That, in view of the failure to secure an adequate market abroad for Irish whiskey under present production conditions and the necessity for safeguarding our national economy by building up our export trade, particularly in hard currency areas, Dáil Éireann is of the opinion that steps should be taken, if necessary by the setting up of a State-sponsored company, to produce a suitably blended whiskey; Dáil Éireann further considers that these steps should be taken at once in view of the very beneficial effect that the increased barley production would have on agriculture and the extra employment that would be afforded generally.
Some time ago I tabled a motion in connection with proposals for expanding our distilling industry and that motion is worded in such a way as to give an opportunity to the Minister to take the necessary steps to expand the industry, though not necessarily on the lines suggested in the motion itself. I have pointed out that steps should be taken to set up a State-sponsored company to produce a suitably blended whiskey and it is a matter for the Minister and his Department to decide whether or not it is essential that such a State-sponsored company should be established.
In the course of my remarks I propose to give my reasons as to why I consider it essential to set up this State-sponsored company in order to bring about the expansion that is so necessary. If the Minister is in a position to suggest a sound alternative, then I am prepared to listen to reason.
I am sure there are many Deputies who have not the vaguest idea of the distilling industry in general. Most of them have a knowledge of the different types of whiskey available, but I am sure if they were asked about distillation and the different types that are produced—patent, grain or potstill—they would not be able to tell the difference between any of them. If the distillers were doing their duty to the State, there would be no need for me to table this motion and Deputies would not have to suffer here listening to the reasons I propose to give as to why we should take the steps outlined in the motion.
I think it is generally admitted that the distilling industry could be of tremendous importance to the nation in the economic sphere and in the returns gained by an expansion of the trade abroad, particularly in the hard currency areas. It is realised publicly that the whiskey industry, if properly developed, could be a very important industrial arm of our agricultural economy. Although that is generally believed and agreed upon by the public and by those who represent the public, Deputies and Parties, no concrete steps have been taken in the last few years to ensure this necessary expansion. I have heard in the House on a number of occassions Deputies for whom I have a great deal of respect putting up a very sound defence for the actions of the distillers in regard to this important industry. All I want to say at this stage is that I am convinced—and I have enough evidence to prove that I am correct—that these Deputies, although acting in all sincerity, were misled and misguided in their attempts to back up the case made by the distillers.
I believe that for the last 70 years our distillers have been prepared to jog along, that they have been satisfied with the home market. Their cry is and has been that their product is the best whiskey in the world. While they adopt this line and live in this cuckoo-land, the Scotch have swept the decks with their blended products. To-day, the Irish distillers strongly oppose the introduction of a blended product, just as they opposed it 70 years ago.
I do not wish to weary the House, but there are volumes of evidence available for any Deputy who wishes to check the remarks I have to make with regard to the hostility shown by the Irish distillers in the last 70 years towards the production in Ireland of a blended whiskey. I propose, however, to make certain evidence available and to produce references so that any Deputy who is interested may check them. I propose to prove that back to the year 1874 the Irish distillers used every means in their power to prevent a patent whiskey from even being described as whiskey.
In 1908 the Irish pot-still distillers and a number of distillers in England and Scotland brought such pressure to bear that the British Government at the time set up a Royal Commission to inquire into whether what was known as a patent whiskey was entitled by law to be described as such. That Royal Commission sat for a considerable period in 1908 and took volumes of evidence from trade associations, farmers, producers of patent whiskey, the Irish distillers, who were so keen on the pot still and, at the end of a long session, they issued a very valuable report which I will deal with at a later stage.
It is very interesting to read that report and to see the evidence given by prominent Irish distillers, when asked their views in 1908, about the merits of blended products. In this report one of the proprietors of what is known as Powers to-day, Mr. James Talbot Power, who was described in the report as the chairman and principal proprietor of Sir John Power & Sons, was questioned with regard to his idea of what whiskey was. He was asked for a definition and he said: "I am satisfied that whiskey cannot be produced except in a pot still." He went on to say that Irish whiskey should be confined as a trade description to pot-still whiskey. He went further and said: "In my opinion it is a definite fraud to sell as whiskey patent spirit with a small addition of pot still."
