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

Debate resumed on the following motion:—
That the Estimate be referred back for reconsideration.—(Deputy Lemass.)

When the debate adjourned last night the House was discussing the Estimate for £5,117,000 to cover the charges falling on the Department of Industry and Commerce for the year, making up a total of £7,500,000 in this Vote. I understand from the Minister's introductory statement that this shows a reduction of roughly £500,000 on last year's figure. Nevertheless, it is a high sum for the running of the Department. I suppose, having regard to the fact that we have 20 odd semi-State corporations, some of them under the control of the Department of Industry and Commerce, and four credit corporations, some of which are also under the Department's control, it is inevitable we would have to vote a high sum to meet the charges.

In the years 1953 and 1954 industrial production and employment increased steadily, so that by the time Fianna Fáil left office both had reached the highest level in history. Since the present Government took over the rate of advance has declined and there was, in the first quarter of this year, a heavy fall both in industrial production and in the numbers employed.

In my opinion, the present Minister has failed to deal with the prices situation. He seems also incapable of framing a good policy for industrial development. Any decisions he has announced to date have been calculated to do harm rather than good. The abandonment of the Glenamoy grass-meal scheme shows that the Minister has adopted the traditional reactionary attitude of Fine Gael down the years towards Irish industry. The withdrawal of the rural electrification subsidy was, in my opinion, a disastrous step and one which will have its effects for the next 25 years.

The present Minister for Industry and Commerce was one of the people who gave specific pledges regarding the control of prices during the 1954 election. The Government are now two years in office and little or no effort has been made to fulfil those election promises in order to help to relieve the many pressing problems of the day, not the least of which is the question of prices. During the first few months after the present Government was formed, their supporters sought to excuse the Government's inactivity on the ground that the Ministers had not yet had time to get down to work. More than two years have passed since then. We have had two long recesses, affording ample time to each Minister to review the drive and energy needed in each Department.

During the general election campaign the various Parties now forming the Government made a series of the most solemn pledges to the voters with regard to reductions in prices and taxes. After the election many of these pledges were repeated in the 12-point programme issued before the change of Government. Point 2 of that programme says:—

"Recognising that the main issue in the general election was the question of prices, the Parties forming the Government are determined to reduce the cost of living and to effect a reduction in the price of foodstuffs."

That was clear enough. Other points in the programme promised to reduce taxation, to expand production and to reduce emigration. All social welfare benefits were to be increased, retirement pensions were to be given to men at 65 and to women at 60 years of age. As was clearly stated in the Government's 12-point programme, the question of prices was the main issue. In the general election campaign, the public were led to believe that a change of Government would bring about a substantial fall in prices.

Very well. The Government were returned to power and the present Tánaiste was put in charge of prices. What has he done since then? Nothing, in my submission. A couple of months after the change of Government, the butter subsidy was reintroduced at an annual cost of roughly £2,000,000 to the taxpayers. But the small reduction in the price of butter, brought about by this means, has long since been cancelled by the increase in the prices of other commodities. The cost-of-living index figure, which was falling during the last few months of Fianna Fáil's term, has now risen by ten points, and is higher now than ever before.

The most remarkable factor in this situation is the complete inactivity of the Government. Not a single change has been made by the present Minister in the machinery for price control. He has used the Prices Advisory Body mainly for the purpose of evading his own responsibility for rising prices. The Government seem to have thrown in their hand with regard to the cost of living. Not only have they got no policy in the matter, but it was stated by the Minister for Finance in his Budget speech that they expect prices to rise still further.

It is no wonder, then, that trade union leaders and people living on fixed incomes, people engaged in private effort in a small way, small shopkeepers, rentiers and others should be groaning under the present weight they have to carry. Every paper you take up carries a statement from some trade union leader bewailing the Government's ineffectiveness in this matter. I quote from theEvening Herald of the 21st June in which there is a speech by Mr. Edward Browne, vice-chairman of the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union, under the heading: “Solution of Economic Ills; Reduce Living Costs Plea.”

He goes on to say that,

"emigration, unemployment and other economic and social problems could only be solved by the establishment of higher standards of wages and by keeping the prices of controlled goods and services within the range of all citizens."

The report continues:—

"Mr. Browne proposed a resolution calling on the Government ‘to take early and effective measures to reduce the cost of living which would inevitably increase both industrial and agricultural output and also the purchasing power of the people, thereby leading to an overall improvement in the nation's well being.' He said that during the year under review the inadequacy of wages to meet the ever increasing cost of living continued to be the principal problem confronting the members of the union. Because of the failure of the Government to reduce the prices of essential goods and services, or even to prevent them from still rising further, they were constrained in the middle of the year to ask the Congress of Irish Unions to terminate the agreement with the Federated Union of Employers which had governed wages since 1952 and under which no increase could exceed 12/6 a week unless exceptional circumstances prevailed.

Subsequently they had initiated a campaign that had since become known as the fifth round of demand. It was appreciated by the members that that campaign carried a higher degree of risk than any previous one of its kind because of the ineptitude of the Government and the possibility of nation-wide strikes, further large scale unemployment and redundancy. Owing to the responsible manner in which it was conducted by the union, the campaign had been carried out without any calamitous effect. Resulting from it, the members alone would benefit to the extent of about £5,000,000 per annum in the form of extra pay."

Continuing, he said:—

"We still believe that in the interests of the workers and the community as a whole a falling cost of living is preferable to a rising level of wages, if both desirable aims are impossible of achievement at the same time. It is definitely our view that if the Government were doing their duty, both objectives would be obtainable simultaneously."

If you had passed your wage freeze Bill, the workers would not have got any increase and that is the skeleton in your cupboard.

Any worker will tell you that under Fianna Fáil he enjoyed a good deal more goods and service for his money than he does to-day.


The Minister drags that up every time he is challenged on the cost-of-living question. I do not know of any item within the whole range of household commodities, wearing apparel or other goods necessary for the service of any house, that has not increased in price.

TheIrish Press.

The Minister makes statement after statement in this House and then hides behind the Prices Advisory Body in order to cast aside his responsibility in this matter. In announcing his Estimate the Minister stated that the principal increases under the various sub-heads were for salaries and allowances and wages and also for grants to Bord na Móna for housing. On this question of grants to Bord na Móna for houses, is the Minister satisfied that the board is doing enough to get tenants to occupy the houses when they are erected? I have known instances where houses, the property of the board, were left vacant for from two to three years. Does the Minister think, in view of the high subsidy involved, that that is quite fair to the taxpayer?

It will be generally agreed, I think, that the board keeps and maintains these houses in excellent order and repair. I must readily admit that the various housing schemes at each centre are easy on the eye and pleasing to the countryside. Nevertheless, this does not relieve the board of the responsibility of seeing that every house is occupied by a suitable tenant.

The Minister also announced that there was an increase in the grant to the Institute for Industrial Research and Standards and also grants to An Foras Tionscal for technical research. Is the Minister satisfied that industrialists in general are making enough use of the Institute for Industrial Research and Standards? Personally, I would not be satisfied until I would see the whole range of goods produced here carrying the stamp of the institute guaranteeing quality.

The Minister also announced that he had 250 proposals before the Department and the I.D.A. It is to be hoped that the Government will pursue a policy of decentralisation in this regard. Not long ago, replying to questions in this House, the Minister gave a list of new factories and extensions and that list would appear to suggest that Dublin still holds sway in the location of new industries. The figures were 115 for Dublin as against 90 odd for the other parts of the country.

The Minister also gave us figures for industrial output in general. When we speak of industrial expansion we assume that the industries visualised are ones that will compete in the export market, thus creating the desirable demand at home for the purchase of goods within the country and stimulating activity in general. These are aims which will find favour in all quarters. While recognising these aims, I would like to ask if the Government is satisfied as to the future of the workshop type of industry. I refer to industries which would be mainly in the textile group. We know that the market for textile products is highly vulnerable. A country such as Australia which decides to cut down on its imports will strive to keep out finished goods, and textiles are always a favourite target as something that consumers can temporarily go short of.

According to articles and figures given in respect of textiles, that trade has been declining steadily for a great number of years. Now that such countries as Japan and India are able to take a large slice of the market, mainly for the reasons that they can produce a cheaper article and secure, I suppose, cheaper labour and, in some circumstances, cheaper raw materials, the situation has altered somewhat. The question of the degree of skill required plays a big part in the production of high-class cloth, but for cheaper cloths the operations are more simple and the knowledge can be acquired quickly by the average Japanese, Indian or Egyptian, as the case may be. This would apply also to Brazil, not to mention Britain or America.

In the circumstances, we should consider the whole approach to this end of the export effort. We should do everything possible to fight for a share of the export market for our textile goods and, as an aid to that, the Federated Union of Employers, the Trade Union Council and the Congress of Irish Unions should study the proposals put forward by Deputy Lemass in 1952. In order to find agreement for the admission of apprentices, apprenticeship committees for each section could do a great deal by way of making rules amending the present rigid code of restrictions. They should also define age limits for entry, prescribe educational qualifications, keep a register, determine how the prescribed number of apprentices should be selected from the candidates, decide the length of apprenticeship, set the course and provide for examinations. They should also be in a position to provide a certificate of training and to assign an apprentice to an employer or to transfer an employee from one employer to another. There should also be a set of rules about indenture.

In regard to the question of imports of consumer goods, a large proportion of which, according to the Minister, could be made here, we all know that these goods put a load on our balance of payments. But, in our present circumstances, is it economic to undertake the manufacture of these goods here? Would the Minister give the House any indication of the range of goods he claims could be made here and the rough cost of the investment necessary to start their development? The Minister also mentioned a prejudice on the part of our consumers in favour of the imported article. I do not think there is any great substance in that statement. People have to consider the cost factor and also the quality of the article from the point of view of wear, and so on. Therefore, it is a rather sweeping statement to say that our consumers are hesitant about the purchase of Irish goods. I do not believe it.

The Minister referred in his statement to the drive for exports and appealed to Irish manufacturers for a better effort on their part. Does the Minister not recognise that in present circumstances it is very hard for manufacturers to engage in export business? First of all, they are in a dear and tight money market. Will the Minister recognise that? It is not made any easier, I admit, by the Minister for Finance's recent credit squeeze. If the Minister for Industry and Commerce is serious in his quest for exports he must help to bring about a lowering of taxation and a cheaper money policy in order to encourage trade.

Mianraí Teoranta was mentioned in the Minister's statement. I notice a token Estimate for £10 for that body. Deputy James Tully, in the course of his speech last night, sought to put the idea abroad that were it not for the present Government we would have no investigation into mines and minerals. A strong effort is being made to persuade the public now that the present Government is beginning to develop Ireland's mineral resources for the first time. We are told that Ireland's mineral resources, hitherto neglected, are now to be properly investigated at last. Can Deputies opposite really have forgotten the manner in which the first Coalition Government killed the scheme for mineral development handed on to it by Fianna Fáil in 1948?

In 1947 Mianraí Teoranta was set up by Fianna Fáil for the purpose of investigating thoroughly the nature and extent of our mineral resources. The company was authorised to spend up to £500,000 and work had begun in a number of areas, amongst them Avoca. When the Coalition Government came into office this scheme for mineral development was declared to be a Fianna Fáil racket by at least two prominent Coalition Ministers; we were told it was a racket the nation could not afford.

Deputy McGilligan, in his first Budget, cut out altogether the grant for Mianraí Teoranta declaring that, in his view, it was most unlikely that any workable mineral deposits would be discovered. All work ceased at Avoca though for a period 70 men were paid their weekly wages while being forbidden to do any work. The Coalition then began to have second thoughts on mineral development and, after a delay of about 18 months I think, work was allowed to commence again on a limited scale.

One item discovered in this curious tale by the Fianna Fáil Party on their return to office was a letter sent to the then Minister for Industry and Commerce, Deputy Morrissey, by the local Fine Gael Club asking him on no account to allow work to begin at Avoca: he need not have any worry about the unemployment which would be caused, the letter said, because the men employed there only want fancy jobs and dole. That was the gist of it. When Fianna Fáil returned to power mineral development was pressed on once more, at an accelerated rate. Work at Avoca was completed and it became clear then that large deposits existed which could be worked profitably and, before Fianna Fáil left office in 1954, Mianraí Teoranta had been instructed to prepare a report for the Government as to whether the deposits should be handed over to a private concern or retained for development by the State.

The campaign now on foot with regard to Avoca is typical propaganda tactics on the part of the Coalition. From start to finish the mineral development scheme was a Fianna Fáil conception. As with so many other plans for national development, only Fianna Fáil had sufficient faith in the scheme to carry it through even in the face of carping criticism at the time by Deputies like Deputy Dillon and others. Yet, we have a new supporter of Coalition propaganda now in the figure of Deputy James Tully, who wishes to put the idea abroad and pretend that the present Government is entirely responsible for the scheme at Avoca.

The Minister also gave us a review of the working of Coras Tráchtála. I am glad to see that Coras Tráchtála is making reasonably good headway in relation to exports of Irish whiskey. As a Pioneer, I advocate the removal and sale of all Irish whiskey as far from our shores as possible. It is one of our oldest industries. Based as it is on our native raw materials, it should be a good source of income on the export market. It is a potential dollar earner as well, and it has the added advantage that it will not create any unfavourable trend in regard to our balance of payments problem because we have the raw material for making it here at home.

In his statement the Minister referred to the work of Bord na Móna. Bord na Móna is one of our statutory corporations. This year it moved further towards the target of 1,000,000 tons of turf. I wonder is the Minister quite satisfied regarding the precautions taken by the board to prevent outbreaks of fire? Last year we saw severe damage caused by fire in various bogs in many counties.

That would seem to be a matter of administration which is not the responsibility of the Minister.

That is true but, in view of the fact that Bord na Móna is included in this Vote, I thought I would mention the matter. The number of outbreaks of fire and the inadequacy of the methods of dealing with them were a source of great uneasiness last year. Public opinion was shocked at the shortage of appliances and manpower to deal with and confine the fires. I think it is time that the board set up some system whereby outbreaks of fire could be promptly dealt with. Thus, they would be dispelling this widespread feeling.

The Deputy has gone far enough on matters which are under the routine management of the board.

I wish to refer briefly to the prices of coal and turf. We all know that the price of coal has increased very much within the last few months, but I notice of late that Bord na Móna have developed a knack of announcing an increase in the price of turf following every increase in the price of coal. If their output is moving into the region of 1,000,000 tons, as visualised, I think the price of turf should be falling rather than increasing. If the output of any firm increases, it is presumed that their turnover will increase correspondingly and that thereby they should be able to sell their product cheaper and on a more competitive basis. I think, in view of the very high cost of living, that the practice of Bord na Móna increasing prices for turf should be actively discouraged.

In the course of his statement the Minister dealt with the activities of Bord Fáilte Éireann. In view of the fact that hotel owners and transport companies have reported an increase in bookings this year as compared with this time last year, there is every indication that the tourist trade this year should be highly successful. Time will test our ability to attract and hold the right type of tourist. If we value the £29,000,000 or £30,000,000 earned by this industry yearly, we should see to it that local authorities, hoteliers, seaside boarding houses and transport companies, including car hire firms, will play their part in meeting the demands of the tourists with promptness, efficiency and courtesy and at the right price—with special emphasis on the word "price." I believe myself that tourism will pay us handsome dividends if we pay attention to those matters.

I would like to say a word on the accommodation provided for caravans, both by private interests and by local authorities. To-day, hotel owners and others at seaside resorts are prejudiced against caravans. Whether we like it or not, the caravan has come to stay; and henceforward, I believe, will figure in our drive to attract tourists. I believe that Bord Fáilte Éireann has failed to impress on county councils and other development authorities the necessity for setting aside suitable parking places at each centre, serviced with fresh water and sanitary arrangements and, where possible, shelter belts.

County councils undertaking road repairs are reluctant to provide what are known as "pull-ins" at suitably spaced distances at least along the main roads. Where county councils take off bends one is apt to see a collection of old tar barrels, up-turned stumps of trees and other scrap.

Who is responsible for that?

I am speaking on the drive for tourism, and tourism figures largely in the Minister's Department. He is responsible for An Bord Fáilte, which is in turn responsible——

He may have responsibility for overriding policy in respect of tourism but the details as to the removal of used tar barrels and such things should not be discussed on the Estimate.

I think from any point of view——

One could discuss the back yard of an hotel on the basis of the Deputy's argument.

Quite so.

Such matters may not be discussed on this Vote.

In the drive for tourism it might be very appropriate to discuss the back yard of an hotel.

It might, but not here.

I would suggest that the Minister should impress on An Bord Fáilte that a policy of less flowers and more work would help to make the tourists stay here longer and with more profit to the country. We also have the difficulty of meeting local "squireens" who want three prices for a site for a caravan.

In the activities of An Bord Fáilte during the year, coarse fishing was mentioned and it was said that there was a drive to attract tourists in that direction. For the past couple of years, coarse fishing has been mentioned in connection with a desirable type of tourist that might be encouraged to come, either to the Midland lakes or to the lakes along our eastern or western seaboards. I see no sign that coarse fishing is becoming very popular in the Midlands. We have a number of excellent lakes including Lough Ree and Lough Forbes which are lovely limestone lakes and which would be ideal for coarse fishing, but one could count the number of boats on the fingers of one hand that one would see engaged in that sport on these lakes.

To pass on from tourism, I would draw the Minister's attention to the fact that the Government is going on two years in office but it has neglected, in my opinion, to adopt any of the recommendations which were embodied in the report of the Commission on Emigration. I would recommend for the Minister's attention paragraph 479 of the report. It deals with a proposal for an Investment Advisory Council. Paragraph 479 says:—

"We recommend therefore the appointment of an Investment Advisory Council, the personnel of which would include authorities on finance, currency and credit, who have had experience or have expert knowledge of the solution of problems comparable with ours in other countries. The council should examine the possibility of obtaining capital of the magnitude required for the economic development necessary to the solution of our demographic problems; it should inquire into the most appropriate methods of providing such capital, and, in addition, determine the general order of priority for various public investment projects and consider how private investment might be most effectively encouraged and facilitated."

We all seem to subscribe to the idea of private enterprise here, and, as I mentioned earlier, we have in this country a considerable amount of public investment in the sense that we have investment undertaken by State corporations. I suppose that is inevitable; it is happening in every country abroad, or at any rate in most countries that have been in any way progressive and which desire to gain a footing in export business. For that reason, I would recommend to the Minister the paragraph which I have just quoted. As I mentioned, we are in a dear and tight money market and I think that the measure introduced recently by the Minister's colleague, the Minister for Finance, will have the effect of still further reducing the numbers employed in industry, of reducing our effort in the field of output, of hampering our exports and, in general, of depressing our economy.

The argument was put forward that because of the similar British difficulties we should adopt the same methods and treat our economic problems in the same fashion. The motor-car industry is one indication, if any indication be needed, of the decrease in the numbers employed. The firms engaged in motor-car assembly here gave employment to quite a large number of workers, and, in the last few months, we have witnessed wholesale dismissals. Where are all the theories we had when the Minister and his colleagues were in opposition? Where are all the theories of cheaper money and more activity on the part of the Department of Industry and Commerce?

The present Minister, when he was in opposition, decried the efforts of his predecessor. On many occasions he made the rafters ring when telling us what could be done and should be done to boost output and to gain a foothold in markets abroad. I am sorry to say that I think we are losing whatever little foothold we had in the markets abroad. The sad feature of it is that there is no sign of any effort either in industry or in agriculture to grapple with the problem of exports.

My comments on this Estimate will be brief and will deal mainly with the rather glaring omissions which I found in the Minister's speech on the Estimate for his Department. Near the end of last year, a motion in my own name and that of my colleagues was accepted by the Minister—that Dáil Éireann would approve of the setting up of a bureau of standards for consumer goods. Some weeks ago I put the Minister a parliamentary question asking if his Department had yet made any progress with regard to this bureau of standards. His reply more or less said that the matter was still under investigation and, because it had to be examined closely in relation to similar institutions in other countries, it might take some time. I had hoped that, in introducing his Estimate, the Minister might have made even a brief reference to it or given us an interim report on the progress made by his Department in this matter.

As I emphasised when I made a speech on the motion, consumers in general, and consumers' representatives in particular, are quite aware that there are certain prices over which we can have no control, but we are also aware that the Government have both the power and the responsibility to ensure that, no matter what the price paid for an article is, people are entitled to get value for their money. I think that if the Minister and his Department got down to this problem speedily and effectively, you would immediately—I say "immediately" deliberately—have a distinct fall in the cost of living because consumers would automatically get full value for their money, better weight, better measurement and better goods.

I should like to give the House an example of what I have in mind. Recently a sale in Dublin was widely advertised in the newspapers. Tablecloths measuring 51 inches by 72 inches were advertised at 7/11 each. Cloths of the quality advertised would normally sell at 8/6, so that the advertised price represented a reduction of 7d. each. I bought two of those tablecloths and when I took them home I found that, by mistake, one was a size smaller than the other. I took it back but when I examined the other one I found it measured 68 inches by 51 inches instead of 72 inches by 51 inches. I am not attempting to say this was a confidence trick. In that instance the price of the article was reduced by 7d. but the size of the article was reduced by 4 inches.

I maintain that that is how the consumers can be even inadvertently exploited. I do not say they are deliberately exploited, but if the Government took steps to ensure that articles for consumer use were of a certain quality and quantity, under prosecution, these things could not happen. As I said before, we find articles described as waterproof which are not waterproof at all but are sold as such. People buy these things in the belief that the articles are of a certain type which will give a certain wear.

