Finance Bill, 1957—Second Stage (Resumed).

Question again proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

Last night I was quoting from the Official Report of 1947 in which is set out the reasons given by Fianna Fáil for imposing the 1947 Budget. I said it was just too bad for them at that time that they had not had an inter-Party Government before them on which they could blame the necessity for imposing that Budget. I want to emphasise that, on the Finance Bill of the same year, the then Minister for Finance, Deputy Aiken, said, as reported at column 402 of Volume 108 of the Official Report:—

"While the economic situation is serious there is no reason to doubt our ability to survive the next few critical years..."

In the same column, he made this appeal:

"Everyone, poor and rich, can do something to help by producing or saving. The world is short, and we are short, of food, fuel and clothes."

In his introductory speech we were told we were short of these things. However, one reason which the then Minister gave for the introduction of that Budget was that there was too much money, that the people were spending too much on food, drink and clothing and that he proposed to take some of it from them so as to make sure they would not spend so much.

I was interrupted last night by a young Deputy. I commend that Volume of the Official Report and the speeches in it to him. He will discover what his Party and his Government thought at that time. The strange thing about it is that the Finance Bill this year reimposes the taxation that was taken off by the inter-Party Government in 1948, the imposition of which Fianna Fáil have, since then, being trying to defend.

We heard a lot of talk about the "hard year of 1956", about the cash difficulties, finance difficulties, the wastage of our external assets, and so on. We also heard talk to the effect that the banks were hard pressed. I have in my hand the report of one of the banks of this country for the year 1956, which was supposed to be the bad year—the year when no capital was available, according to the banks.

I do not want to be taken as attacking the banks but I want to cite the figures which are available ti anybody who looks for them. Anybody can get these balance sheets in the daily-papers of the time. In the case of this particular bank, the paide up capital in 1955 was £2,769,231. In 1956 it remained the same. In 1955 the cash at call on short notice was £15,288,215. In 1956 it was £17,019,867, an increase of almost £2,000,000. The figure for the British Government debt remained the same in 1955 and 1956 at £2,630,000-odd. Exchequer bills were £4,000,000, while British Government securities remained the same at £18,000,000. But the all-important point I wanted to make was that in 1955, deposits, current and other accounts amounted to £67,000,000 and in 1956 they were £71,000,798—a substantial increase in the deposit accounts.

That occurred in a year when we were supposed to be going back. Anybody who examines a balance sheet such as this can see exactly how we stood. In that balance sheet they had written down the fall in the value of the market prices of British Government securities, which everybody knew had fallen to a very great extent, sometimes as much as 15 or 20 per cent. But they did not lose that; they just simply wrote it down on the present day market value in their balance sheet. I know that several of the premises of this bank would cost the best part of £500,000, but their total buildings were given in the balance sheet at £901,000. They wrote off that by reducing the profits, by not showing the profits.

This is not an attack on the bank but I want to point out that, when the inter-Party Government were attacked for squandermania, for not doing this, that or the other, the situation was brought about in which interests of the country were bedevilled by the propaganda of the them Opposition. Now, perhaps, they know the results of their own activities. Let us hope—and I do hope—that such activiteis will not come back to roost on their own heads. You cannot with impunity abuse a Government and, when you take over the next day, expect the whole thing will be changed overnight. The interests of the country are not served in that way.

I want to stress the fact that, in 1947, the chief reason for imposing the Budget was, we were told, that we were eating too much, drinking too much and buying too much clothes. On the other hand, we were told that things were short all over the world. I appealed to the Government at that time not to increase the price of the poor man's hard plug. The appeal was received sympathetically, but nothing was done about it and the increase was still imposed. You would think that, after all that experience of 1947, the Government of Fianna Fáil would not attempt to do the same thing again. Yet we had it doing the same thing in 1952 and now again this year, ten years afterwards.

The only reason for doing that is that they want to try to justify their mistakes in 1947. The then Minister for Finance prayed for wisdom but after ten years the wisdom has not yet arrived. That is obviously the position. In the Finance Bill so far as anybody can see no provision is made to help end unemployment. On the contrary, I have grave fears that it will increase unemployment. Remember that on of the points on which this Government sought election was that a strong Government would end unemployment.

May I mention one fact they forgot? Every time they had a strong Government unemployment increased out of all proportion. In the year 1940 they had a strong Government and unemployment in February, 1940, was at the colossal figure of 118,661. In that same year 23,000 boys had joined the Defence Forces and 6,000 were recruited into the Civil Service to write the ration cards. Fifty thousand joined the British Army, Navy and Air Force and 37,000 left this country on permits issued through the Department of External Affairs. That was in 1940 with a strong Government keeping us out of the war. Were it not for the war and extension of the Defence Forces, you would have had the colossal figure of 234,000 unemployed under the strong Government of Fianna Fáil——

That includes the number that joined the Army?

If there was not a war they could not join.

The Deputy would have them marching the streets of Dublin, hungry, as you had them in 1947 and subsequently? That is the position in which we found ourselves then——

The Deputy should grow up.

The Deputy can get up and answer me. He can get these figures in the Department. If he can contradict one of them I will be satisfied, but he will have to contradict them as being wrong officially and he will have to give the sources of his figures.

I do not want to comment on the remission of the tax on the Racing Board. I said on the Budget that since the Government took it off there must have been good reason for doing so. My complaint was, and is, that the Minister for Finance and the Government did not tell us they were doing it or why they were doing it. My complaint is about the slick way in whic the Minister just by-passed it, by ignoring it completely. When I raised the matter here he suggested in a brazen way that I should ask a respected citizen, held by everybody in the very highest regard, all about it. That was not the point.

