butts in. If you are not making a telling point, he will keep very quiet.

Unfortunately, I cannot butt in any more, so you will not know now.

I give the Deputy credit for being sufficiently intelligent to know. I have unfortunately also to come to the conclusion that, no matter how good, how effective or how telling my point may be, it will not alter the Deputy in his trot in any way or the direction in which he is trotting. I am making it perfectly clear here that Deputy Briscoe, when he comes to deal with figures or finance, is an intelligent man, and I have to draw the conclusion from the use which Deputy Briscoe tried to make of that quotation of 4th May, 1948, that he was either doing it deliberately or is not the master of figures and finance that he would wish us in this House and the people outside to believe. I am quoting these figures as against the three column headline in "Truth in theNews" this morning, that we are trying to confuse the issue.

Deputy Cowan had a very cheap and, indeed, a very unworthy sneer to make about the Deputy who preceded him. It was unworthy of Deputy Cowan. I am rather glad of the fact that we have in this country and in this House — I would be still more glad if we had more of them, irrespective of what side of the House they sat on —young men who are capable of analysing and examining and criticising the Budget statement. Perhaps if some more of us — I am not suggesting for one moment that Deputy Costello did this — had our speeches checked in advance by somebody competent to do so, we might have better speeches——

I will say "Hear, hear!" to that.

——and fewer bad reactions. The trouble about it is that some of us are quite conscious of the fact that we do not know everything. Some of us are quite conscious of the fact that we still have a lot to learn, despite the length of time for which some of us have been in public life, and of the fact that we can learn from people not merely inside but outside this House. Deputies ought to have some sense of fair play. It is quite right, apparently, for Deputy Briscoe to make that statement, to give that twist — I do not say he did it deliberately — to that quotation from the Minister's speech of 4th May, 1948, but apparently it is quite wrong for me to expose that Deputy Briscoe was wrong and to explain what the real position is and was.

Let me refer again to that infallible and always truthful journal, the Irish Press.Another article appeared the morning after the Tánaiste had concluded the talks on the Budget over the radio —“Difficult period over”. Deputy Cowan told us that we have reached stability — stability in the present rate of unemployment, in the present rate of emigration and the present level of prices. The Tánaiste is reported in this journal as saying:—

"The difficult period is over and now we can face the future in the certainty that it will yield a continuing improvement in economic and social conditions."

I hope he is right about the future but he is wrong about the present.

He is telling the truth anyway.

He is not, as I will demonstrate. It does not give me any particular pleasure to have to say this. I experience it in my everyday life and it is no additional money in my pocket to have conditions as they are. "The difficult period is over"— the difficult period is not over. You cannot say that the difficult period is over when the registered number of unemployed wavers between 80,000 and 90,000. That figure, if it could be justified at all, could be justified only in a period of extreme difficulty and danger, and the existence of that figure of 80,000 or 90,000 unemployed is, in itself, sufficient to show that that is not true.

I have a few other comments, however, to make about it, and — whether Deputies like to accept it or not — I am not trying to exaggerate. I am trying to state the position as I see it and as I hear of it from those with whom I mix. The difficult period is not over and the business slump in the country is as bad to-day as at any time in the past 12 months, taking business as a whole. I ask any Deputy — I do not care on what side he sits — to go out and privately ask any businessman in this city or in the country to-day — I do not care, either, whether he is a supporter or an opponent of his — if that statement of mine is not true.

Does the Deputy include farmers in that?

I will deal with the farmers in a moment, if the Deputy will allow me. I propose to come to them in another connection. There is an aspect of that I could talk about, but I will come to them in a moment. The statement I make is true and Deputy Cowan, as a professional man, knows that it is true. Any person in the House who is a trade unionist and who is in touch with the workers andwith the unemployed knows that it is true.

Anybody who has any regard for reality must admit that it is true.

I am only trying to put the position as it is. It does not matter what Deputies say or what interjections they make, they know it as well as I do. There are no sources of information open to me that are not open to any other Deputy on that or on any other matter. I know that it is true about the city and of business houses in my own constituency.

Very few.

I bet that if my colleague goes down and talks to the business people of Roscrea, Templemore and Nenagh, they will tell him that what I am saying is quite true— that there is a definite business slump and that it is as bad at the moment in respect of practically every business as it was at any time.

That is not so and I have been talking to business people in Nenagh, Roscrea and Templemore.

And they are all satisfied?

They are.

I hope that they will all agree with the Deputy and that they will disagree with me. We will see what they have to say about it and I hope it will not be long until you give them the opportunity.

It is very difficult to get them to say they are satisfied.

I want to go further on this matter, because, like Deputy Cowan, I believe we should be realists. I believe we should face up to facts as they are, that we should see the state of the country as it really is. I am going to make another statement. Of course, Deputies will not in this House, publicly, accept it. Let them go out and check it. Every piece of property in this country, whether it is a business house or a private house, with theexception of land, has dropped in its capital value in the last two years anything from 20 to 50 per cent. That is true.

You are talking as an auctioneer now?

If the Deputy wants to make any point about that, I am talking as an auctioneer. There are very few people, with the possible exception of members of Deputy Cowan's profession, who have as close and as intimate, day-to-day knowledge of the value of property as auctioneers have.

Auctioneers are not doing too badly at all at the present time.

I am not whining about myself. I never did. So far as the Deputy is concerned, he need not worry. I have made my living all my life. I will continue to make it, whether I am inside this House or outside.

There was a fair bit of property near the Royal Dublin Society show grounds the ownership of which was transferred.

Deputy Cowan is making that interruption. He knows that what I am saying is true. I can prove it. That is not merely my opinion. It is the opinion of every person in this city, perhaps to a lesser extent in the country. I am excepting land from that.

What shot up property prices over the last ten years?

The statement I am making is that property, other than land, in this country is to-day down from 20 to 50 per cent. in its capital value on what it was two and a half years ago.

The Deputy is out of touch with the Valuation Office.

Deputies can controvert Deputy Morrissey's statement by making statements of their own but not by way of interruption.

I am not out of touch with the Valuation Office. I am dealing with real values. The Valuation Office have changed a bit in their ideas of value, particularly in the last 12 months. I am not challenging that statement of the Deputy's at all. I do not know why. I would not know. I invite Deputies to ask any person living in this city or county or in Cork City or county. I am not depending upon my own very limited sphere of knowledge; I am not a big auctioneer; I am one of the small fellows, but I was president of the association last year; I am in close touch with men who have spent their lives dealing with the property market. I am expressing in this respect, not merely my own view, but their view.

Let Deputies go to anybody who has a house or business to sell to-day. Most of them have friends in the City of Dublin. Ask any of them that had a house to sell in the last 12 months or two years. Ask any businessman. I invite some of the Deputies on the other side who know, say, licensed traders as well as I know them, apart altogether from any question of their income, property, or anything else, to ask them what has been the drop in the capital value of their houses?

If Deputy Morrissey will get me a public-house at half the price prevailing two and a half years ago I will buy it this minute.

I will give the Deputy a concrete example. I was offered £11,500 yesterday for a house for which £19,000 was refused less than two years ago.

But it was not accepted?

No, but the Deputy knows as well as I do that it is not what you accept but what you are offered that fixes the market price.

What was that house worth in 1939?

It was worth a very considerable sum. As a matter of fact, as the Deputy asks me that question,as far back as 1902 that house made £8,000. Let the Deputy check that against the present-day value of money. The Deputy knows quite well that what I am saying is true. I want the Deputy, if he has any doubt about it, not to accept my word but to go outside and check. This is all in relation to the statement about the difficult period being over.

It is a good job the Deputy said that.

I am taking Deputy Cowan at his word. Perhaps I am wrong. He appealed to us to be realistic, to face the facts, to see the position as I see it and as I know it. Let other Deputies counter that from their knowledge, if they are able to do it. That is the position. Deputy Cowan knows — and nobody knows it better — that in so far as a great range of property is concerned it is unsaleable to-day, except at a sacrifice price.

I do not agree.

The Deputy knows quite well that there are hundreds of new houses built and completed in and around this city and county, ready to be lived in, and that the people cannot buy them. They cannot get the facilities to buy them even at a price substantially lower than the price at which similar houses were available two years ago. The Deputy knows that quite well. He does not want me to tell him that.

Is it a question of supply and demand?

It is not. There is a little more than supply and demand in it. I do not mind the Deputy putting that question. The demand is there. It is as great or almost as great. There is no doubt about the demand being there. There is no Deputy who knows the situation in Dublin who will deny that the demand exists. The same facilities to purchase houses are not available and the capacity to repay the loan instalments is not in the family to-day that there was two years ago because the cost of everything else they have to buy has gone so high thatthey are not able to put aside sufficient margin to meet the instalment charge.

I do not want to drag that out. I do not want to go further into it. I do not want us to be living in a fool's paradise. I do not want us to accept the statement that the difficult period is over. The difficult period is not over. I do not want anybody to think for one moment that it gives me any pleasure to say that. Even from the purely selfish point of view — put it down as low as you like — I do not want that position to continue. Neither does anybody else who is trying to earn a living and make a home in this country want that difficult period to continue. We are not, however, going to get rid of that difficult period by pretending that it is not there. We have evidence every day that it is there. The Tánaiste on that occasion and on many other occasions talked, like Deputy Cowan, about stability. The Tánaiste has been telling us for at least one and a half years that prices are stabilised or about to be stabilised, that the cost of living is stabilised and there is no further fear of its going up, that there is every evidence it is going to come down.

At the time he was making that statement he knew that his colleague, the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, was going to take another £750,000 or £1,000,000 out of the citizens' pockets. He knew when he was saying that he was going to put an additional halfpenny on every pound of sugar purchased for domestic consumption to relieve the manufacturers. The Tánaiste said — listen to this and remember that this was said by the Minister for Industry and Commerce:—

"Opposition Deputies were entitled to criticise the Government's policy and to propose alternative policies but—"

Mr. Lemass emphasised

"—it does not help to raise the prestige of Irish politics to suggest that any Government elected by the people and responsible to them is deliberately and maliciously damaging the country's interest."

Just imagine those words coming from the Tánaiste:—

"It does not help to raise the prestige of Irish politics to suggest that any Government elected by the people and responsible to them is deliberately and maliciously damaging the country's interest."

Is it not because that was the line pursued that the Government find themselves on that side of the House to-day? Do Deputy Cowan and other Deputies remember the speeches made three months after this Government took office? There was one speech by the Tánaiste, a succession of speeches by the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs and one speech at least by the Taoiseach, in which it was alleged against us that we had deliberately brought this country to the verge of bankruptcy. Was not that bellowed up and down this country and was it not because they tried to justify the picture which they painted that we found ourselves in that year with our credit so shaken that the Government were afraid to go to the country for a loan?

Why did you not stay in office?

Sometimes when I have to listen to the Deputy's stupid interjections I am sorry we did not because the Deputy would not be here now. I never said a word to the Deputy. I never said a word to any colleague of mine from Tipperary since the first day I came in here. I do not want to follow the line generally taken by Deputy McGrath and some other Deputies when they want to fight Cork's battle on the floor of this House. I would find myself much happier and easier in my mind if I were to reply to the Deputy in our native county.

Any time you wish.

It is not what I wish. The Deputy will have to talk to his colleagues about it and give us the opportunity.

Let us leave Tipperary out of this and talk about the Budget.

I suppose nearly all of us in the beginning of our life have more enthusiasm than wisdom.(Interruptions.)If the Deputies want to have a chat amongst themselves they can. Let me come back to what was affecting them, the statement that the country was bankrupt, the speeches which are responsible for the fact that we have to-day 30,000 more unemployed than we had during the period of the inter-Party Government, the speeches which made it necessary to give us the type of Budget we had last year in an attempt by the Government to justify what they had said six months previously, the speeches which so destroyed the confidence of the people in this country and so shook the credit of the country that we had to pay through the nose to get the national loan we got. Deputies boast that the national loan was filled last year.

It was over-subscribed.

Yes. If the Minister will give 6 per cent. instead of 5 per cent. this year it will be doubly over-subscribed.

You are doing your best to see that it will not.

I am doing no such thing. I am facing the facts.

You ran away from them three years ago.

I ran away from nothing. When the Minister announced the issue of his loan, I was the first person to stand up in the interest of the country, whatever I thought about the terms, to advise citizens to put their money into it.

You could not do anything else.

I could have done something else. If I were so concerned about my Party, I could have followed the line taken by Deputies on the other side in respect of previous national loans.

The pawnbroker's sign.

Deputy Rooney should not start on that side.

With respect, I think Deputy Rooney is entitled to remind Deputies on the opposite side that when we floated a national loan they started to plaster the City of Dublin with the pawnbroker's sign.

You had already sold it.

Do not draw me on the sale. I heard a lot of talk about employment and production, particularly industrial production. What are the facts? If Deputies will go to the trouble of strolling down to the Library and looking up the official records placed at their disposal for enlightenment, they will be able to check on them. There were more persons per month put into industrial employment in this country during the three and a half years of the inter-Party Government than in any similar period since this State was founded. The records are there. Deputies will get them in the Library. Our only regret is that we were not able to put people into employment even more rapidly than that but it was not a bad achievement. When I hear Deputies talking, as some of them talk and particularly some of the newcomers that either do not know what happened or wish to forget it, about the position in which they allege they found some of the industries here when they resumed office two years ago I would appeal to them — I do not want to take them over a wide range — to ask themselves if they remember what condition the footwear industry was in when we took over in 1948. I will tell Deputies the position in which it was then and, again, they can check this. A considerable number of footwear factories had closed down during 1947 and at the beginning of 1948.

A Deputy

Give us the number.

I will give it to the Deputy. I will tell the Deputy all about it. A considerable number were closed down altogether. Hundreds upon hundreds of men were disemployed. A considerable number of the factories were working on half-timeand short-time. They were in a bad way.

In 1947 and in the early part of 1948. I will tell Deputies why. Because the then Minister for Industry and Commerce, Deputy Lemass, had allowed into this country under quota no fewer than 1,250,000 pairs of footwear. That is on record. It cannot be challenged.

Was there a sufficient level of manufacture at the time for our own requirements?