A customer can always go back to a shop and complain and in such cases a reputable shopkeeper will give some satisfaction by way of replacement or refund of money. Most consumers do not like resorting to that, however, because in many cases it would involve considerable expense and inconvenience. Consumers should not have to do that. The Government have an obligation to see that consumers are not exploited. They have that responsibility now more than ever because the Minister accepted our motion last October. At the conclusion of his speech on that occasion, I asked him how soon this job would be completed and he replied "With all possible speed." I wonder will we soon be able to get a definition of what parliamentary time means? Can we find out exactly what "all possible speed" means? I do not expect that a job like this could be done in a week or a month, but I certainly believe that seven months is too long. I had hoped that some attempt would be made earlier to see that something would be done in this regard. If there are difficulties the Minister could tell us what they are. he might get the consumers and the manufacturers together so that some scheme could be hammered out.

I discussed this matter with certain manufacturers who said they would welcome such a standards scheme. They would welcome a Government seal on their goods because they say they are prepared to stand over the articles they sell. The Minister must be aware that such a bureau of standards is working quite successfully in Great Britain. Goods submitted to this bureau bear a type mark. It is not compulsory on the manufacturers to participate, but any manufacturer who submits his goods for specification gets this Government type mark and the consumer automatically knows that the article he buys is of a certain type and standard. He can then get replacements or money back.

With regard to another aspect of prices and price reduction, I wonder if the Minister and his Department have seriously considered a method whereby, I think, prices could be reduced. This method involves the question of packages and packing. I remember during the emergency when money was plentiful but the goods were not available. Wrappings were also rationed at the time and we found our goods wrapped in one wrapping, minus the cellophane and minus the three or four extra packings. The goods were all right.

I think there should be in present circumstances a system of austerity wrapping of consumer goods introduced. This system could be applied particularly to such household articles as soaps, soap powders and food which does not need three or four wrappings —food which is used quickly in the ordinary way. Sliced pan loaves do not need two wrappings to keep them together. Why should a tablet of toilet soap have four wrappings—an inner wrapping of tissue paper, cardboard, cellophane and an ordinary paper wrapping? These things must add considerably to the cost of a commodity. This extra cost must be borne by the consumers. It is a suggestion I would like the Minister to consider in connection with some attempt to bring down the cost of living for people who are being hit so hard.

I should also like the Minister to consider some examination of a reorganisation of the distribution and handling of consumer goods generally. I should like his Department to examine every possible avenue whereby the line of distribution between the producer and the consumer could be shortened and so obviate the necessity for goods passing through so many middle-men with so much additional cost for the consumer. It would not be so bad if the producer were getting some of that additional cost but we have had many cases, particularly in connection with agricultural commodities and garden produce, where the producer gets an uneconomic price while the consumer pays an exorbitant price due to the fact that we have so many middle people handling the goods. These people do not dig, sow, collect or do any other work in connection with the production or distribution of these goods. I would ask the Minister to consider investigating this matter.

I should like also briefly to refer to a matter I mentioned in the House some days ago. It has to do with the price of coal prior to and since the recent increase. In reply to a question of mine, the Minister mentioned that 900 tons of coal were held by the merchants before the inquiry was finished. That coal he described as best house coal, priced at £8 18s. 6d. per ton. In answer to a further question he mentioned that the new price for best house coal was £10 8s. 6d. It does not necessarily have to be clarified in the Minister's reply to this Estimate but perhaps I could get the information from him later on. Is it possible that the increase of 30/- per ton sought from the Prices Advisory Body was sought in respect of all coals irrespective of the price paid for them to the National Coal Board? At the inquiry the merchants based their claim for 30/- a ton on best Yorkshire coal which is classed as Grade I coal. An increase of 24/6 a ton was based on coal described as best house coal. I think the consumers should be given the benefit of any doubt that might exist in this regard, even if the benefit were as low as 11/- a ton.

I would like to refer to a remark made by Deputy Carter when he said that Bord na Móna automatically increases the price of turf when the price of coal goes up. I do not think the Deputy is correct in that. It is true that in Dublin and in other urban areas the price of turf does go up. If the price of turf ex-factory from Bord na Móna is 84/-, the price in Dublin is 110/- a ton, which seems a tremendous handling charge for a commodity which is not bought in one ton lots, but at least in ten ton lots. That is something that the Minister could usefully investigate.

Another point which I would like the Minister to clarify deals with the question which I raised last week in regard to coal, when I asked was the decision of the Prices Advisory Body to increase the price of coal a unanimous decision. The Minister informed me that the recommendations of the body are made to him in confidence and that he was not prepared to make public any details. I do not want to cross swords with him on this matter but I wish to remind him that he did announce in public, on one occasion, that a recommendation for an increase had been referred back by him because the decision was by the casting vote of the chairman. That was my only reason for putting the question. It was not intended to force the Minister into any position or to force him into breaking a confidence. In this case a similar matter might have arisen and the consumer would be entitled to the benefit of the doubt.

If the Minister would consider my remarks about distributing and handling costs, about the cutting down of expenses on window dressing and packaging and about the setting up of a bureau of standards, I think that the interests of the consumer would be well taken care of so far as lies in the power of the present Government.

I have no doubt that the remarks made by Deputy Mrs. O'Carroll were sound, logical and well-reasoned but to my horror and dismay I heard nothing whatever from this honest Deputy in the way of criticism of the year's working of the Minister's Department. The points raised by Deputy Mrs. O'Carroll could be supported by Deputies on every side of the House, except the point made as regards packaging. Take, for instance, the question of four wrappers on a bar of soap. If there is only a single wrapper only 90 bars of soap can be packaged per hour but where there are four wrappers 500 bars can be packaged per hour. That is a matter for the Minister for Industry and Commerce and I am not the Minister.

To use a mild form of expression, the present Government is definitely bewitched, bothered and bewildered and so is every section of the community; farmers, workers and business people, in this country at the present time. There is not an individual in this House, no matter what side he represents, who will not admit in the corridors of Dáil Éireann that things are in a most unhappy plight. I have not the slightest intention of reading quotations of what was said in the election and what promises were given. We are now faced with the position that a crisis of the first magnitude exists in this country. The Minister responsible for most of the matters which affect the livelihood of the majority of the people is the Minister in charge of this Department. Everywhere one looks to-day one sees that the price of every single article has increased.

When we left office in June, 1954, what was described then as the cruel and unjust consumer price index figure stood at 124 points and since the coming into office of the Coalition Government that figure has jumped by some ten points. In his introductory remarks to the Estimate the Minister holds out no hope whatever of an improvement. There is a notice in the Post Office encouraging savings, saying that dreams will not get us anywhere and telling us to do something about it. This Government is composed of dreamers. There is a quotation which says: "If you should dream, do not make dreams your masters." This Government are not the masters of their own dreams. They are not the masters of their own destiny, not to talk of the country's destiny. Where they are heading to no one can say. I can only hope that this general election which is so freely talked of in the country to-day is not too far distant.

Do you want to get out?

Deputy Giles will have an opportunity of seeing what hit him in the next general election.

He is here for a long time.

It is very hard to blame any one on the Government side of the House for clinging on. The public is in such a state of frenzy at the present time, farmers, agricultural workers, industrialists and their employees, that if there was a general election the majority which we would obtain would be fantastic.

The Deputy is quite right.

If the Minister is so complacent and confident of the outcome of a general election I wish he would take the necessary steps to put this matter to the test. When the last Estimate for his Department introduced by Deputy Lemass was being debated the present Minister waxed eloquent and said that if Deputy Lemass had any respect for the Irish nation and for the Irish people he would ask the Taoiseach of the time to go to the President and have Dáil Éireann dissolved.

That used to be an old recreation of his.

If the Minister would take up that recreation of going to the Park now, we would all be very pleased. We have had Fine Gael and Labour people, people who were the hottest supporters of this Government, telling us "never again". It is not for love of Fianna Fáil but for love of their own pockets and the future of the country.

The Deputy should not mind what he hears late at night.

It was not so late at night when I heard it.

The Deputy should come to the Estimate.

I was dealing with the rise in the consumer price index. It has jumped ten points from June, 1954, up to the last available figure. When we went out of office before the first Coalition Government the consumer price index was 99 and when we left it the second time it was 109. It should not be forgotten that in that period we had given increases. Seven of those points were attributable to the reduction by this Party of the food subsidies, but it should be borne in mind that we gave compensation for those reductions to the needier classes by increases in the social services. Deputy Mrs. O'Carroll mentioned the price of coal at some discussion and asked the Minister to deal in his reply with some technicalities in which she was interested. The Minister at no time informed the people in respect of one interesting matter: how is it that the last increase in Britain demanded by the National Coal Board was only 6/- and in Limerick and Dublin we have to pay up to 30/- a ton?

The difference is being Irish as compared with being British. The British sell their coal to us and on the world market at the best price they can get, not the domestic price on the home market. If you want to live in Lancashire you will pay British prices; if you want to live in Limerick you will pay Limerick prices.

There are many compensations for living in Limerick but I do not see the sense of paying 24/- a ton for coal extra for the privilege. Would the Minister state if the freight rates come into the difference between the 6/- a ton and the 30/- a ton?

The British keep it.

It is a matter that is a great mystery and it is in the Minister's hands to clear it up. As we are speaking about Limerick, I would refer to a matter that is very near to my own heart and to my own constituency. In his introductory remarks on this Estimate the Minister referred to the position of Aer Lingus. He pointed out that the expected losses for 1954-55 had turned into a profit of £25,428. That is a matter for congratulating not only the board but all the employees down to the lowest official in Aer Lingus. The Minister will recall that when he came into office first he did not paint too rosy a picture in regard to the Aer Lingus finances. He expected the losses to be very great indeed and it is notable that they have now shown a profit of £25,000. At the same time the management of Dublin airport, which is in the charge of Aer Rianta, also showed on the year a surplus of £26,000. The Minister also says that the passenger figures at Shannon airport increased on the 1949 figures by 168 per cent. and, on the whole, he says that the position is most satisfactory.

There was a time when Deputies on the Government side of the House were criticising the abnormal expenditure on civil aviation by the Fianna Fáil Government and the money expended on Dublin and Shannon airports and, as forecast by Deputy Lemass when Minister for Industry and Commerce, is was only in the embryonic stages of its existence and this deficit would get lower as time went on. How true that is, is indicated by the figures given by the Minister. I am quoting from column 792, Volume 158, of the Official Debates of the 20th June, 1956:—

"I would like Deputies to know that the actual operating deficit on Shannon airport has been reduced from £182,000 in 1951-52 to £19,000 in 1954-55, and I think they will agree that this is quite a remarkable achievement".

It is a remarkable achievement.

The position which obtains in the export shop is also remarkable. I do not know whether the public are aware that last year over $1,000,000 was taken in at that shop which started in such a small way. I am quoting from column 793 of the same volume:—

"Dollar earnings have increased from $177,000 in 1950 to $1,543,000 in 1955."

The total dollar earnings by the organisation since it started up to 1955 was $4,500,000. There is just one point before I leave the matter of the Shannon airport shop. I would like to draw the Minister's attention to something which is causing hardship, and I think unjustly so, on traders in Limerick City. Without going into details, let me say that there are certain articles being sold which are not necessarily of Irish manufacture. Take, for instance, the jewellery trade. There are watches and cameras being retailed in Shannon airport. I object very strongly in the interests of the trading community of Limerick City and so would everyone else if this were happening in his city. If there was an airport shop in Cork I am sure Deputy Barry would object to this practice.

Surely they are being sold inside the duty-free port? They cannot be brought into this country.

The Deputy is quite correct, but it is well known that very many of the people who land at the airport come up to Limerick, or possibly to Cork, or other places, and in the normal course of events they go into a jeweller's shop to buy cameras and such articles. I object in the strongest way to these facilities being there in the airport to the detriment of the ordinary Limerick shopkeeper. That shop was set up primarily to sell Irish products—Limerick lace, Irish tweeds, Irish whiskey and 101 other native products of which they are making such an excellent job, but they need not turn themselves into hawkers. I have been asked on several occasions to bring this to the Minister's attention, something which I unfortunately neglected to do but which I am remedying now. There is actually one merchant in Limerick who is sending some of his goods in the camera line out to the airport.

Dealing still with Shannon airport, I would remind the House that the Minister replied yesterday to a question of mine on the extension of the runways. What he said was tantamount to saying that, if the Government had certain information from the air companies, they would be prepared, if the necessity arose, to extend these runways. Therefore, I think I am right in assuming that there is no reason to assume that this Government will not provide facilities for jet aircraft in Shannon.

What did the Deputy say?

If the bigger air companies, such as T.W.A. and Pan American, furnish the Minister with their schedules, am I not correct in saying that neither the Minister nor the Government will put any barrier in the way of 100 per cent. facilities for jet aircraft, thereby ensuring that Shannon will be utilised as much in the future as it has been up to the present?

As far as this Government is concerned, it will provide all the runways necessary at Shannon, and anything else that is required, to facilitate the landing and take-off of aircraft there. There is no question about that. It is not even discussable, it is so certain, but we have got to make sure, first of all, that there are customers for the runways. I might mention that one of these American companies is planning the introduction of an aircraft which will land on a shorter runway. What will we do about that? One wants a shorter runway and another wants a longer runway. One has to find out which is required. Will the companies use aircraft which needs a longer runway or a shorter runway?

That is the point which is worrying personnel in Shannon.

Nobody in Shannon is worried about it at all. If the Deputy does not operate on their nerves now, they will be all right.

I am not operating on their nerves at all but the Minister must realise that, before his conversion, he was very averse to the idea of air services at all and condemned Shannon bitterly from time to time. Is there any possibility of the Minister finding out whether or not the aircraft of the future will land on the existing runways?

The air companies have not yet made up their minds.

That is an extraordinary statement from the Minister because the president of one of the bigger American companies stated in Shannon in the course of an interview with the newspapers, and everyone here has read it, that he expected that certain changes would have to be made in the runways at Shannon because of future developments in air transport design. I am not talking now of capacity to over-fly due to being able to take on extra petrol. There are two schools of thought in the matter. The Minister is quite correct. There are some large aircraft at the moment operating between the larger cities in the U.S. They are capable of landing in a much shorter space, but the position is that they are carrying a smaller number of passengers as compared with the airliners on the transatlantic route.

I am talking about the plane which is expected to be available in 1960 and which, it is anticipated, will land in a much smaller space than the present runway required for piston-driven planes, much less jet planes.

If the Minister is satisfied he has the best technical information at his disposal——

I am satisfied that the Minister knows more than I know and I think the Deputy ought to accept that, too.

I take it Deputy O'Malley has the same point of view as I have: Shannon ought to be held for the nation. There is no purpose in our muddying the waters or casting doubts on our ability to do things. What has to be done will be done.

That is a very satisfactory state of affairs. I am sure Deputy A. Barry is satisfied that the runways in Cork will be suitable when the time comes. I do not want to go over the whole position now in relation to transatlantic air services. I am one of those, whether or not the Minister is aware of it, who believe there is a certain amount of honesty in certain people sitting on the opposite side of the House. I feel the Minister is being pressed by other sources not to have the matter of transatlantic air services reopened.

In 1955, the Minister introduced his Estimate here and he referred to the oil refinery and spoke about national prestige. At column 520, of Volume 149 of the Official Report, he said:—

"...this is ... the only country in Western Europe without its own refinery and we are, I think, entitled to have one established from the point of view of national prestige alone."

I am not urging on the Minister that he should reopen the matter of the operation of transatlantic air services, just for the pleasure of his stepping from an Irish plane at New York or Washington or anywhere else. The time has come, however, when Aer Lingus should re-present the case and the Minister should re-examine the position in the light of present circumstances and in the light of the tribute he paid to Aer Rianta, Aer Lingus and Shannon. If the Minister calls on the directors of Aer Lingus or Aer Rianta for a report on the economics of such a venture, I think he will be well satisfied that the return on capital expenditure is well worthy of consideration by the Government from the point of view of employment content and the cutting down of emigration.

In 1955, the Minister referred to Irish Shipping and he said that, at his request, Irish Shipping were then examining the possibility of entering the transatlantic passenger trade. Deputy Lemass pointed out that the smallest vessel which would be suitable for such a trade was a vessel of 10,000 tons which would cost £200 per ton. In my view, 10,000 tons is a ridiculously small tonnage and £200 is a most conservative estimate of the cost. That would work out at £2,000,000 altogether. Last year the Minister asked Irish Shipping to investigate the matter. He has made no reference to it this year. Neither has he stated at any time that he has received a report from Irish Shipping. If the Minister thought the matter worthy of consideration and that £2,000,000 or £3,000,000 would be available, if the project were proved to be an economic one, I would sincerely ask him now to have the whole position of a transatlantic air service re-examined in the light of modern trends. It is like having a railway station and railway lines and not having any use for them yourself.

We have the railway stations and the railway lines too. They are not making much money.

I have not come to that yet. The Minister knows very well from what he has learned from the directors of Aer Lingus and Aer Rianta that there are irrefutable figures to show that the returns from this transatlantic project would be well worth while. I do not ask him to commit himself; I only ask him to request the directors of Aer Lingus to present him with this report, just as he asked the directors of Irish Shipping to let him have a report on the question of the transatlantic line. Would the Minister do that, please?

I told the Deputy, in reply to a parliamentary question, that I am prepared to consider any proposal for a transatlantic service which does not involve us in fruitless subsidisation and the dissipation of national assets. If anybody thinks I am going to provide a transatlantic service which will be subsidised out of the people's pockets to a figure of £1,000,000 or £1,500,000, I am not going to do that. If there is a proposition which stands the test of reality and does not involve endless subsidisation, I will look at it favourably.

Such a project exists, and it is a project which would not be fatuous or could not be described as throwing money down the sink. Such a proposition is in existence; it simply requires to be brought up to date and to have certain readjustments of figures. Supposing, for the sake of argument, that there was a deficit in the first five years of operation of this transatlantic service of £100,000 a year, which would amount to £500,000 in the five years, but, as a result of the setting up of a transatlantic air service, we gave employment to 1,500 people, would this House not prefer to have 1,500 Irishmen and Irishwomen employed in our own airline than to see them emigrate? Would it not be preferable to having to pay those 1,500 people 30/- or 50/- a week on the dole?

How many airliners would be required to keep 1,500 in employment?

How many? We had them but the Government over there sold them. I would like to remind Deputy Barry that we paid dollars for them but the Government sold them for sterling at a loss.

Not at all; at a profit.

I think the Deputy is up in the clouds.

That is most interesting.

Do not be so gloomy; they were sold at a profit. Cheer up now.

That is a new one on me.

There is a lot more coming to the Deputy.

When the Minister speaks of profit and loss he has to have some comparison. He should speak of it from the point of view of the wellbeing of the nation. Supposing the Minister made £50,000 or £100,000 on the deal, was that £100,000 worth more than the 600 potential jobs which were lost by the scrapping of the transatlantic airline?

I thought the Deputy said 1,500?

I am coming to that. All these Cork men are very impetuous. I was referring to the 600 jobs that were lost in Aer Rianta. There were 600 more also who would have obtained employment in the Lockheed maintenance factory, which was also referred to here.

Has something that happened in 1948 anything to do with the current year's Estimate, Sir?

The fact that the Estimate has been referred back for consideration widens the scope of the debate on the Estimate.

I never thought it went back to the history of Shannon.

The reason I press the Minister so much on this question is because he has come round 90 per cent. to our way of thinking with regard to the air services, and this last 10 per cent.—the transatlantic air service—is all that is required to be achieved now. To-day we hear much talk of the necessity of obtaining these valuable dollars. I repeat for the last time that I do not want the Minister to bring in any proposition or to ask Aer Lingus or Aer Rianta to put any proposition before him which will be of such a nature as to require fruitless capital expenditure or wasteful subsidisation by the Government or which would hold out no hope whatever of being a sound proposition from the point of view of the economy of the country.

Recently, as quoted in Volume 150 of the Official Debates, column 538, the Minister stated:—

"I am satisfied that, apart from the benefits derived from travellers and by those who are exporting and importing goods by air, the community in general is receiving very substantial benefits in return for the heavy expenditure on Dublin and Shannon airports."

I wish to stress that. The public in return for the heavy expenditure on Dublin and Shannon airports—and that expenditure was heavy—is receiving very substantial benefits, according to the statement of the present Minister.

When we talk about a transatlantic air service we cannot deal with the economics alone. We have to relate it to tourism and the benefits to be derived by the different cities, and a great deal goes back to the farmer for the production and purchase of many things. The Minister might as well know that the position is that the directors of Aer Lingus are "windy"—they are not anxious to present something which they think would not have the Minister's blessing. I think they should take note of the Minister's reply here yesterday, that, if they put up such a proposition, the Minister will give it favourable consideration. The Minister has gone a long way in saying that, and I am willing to accept it.

I am still afraid that, even if the Minister himself wanted such a thing and even if the directors put up a 100 per cent. faultless proposition, we would still have other members on that side of the House who would do everything they could to knock it on the head. I remember reading what the present Attorney-General said at one time. When speaking in the House he said: "This service will never come into operation if I can stop it." Those are the words spoken by Deputy McGilligan in this House on the 11th March, 1948.