For the benefit of Deputies who do not understand the difference between a patent whiskey and pot still let me say that Scotch whiskeys to-day are a blend of pot still and patent, the ranges of the blend varying from 60 per cent. patent and 40 per cent. pot still. Some of the Scotch whiskeys are 80 per cent. patent and 20 per cent. pot still. That was the type of whiskey described by James Talbot Power, in 1908, when he said that it was a definite fraud to sell as whiskey patent spirit with a small addition of pot still. He went on to criticise the Revenue Commissioners for allowing this to happen.
He was supported in his evidence by Mr. Andrew Jameson who was described as managing director of that distillery. Mr. Jameson was questioned by the chairman as follows:—
"Did Jameson, in conjunction with three other Dublin distillers, issue a pamphlet in 1876, and another in 1878, calling attention to the use of blended patent still by blenders of Irish whiskey and denouncing this blending as a fraud on the public?"
The reply of Mr. Jameson was: "Yes".
He was further questioned:
"Your firm has consistently opposed the sale of Irish whiskey containing any product of a patent still?"
His reply was:
"We always have done."
That was 1908 and that is the position in 1954. Anyone who still has doubts about the feelings of the Irish distillers towards the blended product would find it beneficial to consult Hansard in the year 1876 because the matter was then raised repeatedly in the British House of Commons by the Irish members. Naturally, the Irish members acted in all sincerity but they were prompted and advised by the Irish distillers. I do not propose to go into that in any detail. I will just refer to one particular matter that took place in the British House of Commons. On 5th April, 1876, there was a discussion on a motion in the House of Commons which was put forward by W.H. O'Sullivan, an Irish member. The argument put forward by Mr. O'Sullivan was that the practice of blending between pot still and patent was a fraud and should not be permitted. Mr. O'Sullivan petitioned for a Committee of the House of Commons to inquire into the matter. His motion was defeated by 149 votes to 69. The interesting part of that debate was that one of the speakers against the motion, naturally enough, was a Scotsman, a Mr. Anderson, from Glasgow. I am afraid he fairly tore the Irish members asunder in that debate. He said that the whole object of the motion was "an attempt on the part of the Irish distillers, who found that their trade had been slipping away, to get it back again. They found they could not get the extravagant prices which they used to get years ago for it had been discovered that malted spirit could be made by another process and at a considerably lower price."
I had better point out that the other process that was available for the making of the malted spirit, known as the Coffey process, was an invention by an Irishman named Coffey. It was able to do in one operation what takes three operations in the pot-still work. When Coffey's invention was brought before the Irish distillers they pooh-poohed the idea and would not accept it, but to our misfortune Mr. Coffey went to Scotland and put his idea before the Scotch distillers. They adopted the Coffey method of distillation, with the result to-day that we have the Scotch sweeping the market.
It would be only fair to go back again to Mr. Andrew Jameson in his evidence before the Royal Commission. He said:—
"For as long as I remember and before that, the expense of making whiskey in the pot still has always been held up to us as a mistake on our part. Many persons have come to us and tried to show us how to make our pot-still whiskey cheaper and eventually when the Coffey still was discovered they discovered a cheap method of making the article which, as we know, can be mixed up with the pot-still whiskey and that produces a cheaper product."
Mr. Jameson was well aware, as you can see from that evidence, of the tremendous importance that was being attached to this new method of distillation invented by Mr. Coffey. Even so, the distillers in 1908 were prepared to say: "We know what is best and we do not approve of this idea of allowing a blended product on the market." Mr. Jameson was questioned again as follows:—
"Whatever may be the result, Mr. Jameson, you would not allow the patent still whiskey to be sold as whiskey at all."
Mr. Jameson said:—
That will give you an idea of the mentality of our distillers up to 1908. Perhaps at this stage I should mention that when the Irish distillers were asked for a definition of Irish whiskey, the following answer was given by all the distillers in Ireland:—
"Irish whiskey is a spirit distilled in a pot still which should go through at least two or three distillations and is made from a mash that comes from cereals grown in Ireland."