The point was that the Minister and the Government were doing something and they did not tell us about it. It was something to the extent of £140,000, at a time when they were adding 2d. to the ounce of tobacco for the old age pensioner. That was my complaint and that is my complaint. In winding up the Budget debate and since, the Minister has given no grounds for that; he has not given us the reasons why he was not imposing the £140,000 stamp duty upon the Racing Boards. The Racing Board may require it; they may not be able to stand it; but should he not tell us that?

The Deputy will not believe him.

There are a lot of things we do not believe, but there is an obligation on the Minister and on the Government, who are paid to do these things, to do them in the right way. The country is not paying them to go on ignoring these things completely.

This Finance Bill reimposes very grave hardships. I said here during the debate on the Budget, and I have said it down the country, that I hope it will meet with success and achieve its objective. When an Irish Government decides anything I hope it will carry it out, even though it may impose very grave hardships on a large section of the community. I want to remind Fianna Fáil and everybody else that this is our country, belinging to all of us, and when anything goes wrong with it, we are all affected, because, like the rain, the hardships fall equally on Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour and everybody else.

I have always held the view and will always hold strongly to it, that when the Irish people elect a Government, it is out Government and while it is in office, it has to get all the help it can to do the work which the country elected it to do in the interests of the whole country. I hold that view, while I may as a free citizen in a free country criticise what they do and at the same time congratulate them on what they do well. I have the right to do that and no bunch of people can take that right from me and I extend that right and privilege to others because it is their right and it is not for anyone to take it from them. It does not matter under what "ism" they try to take it away. The Constitution impose obligations on every one of us and it should be full accepted. The Government is unwise in this Finance Bill and i suggest to them, in all sincerity, that even at this late stage they should reconsider the whole matter.

The Leader of the Opposition has given an indication as to how the Budget could be balanced without imposing these hardships. If the inter-Party Government imposed that Budget, no matter what the reasons were, no matter what the ground or the necessiry might be, Fianna Fáil would make the welkin ring—and they would be right—and they would tell us to resign; and, believe it or not, if I were a member of the Government which did it, I would do so. I would go home and stay at home, as I would be admitting that I was a complete failure. Of course, that is a laughing matter for some Fianna Fáil Deputies, but it is no laughing matter for the people upon whom they have imposed taxes on petrol, on tobacco, on bread and butter. They will have to answer for it before the people of Ireland and I hope they can; but I believe they cannot and I do not know what the judgment of the irish people will be upon them.

Deputy MacEoin has been a long time a member of this House and one would think that by this time he would have grown up. The speech we have just listened to could have been made by a youngster just new in politics, with no conception of the quality of the members of the Dáil. He seemed to think he was speaking to a group of school children prepared to accept everything he said as being the words of an oracle. He spoke to us this morning and last night as if he were an oracle. Even the first line of his speech was to tell us—and he had all the airs of wisdom—that this Finance Bill was to implement the proposals in the Bulget—as if we had not the foggiest idea that that was so. He has been lecturing all the time. A young Deputy had the temerity to open his mouth and he started to talk to him from the depth of his experience in order that the Deputy might learn from his wisdom.

Then he come to us this morning with the balance sheet of one of the banks—we do not know which bank— and he read from it as if he had taken over the post of financial wizard which we used to hear so much about long ago as being in the Fine Gael Party. He has been lecturing to us since and he told us at last that he would go home if he belonged to a Party which introduced a Budget such as the one we have had this year. Did anyone in an assembly of grown-up people ever hear such a speech as was made by the Deputy this morning and last night?

Indeed, it was the best made in a long time here.

He said he would go home if he had anything to do with the introduction of a Budget such as this.

I would, too.

When they took a shilling off the old age pension, they did not go home.

We introduced a Budget based on the Estimates which the inter-Party Government prepared. That cannot be questioned. Notwithstanding his statement that the Leader of the Opposition had suggested slternative methods of raising the money, I think the Deputy and his leader were making a gross mistake, because in the suggestions made there was not the remotest possibility of raising these extra moneys.

I should like to give my views on the situation concerning this Budget. There are certain aspects of the situation on which all sides are agreed. So far as I can judge, every side of the House agrees that we must have a balanced Budget; that we cannot attempt to balance it out of savings, loans and so on; and that further tax impositions would result in reduced revenue. Consequently, the only method left to the Government to balance it, in view of the estimated deficit, was saving on services. We know that the members of the Opposition do not want a saving on certain services. When we offered 1/- a week to the widows and orphans, they told us it was a miserable and mean gesture. Consequently, their idea is that services of that kine should be increased. We may presume they do not wish for a reduction in the social services and they have not mentioned any of the ordinary services of the State which they think could be reduced.

Then we come to the service which we did have to reduce—the food subsidies. The first suggestion made was that we were going into the lobbies to vote for the removal of these subsidies against our will and that we were being led by the nose by the members of the Government and being compelled to vote. It is, to a certain extent, against our will that we vote for the removal of these subsidies because we realise that their removal is going to cause certain hardships to some sections of the community. When we were faced with the problem of balancing the Budget, we realised that the deficit could not made up by imposing increased taxation. we realised that a reduction in services was necessary and naturally a removal of the food subsidies had to be considered as being the only service which could bring us anywhere near balancing the Budget.