On the question of profit I would like to point out to the Minister that the Constellations which we bought after great difficulty for dollars when we were in power, were sold to B.O.A.C. We sold them for £315,000 each in sterling, and it is interesting to recall the speech of the chairman of B.O.A.C. recently—Sir Miles Thomas, I think— when he pointed to the happy decision and the fortunate step which the board of B.O.A.C. took in purchasing those planes at that time—1948, I think— from the then Irish Government. He suggested this had been the turning point in the fortunes of B.O.A.C. It is a matter for the greatest regret for this nation, not that B.O.A.C. should be successful, but that they should have achieved that success at this nation's expense. What they have achieved could have been achieved by us.

Deputy Morrissey was Minister for Industry and Commerce at that time and he changed. The remorse set in as in the case of a person who has committed a serious sin and who becomes sorry and says: "I will do it no more." Deputy Morrissey betook himself to the International Federation of Air Pilots and on the 4th April, 1949, at that conferencec—after selling the Constellations, mark you—he said:—

"Successive Irish Governments have neglected no opportunity of ensuring that any natural advantages possessed by this country should be developed as fully as possible in order that Ireland might make its contribution to the development of international civil aviation. The construction of a first-class transatlantic airport at Shannon despite the heavy burden involved was a symbol of Ireland's desire to contribute to the development of civil aviation."

Indeed, Deputy Morrissey was learning fast.

In connection with the present position of C.I.E. I would like to refer to a short quotation at column 1148, in Volume 146. This was the Minister speaking a couple of weeks after he had come into office in 1954. At that time the Minister said—and it is worthy of note, just two short quotations:—

"I agree with Deputy Lemass when he says that in our circumstances and indeed in world circumstances, railways must continue to be the main source of transport in this country. I think in any case it would be national shortsightedness to think of any abandonment of railways with all the capital assets which have gone into the building up of these railways and with all the economic interests that now revolve around the railways in the circumstances which exist in this country. So far as I am concerned, I certainly wish to see C.I.E. made a success. I would like to aid and I will aid C.I.E. in its development programme. It will get from me every possible encouragement, firstly, encouragement to be as efficient as it can; secondly, encouragement to balance its budget as soon as it can, and thirdly, encouragement to engage in the development of its activities in a way calculated to give us a better transport service and an efficient transport organisation which will not require constant drafts on the national Exchequer."

These statements of the Minister are well worth reconsideration at this time in view of the precarious situation in which C.I.E. finds itself. I really do not think it is all that precarious, possibly. I really do not think that the difficulties which C.I.E. are encountering are insurmountable. They have an efficient board; they have the experience, and they have got out of tighter corners in the past. Nevertheless, not alone is the position worthy of the active consideration of the Minister, but a statement from him, possibly to-night or at the earliest opportunity, would, perhaps, allay the anxiety of the people, particularly the wives and families of the workers.

I agree that the board is a separate entity put in charge of its own fortunes, so to speak, by legislation of this House, but, nevertheless, the Minister would do a good day's work and a charitable day's work if, in his reply later, he would give an undertaking that there will be no large-scale dismissals. The last time such a question was raised on the Minister's Estimate he explained that the only dismissals which took place from C.I.E. were due to redundancy of temporary employees, but the position as presented by the directors and as it has appeared in the national Press is more serious.

Deputy MacBride is present and I recalled to-day that he put down a total of something like 20 questions recently to the Minister for Industry and Commerce dealing with the importation by C.I.E. of very many component parts which, first of all, he suggested, could have been obtained by tender from Irish firms and then, again, which he suggested could have been manufactured in this country. There, again, we go back to the unfortunate step of scrapping the chassis factory at Inchicore. I maintain there would have been no necessity for such questions from Deputy MacBride and that there would have been no anxiety from other Deputies about the importation and the difficulty of assembling in this country certain component parts for C.I.E. if the chassis factory in Inchicore had not been scrapped by the first Coalition Government.

Every year, on an average, 5,500 new commercial vehicles are registered in Ireland. This factory in Inchicore was designed to build certain of such vehicles and it was capable of producing between 500 and 600 of them per year. The Minister for Industry and Commerce at the time, Deputy Morrissey, took the decision to scrap the Inchicore chassis factory. Some of the finest machinery and precision tools were sold for scrap. They were left lying there, rotting and rusting in Broadstone, until they were sold for scrap. Reference was made to the sale of the transatlantic airliners and the Minister said a profit had been made on them when they were sold for sterling. But there was no profit made, I would remind the Minister, in the case of the precision tools sold for scrap. They were exported to England as scrap where they were resold as precision tools to make motor vehicles for shipment to Ireland.

That was an extraordinary state of affairs. This machinery was sold for scrap, sent to Britain and sent back in the form of motor vehicles which could have been built here. Deputy Lemass, in May of 1950, said:—

"You could not get the like of it in the world and if it could be got you could not get it for at least two or three years. But we are letting this machinery out of the country. Are we always to be satisfied with assembled parts which have been manufactured in Britain? What kind of industrial policy is that?"

Now, considering the sorry but not insurmountable plight of C.I.E., I would ask the Minister to re-examine this position. I would refer the Minister to a speech made recently at the general meeting of the New Ireland Assurance Company by the chairman, Mr. M.W. O'Reilly. I have not got the quotation with me. He said that what is wanted more than anything else in this country to-day is a manufacturing industry which will produce precision instruments and heavier machinery. Mr. O'Reilly, I think, could be considered to be a gentleman who knows what he is talking about. He expressed this opinion when giving a review of the industrial position of the country as a whole. I would ask the Minister, therefore, to have this matter re-examined. If he thinks C.I.E. have enough on their hands without dealing with this matter there is no reason why he should not get the officials of his Department or the Industrial Development Authority to examine it and let him have a report as to whether it is feasible or not to re-establish this factory.

I believe the Minister, in a recent speech, suggested that he would be very anxious to attract light engineering industries to this country. There is another matter on which a lot of lip service was given in election after election and that is the question of decentralisation. In a later column to that which I have just quoted, the Minister dealt with decentralisation. That was two or three weeks after coming into office. He said, referring to a particular industrialist:—

"There is no real means of compelling him to go to any particular place against his wishes. The industrialist may say, if you try to send him to a particular area: ‘These terms are too onerous; I do not propose to go ahead with the establishment of the industry.' In that situation, we achieve nothing by attempting to put on pressure which is stubbornly resisted".

The Minister continued that nothing would be achieved by putting on such pressure and said:—

"I take it the policy of the Department and my policy will be to decentralise industry as far as possible. The establishment of Foras Tionscal was an effort to move industry into places which have been entirely denuded of industry and to provide other sources of employment in these areas."

Since then, the Minister has done nothing to endeavour to encourage decentralisation. I agree the Undeveloped Areas Act was introduced. That has done a certain amount for particular areas but what is happening in places like Limerick, where employment and emigration were never so high? What incentive have the Government given to places like Limerick? A number of foreign experts were over here and prepared a report and in a summary of their recommendations they criticised the financial, social, industrial and agricultural setup in this country. Of course, they were paid for it. In the second last chapter they said that five of the smaller cities or towns under Dublin— and for Deputy A. Barry's information Cork was described as a smaller town or city——

The Deputy will not draw me.

Galway, one of the most prosperous towns in the country, comes under the Undeveloped Areas Act for some unknown reason. These experts recommended that such towns as Waterford, Cork, and possibly Limerick and Athlone, would be picked out and that the competent authority would say what concessions would be given to such places. The first objection, naturally, is that this would cut across the places that would benefit under the Undeveloped Areas Act, but the concessions which were contemplated by these experts included the giving of proper incentives to people who would enter the export market for products not at present manufactured here.

Deputy Lemass, on one occasion, pointed out that even if £60,000,000 or £70,000,000 worth of goods which are imported into this country were manufactured here it would only provide 2,500 extra jobs per annum over the next ten-year period. He went further and pointed out that it was estimated that 15,000 jobs a year were needed. The members of the Government are quite correct in asking what were we doing about that. We were doing quite a lot. Our record is there and it is a good one, particularly from the industrial viewpoint. To reach the target of 15,000 jobs a year, even if we were to provide the 2,500 jobs which could be made by manufacturing at home the goods that we now import, is still a very big proposition but that is the responsibility of the Minister for Industry and Commerce.

I take the Minister very strongly to task on the question of decentralisation. It would be much too boring to go over all the clichés about Dublin being overcrowded. We all know that. Is the Minister going to do anything about these factories that are to be set up now? I asked parliamentary questions about the matter and I was told that 180 factories have been set up in Dublin, one in Cork, and two in Limerick. The position is appalling. It is all very well for the Minister to ask what can he do if an industrialist comes along and tells him that if he cannot start up in Dublin he will go away. That may happen in one case in ten, or in one in five, but in the remaining four out of five cases the Minister should be able to have these industries outside Dublin. If we lost 20 per cent. of these industries it would be a loss to the country but we would benefit by having the others decentralised.

I think the Minister mentioned a figure of 250 projects that have been placed before his Department by industrialists. Does everyone not know that, if 50 out of these 250 projects come to be set up, 40 of them will be set up in Dublin? When the Minister, jointly with the Minister for Finance, gives a tremendous tax concession to those in the export trade and to specific trades not already operative in this country, surely these industries should be set up outside Dublin? That would be one way of helping to solve this problem.

The Minister referred to the Wicklow copper mines. Would the Minister ever tell us if it is a fact that this copper, which is going out of this country to be refined, will be reimported made up in certain articles such as tubing? There is a certain school of thought which is of the opinion that it is wrong to allow every bit of this unrefined copper out of the country to Canada and then to reimport it and have to pay full freight rates on it. The obvious answer to that is that the cost of setting up a refinery would not justify the setting up of one here but surely a very small percentage of that copper which is to be exported for refining could be reimported here at cost plus freight? No steps, as far as I know, have been taken to see that that will be done.

Another matter not dealt with by the Minister in introducing the Estimate is this question of flour-milling. That is a matter which is of some interest to us in Limerick as well as to some other cities. The Minister has not yet stated whether there is any foundation for the fear of the nationalisaion of the industry. The Minister once said that, if he had the chance, the first thing he would do would be to nationalise the flour mills. Reports regarding the flour-milling industry have been, or are being, or are about to be presented to the Minister. It is of the utmost importance now that the Minister should make some reference to this matter and state categorically what exactly is his policy and the policy of the Government with respect to the flour-milling industry. Deputy Lemass remarked, on one occasion, that there was nothing more dangerous to the well-being of the community than to have Ministers making statements of a general character. The Minister should come out specifically on this question of the flour-milling industry and also on other matters which have been brought to his attention.

There is a section of the community which thought that the Minister would announce, with the concurrence of the Minister for Finance, the removal of some of the levies. These levies were imposed by the Minister for Finance but I am trying to relate them to the Minister for Industry and Commerce, as they affect certain projects which are his responsibility.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce is not responsible for these levies. I cannot see how they can be discussed on this Estimate.

The unemployment position and the position of emigration is supposed to be very near to the Minister's heart. The ordinary Irishman, the ordinary voter in the country is a most reasonable person—goodness knows he would want to be sometimes —and would it not be a good thing if the Minister said: "This levy which was imposed and affects so many items under the jurisdiction of my Department will be removed because we did not realise that it would have the impact which it has had"? Would that not be a popular and a brave action to take, one which would win the respect of the people? In view of the appalling position with regard to emigration and unemployment, the Minister for Industry and Commerce should have the matter reconsidered at once. The adverse balance of payments is running at the rate of £72,000,000 a year and the calculated amount by which that balance will be reduced this year as a result of the levies is only some £7,000,000.

The Deputy seems to be entering the realms of finance and going away from the Estimate.

I merely wanted to draw that to the Minister's attention. Now let me refer to the question of price control. At column 529, Volume 149, of the Official Debates of the 23rd March, 1955, the Minister said:—

"As I have already indicated, it is my intention to introduce permanent legislation for the control of prices as soon as possible. I have not yet arrived at final conclusions as to the nature and extent of the improvements which it would be desirable to make in the existing machinery of price control."

As well as referring to this question last year, the Minister also referred to it shortly after he came into office, towards the end of June, 1954. Deputy Lemass said in this connection: "We heard that story before. You were going to introduce price control and nothing happened." I think this is one of the most serious sins of omission of the present Coalition Government. Is there any explanation for their failure to produce this Bill? I was hoping the Parliamentary Secretary, Deputy Donnellan, would interrupt me and say: "Why did you not do it when you were in power?"

I would not do a thing like that.

He must have known that Deputy Lemass, when Minister for Industry and Commerce, left a Bill in Kildare Street for permanent price control. It was ready to be brought in. The Minister for Industry and Commerce said one time: "I will bring in a Bill for permanent price control but it will not be a Fianna Fáil Bill." Whatever kind of a Bill it will be, whether it is a Labour Bill or a Coalition Bill, let us have it.

The Deputy is now advocating legislation, which is not in order on the Estimate.

We hear all about the cost of living, the cost of loving, the cost of housing, about wages, unemployment and emigration and, as I say, Fianna Fáil, in conscience, could not oppose this Bill if there are no material changes. It is a highly necessary Bill.

To what Bill is the Deputy referring?

I am referring to a draft Control of Prices Bill.

There is no such Bill before the House.

There is no such Bill.

A Bill was left, just as the Factories Bill was left by us. Anyway, I hope the Minister will tell us once and for all when this Price Control Bill will be introduced to control prices, about which we hear so much. I was not the first to mention this question in the House. The Minister himself promised this Bill two weeks after coming into office. Now it is put into cold storage like many more of the projects we were promised by the Coalition. Let me quote from column 1099, Volume 146, of the Official Debates of 2nd July, 1954, which was the first time that the present Dáil heard of this matter, when the Minister stated in relation to price control:—

"Price Control: My policy in regard to prices and price control has already been clearly stated, but, in case there might be any doubt in the matter, I wish to repeat that it is my intention to take all possible steps to reduce the cost of living in relation to the people's incomes, and, in particular, to effect a reduction in the prices of essential foodstuffs... My aim will be to ensure that the investigation and control of prices will be operated in the interests of the consumers and, to this end, I propose to take an early opportunity of meeting the members of the Prices Advisory Body."

Hear, hear!

What is the "Hear, hear" about? We will be saying "Hear, hear" on this side of the House when this famous Bill, a highly necessary Bill, in relation to price control is introduced here. The day is coming in which the worker will have £50, £60 or £70 per week to compensate him for the rising costs of foodstuffs, clothes, housing, rents, etc. Older people here remember that after the First World War one could purchase a German 1,000,000 mark note for ¼d. or ½d. Trade union leaders say that price control ought to be one of the foremost considerations not only of this Government but of any Government.

I would ask the Minister to note the criticism which has appeared in relation to the lack of advertising by the Irish Tourist Board. One hears this complaint every year, but never so much as this year, not only in America and Canada but in Western Europe as well. Enough money has not been expended in this direction. Tourism is the second biggest industry from the point of view of our national income. I do not think anyone would contend that it should not occupy a very prominent position here. I am sure even Deputy MacBride will agree with that. He will recall that at one time he wished to tax tourists. That was not so very long ago either. We all seem to be unanimous now on the importance of tourism and I hope no such suggestion as that will ever be made again.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce is not responsible for the utterances of Deputies or other Ministers. It does not arise on this Estimate.

I was referring to the position of tourism. I would ask the Minister to indicate why it is that there has been no substantially increased allocation under this heading. He has spoken in the highest terms of the Tourist Board set up at his instigation. I think he could do something more than he has done.

The Minister did not refer in a clear manner to the position of the E.S.B. in his speech on this Estimate. We are all aware that an application was received last Friday, and is possibly being heard now, from the E.S.B. to increase their charges. The Minister has dealt with certain aspects of the board's activities in relation to turf generating stations and the number of areas developed under rural electrification. He did not deal with the question of cost. Up to last year the position was that the Government contributed half the capital cost of erecting the rural network free of interest or repayment charges, and the E.S.B. supplied the electricity at the recognised tariff rate. The Parliamentary Secretary dealt with that matter and, irrespective of how ably he dealt with it, it has had the effect that certain areas have now been dropped by the E.S.B. because it would not now be an economic proposition to develop them due to the step taken by the Government in cutting off this contribution and the instruction to the E.S.B. that the moneys would have to be repaid.

In Estimates hitherto, repayments were spread over 30 years. Not alone has the concession of meeting half the capital cost disappeared but a new imposition has been placed on the shoulders of the board, namely, that they must now repay and repay quickly. There is a statutory obligation on the E.S.B. whereunder, if income exceeds expenditure, that excess must be used to adjust charges to the benefit of the consumer. The Minister might also allay the fears raised in leading articles of certain papers which do not seem to be very conversant with the position. The ordinary man in the street has lost account of exactly what is happening with regard to rural electrification. Every Deputy in the House is continually getting letters from his constituents saying: "This was promised on such and such a month and now the local engineer says they are not doing this area." All over the country to-day certain specific areas are being scrapped by the board because they are not an economic proposition.

That is not a fact.

I will go further and put down a question; I will give evidence and raise the matter on the Adjournment. That was a serious interruption from the Parliamentary Secretary. He says it is not a fact. My statement is that there are certain specific areas in the State to-day which, but for Government action in their treatment of the E.S.B., would now be catered for by the E.S.B.

They would not.

Fair enough. That is a deadlock. I will refer to it at a more appropriate time.

There was a matter which I referred to earlier and to which I would like to refer briefly again. It is the question of C.I.E. I said that I did not think the position of C.I.E., or the difficulties in which they find themselves at the present time, are insurmountable. I asked the Minister if in his reply to-night he would allay the anxieties of the families of C.I.E. workers. As everyone knows there are rumours——

The Deputy said all this two hours ago.

I know I said it; but I did not say it all.

The Deputy has already said it.

Wait until the races are over.

There might be a bigger attendance over there especially in the Labour Benches.

I asked the Minister in his reply to-night to allay those anxieties if he can.

Deputy Lemass was speaking in this House on the 23rd March, 1955, as reported in Volume 149, column 560:—

"Mr. Norton: C.I.E. will get all the money it wants by the time it is due to pay it.

Mr. Lemass: You mean that they had actually not to part with the cash?

Mr. Norton: I mean what I say. There is no need for anxiety.

Mr. Lemass: What I say is that this Dáil, on the proposition of another Coalition Minister, placed a statutory limit on the borrowing powers of C.I.E. and C.I.E. has, in effect, exceeded that limit by the process of entering into commitments which it cannot meet unless the Dáil agrees to raise the limit."

Further down, in column 561——

Is it necessary that we should have these long quotations?

There were only five lines in that one.

The Deputy has been quoting since he commenced his speech.

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

I was just about to conclude. I was speaking about C.I.E. The Leas-Cheann Comhairle gave a certain ruling which I will certainly accept. I made my point earlier and asked the Minister to deal with it when he is replying.

In conclusion, I would say that there has never been in this House a more contentious Estimate than this at a time when emigration and unemployment were never so high——

We do not deny unemployment but do not exaggerate it.

When I said that the unemployment figures were never so high, I was fully conscious that I would be interrupted with "ha ! ha's!" from that side of the House. Do Deputies not realise when they get this document in the post with the Dáil debates showing the number on the live register, that that is only applicable to the people who were recently unemployed?

What is the Deputy talking about?

Does the Minister for Social Welfare suggest that the numbers on the live register are indicative of the unemployment position in this country to-day?

It is a gauge that has been used for the last 35 years.

It is not the gauge.

It is the gauge that has been used.

It is not the gauge that has been used for the last 35 years. It suits the Coalition Government to stress that gauge at the present time. It is strange that under their régime the unemployment position has never been better in this country.

I never said that.

What about your 93,000 in 1953?

Deputy O'Malley should be allowed to conclude.

Before I was interrupted I wanted to say that we now have this Estimate introduced by the Minister for Industry and Commerce. It holds out no hope or no clearly defined statement of any planned policy of this Government in the future. We heard of the criticism levelled at Deputy Lemass with his five-year plan for full employment. Even Deputy MacBride had criticisms and plans, too. I admire and have a lot more respect for people who will aim at lofty goals and perhaps dream a little. At least it gives an indication that they were striving for something and not just satisfied to have an Estimate brought into this House which is a repetition of the two previous Estimates introduced by the same Minister.

I can only say that the time has come when the Tánaiste, having failed miserably to implement his undertakings not only to his own constituents but to his supporters in the Labour Party throughout the State, should, I submit, hand in his resignation to the Government and go out of office. I suggest that there is an onus on him to do that.

At the outset, I should like to compliment the Minister for the very comprehensive survey which he gave to the House in introducing this Estimate. I should also like to compliment him personally for the tremendous amount of energy which he has put into the work of running his Department since he took it over. I think that these two tributes are due to the Minister.

One of the difficulties in dealing with this Estimate is that it covers an extremely wide field and that one is inclined to be diverted to comparatively unimportant issues but issues nevertheless that it is necessary to deal with. I should like to approach this Estimate from the broader point of view of the task which faces us in solving the problem of industrial development in this country.

We have been going through an extremely serious situation. The Census Report, the adverse balance of trade, the high rate of unemployment and emigration, the lack or insufficiency of capital investment, are all matters that have contributed to bring about a realisation of the extremely serious position of our economy. It is not a new situation; it is a situation which indeed has been more or less endemic since the establishment of the State. The fact that it has been endemic does not make it any less serious. In my view unless this House and the Government for the time being are prepared to face up in a realistic way to the problems which confront the economy of the country, our economy will hardly be able to survive.

To a large extent, the solution of these problems is closely related to the industrial development of this country and to that extent concern very intimately the functions of the Department of Industry and Commerce. I think that it must be accepted on all sides of the House that, as far as employment is concerned, it will not be possible to secure an expansion of employment in the agricultural sector of our economy; if anything, disemployment will continue to take place over the next few years in that sector of our economy. That has been the trend, not only here but in every other country in Europe. The advent of mechanisation and the employment of improved techniques have resulted steadily in technological disemployment.