It will be seen from that that the impression is given by the distillers that the distinctive flavour of Irish whiskey is due in great measure to the fact that its constituent parts are produced in Ireland. In the course of the evidence given by other people before this commission, they go to grave pains to emphasise that the flavour that was given to Irish whiskey was in great part due to the fact that the constituents of that whiskey were grown in Ireland. A very prominent man gave evidence before the commission, not on behalf of the distillers but on behalf of the farming community. I refer to Sir Horace Plunkett. His evidence before the commission is well worth having on the records of this House. He said:—
"Speaking of barley, it happens to be one of the crops we grow best and if anything was done to discourage Irish barley growers it would have serious effects on the whole agricultural economy of Ireland. I may say that while I was in the Department of Agriculture all my advisers were agreed that we ought to pay special attention to what we call the industrial crops, the most important being barley. We conducted a large number of experiments in the cultivation of barley all over Ireland in conjunction with Guinness's Brewery and some of the distillers. We kept a special expert to deal with that crop alone and these experiments are still being continued. This action was not taken in the interest of the whiskey trade, but it so happened that this crop had a very important bearing upon the whole of our agricultural economy and it would have very disastrous results if anything were done at a time when it is most important to increase the area under tillage, if the lands that are now growing barley were largely to go back to grass."
You can see Sir Horace Plunkett's idea was that barley was the main constituent for the making of whiskey, and he was anxious to see that no harm would be done to the distilling industry, because if harm were done the agricultural angle of the business, the production of malting barley, would suffer and the farmers of Ireland would suffer as a consequence. The distillers went to great pains to run down the patent whiskey on the grounds that the patent whiskey was being produced from maize. Their evidence at the time was that there was harm being done to the farmers of Ireland if blended whiskey were allowed on the market, that this patent and blended whiskey was being produced from constituents not grown in the country, and that maize was the main constituent of the patent whiskey. It was a very clever approach to have a man with the intelligence and knowledge of Sir Horace Plunkett giving evidence before the commission on the importance of the barley industry in the agricultural economy here. Sir Horace Plunkett in his evidence on behalf of the barley growers showed that he was under the impression all through that the raw material for the making of patent whiskey came from abroad. In other words, the impression that Sir Horace Plunkett had was that maize was the main constituent of the patent whiskey. As far as the making of patent whiskey is concerned, it is made to-day and always has been made—to a great extent made in Scotland—from the same constituents as the pot-still whiskey. At times maize was used in it, depending of course on the price in comparison to barley. At the present time there is no reason whatever for using maize, because Irish barley can produce the patent whiskey and is equally as good for the patent whiskey as it is for the pot still. It is interesting to see how worried at the time the distillers showed themselves about the agricultural picture.
Later on in their evidence, at a later stage before this commission, the distillers forgot their former definition of Irish whiskey. One of the members of the commission questioned Mr. Jameson. He said:—
"Mr. Jameson, you say that your firm uses materials of the best native quality which money can buy. Does that mean grain grown exclusively in Ireland?"
Mr. Jameson's reply to the question was:—
"No, it does not. We use Scotch barley and English barley. I do not think we have used Scotch oats but rye is a very difficult thing to buy nowadays grown in Ireland."
Here, we have the distillers admitting that they themselves did not depend entirely on the home-grown barley for the production of pot-still whiskey although they described Irish pot-still whiskey's flavour as being derived from the home-produced cereals. Yet, all through the years, we know that they were importing large quantities of foreign barley, oats and rye for the manufacture of Irish pot-still whiskey.
Some people may not think it is necessary to go back this far but I think, in view of the importance of the matter under discussion and the tremendous opposition that is put forward by the distillers, it is necessary for the members of this House to realise how the growth of the distilling industry took place in Scotland and how we in Ireland gradually faded out of the picture.