Will the Deputy wait until I give the whole story? We had to tackle that problem in the inter-Party Government. We did tackle it and by the time we were finished, instead of 1,250,000 pairs of footwear coming into this country imports were reduced to 50,000 pairs per year and that 50,000 pairs were only allowed in because they were types of footwear which it was not economic to manufacture here. In other words, the footwear industry here had for the first time the entire home market given to them and guaranteed to them and the reverse process had started; we were in fact exporting about ten, if not 20, times the number of pairs of footwear that we were importing. Deputies can check up on that. I do not ask any Deputy to accept my word. I am giving the facts. Deputies can check them.

Is this relevant?

That is a good point. Whether it is relevant or not, unlike a lot of the Deputy's contributions, it is true — very true.

The whole point seems to be whether the inter-Party Government or the Fianna Fáil Government is the best Government and not whether the Budget is a bad Budget or a good Budget.

The whole point is that Deputy Cowan feels that this contribution of mine, or indeed any contribution from this side, is entirelyunnecessary. I can understand that because Deputy Cowan does not need any convincing as to what is right and what is wrong.

I am so logical I like relevancy.

He is so logical he knows he is in the wrong place. He has known that from the first day and he is now more convinced of that than he ever was. Therefore, he believes and feels it is entirely unnecessary for anyone on this side of the House to demonstrate to him what he already knows so well, namely, that he is wrong and that he is supporting the wrong policy.

I do not think he is tied there.

He is not tied. One does not necessarily want bars and chains.

Deputy Morrissey on the Financial Motion.

I do not know why it is they always want to talk to me. There is another aspect of this year's Budget and last year's Budget that affects this country and my own constituency in particular. Somebody was talking a while ago about the farmers. In my constituency barley has always been one of the principal crops grown there. What has happened in the last two years?

There is a lot of wheat there this year.

Not any more than is usually seen there. That sort of tripe will not cut any ice here or in Tipperary.


Deputy Fanning must allow Deputy Morrissey to make his statement without interruption and, if he wishes, he can speak afterwards and make all the points he is now making by way of interruption.

When I talk about wheat and barley I know what I amtalking about because I probably handle more of it than does any Deputy in this House.

You handle it all right but you do not grow it.

I answered that on a former occasion. I wish the Deputy would get up and say anything he wants to say. Up to this I have tendered to the Deputy the traditional liberty, licence and courtesy that is always accorded to a new Deputy in this House. I have done more than that.

Why should I have to look for that?

The Deputy must allow Deputy Morrissey to make his statement without interruption. He is indulging in a continuous barrage of interruption. That must stop.

The Deputy, like Deputy Cowan, has sufficient intelligence to realise that I am coming to a sore spot, but he should not telegraph his fear in advance that he is going to squeal. The Deputy knows more about barley than I do. He grows it. Unlike myself, he was fortunate enough to inherit a farm in which barley was always grown. Fortunately or unfortunately, when my people were evicted off the land, succeeding generations did not get back on to it again. Some Deputies may wish they had. Deputy Fanning and many other Deputies know what the position is in relation to malting barley and the price paid for it last year and the price paid for it in the year prior to the time when we took office. The Deputy knows by how much the contracts for that barley were reduced last year.

That is repetition.

That is the first time I mentioned barley.

I know, but other Deputies have already made that speech.

That does not clear me of the obligation to my constituents,to whom barley is and always has been a vital crop, of explaining the position as I see it and reminding the House of the effects of last year's Budget and the continuing effects of this year's Budget. It is easy for the Deputy to make that sort of interjection, but the difference in the price of the barley crop because of the still further reduction in contracts this year will mean to an individual farmer in North Tipperary a loss of anything from £20 to £100 or £150. That is a very substantial consideration in these days. It can mean a difference of as much as 30/- in the barrel for every barrel of barley the farmer puts on the market. That position has been brought about almost entirely by the Budget of last year and will be more aggravated in its effects by the Budget of this year because neither the brewers nor the distillers now require anything like a quarter of the barley they required prior to the coming back into office of the present Government.

That is a fact. It is a fact that cannot be refuted. It is a statement that cannot be twisted because Deputies who know anything about the matter know that I am speaking the truth. If people outside get an opportunity of reading what I have said, they, too, will know that I am speaking the truth. We are asked then by Deputy Cowan and others why we want to get rid of the Government? We are asked why we are not satisfied? We are asked why we are looking for a general election? We are not satisfied. The people are not satisfied. The people in Deputy Cowan's constituency are not satisfied.

We will have to test that.

The Deputy is taking jolly good care that we will not get an opportunity of testing it. Why should the people be satisfied with a Government — let me sum up — that in two years has destroyed the confidence of the people in the future of their own country or gone as near to destroying it as it is possible for a Government to go? Why should people be satisfied with a Government that has piled taxation on them to such anextent that, in accordance with the Taoiseach's own words, they are staggering under the load? The Taoiseach said that before this Budget came in. In this Budget he and those who are supporting him are making it obligatory——

Would the Deputy suggest how the load should be lightened?

Will you ask your colleagues there to get out to-morrow morning and we will show you — do not mind about telling you — as we did before and as the Deputy knows we did it before. The Deputy would like to put me off my stroke if he could. He is an old campaigner.

Let him go back to his grain.

There is some brain over there, whoever said that.

I said "grain."

Of course the Deputy, possibly, has been imbibing recently the same air as Deputy Cowan.

What advantage is that to the Deputy?

Apparently he is beginning to acquire some of your subtlety by way of interruption. Let me go back to the reasons why the people are not satisfied with this Government or this Budget. There are at least 80,000 unemployed persons who are not satisfied. The citizens of this country are not satisfied to pay for their essential foodstuffs and to continue paying increases of from 50 to 100 per cent., and there is quite a number of items outside the essential foodstuffs which the ordinary citizen uses or has to take advantage of and which have been increased by 100 per cent.

These are some of the reasons why they are not satisfied. The people are not satisfied to carry on staggering under the burden which the Taoiseach talks about, because the people know,as the Taoiseach himself knows, that if a man is staggering under a burden, has been staggering for some considerable time and is growing weaker under that burden, he is more likely to fall flat on his face if he does not get relief than he is to stand up straight on his feet. Remember it is not the same burden he is going to stagger under for the next 12 months, as he has been staggering under for the last 12 months. There is this additional £7,000,000 in the Budget which has to come from the taxpayer.

Without additional taxation.

It has to come out of his pocket. They are going to extract this year £7,000,000 more than they were able to extract last year. There is £750,000 more to be extracted for Posts and Telegraphs. The Deputy can ask if he is sufficiently interested, as can other Deputies, how many additional hundreds of thousands of pounds will be extracted from the people to buy sugar.

It cost me 7½d. for every letter I wrote home from Strasbourg.

Let us hope the contents were worth the charge.

They were.

I am trying to give the Deputy a few reasons why people are not satisfied.

Did the Deputy ever buy a meal in the Six Counties?

What is the difference in the cost of living?

The implication of the question is that our food, our cigarettes, our beer and everything else are not too high but they are below the level of the Six Counties and should be brought up to that height.

I asked the Deputy did he ever have a meal in the Six Counties?

Ignore these interruptions and carry on with your speech.

The Deputy is trying to do his best for the people who have temporarily befriended him. He got a welcome last night which, I was glad to see, was unequalled by that given to Tulyar.

I am glad of that. I did not notice it myself.

I might accuse the Deputy of a great many things, but I would not accuse him of being dense, and I would not accuse the Deputy for a moment of not being able to size up a situation, the people who were giving him the welcome and the reason he was getting it.

I did not notice it.

The Deputy complained in his speech that there was a great deal of time being wasted in this House and, rightly or wrongly, wisely or otherwise, he has helped me to waste more time than, perhaps, I otherwise would waste.

I feel that my advice is not being followed anyway.

Let me hope that great numbers of other people will not be tempted to follow the Deputy's advice. I have no hesitation in making up my mind about this Budget. I do not believe for one moment that the position is as Deputy Cowan and Deputy Matt O'Reilly say it is, that everybody in this country is perfectly happy and satisfied with the Budget. Frankly I do not believe that and I take leave to differ from that point of view. I am so absolutely convinced that the Government is wrong and that the Deputy is wrong that, much as I dislike general elections, I would cheerfully face a general election to-morrow morning. Let me make it clear to certain people, that it is not because I am in the slightest or in the least anxious to sit in a ministerial bench——

Tell us something else.

I will tell the Deputy something else. Physically and financially I would be infinitely better outof it. Let the Deputy realise that and put it in his pipe. That is true for members of this House, for members of the present Government and the last Government.

Unfortunately it is not always appreciated.

But the Deputy knows as well as I do that it is true.

Other Deputies do not accept that. They have not the long experience Deputy Cowan has. I am not saying the Deputy always, puts his experience to the best use, but in any case he has it. However, that is the position; there is no doubt about it and Deputies opposite know they are remaining there as a Government against the wishes of the majority of the people of this country. We know quite well because we have long experience that on every occasion when the present Taoiseach thought he had the remotest chance of getting a return from the people which would put him in a position independent of everybody else in this House, he took that chance.

Deputy Morrissey used to say that about Deputy McGilligan.

I did not.

I remember it well. I read it.

I thank him for going to the trouble of reading what I said. I am afraid there are not many pearls of wisdom to be found in my speeches.

I shall quote some of them the next time I am speaking, just to refresh the Deputy's memory. It is a thing I do not usually do.

Deputy Cowan should now allow Deputy Morrissey to continue his speech without interruption.

Before one goes back quoting, one should make a pause, a long pause——

I believe somebody is collecting my sayings; 100 of my best sayings.

——and reflect. I would not like the Deputy to force me into the position in which I would even have to appear to be uncharitable. However, notwithstanding Deputy Cowan's interruptions he has not been helpful to me, he has not been helpful to the Government and I doubt if he has been very helpful to himself but he has not deprived me of my opportunity — and I hope I have made some use of it — of putting the facts of the situation in this country as I see them——

I did the Deputy the honour of listening to him.

—— and as several thousands of people have told me they see it. If the Deputy can see in a situation, with a record number of unemployed, an emigration which cannot be estimated at the moment, and an all-high level in the cost of living, something worthy of the continuance of his support and if he believes that the people of this country want in power — or rather in office, not in power — a Government that is not merely going to continue that but is going to make the situation even worse than it is at the moment, then the Deputy has another thought coming to him, and the sooner both the Deputy and other Deputies get an opportunity of checking what we think against what the ordinary man in the street is thinking, the better it will be for the country and even for this House.

The last speaker started off with the assertion that the Minister for Finance was taking £7,000,000 more out of the pockets of the people by this Budget than he had done previously. I think the Deputies who listened to that statement from Deputy Morrissey should ask themselves: "Why not?" Is it not a fact that the Minister is compelled to provide this extra £7,000,000, primarily and solely because of the policy operated by Deputy Morrissey and his colleagues of the Coalition Cabinet? Deputy Morrissey, ably assisted by Deputy Costello,Deputy MacBride, Deputy Blowick and Deputy Norton, borrowed £95,000,000 during the period they were in office. The interest on that debt, amounting to £6,000,000, has to be provided in this Budget and if you add to that the £1,200,000 which we have to pay this year as interest on the American loan, you get a total of £7,200,000 which approximately is the extra amount which Deputy Morrissey charges the Minister with taking out of the pockets of the people. He asks in his innocence why the Minister for Finance should have to find this extra £7,000,000. That is the answer to Deputy Morrissey. Were it not for the financial antics of Deputy Morrissey and his colleagues during their term of office, I say that the taxpayers would not be called upon to-day to find, nor would the Minister for Finance be called upon to provide for, this extra £7,000,000. I would have thought that Deputy Morrissey would have examined his conscience as a previous member of the Coalition Cabinet before trotting out this figure of £7,000,000. His choice of that figure is rather unfortunate for the people for whom he purports to speak in this House.

One of the peculiar features of the debate on this Budget, we are told by certain people, is the lack of imagination displayed by the Minister for Finance. The leading daily Opposition paper in its leading articles and the Sunday Independentin its articles comment on the lack of imagination displayed by the Minister in dealing with our financial policy. Do we not know and does the country not know that it was imagination, financial imagination, that left this country in the mess in which we found it three years ago when this Government took over? Do we not know that it was imagination in dealing with the nation's finances that drove our nation to the condition in which this Government found it at that time? Do we not know that when you had people like Deputy Dillon throwing millions of money around at every change of the moon imagination was allowed to run riot in this country? The Budget is not a question of imagination; it is a question of dealing withstark realities, of dealing on the basis of actual facts with the situation which the Minister and the nation have got to face.

We have inherited a very difficult position, but the days of squandermania have passed and we are now glad to know, and the nation is relieved to know, that our finances are being put back on a proper basis and that our adverse balance of trade has been reduced to manageable proportions. Had the last Government not gone out of office, it is quite possible that they would have been forced by circumstances to mend their ways. They had, I think, at the time reached the stage when no more borrowing was possible for them. The writing was on the wall, the failure of the national loans floated by them and the general lack of confidence by the people in their financial policy, had brought them to the point when there was no way out and when they would have to face the implications of the financial position as it then was. At all events, the election legacy left to their successors had to be met by the Minister. The nation has now, of course, to pay for the financial policy pursued by the Coalition Government during the three years when they were in office. That is sorry consolation to the nation, but, at all events, the people are now in a position to know where they stand, and there is every indication that things are being got under control and that there is a greater air of hope and confidence amongst the public, as a result of the sound financial policy pursued by the present Government since it took over office.