That trend is likely to continue here for a number of years so that, as far as employment is concerned, we must look to an increase in industrial employment as the only hope of being able to provide sufficient employment to absorb our population. The industrial sector of our economy has already provided very considerable employment in the course of the last 20 or 30 years but the rate of increase in employment, in comparison with the needs of our economic situation, has been entirely inadequate. I doubt whether any member of this House has ever really faced up to the immense task which confronts the economy if we are to provide employment sufficient to reduce emigration and unemployment to any considerable extent.

The recent census figures show an emigration rate of some 40,000. I am quite prepared to concede that a percentage of those who emigrate do not necessarily emigrate for purely economic reasons and that certain other factors also operate, but I think that we can face up to the situation that at least half, or probably considerably more than half, the emigration is a direct result of economic pressure here, of inadequate employment and opportunities. If one takes a ten-year period, it is interesting to assess the additional employment that would have to be provided if we were to cope seriously with the existing unemployment situation and then with the potential emigration which may be expected to take place in the same period of ten years.

On an average our unemployment figure exceeds 50,000 so that we can start off with that figure, and on the basis of an annual economic emigration, as distinct from social emigration, of 25,000 a year, we will suffer an economic emigration of 250,000 over a ten-year period. Add to that the 50,000 unemployed and you get 300,000. In addition, I think it would be necessary to make allowance for the additional disemployment which is likely to take place in the agricultural sector as a result of advanced techniques. So, if you face the position realistically, you reach the situation where you must face up to the problem of providing a minimum of 325,000 new jobs over a period of ten years.

That is a conservative estimate, an estimate which still allows for a very high rate of emigration. These 325,000 new jobs can be provided only from the industrial sector of the economy. There is no room for expansion in employment in agriculture. There is ample room for improvement in production there, but no scope for expansion in employment. Accordingly, the task that faces any Minister for Industry and Commerce, if he is approaching his work realistically and seriously, is to formulate an industrial development programme that will be capable of providing at least 325,000 new jobs over a period of ten years.

I fear that we have never had the courage so far to face up to the problems of our economy. We have talked about unemployment and emigration; and made sentimental speeches. We have used these problems as a political football from one side of the House to the other. But, unfortunately, since the State was set up, there has been no concrete concerted plan of action based on the realities of our economic situation. I think the time has come when we must face up to that, when, instead of seeking to blame one Government or another, one Party or another, for the situation, we should be prepared to see how far agreement can be reached first of all as to the requirements of the situation— as to the increase in employment which has to be provided—and, secondly, as to the increased production which must be achieved both in the industrial and agricultural sectors of the economy.

I feel that the logic of the situation is such that there is little or no room for disagreement as to the actual targets that should be aimed at. Unless Deputies in this House and politicians throughout the country have been completely insincere, they all agree they want to end emigration; they all agree they want to reach a position where there will be full employment in the country. If that is so, the logic of the situation must force them to the realisation that it involves the provision of 325,000 new jobs in the industrial sector of the economy.

Deputy Lemass, I think, in the course of a recent speech made an assessment in which he estimated the number of new jobs required at 15,000 per year. I do not want to quarrel or to find fault unnecessarily, but I think I should say that is a complete understatement of the problem that faces us if we intend to provide full employment. It is not a question of finding 15,000 new jobs a year; it is a question of finding double that number. If we can agree on the targets that we want to achieve—not only that we want to achieve but that have to be achieved if we are sincere in our desire to end unemployment and to reduce emigration—then the next task must be to formulate a programme or plan of development that will have some reasonable hope for success. That, in my view, can only be done by formulating a long-term economic development plan.

This has been done in many other countries in Europe. Indeed most of the post-war recovery in Western Europe was achieved as a result of long-term economic planning, largely sponsored by O.E.E.C. and other economic organisations. What does such a plan involve? It involves, first of all, an appraisal of the targets which we have to aim at, an assessment of the increase in production in the agricultural field, of the increase in production in the industrial field, of the employment that will be provided by these increases in production. It also involves an assessment of the increased consumption which higher economic levels will inevitably cause and the increasing consumption which a higher population will require.

I do not want to interrupt the Deputy, but, in drawing a parallel between Western European planning and our planning, would we not have to take into account very considerable outside financial aid?

It might. I am glad the Deputy raised that. While many of the ills from which we suffer are identical with the ills which have been suffered by other countries in Western Europe, there is one very important point of difference in our economy— that we, unlike those countries, had vast foreign investments. Those other countries had no foreign investments. I do not want to enter into a discussion on sterling assets, but I might remind the House of the amazing recovery which Germany made since the war. As far as I know, Germany had no sterling assets and nothing but debts around her neck when she started to rebuild her economy. The question of foreign investment may arise in our case but it is less likely to arise in our case by reason of the substatial foreign investments which we ourselves hold but, unfortunately, do not use here.

In what way would the Deputy repatriate these assets in order to improve the economy?

By utilising them when needed in the operation of a plan. I want to make this quite clear. In regard to sterling assets generally, I think it would be extremely unwise to use our foreign investments for nonproductive development but I would not have the slightest hesitation in using every halfpenny of them, and borrowing as much again, for the productive development of the country. There is always the danger that people will go off at a tangent in the belief that there is plenty of money to be had and to be used for every scheme put up. These investments should be used for productive development and I would have no hesitation in borrowing capital for productive development.

When we have assessed our targets in each sector of our economy, the next task is to determine the amount of investment we require to achieve these targets year by year. You have to phase your targets, establish them in each sector, and aim at given results year by year. We have to determine what the capital requirements will be approximately each year throughout the period of our programme.

In addition, and this is a matter which is frequently overlooked and one to which the Minister might well give some attention, in any industrial development plan which we may undertake there is the absolute necessity of training the technicians and manpower which will be required to implement any programme. That training has to be undertaken a certain time in advance because we cannot hope to set up new industries unless we have trained technicians and trained manpower.

Perhaps I may take a small instance which I came across the other day. It does not concern the Minister's Department. There was some discussion about the extension of a boat yard in Dingle and we were told departmentally that it was not possible because there were not enough trained boat builders in Dingle. There would be no boat builders or trained craftsmen at all unless they were trained but with intelligent planning it is possible to have men trained in advance. There must be some system in our economic planning and the question of training technicians and manpower is an essential part of any plan.

The next step which you have to face is the planning of the amount of exports which you will require in order to finance the additional imports which our increased consumption will necessitate. That has to be planned years in advance. You have to determine the markets to which you can export both your industrial and agricultural production and concentrate on producing the particular types of goods required for export. You have to have a sufficiently adequate market research available to be reasonably sure of an export market for your goods one, two or three years ahead.

I cannot help feeling that, so far, we have merely tinkered with the industrial and economic development of the country generally. We have approached the matter as a day-to-day activity and very often dealt with it as a part of a game of football in the particular political field. It is quite obvious that, in the serious development of our economy, we cannot afford the luxury of this unplanned, casual, hesitant development. If we are to have a long-term economic plan, could we not try to have some form of agreement on both sides of the House? Let us at least see how far we can reach agreement, not merely on the implementation of a plan, but on the examination and the requirements of a plan.

I think that Deputies on either side of the House are not sufficiently unrealistic to think that Governments are likely to last for a ten-year period in the future. I think it is likely that we will continue to have changes of Government. That may not always be harmful provided that you have a certain basis of agreement as to what our economic development programme is to be. It would facilitate the implementation of an economic programme if there could be, on both sides of the House, agreement as to the terms of such a programme and the broad steps to be taken to secure its implementation.

After that it becomes a question of administration. One side of the House may think that it can do better than another side of the House, but the country will not suffer so much from that kind of contest as from the complete absence of economic planning from which we have suffered since the State was set up. I do not know whether the Minister will feel like dealing with this question when he replies but I do feel that the situation has now reached such serious proportions that Deputies on all sides of the House should be prepared to cast aside political prejudice, likes and dislikes and agree to work together towards the formulation of a long-term economic plan.

Would politicians be the best people to evolve the plan?

I do not think so. The politicians could serve the plan, first of all by agreeing on the necessity for economic planning, and, secondly, by agreeing on the practice of the plan. Having done that, it becomes largely a matter for experts in different fields to formulate details of the plan in the different sectors. There, I think, it would be necessary for us to seek outside help. I am afraid that one of the serious defects from which we suffer, both in the administration of the Government generally and also in our industrial development, is the lack of a trained and expert personnel. We have not had an industrial tradition; we have not had even an economic tradition. This is due largely to historical reasons. I doubt whether we have the personnel with sufficient experience and training here to enable us to formulate a plan of our own.

We should not hesitate to seek to enlist the assistance of outside international organisations which have had experience of this type of work. I feel, if I may say so, that our universities, by and large, have not really served the country in that respect. While they have produced highly qualified graduates, their training never seems to have been applied to the problems affecting our own development. That applies particularly to the school of economics in the universities here. They have never sought to apply economic theories, modern economic practice, to the requirements of our own development.

To pass from the long-term aspects of this Estimate to the more immediate problems, may I say that the most immediate and serious problem which, to my mind, faces the Minister at the moment is this: unless radical steps are taken in the immediate future the Minister will be facing an extremely high rate of unemployment and emigration this winter? It is no use burking that situation; we should face it, however unpleasant it may be.

On what basis does the Deputy assume that?

I am assuming that on the basis that a first-class slump is beginning to take place in the building trade which will cause a steep rise in unemployment and emigration. That slump, induced largely as it is by credit restriction, will affect the economy of the country generally. My own view is that the only solution lies in a more expansionist credit policy. I am open to conviction that there may be other remedies; I do not know, but I do know that unless steps are taken in the immediate future the Minister will be facing a winter with from 80,000 to 90,000 unemployed. In that situation it is no use trying palliative remedies. Now is the time when we should face that problem and I hope the Minister will use his energy and ability in the Government to make the Government realise the seriousness of the situation.

There are many other things with which I would like to deal on the Minister's Estimate but it covers such a wide field that it is not always practicable to deal with each aspect of it in the course of the discussion on the Estimate. I have asked the Minister a number of questions in regard to the geological survey section of his Department. I know nothing about the competency or efficiency of the geological survey, so that anything I say now is not directed by way of criticism to their competency. However, I do feel that it is one field which has been completely neglected and about which there is a considerable amount of ignorance among our own technicians.

New methods of detecting minerals, fissile fuel and oil have been in current practice for a number of years in other countries and, as far as I know, they have never been utilised here. For all we know there might be oil here and many other minerals. A survey made ten, 20, 30 or 50 years ago is of absolutely no value under modern conditions. I would urge on the Minister to devote some of his untiring energy to that aspect of the work. Without going into details in regard to the organisation of his Department, I think we are very much behind time in that sphere and there is probably room for very considerable expansion. May I put it this way? The mere fact that in the last couple of years fairly extensive quantities of mineral deposits have been found shows that somebody must have been asleep before. They did not grow overnight; they were there all the time and there are probably considerably more there. Money would be well spent in strengthening that section of the Minister's Department to ensure that the most modern and up-to-date equipment is available to carry out an up-to-date survey.

One other matter with which I want to deal is the position of C.I.E. generally. We have all read in the papers recently very alarming reports as to the position in C.I.E. It would be useful if the Minister could, in replying, make a fairly comprehensive statement as to how C.I.E. stands. I must say I have always felt that in 1949 or 1950 — I forget which year it was —when the Milne Report was produced, it was a mistake not to have adopted that report in full. The Milne Report provided for the pooling of the maintenance of the roadways and of the permanent ways under one authority which would have been financed by all transport. That report provided a completely new approach to this problem, an approach which might have saved C.I.E. from the very intense competition which it is suffering from road transport.

I shall not bother the House again with the question of imports of components by C.I.E., but I would ask the Minister to impress most seriously upon C.I.E. the very real need for not importing unnecessarily goods or materials which can be manufactured at home, both from the point of view of their own economy and also from the point of view of employment. There is always the danger when large quantities of materials are imported — I think this year C.I.E. propose to import something between £4,500,000 and £5,000,000 worth of material — that in the anxiety to place orders and in the anxiety to secure the materials the possibility of some of these components being made here may be overlooked. I would like the Minister to avail of every opportunity he has to impress on C.I.E. the importance of ensuring that every possible part that can be made here is made here. That is vitally important having regard to the fact that quite a number of men have been laid off in the C.I.E. works. It is very difficult to reconcile that with the vast quantities of materials which are being imported.

I would like to compliment the Minister on the initiative he took in going to America to secure export markets. I hope that initiative is being followed up and that no opportunity will be missed of ensuring that inquiries resulting from that step are dealt with promptly. There, again, it is possible that we may suffer from lack of adequately trained and expert personnel. If the Minister finds difficulty on that score he should not hesitate to enlist the assistance of business people outside — not necessarily as wholetime officials but as consultants and advisers. Our task is really that of constructing the industrial sector of our economy.

We have no experience of industrialisation. Because of the lack of initiative on the part of those who had the necessary capital, industrialisation has been left to a large extent in the hands of those with no experience or in the hands of civil servants. Civil servants, however good or worthy they may be, are not necessarily good industrial pioneers. They have neither the training nor the experience necessary. It is for that reason I suggest to the Minister that, if he finds there is a shortage of trained and experienced personnel in any particular development project which he envisages, he should not hesitate to bring in consultants from the business world outside. In some cases, these consultants might be prepared to work voluntarily on such projects. At all times their experience should be used.

I find myself in agreement to a very considerable extent with the views expressed by Deputy MacBride although I do not entirely agree with the basis on which he has reasoned. Nevertheless I think there will probably be general acceptance in the House, and outside it, of the proposition that the more subjects that are taken out of controversial politics the better it will be. That is desirable not merely in relation to industry in the sense of industry and commerce but also in relation to agriculture and many other spheres.

I do not imagine there will be any great difficulty in securing general agreement on the necessity for planning. That brings us up against what I conceive to be one of the major obstacles confronting us. Any State planning in the field of industry and commerce entails immediately the State putting up the £. s.d. When we talk about a five-or ten-year plan I am inclined to think that we leave out of our calculations the fact that, unless the State has vast resources to put such a plan into operation one must, in the long run, fall back on the individual and depend on the individual to play his part.

My approach, whether it be right or wrong, is that the first aim and object should be to try to get the individuals concerned to recognise that their co-operation in solving a problem, if a problem exists in any particular sphere, is necessary. It is all very well and very desirable that there should be State planning and if one can get a long-term plan with an agreed target and the main outlines of the plan accepted by all Parties, that is all to the good. But any such plan requires the co-operation of employers and employees and the first step is to get recognition of that and a ready co-operation on the part of both employers and employees over a period of years in order to put that plan into effect.

When Deputy MacBride was speaking, Deputy Seán Collins asked if politicians would be the best people to work out such a plan and I think Deputy MacBride agreed they would not. I agree they would not, but I think that the Minister and the Government — for all I know, they are doing it already — might very well sit down around a table with the representatives of employers, employees and the various manufacturing concerns and industries to see what can be done on the basis of hammering out the targets for a long-term plan. I do not care whether the term is five years, eight years or ten years.

My view is that the Department of Industry and Commerce is far too big. I believe the field which the unfortunate Minister for Industry and Commerce has to cover is much too big for one Department. I think it might be helpful if certain changes were made which would enable the Department of Industry and Commerce to shed quite a lot of the work and the responsibilities which attach to that Department at the moment. I do not suppose it would be in order in this debate to expand that idea very much, but I think it would be possible and it would be desirable that all matters such as transport, power, fuel and so on should be taken completely out of the Department of Industry and Commerce and put in with some other Ministry. I can see that it might be quite possible, for instance, to have a combined Ministry of Posts and Telegraphs, Power and Transport, and that kind of arrangement. We might get a bigger return from the Department of Industry and Commerce and enable the Minister and his officials to devote their time and energies to the type of work and planning that has been advocated here by Deputy MacBride.

I feel that, besides Deputy MacBride, the Tánaiste and the Taoiseach are also very well aware of the extremely onerous type of work that devolves on the Department of Industry and Commerce and the necessity for the Minister for Industry and Commerce and his officials to face up squarely to the problems that face this country now. It is a mistake to adopt the attitude that, so far as emigration is concerned, for instance, you have a problem looming up now that was not there before. It is not out of complacency that I say that that problem has been there for a great number of years. Certainly, as one Deputy, I am not going to advise the Government to adopt that attitude and say, because it has been there for a long time, that there is no need to worry about it. The fact of the matter is that it has been there year after year and decade after decade. I do not think that it is getting any worse now than it has been in the past. I do not say that is a reason why it is not necessary to do something about it.

Quite obviously it is necessary to plan for the ending of emigration. In that connection I would like to join with Deputy MacBride in complimenting the Minister for the drive and initiative, courage and foresight which he has demonstrated, in particular by the energetic and onerous task he undertook in his visit to America. I think I am entitled to deplore some of the criticisms which were made of the Minister's trip and some of the comments made when he was abroad. I want to make it clear that I am not referring to criticism in this House because I did not hear any, but I am referring to the type of criticism that was contained in some correspondence in newspapers when the Minister was abroad. I feel, and I think most Deputies feel and most people in the country now feel, that the task the Minister undertook was a worthwhile one, that it was by no means an easy one and that it did show initiative, courage and recognition of the fact that there was a problem facing this country and facing the Minister's Department. The Minister's efforts to get American people to invest their capital here were a definite and progressive step towards trying to stem the tide of emigration.

Obviously, it is a cliché to say you can end emigration only if you can provide adequate employment and suitable working conditions here at home. The Minister at least has it to his credit that he made that effort, and I hope that his efforts in that direction will bear fruit. Whether they do or not, he is to be congratulated on having made the effort and having made it in the energetic way he did.

In connection with the estimate which Deputy MacBride made—I think it was that 325,000 new jobs would be necessary in a span of ten years — I do not know whether he is right or wrong in that figure, but, on the basis of calculation which he gave here, it occurred to me that he did not take into account the normal wastage that would take place annually through deaths and retirements. It would seem to me that, if you put even a modest figure of 5,000 per year in respect of people in jobs dying, retiring and so on, in a period of ten years that would make a gap of 50,000 in the figure of 325,000 which Deputy MacBride mentioned.

The figure, 325,000, would be the net increase in the working population. It would be the equivalent of the number of people who would otherwise probably leave the country.

The only point I am making is that, if any particular figure is set, there will be argument about the method of calculation. I think it will be generally accepted, as I said, that it is necessary to create further employment. There may be disagreement as to exactly what amount is required. I do not hold myself out as any kind of an authority on agriculture but I am inclined to disagree with Deputy MacBride and with Deputy Lemass, who, I think, holds the same view, namely, that you will not get and cannot get any expansion in agricultural employment.

It may be that that is the correct view. I do not feel inclined to accept it, and the reason I do not accept it is that, as far as agricultural production is concerned, I understand that the increase in agricultural production, while an increase has taken place, is comparatively small. It would seem to me that, if you had a greater number working in agriculture, you could hope for a greater increase in agricultural production. I know there is one answer to that, which Deputy Corry will probably give me. That is that the main hope for an increase in agricultural production is in the live stock end of it and that you probably do not need any greater number of people working in order to increase your holding of live stock.

Those are not my views.

Strangely enough, live stock provides nearly as much employment.

I do not know that. I think that is so. But I think that the agricultural industry should be able to carry a very much larger number of people in employment. I am a city Deputy and I am speaking mainly from a city point of view, but I do not see any objection to holding out inducements, far greater inducements than are held out at the moment, to agricultural employers to enable them if necessary to give greater employment. If their position is that they feel agricultural labourers' wages are going too high I think inducements could be held out, and might be held out, which would improve the position as regards employment in the agricultural industry. However, the view expressed by Deputy MacBride and the view expressed by Deputy Lemass is that you can forget about agriculture so far as increased employment is concerned and that you must look entirely to an expansion in the industrial field.

If that is the position, one of the methods by which that can be done is the method which the Minister adopted when he endeavoured to get American capital invested in this country. I hope, as I say, that the Minister will succeed in that, and I think, from my recollection of the Minister's speech in introducing the Estimate, there are indications that that method will meet with some success. I do not know what other type of planning can be entered on as an immediate policy by the Government, and for that reason I am inclined to agree with the line taken by Deputy MacBride, that it is not a question of thinking of this year or next year, but of thinking of, and planning for, a number of years ahead.

I feel, as I said — and this was the principle point I intended making — that the work which the Department of Industry and Commerce has to do, as it is at present composed, gives rise to such a welter of day-to-day work and day-to-day detail that it must be very nearly impossible for the Minister and for his officials to get down to any kind of advance planning, particularly planning of a detailed nature. I feel that with some type of readjustment or realignment, as between the work of the various Ministries, quite a lot could be done to relieve the Minister and the Department of Industry and Commerce of some of the tasks which perhaps are not properly theirs at all. If that were done it would assist to a very appreciable extent the economic and industrial efforts of the Minister and his Department.

As a Deputy from the Midlands, I am chiefly concerned with the bog schemes in that area, particularly in County Offaly. For some months past there has been great anxiety among those working on bog development schemes as to the future of those schemes. I think there is no doubt that there really were some grounds for this anxiety in view of the Minister's statement when introducing this Estimate. The Minister, in introducing the Estimate on last Wednesday night, said that, as a result of the slowing down in the rate of demand for electricity from 12 per cent. to 8 per cent., Bord na Móna would find it necessary to proceed with development work at a much slower rate than had been contemplated. I would like to know from the Minister how much slower does Bord na Móna propose to proceed with bog development in Offaly, that is, on the Blackwater bog? That scheme has been affected as a result of the statement by the Minister, and the slowing down of bog development work will mean mass unemployment and mass emigration from the area.