The evidence that was taken by this Royal Commission was sifted and decisions were then made. I think the recommendations made by that commission in 1908 are just as important to-day as they were in that particular year. One of the findings of the commission was that the pronounced flavour of each individual whiskey suits the taste of a comparatively limited number of consumers whereas the blended whiskey, especially in England, appeals to a larger number. "Individual whiskey" means individual pot-still whiskey and, in 1908, the report was that only a limited number of people favoured that particular type of whiskey.
Another finding was that blending with patent still whiskey cheapens production because the patent still whiskey costs less to manufacture than the pot still. That is reasonable. "The blend, therefore, produces a more mildly-flavoured and generally cheaper article than the individual pot-still whiskey. The market for blended whiskeys is greater than that for individual whiskeys, so much so that it would probably be safe to say that the majority of Englishmen who drink whiskey seldom drink anything but a blend."
A further report which they issued at that time states: "The proportion of the different whiskeys to be employed in blending is controlled by an influence stronger than that of the law. The taste of the consumer creates the demand which ultimately controls the trade." They go on to say: "The public purchase the whiskey that meets its taste." Is that not proof enough that, in the past 48 to 50 years, the public taste—and I am referring to the public taste outside the limited market available in Ireland—is in favour of a milder type of whiskey, a blended whiskey? In spite of that fact, our distillers have made no effort whatever to meet that trade.
It must be evident from the remarks I have made and the evidence that is available that, even in 1908, the blended whiskey was going to be the successful product. Even then, it was felt that pot-still whiskey, by itself, was a bit too strongly-flavoured for most people, especially those in indoor sedentary occupations, and that the demand for something milder in flavour and more suitable to the conditions of life at that time could best be met by the blended products. Despite all the evidence available and all the good, sound business reasons that existed, the Irish distillers stubbornly and pig-headedly refused to adapt themselves to changing world tastes and conditions with the consequent disastrous results we have to-day so far as the Irish product is concerned.
It might be no harm to give a contrast between the position in Ireland and the position in Scotland at the present time. In the first nine months of 1954, the export of Scotch whiskey was worth over £28,000,000, and the value of Irish whiskey exported in the same period—the first nine months of this year—was £150,000. In the distilling season of 1906-7 there were 27 distilleries working in Ireland. This season, we shall probably be lucky to have five—and the five working in Ireland will be working only on a limited basis. It may possibly be the last time that one or two of these distilleries will function as such, unless changes are made.
While the position in Ireland shows a reduction from 27 flourishing distilleries in 1906 to five, working on a limited basis, in 1954, what is the picture in regard to Scotland? I have here some of the magazines which deal with the trade in Scotland at the moment. Listen to whatHarpers Wine and Spirit Gazette states: “There is a complete absence of pessimism at the Scotch distilleries, whose new season coincided with the beginning of this month. Fat filling orders indicate that bonders, and indeed all sections of the trade, expect further expansion in the world-demand for Scotch. The dread spectre of recession is not allowed to haunt the Highland glens and bens these days. Everywhere an air of optimism is in evidence, coupled with a determination to see the customer satisfied—even if the stills have to work into the summer to do so. Despite the labour famine, the distilleries are going full out three shifts a day.” That is the position in Scotland: why the reverse in Ireland?
Would it not be wonderful if we could have here in Ireland employment on work available in Scotland at the present time in the distilling industry? I want to emphasise this point. So important, indeed, has the distilling industry become in Britain that, last year, Scotch whiskey was actually the largest single dollar earner of any of the industries in Britain.
We hear talk from the distillers at the present time to the effect that they are going all-out to sell their products abroad. That type of talk may fool the public for a limited period but I think it is necessary for us to show that it is merely talk and that the facts are otherwise. In 1952 the total value of Irish whiskey exported was a little under £500,000 for that year. Scotch whiskey exports in the same year were worth £30,000,000. In 1953, our exports of whiskey dropped from the £500,000 mark to less than £300,000, that is, a drop of over £200,000 in one year in the value and quantity of the export. The figures, as I have given them for the first nine months of this year, reveal a disastrous state of affairs as far as our exports are concerned. We all know that in regard to the export trade in the distilling industry the first six months of the year show the bigger sales in exports and in the later months the export drive tails off. In the first nine months, as I have said, our export of Irish whiskey was worth £150,000. That leaves us only three months to go so that this year it would be safe to assume that we would be lucky if we exported whiskey to the total value of £200,000, while it would be safe to assume the Scotch export sales in the same 12 months will be in the region of £40,000,000.