I am at a loss to understand some of the statements made by different speakers on the Opposition Benches. For instance, the last speaker, Deputy Morrissey, who amongst other things deals in property, has informed the House that it is his experience that business premises and household property cannot now be sold. I think he excepted land from that statement because he knows that the price of land was never higher. He suggested that there was a substantial reduction — Ithink he put it at 50 per cent.—in the price of property. Deputy Morrissey admits the price of land was never higher. Surely that fact in itself is an indication of what the position in the country is to-day. Surely if the basis of our main industry, agriculture, the very land itself, has an enhanced value and if, in transactions governed by the ordinary rules of supply and demand, land is fetching a higher price in the open market to-day, that is an indication that the financial condition of the country is at last on a sound basis. If the farming community are prosperous, if they have belief and confidence in the policy being pursued by the present Government to such an extent that they are anxious to buy more land at the prices available and if they are anxious to invest their savings in Irish agriculture, surely there is no better indication of the belief of the people in the policy of the present Government or no better indication of the confidence of the people in the financial policy which is being pursued by the Government? If the whole basis of our agricultural industry — the land itself — is commanding high prices, does it not prove that there is an air of stability? If the price of land is at that height, if the confidence of the people is in the land, the farmers prosperous, business people as a whole will succeed; they in their turn will enjoy in due course from the farmers' prosperity prosperity themselves.

I think what Deputy Morrissey has in his mind was possibly that there is not as high a price being paid for public-houses in this city as used to be paid. Anybody connected with my own profession, or with that of Deputy Morrissey, knows the reason for that. We all know there was a time when absolutely fantastic prices were being paid for public-houses in the city. They were being paid by people coming into this country from Britain who were avoiding income-tax and who wanted to invest their money here. These are the people who drove the prices of public-houses in Dublin skyhigh. These were the people to whom a halt was put by the policy put into operation in this country when the stamp duty was increased by 25 per cent. The price created by these gentlemenwho came in from abroad after the war was a completely artificial price and everybody in this city knew that and everybody in the business took advantage of it.

If you take the ordinary business premises that are on the market any of us connected with business know they find a normal and ready sale. Perhaps, there are not so many business premises on the market to-day as there were a few years ago. If that is true—and I think it is—it is an indication that business has been picking up in this country. There are not many people being forced to sell their premises and I do not think for one moment that anybody is going seriously to accept the suggestions made by Deputy Morrissey that there is the slump he alleges there is in business premises. I cannot speak so much for the city itself as for the country, but the suggestion is certainly not true in regard to the country.

With regard to the question of houses, some considerable amount of time was devoted to that question by different speakers on different sides of the House. I know that more private houses are being erected at the moment than ever were erected before in the part of the country I represent. That has been brought about by the fact that there are more facilities provided by way of grants and loans from local authorities.

It is quite a common thing now in the country for people on comparatively small incomes, people in the lower income group, to just buy a site on which they are able to erect very substantial houses with the financial aid by way of grants and loans now available to them. There are more of them erecting their own houses now than ever before because of the facilities provided for them. People are erecting houses now with these grants and loans at a cost of £1,400 to £1,700. These are people who could never hope to erect such houses were it not for the provisions and facilities now open to them. The time is coming also when to a certain degree supply will meet the demand. In so far as local authorities are concerned in quite a few areas that position is clearly beingreached. That, of course, will have a certain effect on the local communities concerned. More of the class of people to whom I refer are now engaged in building their own houses than ever before. They have been given opportunities that they were never given before.

I do not know how we can reconcile the different views expressed by the Opposition Front Bench as to what state financially the country is in. It would appear from Deputy Blowick, when he was speaking on this debate, that all the people are starving in this country.

There are 80,000 unemployed.

I will deal with the question of the 80,000 unemployed later. Just now I want to deal with this gem of Deputy Blowick's, that the whole community evidently is starving. At column 1392 of the Official Dáil Debates for the 7th May, 1953, he states there is "starvation for anybody who stays in the country". It is very difficult to reconcile that view with the view expressed by Deputy Costello in this House on the Health Bill when he says: "The farmer with a valuation of £50 can go in his Chrysler car to avail himself of the provisions of this Bill". I would like somebody on the Opposition Benches to enlighten me whether all the people, including the farmers, are starving, according to Deputy Blowick, or whether they are driving round in Chrysler cars, according to Deputy Costello? These are two very interesting points of view expressed by the exTaoiseach and an ex-Minister. I think it would be far easier for those people in the Opposition to make up their minds on policy if they realised which of these gentlemen was telling the truth.

I think that largely accounts for the fact that while we have a whole lot of criticism of this Budget from the Opposition Benches, there have not been any constructive suggestions as to what they would do if they were in office. Is it not quite clear why the Opposition Front Bench cannot make up their minds? It is because DeputyCostello has the idea that the whole rural community are driving around in Chrysler cars, and Deputy Blowick thinks the whole community are starving, and they cannot make up their minds as to who is right on that issue. We can, therefore, quite understand how it is impossible for them to make up their minds as to what policy or Budget they would provide if they were sitting on these benches.

Deputy Blowick went a bit further because he has the idea that it is a national shame that our agricultural exports should increase by £20,000,000 during the last 12 months. Deputy Blowick evidently regards that as a sign of national degradation. He suggests that these increased agricultural exports are due to the fact that we are sending these agricultural goods out at the expense of our own people. The suggestion from Deputy Blowick seems to be that we should not increase our exports of agricultural produce. I do not know what the basis of his argument is. Is Deputy Blowick suggesting that we should stop the export of all our surplus cattle? Is he suggesting that we should stop the export of bacon or pigs from this country? I wonder what answer he will get from the farmers of County Mayo whom he represents if he agitates for any such policy in this House? Deputy Blowick suggested that, if we did not export these agricultural products, food would be much cheaper in this country. Of course, that is true. If the export of cattle, pigs and bacon and other agricultural produce were stopped, it is true to say that these foods would be cheaper. I should not say cheaper. The fact is that you would get them for nothing. You would get a cow or a pig for the sake of taking either home with you. He suggested that our agricultural exports should be stopped — and, mark you, this was the suggestion in the Deputy's speech so—as to enable cheaper food to be supplied to our people in the cities and towns. I think that was the most extraordinary suggestion that I ever heard coming from a Deputy who represents a rural constituency.

It was never made.

It was made.

Deputy McGilligan should read Deputy Blowick's speech.

I have read it and I understand it.

Deputy McGilligan was not here.

I will find it for him. It is there in black and white. These are the people Deputy Blowick is so concerned about, the people who, he suggested, had nothing awaiting them here but starvation. Perhaps Deputy McGilligan would help me to interpret this portion of Deputy Blowick's speech? I propose quoting from column 1398 of the Dáil Debates on the 7th instant. Deputy Briscoe told Deputy Blowick that he had got some figures, and that tea was now cheaper. Deputy Blowick's reply to that was:—

"You might as well tell me that pepper is cheaper. Tea does not form a very big item in the household budget. Bread, meat, milk and butter are the four heaviest items in the average household budget. That may not be the case in the homes of the wealthy."

So that those people who are starving evidently have, according to Deputy Blowick, a stable diet of bread, meat, milk and butter. It is not a bad diet. I do not know what the wealthy in this country live on, but evidently the people that Deputy Blowick talked about and said were starving, happen to have a diet of bread, meat, milk and butter. If they are starving on that diet, then I would say that there are many people in other parts of the world who would like to change their local conditions with the Irish conditions as Deputy Blowick has described them.

Many of them have not bread or butter.

There has been running all through this debate the question of unemployment. I certainly give credit, particularly to those on the Front Opposition Benches, for courage. These men certainly have courage when they come into this House to-dayto talk about unemployment. Deputy Morrissey, in particular, must have any amount of courage to talk about unemployment because he, more than any other Deputy, was responsible during his term of office for closing down the turf industry in the West of Ireland which drove thousands on to the dole, and when they could not remain any longer on the dole, were driven out of the country and have not come back. When we in this House protested at the time that the fell hand of the Coalition Government came down on the turf industry which we had established, and which in our time was providing good employment for our people, we got very little heed from Deputy Morrissey.

At all events, as regards the unemployed that we have at the moment, the very fact that they are here is obviously a sign of hope and confidence for them. They would not be here if the Coalition were here because they would have had to emigrate. They have hope now. They know that, through its financial policy, this Government is concerned in providing employment for them. Take my own County of Mayo. If Deputy Morrissey and Deputy Blowick and their colleagues, instead of driving thousands of people in Mayo to the emigrant ship, had done as this Government is doing — if it had gone ahead with the turf-generating stations and with the development of the bogs in Mayo, we would not have the number of unemployed in Mayo that we have there to-day. At all events, those people now have hope because they know that the Government is concerned about their position. They have hope because they know that the wheels of industry are starting to turn again after the three years' rest imposed on them, due to the policy of the gentlemen on the opposite benches.

It is rather interesting to see the way that some Deputies want to have their cake and eat it. We hear cries from the Opposition Benches about the increase and high cost of taxation at the present time, but when it comes to the question of providing money to meet increases in salaries for differentsections of State employees we then get vociferous support from the Deputies opposite with, of course, an eye on the political angle.

I see from reading Deputy Blowick's speech that he devoted almost half of it to the civil servants. He wants to give to the civil servants, not only what is provided for them in this Budget but, in addition, he wants to give them a bonus or six months' arrears of pay. That is a rather interesting suggestion coming from Deputy Blowick. I wonder what would he say if somebody suggested to him, or to any member of his Party, that, in order to give the six months' arrears and to increase the salaries of civil servants, the Government would have to bring in a Supplementary Estimate and have to impose additional taxation.

You would not have to do that.

They will vote for increases to civil servants, but will vote against additional taxation.

Additional taxation would not be required.

The Deputy was dealing with taxation for three years and he made a mess of it.

There is no necessity to do that. The money is there.

I wonder how can Deputy Blowick justify his grave concern about the civil servants — giving them six months' arrears of pay — with his other general speeches to the effect that the farming community are being destroyed, due to the taxation that has to be raised to provide for salaried people? I do not know how he can balance out these two points of view as expressed by himself. I do not know how, for instance, when he was a colleague of Deputy McGilligan's, he was a party to restoring the super-cut in the Civil Service, thereby giving to the gentlemen with £1,700 or £1,800 a year what was taken from them over years past. I know it was the practice in the Civil Service over a great number of years, in the case of increases given to certain groups, that the officials with very highsalaries did not get these increases; but Deputy McGilligan, with the assistance of Deputy Blowick, ensured that the gentlemen on the top line got just as much of an increase as their lower-paid colleagues. For a Deputy who, I also assume, assisted Deputy McGilligan in giving an increase of £1,000 to the Chairman of the E.S.B. on a salary of £2,500, I am sure that when he is so concerned and has been so concerned about the people in the higher income group it would be difficult for him now not to support the civil servants in relation to the question of six months' back pay. I would remind both the Deputy and the House that if a large amount of money like that has to be provided there is only one way of providing it and that is by additional taxation.

If they are prepared to dish out money to the civil servants or to any group of State servants they must also be prepared to agree to the necessary taxation to meet that bill.

No tax is required.

What about Tulyar?

Even the people who are being used as a political football by them in this manner will see through that game before very long.

I think it was Deputy Morrissey who said that there would be general rejoicing if this Government were removed from office. That view seems to be expressed and shared by practically all the speakers on the Opposition Benches. It is rather interesting to note the attitude of Fine Gael, in particular, in relation to elections. For as long as I can remember, they are at times very anxious for elections but, except for one occasion three years ago, they are awfully sorry after the elections. However, in addition to the occupants of the Fine Gael Front Bench, there would be rejoicing on other shores if this Government were removed from office. I have no doubt the witch doctors in Cuba would cast spells so that the Coalition Government would get back into office because they would then have their market for£3,000,000 worth of sugar to be foisted on this country at the expense of the Irish farmer. The people here now appreciate that, with the encouragement of the present Minister for Agriculture and of the present Government, we have increased the capacity of the beet factories ranging from 50 per cent. in Carlow to 16 per cent. in Tuam. We have over 11,000 extra acres of beet in this country and a market for that produce on Irish farms. As a result of Government policy, we are now getting within shouting distance of the position in which we will be producing sufficient wheat on the land of Ireland to feed the Irish people without having to be dependent on supplies from the ends of the earth and having to pay for these supplies in dollars. That was an achievement and it took the hope and the confidence of the farmers to bring about that increased acreage. I venture to say that were it not that the present Minister for Finance got control of affairs here and inspired that confidence and hope we should not have made such tremendous strides with the agricultural community as we made in the past two years.

There are a few other matters which I should like the Minister to consider — particularly from the point of view of capital expenditure. It is true that it may not be possible to put everything right in a year. In my view, we in this country have, as a community, over a great number of years been making one serious mistake and that is overcentralisation in Dublin City. I think that this mater should be studied by the Minister because, after all, the Minister is responsible for our finances. I think the Government should embark on a scheme of erecting State buildings and decentralising, in so far as is possible, some Departments of State and getting them out of this City of Dublin.

Hear, hear!

In my view, the centralisation in Dublin of Government Departments and industry has given rise to social problems, housing problems and other problems, all of which problems are growing. I believe the time has now come when the Governmentshould consider making a start in the matter of decentralisation. It is true that under the Undeveloped Areas Act, a start has been made in that direction. I think it should be possible for the Government to decentralise many Departments and locate them in different places throughout the country. That would have a very beneficial effect not only so far as overcrowding and other problems are concerned in Dublin but also on rural life and country towns. I cannot see any reason why we cannot do that in this country. After all, the British Government have a far larger Civil Service than we have and they have greater administrative problems with their colonies, and so forth. Yet the British have established many of the administrative sections of their Civil Service in places as widely scattered as Blackpool, Newcastle-onTyne and parts of Wales. If the British can do that efficiently in their country I see no reason why we should not be able to do it here. Those Departments whose main function is to deal with rural areas come to mind. I see no reason in the world why the administrative centre of the Irish Land Commission should be located in Merrion Street.

The bulk of that Department's work is concerned with the relief of congestion in parts of rural Ireland. Certainly those sections of the Land Commission which deal with the relief of congestion should be located down there. The decisions should be taken down there because it is down there that the work has to be done. In addition I think that those, sections dealing with Gaeltacht Services should be located in the Gaeltacht. Take, for instance, the administrative centres of the Gárda Síochána, the Land Registry, and so forth. They could usefully be located in and give added life and interest to rural centres — at the same time abating the grave overcrowding and other problems created by overconcentration in Dublin. I suggest that the Government should consider a long-term policy with that end in view because I think that ultimately it would pay dividends from very many angles on which I will not, however, dwell now.