I remember when the food subsidies were first brought in. I remember Deputy Norton and the Opposition telling us that they were mean and miserable and using all the adjectives which they used to describe the shilling we added in this Budget, to describe the subsidies at the time. They pointed out that they were useless and a complete waste. Now, of course, the subsidies have come to be regarded as absolutely essential and their removal will cause terrific hardship. The Government decided that the subsidies had to go and I really believe, and everybody knows, that at some stage the subsidies had to go. They were introduced in 1947 in peculiar circumstances and, as I mentioned, their introduction was abused at the time. They were purely a temporary measure. When we were abolishing the food subsidies, we would have liked to be able to give a corresponding relief in taxation, but when we took over Government this time and found that we would really need several million pounds more than the estimated revenue from taxation, we were compelled to support the Government in the removal of the food subsidies. We are as astute, so far as coaxing the electorate is concerned, as any section of this House——

Hear, hear—particularly at Belmullet.

We do not wish, even from that angle, to inflict hardships on the people. We wish to give the people the best we can give them and we impose hardships only when we feel that they must be imposed in the interests of the country. I have already said that we have always faced the people and told them what we believe to be the truth. Deputy MacEoin came along this morning and told us that we did not tell the people we were going to abolish the food subsidies during the General Election. Last night, Deputy O'Higgins suggested that if we had told the people what we were going to do, the result of the election would have been different. Of course, that is his view, but Deputy O'Higgins and Deputy MacEoin, when they were making these statements, knew perfectly well that we, on this side of the House, could not possibly know what the financial position was or whether it would be necessary to abolish the food subsidies, or even whether it would be possible to give reliefs in taxation. The country generally and we knew that there would not be any reliefs in taxation. They knew perfectly well there would be increased taxation and all they wished for from Fianna Fáil, when they got back into office, was that they would clear up the mess. That is the general view of the people in the country.

I often wonder where the Deputies on the Opposition Benches have been living for the past few months. They will us that the people are mad to get us out of office, even more mad to get us out than they were to get us in. I mix with th people as much as those on the Opposition Benches. I live with them and amongst them and I talk to them and argue with them about these matters.

I think the people realised, before the election, that a change had to be made and we convinced them that, in making the change, they should make Fianna Fáil strong. They did make us strong and to-day there is a settled condition in the country which has not existed for the past four or five years. The people are regaining confidence and are facing up to the hardship of the situation created by the removal of the food subsidies because they realise the Government had no alternative, particularly as they could not balance the Budget out of savings. The people realised that if we were to have a continuation of unbalanced Budgets, the credit of the country would——

Does the Deputy mind if I ask him a question?

Does the Deputy think this is a balanced Budget?

Yes, it is.

It is merely another form of deficit financing. It is only a matter of degree.

We are adopting the measures which we believe will lead to a balanced Budget. We cannot do more than that. Deputy M.J. O'Higgins suggested that if the people got a chance Fianna Fáil would be wiped out of office and Fine would Gael and the inter-Party Government returned. That is just what is known as a figment of the imagination. The people were never stronger behind this Party and they look forward to this Party governing this country for the next five years. As I have already said to the people on the Fine Gael Benches, the people of Ireland have intelligence and common sense. They should tell them the truth and not come in here and start to read something that someone said in 1920, or in 1930 or in 1940. If they come in here and face the facts, they will have some chance, some time, of getting the people to give them what they gave Fianna Fáil—a majority over all the Parties in this House.

I commence by saying that I shall face the facts and that is something from which the members on the opposite side of the House have been ducking their heads since the debate started. I heard members of the Front Benches of Fine Gael asking the Minister important questions and I, as a backbencher, asked one which I consider to be important and which I will put to the House again. When the Minister used his wonderful technique in replying, he pinned down a misstatement which one member of the Opposition had made. He went to town on it, instead of paying the compliment to the people who had asked questions and who sat through the debate by answering them ; instead of dealing with the notes which he made, or is supposed to have made, during the debate, he answered no questions.

Through Government action, when the Government and its supporters went up the steps and turned to the left, we thought that day that they were putting up the price of butter by 5d. per lb. But, as it turned out, they put up the price of butter by 7d. and, in some cases, be 8d. per lb. It is obvious that will not improve the sale of butter. This has been one of the best years for grass we have had and one of the best dairy farming years that I remember. I am sure much more milk has been going into the creameries in the past few months than ever before. With the drop in the sale of butter, consequent on the increased price, and the obvious rise in production that must take place, we shall find ourselves with a very big surplus.

I ask the Minister did he agree with his colleagues who were going about the country and shouting for increased production? Does the Government want increased butter production? I should like a statement from the Minister and the Government on that. What provision has been made to sell the surplus? How mush money has been put aside? I should like an answer to that.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce made a very important statement on the Budget. Unfortunately that statement did not, in my opinion, get the publicity it should have got. At column 1158 of Volume 161 of the Official Report the Minister for Industry and Commerce, speaking about subsidies paid by the Government, said:—

"It brought the question of the price being paid for milk to the Irish farmer and the price being paid for Irish wheat on to a false plane."

Deputy Dillon interjected with the comment: "I hope the farmers will read these observations." I repeat them now because I want them to be read.

I ask again that question that I asked then: Does the Minister, having taken away the bread subsidy—and there will be as a result of that a fall in the consumption of bread—want increased production in wheat? Those are the two question: Do the Government want increased butter production and do they want increased wheat production?

I deplore the Minister's technique of ignoring questions. I notice that in other debates other Minister answer just one or two little questions posed by Fianna Fáil members and ignore the important questions asked on this side of the house. The Minister for Health has a wonderful technique; if one interjects he pulls his superb act of the wounded Minister. But the Minister for Finance really has the right technique: "Do not answer them at all." With regard to the things we on this side of the house did or did not do, there is one thing we have never done and we were in opposition a long time: we never cried down the credit of this nation.