We had several people here in this country in recent years inquiring into the development of Irish industry and giving us, especially the Americans, the benefit of their advice in technical matters and on the type of industry that they felt would meet with a ready market in America. The report of the I.B.E.C., which is known as the Industrial Potential of Ireland, made several recommendations with regard to the distilling industry and these recommendations are to be found on pages 47, 60 and 89 of the report. In the first part on page 47 the American experts say:—
"Everything considered this would appear to be one of the most promising fields for export development."
Further on, they criticise the activities of Irish distillers as follows:—
"The methods used in this industry do not lend themselves particularly well to volume output and the product requires a particularly long period for proper ageing."
These people were naturally speaking very delicately. They did not like to tread on people's toes, but anybody with common sense will realise that that statement by the American experts was a kick in the pants to Irish distillers and rightly so. Further on the report states:—
"Every effort should be made to find ways of increasing the export market in category——"
that is, the distilling industry
"——since it has proved itself susceptible both to making a substantial contribution to the average of national output and to generating much-needed foreign exchange."
Here is a final item from that report, and I think it is of great importance. They are dealing with export problems in the distilling industry and they say:—
"Success in this field, vitally important to Ireland's interest, will depend, too, upon vigorous and determined will on the part of the Irish distillers to learn about and meet foreign market requirements, as to quality, style, specification, sales procedure, delivery guarantees and like matters."
That report was made, I think, in 1950 and so far we have seen no evidence whatever of its being put into effect by our distillers. Actually our export sales have decreased year after year in spite of all the admonitions and advice given to those people. I think it is not unreasonable to state that the distilling industry has steadily lost ground over the last 50 years in Ireland. From the beginning of this century the world trend has been away from the pure pot-still and down the years the blended products have been winning the consumer steadily. If we are going to treat this matter seriously in Ireland we will have to tackle the problem on the basis that we give the consumers what they desire, not what we feel they should take or what the distillers feel they should take. This naturally means that we will have to produce suitable blends of whiskey for the export market and the aim of this motion is to establish a body that would be charged with this responsibility. Some people may think that this is fantastic but I say with a full sense of responsibility that if the distilling industry were properly developed it would rival our cattle trade in its importance to our economy. That would not and could not happen overnight but within a few short years we could build up an important export trade provided the necessary steps are now taken.
As I have already said, Scotch whiskey sales on the dollar market netted £38,000,000 last year. In the same period, Irish whiskey sales brought in less than £300,000. When we look at the American market we find that the consumption of whiskey in America amounts to over £600,000,000 per annum. The Scots sold last year £38,000,000 of that market so that their sales only represent less than 5 per cent. of the consumption of whiskey in America. I am not going to ask any mathematician in this House to make up what percentage the Irish sales were out of that £600,000,000. It was a negligible fraction of 1 per cent.
Surely, with our large Irish population in America, by giving the right commodity, producing the properly blended whiskey that will suit the American palate, we should be able to get a proper footing in that market. If the Scots can do it I do not see any reason why we could not do it. The tragedy as far as I am concerned is that we have wasted so much valuable time. By superior business methods, by studying and ministering to the needs of potential customers, by persistent, relentless propaganda of an attractive and artistic nature, the Scot has wiped our eye.
All sorts of excuses will be put forward by the distillers or by their spokesmen to save their faces. They will blame this Government and that Government. They will blame the consumer. They will blame everybody but themselves for the position that obtains at the present time.