I have listened to some of the criticisms made about the Gaeltacht. One thing which this Government can say about the Gaeltacht and the Breac-Ghaeltacht is that they tried to help those areas. That was not done by other people. Take, for instance, the West of Ireland. If it were only from the point of view of developing the tourist trade there, a sum of approximately £400,000 is provided this year to deal with tourist roads in the Western Gaeltacht and Breac-Ghaeltacht. That was a very wise provision. I believe that that policy will be continued by this Government in addition to other schemes being introduced by Deputy Jack Lynch, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Government, in relation to Gaeltacht areas. That scheme, opening up these tourist roads, particularly throughout the Gaeltacht and fishing areas, is already showing results. They know and feel that in Deputy Lynch they have somebody who is specially catering for their problems. With the organisation that he is building up, possibly next year he will be able to go further in that particular line.

In dealing with unemployment and the alleged business slump that has been referred to here, it was interesting to find this whole question of stockpiling being trotted out again and again, the policy of the Coalition Government. Stockpiling is given as an excuse for spending the borrowed Marshall Aid money. There was stockpiling and stockpiling and stockpiling. It was very interesting to see some of the things that were stockpiled. At all events, there was one of them stockpiled here that Deputy McGilligan is very familiar with. No doubt he will deal with it—and I invite him to deal with it when he is speaking in this House to-night. There was stockpiling of Italian thread here, with the result that an Irish industry in my constituency, in the town of Westport, was virtually compelled to close its doors. This Italian thread was being dumped into this country, it was being peddled around by all the traders, borrowed money wasused to get it; and when it was pointed out by the people concerned, by Irish Sewing Cotton, that this would ultimately entail their closing down if it were allowed to continue, they got very little sympathy from Deputy McGilligan, because Deputy McGilligan regards them—I think it is on the official records of this House — as Irish racketeers, simply because they are Irish people——

No, but because they were racketeers.

—— producing a good commodity in this country. Although Deputy McGilligan was assured — both himself and his colleagues in the Cabinet were assured, while they had the responsibility — that unless they would put on a tariff to stop the dumping of this Italian thread you would have 100 workers walking around unemployed in the streets of Westport, Deputy McGilligan took no action. If my information is correct, he cynically informed those concerned that he was not going to be a party to aiding what he calls the Irish racketeers. At all events, the position was allowed to continue to the point at which, when this Government took over, that firm's total capital, all they could borrow, everything they could raise to try to carry on, was all stuck there in thread and they could not sell tuppence worth, with the stockpiling of Italian thread allowed to go on by the Coalition Government. We did not allow that situation to continue and it is due to the fact that the Irish people got wise in time that Irish workers have now good employment in that factory in my constituency. I have no doubt they will remember the kind treatment meted out to them by Deputy McGilligan and his colleagues when they were in the Coalition Government.

Speaking of the Coalition Government and their policy reminds me very much of a recent best-seller by Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man of the Sea.He put off in his little boat on the coast of Mexico and he caught a fish and he was being pulled every other way through the sea for three long days and nights. Ultimately he lashedthe fish to the side of the skiff and then every shark in the Gulf of Mexico came along and had a bite out of it, with the result that when he got back to port he found that he had only a skeleton, with the exception of the head. In the same way, the people were hooked by the Coalition Government promises. They also were pulled hither and thither and a bite was taken by every shark in the nation and when we came back there was nothing left but the head — but the people used the head and got rid of them in time. I remember distinctly the day we were beaten in this House when Deputy Lemass, the present Tánaiste, indicated to the Coalition Minister for Finance and his colleagues that they were getting over a sound nation, sound financially; and he merely asked that as trustees for the nation they hand it back in the same way in which they found it. Unfortunately, they did not do so and these two Budgets have been an inevitable result of the policy pursued by them.

We have now reached the stage again when the nation's finances are getting within manageable proportions and we are getting on an even keel. There is an air of confidence and hope and stability throughout the nation and I have no doubt that inside another year we will be able to undo all the damage that was done by the Coalition Government Finance Minister the Irish people had the misfortune to have in office for those three years.

I would like this Budget debate to be standardised in the minds of the people by a contrast between the simpletonian insulting remarks Deputy Moran uttered and the realistic speech of Deputy Morrissey. Deputy Morrissey begot confidence, because he talked of things he knows about. Deputy Moran is a landowner in his county and might have given the people the benefit of the information derived from landholding. What is his commitment with regard to wheat and beet, he being a member of a Party which has a mystique about both these crops? Deputy Moran, I understand, is also a director of a bacon factory.

What has this to do with the Budget?

These professions or associations of Deputies should not be mentioned in the House.

Deputy Morrissey was referred to as an auctioneer professionally and I am retorting on the Deputy.

May I inform Deputy McGilligan that I am also a lawyer and fully employed at my profession? I do not get a minute, unlike the Deputy.

He should tell us about the Castlebar Bacon Factory of which he is a director, and where the employment rose to over 150 in our time and dropped by the same 150 in his time. I wonder how he would explain that. He tells us about his policy for decentralisation of industry and decentralisation of Government Departments. Yet the Party he supported had a scheme to spend £13,500,000 in clearing out the various houses, churches and offices around Merrion Square and to erect a new Government Buildings there, a new office for civil servants.

When that plan was killed — as even the common sense of the Party decided then to kill it—there was a scheme to develop from Kingsbridge down to Chapelizod with country walks for the citizens and to erect a new building in the Park — at again, I think, the same number of millions, £13,000,000 — in order to get both the Deputies and Senators here and the civil servants better housed. That was being done, apparently, behind his back. His influence with regard to decentralisation of Government business cannot have been very strong in those days, if the Deputy knew that was projected at the time.

He mentions one small matter in connection with the Civil Service arbitration award. I understand we will have an opportunity of debating that to-morrow at length. Let him understand this, and let his own Party understand this, that to pay the civil servants the amount of money which the arbitrator gave them, back to thedate from which he gave it to them in the award, does not require one penny piece in the way of additional taxation.

That is only if we are prepared to do what the Coalition did.

Where did you find the money for Tulyar?

Tuh, tuh, tuh, tuh, tuh.

I am sure that was gentlemanly behaviour on the part of the Minister for Finance.

It is the language he speaks. He looks at it from the hen's point of view.

I was giving the Minister for Finance time to apologise.

To Deputy Blowick.

Deputy Blowick can look after himself. He does not need you as a nursemaid.

That sort of cheapjack business of imitating a person surely is not regarded as debate. If it is, the standards have changed.

Talk about bacon factories.

If it has, I say that the standard has changed.

And lawyers' fingers itching for fees.

That business of leaning across and pretending to imitate another person's method of speech — I do not know if we are allowed that, but it has certainly extended the field of ungentlemanly behaviour for the future, if it is passed, and I take it it has been.

Your field in that regard is limitless.

The Chair did not hear any unparliamentary expression.

I am not talking about an unparliamentary expression, but of a merely vulgar way of replying to a Deputy. If the Minister likes to think that is proper in this House, hecan rest, because I do not think anybody will imitate him in that conduct.

I want to talk about the Civil Service. There is not a penny piece required to pay the Civil Service the full award back to the date the arbitrator appointed by agreement between the Government and the Civil Service staffs set. The money is there. I am told that this debt, because it is a debt, can only be met in that way if one is prepared to use certain moneys, the amounts in the carry-over moneys. They were over £2,000,000 and they rose to £2,500,000 and, I understand, to nearly £2.8 million and it is proposed this year to spend part of that money on meeting the provision for warlike stores.

It is apparently good finance to take money out of the carry-over fund of something around £2,500,000 to pay for warlike stores, which are likely to be obsolete very soon after they have been bought, and apparently it is not good finance to take something in the region of £750,000 out of it to pay a debt which is due to the Civil Service and those who are governed by Civil Service conditions, the Army, the Guards and the teachers.

It is good finance to pilfer that amount of money for one purpose, for these stores, but in the case of the servants of the State, on whom the country has depended, it is regarded as bad finance to take any part of that money for that purpose, and so the civil servants are left still immorally treated because their wages were reduced by the increase in the cost of living at a certain point, and, when they took the course proper and open to them, of going before an arbitrator, and when he gave an award, the Government refused to honour it, except from 1st April this year. That we shall, I hope, hear more of in the next couple of days.

Deputy Moran thinks that there is something bad, something which he can throw as an insinuation against me, in the fact that I took away the super-cut from the Civil Service. There is nothing in recollection which gives me greater pride than that. The super-cut was an imposition uponthe quality people in the Civil Service, and for years they had had that special imposition upon them, over and above the immoral imposition imposed on civil servants and State personnel generally, when during the war their salaries were stood still earlier than the wages standstill Order operated with regard to the community as a whole. That was done, not because the civil servants were better paid, not because there was any merit in treating them in that way, but because they were under the thumb of the State and the tyranny of the State cóuld light on them more quickly and could be continued over a longer period than was possible with regard to the industrial worker outside.

In addition to that general imposition, there was a special imposition known as the super-cut. In three years, I am glad to say, I did away with that. One-third went in our first year, and the rest in our last year, and if people are inclined to throw that as something in the way of censure of me, I should like to have the matter argued out and should like to get a chance to argue it to see what merit there is in the proposal, that the quality people of the service should be kept even worse off relatively than the multitude of the Civil Service in the lower grades. I have no apologies to make for what was done with regard to the super-cut nor has any colleague of mine. We glory in the fact that, both in regard to the university, in which again there are quality people, and in regard to the upper grades of the Civil Service who carried this State on their backs more than any other small group in the community, during the whole period when the State was being formed and going through all the vicissitudes attendant on its early years, we were able to remedy the position brought about because tyranny had worked its will upon them.

It was you fellows cut them first. The Government of which you were a member cut them first.

I am not accepting that we did, but we had an awful lot of debts to pay by reason of the lootposaling, the larceny and the arson that went on in the early years of the State.

We can talk a little about that, too.

We know that civil servants' houses were burned and that they also ranked as enemies of the Irregular State because they kept the State and maintained it. Without their efforts, we would not have the position we have to-day, bad as were the prospects for the number of years Fianna Fáil were in Government.

We have at last got one answer to the problem of unemployment debated in this House. Deputy Moran has the answer. The more unemployed there are in this country, it is his boast, the greater the confidence being displayed in the Government, so that if the unemployed go up by another 100,000 in the coming 12 months, the more confidence there will be in the Government because of that. The Deputy says that because, as he added, people are not running out of the country as they did before. They are, and in greater numbers than ever before. No deliberations by the Taoiseach in an attempt to change the statistics in that matter can hide what is so notorious in the eyes of the public — that people are flocking out of the country. The tide was at full surge during the war. People preferred to leave the peace of a neutral country and go over to the terrors of a country at war, because, war and all, conditions enticed them to the other side.

That tide was at full height during the war and then during our period, it was on the ebb. It is now at full flood again, with this added feature, that it is not merely the people from the rural areas who are flocking to the towns as their first step across to England, but people who have been well educated, people who have had the advantage of education and who should be looking forward to getting good employment at home in various professional or other occupations. They are leaving, too, despairing of this country after about 30 years of life as a State and we have got to the positionat which emigration never was higher and at which that fact is so notorious that it is only in the recesses of the House that Deputies can be got to say that the figures are wrong and the Taoiseach can be allowed to produce his faked and crooked figures to try to disprove what is notorious to every person in the countryside.

Deputy Moran accuses Deputy Blowick of arguing for a decrease in exports, and particularly agricultural exports, from this country. He asked if somebody could explain that suggestion, and I intervened to say that the suggestion was easily explained, because it was never made, and neither was it made. Deputy Blowick, however, did lament this — and it is worth while remembering what he did say— that it is a bad thing to have the amount of exports going from the country increased because the amount of those home produced articles that can be bought at home and consumed at home is not as great as it used to be because the countryside has been reduced to such a state of poverty that the people can no longer purchase what they used to purchase. That is the argument. If Deputy Blowick did base any criticism on these increased exports he put it on that footing, that while he would rejoice to see more and more production and more and more going into the export market, after our people were satisfied at home, satisfaction was no longer measured by the full purse that there was in our time but by a much diminished spending power which meant that so much of the farmers' produce could not be consumed at home and, therefore, was ready for the export market.

Some Deputies have lamented that so much time should be taken up, as the phrase was put, talking about unemployment here, talking about emigration, talking about the cost of living and talking about decreased production both in the industrial and agricultural side in certain respects, that what we should be doing was mending these matters. There has to be talk about unemployment, emigration, cost of living and the indices of production in the different aspects because these are the signs of the success of lastyear's Budget and I mean what I say — the success of last year's Budget.

When we are carrying last year's Budget in for another 12 months, you are not to accept the apologies that were made here out of courtesy to certain Deputies by Deputies speaking from these benches who said they did not believe that Deputies who voted for last year's Budget meant to produce unemployment and emigration. They did. The Budget was designed to produce these things. The Budget was an impoverishing Budget. The Budget tended to pauperise this community and the success of last year's Budget is shown in the increased figures for unemployment, the increased figures for emigration, the increase in the cost of living and the deficiency in production. The Budget would not be a success if those things had not occurred and last year's Budget carried forward for another year will not be a success in the year we are in unless it adds to the unemployment, drives more people abroad through emigration, further increases the cost of living, adds to the part-time employment, the halftime employment, the part wages instead of full wages. Unless it adds to the dearness of everything, when this life was made dearer and dearer, last year's Budget has failed, and let no member of the Party opposite, no member of the Government or satellite blink these facts.

The Minister's Budget last year was introduced with the phrase that the Government had given serious thought to one matter and they had realised that personal salaries and incomes had increased by more than the increase in the cost of living and, that case being established to the satisfaction of the Government, the Government's then policy was to cut those wages and the easiest way to cut the wages was to reduce the subsidies. When the subsidies were reduced the prices of commodities rose and these were the prices affixed to necessaries of life which people had to buy. When they did buy at a higher price they had less to spend on other goods and, if they had less to spend on other goods, the Government's anxiety about balance of payments would be,if not entirely relieved, certainly diminished.