The first result we had following the Minister's statement was that 29 men who were employed on Blackwater bog were paid off by Bord na Móna. The only information those 29 men received from the management of that bog was that the laying-off was due to the fact that there was a scarcity of work owing to the advanced state of drainage in these bogs. My information is that these men could have been given alternative employment building up the workshops for that development, building the hostel which it was proposed to erect there, and building the railroads which would be necessary for the development of the bog and for the transport of materials to the proposed power station at Shannonbridge.

I also understand that Bord na Móna had an arrangement with C.I.E. for the transport of large quantities of building materials for the erection of the workshops, houses and the hostel, and that this arrangement has been cancelled. It, therefore, appears that, in the near future, this bog is likely to close down completely and some 150 to 200 men will lose employment there. The Blackwater bog, to which I refer, is on the east bank of the River Shannon, near Shannonbridge. There is a second bog on the west shore of the Shannon in County Galway which is known as the group of bogs lying between Banagher and Ballinasloe. In a letter to Banagher Parish Council, the Minister for Industry and Commerce last February said that Bord na Móna had then decided to develop these bogs for the production of milled peat and that development work would commence early in the summer.

We are now informed by the Minister that this development work has been abandoned. The bogs concerned in this area cover some 9,000 acres and there is a large number of men unemployed in this area. I would, therefore, ask the Minister if he would consider changing the decision of Bord na Móna in this respect and utilising these bogs for some purpose. In fact, I suggest he should ask Bord na Móna to consider setting up a briquette industry in that area. I see no reason why there should be this slowing down of development of the bogs for the production of milled peat and the generation of electricity in view of the fact that more than half of the fuel for power stations in 1955 was imported. That consisted of coal and oil. The total cost was £1,004,688 and, in the same year, 1955, the total cost of peat used in power stations throughout the country was £951,602.

It seems most unreasonable that we should be importing fuel for the generation of electricity in this country while there are large areas of bog which could be developed, thus providing that fuel and giving employment to our own people at home. In that way, we would also be saving at least £1,000,000 which we pay for imported fuel for this purpose. Accordingly, I would seriously ask the Minister to state exactly the effect the slowing down of bog development in West Offaly will have — how many men will lose employment through it.

On the evening that those 29 men were being paid off in Shannonbridge, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture rushed down to a meeting at Ferbane and told the people there that the Blackwater bog would not be closed down. While he was making that statement, those 29 men were receiving their final pay packets. Perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary was not informed that Bord na Móna had decided to pay off those men. We have no guarantee that more men will not be laid off in the area.

Next after the Estimate for the Department of Agriculture, this Estimate is of first importance to the national economy. The Minister, in a long and detailed statement, covered the whole field of national activity and, analysing the various sub-heads of his Department, one is struck by the high percentage of the expenditure that is provided for administrative costs. That, in turn, prompts the question as to why some of those sub-heads could not be co-ordinated so as to avoid duplication of officials in the interest of greater economy in public administration, not alone in the Department of Industry and Commerce but in all the other Departments as well.

There is no gainsaying the fact that in the past three decades we have made wonderful advances in industrial development. However, the present generation seem to forget that we had long-established industries here prior to the setting up of the State. These industries are still with us. They have stood the test of time and have been able to go into competition in world markets. We have had brewing and distilling, woollen manufactures, tanning, biscuit making, boot and shoe making, fertilisers, bacon curing and many other industries that never had protection. Perhaps some of them got protection in recent years; I am not aware of the details of the position with regard to these matters.

It would be interesting if we could have the numbers that were employed in these industries in 1922 and those employed in them now. I think the time has come for a very close review of the whole question of protective tariffs. It would be interesting if the Minister could inform us what concerns in this country depend entirely on native raw materials and what percentage of these industries are afforded protection. It would be interesting as well if we could have the numbers and the names of the industries that depend partly on native materials, partly on imported raw materials, and the amount of protection afforded to them. The Minister has pointed out that in 1955 there was a further increase in the numbers registered in industrial employment, but the position is far from satisfactory. When we think of the numbers who have emigrated in the past five years we find a staggering indictment of this Legislature, and one is forced to ask the question as to whether or not this nation is doomed to extinction, if this trend is to go on unchecked.

I do not know what the remedy is. I do know that this House set up a commission to inquire into the whole question of emigration. The report of that commission was furnished almost three years ago. This House has done nothing about it. Is it, too, to go the way of all commission reports? It is the primary duty of the House to take up that report and go into it in detail, in camera, so that we will have objective speaking on this burning question that has so agitated the minds of the Irish people down the years. Some people may say that we benefit by emigration through the spiritual empire we build up abroad but I think we could set up a greater empire if we were to retain a larger population here. It is a gloomy prospect for the young people who have passed through vocational schools and even for our university graduates that they must go to other lands to find a living after so much time and money have been spent on them here. We lose the benefits of those people who should be able to employ themselves in various ways at home.

The E.S.B. has been mentioned very often in this debate. I accept the submission that the Minister has very little function in the matter. I do say, however, that the board has been set up and has operated on the money provided by the Irish taxpayers over the years. Now we hear that the E.S.B. are contemplating further increases in their charges for current. That is altogether wrong, and if the Minister has no function he should convey to the board the feeling of this House that the people will not stand for it.

It is unfair of the E.S.B. to contemplate higher charges, realising that they will come to the end of their development period in three and a half years' time. Why would they not provide themselves with extra share capital to carry them on until they have come to the completion of the work they have undertaken? From then on, their staffs will be reduced to a skeleton one for maintenance, their overheads will be reduced and they will be a big profit-earning concern. They can now gamble on the chance of having a considerable revenue in the years to come. They should be able to work within that revenue without having to increase their charges.

Criticism has been offered of the conduct of the E.S.B. in certain parts of the country where they have failed to bring isolated pockets within the scope of rural electrification. The alleged reason is that it would not be an economic proposition. Is it not unreasonable and unfair that people should be victimised because of their location? When the scheme was initiated we all thought people throughout the country would benefit regardless of their location. Sooner or later, this matter will have to be tackled at high level. If the Minister has the power he should compel the E.S.B. to treat all applications in the same way.

Transport has been mentioned in this debate. Here we have a board which looks after transport but I think that the Minister, during the year, did make some sort of a promise that he was prepared to reconsider the whole question of transport. We all know that it is very doubtful whether freight transport will ever pay again in this country. We are a very small island and with the independent transport that has developed it would be very hard for C.I.E. to operate in competition with it. The original idea was that the heavy transport should be shifted from the roads to the railway. That was never done for some reason or other. However, you find those licensed hauliers in some parts of the country who did a great service to the people, who went out on their own and bought lorries when the people wanted them and who accepted originally a certain mileage limit of operations. I know of one man who accepted a 20 mile radius of operation. He was satisfied that he would make a living with his lorry within that radius but times and circumstances have changed since then. Farmers, merchants and shopkeepers have all got their own transport now and there is no living for people like the man I have just mentioned in his own locality.

I know of a transport firm in Cork City which used to maintain 30 horses before the 1934 Act came into operation. The head of the firm, being one of the old school, would not turn over to motor transport. In later years, when his sons took over, they modernised the transport, bought heavy trucks and paid trade union wages but they were restricted all the time to the operation of a 20 mile radius of Cork City. I think that is unfair and unjust. When representations were made to the Department the answer was that there were sufficient transport companies in Cork to cater for the needs of the city. Surely the reply to that argument is that if there are sufficient companies to cater for the needs of the city, how was it that that firm was able to carry on under great difficulties for years? They could not have done that if there was no need for their services.

Irish shipping has been mentioned here. That is one concern in this State which has given great results and those who initiated the project deserve the best thanks of the Irish nation. Having our own ships will always ensure that we will get sufficient supplies in difficult times as well as earning a profit for us.

We all agree that these are difficult times and I think that the picture painted by Deputy MacBride is not an exaggeration. There is a slump in the building industry. It is almost at a standstill. The people who are at present employed in that industry, if they are thrown out of work, have nowhere to turn to get employment. There is nothing sadder than to have a good workman, be he skilled or unskilled, coming along and asking a Deputy to secure employment for him. These men have nowhere to turn and it is indeed a sorry prospect for them. I think work is very precious at the moment and those who are at work should be very careful not to jeopardise the security of their employment.

The Minister mentioned and decried the lightning strikes that have been taking place and that have done so much irreparable harm to the country. It might be no harm if, at this difficult stage, the Minister would use his influence, and the influence of other trade union leaders, to have a truce in all strikes and all demands for the next 12 months in the hope that, in that time, prices and values may be stabilised and that we may be able to restore confidence and stability in industrial employment in this country.

In considering this Estimate the first thing I would like to deal with is a matter that I have dealt with during the past few years and that is the position as regards the Cork airport. There is no doubt that that will become a very live bird within the next few months. I object to the question of an airport in Cork being turned into a political gamble and I do not care what Minister or what Party tries to do that.

Some years ago, when this matter was being considered, two sites were selected in Cork. Officials from the Minister's Department were sent to Cork and they spent two years there. They were officials from the meteorological department and they were making observations. They sent in a report to the Department of Industry and Commerce and that report condemned the Ballygarvan site as being unsuitable owing to the prevalence of fog. That report was read out in this House by Deputy Lemass when he was Minister for Industry and Commerce. It was also stated that the site at Midleton was more suitable.

I wonder if the manoeuvring of the Minister and his Department to-day is to have that airport planted in Ballygarvan on the site that has been condemned by the experts. If that is done, I wonder what will be the verdict of the coroner's jury later on. I am not concerned with the political ramifications of this matter but I am not going to have my constituency treated as a Cinderella for the political considerations of any Party or of any Government. The facts are there. Two thousand pounds was the sum stated here by the Minister for Industry and Commerce as being the cost of having those two officials in Cork for two years making those observations. If we can spend £2,000 of the ratepayers' money on sending people down there to make observations and then, because of political expediency, those observations are to be dumped without consideration as to whether the aeroplanes are to come down in a fog or not, or whether people are to be killed or not, it seems as if we are going to barter their lives for votes.

There can be no contradiction of that report. I asked here whether any further observers had been sent down and whether the report had been changed. The report had not been changed. Then what had changed the decision? If an expert is sent down to examine two sites, and he says that one is unsuitable and the other is suitable, and if we are going to build on the unsuitable one, what are the experts for? If that is what they are for, it would be better to sack them. Do not use public money to pay experts if you do not intend to take the advice of those experts.

I was rather amused to hear Deputy MacBride saying here to-night, backed up by Deputy O'Higgins, that there could be no further employment in agriculture and no hope of expansion in agriculture. Anybody who would take up and examine the list of the results of the activities of those gentlemen over there for the past two years would not be surprised at the grave situation that Deputy MacBride has exposed here this evening. We had some 18,000 acres under beet last year. That gave a considerable amount of employment. We brought 150 men down to Cork from Mayo to single that beet and they were also brought down at the harvest time.

The Deputy seems to be embarking on a discussion on agriculture.

I am embarking on a discussion on employment.

Agriculture does not arise on the Estimate for Industry and Commerce.

The product of beet is sugar and the employment in respect of that beet, in carrying it from the fields of the farmer, through C.I.E. and the lorry owners, to the factories is employment that has now gone.

And which normally arises on the Estimate for the Department of Agriculture.

I was told the question of sugar arises on this Estimate and that is why I am dealing with it here. The fact is that 27,000-odd tons of sugar less were produced in Irish factories from Irish beet last harvest than were produced the year before.

Is the Minister for Industry and Commerce responsible for the reduction the Deputy mentions?

Yes, absolutely. The reduction was caused by the refusal of those people over there to pay a price for the sugar to enable people to produce it economically. You can count up the amount of employment that would have been given in respect of about 220 tons of beet, in respect of which employment was given last year. Instead of 150 men we brought down only 80; there was no work for the rest because there was not sufficient beet. The four factories concerned had a month less work for their employees. The debit side of the C.I.E. accounts is greater because of that reduction. We must realise that 70 per cent. of the total freight drawn by C.I.E. is conveyed to and from those four factories.

We were over in America looking for industries, moryah, and we are killing them here as fast as we can. The palsied hand of that Government fell on the beet industry in 1948, 1949, 1950 and 1951. "The beet industry has gone up the spout after the peat and wheat and God speed the day." That was the statement made here by the present Minister for Agriculture about that industry.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce has no responsibility for the utterances of another Minister.

Unfortunately, as a result of the activities of the Minister for Industry and Commerce in this game, we have unemployment; there is also the fact that £1,250,000 had to leave this country for foreign sugar to replace that sugar at home. Deputy O'Higgins said I stated there was not much employment in cattle. The employment is in the tilling of the soil. Now a change has come about in the amount of employment given because of the £13,000,000 reduction in agricultural income during the past 12 months and because of the balance we had to meet by sending money abroad to buy from the foreigner what was being produced on the land in this country.

The Deputy may not discuss agriculture on this Estimate. The Minister for Industry and Commerce has no responsibility for agricultural policy.

I intend to deal only with those matters for which the Minister is directly responsible. In introducing this Estimate last year he gave us some information again about agriculture. I quote from column 515, Volume 149, of the Official Debates of the 23rd March, 1955: —

"It was originally calculated that the reduction in flour and bread prices as from the 1st May, 1954, would add approximately £900,000 to the bill for subsidy for the financial year 1954-55. In actual fact the reduction will cost £927,000, against which, however, can be offset items amounting to about £555,000 leaving a balance of £372,000 to be provided under this sub-head. The chief offsetting items of which I shall give details in a moment are (a) increased receipts by flour millers from sales of wheat and offals over and above the amount originally estimated...."

That is the statement with which I wish to deal. The Minister also stated: —

"Increases in the price of offals from £20 to £23 per ton in September, 1954, to £24 10s. in December, 1954, and to £26 a ton in January, 1955, account for increased receipts by millers of approximately £170,000."

These increases, he said, followed similar increases in the prices of imported offals, reflecting changes in world prices. Therefore, the Department of Industry and Commerce got a bright idea for finding money and that bright idea was that, though the price of wheat had been reduced, the price of offals produced from that wheat should be increased to the price of imported offals.

That activity continued. I was informed on an adjournment debate on 15th February by Deputy Corish, Minister for Social Welfare, who was at that time acting for the Minister for Industry and Commerce: —

"Adopting the same basis as that used in estimating the probable amount of subsidy payments in the financial year 1954-55 the increased receipts by millers from the sales of wheaten offals from September, 1954, to August, 1955, have been calculated to amount to £431,000; and for the period from September, 1955, to the 1st February, 1956, to £186,000."

That was £617,000 those geniuses over there tacked on to pig feeders to help out the milling industry.

The Deputy, of course, has a Private Member's motion which has been entered on and on which a certain amount of discussion has taken place. Does he want to continue the debate on that motion now?

The Deputy intends to deal with the activities of the Department of Industry and Commerce over the last 12 months, and this is part of those activities. This Minister spent three or four months in America looking for industries; he wiped out — one cannot describe it in any other way — the pig industry in this country by this particular activity of his. Let us have the result now of that activity. Let us see what happened when he taxed pig feeders to the tune of £617,000 in 12 months. Here is what happened. In 1954 there were 99,575 sows for breeding; in 1955 there were 79,818, a drop of 19,757 or 20 per cent. of the number of sows in the country. In 1954 there were 459,484 other pigs; in 1955 there were 377,711, a drop of 159,476 pigs altogether in 12 months Then the Minister goes to America looking for industries. There are two industries which have been killed by the Minister for Industry and Commerce.

You, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, alluded here to the delay in debating my motion of censure on the Minister.

I did not allude to any delay. I referred to the fact that it was on the Order Paper.

And that it was put back, Sir, until next November.

I did not mention any time.

It was put back and the reason it was put back to next November was because of this increase in the price of offals, the economic price of which is £18 per ton to-day. Bran is now being told in ton lots ex-Dublin at £27 10s. and pollard at £27. If any industrialist were told that the price of his raw material would be increased from £18 per ton to £27 per ton, what would he say?

We had a new Deputy here the other day talking about farmers' income-tax. That is a pretty stiff item of income-tax, £617,000 in 12 months on the pig feeder alone. Those are the activities of the Minister. He succeeded in putting off my Private Member's motion of censure. We find that he is in such a hurry to gather in the ill-gotten gains that he has increased the price still further since that motion was put on the Order Paper by another 30/- per ton.

Then we hear talk about industries. They have a neck — that is all I can say. This is the Rake's Progress. In this country — thank God, it can produce as good men as any other country — we had some great captains of industry. The late William Dwyer was one of them. We had many of them in Cork. We had some of them coming from the ranks of the ordinary people. We have General Costello to-day in charge of the sugar industry. Unfortunately that is a State-controlled institution. I heard some Deputies deprecate the idea of having civil servants in charge of industry. I know one civil servant who proved himself a pioneer in industry and who made a success of an industry in which the Germans had gone into bankruptcy and the British likewise. He came down from the Department of Industry and Commerce and made a success of that industry.

That is a different tune from the Deputy's usual tune.

Where is he now?

We cannot have any discussions on officials.

I am not discussing any officials. I am asking for the reasons why the general manager of Irish Steel left. I think it is extraordinary to hear all this talk about the anxiety to provide extra employment and to have men coming in here congratulating the Minister on going to America to find industries to give employment, when I think of an industry that some few years ago gave employment to only 150 men but last year gave employment to close on 600 men. That was achieved through the initiative and work of that pioneer of industry we got from the Department of Industry and Commerce.

That industry was built up on three or four different lines. Each step in that industry was visualised. I remember many a long year ago being anxious to get a corrugated iron industry started in Cork. I got one of the princes of industry interested in it —a man who took over the Douglas Mills and the Blarney Mills and made a success of them since—Connie Murphy. We went a long way on the job, but I was told in the finish that, although my man might know all about some things, he knew nothing about steel. And that was that.

At that time we visualised bringing over the blank sheets and corrugating them here. When the gentleman, to whom the licence for the manufacture of the corrugated iron was given by the Department of Industry and Commerce, was paying for the site, he was informed by a very prominent industrialist here in Dublin—the late David Frame—"You need not bother bringing your blank sheets from England at all now; I am going to make them for you in Haulbowline."

How is this related to the Estimate?

I will relate it very closely to it.

The Deputy seems to be going into detail.

That was one of the jobs which Irish Steel was to carry out.

Is it necessary to give the whole history of the industry on the Estimate?

I was anxious to bring it up-to-date.

It does not seem to arise.

Another chapter in the Corry saga.

The extraordinary thing is that we are now manufacturing corrugated iron and we are importing the blank sheets from abroad, though the sheet mill there should have been in working order a long time ago. I asked 17 questions in this House about that famous sheet mill and I was informed that the industrial authority were considering it. It was such an important matter that they were considering and considering it until those gentlemen left the last time. When they left the last time, a move was certainly made. I think the sheet mill was about ready for work. I do not know why that sheet mill is not now in operation. Employment could be provided there for our people.

On that same site is portion of a tinning plant—a plant for making tin plate. I do not know whether the Department of Industry and Commerce ever bothered to look at it. The last time I saw it, it was overgrown with nettles. I would suggest, when we are importing into this country about £2,000,000 worth of tin plant every year, that there is room to bring in the balance of that machinery, to put it going there and to stop the tide of emigration. The late general manager of Irish Steel informed me that, with those three industries going full belt, he could give employment to some 1,300 men. The Minister laughed at that when I told him about it last year. Now, thank heaven, the general manager is gone from the Minister's control——

The Deputy cannot discuss the movements of the general manager.

I am not. I am discussing the setting up of that plant and the working of it. Where is the necessity for us to go to America looking for industry when we have those industries at home and we will not work them? Or is it because we have not got the money? Those are the things we are concerned with. When I heard Deputy MacBride come out with his long-term plan—that 340,000 people extra would have to be employed in every ten years—I began to wonder. Deputy MacBride was a member of the "mixum-gatherum" over there; he was on the Executive Council and he was a Minister of the Cabinet for three and a half years—three and a half years in which they borrowed £72,000,000. A couple of millions of that would have gone a long way towards providing permanent employment for some of those 340,000 every ten years.

I know the Minister is now thinking how he could have spent it. I remember the Minister for Agriculture telling us here what an awful job he had to spend £1,500,000.

What the Minister for Agriculture said is not relevant to this Estimate.

It is absolutely necessary to have the money if we are to carry out the principle laid down by Deputy MacBride, ably supported by Deputy O'Higgins.

And you cannot get it.

Does the Deputy hear his echo behind him?

I am very well able to put my own case.

I was wondering why "little Sir Echo" was helping you.

A good word from a friend is worth any money.

You have no friends over there.

More of your "bow wow".

Deputy Collins should cease interrupting. Deputy Corry.

If we are to go ahead and stem the tide of emigration, every town in this country that has an industry would need to have another industry giving the same amount of employment. There are young people who are growing up and if they are to be kept in the country there must be employment for them here. Every morning I can see, leaving my parish for Irish Steel, some 25 or 30 young men who would have gone on the emigrant ship but for the fact that that employment is there. That employment can be trebled within three years if the Minister for Industry and Commerce would only shake himself up and take a tumble to himself. No advance can be made lying down. Those are the things that count.