Some months ago, when the distillers began to get hot under the collar at certain criticisms levelled at them— criticisms which they could no longer afford to disdainfully ignore—they rushed into print in their own defence. That was a sorry day for them as I will prove before I conclude on this. I will go back to the year 1953. In October of that year we had a number of letters published in the daily papers by spokesmen of the distillers. A Major Kirkwood, secretary of the Distillers' Association, in print in theIrish Times of May the 28th, 1953, stated that:—
"Far from being apathetic the distillers were working strenously to increase their exports. One distillery was exporting to about 70 different countries and in most of the countries was advertising its whiskey."
He then goes on to say as regards the United States that:—
"During the war the Government restricted exports when there was a golden opportunity, owing to the shortage of whiskey in the States, to procure a wide distribution."
This gentleman, who is the honorary secretary of the Distillers' Association, was backed up in October, 1953, by Commander J. Howe, director of Jamesons. He made a statement, when questioned, that we were now exporting to 74 countries, many of them in the dollar area. That is a statement made with the full sense of responsibility by a director of a distillery outfit, and so is the other statement made by the secretary of the Distillers' Association. They were exporting to 74 countries. What is the position?
In 1953, we exported to 39 countries. We never exported to 74 countries at any time. It would be worth listening to some of the export figures in regard to the 39 countries. In 1953, we exported to the British West Indies eight gallons of whiskey, four gallons to British Honduras, eight gallons to the Netherlands, two gallons to Switzerland, eight gallons to Italy and 28 gallons to Algeria. We exported to French Indo-China less than 54 gallons. These are just some of the countries to which we exported whiskey and in which the big drive was taking place according to the sponsored spokesman of the Irish distillers.
I forgot to mention Australia. In 1953 our export trade to Australia consisted of one gallon of Irish whiskey. I have known many Deputies in this House who kept more than that to entertain their friends. For the first nine months of 1954, we did not export but then to make up for that we exported nine gallons to the Fiji Islands. I am sure it will be a consolation to the Minister to know that.
The reason I mention all this is because we have it in print from the spokesman of the distillers that we are now exporting to 74 countries many of which are in the dollar area. I call that a damn lie. This idea of the American experts, persistent and relentless salesmanship, is not being followed up by the distillers even with regard to their own pot-still whiskey. Where this country's exports last year ranged from two gallons to 100 gallone this year the figures are down in those countries because they have not followed up the drive that took place for the sale of that limited quantity last year.
With regard to the second part of the criticism levelled by the secretary of the Distillers' Association when he points out that the Government restricted exports during the war years when there was a great chance of getting a hold on the American market, I want to say—I am not defending the action of any Government—that that statement of the distillers does not hold water when we examine the position prior to the war.
Prior to the last war, there was a golden opportunity of expanding our sales in America. I do not know whether many people in this House are aware that in 1934, on the repeal of prohibition in America, the then Irish Minister to the States succeeded in getting a quota for the import of Irish whiskey into America. The Irish distillers at that time said they could not fulfil the quota as they wanted all their stocks for the home market. Let me emphasise that the quota obtained by the Irish representative in America in 1934 was a generous one and that that quota was granted to Ireland a month before the Scotch got their quota.
In spite of that we know the position. There is no use in listening to the distillers' representatives telling us the Government is to blame. If the distillers go into print and put up an argument we must be in a position to argue with them. The secretary of the association went on in his remarks in the papers to say:—
"We would expect our Government to assist rather than handicap the industry as they have done by the crushing weight of taxation imposed on it."
I say that is more nonsense on the part of the distillers. The suggestion is that the poor distillers are overtaxed and cannot afford to compete with the Scotch because the Government is bleeding them with regard to the duties levied on the distilling industry. What is the position? It is a fact that the spirit duty to-day in Great Britain is much higher than in this country but that did not prevent the Scots from selling £38,000,000 worth of whiskey last year. If we are going to get a real picture of the minds of the distillers let us read the final remarks of the secretary of the Distillers' Association. He says:—
"In the long run, the industry must depend on the home market as the export market is problematical in those times."