That was the Budget of last year. It was pointed out that if that policy succeeded there would be a slump in business, there would definitely be greater unemployment; there would also necessarily be greater emigration, there was certain to be an increase in the cost of living. All these things were told last year. No matter what face was attempted to be put on that situation that was developing, that was the reality. This year we see the facts exposed and yet Deputies on that side, with their satellites, are content to carry forward this savagery for another year, although the signs are there of the success of what they did — the meant success. The country has gone through a period of steady impoverishment for 12 months. They want to continue that for another 12. It is all in the interest of the international balance and, if we can get our people from buying abroad, what matter if they do suffer, what matter if people are put out of good employment or put on half employment or are unemployed; what matter if people run across the ocean. No matter what they do, we will be piling up more millions for the future in sterling balances, even though they are year by year diminishing in value. I suppose the answer will come, as it did last year, was not that all the more reason for piling up a greater volume of these savings so as to keep at least steady the value on the diminishing return.

There was a time when unemployment was not regarded so lightly as it is now. The Tánaiste could tell us on one occasion not so long ago, in October, 1951, that our living standards might have to be reduced. His comment was that, whether that took the form of rising unemployment, or increasing emigration, higher prices or higher taxation, it would represent the defeat of all our hopes for the future of our country. That was said to an outside audience — increased unemployment, increased costs, high prices, high taxation — those things represent the defeat of all our hopes for the future of the country.

We have had them all this last year.We are going to have them all again by the continuance of last year's cruelty on the people. Is there a word in this House about the defeat of all our hopes for the future of our country? That comes from the man who, years ago, could tell us that you could get an immediate solution for unemployment in this country — an immediate solution. He said in the Dáil that the one thing he had concluded about unemployemnt in this country was that there was no necessity for any unemployment at all, and so sure was he of that that he was not content to have that recorded in the Dáil Debates, he wrote it in articles for a Fianna Fáil paper. The one thing certain about unemployment was that there should be no unemployment in this country; there was no necessity for a single person to be unemployed.

The Taoiseach backed that. The Taoiseach told us that, not merely could unemployment be prevented, but this country had a remedy staring it in the face that no other country had. All it had to do was to apply the remedy and unemployment was whisked out of this country in a twelvemonth. We went further than that — these old phrases sound rather ironical at the moment — but, you remember, we were to bring back all the migrants over the years and when we had brought back all the emigrants there would still be jobs to spare for all the people in the country and for the returned emigrants. In a high burst of enthusiasm, the Taoiseach thought he could get this country back to the population numbers of the Famine period. We were going to have 8,000,000 people as our population, properly sustained and all being provided with gainful occupation in the country.

Now we have got to the point where the Taoiseach tells us that he has not completely stopped emigration and he has not completely provided for all the unemployed. Those phrases must sound cynical to, say, the 84,000 unemployed recorded for April, 1953 — an increase of almost 30,000 over the number that were unemployed in April, 1951. I suggest that unemployment is the test of the success of lastyear's Budget. Realise how great the success is. The figures I have quoted can be phrased in this way — the 54,000 of April, 1951, represented the smallest number of unemployed ever in the history of this State. In contrast to that, the 84,000 recorded in April this year represents, outside the war years, the greatest number of unemployed in the country. In two years what a magnificent change from a record low after the war years to a record high in connection with unemployment. That occurs at a time when emigration which was running at 17,900 had gone to 34,000, and we know that there are about 5,000 people extra taken into the Army who would presumably have been either emigrants swelling that tide or joining the ranks of the unemployed, putting that record figure higher still.

Deputy Moran was anxious about the cost of living. As far as the essential items are concerned, the mid-February figure of 1948 was 99; it remained at 99 the next year; it rose to 100 in 1950; it went to 103 in 1951; it is 123 now, a rise of 20 points in two years. For the food items by themselves the index figure ran at 97 in mid-February, 1948; it ran to that figure in 1949 in the same period; it went up to 98 in 1950; it remained at 98 in 1951; it is now 122, the mid-February figure this year. These are the substantial victories that the Minister has won over the community because that is part of the Budget of last year and part of the continuation of the policy still involved in the Budget this year.

Will that be accepted? What was the Minister's theme last year? The people were too well off; their salaries and their incomes had risen by more than the increase in the cost of living and, therefore, they could suffer a cut. It would be completely impolitic to have wages cut and, therefore, the only thing to do was to cut the purchasing power of the wages and the easiest way to do that was to reduce in some cases and to take away in other cases the food subsidies. What was the purpose of that?

We were often asked last year did we think any Minister would subjecthimself to such unpopularity as merely to cut people's wages, because that was the effect of what was done, without there being a purpose? We know what the purpose was and that the Minister explained that their consuming anxiety last year was the balance of payments. We told him that the balance of payments would rectify itself, ‘that the terms of trade would turn in our favour, that agricultural exports, particularly cattle, were increasing, and that there was nothing in the future to cause any anxiety. We tried to explain when exports rose to the £100,000,000 mark that they never reached that point before, and that the terms of trade would turn in our favour. We said that there was no reason for the Minister to accept that as a base for the savagery he perpretrated last year. Remember what the theory was, and that the practice has worked out according to the theory. According to the Minister, the people should be reduced in their standard of living because it was that standard that was calling for these imports across the sea and that was causing the consuming anxiety and that the one way to stop that was to take from the people the money they had, or to reduce the purchasing power or the spending power of whatever their salaries or wages brought into them.

Is it not realised by everybody that if you reduce the people's wages or if you cut down their spending power there will be less call not merely for imports but for the goods in the shops and less call for production? If the shops are not as well filled with customers as they were before and are not calling on the manufactures there is bound to be unemployment in factories and in shops. It has all happened as it was shown it must happen. It all happened as it was intended to happen. The impoverishment of the Budget went on during the year and we are asked to accept it as being no change. The impoverishment is to be continued for another 12 months with all the painful repercussions on the domestic life and the happiness of the people, the breaking down of family life by driving people to England or to America, and with the reduced capacityof whatever productive machinery we have as the goods supplied are not bought in the quantity they used to be by the people at home.

When Deputy Blowick laments that there are more exports because the impoverishment of the people did not permit them to buy as much as they used, that is made out by Deputy Moran to be a policy of closing down on exports, a thing that Deputy Blowick neither said nor was understood to say and that he never meant.

I have given this standard before and I want to repeat it again in this House. We are told that there is one thing every Party is united upon and that is to get rid of Partition, to bring back to unity with us the Six Counties of the North. Let us see how we have treated the three Ulster counties we have left. In 1936, the population of Cavan was 76,000; Donegal, 142,000 Monaghan, 61,000. The combined number of men, women and children in the three Ulster counties left to us was 280,000. The Taoiseach and the Fianna Fáil Party have scattered out of this country more than the entire population of men, women and children in the three Ulster counties left to us.

Tell us what it was in 1951 when you had your way.

The Minister will have an opportunity to reply. Let him give us the figures. I am speaking of the people who were not merely to stop emigration but to bring back the emigrants and, when they brought back the emigrants, there would be so many jobs that there would not be an unemployed person in this country. That was the theory and that was the promise. But in that period Fianna Fáil have scattered out of this country more than the entire population of men, women and children in Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal. As a matter of fact, according to the last figures I saw, they could add half the population of Leitrim to the figures for those three counties. That is supposed to be victory over circumstances.

That is surely serious enough to have attention directed to it and to have a policy moulded for the prevention of it. Last year it was decided to impoverish the people. We know thatthere was a tradition of emigration to America started by the famine and another tradition of emigration to England started by Fianna Fáil and with these two streams already full we had a deliberate policy of pauperising the people started last year and continued this year and, apparently, we are to neglect the natural consequences in the nature of both emigration and unemployment.

A week ago I read in a Donegal paper a lament of one of the northern bishops. He entered what used to be described as the thriving area of Culdaff in Donegal and he pointed out that over five years there had been a certain very limited number of marriages contracted in that area and of those who had married more than two-thirds had emigrated and one was left with one-third of that number as representing the new families founded in the area of Culdaff per year over a five-year period. The average was three per year over that five-year period. The bishop, having drawn attention to these figures, commented that Culdaff would soon be a deserted area.

That that is not peculiar to Donegal was brought to mind the following week when a bishop travelling his diocese in Cork on confirmation services lamented in each parish he visited the disappearance of the people, and gave as an example of what the future held, the fact that where national schools used to be overcrowded at one time and there was talk of congested areas, a particular school now had not enough pupils and there was talk of coalescing that particular school with another in the same neighbourhood. As he travelled his diocese, time and again he spoke in the same terms as that northern bishop of the lack of marriages, of the fact that young people were no longer about and of the fact that children were not being born; and he repeated the phrase that there would soon be areas in what used to be regarded as a very industrious and highly-skilled community in County Cork in which there would be nothing left but desolation and the condition of a desert.

Yet, it is thought that we are playingpolitics when we speak about unemployment and emigration and point to these things as having flowed from last year's Budget and insist, as we insisted a year ago, that these are necessary accompaniments of the financial proposals last year. If these are maintained in their severity during another 12 months the situation this time next year will be even worse than it is now.

The Taoiseach, who used to be grieved over unemployment and who had a plan to remove unemployment in a twinkling, has now reached the point that when a group of members from the Dublin County Council asked to have a deputation received, having passed a resolution requesting the Taoiseach to receive a deputation to discuss unemployment, he will not now receive a deputation: no useful purpose could be served by receiving such a deputation. We have apparently got to the point where the Taoiseach is afraid to meet people to discuss unemployment. Perhaps he feels he might be reminded of the plans he once had. Perhaps he feels he may be asked to put these plans into operation to relieve the anxieties of the Dublin County Council.

I listened to the Taoiseach in 1947; it was quite clear in that year that we were at the end of a régime. We are even closer to it now. The Taoiseach was challenged here on his own Estimate with two things: one was emigration and the other was the decay and the decaying position of agriculture. As regards emigration he said, adopting the phrase that runs so smoothly from the lips of the man who is now Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, that this was an adventurous people and some people would go abroad no matter what one did; but he did not attempt to explain it on the ground of the pioneering or the adventurous spirit breaking new ground. He said that if anybody had a plan they, the Government, would be very glad to have it. He, at one time, was going to bring back all the emigrants and have a population of 8,000,000 people with no unemployment. When it was pointed out to him that so long as agriculture was languishing in the countrythere could not be any prosperity and there would be, as an accompaniment to that, emigration and unemployment he looked across at these benches and said: "We have done our best and we have failed. If any of you can give us any plans for agriculture, we will be glad to consider them." After 15 years' control of this community all we could get from the Taoiseach was: "If you have a plan about emigration, I will take it from you and try to put it into effect". On agriculture, all we could get was: "If any of you over there has a plan, tell me about it. We have tried everything".

The situation was then as was disclosed in the debate in 1947. After that exhibition of failure, and that was a complete confession of failure, we had just about a month before the Supplementary Budget was introduced bringing impositions that the people disliked, and disliked to the point of showing their disapproval in no uncertain terms in the general election of 1948. We argued against these impositions here in the House and throughout our constituencies, but there was no way out of them just then. But in 1948 we were in a position to do something and the phrase Deputy Morrissey quoted to-day will bring the matter before the recollection of the House: the inter-Party Government early in 1948, and before the Budget of that year was introduced had, by emergency powers Order, removed £6,000,000 of the impositions that had been put upon the people by the Fianna Fáil Government and we were able to carry on the community without these impositions and without reducing subsidies. We made life better and we made life happier for the people. We got industry going and we put agriculture on a better footing. We had more people in employment and less unemployed. We reduced the stream of emigration to a trickle. That was supposed to be impossible, but we did it.

To-day we are back in the position in which we found ourselves in 1947 and once more, after last year's hardships, the people are anxious for a change. If there is one subject that is not popular here, second to unemploymentand emigration, I suppose, it is that of a general election. There was a time when an appeal to the electorate was favoured by Fianna Fáil. There was a time when the constituents had their say and we were told about the voice of the people and what the voice of the people proclaimed. Now, according to the Minister for Finance, the voice of the people sent back here by a record vote Deputy Alderman Tom Byrne, and we are told that it was the rabble and the mob that spoke in Dublin. Circumstances alter cases. It is the rabble and the mob that is in control when Senator Andy Clarkin meets the greatest, up to that point, defeat any Fianna Fáil candidate ever met.

Deputies laugh here when byelections are mentioned and say that our hopes are falsified often before in relation to elections. Possibly. Why do they not accept the signs brought back by the rather peculiar dove that was sent out, Deputy Matthew O'Reilly; he says that he has gone through the countryside and everybody welcomes the present Budget.

That is a positive fact.

Is not this the time to cash in on that? Is not this the time to take advantage of that favourable circumstance? Why not test it out quickly in a nearby constituency like Wicklow? I suppose the Government has despaired of doing anything in Cork. Test it out in both places and let us see will the returns show what North-West Dublin and the National University showed in the last two opportunities the people got to demonstrate exactly what they thought of last year's Budget, of the people who had manipulated it and of the satellites who had voted for it.

We were told that the people had shown their confidence in the present Government this year by, firstly, deciding to save and, secondly, by investing that saving in the National Loan at 5 per cent. Deputy Norton put the correct phrase on the first of these two misinterpretations. He said he had no doubt — and I agree with him — that there had been considerablethrift in the community last year but, as he described it, it was the thrift of poverty. Nobody can pretend that there was an effort by people to save because they wanted to invest and because they thought investment was worth while. There were people, of course, who thought that a 5 per cent. investment, together with additional benefits, was worth while last year and there are people who would jump at the chance again if they got it. If the 5 per cent. becomes 5½ per cent. and then becomes 6 per cent., they will get more support from certain people, but it is the community as a whole which has to face the burden imposed to cover these investments.