Hear, hear!

None of the people on this side of the House ever went out into the highways and the by—ways or down to dinners and, in response to the toast of "Our Guests" let the people have it about subscribing to or supporting anything done by the Fianna Fáil Government.

The Banana Republic, the Deputy called it.

The Minister would grow right bananas if he had his way.

I am just quoting what was said about the Banana Republic.

The Minister is talking about Banana Republics. I am talking about crying down the credit of the country. A former Minister for Finance in the Fianna Fáil Government, who is evdently not good enough for the job now——

On a point of order. Is it in order for Deputy Lynch to suggest that because Deputy MacEntee has not been appointed Minister for Finance he is not good enough?

Yes, it is in order.

Certainly it is.

I shall put it right. I was referring to Deputy Aiken.

Would it not be better to keep to the Second Reading of the Finance Bill and the Budget?

Then there will be no interruptions or disquiet.

Deputy Aiken said nobody would put a "bob" into anything Irish and that fine, decent firm of Messrs. Guinness came along three days later and put £500,000 into Bord na Móna. Deputy Loughman was very quick off the mark. He thought I was talking about the Minister for Health, Deputy MacEntee, when I spoke about people crying down the country's credit because Deputy MacEntee had been the prime mover in the whole thing and the people over there recognised that.

I, for my sins, have often had to listen to Fianna Fáil orators calling down fire and brimstone on us in relation to the poor man's pint. But they gave him the bayonet this time; the old people's tobacco—and it is only the old people who smoke this plug tobacco—was increased in price. They ask us: "What is the alternative?" The people down the country are asking: "What were the levies taken off?" They were removed and £1,900,000 was given away. What did they do then? That stuck it on to the butter. I ask the Deputies supporting the Government: was that right? Remember, butter is a very important commodity. The whole dairying industry is based on butter. You have the Irish cattle trade. You have the byproduct, the separated milk, which goes to feed a whole lot of animals. That is something in relation to whic Fianna Fáil Deputies cannot say they went freely into the lobby to vote.

I am quite sure that had there been a discussion in the Fianna Fáil Party before the introduction of the Budget and had that increase in the price of butter been put before them, with the information that the Government intended to remove the subsidy, the proposal would not have been carried inside in the Party. In regard to the people generally, I do not see any great celebrations over Finna Fáil's return in such numbers. There have been a few so-called victory celebrations. Indeed, it would be better if they had a few wakes. There would be more fun at the wake.

An increase of 6d. a gallon has gone on petrol. People with small buses cannot afford to run dicsels, the ordinary man in the street who likes to have his car to take his children out for a run, and, of course, a very important section of the community, commercial travellers, are badly hit by this imposition. We have a minerel water business in this country and it is mainly kept going by high pressure salesmanship and a constant maintenance of vans on the road.

I do not like to interrupt the Deputy, but I suggest the details of this should be discussed on Committee Stage on the appropriate section.

Very well, Sir. In any case, it will be admitted that 6d. per gallon on petrol was more than a bit tough. It has put up the cost of distribution; nevertheless the Government close their eyes and allow the insurance companies to raise the insurance rates. Finally, I should like to refer to what Deputy Loughman said, that Fianna Fáil had great ability in presenting their case to the people and in getting people to vote for them.

In coaxing the people

Yes; that is the right word. There is no question about that, because I know the effect it had on my campaign. No item mentioned in this Finance Bill was ever mentioned by the Fianna Fáil leaders. As a matter of fact, they went the other way. They assured the people that the subsidies would remain. That was sprung at Belmullet, in the far West, and at Waterford, with splendid timing by the Tánaiste and by the Taoiseach.

We hear about the mistakes made by the inter-Party Government. The inter-Party Government made a great mistake when they came into office in 1948. Up to that time, Fianna Fáil had been in office for 16 years. They had nobody to blame but themselves. They could not raise the old age pension. A statement was made by the then Taoiseach that it could not be done. There was 3d. put on the pint of stout and there were many other impositions such as this Budget is imposing on the people. There was an election, but this time the people knew what Fianna Fáil were going to do and they did not return them. The inter-Party Government came into office and made a mistake. They raised the old age pension. They reduced the price of the pint to the original figure and they reduced the price of cigarettes, but the people did not bother about it at all.

Fianna Fáil knew the inter-Party Government had done wrong, not financially but politically. The inter-Party Government did not read as deeply into poor old Machiavelli as the people over there. He said: "Never give it to them all together; deal it out to them in dribs and drabs." The right thing for the Price to do when ha had conquered the people was to impose plenty of taxation on them; then the people would groan and cry to get back a little bit for which they would be most grateful. I have an idea-this might be done still. Levies might be imposed and the little bit would be given back on the butter and all would be forgiven. That could be going on over there and we over here would not know it; neigher would the people in the back benches over there know it.

Finally, may I say that I paid the Minister the compliment of coming into the House to listen to his closing speech on the Budget? I had asked him two questions and he did not reply. I ask him the two questions again now. In view of this Budget and in view of the position in the country at the present time, do the Minister and the Government want an increase in the production of butter? Secondly, do the Minister and the Government want an increase in the production of wheat?