There was conveyed in that sentence the mentality of the distillers in Ireland from 1870 to 1954. That shows they are not interested in world markets as long as they are doing all right here in Ireland as distillers. The export market and Irish agriculture does not worry them. That sentence of the secretary, I think, sums up the so-called progressive outlook of our distillers, and it is necessary for us in the interests of the people of this country to ensure that they are not let away with that outlook. I find—I suppose it is regrettable to have to say it—that I think this industry, which is one of the most important in the country, can no longer be left solely in the hands of these distillers. I do not mean that we should take the distilleries over or that we should close down these people, but I think we will have to organise another means of producing the right product for world markets if the distillers are not prepared to do it.
People will say that this is a dangerous line to travel. I am sure people inside and outside this House will describe my views on this as extremely dangerous—I do not care whether they do or not. I do not care what you call the outlook that I have shown exists, but I believe we must be completely ruthless with the distillers in the interests of our community. The leaders in this House in private enterprise have always put up the argument that private enterprise is more enterprising than State concerns and that that is the big advantage of private enterprise. I say when private enterprise shows itself to be lacking, as it shows itself in this industry, that the State must take action. We have plenty of examples in this country of State and semi-State sponsored concerns showing more initiative and enterprise than any private concern. I cannot over-emphasise the importance of the distilling industry from the agricultural point of view. I think when we have a man with the knowledge of agriculture that Sir Horace Plunkett had, that we should listen to his views and accept them even though these were given 50 years ago. I see that many prominent people at debating societies are quoting Sir Horace Plunkett as their bible on agriculture, and I think his views on barley growing are such as should meet the approval of this House. It could be the most important means of expanding industry here, and yet no industrial concern in the country has been subject to the same neglect. It is beyond contradiction that all the products of the land should be processed to the last degree by Irish workers. That is, I think, admitted by all. The distilling industry has as its foundation malting barley, and if there is barley for the maltster there is a rich cash crop for the farmer, constant work and security for the worker; there is whiskey for export and there is a residue to grain to feed the farmers' live stock. To my mind, the distilling industry is a cycle of industrial perfection.
I do not know whether this motion will commend itself to the Minister but I can assure him that I am not alone in the views I have expressed here regarding the necessity for producing blended whiskey. I raised this matter of blended whiskey in the House before with particular reference to June, 1953, when on the Adjournment Debate the then Minister for Industry and Commerce, now Deputy Lemass, intervened and at column 732, Volume 139, of the Official Report, said:—
"The predominance of Scotch whiskey in the world export markets did not begin this year or last year, or even during the recent war: it began 50 years ago."
He did not bother the House as I did by dealing with the reasons why it was so successful since, but he goes on to say:—
"The world market is for a Scotch type of whiskey. That is my view."
At the time the then Minister had hopes that the distillers and Córas Tráchtála between them would hammer out some arrangement by which a blended whiskey would be produced but so far we see no evidence that anything of a satisfactory nature will come of the constant meetings and discussions that take place between the distillers and Córas Tráchtála. I want the Minister to let us know, if he is not prepared to accept the motion as it stands, what alternative he has to offer; whether in recent months the distillers have again refused point blank to co-operate in the production of a blended whiskey. We have at the present moment a number of individual distillers—I am not going to mention them—who are now, as I would describe it, tinkering with the idea of producing their own blended whiskey and they all want to be backed by the State to sell their particular product abroad. I know they are planning to produce and I have seen the particular blended whiskey produced by two or three of them and personally I think that although their efforts as individuals should be commended we are not going to get anywhere by having one or two distillers nibbling at the problem. It is going to take a great deal of money to develop markets and anybody with a knowledge of the American market realises that unless you pour money in for advertising you are not going to get sales.
It is a well-known fact that the Scottish distillers spend more money in one year in advertising their products than we get from the entire export of Irish whiskey. They spend more on advertising their products alone than we draw into our country for the sale of whiskey. It is essential that the thing be tackled on a large scale and there is no use in individual distillers spending the next five or ten years telling us that they are about to get into the market.
I will say no more at the moment except that I will be waiting to hear what views the Minister has in connection with the motion itself.