There is undoubtedly an opportunity for expansion when, as I have pointed out, we have some £2,000,000 worth of tinplate imported into this country. Not only is there an opening for a tinplate factory, but we could add on to that the production of tin cans here, instead of having to import them. That employment is there also, and it should be available here instead of having to send our young people to make cans in England. As the Minister for Industry and Commerce knows well, the cans coming into this country during the emergency had to be sent back full or we would not get any more of them. If another emergency occurs to-morrow, are we to be in the same position? The Minister for Industry and Commerce knows well that if it were not for the work of Deputy Lemass in getting that steel industry going, and in keeping it going, we could not produce food in this country during the last emergency to supply our own people.

We were dependent for our horseshoe iron on it. We were dependent on it for a whole range of repairs, and for wearing parts for agricultural machinery. The Minister is now in a quiet period when that industry can be extended and when the people of the country are not going to be asked to work with a pistol at their heads on the basis that "any cans you get from us will be sent to you, and you must fill them with food and send them back to us". It is time we came to the end of that situation and the Minister has an opportunity of ending it now.

Another matter with which I am very much concerned is that there is room in our country for at least one, if not two, heavy industries manufacturing agricultural machinery. If we had another war to-morrow how long would it be, with the present number of tractors engaged on agricultural work, before 75 per cent. of them would be thrown into the dykes for want of parts? We have at least 45 to 50 different makes of tractor imported here from every corner of the earth, and no step has been taken towards standardisation. We talk of industries and I am giving the Minister a gift of one now. Let him get the agricultural experts here to put their heads together and decide which type of tractor would be best for the agricultural community here, then standardise that and get it made here. Do not put a tariff on the rest of them coming in, but prohibit them, and the Minister will be doing a good day's work. I remember when tractors were made in Fords and surely Henry Ford would be prepared to take on the job again. If not, there are other industries, but now that Henry Ford is firing his men out the door, because of the petrol tax and other games that the Minister is playing with him, surely this is an opportunity of keeping those men employed.

I would say to Deputy Seán Collins that West Cork deserves an industry. There is too much centralisation in this country. I remember going down there a few years ago and I offered them an industry.

They were not going to fall for you.

To their shame they let it go up to Cork. I want to say no more about it. They had not the guts to fight for it. I promise you the airport will not go to Cork City, or, if it does, the first inquest that arises, we will have a verdict of wilful murder against the Minister for Industry and Commerce, Deputy Norton. I am giving facts that cannot be denied——

The Deputy has covered that question very thoroughly already and he may not go over it again.

It seems to have been questioned. Deputy Seán Collins will find it in the Library in reply to my questions. I am suggesting to the Minister that there is a decent opening here for an industry that would give employment, not to girls but to men, in the manufacture of tractors. One could come along then and take the whole range of agricultural machinery from the plough, the harrow and the combined harvester right along. There is plenty of room here for heavy industry if there was a Minister for Industry and Commerce who would go on that line instead of going to America to know what he should do. He might turn his eyes nearer home——

Deputy Allen's constituency produces some of that machinery.

Deputy Allen's constituency is doing its own part and if we had other firms like Pierce's we would be better off. We want no sneers thrown there at all.

The next matter I would like to deal with is C.I.E. I have already given a few of the reasons why we have a reduction in the freightage carried by C.I.E. and therefore a reduction in income. As I said, 70 per cent. of the total freight of C.I.E. is comprised of the raw material for the four sugar factories and what the four sugar factories manufacture, when it is being taken away. I do not think the Chairman of C.I.E. will deny those figures to-day if he is asked. The killing of the wheat growing industry in this country is responsible very largely for the deficit in C.I.E. funds. Mind you, C.I.E. were getting a nice pull out of that. It is now brought into the quays of Cork from Canada and sucked right into the mills and C.I.E. gets nothing.

Now we are told there is a crisis in C.I.E. No wonder there would be. You cannot kill the agricultural industry on the one hand and expect C.I.E. to survive on the other. It just cannot be done. Even though C.I.E. are collecting 7½ per cent. of our lime subsidy—the money that every owner of a ground limestone plant in this country to-day, using his own lorries to draw his own lime to his own customers, must pay C.I.E.—C.I.E. know nothing about it only to take the money.

I doubt the legal position in connection with it. That money was given by the American Government to subsidise the provision of lime for the farmers. That is where the money came from. You cannot take from that money 7½ per cent. and give it to C.I.E. It is a doubtful matter legally. Now that we are coming to the end of the money that was available for the lime subsidy I would advise that the matter would be very carefully considered. I guarantee one thing. While I am in this House—and I have seen a lot come and go out of it in my time—I will not allow one penny of the money given by the American Government to subsidise lime in this country to be converted to other uses.

I think it would be advisable to get rid of the C.I.E. road transport system. I do not think it is serving any useful purpose. C.I.E. road transport is largely responsible for the heavy freight charges that the agricultural community have to pay to-day and which is killing their industry. We were working out far more satisfactorily in the years before C.I.E. went in for this heavy road transport. Local haulage was giving far cheaper rates. Those people have been killed now through the activity of the Department of Industry and Commerce. You now have the joke of a five-ton lorry being sent from Glanmire station to Ballycotton for five cwt. of fish.

The Minister has very little responsibility in that matter.

Yes, Sir. The Minister is responsible for the issuing of haulage licences to lorry owners.

A C.I.E. function entirely.

I could tell the Minister from now until next week about instances of the activities of C.I.E. in this matter. I have seen a C.I.E. official with his back up against a wall all night down in my parish waiting to see if the owner of a ground limestone plant would bring out his own lorry with a load of lime instead of a C.I.E. lorry.

These are simply details of administration.

Administration of the Department of Industry and Commerce.

The Minister has no responsibility; it is a matter for the company.

If the Minister comes along and makes regulations he must be responsible. You have instances of this happening all over the country. C.I.E. have a crew of spies on that work. Those people, despite the subsidies, and despite the fact that at present the majority of their lorries are being run on a fuel which escaped tax, are not able to do their work economically—they say they cannot make ends meet. Why? In every parish in this country you have a couple of decent lads who served their country faithfully and well during the Black and Tan period and later during the emergency, and who put their gratuity into this business as a means of livelihood. They are being stifled and their little industry wiped out by the Minister's Department.

Is nobody else to live in this country except this inefficient, incompetent body? Are we, the agricultural community, to be cut in our prices and then asked to pay increased freight charges to those gentlemen? How long do you think it will last? I have no wish to delay the House. I have given certain facts. I suggest the Minister would wake up and do his job. There is no occasion for him to go to America to do it. At the moment, industrialists throughout the country are being hampered by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, by the Department of Local Government and other Departments of State.

We have one industry in Youghal which is giving a large amount of employment and which has relieved enormously the unfortunate situation that existed there up to a few years ago when everybody had to go to America. That situation is relieved now. I remember that a few years ago we had some difficulty there in regard to the expansion of the factory. The expansion was carried out by the directors under the condition that the urban council for the area would provide houses for the key men in the factory. I notice now that another Department, the Department of Local Government, have refused to give the loan to the urban council for the building of those houses which would mean increased employment in that factory.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce is not responsible for that.

I suggest that anything which affects industry and employment is the responsibility of the Minister.

The Deputy is now discussing the activities of the Department of Local Government.

I am suggesting that the Minister should take a stroll down to the Minister for Local Government and tell him not to be blocking industry and forcing unemployment on the people of Youghal by his foolish activities in that respect.

I think, Sir, that I have dealt with practically all I intended to deal with in this debate. I would like the Minister, when concluding, to tell us the total amount that he has got from what we call the pig-feeding tax. The last amount I got was £617,000 and I see the price has gone up since then by a further 30/- a ton. I would like the Minister, when replying, to give the House the total amount and spare me the trouble of putting down a question to him next week.

Deputy Corry started off his speech to-night by referring to the Cork airport project. I for one am totally against this projected airport. This is a small country and we already have two airports here as well as one in Northern Ireland. We have two railway systems and two bus services. I consider that to embark on such a project as the building of a third airport in this small country of ours would be foolhardy indeed. We are subsidising enough ventures at the moment without being asked to subsidise another.

I would like to draw the attention of the Minister to the seeming crisis in the G.N.R. I am sure he is aware of it. There is grave reason for serious consideration of this matter because last year the loss incurred on the system was practically £1,000,000, for one-third of which this country is liable. The Minister has mentioned, in his introductory speech on this Estimate, that losses for the coming year will be greater still. It is evident that one reason for the decline of the railway services is the fact that road haulage has increased to a very considerable extent. I am not decrying that increase or suggesting that lorry owners should be put off the roads and that all the heavy traffic should be transferred to the railway system. That is the march of time, I suppose, but I consider that the railway system itself, the G.N.R., should also move with the times. I hope that the dieselisation programme, which had been mentioned as being capable of achievement, will be implemented by both Governments, North and South.

Some time ago the Northern Government intimated that they intended drastically to reduce the railway services in the North. Recently we have seen an announcement which gives a temporary respite in that respect until the autumn session. I would impress on the Minister the importance of attempting to keep redundancy among G.N.R. workers in Dundalk to a minimum. During the past number of weeks some of the employees have been served with notice. So far the service of these notices has been confined to the wooden section of the works. I would like the Minister to make every effort to ensure that redundancy will be kept to a minimum and that no large-scale discharges will be brought about.

Deputy Corry criticised the Minister's efforts with regard to attracting external industries to this country and he blamed him for not protecting existing Irish industries while inviting foreign industries to come in. Deputy Corry seems to forget that the main reason why these foreign industrialists are being invited here is to attempt to redress our balance of payments as well as to give employment. I would like to compliment the Minister on his efforts. With regard to the setting up of industries for the manufacture of goods not made in Ireland it is no disgrace for this country to find that it is not able to manufacture those goods because this is a young country and we have not the experience or the capital necessary to carry on that work.

As Deputy Manley has said, every Deputy in this House must feel very proud of the progress which Irish Shipping has made since its establishment. It is doing very good work and is the key link with regard to the attempts which are being made to fight the battle of our balance of payments. I notice the Minister said that one ship of 2,000 tons dead weight is being built in Dublin and that a sister ship is being built in some Scottish shipyards and will be in commission about December. I do not see why, if one ship of 2,000 tons can be built in Dublin, that two, or three, or four, or the total number of ships of that tonnage that we require could not be built in Dublin and not in Scotland or in England.

Has the Deputy any idea of when we would get delivery of these ships?

The employment you would give would offset any inconvenience caused by delay in delivery.

Some of them would not be started for years. The yard in Dublin has plenty of work at the moment and is likely to have it for years to come.

That is a satisfactory explanation, I suppose. I would like also to mention one other aspect of this shipping problem and it is in connection with the recent announcement in the paper to the effect that the freight rates for conveyance of cattle exports to Britain are to be increased by a different system of levying the freight charges. I would suggest that Irish Shipping, Limited—it has been suggested in some paper already—would embark on the building of cattle boats. Here we have a guaranteed trade, plenty of traffic, and there is no danger, I am sure, of that trade flopping. The shipping company would be well advised to contemplate that course.

The past year has been very notable for the efforts that have been made with regard to the exploitation of our national resources. I refer to the mineral resources of the country. I think that a special word of praise is due to our Minister for Industry and Commerce for his efforts in that regard. He stated in his speech that when the Avoca mines were opened up some time ago there were 80 people employed at the start of the operations; at the moment there are 180; at the end of the year the Minister expects to have 300. When it is in full production he expects to have 500 men working, and I would like to compliment him on his work in that direction. In regard to the tax concessions, I believe they had to be extended to the companies; otherwise they would not have embarked on that venture because it is a purely speculative project.

I would like to ask the Minister one question which I asked last year and on several occasions during the year. It concerns Greenore in County Louth. We all realise the company which intends to set up an industry there is a private firm and is not under the control of this House, but I would impress on the Minister that the blow that the people suffered as a result of the railway system being disrupted and abolished has caused a serious set-back to them. Many of them have emigrated and they are all anxiously awaiting the setting up of this new industry. The Minister knows the industry to which I refer and I would ask him, if it is within his ambit, to endeavour to get this firm to expedite their decision as to whether or not they are coming to Greenore.

I would like to endorse the remarks of Deputy Finlay when he advocated increased production of briquettes. With the price of coal at the present time, it is of the utmost importance that the production of this commodity should be vastly increased. Many people in the towns do not know what a briquette is. They have heard of it all right but they have never seen it. If there was an intensive campaign to bring before the people and before the coal merchants the good quality of these turf briquettes, many more people would buy them and use them in their houses.

I note that a sum of £130,000 was allocated to the Institute for Industrial Research and Standards from the Grant Counterpart Fund for the erection of three buildings. We hear a great deal of talk about decentralisation from successive Governments and here is a golden opportunity to put what we preach into practice. I know the Minister intends to build three laboratories, one textile testing laboratory, a laboratory for the building industry and a photometric and optical laboratory. If these three buildings were built somewhere other than in Dublin the Minister would be providing his sincerity in relation to statements made in regard to decentralisation.

In relation to the E.S.B., we know they have applied to be allowed to increase their charges. In his speech the Minister refers to the installed generating capacity of the E.S.B. as being too great at the moment. To set up that generating capacity millions of pounds were spent and if we slowed down on capital expenditure by so many thousands of pounds on the E.S.B. installations at the moment we would be in a position to divert a great deal of that money towards a reduction of the present high charges which are the cause of contention at the present time especially that invidious service charge about which we hear so much. It is my belief that the price the E.S.B. is charging for this special expenditure in respect of householders who have not originally applied is very high and it is discouraging many people from accepting supply. I would ask the Minister to impress on the board that they should revise their policy in that respect. I know he is only responsible for general policy but, for the reason that there are so many complaints about this special charge, I think he should make an exception by intervening and asking the E.S.B. either to abolish or reduce this special charge. I suggest that the way to do it would be to divert some of the capital moneys that are being directed towards installations for generating capacity.

The last matter mentioned by Deputy Coburn in connection with E.S.B. charges is also a problem of mine. The whole question of rural electrification needs to be examined again. Whether this problem of special charges is one which was caused by action of the present Government or not I will not debate here. We can draw our own conclusions. After all, when one takes away financial support from any concern one can expect the worst. We think that is probably what is happening here.

Special charges were always a feature of the rural scheme.

I agree with the Minister that special charges were always a feature of the E.S.B. policy but my point is this: it was natural that when rural electrification was first begun the E.S.B. selected the best areas. That was a criterion they took in the first year, the areas which proved to be the best financial proposition, which would give the greatest return, the greatest revenue for the amount of capital expenditure required. In the second year the second best areas were selected. After a number of years of rural electrification the E.S.B. has, of course, now reached the stage in which they find themselves faced with linking up the areas which were discarded in the past. There is now no new work ahead and so they are forced to fall back upon the areas from which the revenue will not be as great as it is in the case of the areas selected in the beginning.

Now is the time to have some stocktaking done; now is the time when the Minister should take some action. It is no wonder that the E.S.B. have had to revise their requirements. It is no wonder that there is not now the demand they expected and the programme will be completed much sooner. When an area is now considered, special charges are imposed in a very high percentage of cases. These areas happen to be the poorer areas, left to the last. Unless 30 per cent. of the householders agree to pay the special charge the area is turned down.

That is one of the reasons why the E.S.B. now think that they will finish their programme much quicker than was anticipated some years ago. That is why they have advised the Minister that some of the proposed power stations will not now be required. If the Minister were to take steps now, to ensure that every part of the country will be supplied with electricity, there would be no lessening of the demand. There are many areas still undone, areas in which amenities should be provided in order to keep the people in them. These should be done, and could be done, if the same percentage of special charges were applied as applied to the areas where rural electrification was carried out when rural electrification was only in its infancy.

The ex-Minister for Finance, Deputy McGilligan, said no later than two or three months ago that rural electification could be carried out. He gave us to understand that the matter was receiving very serious consideration and that the problem of special charges was being considered. He dealt with this in the beginning and, after all, he should know; he said these special charges should be done away with, and could be done away with quite easily. I would like the Minister to tell us if any consideration has been given to this matter. If these special charges are removed, I can assure the Minister that the falling off in demand, which he was bemoaning some time ago, will not materialise.

There is no fall in demand. There is an increase in demand.

I listened to the Minister's entire speech and I understood him to say that the demand in the years ahead would not be as great as anticipated.

That is not a fall.

Evidently at one time the E.S.B. anticipated a certain demand.

They did not.

And now they anticipate a lesser demand.

No, they were told to anticipate it.

The Minister can put it any way he likes, but that is the position.

The opposite to that is the position.

I understand the Minister does not look too favourably on the alcohol factory and the starch factory in Donegal. I hope neither of these will come under the economy axe. When something unpopular is about to be done the Government puts out feelers. Backbenchers are sent in here to sound public opinion and, after that, the axe falls. The growing of Dutch potatoes in Donegal has proved highly successful. There were good yields and good results last year. An expansion of that industry could profitably be undertaken.

I suggest that starch manufactured in Labbadish should not be transported 100 miles to another factory to be processed into glucose and then sent to Dublin, or elsewhere, for use in sugar confectionery. Donegal is the premier potato producing county and it should be possible to develop more industries there to absorb those potatoes. There is an excellent export market for both seed and ware potatoes. The farmers are willing to cooperate and supply any quantity of high starch content potatoes. The Minister would be wise to foster this industry and to try to find an export market for glucose. The Minister did say that the home market is catered for fully. My information—it may not be altogether reliable—is that the opposite is true and there have been fairly substantial imports of glucose over the last 12 months. I would like the Minister to check up on that.

With regard to the proposed establishment of turf briquette factories, it is praiseworthy that the Minister should go ahead with industries such as that. This industry will provide fuel, thereby enabling us to cut down on fuel imports. There is one painful snag which has manifested itself as a result of the scrapping of the proposed turf-powered generating stations. In present circumstances, in view of the fuel crisis, which has already reached this country, due to the deterioration in the quality of imported coal and due to the steep advances in the price of coal, I wonder whether it would be better to spend upwards of £2,000,000 —£1,000,000 in respect of each briquette factory? Would it not be better to do that than to develop further the whole hand-won turf industry?

We know that the time has arrived when everyone must get fuel from sources within this country. But we have large areas of the country where coal is used, and even in the counties which produce turf we find coal being used in very many places. If assistance were given by way of making roads, reconstructing existing roads into bogs and making new roads into virgin bogs, so that at least the people of that county could have their own home-produced fuel, I think we would be going a long way towards solving the fuel problem and that it might be better to devote some of this money, which is being diverted or will be diverted to turf briquettes, towards building up bog roads and making new bog roads. I do not say that, in present circumstances, the Government should undertake the cutting of hand-won turf or sponsor the cutting of hand-won turf, but I do say that they should at least provide the facilities and provide the roads into the bogs which would enable the local people to have hand-won turf at a cheap price.

The Minister has not given any recent information to the House in regard to any interviews or any meetings he has had in connection with the G.N.R. Things do not look so bad now as they did some time ago, when the closing of the railways in the Six Counties was in the headlines. The G.N.R. from Portadown to Derry is, however, still in danger. If such a closing down does take place, as Donegal Deputies have pointed out in the past, it will mean that Donegal will be completely isolated from the rest of the country. Donegal suffers many hardships and drawbacks because of its position, even having the services of a railway to the county. But the Minister can picture what the position would be if this line were cut off and the only transport in Donegal was by road from Dublin and from the rest of Ireland.

I am sure that it is a question which is giving the Minister a good deal of thought and, possibly, a good deal of worry, but he will receive the assistance of the people along the Border counties and of very many people across the Border in the Six Counties as well. I think it would be a good idea that, if the Minister has any information on the matter or if he has had any discussion, he should give us any information that would be helpful. I know there may be matters he cannot expose to the House and to the public, but there may be something which he could do or some aspect in respect of which he could solicit the help of the people in this House and the help of the public generally.

The import levy has done a great deal to slow up industry. That, coupled with the steep increase in the petrol tax, has interfered very much with tourism, especially in the counties along the Border. It was the practice, when petrol was cheap here, that motorists who felt like going out for a week-end naturally headed towards the Border, where they could get petrol, cigarettes and so on at a cheaper price. It benefited the Border counties to have that position. Cheaper petrol, cigarettes and other commodities were an inducement to Six-County tourists to come here. They felt that, if they saved a few pounds on these items, they could spend a day, or maybe a week, extra in this country. I wonder if the revenue from these increased items makes up for the loss incurred in that way? I think it would be a good plan if the Government decided that certain of these commodities should be pegged down for the express purpose of attracting people to this country. I have not gone into the economics of it——

That is clear enough.

——but it might be a proposition. The Minister, while closing up loopholes in the Transport Act, promised that he would consider the question of transport for farmers and transport for farm produce over short distances. I do not think the Minister mentioned that in his introductory speech. I can assure the Minister——

I did mention it. It is in the speech and it is printed in the Dáil Report.

I listened to the speech and, if there is any mention of it, it did not——

The Deputy has a way of doing things without considering them.

——strike me as being very informative. Very little details were given. I can assure the Minister that this question of transport for farmers is a very big problem and is creating a lot of difficulties for the farming community in various areas, who have switched over completely from horse transport to motor transport. The situation is one which cannot be allowed to continue. Some legislation must be introduced to allow the transport of farm produce and farm implements from one farm to another without having to go to all the trouble of employing transport from the railway company.