During the year, and not so far away from us in one case, two loans that could be put in contrast with national loans here emerged. In Jamaica, they went for a loan and offered 4¼ per cent. for an issue at 97½. On that basis the yield was about £4 7s. per cent. For that £2,000,000 loan on which there was a return of £4 7s. there was £26,000,000 subscribed. In the North of Ireland recently a loan was floated for a few million pounds. It was floated at 99 and 4¼ per cent. was offered. While it is not officially disclosed, the financial journals said it was well known that the amount that was subscribed was 20 times what was sought. In the North of Ireland they can get 20 times the amount of money they want for a return of 4¼ per cent. issued at 99. In Jamaica they can get more than 20 times what they look for on an issue which gives £4 7s. We have to offer 5 per cent. here and in addition to the 5 per cent. we have to offer other advantages in regard to estate duty; then this is regarded as a feather in the Minister's cap if that issue is oversubscribed to a certain degree. That is the menace that is ahead of us this year. The Minister will be looking for a large amount of money. As far as the last loan at 5 per cent. is concerned, it has been bobbing around between 103 and 104, a premium of between three and four points. What he will inflict on the community this year nobody knows but it is going to be worse than Jamaica and a good deal out of comparison with whathappened in Northern Ireland, and I take these as only two of many loans that have been issued since the Minister went to the market offering 5 per cent.

We are told that agriculture is so well off in this country that stimulus cannot be given to it by way of reduced taxation. I hope the farmer Deputies remember what has been said because the farmer Deputies will certainly hear of it throughout the country. Taxation lies so lightly on the land that the Minister cannot exercise his power to grant any remission, and that at a time when the statistical returns show that 78,000 people have fled from the land, either members of farmers' families or labourers on the land.

In the last six years 78,000 people have fled from the land and the census discloses that there are fewer young people in the country and, in particular, that there are fewer young people being maintained on the land. The Minister has no hope for these people. Taxation lies so lightly on the land that the landowner or the worker on the land cannot be benefited. All he can say is: let the children come to the towns and let the members of the farmer's family who used to work on the land clear off somewhere else. Let the farm labourer find work in the town if he can; but unemployment is rife and if they cannot get it there they can always clear to England.

The Taoiseach, of course, will be grieved, as he was in America years ago, to see the young people leaving the land and leaving the country. Now when they are pouring out in their thousands, having suffered some period of unemployment in the cities here, all the Minister says is: "You are so lightly taxed that I cannot relieve you". "Taxation lies so lightly on the land"—was there ever a more dishonest statement than that uttered so hypocritically by any person in control of a nation's finances? It bears no relation to the circumstances. The farming community in this country may not have the same amount of direct taxation imposed on them as the townspeople but I do not believe that anyone realises or that any mind has properly conceived the harm done tothe people of this country during the economic war.


Hear, hear!

They were flattened and the Government that allowed that war to continue made a trade agreement with England at that time which they would not have dared to make unless they were at the very last gasp and the farming community were to be saved from utter destruction. That trade agreement had to be signed under the worst duress that ever existed in regard to a trade agreement. But it was the duress and the circumstances which an unthinking group in the Government had brought upon the country. If the country community are lightly taxed it is well to think back over 25 years and remember what happened. As the phrase goes "they were in the front line trenches"; they suffered and the whole community suffered through their suffering. Nobody remembering those circumstances would ever think of imposing direct taxation upon the farmers of the community, but we know such plans are made. Sometime ago in the Seanad Senator Quirke said he thought — he did not think it up himself, I am sure — it would not be a bad idea to tax cattle exports. Senator Quirke, Leader of the Fianna Fáil Party in the Seanad, does not suddenly get a rush of brains through the head like that. That was the plan that had been talked of. The only thing was that the Senator let the people know a little bit too early, and the reaction was so violent that the plan was postponed. I doubt if it has been entirely forgotten.

We now see the results of last year. A Government that has done what is completely unpopular, if it is courageous, may test the matter at an election. If it is cowardly — and this Government is so — it hides and runs away. I do not know when a member of the Government or indeed when any member of the Government Party has spoken in public in the last 12 months. I have no recollection of a public meeting, to which Fianna Fáil were so prone, being held at which Ministers or their supportershave taken the opportunity to explain to the people what they meant by last year's Budget and what the reality of it was. We have had the subterfuge of members of the Government going off to various dinners held by different professional associations. They there impose upon a mixed group their own political views because they know the courtesy of the members who attend these celebrations will not permit of the interruptions that ordinarily would come and certainly would come at a public meeting. From these banqueting halls Ministers have preached to the community about the necessity for bearing hardship, for fortitude, for courage, for strength in adversity, and they then slink back to Government Buildings until there is another ceremonial dinner where they can have peace and quietude and not the interruptions they would get at an ordinary meeting. They avoid the public. They are avoiding the public in the by-election as long at they can. If there is one thing that appears to be quite certain in this House it is that the Government will not go to a general election until it is kicked there.

Then we have suppression in all its moods attempted. The civil servants whose case we shall be debating in a day or two, were asked by the Minister to sign a document that they were not going to engage in what he called political agitation. That is because the civil servants had made such a good statement of their case through the public Press, that the Minister felt that that had to be suppressed, as it could not be answered. There was a scheme for arbitration for teachers. The Minister comes after that to impose on the teachers a condition. The condition, in connection with the right of association, is one that no trade unionist would stand for because it attacks a right that they won through the centuries. It has been proposed to the teachers that if any teacher member of the I.N.T.O. goes to court to establish before the court his legal rights, then if the I.N.T.O. by their funds support that teacher, all question of arbitration for teachers is over. That is the latest form of petty tyranny that is being attempted against theteachers. We know with regard to the Hierarchy what happened recently.

Is the Deputy going to be permitted to discuss this?

I shall merely mention it as one of the efforts to stop things getting out. I think it is an appalling business that when the Hierarchy, in view of their teaching office, decided to tell the Government in what points the health proposals were contrary to Catholic teaching and when the Taoiseach climbed into a motor-car to go across the Border, as he did — and possibly one of these days we shall hear where he went to after he came back from seeing the Cardinal, what company, not exactly of the Cardinal's type, he kept that night——

The Deputy in dealing with these matters is establishing a precedent that every other Deputy will try to follow.

With respect I do not agree. I want to make this point. I am pointing out that the Government has reached a point of unpopularity where it cannot face the people. It is worse than that. They must suppress documents that come and are of value to the people. They suppress amongst other things the Hierarchy's message to the people.

The Deputy is now entering on matters which are not relevant.

With respect this is finance, and the financial situation has brought this before the House. Deputies on the other side know that they have been avoiding their constituents for months. They know that there are certain things that they cannot have argued openly. They know that, apart from argument, there are certain things that they cannot announce to the people and that these must be suppressed. Their suppression has been successful so far, but that cannot be so entirely.

All this Budget comes to is this, that this country took the wrong turning some years ago and opted for a materialist type of State. The old idealism was lost to view, that this country could have a culture of its own, that that culture would break out in ways that were not modelled on other countries, that we could have looked to for a model in our history. Yet we have fallen into the habit of looking to England for a model in everything and we opted for materialism. Have we gained very much by that option? Would it not be far better to have tried to mark out a standard of our own? Was there not a way of life in this country that might have been permitted to develop on different lines to what there is in other States? Could we not have advanced better along that different line? In any event can we say that when we took the materialist model that we have made a success of it? We tried to ape the welfare State in England, but we are not concerned with the mistakes made over there, the mistakes that have been shown up over and over again.

We have opted for a false materialism again this year and it has not paid. Years ago the warning was given that if bureaucracy got control, if the bureaucratic State was established, then power was given to the bureaucrats. The subsidies were an example. The subsidies were here an attempt to meet the people when it was said that prices, profits, wages and salaries would all be stood still at the same point and the Government's method of trying to keep prices down was to give subsidies. It was the wrong way. It would have been far better to have allowed wages to rise and to have allowed the people to exercise their own choice as to how they would use their purchasing power. We took that turn at the time of the war. Last year, when it occurred to the bureaucrats to say that the people were too well off, then by one piece of legislation of this House, the subsidies could disappear in whole or in part. If wages had been allowed to rise, no Minister for Finance could come to this House and back a campaign to reduce wages. In any event there was industrial activityto oppose any reduction in wages but when you live in a bureaucratic State then the bureaucrats have power and the use they make of that power was shown last year. We did what we could to warn the people of the results of the exercise of that power. We failed to convince the people and now the proofs are here.

Let me end as I began. Last year's Budget was intended to pauperise the community. It is now shown to have had that effect and yet we are asked to continue it for another 12 months. Deputy O'Reilly thinks that people are quite happy and Deputies apparently think that they have got to be happy about it because things have not gone otherwise. Are they not aware that these conditions are progressive and that the tendency must be downwards? If the present Government lasts for another year, by this time next year we shall have more unemployed to think of and greater emigration, bleeding the lifeblood out of this country. We shall have probably next year a higher cost of living and we shall have the whole area of impoverishment in the country increased. Do not forget the proof that one of the Government Departments gave us of the increased pauperisation this year.

The White Paper on health has told us that out of the 3,000,000 population, 1,000,000, one-third of the people are at such a level that by their own natural industry or other lawful means they cannot provide their own essential medical services. They are on what used to be called the pauper level — 1,000,000 of our people. There is another 1,000,000, we are told, in what are called the middle income group. The middle income group comprises those people whose maximum family earnings amount to £600. The £ to-day as a purchasing power is very much reduced. The equivalent on the 1939 standard of to-day's £ is 8/-. That means that the equivalent of the £600 man to-day in 1939 was the £240 per year man — less than £5 per week. We have 1,000,000 on the destitution line and we have nearly another 1,000,000 on earnings that do not reach even the 1939 £5 per week. These are the blessings of materialism and that is whatlast year's Budget has brought to us.

My contribution to this debate will be very brief. As a young Deputy, I would like to say that it is rather intimidating to have to speak, especially after such a brilliant orator as Deputy McGilligan, but I feel that, as an Independent Deputy in this House, it is my duty, in the limited way I can, to let the people know the true position, because for the last three weeks we have been listening to a spate of humbug and hypocrisy about the conditions which face this country in the future. I listened to and read the speeches of the various Deputies on both sides of the House. I was struck with one very important aspect of these speeches, and that was the frequent recourse to quotations by members of this House — quotations from speeches made, perhaps, 25 of 27 years ago. From the Opposition Benches I heard quoted what Deputy MacEntee said about emigration in 1932-33. Likewise from the Fianna Fáil Benches, I heard quotations that Deputy Dillon made in 1936 or 1937.

When we come to think of it this is a young State. It is little over 30 years since the amount of freedom we have now was obtained and I am beginning to wonder what quotations would be made if our freedom extended back to the time of Brian Boru. I have no doubt whatever that if this State was formed 1,000 years ago, some day — perhaps, this week — we would find a Deputy strolling in here with a Dáil Debate quoting therefrom a speech of Brian Boru. To my mind, we are just playing with a serious issue. Deputy Morrissey stated that the position is serious and I agree with him.

I listened carefully to the Opposition in the hope that I would see some ray of hope or some plan put forward by them in order to remedy the situation. I heard Deputy McGilligan criticise the Taoiseach and quoting him as saying that he admitted that he had no plan to end emigration. That is pitiful but I would like to know, as an Independant Deputy, what plan Deputy McGilligan has to end emigration. There has been an appeal from thechief Opposition Party in this House to the present Government to go to the country. They spent weeks describing the serious situation that exists— and I for one do not deny that a serious situation exists — but then they were asked — and rightly so — had they got a plan or measures in mind by which they could change the situation, had they some magic wand or a policy that would bring about an easing of emigration and an end to unemployment.

The way I look at the matter is this. If we compare this State to a ship and compare the political Parties to the crews that might be on that ship and if we find that the engines of that ship are antiquated, out of date and of no use, it does not matter, as far as I am concerned, what captain and crew are in charge of that ship they are going to find it difficult to reach their destination and steer the ship properly. If the engine of the State — in other words, the financial system — is outmoded and antiquated, no matter whether it is the Fianna Fáil skipper and his crew who are in charge of that ship or whether it is a Fine Gael skipper and a crew composed of varied classes, they can make no appreciable change because it is necessary to scrap the engines and put in new ones that will do the job. It is essential that there should be no tinkering with the engines or no messing about and deluding the people that if a money market was set up in Dublin it would solve the present financial crisis. Power should be taken in the State over our finances and the State should have power to create credit so that first-class schemes of development could be undertaken in the shortest possible space of time.

I do not agree with those people who suggest that a big development programme can be financed or undertaken out of taxation or on loans, either. We must create the credit in order to get ahead with large-scale development works such as afforestation and the development in a big way of our resources such as Bord na Móna and hydro schemes. I speak completely as an Independent Deputy and I know that what I say will be unpopular withpeople on both sides of the House, but I think somebody must say it.

Anybody listening to the Opposition would think that for the three years they had the power to guide this country they had remedied the unemployment position, solved the emigration problem and provided a first-class policy for the rejuvenation of our agriculture. Anybody listening to them would think that was the position. The real position is that those problems have been there for the last 30 years. An effort was made by Fianna Fáil to solve it. A like effort was made by the inter-Party Government, but neither of them made the right type of serious effort. They tinkered about with the financial machinery at their disposal and failed to remedy these problems or to improve the situation.

I suggested before now that it is up to the people themselves to make up their minds. I was the first person, on the change of Government, who said that it was putting out tweedledum to put in tweedledee. There was a lot of talk about emigration in the last five years. Let us take the census period from 1946 to 1951. During that period Fianna Fáil were in office and then the inter-Party Government were in office. The figures for emigration during those five years exceeded the emigration figures for any ten-year period since the State was founded. More people left the country in those five years under both Governments than left it in any ten-year period prior to that. If that is not tweedledum and tweedledee, I do not know what it is.

I heard criticism from Fianna Fáil about the closing down of turf schemes, especially in the West of Ireland. What is the position? I do not want to extend this debate except to say that in 1948 a decision was taken, whether it was taken by Fianna Fáil before they left office or by the inter-Party Government does not matter. At any rate, a large number of bogs in the West of Ireland were closed down.

The inter-Party Government said they were not responsible for that: that the decision was made by their predecessors. That was no excuse,because if they were genuine about turf development they would have reversed this decision and reopened those bogs. I personally take credit for being responsible for having at least 50 per cent. of these bogs reopened. That was in 1948. There was a number of these bogs giving first-class employment, keeping more men from emigrating, keeping out coal and they were closed down. Fianna Fáil went to the country on it and had great fun abusing the inter-Party Government. What happened this year? We find that the bogs which were producing semi-automatic-won turf are closed down in my constituency, and closed down in Tipperary, Galway and Mayo.