As I understand it, the Budget is the instrument of Government policy through which the Government arranges the national housekeeping to make the best possible use of its funds, to contribute in various ways to the expansion of the economy, to provide opportunities of employment and to ensure that precedence is given to the development of the national resources, which in our case is principally land. There is also the duty to ensure that help is given to those who need it, principally the sick, the aged and the young. There is the further necessiry that, through our various educational institutions, an equal opportunity will be given to all our citizens to expand their knowledge and their natural talents and thereby benefit themselves and their country. In order to do these things, the Government must ensure that the burden of paying these various accounts in distributed equitable among the whole community so that those best able to bear the burden will shoulder the heaviest share of it.

As I mentioned in my contribution to the Budget debate, there is no doubt that, as a nation, we have been living beyond our means for quite a number of years, while, at the same time, certain sections of the community have been living, if not in dire poverty, at least very close to it. I assume that it is the duty of any Government to ensure that it orders the affairs of the nation in such a way that there will be an expansion of the nations's economy, that the standard of living for all the community, not a section of the community, will be improved, and that a rising standard of living will be available to everybody, particularly those in the lower income classes.

This year, the Minister for Finance, like, I think I am correct in saying, most previous Ministers for Finance, was faced with a deficit in the national housekeeping accounts. As Deputy Sweetman said, quite rightly, a short time ago, this country has adopted a policy of deficit financing for quite a number of years past. That is one of the contributing factors to the position in which the country finds itself to-day.

In order to balance the Budget, at least on paper, the Minister decided to take certain steps. He decided to increase taxation on tobacco, beer and petrol and to reduce assistance given by way of subsidies on essential foodstuffs, etc. By those two devices he managed to fill a gap of £9,000,000. I do not object to the increase on what I would regard as near luxuries although I would appreciate that they are necessaries to certain section of the community. I refer to tobacco and beer and, to a lesser extent, to petrol. The increase on petrol was far too high. It would have been far better to devise a scheme whereby those using their cars for pleasure would carry a higher share of the impost which the Minister decided to put on the gallon of petrol.

I do not object to, and i voted in favour of, the increases on tobacco and beer and I would been quite prepared to vote for increased taxation on other luxuries because I believe that the first thing to tax when money must be got, particularly for production purposes, is luxuries or near luxuries. I only regret that the Minister did not find room in his proposals for taxation on other luxuries, the use of which is quite apparent throughout the country.

It is true that we in this country spend an inordinate amount of the national income on amusements and pleasure. With more thorough searching, the Minister could have found some means of raising money from the amusement seekers, from gambling and from entertainment generally.

The abolition of the subsidies, about which most of the debate has ranged in recent weeks, was a very severe blow. There is no question about that. The suggestion has been made by certain Opposition speakers that, if subsidies had to be touched at all, it would have been far better to reduce them by stages and to make compensatory payments, particularly to the lower income groups. I do not think anybody can suggest that you can take a rough average of 1/1 per head of the population and, in return, give 1/- to the social assistance class and say that everybody is fairly compensated. I am sure the Minister for Finance would be the first to agree that such a simplified calculation could hardly be accurate in human terms. Undoubtedly, the lower income groups consume more bread and butter than people in the other groups and their average loss as a result of the abolition of the subsidies must be substantially in excess of 1/1 per head. When the Minister decided to go the whole hog, as he has done in this Budget, he should have been more generous in the compensatory payments which he made to the social assistance classes.

The Minister should have imposed taxation in the upper income groups. This Budget has been criticised throughout the country as being in the nature of class distinction because the main burden of balancing the Budget has fallen on the shoulders less able to bear it. On the face of it, that criticism is justified. I find it difficult to believe that the Minister could not have found some other source, through surtax or otherwise, to compensate for a reduction in the subsidies rather than their complete abolition.

Reference has been made to the question of levies as an alternative to the abolition of subsidies. The levies were imposed by the former Minister for Finance during a period of great difficulty. He was faced with the necessity of making a very rapid decision. The balance of payments position worsened rapidly over a matter of months, largely due to factors such as the drop in the price of cattle. He had to make a quick decision as to what should be done about it. He decided to impose levies. There is no doubt that the levies caused a great deal of upset and quite a considerable amount of unemployment but they did achieve their purpose. As the former Minister for Finance has said, the position in regard to the balance of payments—which I regard as a far more serious problem than the question of an unbalanced Budget—was largely solved when the former Government went out of office, leaving the present Government, in that respect at least, with a clean sheet.

The present Government could argue, and I think with some degree of accuracy, that the removal of the levies contributed to employment. I have no figures at my disposal to show the amount of employment that would be given by reducing the income from those levies from an anticipated amount over £4,500,000 to something less than £2,000,000. If that would make a substantial contribution to increased employment, I would favour the reduction in the levies but if the result is merely to ensure that a very few people get an increase in their incomes, I would prefer to see the levies reimposed and an adjustment made in the food subsidies. It should be remembered, of course, that the levies were originally intended to augment the capital investment sums and that a transfer from capital to current account now might have the effect of reducing the employment potentials.

There is no doubt that the greatest problem to-day is the problem of unemployment, which is followed automatically by the problem of emigration. Given a choice, most people would perfer to pay higher prices, even for essential foodstuffs and to have a decent, regular job than to pay subsidised prices for foodstuffs and to draw either 60/- or 61/- a week unemployment benefit or, worse still, 38/- or 40/- a week unemployment assistance.

The Government's case is that they had to balance the national housekeeping and at the same time make good the promise wich they made to the electorate when they appealed to them to put them back into office, that they would get the people back to work. This Government must stand or fall on its boast that it intends substantially to reduce unemployment and to put the people back to work. Every member of the House would support a Government in its efforts to provide employment. The Government have put themselves on trial in that regard and this House will judge them accordingly.