As Deputy Corry has mentioned a number of cases, I just want to quote one for the Minister's benefit. It is the case of the Carndonagh alcohol factory, where farmers were prosecuted for drawing potatoes about half a mile from their own farms to the factory Eventually they had to employ lorries from the Swilly Railway Company. These had to come from Derry and across the Border. They could not come before the Border opened in the morning. They arrived some time before midday and it was then found that the lorries would not go into the fields. The farmers had to go back, find the selfsame tractors and draw their potatoes from the fields, dump them by the roadside and have them transported by railway lorry into the factory. That is one example. I will say no more about it, but it is a situation which must be remedied. If it is not remedied, it will keep the farming community in the position in which transport costs will be high and in which, therefore, their production costs will remain high.

There is a matter to which I should like to draw the Minister's attention. The Minister recently made a tour of the U.S. and I am sure expense was not a consideration in the effort to try to induce American industrialists to come over here.

It did not cost too much, mark you.

Not too much? £2,000.

£1,000 less than my predecessor spent, if you want to wash dirty linen—

The Deputy will make everything clear now.

Mr. Lemass

The Deputy has not said anything yet. Give him a chance to say something before you get annoyed.

Order! Deputy Killilea.

The Tánaiste does not have to get excited. If he would have a little bit of patience and not get excited we could continue the debate. There are groups of people all over the country who are anxious to make an effort to start industries but the trouble is that they do not know exactly where to make that start. When they try to think out what type of industry might suit them, the only ways and means they have of finding out, or of getting any information on that, is to consult the Trade and Shipping Statistics. That is not an easy job for any group of people if they have to get their minds down to it to find out exactly where they stand.

I would suggest to the Minister that a little bit of money spent in compiling statistics in his office, or even in establishing a small section in his Department whereby such information would be made readily available, giving all the figures in connection with any industry that could be started in this country would be helpful. They could then get all the information they would require in that office and thereby be enabled, in a very short time, to see what sort of effort they could make to get an industry going in their own locality. If such an effort were made by the Minister, we might get a good deal of progress by people who are inclined to start industries here at home. I have been asked by a committee in the town of Tuam to come up here on deputations in connection with a certain industry, but they have never been able to put their fingers on the industry which, firstly, they would be able to finance and which, secondly, would be the most suitable they could have. If that information were available for them and for other towns of similar size, I am sure it would be most helpful.

It is available in the Department. I will be most happy to send a list to the Deputy to-morrow.

Thanks very much. I shall be very glad to receive it. I was amazed recently to see that the Minister, when the levy was put on petrol, gave a farthing a gallon to the petrol companies or distributors. I think this petrol business is a complete racket at the present time. You can start off to-day and travel any road you like, and, every 20 miles you travel, you find a new filling station erected. If the Shell people put one up to-day, Caltex will clap one on one side of it the day after, and Esso will clap one on the other side the day after that. It happens all over the country, and soon there will not be a road in the country on which you will not have lines of filling sations, from Dublin to Cork and from Galway to Donegal. Surely there is something wrong there, something uncalled for.

I think the Minister should do a bit of tightening up and see if those people are not getting away with something. Personally, I think they are. That money may be put down under capital outlay or something like that but something should be done about it. The motorist is getting the worst of it at the present time in the cost of running his car and the petrol he has to put into it, and if we were to tighten up that system, instead of having these people putting up filling stations, we might be able to get a reduction in the price of petrol that would be most welcome throughout the country.

I was glad to hear Deputy Cunningham remind the Minister that something might be done by way of encouragement of the hand-won turf industry. I dare say it would be rather hard for the Minister to go back now to try to encourage people because, after all, he belongs to the Government that killed that industry. They blackguarded it out of existence during their previous term of office. They killed it for ever, and there is now no inducement to the people to use hand-won turf or even machine-won turf. We remember the time when we had machines all over the country in isolated bogs producing turf. To-day the bogs are there but there is no employment for anybody on them and the machines have disappeared. Nobody can deny that it was through the efforts of this Government, when they were in office on a previous occasion, that that happened. I think if we are to counter the heavy cost of coal on the community, there is only one way of coming to their relief and that is by a push in the development of either hand-won or machine-won turf. Every effort should be made to do something in that direction.

A number of us have been very anxious to know what the Minister would have to say on the report of the Commission on Emigration. We have not heard anything from him yet. When you take up that report it is amazing to find that the commission started off by saying that their terms of reference forced them to define the limits of their inquiry at the outset. They said they had to make it clear that they considered themselves to be a population committee and not a commission to inquire into features of social and economic activities. I think, seeing that the Minister was the individual responsible for setting up this commission, he should have followed it up to see exactly what the position was.

Every Deputy who like myself comes from rural Ireland knows that the unemployment problem throughout the country to-day is a very serious one and, as I have pointed out here quite recently, we have train-loads or carloads of people continually leaving to get the boat to go across the water. In the town that I come from we have wives left at home with large families and their husbands gone away. That certainly is a very unhappy position in which to find ourselves. Some effort must be made to do something about that and, as I say, the Minister, being responsible for the setting up of that commission, should see that something further is done in the matter. It is very little use to have a commission sitting for a couple of years, to have them bring in a report and then not to bother even looking at the report, just throwing it to one side. None of us, of course, would expect there would be much of an outcome from that body.

If the Minister's industrial drive is a success we shall be all pleased. There are many small towns throughout the country at the present time in a bad way for lack of employment. Really I should not say employment; I should say emigration. It is anything but a healthy sign to see the hefty young men of the country leaving it and to see their families at home depending on what they may be able to send from across the water. I hope and trust that, if there is anything in the way of rural industries coming along, the town of Tuam will not be forgotten by the Minister. I understand there is a proposal on the way. If that is so, I hope the Minister will do everything possible to help it along. Everybody concerned would be grateful to him for any effort he might make in that direction.

I thought a statement by the Parliamentary Secretary, Deputy O'Donovan, last night, which I read this morning, was very silly. He said there was a suggestion that this country is going on the rocks and added: "I assure you we are much safer than many other countries, apart, of course, from the problem of emigration." He finished up by saying: "We are not going to run on the rocks just yet. In fact they are a few miles to our starboard." The Minister for Industry and Commerce must take a serious view of that because he is one of the people on the ship. If the ship is facing the rocks it is time he would reverse the engines, face her around and advise the Government the direction which she should face if the problem of emigration is to be solved.

It was to this problem that the Parties now forming the Government gave all the lip service in days gone by. According to them they would solve emigration practically overnight. They cannot deny they have led the people along the wrong road with the wrong kind of thought and outlook; they cannot deny that the people expected that when they went into office they would have a very rosy time, that the cost of living would be much cheaper and that employment would be increased. The people are still anxiously awaiting the putting into effect of these promises. Instead, the Government are doing nothing for the people of the country. You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

The Deputy found that out twice.

The people of Laois-Offaly have taught you.

The people of Kerry and Dublin taught you.

The people of Dublin? The Minister got a queer fright in Dublin, a bigger fright than in Laois-Offaly, if he only admits it.

The Minister asked for this by his interruption. I have made the few remarks I intended making. I shall conclude by expressing the hope that something effective will be done about emigration.

A number of matters have been raised on this Estimate during the three days over which it was under discussion and I shall endeavour to deal with as many of them as possible. Deputy Lemass, as one would expect, opened the debate for the Opposition and his first comment was that a great deal of what I had said on the work of the Department for the past 12 months was mostly verbiage. Then, to show he was an expert in verbiage himself, he played along for two long hours telling us, in a platitudinous way, what he thought should be done, how it should be done, the things that we ought not to do, the things we ought not to overlook, things we should remember to do.

Whatever other disability the Deputy may have, whatever other virtues he has got, clearly a long memory is not one of them and, judging by the character of the speech he made on this Estimate, he seems to be proof against any possibility that remorse of conscience would affect him in any way. Does the Deputy remember or has he forgotten, that he was in office for 19 years, and that many of the things he wants done now could have been done in every one of those 19 years? He was the one Minister for Industry and Commerce who held more power as Minister than any of his predecessors or any of his successors. All of those plans which the Deputy talked about for two hours, all of those pipe dreams of his, were all capable, if realistic, of being implemented in the 19 years his Party were in office.

War or no war?

There was not a war on for 19 years except in the warped imagination of the Deputy. A 19 years' war the Deputy thinks of now. Is that the excuse? The plain fact of the matter is that the Party opposite have now all the fertile ideas which they could not find when they were in power. I can understand the mentality of Deputy Lemass, but I thought he would be big enough to rise above it while discussing an Estimate of this kind. I thought that some sense of becoming modesty would suggest that, having been in office for 19 years, he would remember, when making a speech, that some of the things he was advocating could have been done during those 19 years, and that his speech would be in a muted key instead of that to which we were treated by the Deputy.

I know, of course, that when you are 19 years Minister for Industry and Commerce it is very hard to discipline yourself into believing that you do not own the Department. It is very hard to get rid of that sense of proprietorship after you have occupied the position for 19 years. I know, of course, that Deputy Lemass still feels that proprietorship. I know also that some of the mesmerised back benchers believe that only Deputy Lemass can do things in this country. These Deputies, not being able to think for themselves, or being too lazy to do so, want to accept this pleasant method because it saves them from having to think. I do not want to deny Deputy Lemass credit for any of the good things he did as Minister for Industry and Commerce. I will be no party to denying Deputy Lemass credit for any of his achievements in the Department. I do not believe it is constructive to say the other fellow is always wrong and that you are right all the time.

The attitude of the Party opposite and of Deputy Lemass, in his speech, was that everything we did was wrong and that everything the Party opposite did was right. There was plenty of time for them to work everything out in their 19 years of office if they had the energy and ability to do it. It is no part of my policy or of my mental make-up to traduce the useful and valuable things that anyone else has done. I pay tribute, as I have done before, to Deputy Lemass for his work as Minister.

The Department of Industry and Commerce does not belong to the Fianna Fáil Government or to the inter-Party Government. It belong to the whole nation and I would have thought that Deputy Lemass, having been the occupant of the office for 19 years, would feel proud of the fact that another useful chapter in the valuable work of that Department over the past 34 years had been written by some of the achievements of the past 12 months. I think that Deputy Lemass, on an occasion like this, should have been big enough to rise above the pettiness in the obviously envious references in his speech to the work of the Department; that he would have taken the big view and felt that he was an assistant and a party to the work of the Department and that he had played his part in the work of the Department and its development. I think it was unworthy of the Deputy that he should engage in the slighting references which he did to the work of the Department just because public opinion ordained that the Deputy should not, for the time being at any rate, guide the destinies of that Department.

We had a dissertation from Deputy Lemass, and indeed, from many other Fianna Fáil Deputies, about emigration. Are they all suffering from loss of memory? Do they not know that between 1932 and 1948, during the Fianna Fáil régime, 500,000 people left this country and settled in Great Britain? Do they not know that during that 16 years they colonised Britain with Irish men and women on a scale never previously experienced? After a record of that kind, to come here bleating about emigration at this stage is something that, I think, requires a pretty hard neck. Do they expect to get away with that kind of make-believe with the people? And this was from a Party that at one time was not only going to provide enough work in this country for everybody but was afraid that they would have to send to America and bring back the emigrants to do all the work that Fianna Fáil was going to make available. That was the 1932 policy of Fianna Fáil. It implemented itself by sending 500,000 Irish men and women to reside in Britain between 1932 and 1948, the period during which Fianna Fáil had power and governmental control in this country.

I want to deal with the few matters raised——

Mr. Lemass


I want to deal with the few matters raised by Deputies in this debate and I want to correct some of the misrepresentations, whether accidental or deliberate, which were made. Deputy Lemass said that he thought the Minister's announcement last year of his acceptance of the proposal of three oil companies to set up a refinery here had closed the door to proposals from any other interests. Misrepresentation No. 1 is that I accepted proposals from the oil companies. When Deputy Lemass said that I accepted proposals from the oil companies he said something which is not true. That statement is a misrepresentation of the position. The oil companies decided that they would accept in principle plans for the putting up of a refinery here and that they would submit proposals to me. These proposals were not accepted at the time Deputy Lemass referred to; they were not submitted until December of last year. They have since been under examination and discussion with the oil companies and they have not yet been accepted. So far from being accepted the proposals have not yet reached me from the Industrial Development Authority.

The Deputy said that by doing this I had frightened the other oil companies and their proposals away. The fact of the matter is that since these three oil companies declared their intention of putting up an oil refinery here, far from anybody being frightened away, one other company has since submitted proposals which had not made any proposals up to that time. The Industrial Development Authority is examining these proposals. They will examine the scheme put up by Shell, Esso and Caltex and all the proposals put forward will be reported on when the report comes to me.

These are the facts. They are a complete refutation of the slant which Deputy Lemass sought to give the matter when he was discussing the question. I do not believe that that was just an accidental slip so far as the Deputy was concerned. The Deputy said that before he left office he had been told that the oil companies had agreed to do this in principle. They had not agreed to do it in principle. There is not a single record in the Department or in the Industrial Development Authority that these three companies had undertaken to do this. All the evidence is that, on the day the Deputy left office, one of the companies was engaged in an entirely different proposal in the matter. That statement of the Deputy's is simply not true. The Deputy was simply chancing his arm in the matter, as he is prone to do when something has happened of which he was not in charge.

Mr. Lemass

The people concerned know whether it is true or not.

I invite the Deputy to get letters from these people establishing that it is not true. Then he will see how many he will get and we can put them on the records of the House because all the evidence is the other way.

Let me deal with one of the points made by Deputy Killilea. The hand-won turf scheme was killed by the Fianna Fáil Government in 1948. The files of the Department of Industry and Commerce contain a minute which says that the hand-won turf scheme was uneconomic, in the circumstances then existing, and was not to be continued. That record is on the files of the Department of Industry and Commerce. Deputy Killilea, instead of having his cards marked intelligently, is allowed to wander in here like a baby, believing still that Fianna Fáil is putting on a Casabianca act, and defending the hand-won turf scheme. He does not know that in Kildare Street, about 100 yards away from here, there is a file indicating that the last Fianna Fáil Government decided to abandon the hand-won turf scheme. That chicken ought to be run to earth and someone ought to hammer sense into his head instead of allowing him to make a statement like that. People will confront him with that decision of the Fianna Fáil Government and he will collapse.

Where does Deputy Killilea live that he does not know that in the Department of Industry and Commerce he could be given a list of imported commodities, their volume, value and price and information as to whether the home market is not supplied, or not fully supplied by Irish manufacturers? Pages and pages of this documentation are available. It has been given to many people up and down the country. Deputy Killilea does not know it exists, yet he says he is engaged in a passionate search for information to enable him to establish new industries. If he had gone to the Department of Industry and Commerce the newest member of the staff would probably have taken him to the section there where he could get a copy of the lists the existence of which he knows nothing of to-day.

I wish to deal now with the question of the briquette factories generally. I will come later to the circumstances surrounding the recognition by the E.S.B. of their own volition that they were overplanted and that there was a necessity to cut back on the establishment of additional generating capacity. When it was clear that that became necessary for reasons of good management, prudence and general realism, we realised that that might have an effect on Bord na Móna's activities in producing turf, that Bord na Móna had been running in harness with the E.S.B., one looking for generating plant, the other producing the fuel for use in the generating plant.

I personally do not think the liaison arrangements between the two organisations were nearly as good as they should have been. I thought an exchange of intelligence, more frequent consultation and perhaps a better marriage of the two bodies, would have enabled them to know where the other was going in more detail than was apparent to me when this situation developed. When it became clear that Bord na Móna might have to cut back on its turf development programme, I discussed with the board the possibilities of putting up briquette factories which would enable us to produce briquettes, a solid fuel for which I think there could be generated a considerable demand, not only in the city of Dublin but in other towns and cities as well.

As a result of recommendations which I made to the Government they decided to accept in principle the responsibility for putting up two new turf briquetting plants. An order for one will be placed immediately and Bord na Móna have been told to go ahead and get that plant installed with the utmost expedition. The second plant will be installed as soon as we get experience of the planting, the siting and the other teething difficulties that may be thrown up by the establishment of the first plant. It is not intended to order the two together but it is not intended to wait until the first one is up before the second one is ordered. There is complete flexibility between these two points of view. Whenever the Government deem it advisable that the second plant should be ordered, steps will be taken accordingly.

At the present time we sell only 40,000 tons of briquettes. Some of these are sold to industrial users, so that the 40,000 tons are not available for sale as a domestic fuel. I urged Bord na Móna to step up the volume of their turf briquette production. They have now arranged to do that to such an extent that they will produce 50,000 tons of briquettes this year. With these two new briquetting plants we hope to produce 200,000 tons of briquettes. A ton and a half of these briquettes is equivalent in calorific value to one of coal; in other words, it will take a ton and a half of briquettes to get the equivalent calorific value of a ton of coal. We estimate—this is still an estimate, and I want to warn that it is an estimate of to-day, not of three years hence—the ex-factory price of briquettes to-day is about £4 6s. per ton. Assuming the factors which go into the making of the price are the same when the plant is erected as they are now, £4 6s. per ton, plus £2 3s. for a half ton, will make £6 9s. for a ton and a half of briquettes which will have the equivalent calorific value of a ton of coal landed at the quayside. A ton of coal landed at the quayside was, until recently, £8 3s., and with a 30/- increase that coal now costs £9 13s., so that you will have a ton and a half of briquettes at £6 9s., giving you approximately the same calorific value as a ton of coal costing £9 13s. I think the simple economics of that should make an appeal to our people and it should be possible to sell turf on that basis.

The great advantage of turf production is that the whole commodity is found and processed in Ireland. It is not as if you bring in the raw material fabricated to a slight extent and then sell it at a finished price. In the case of turf, from the beginning to the end it is an entirely Irish product and the processing of it, because of that fact, makes a much more substantial impression in the rectification of our balance of payments than if we were bringing in a commodity, paying for the raw material or the partly fabricated cost of the imported commodity.

If I take 200,000 tons of briquettes as equivalent to approximately 130,000 tons of coal per year, then the saving on the non-importation of 130,000 tons of coal per year would be the equivalent of approximately £1,000,000 per year. If I assume that the cost of each plant will be £900,000, making a total of £1.8 million, and that approximately £1.5 million will be necessary over the five-year period in bog development work and in the provision of the milled peat in the operation of the plant, then over a period of approximately five years we could recover our total expenditure on the plant and on the development of the bog by saving that import of 130,000 tons of coal during that period.

Therefore, I believe this is a proposition which has everything to commend it. I hope it will be warmly welcomed by Deputies. I hope it will be applauded by Deputies and that we will not be so politically short-sighted as to find fault now with the scheme merely because it is put forward by one political Party and not by another. This is Irish turf which is giving employment in an Irish plant. It will provide wages for people who might otherwise be driven away from home, and we ought to co-operate, if there is any goodwill in us at all, in trying to sell to our people the fact that it is good business and that it is a patriotic duty to buy this turf so as to render us more and more independent of imported fuel at a time when the price of imported fuel has reached such a high level and may, if half the forecasts can be proved to be correct, rise to a still higher figure.

Bord na Móna, of course, will have the responsibility of jerking up the sales from 50,000 tons to 250,000 tons. That is a substantial step-up but I have no doubt, having regard to the price considerations which I have mentioned and to the obvious better value which one gets through buying briquettes and having regard to the fact that our people should by then— they do not now—recognise the necessity for a rectification of our balance of payments situation, they will realise that buying this turf is not only personally but nationally a good policy.

The question of C.I.E. was raised by a number of Deputies. Some have asked for a statement on the position. The board has sent me a document setting out their present appraisal of their situation and I would serve no good purpose by not saying at this stage that it is about as bleak a document as one could possibly read from the standpoint of their outlook on the future. In the financial year ended March, 1955, C.I.E. losses had been got down to approximately £800,000. There were indications then that, if prices remained stable and wages did not increase, within three or four years they might become line-ball financially. But things did not develop in that way.

Coal prices increased substantially against C.I.E. They were also called upon to grant quite considerable increases in wages. The effect of the increase in the price of coal and of the increases in wages, plus the effect of the increases in other costs, together with the fact that C.I.E. is not likely to retain all of its pre-1955 traffic when the rates for that traffic increase, will result in a situation in which C.I.E. losses in the past year will probably be in the vicinity of twice the previous year's losses and possibly a little more. We have, therefore, to face up to a situation in which, according to anticipations, C.I.E. losses may be in the vicinity of about £1.7 million or £1.8 million. That, of course, represents a recession from the position which the company occupied last year, a recession brought about very largely through the factors I have just enumerated.

This information can afford no joy or gratification to anybody. C.I.E. is the national transport authority and it must be the aim of every Government and of all our people to maintain C.I.E. as the national transport authority. Our policy and the policy of previous Governments has been to maintain and support C.I.E. as the national transport authority. One is inclined from time to time to doubt whether it will be possible to maintain that policy in face of the fact that, if one considers the views of the general commercial community, they appear more and more to be desirous of having their goods transported not on the rails by C.I.E. and not in lorries owned by C.I.E. but in their own lorries. The result is that there are now over 45,000 lorries and commercial vans in operation. Every ton of merchandise carried in these lorries, every day in the week, every week and every month in the year, is merchandise which, 25 years ago, was carried in the main on the railways.

The position now is that the commercial community and, indeed, I think the community which buys from the commercial community, prefer in large measure and over a substantial sector to have their goods transported in lorries. That situation has impacted on C.I.E. to a very serious extent. The board of C.I.E. are now convinced that this policy will continue unabated. They suggest remedies, remedies which may not be realistic in the light of public taste for the use of privately-owned lorries as a method of conveying goods. It is clear enough now that we look like getting the worst of both worlds so far as our transport arrangements are concerned.