And in Kerry.

And in the County Kerry. There we have one crowd talking about unemployment and abusing the other crowd. Those on both sides of this House must accept responsibility for a reduction in the turf campaign.

Let me now take a subject that was mentioned in this debate. I refer to barley growing. In my constituency, and in other constituencies contracts have been signed by the maltsters with farmers over a number of years. This year, the contract acreage by the distillers has been halved. In other words, the farmer who had a contract for five acres of barley last year only got a contract this year for two and a half acres. That spells less tillage, less barley, less grain for making whiskey, and less whiskey in seven years' time.

What is the position with regard to whiskey? Scotland exported £32,500,000 worth of whiskey within the last 12 months. The export of Irish whiskey, in the same period, was less than £500,000 worth. There can be no question, and no contradiction of the fact that Irish whiskey is far ahead of Scotch whiskey. All that we want to correct that position is proper encouragement, good salesmanship and a bit of courage. But, let us see what both Governments did. During the inter-Party régime, from the information given to me at any rate, the inter-Party people met the distillers and said to them: "We want dollars; whynot go ahead and develop the whiskey trade?" I will not mention the names of the people involved, but some of them went to the then Government and told them: "We are doing all right as we are." That is all that was done about it.

The present Government has been asked, on numerous occasions, to call on the distillers and ask them if they feel that they have a responsibility to this nation. One of the finest ways of bringing in dollars, and at the same time giving employment to our people at home—no one can deny it—is the growing of crops of malting barley. It means employment on the farm for workers; it means barley grain for the distillers; it means that the residue of the grain will go back to the farmer for feeding purposes, and it means employment in the factories for the workers engaged in that industry. It means, too, that the export of the whiskey will bring dollars into the country. It would provide a perfect cycle for increasing our agricultural output, and yet there is nothing being done about it. Could I be expected as an independent Deputy to throw bouquets either at the inter-Party Government or at this Government in view of their failure to do anything to improve our position in this respect?

Since I became a member of the House I have been chiefly concerned with the conditions that exist in the West of Ireland. I am going to say, without putting a tooth on it that during the three and a half years the inter-Party Government were in office I was sick and tired begging them to do something about the conditions that exist in the West. God knows, I abused and criticised Fianna Fáil long enough before I became a member of this House on their slowness in developing in the West any industrial expansion, afforestation and, in particular, land division. I still criticise them, but I found very little help or encouragement from the inter-Party group when they were in office in remedying the conditions that exist there.

Three years ago, at a sitting of the Land Commission Court in Galway a commissioner who has since retired from the Land Commission, a responsibleman who knew what he was speaking about, said publicly at that court that it was a tragedy that, within the last few years, 100,000 acres of the finest land in Ireland had passed into the hands of aliens. Yet, in the five counties of Connaught, and in the three other counties that are considered to be congested areas — Kerry, Clare and Donegal — we have a total of 55,000 holdings under a valuation of £4. Anybody who knows anything about rural Ireland is well aware that a farm of land, in order to be considered economic, must have a least a valuation of £13 10s. before it can be said to be an economic holding. To my mind, even at that valuation it is not economic, but the fact is that you have 55,000 holdings in the West of Ireland under a £4 valuation. Where is employment to be found for the people who are living on these holdings? We have been told by Deputy Moran and other Deputies that the Government has given an extra grant for the repair of roads for tourists in these areas. How can anybody suggest that that is going to solve the unemployment there? There is not, and there cannot be, work the whole year round on the roads. There will not be work for one-third of the men seeking work.

Is there any alternative? There is an alternative. We talk about the Gaeltacht and all that is being done now for it, about the setting up of a special body under the control of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Government, Deputy Lynch. But what is going to be done for the Gaeltacht? We have pious mouthings about the revival of the Irish language. Is it over in Manchester or in Liverpool it is going to be revived, because these are the only places where I can see it is to be revived, or else in New York. I want work for these people. I want to see the language revived, but as far as the Gaeltacht is concerned, I put first the livelihood of those who are living in the Gaeltacht areas.

Is there any solutions to the problems that exist in the West of Ireland —in Galway, Roscommon, Mayo, etc.? There is a solution, a long-term one, that should have been tackled longago, and that is afforestation. It would provide first-class employment and wealth for the country. It will take money to do that. We will have to get money and put it into afforestation, because it is one of the soundest ways in which the unemployment problem can be tackled in these areas.

We hear a lot of talk about starting industries under the Undeveloped Areas Act which was passed some 12 or 18 months ago. I do not want to be impatient, as regards results under that act, but so far, in my constituency at any rate and in other constituencies in the West, the thing does not exist. The trouble is that both this Government and the previous Government are too fond of depending on private enterprise, too fond of depending on "the dog eat dog merchant and let the strong man come on top". If there is a problem of emigration and unemployment in those areas it is the duty of the State to interfere. If private enterprise fails to fulfil its responsibility by providing employment then the State must step in and do it. You can call that what you like.

This country is facing the stark facts of unemployment and emigration. These problems are not going to be solved by an election. I wonder what do the Government and the Opposition think is going to happen if peace is established in Korea, if the tension is eased in Europe and if the ammunition drive in England and in America is slowed up especially in Britain? What do they think is going to happen to the boys and girls we have in Britain? They will be back here and will add to the crowds that are already queueing up at the labour exchanges. Have they any long-term policy to meet the emergency that will exist in this country when these people return?

To be quite frank about it, I am in thorough agreement with the chief Opposition Parties when they say that the situation is serious. I think it is grave. As an Independent Deputy in this House, I am asking them what they propose as a remedy or as a solution for it. The people of this country have the right to know what the policyof any group is which they may decide to give power to. There is no use, in this House or outside of it, asking for a blank cheque from the people in the form "Put them out; trust us and everything will be right." Let them declare their policies and then perhaps they will have plenty of friends to support them.

In conclusion, I should like to say briefly that our biggest export trade to-day is not cattle or any other agricultural product but men and women. We seem to look upon it as an export trade. No matter how we may speak in this House, and deplore emigration, it cannot be denied that for the past 30 years emigration has, to a great extent, solved every Government's problem of unemployment in this country. In other words, when a situation gets serious and when the pot is about to boil over, lift the lid and let the steam off — open the ports and let them out. The fact that the British are prepared to give work and did give work — whether or not they were anxious to do so — to Irishmen and women, to a great extent solved the problems of this country in the past.

Even up to the present moment, the chief Opposition Party should declare whether or not they are willing to make serious changes in our financial system. Until they make that declaration we cannot know what they hope or intend to do if returned to office.

My position as an Independent is that I have repeatedly asked the present Government to go ahead with schemes of expansion of Bord na Móna. I will not ask them to-night to remove some of the people in it but I will, on another occasion. I have asked the present Government to take active steps with regard to the barley industry so that, maybe in seven years' time, we can increase our whiskey exports. I have criticised the present Government's attitude towards the development of afforestation. I have got nowhere.

I am not a supporter of Fianna Fáil and I am voting against this Budget. In doing so, I want to make it quite clear that I am not associating myself with any group on the Opposition Benches — and I will not, until I seewhat their policy will be if returned to power. Let me put it this way. I vote as an Independent member of this House. The fact that I will vote against this Budget does not mean that I believe that some Party on my left has a remedy. However, so long as I am an Independent member of this House I will vote — even if it were to happen every six months — to put out every Government until I see a Government in office which will have the real interests of the people at heart and which will have the courage to put a policy into operation that will solve some of the evils which exist in our economy. I am not afraid to face an election even if it be every six months and I am willing to do so until I see such a Government in power.

I want to make a short contribution to this debate. I can assure the House that I will not follow the lines of a Deputy who spoke here last night and who, instead of keeping to the Financial Motion, was abusive in style. I am a new Deputy, but I feel that the type of abuse we heard last night from the Deputy in question is responsible for lowering the prestige and dignity of this House.

I declared last year, when speaking on the Budget which the Minister then introduced, that I would not go into high finance. My excuse was that I knew nothing about it. My knowledge of high finance is still the very same. However, I know one thing, and that is that no matter how baffling the figures may appear to be, there is one type of finance which the ordinary man in the street understands and that is how much he can earn — if allowed to earn it — and how much of what he earns must be spent on providing the necessaries of life for himself, his wife and his family, if he is blessed with one.

Last year's Budget was described in this House and outside it as a hardship and a cruel Budget. We were told by the Minister that he was compelled to introduce that Budget because of the squandermania of his predecessors in office. I have been listening sin this House to a recitation of the so-called good results which have been achieved during the year as aresult of the harsh impositions inflicted upon our people but, nevertheless, we are to have a continuation in the coming year of the self-same hardships. We are told that they must continue simply and solely to implement two or three schemes which I hold this country could very well do without — at least until the financial position, which we are told is bad, would be relieved in some way. First I come to the Financial Resolution in connection with the Army. It may not be very popular to attack that Resolution in this House. I feel that we must have an Army — an Army of certain dimensions. However, I cannot relish the idea of members on the Opposition side of the House saying that the sole reason for that extra £1,500,000 in the coming year is to equip an Army to prevent an invasion, should it ever come. Undoubtedly, that is a great and a grand ideal. The ideal of every Irishman is to defend his country.

I wonder if the men who intend to levy that £1,500,000 on the people by way of taxation for the sole purpose of preventing an invasion of this country have forgotten that this country has been invaded for the past 700 years and that at this very moment the remnants of an invading army are nesting quite snugly in the six northeastern counties of our country. Will any Minister or Deputy in this House say that we should employ our Army to put them out? On that point, if ever our country should be invaded, it will be due and solely due to the fact that the remnants of an invading army are still clinging to our six northeastern counties.

Hear, hear!

I am not too well versed in the procedure of the House but, as it was referred to here last night, perhaps I might be allowed to refer to the Money Resolution for the Health Bill. I believe that the Minister has to include provision for it in this year's Budget. I believe that when that Resolution came into the House, it did not get the consideration which it should have got. I positively believe that Deputies coming in toconsider that Resolution should have come in, not as the members of a Party but as the representatives of the people who will have to pay very dearly for that Bill.

The Health Bill is not before the House and cannot be discussed.

I am not speaking on the Health Bill but on the Resolution. It was spoken of last night by several members and that is why I say I believe the Minister for Finance had to make provision for it in the Budget.

It does not arise on this Financial Resolution and that was pointed out to the Deputy who referred to it last night.

I would say this much on it before I go on——

It is not in order to discuss the Money Resolution or the Health Bill.

Very well, I accept your ruling. There is one thing which has been referred to in all these debates, the question of unemployment. Whilst nothing has been done to relieve it, one thing has been done during the year which has given it a fillip, the extra 2 per cent. interest which is to be charged on all borrowed moneys. That has undoubtedly retarded the housing drive and interfered with private enterprise and other industries. On the wake of unemployment comes emigration. I have said before, and will repeat, that I can never understand why it is that the moneys we have lent to England at a very low rate of interest could not be kept here to start industries which would keep our youth at home. We have the situation to-day that the very bone and sinew of the manhood and womanhood of this country are crossing over to England and going into factories there to earn the money which it is their just right to earn at home.

I must also say that I regret very much what I have seen in the paper to-day, that 300 of these boys and girls are being sent back to us eachyear, labelled no longer any good, no longer fit to work in the factories in which they have sweated out their young lives — and carrying with them that dreadful disease, tuberculosis. That is in the paper to-day for anyone to see. They are carrying their doom in their own hands, and not only their doom but the doom of the families they have to mix with when they come home.

I know another business section which has been hit very hard by the impositions in the last year's Budget and will be hit still further by the carrying on of those impositions. I am referring to the publicans. No matter what you might think of them, they carry on a legitimate trade, legalised by law and, under the closest supervision of that law. They cannot open their doors until a certain hour in the morning and must close, whether they like it or not, at a certain hour at night. I think the Minister will agree that they were the one section of business people who meant more to the revenue than some of the phantom factories which we have been told about. If I may respectfully suggest it to the Minister, if he would come down to Clare with me we could take a tour of the county.

I would be glad to do that.

We could visit the towns and villages there and the Minister would then see for himself something he does not see now. It is very hard for a man like him, living in the city, to understand rural life or see it as we see it. I heard him the other night speaking of the prosperity which is around the corner. There is no use in speaking of that prosperity to the publican, as it would only remind him, to be honest with the Minister, of that little song which comes over the radio now and again "Hey, 'round the corner". There is no need for him to go round the corner to see the "hay", because when this year is over it will be growing on his own doorstep.

Before I finish I must compliment the Minister on one thing, the tributeshe paid to our agricultural industry. I was a believer in that all my life, that it was the one and only industry which could save this country. I was very glad he gave it pride of place in his Budget speech here. There was a time when that was not the prevailing idea on the present Government side of the House. There was a time when we believed we could turn this country into an industrial country. It took a world war to educate us to the fact that no industry can be secure that has not the raw material in the country in which it is established. That is one thing we can boast of, that in agriculture we have the raw material at home. It is to be found in every little farmyard throughout the length and breadth of Ireland. What is more, whilst other countries, to get at the proceeds of their great industries, must go under the ground for miles, we have ours on the side of the land, right on the top of the ground. For that reason, I would ask the Minister and Deputies opposite, knowing now what they know about that industry, to give a push on with more vigour to the land reclamation scheme. Every acre brought back into fertility would be, as it were, an extra cog in the big wheel of that industry.

No matter what Deputies on either side may exchange in crossfire as to which Government is right and which is wrong, I honestly believe that there is only one true test of a Government and that is the contentment of the people who have to live under it. I ask the Minister now and the Deputies opposite: "Are our people to-day a contented people and, if they are not, why not?"

This Budget debate has covered practically all angles. The views expressed by Government Party Deputies are views which show full satisfaction with this year's Budget. They may have had expectations of much worse things being introduced this year and this being a standstill Budget may at least give them some satisfaction. Like other Deputies, I consider that this Budget is directly related to the Budget of 12 months ago. What was bad 12 months ago is still bad and what was a harshdecision 12 months ago still stands as a harsh decision.