I should like to make some brief reference to the question of inducements to exporters by way of tax remissions on profits made on manufactured goods exported from the country. As I understand it, it is proposed to give 100 per cent. tax exemption to profits or increased profits made from the export of manufactured goods. Considerable play has been made about that concession. I do not know what the total of manufactured goods exported and covered by this concession is. It may be £15,000,000 or £16,000,000. Assuming that that is increased by 33? per cent., which would be a very substantial increase, the Exchequer does not give away £4,000,000 or £5,000,000; it merely gives away the tax on the profit on that £4,000,000 or £5,000,000, possibly £100,000.

I understand there is a condition that the money gained through that tax exemption must be reinvested in the concerns in question. Perhaps the Minister in his reply would confirm or correct that view. If that is true, I should like to make the point that it would not be an inducement to outside interests to invest in industries here for export. I think, first of all, we must make those tax concessions and, secondly, we must allow these people to take profits out of the country, if we do accept the fact that we want foreign investment in industry here, particularly in industries for export. We do feel now that is highly desirable although, as an Irishman, I would much prefer that we contributed our own finance, saved by our own people, to industries here producing either for home consumption or for export; but in order to solve our problem and solve it quickly, we must look to investment of foreign capital export poterntials, large or complete export potentials, towards ending unemployment here. Very generous concessions will have to be made to foreign capitalists to induce them to establish plants here.

Reference has been made to the question of monopolies in the flour milling and bakery business and it is possible that a wrong impression might have been created by some of the remarks on this subject. I think it is only right to say that where these sales were made and where the smaller or medium-sized bakeries have been taken over by large groups, they have been free sales and the people have not been forced out of business through unfair competition. Smaller bakeries or millers have sold their premises because they got offers they considered worth while.

It seems to be the era of the larger unit. We are living in an era where the tendency is towards larger units, not only here but outside, and it is unfortunately true that the smaller manufacturer and the smaller unit generally is tending to go out of existence and the larger unit is tending to become larger. I think the main reason for that fact is that our tax laws assist the larger man at the expense of the small man. If we want to put into effect what I think most of us subscribe to, the doctrine of diffused ownership, we shall have to do something practical about it by some from of graduated tax to allow the small businessman to accumulate sufficient capital to enable him to expand his own business and to ride out the slumps and set-backs that come to every business at times. That principle, I believe, is accepted in personal taxation, but it is not accepted, or certainly it is not applied, in the case of industrial taxation.

Some Deputies have referred to the fact that speeches have been made particularly in the past 12 months or so which have done serious damage to the country's credit and I should like to add my protest to theirs. There is no doubt that certain prominent politicians here in the past 12 months or so made speeches that do amount to a serious reflection on the credit of the country. Possibly they did it for political purposes, but I can assure them, from my own knowledge of the results of those statements, that they have been seriously deterimental to the country's good and to the good of commerce and business generally.

What this country needs as a prerequisite to any expansion of productivity is a return to self-confidence, self-confidence in the people themselves and in the Government of the day. The Government can best contribute to that by giving the people a lead. There have been suggestions, open and overt, recently that the only hope for the country is to ally itself with some other country such as the United States. I should like to put on record my own personal view: I hope this country will not ally itself with any outside group or country. I hope it will do what the people who sacrificed so much wanted it to do, that is, stand on its own fact and, by a spirit of self-reliance and hard work, bring about a condition of prosperity so that we can give the people a decent standard of living here. Anything the Government can do to provide that situation will, I am sure, get the support of the House.

I think this Budget, or one of its instruments, the Finance Bill, may have inflicted on the country a form of taxation that is certainly not equitable. The Government is asking a section of the community to bear what is more than a fair share of the burden and in doing that, has given the impression that this is a Budget for the middle groups and the better-off at the expense of the poorer sections. That can still be redressed, and I hope will be redressed, when the Minister for Finance has an opportunity to consider his figures at greater leisure.

I should like to reterrate the view which I expressed during the Budget debate that the removal of the subsidies on this occasion has actually done more than just relieve the Exchequer. In that respect, I wonder if the Minister would tell us what exactly will be the net saving the Exchequer may hope to receive as a result of the removal of the food subsidies and what that entails.

I understand that the figure for reliefs given to the lower income group is somewhere in the region of £1.9 million. I also understand that since the Budget the consumption of butter has declined by approximately 30 or 35 per cent. That does not take into account any increased production there may be this year. I think the pre-Budget consumption of butter was about 42 lb. per head of he population and, since the Budget, sales have dropped. if butter production is to continue as it is at the present time and if we are to export butter, the drain on the Exchequer if the present subsidy continues—I believe the figure is about 1/3½ per lb. —at a rough estimate, taking a population figure of roughly 2,800,000 people and allowing for a drop of 15 lb. per head of the population, will be something in the region of £2,500,000 to £2,750,000.

It would be much better, I think, that we should not regard the subsidies as something put on to come off. These things becomes written into usage in the country and there is no doubt that the help he subsidies represented initially did encourage the eating of more bread and butter among the working people and the younger people. These people have benefited accordingly. If dearer flour and better bring about a fall in the consumption of these two commodities as I believe will be the case, it will cost the Exchequer in the long run a much larger sum than the Minister hoped he would save by the removal of the subsidies.

Taking into consideration the extra reliefs that were granted, I believe the net saving made by the removal of the subsidies would not be more than £3,000,000. The import levies have already been mentioned. I should like to suggest that the retention of the special levies would do two things: it would help to keep the balance of payments position right and would prevent expenditure on unnecessary articles. In the financial statement it is indicated that the special import levies in 1956-57 brought in £4,275,000. This year the estimate was that they would bring in £2,500,000. That leaves a gap of £1,725,000. I would suggest that the figure of £3,000,000 I have mentioned represents the net saving on the removal of the food subsidies and that it would have been much better in present circumstances to have retained the speical import levies in order to offset the food subsidies which should not have been withdrawn.