On the one hand, it is Government policy to maintain the railways and to maintain C.I.E. road freight services. Whilst that is Government policy, on the one hand, in so far as the commercial community express a view, they buy lorries and transport their goods, not by C.I.E., but in their own privately acquired lorries. That, as I said, throws doubt on the possibility of maintaining the railway in its present condition and with its present ramifications, when more and more lorries are being used to transport goods on which the railway normally could rely as its source of income.

I do not think anybody will attempt to deny that there are very obvious advantages in the provision of a door-to-door service. One can go to the factory where the goods are made, load up in the yard there and take these goods, with very little handling, right to the door, the yard or the store of the person who is interested in buying them. That service has many obvious advantages. There is less danger of anything going astray en route. There is less danger of the commodity being damaged in transit. There is less danger of goods being held up. All the advantages lie with the door-to-door service. Whether the railway can devise any means of meeting, and beating, the attractions provided through the medium of delivery by private lorry remains to be seen. So far they have produced nothing for dealing with that situation, and I do not think they have any remedy other than the remedy of drastically cutting back on the private lorry as a means of enabling them to get traffic back on to the railways.

The fact that some firms deliver goods by private lorry encourages others to do the same if they are anxious to hold their placevis-á-vis their competitors. That, in turn, sets up a cycle of people moving in a direction inimical to the best interests of C.I.E. We have now reached the stage at which there must be a reassessment by the Government of the whole position of C.I.E. in an effort to find out whether it is possible to maintain unaltered the policy we have been pursuing or whether any changes are called for in the light of the very pronounced swing away from the railways for the conveyance of goods.

C.I.E. recently, because of increased expenditure under the heads of increased prices for coal, increased wages and other costs, have had to charge an additional 10 per cent. on their freight, but some large users of the railway services have been reluctant to pay this additional 10 per cent. Indeed, this reluctance has become so infectious that it even extends to some State-sponsored bodies. Whether we can continue to permit a situation of that kind to develop, in which a State-sponsored body with a fleet of its own lorries on the road carries its goods by road while the ordinary taxpayer may be compelled to pay a subsidy in order to maintain a railway system which is capable of carrying the goods the State-sponsored body has ordered, is open to question. There, again, I think there must be a reassessment of the position of these State-sponsored bodies from the point of view of what contribution they can make to the financial stability of C.I.E., and thus avoid the frittering away of our resources by running parallel systems of transport, systems which ought to be co-ordinated and integrated.

It may be difficult to maintain the present policy in view of the obvious strength of the change in the public demand in respect of new methods of transport. I cannot at this stage, having received the report from C.I.E. just recently, express any views on the matter just now. I hope, however, to reassess the whole position in the light of the new developments and in the light of the tendencies which, C.I.E. have said, are growing to the point that they now seriously threaten the maintenance of the whole railway system. I think, however, it is desirable that that reassessment should be done as speedily as possible, and that both C.I.E. and the community ought to know in what direction policy is to be beamed so that whatever corrective is necessary, if a corrective can be found, will be applied with the minimum of delay.

The battle of who is responsible for developing and exploiting the copper deposits at Avoca went on during the three days of the debate on this Estimate. I want to state the facts in connection with this matter. I do not care who was responsible for developing Avoca. I do not care who was responsible for providing the additional employment there. It is good enough for me to know that Avoca is being developed to its fullest. It is good enough for me to know that people are getting jobs there, and I will be happy so long as they get jobs there and so long as we can dig wealth out of the earth at Avoca and the surrounding districts. I do not care who is responsible. I do not think it matters.

My position in the matter was that we tried to develop Avoca to the utmost of its possibilities. The situation I found when I went to the Department of Industry and Commerce was that Mianraí Teoranta had applied for a grant in respect of operations at Avoca during June or July, 1954. At that time they had run out of money and no moneys were available. These moneys were essential to carry on. I sought the approval of the Department of Finance for that money in order to enable Mianraí Teoranta to carry on, but the Department of Finance came back and said that the programme for the year 1954, which was approved by the Government in January, 1954, involved a cessation of underground work and a dismissal of about 40 men towards the end of April, 1954—that is the dismissal of 40 out of 80 people then employed. Efforts were made to get Mianraí Teoranta to reach a stage where the ore could be made merchantable and the undertaking operated to the national advantage.

I had a number of discussions with the Board of Mianraí Teoranta. In those discussions I endeavoured to get that body to get for me, from any place they could in the world, a proposition which would enable us to find somebody who would further explore the deposits at Avoca in order to make them merchantable, produce concentrates at Avoca and, if possible, have the concentrates smelted there. Efforts to do that were, at first, not successful. I need not, nor do I think it is desirable, take the House through the various vicissitudes of the efforts of Mianraí Teoranta in that respect.

The position, however, is that we realised from these discussions with mining companies and from the survey made by Mianraí Teoranta of the possibility of exploiting the deposits that we would not get anywhere with mineral development in this country unless we were going to make a radical change in our whole mining taxation code. We had up to then the poorest effort probably of any white country in the world to develop its mining resources. And it is not without significance that we had at the same time the worst and the most unprogressive code of mining taxation in the world.

I went to the Government on the proposition that, if we were going to develop these mines, then we had to invite risk capital which would enable us to induce people to mine for the wealth which was in the ground and which could not be seen and which had to be estimated to a very large extent. As a result, the Government decided that they would introduce an amendment to our taxation code, which provided that anybody engaged in mining operations here would for the first year and for three years after that be exempt from paying any income-tax on profits and that they would be liable to pay only half income-tax on profits for the next four years.

It may be argued, of course, that in that way we made some substantial concessions to such people. In my view, we made no concessions. If we had not made that change, we would not have got one halfpenny of income-tax. We would have got no employment out of the mines, unless we made a change at Avoca. The position would have been at that time that 40 out of the 80 people then employed would have been sacked at once. Another 20 would have gone later in the year, and the last 20 would have been employed on a care and maintenance basis in the hope that one day somebody would come along and develop an interest in the mines.

However, our amendment of the mining taxation code created a new climate and a new atmosphere. It interested the Canadian group which came here and, as a result, we made an arrangement with them under which they, or anybody else in similar circumstances, whether Canadian or Irish nationals, will get certain benefits, if they engage in these mining activities. The Canadian group also undertook to refund to us approximately £500,000 which we had spent between 1948 and 1955 in exploring the Avoca deposits.

I think we have done an extremely good job there. The company is now working in accordance with the programme and they seem to be doing so with both diligence and energy. The number of workers employed there at the moment, instead of being 20 as it would have been if we had not taken the steps we did take in 1955, is now in the vicinity of 180 or 200. It will increase to about 300 workers next year and, when in full production, to about 500 workers. We will be able to give that volume of work to heads of families very largely in the Avoca area. Not only is it going to have a very beneficial effect all over the area, but the whole operation, I hope, will act as a beacon light to any other people interested in mining enterprises to come here, realising that our taxation laws are now such that one can mine with some assurance that there will be a fair return, if indeed not a good return, on the money invested in mining operations here.

Since the Avoca deposits came to be worked by the Canadian group, other Canadian groups have appeared on the scene. Some of them are prospecting in Beauparc near Slane; others have evinced interest in mining deposits in West Cork; some in Tipperary, others in mining deposits in Wicklow. Our policy will be that, so long as they have money and technical resources to do the job satisfactorily and establish Irish companies to carry out these mining activities, we will be prepared to give them all reasonable facilities. I would hope as a result of these surveys and these explorations which are being carried on by various groups that it will be possible to interest, if not the existing groups, at least some other groups in mining activities elsewhere throughout the country.

Deputy Lemass referred to the bright views which were being expressed on the contents of some of these mines. I think mining has ever been a subject in which starry-eyed devotees assess the richness of the deposits; in fishing, they assess the capacity of the river or the size of the fish. It is not unusual to have these hair-raising stories told about the richness of deposits and the size of the nuggets which can be found. We know, however, that the person who is to invest his money cannot rely on stories of that kind. He can do nothing better than exercise his own good sense and judgment, or take the views of somebody associated with the company who may be in a position to give him more sober information. I cannot imagine many of our people, who, up to now, have been reluctant to invest even £1 in mining development, generally being anxious to buy shares at any inflated prices either on our own stock exchange or elsewhere. At all events, the responsibility is theirs and they should not do anything foolish, especially until they see a balance sheet produced by these mines.

The question of the survey of mineral deposits in other areas was raised, and I think I ought to say here that the position is that this country as a whole has been surveyed already. Many areas have been surveyed on several occasions. There have been fresh surveys of individual deposits of a likely economic significance. These surveys are made from time to time, as the circumstances call for them. The information which has been obtained from all these surveys and the accumulated experience of the Geological Survey Office is made freely available to persons interested in exploration and development. I have had many tributes paid to the office on the painstaking way in which they provide information of that kind for prospectors or for intending leaseholders.

The Geological Survey Office, I am assured, is adequately equipped with the most modern mineral detection equipment and is abreast of modern techniques in the detection and survey of minerals. Deputy MacBride, while not criticising the Geological Survey in any way, asked, perhaps rather doubtingly, whether they had in fact all this equipment. I shall be most happy to arrange for the Deputy to discuss his fears with the head of the Geological Survey Office so that he may put any questions he likes and get the answers to those questions. It has been my aim that the Geological Office should get any equipment necessary to keep the staff abreast of modern techiques in this field.

Deputy Lemass raised the question of Mianraí Teoranta. Mianraí Teoranta was, in fact, set up for two main purposes. One purpose was to develop coal deposits at Slievardagh, in County Tipperary, and the other was to continue exploratory work at Avoca, in County Wicklow. Mianraí Teoranta ran Ballingarry coalfield for quite a while. The last Government directed Mianraí Teoranta to sell the coal mine there and it was sold to a private individual. It is now being operated by him and, I think, being operated successfully. The Avoca deposit has been leased to the Canadian group, and the two purposes for which Mianraí Teoranta was brought into existence have in fact been achieved.

I discussed with Mianraí Teoranta what they might do now in the light of the fact that the two main purposes for which they were established have in fact been achieved and that no further action is called for from them so far as these two projects are concerned. I must say that when I saw the board and when I explained what I hope to do in other directions, they did not feel at that stage they had anything more to suggest to me. But I told them they had heard for the first time what my views were in respect of surveys in certain other areas under technical assistance grants and that they might go away and think over the whole matter in the light of what I said to them. I said I would be glad to see them at a later stage if they had any reasons to give me as to why they thought they could still make any substantial contribution to mineral development in Ireland. I am waiting from the board of Mianraí Teoranta their proposals in that respect.

Deputy Calleary raised the question of the Min Fhéir project down near Glenamoy and he alleged that the decision to cease this operation followed a visit of mine to Bangor-Erris. The fact of the matter is that I went to Bangor-Erris as a result of the earnest entreaties of the Managing Director of Bord na Móna for the purpose of seeing Bangor-Erris bog, seeing the plan of development and the difficulties they were up against there, observing the immense amount of work which they had to do under difficulties and in the face of obstacles which might well have daunted people less enthusiastic in turf production than Bord na Móna. I did not go near Glenamoy and the purpose of my visit was in no way connected with Glenamoy. The position was that I went to Bangor-Erris in May 1955, but, in August 1954, the Government, on my recommendation, had set up an inter-departmental committee to make recommendations as to whether it was desirable the Min Fhéir Company should proceed further with its activities. That committee reported to the Government in a preliminary way in November, 1954, and in June 1955 the Government approved their recommendation which was that the plans for the erection of a grass meal factory should be abandoned.

This whole matter, I think, was discussed on the financial motion of the Minister for Finance or the Finance Bill, and it has been discussed, I think, in some measure on the Estimate of the Minister for Agriculture. I think the whole proposition was some queer dream of somebody but I have never been able to find the author of this scheme. This Bill was sponsored in the Dáil by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, Deputy Lemass, but the strange part of the whole business is that there is no file about it in the Department of Industry and Commerce. I asked everybody in the Department if they knew anything about this grass meal scheme down in Glenamoy and not a person in the place knows anything about it. Nobody knows anything about it, nobody in the Department is prepared to say a word in favour of it. There is no file in the Department about it.

Can anybody imagine starting a scheme about which there is no record in the place? Nobody is prepared to say it was a good scheme. That is the kind of white elephant I inherited in this Min Fhéir scheme down in Glenamoy. Deputy Dillon, the Minister for Agriculture, said that, if we wanted to embark on such a scheme, the least we might do is get good grass. Instead of that, the proposal of Deputy Lemass was to get the worst grass in Ireland. The trouble about it is that there is too much grass in the country and too little tillage. If you want to get good grass, you will get an abundance of it in Kildare, in Meath, in Westmeath. If we are going to give cattle the value of grass meal, surely we must give them meal made from the best grass in order to get the best results. But to go down to a windswept area and try to grow grass there and then to process that and try and cod cattle into believing that this is going to do them good! Surely there is no reason to a proposal of that kind.

Mr. Lemass

That is the basis on which the scheme was killed.

Where is the file on this scheme?

Mr. Lemass

In Oifig na Gaeltachta agus na gCeantar gCung.

Did anybody back this scheme at all? Was there any foster father for it? I believe this was originated by some of these crackpots. I do not believe Deputy Lemass was proud of this scheme at all. It was a good job to kill it from everybody's point of view. It was a most outrageous spoof on the cattle. If we want to get grass, let us get the best grass. Now we are using this for the only purpose for which the land is suitable.

Mr. Lemass

The board said they could export it. Why not let the British cattle get it?

That is a good neighbour policy.

The sublimest scheme of all. Where in the world did Deputy Lemass see it worked?

Mr. Lemass

In Gowla Bog.

If we are prepared to pay enough we could grow grass anywhere. But is the outlay worth it?

Mr. Lemass

That is the old Fine Gael attitude.

Somebody must have common sense. It is true we could have made grass meal there had we been prepared to pay the appalling cost.

It is true we could grow grass in Nelson's hat if we are pre pared to spend enough to do it.

The strategy of this whole scheme seems to have been to make grass meal to sell to British cattle.

Mr. Lemass

There is an unsatisfied demand for it in this country.

You could not give it away.

Mr. Lemass

The board said they could sell it at a substantial profit.

That was the pipe dream.

Mr. Lemass

Why not give them the chance to try?

How could they sell such a commodity?

Mr. Lemass

They said they could.

I bet they would not put one penny of their own money into it.

There was no rush for shares in any case.

I think the bog down there is being used for a much more valuable purpose. It is being used to see whether it is suitable for planting timber.

Mr. Lemass

The Minister for Agriculture said it was being used to see if grass could be grown on it.

The Minister for Agriculture never said any such thing. He said there was a peat land research station there.

Mr. Lemass

In any case, there are thousands of acres there. Why not let both schemes go ahead?

What was the purpose of letting the grass meal scheme go ahead at an appalling cost?

Mr. Lemass

No cost.

The Deputy swallowed the scheme, hook, line and sinker. He still has an amazing faith in the ability to sell it. You could not sell it to a goat.

Mr. Lemass

The experts of the Irish Sugar Company are the crackpots the Minister referred to.

And the Deputy was the brains trust.

Coming to civil aviation, Deputy O'Malley sweated himself at great length on the question of Shannon Airport becoming capable of taking jet aircraft. I told the Deputy, the House and the country the other day that as far as Shannon was concerned we were most anxious to ensure that it would adjust itself to whatever demands were made upon it by changes in the whole method of aircraft design, and, if Shannon needs longer runways than they have there at the moment, we will face up to the responsibility so that we will hold traffic at Shannon. I do not think there is any occasion to anticipate that these new jet aircraft will be available until 1960. Some people are talking about jet aircraft which need 10,000 foot runways. Other airlines are talking about jet aircraft which can land and pull up in a distance less than the length of the present runways at Shannon, and think jet aircraft will not be available until 1962.

We have indicated we are examining this whole question. The examination has reached an advanced stage. Through statements made in this House and elsewhere, the air companies know this matter is under careful consideration by us. Any Deputy interested in the matter can rest assured that we are watching the situation and that, to the uttermost limits of our power, we will safeguard the interests of Shannon.

The question of an airport at Cork was raised by some Deputies. There would, of course, have been no point in having an airport in Cork if arrangements had not been made to operate services from Cork to Great Britain. Nobody would think of providing an airport for the purpose of flying people from Cork to Dublin, because it would be an uneconomic service. Having regard to the speed of some of the fast trains, nobody would travel by plane in preference to the almost equally speedy railway coach.

We have, as I said in my opening statement, made an agreement with the British Ministry of Civil Aviation and we have tied into that agreement an arrangement between the British air companies and Aer Lingus. The agreement is now being finalised between the parties and as soon as all the formalities have been completed, probably within four or six weeks— although for some reason or another it might take longer—I hope to be in a position to make an announcement on the subject. I think the agreement is a good one. It will in no way limit the development of Aer Lingus; in fact it opens up bigger and brighter prospects for the further development of Aer Lingus.

The question of unofficial strikes was raised by some Deputies. I referred to the matter when I was introducing the Estimate and intimated that I had had this matter discussed with the Congress of Irish Unions and the Irish Trade Union Congress. I also had the matter discussed with some State-sponsored bodies which employ large numbers of workers and I have made arrangements to discuss the matter with the employers' organisations. As a matter of fact, one such discussion has taken place.

I know of nothing more capable of doing harm and having so little prospect of doing good in our industrial set-up here than unofficial strikes. The unofficial strike is usually caused by bad temper on the side of the management, on the one hand, or irresponsibility on the part of trade unionists, on the other hand. In many cases, the directors of companies are not responsible and management at a high level is not responsible. Very often the trouble starts by some foreman or ganger using bad language or making some slighting comment to a worker. The workers then decide to go on strike unless the foreman or ganger apologises or the remark is withdrawn. The damage is done before the management or the union knows of it. If both management and union knew of it in time very likely the whole matter could be regularised.

The avoidance of unofficial strikes requires two conditions. One is that there should be in management, or in charge, some person who is capable of exercising that tact, carefulness and understanding necessary in handling human beings, and, on the other hand, that the trade unions concerned insist on the acknowledgment of the fact that the right to call a strike is not vested in every fellow or in any group of people who may have a grievance. The right to call a strike is vested in the national executive body of the union. These people should be compelled to submit to the national executive body in matters of that kind.

In the past there has been a tendency by the unions to treat people like that sympathetically. I do not think that that remedy is likely to be of any use at all. If a person becomes a member of a union he must be compelled to abide by the rules of that organisation as long as he is a member of it. That must carry with it the realisation that, if he has a grievance, there is no grievance that he cannot carry with him for two, or three, or even six hours until he can contact the headquarters of the organisation.

The trade unions have faced up to the matter very well. They declare that they deplore any resort to the unofficial strike. The two congresses, at present undergoing a process of reunification, have taken steps, through the medium of their affiliated organisations, to ensure that, if a group of workers leave one union because of dissatisfaction, an executive will not stand over an unofficial strike. No other union will put up an umbrella and provide a shelter for the dissatisfied group if they leave the first organisation in the hope of getting into the second. If the unions can stand firm on that issue, it will be possible to expect an improvement in the whole approach to the question of the unofficial strike.

One expects, on the other hand, that the employers will endeavour to ensure that those who are in a supervisory capacity over their employees will be encouraged to display the tact, care and understanding necessary to get rid of these unofficial strikes which are a canker in our whole industrial life. I was glad to see that the president of the largest trade union in the country, the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union, declared that the executive of that union will, in no circumstances, entertain an unofficial strike. If that lead is given by such an organisation, I am sure the good example will be followed by other trade unions, all of whom have so much to gain in this matter and so little to lose so far as the loyalty of their own workers is concerned, or in the improvement of the conditions of the workers generally.

The question of the cost of living was raised by a number of Deputies here. It has been discussed on a number of occasions in the last few months. It was discussed last year. I said then what I am going to say now and what I will continue to say. If, through circumstances outside our control, it is not possible for us to keep the cost of living down, then the way to meet a situation of that kind is to adjust the wages of the people to meet the increased cost of living.

I think I have heard it said before that in the Ireland of pre-1914 you could get sugar at a 1d. a lb., loaves at 1½d. each and pigs cheeks at 3d. each for the half head. You could then get a whole variety of commodities of that kind at a cheap rate, but does anyone want to go back to the cheap days of pre-1914, to the days of 1912 and 1913 and the wage standards of those days? Does anybody yearn for that? Cheap food can be accompanied by wages so low that the standard of living of the people is depressed to such an extent that they are compared with the most backward people in the world. In every country of the Far East where prices are low, wages are so low that it is the great worry of the civilised nations of the world how they can raise the standard of living of these backward people.

We could not, in a small country like this, with our resources and with fewer than 3,000,000 people, hope to insulate ourselves against the inflationary tendencies which operate in other parts of the world or the fluctuations in the economic field which play havoc in various parts of the world, and in our small economy as well. There are some interesting facts which might be mentioned in regard to this country. Notwithstanding the fact that we have had an increase in the cost of living here, we have had it in some exalted company. Other countries, with resources immensely greater than ours, have had increases in their cost of living substantially greater than ours. Let us take the case of our neighbours across the water.

Mr. Lemass

High prices are now good for the people.

The Deputy believed that himself in 1952 when he slashed the food subsidies at the direction of the Central Bank.

Why did you not bring them back?

This debate is too strenuous for the Deputy.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 10.30 a.m. on Thursday, 28th June, 1956.