Deputy McQuillan and Deputy Murphy expressed their views before me and the points of view put forward by Deputy McQuillan are undoubtedly of much importance. I intend to express views somewhat similar to his, because, like him, other Deputies, including myself, have doubts about the wisdom of some past actions in so far as present policy seems to be directly related to them. Let me remind the Taoiseach, the Minister for Finance and other members of the Government, including Independent members, that as people advance in years, they advance in wisdom, and that there was a time, 30 or 35 years ago, when the Taoiseach, the Minister and others, as well as members of the Opposition groups held a point of view which might have been considered revolutionary, but that that view is vastly different from the views which they hold and express at present. In my opinion, that is one of the greatest difficulties which we suffer from in this country, or in the Twenty-Six Counties, that the Government and many Deputies fail to realise that their views are views which were held many years ago.

I do not wish to be hurtful or personal to any Deputy, and, believing in the old saying that age is honourable, I have as much regard as anyone else for age, but we must realise that we are living, whether we like it or not, in a world in which we must be prepared to advance or fail completely. The policy of the Fianna Fáil Government of 1932 was vastly different from the policy being followed by the Government at present. As I say, it is one of the greatest weaknesses we suffer from and I want the Taoiseach to understand — it is human to make mistakes but it takes good men to admit those mistakes and try to remedy them — that until he and his Government are prepared to remedy the mistakes of the past 12 or 18 months, they will continue as a Government unsuccessful in discharging their duties.

Like Deputy Murphy, I, as a rural Deputy, have no intention of discussingsomething which might be far beyond my reach, but I believe that the younger members of the Dáil, Deputy McQuillan and the rest of us, will be failing in our duty unless we are prepared to say that we will take a hand in this game. Whether it is the recommendations of the Central Bank or the statements of the directors of the private banks, so long as the Government are prepared to carry out the policy of these joint stock banks and the Central Bank, we are not going to succeed in solving the two major problems of unemployment and emigration. If we could cast our minds back a number of years, would we then have accepted that the present Minister for Finance would be prepared, in 1953, to say he would be satisfied with a position in which the interest on the public debt for 1953-54 should be £7.6 million, and in which the increase in the amount for the service of public debt this year should be £4.3 million as between 1951-52 and 1953-54. What is wrong, in my opinion, is that the Government are afraid to tackle the major problem as far as our people are concerned. I can see Deputy McQuillan's problem, but the problem will never be solved so long as the younger members — and I am addressing those on all sides of the House — are prepared to agree that the policy of 30 years ago should be the policy of the present day.

The Minister did mention that there was less money in the capital section of the Budget for housing, but he also said that the housing problem was on its way to being solved. I give the Minister credit for a lot more than he may be willing to express or to offer to the House, because he and his colleague, the Minister for Local Government, are well aware that the housing problem is not yet nearly solved and will not be solved for the next 12 to 15 years. If that is true, as I maintain it is, why should a Minister for Finance in a so-called progressive Party Government be ready to reduce by £1.4 million the provision for such an important item as housing in this Budget? Let them realise that if housing progress shows a slowing up, in the rural areas at any rate, much of it has been caused by the outstanding fact that theinterest rate on moneys borrowed by local authorities was increased and that that had to be passed on by the local authorities to prospective tenants.

Every member of the House, irrespective of Party, must realise, if he is a member of a local authority, that the big problem is the problem of rent, a problem which has been further aggravated by the action of the Minister for Finance in offering a 5 per cent. return on the recent loan of £20,000,000. Deputies on the Government side of the House have been drawing attention to the fact that so much money had been borrowed and spent in the period of office of the inter-Party Government. Do they realise that on a 20-year repayment basis the £20,000,000 that was borrowed and another £20,000,000 with it will have to be repaid? Who is going to pay that? The working people will have to pay a good portion of it. The people who are still awaiting homes of their own will have to pay their share and, furthermore, they will have to pay increased rents. One of the most glaring injustices of the last 12 months is the increase of interest rates which will place a burden on local authorities, on the rate-paying community and on the tenants of local authority houses. The Minister for Finance, the Taoiseach and the Government will never be able to evade responsibility for that mistake.

A great deal has been said about unemployment and emigration. Every member of this House, from his own point of view and from his Party point of view, is anxious for a solution to the problem of unemployment and emigration. The question is, how is that problem to be tackled? I had not an opportunity of hearing every speaker in this debate but there was one speech of which I took particular note because it is, in my opinion, the expression of the views of an importtant member of a very conservative Government.

I am speaking on the contribution to this debate made by the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs on Wednesday, 13th May. At column 1836, Volume 138, No. 14, the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs said that he was prepared to say that at this momentthis country is one of the happiest countries in the world. If a backbencher made a statement like that there might be some excuse but no excuse can be offered or accepted when, in spite of the fact that we have over 80,000 unemployed, in spite of the fact that emigration is as great to-day at it ever was, an important Minister of the Government says that this is one of the happiest countries in the world.

It may be one of the happiest countries in the world for a certain small section, but we are not here to cater for a small section, a small minority. Our responsibility, collectively and individually, is to the whole of the country, to every section, particularly to those who cannot fend for themselves. What could the reply to that statement be from over 80,000 unemployed? When we quote the figure of 80,000 odd, it must be understood that a large proportion of that number are fathers of young families. It can be assumed, therefore, that there are at least 200,000 people in this country who are not happy at the present time, in spite of what the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs may say.

At column 1842 the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs said:—

"A great deal of the employment given in 1950 in this country was of an entirely false and temporary character, and it is well to be frank about it. . . ."

Apparently, because in 1952 and 1953 the number registered at the employment exchanges increased, the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs can tell us that the employment given in 1950 was of a temporary nature. It was temporary in so far as in 1951 there was a change of Government and, unfortunately, with the change of Government, there was undoubtedly a swing over from employment to unemployment. The view expressed by a prominent member of the Government is interesting. The younger members of this House of all Parties can only say: "There is something rotten in the State of Denmark."

At column 1843, the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs used an expressionwhich seems to contradict his view about the wonderful prosperity in the country at the present time:—

"The new prosperity that will come for this country will come through solid stable production; it will come through the efficient labour of our people; it will come from modern methods in industry and agriculture; it will come through a progress that is real, a genuine economic progress. . . ."

At one stage we are told that everything is handsome, that there is no need to worry, because we are living in one of the happiest, wealthiest countries in the world, and then we are told by a member of the Government, who though only in office for roughly two years, had a record of 16 years in office up to 1948, that there is to be in some distant future — he did not say when — a new progress, a wonderful progress. I am afraid that, at the rate of progress we are making under the plans of the present Government, neither he nor many of us will be in the House when that prosperity is attained.

The Minister made another statement which is most important in itself as showing how contradictory can be the statements made by prominent members of the present Government. At column 1847, he said:—

"If we have learned anything from the change of Government that took place three years ago, it is that we all of us, on both sides, ought to be extremely restrained in any statements we make in regard to our ability to end emigration speedily, or even to give any large measure of employment in a particular year, or for a particular short period of time."

Nothing could be more damnable than such an admission of complete failure as is contained in that statement by the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs. We are told on the one hand of present prosperity. We are then told of the great progress that will be attained in the distant future. Finally, we are told that it would not be right for anyone here to say much about thepossible ending of emigration or about the possibility of employment in future. Who can blame us for saying that, if these problems concern us, they concern much more deeply and much more gravely the 80,000 persons at present unemployed and their dependents?

About one and a half years ago the Undeveloped Areas Bill was introduced. Deputy McQuillan stated that in his opinion that Bill since it became an Act has been a failure in so far as it was tied down directly to being operated by private enterprise. In the Committee Stage on that Bill an amendment was moved by the Labour Party asking, in view of the possibility of private enterprise not being able to make a success of it, that the Government should step in. If that Act, which could have been a good one, proves to be the failure which many people believe, that failure will be due to the attitude of the Government in refusing to recognise that private enterprise on its own would not be sufficient to deal with the problems which required to be dealt with.

We are also faced, as we mentioned at that time, with the problem of the depressed areas. It is as bad for the people in the depressed areas to have to emigrate as it is for the people in the undeveloped areas. After all, this is all one country and the people in these counties have the same homing instincts as the people in other parts of the country. The policy being pursued at present is an obsolete policy and as long as that policy is allowed to operate we cannot hope for success in preventing emigration and doing away with unemployment.

The Minister mentioned the advantages which were apparent from a reduction of domestic consumption and an increase in exports. For some years past we have heard day after day, not alone in this country but in other countries, of the vital importance of domestic consumption being reduced and of increasing exports. In case we should forget the vital importance of this new political and economic dogma of the 1950 period we have got commissions and advisers of all descriptions from other countries to keephammering into our heads the necessity, if we hope to survive as a nation, of keeping in line with the new policy of reducing domestic consumption and increasing exports. The present Minister, the Taoiseach and many other Deputies, I am sure, 30 or 35 years ago believed in the policy of feeding our own people first and of exporting any surplus. The Fianna Fáil Party often told us that as a nation we could be self-contained so far as clothing, food and other commodities are concerned. If that is so, why should they tell us now, even though wisdom may be coming to them with the years, that that policy was wrong?

Deputy Moran drew attention to the views expressed by Deputy Blowick on this matter. As far as I can see, Deputy Blowick's approach to it is the same approach as I am trying to make and that is, to feed our own people first and then export any surplus we have. One important factor, however, cannot be lost sight of in that regard, and that is employment. Employment for our people will mean better food and better clothing for them. If any Deputy were asked whether he would rather see our people getting extra food and being able to pay for it or have that food exported to Great Britain, I believe the answer would be to give the food to our people first and export what is left over. I am not satisfied with the policy followed by the present Minister and the Government and the Government of other countries of coercing people into following a stated rule and not allowing them to deviate one inch from that rule. If we are prepared to take economic theories and political advice also from other countries, the sooner we say we are not Irish the better.

The Minister admitted that the gross increase in agricultural production over 1951 was very small, only 1.7 per cent. Deputy W. Murphy stated that if we are to concentrate on a system whereby we can get an improved economy for our country it must be based directly on agriculture and the products coming from agriculture and the land. There is no use in believing that by building up an industrial economy in Dublin, Cork, Limerickand other cities we will make an El Dorado out of this country.

The present Government did make a mistake and perhaps they realise that now. The mistake they made was in believing that an industrial arm would be the salvation of this country as against the agricultural arm. Now agriculture is our main industry and the inherent weakness in our agricultural system at the moment is the fact that the average small or medium farmer finds it so difficult to procure capital to carry out improvements to his land. The sooner we adopt financial measures to help the farmer in that direction the better it will be for the country as a whole. If the farmer is allowed to handle his capital in the way he wants to the sooner we will get increased agricultural production. It is no good giving grants and then sending out inspectors to compel the farmer to do what the Department of Agriculture wants as against what the farmer wants to do himself.

The Minister drew attention to the efforts to encourage production and saving. Production is of vital importance. The phrase used by the Minister with reference to encouraging saving fell very strangely from the Minister's lips unless he was thinking of one particular section of the community which is in a position to save. Every Deputy on the Government Benches must admit that the people generally are not in a position to save at the present time. Indeed, very rarely in the history of this State have the workers found themselves in the position of being able to save. By no stretch of the imagination could anyone believe that the working people to-day are in a position to save remembering the brutal and vicious financial policy introduced last year and which the Minister proposes to continue in operation this year.

The Minister said that every step was taken in the preparation of the Budget and of the Estimates to keep expenditure down. The Minister for Posts and Telegraphs treated the House to a dissertation of economic theories, but he overlooked the fact that the present Government proposes to continue in the present financialyear the policy introduced in the Budget of last year. He did not advert to the reduction in the provision made under the Local Authorities (Works) Act. That was money well spent and the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs was ill-advised in speaking against that provision.

I would like to draw attention to a few items in the Book of Estimates proper. If we were living in normal circumstances, as the Minister says we are, we would have no objection to providing money for certain things. Remembering the doleful attitude of the Minister and his colleagues in the last two years, I wonder if it is necessary for us in our present circumstances to provide £7,884,920 for defence. Let no member of the Government say now that because mention is made of that fact we are anxious to sell our country. Let us take the year 1951-1952 for comparison purposes, the last year in which the inter-Party Government introduced a Budget and a Book of Estimates. The money provided for defence this year as against 1951-1952 has increased by no less than £2,467,890. Is it necessary to foist that increase on the people at the present time? Consider all the other increases. The Minister may consider them small but they tot up to a goodly sum. This year the provision for the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies is £14,400.

That is a matter that should be raised on the Estimates and not on the Financial Motion before the House.

I am endeavouring to show the amount of money that could be saved in reference to balancing the Budget. The total is £2,784,669, and that includes an increase of £4,599 for the secret service. We have been told down the country to include the sum provided for science and art and for miscellaneous expenses. An increase of no less that £121,376 is required for the District, Circuit, High and Supreme Courts.

The Estimates are not before the House.

I appreciate that. The Minister has to provide the money and there is a direct relationship between the Budget and the moneys provided in the various Estimates. Many Deputies have drawn attention to the fact that there was overestimation last year. It is our duty to draw attention to such overestimation for the benefit of the Minister.

Twelve months ago we were told that the young people, because of the generosity and benevolence of the Minister for Finance, would get much cheaper dancing. To their grief, they have discovered that they are paying as much for the privilege of dancing to-day as they did 12 months ago. The Minister, in his benevolence for the dance-hall proprietors, remitted the dance tax. Would it not be more equitable, instead of increasing postal rates and telephone charges, to reconsider that tax remission, even at the expense of upsetting the Minister's friendship with the dance-hall proprietors? That tax to-day, if reimposed, would amount to something over £200,000.

Attention was drawn to the fact that in certain areas employment is improving. A colleague of mine said—he probably believes it—that considerable new employment had been provided in East Cork. If Deputy Corry examines the returns at the labour exchanges he will find that there are more registered unemployed in the exchanges to-day than there were 12 months ago.

I move to report progress.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.