It is not very much use speaking of the mess that has been created or blaming other people for what has gone before. The moneys provided in the Book of Estimates will be, I take it, expended usefully in the country. I think we are inclined to decry too much the achievements of successive Governments in their policy of investment in this country. There are better roads, better houses, better hospitals, better schools; the land in the country has been improved, farm buildings have been improved; the production of cattle, of milk and its by-products and the production of grain have been encouraged. We are inclined too much to decry these achievements and to speak of the expenditure on these projects as if the expenditure were useless.

I think this country has been creating assets which will remain and pay dividends for the benefit of future generations. Accordingly, I do not think anybody in this House should attempt to decry the achievements of past Governments of to state, when Governments change, as Governments will change, that all the political wisdom is on one side of the House, that what was right before the people were appealed to has become wrong suddenly. We will not achieve much by adopting that line.

The main concern at the moment is whether the provisions of this Finance Bill will have the desired effect on the economy of the country, whether they will stimulate the production which we all hope for. Speaking on the Budget I said that we in the southern counties were gravely concerned with this problem of the dairy farmers. I know that in other parts of the country it will not be taken as seriously perhaps as we take it because we believe that there lies the foundation of the economy of this country and that any worthwhile increase in general production must inevitable come from he land.

I want to suggest that, as far as the cattle trade is concerned, the basis of that increased production lies in the dairy herds. We should like to hear from the Minister—this question was put by Deputy T. Lynch a moment ago —whether the production of milk and butter at the moment will become more of an embarrassment than otherwise to the Exchequer by reason of the fact that we are preventing out own people from eating more butter while at the same time we are providing a subsidy for its export. Similarly we should like to know in regard to the production of wheat whether the belief is that we have reached a sufficiency or whether we intend asking the farmers to continue increasing the tonnage of wheat each year.

I think that if Deputies on all sides devoted their minds more to the solution of these problems rather than indulging in blaming the present state of things on the Government who have just left office much better work would be done. That is not the way in which you will get from either side of the House the informed criticism necessary for good Government. I want to suggest to the Minister that a problem has been created by the removal of the food subsidies. I would suggest to the Minister that by the removal of the subsidies he will not make the saving which, on the face of it, he seems to hope for. I further suggest that the saving he will make on the withdrawal of the subsidies would be offset by the retention of the special import levies.

Listening to so many interruptions from the other side last night, particularly during side last Corry's speech, I could not help feeling that the Opposition Deputies are very sensitive. Every time facts are quoted for them they interrupt in order to put Deputies from this side off their train of thought. As the debate proceeded, it became very obvious that they were not succeeding because the facts were there and there was no denying them. I do not think Deputy Lynch was fair this morning when he suggested that, when Fianna Fáil were in opposition, they tried to express views that would discredit the credit of the State, especially during the floating of national loans by the Coalition Government. That is not correct.

Deputy Eamon de Valera as Leader of the Opposition at all times following the announcement of the terms of national loans came along here and asked for support for them.

But always stated: "This is not the place to criticise it."

I claim on behalf of Fianna Fáil that there is no doubt that he asked the support for every national loan that was floated by the Coalition Government. I think it should not be bandied around this House in any way that we on this side of the House, or our Leader, Deputy Eamon de Valera, tried to discredit the terms of any national loan offered by the previous Government. I think that is not a fair approach to a serious matter like this.

Deputy MacEoin said this morning that he would go home if he were a member of a Government that would put a tax on petrol or remove the food subsidies. Nobody has a higher respect for Deputy MacEoin's courage than myself. He proved his courage at various stages in the fight for independence and far be it from me, who was too young to take any part in that fight, to doubt his courage. I have a great respect for the Deputy on that account, but here it is a different sphere. It is only fair to ask Deputy MacEoin why did he not run home when at one stage he was a member of a Government that took 1/- off the old age pensions? He did not run home then.

He was not a member of the Government.

He certainly was a staunch supporter of that Government and he had a great say in it. He may not have been a member of the Government at that time, but he certainly had a strong say in it. Why did he not run home then? Again, in more recent times, why did he not run home when he knew there was a Budget deficit of £6,000,000? He did not run home when he knew that the Book of Estimates, which was not published prior to the general election, called for another £5,000,000. He was a member of the Government then and he knew there were almost 100,000 unemployed people. I say he had every reason, and the Government had every reason, to run home then. It was obvious they knew all this and that there was an unprecedented economic slump.

They did not run home, but true to form, they threw in the towel. They simply went out of office as they did on the previous occasion. They were not defeated in the House; they simply threw in the towel and went out. Nobody knew better than they what the economic position of the country was. They cannot blame the Deputies on this side of the House because it was not by a vote of the House that they went out of office. Every speech made during the general election by the present Taoiseach and memebers of the Government emphasised that the main plank of the Fianna Fáil programme was that there was no easy solution to the country's problems. They made that perfectly clear time and time again. They were being fair with the people. They did not go around hiding the facts. They did not say they would do this or that, because they were not fully aware of the financial position of the country, though they had a fairly good idea of it. They were not like the present Opposition who knew there was a Budget deficit of £6,000,000 and knew that the Book of Estimates, which they held back from publication, called for another £5,000,000. We did not know that, but we emphasised the fact and made it perfectly clear that there would be no easy solution and that certain steps would have to be taken to put the country right.

I repeat what I said on the Budget debate in reference to this question of a balanced Budget. The Leader of the Opposition, Deputy John A. Costello, agrees, and every other Deputy over there agrees, on this question of a balanced Budget. He said in this House last month that no Government could hope to borrow money from the public, our banking institutions, or anywhere else unless it adhered rigidly to the principle of balancing the Budget. We are stressing the importtance of balancing the current Budget.

During the last 12 months of the Coalition Government, a sum of no less than £6,000,000, which could have been used to finance productive proposals, had to be taken from the nation's reserves to fill a Budget deficit. I think it is important to dweil on that and Deputies opposite should certainly listen to what their own leader says and take their cue from it. He was in favour, and rightly so, of the principle of balancing the Budget.

When the Coalition went to the country, the electorate put them further on the run because they knew that thousands of men were thrown out of work in the building industry. The electorate knew that local authority housing schemes, hospital building had slowed down and small dwelling schemes had broken down completely.

Did the Deputy say that hospital building was cut down?

it was slowed down.

What is going to happen now?

The shortage of money certainly caused unemployment amongst road workers as a result of the slashing of the road grants to local authorities. Any member of a local authority on the Opposition Benches knows how difficult it was to get money from the Department of Local Government. The previous Minister for Local Government had a difficult job and he had to deal with the Minister for Finance. He was not solely to blame. Time and again, I said in Dublin Corporation that all the blame could not be laid on the former Minister for Local Government, but he had to take the rap. He has very broad shoulders and he took the blame well. I do think in that conncetion that he was badgered by every local authority to get schemes going and get work under way, but the money was not there.

It was also well known—and I have discussed this matter with some of the provincial Deputies in our Party-that the land reclamation and the farm building schemes were stopped. They assure me that what I now say is correct. Rural electrification was slowed down.

Slowed down? It was increased.

When the Deputy makes his speech, he can tell us all about it.

The Deputy should be accurate.

That is my information and I am quite prepared to stand over it. Rural electrification was slowed down. When we discuss the Budget and the financial provisions, the main feature that I see about them is that there is some hope that they should reduce the numbers of unemployed. That is one thing that we in Fianna Fáil said we would do. We said we would make a determined effort to reduce the high figures of unemployment. I now repeat that i and my colleagues said during the election campaign that we would do everything possible to reduce the high unemployment figure and I am satisfied that many of the Budget provisions will help to do that.

The elimination of the Budget deficit will provide an extra £8,000,000 this year for producive capital works. That is quite a considerable amount of money and it should go a long way towards reducing the number of unemployed. Local authorities will get £2,000,000 more this year for housing and sanitary services. Can any Deputy opposite say it is wrong that we should do these things? Do they dispute that we should not giver more to local authorities so that they may go ahead with their long term plans for housing and sanitary services?

That was announced before.

Money for those purposes is needed and proposals to provide such money should get every encouragement from all sides of the House. Road grants will be increased this year by over £2,000,000. Again, that should help to reduce the high unemployment figure. Is there anything wrong with the Minister making provision for such works in his Budget? Special employment schemes have been increased by one-third. All these things should help considerably the people who are badly in need. If these people secure jobs as the result of the Budget—and I sincerely hope they will—it will help those people who are hard hit and are at present unemployed. It will also alleviate the bardship created by the removal of the food subsidies. If they had constant work, they would not feel the impact so badly.

There is no use hiding the fact that any person who is unemployed and living on relief will find the increased price for bread severe. There is no doubt about that, but if we provide those people with work, it will go a long way towards relieving the hardship they are under at present through being unemployed. If the Budget provides more jobs, it will certainly have done a good day's work.

We hear quite a lot about what people said during the general election and what they did not say. It is quite true that the Coalition Parties did their utmost during the election campaign to conceal the true position from the country. As I said earlier, nothing whatsoever was said about this £6,000,000 deficit. It was a serious thing for the Coalition speakers to hide that fact. They now say that we should have told the people we were going to remove the food subsidies. We could reply by asking why did they not tell the people about this £6,000,000 deficit and why did they not tell the people that in the Book of Estimates they were looking for another £5,000,000? That was more serious than the allegation that we did not tell the people we were going to remove the food subsidies. We had a reason for that. We did not know the true position of the finances of the country.

Of course you had; otherwise, you would not have got in.

It was obvious from the speech made by Deputy Norton immediately after the Minister's Budget speech that he knew that if it happened—thank God it did not happen—that the Coalition were back in power, they would be faced with the same problem and would have to adopt the report they got from the committee and remove the food subsidies. The facts were known and known full well to the Coalition Ministers and the present Government are being attacked for having stated during the election that they proposed to clear up all these matters and try to put the country back on a sound financial basis.

I am perfectly satisfied that stress should be laid upon the importance of balancing the current Budget. The people opposite should adopt Deputy John A. Costello's principle of adhering to balancing the Budget. We on this side of the House are satisfied that it will go a long way towards reducing the number of unemployed.

Again, it is wrong to suggest that we were against any loan floated by the Coalition Government and that our members who are now Ministers went out of the way to attack them. I remember, when Deputy Norton—he was not a Minister at the time—made a speech at a very nice function of a very important business concern in this city. His speech was to the effect that there were not jails big enough to accommodate the industrialists who were doing great damage to this country. That was his speech in a hotel here in the city, but when he became Minister for Industry and Commerce, there was no question of his finding these jails. That was a very bad speech to make. It was most unfair to the people who are trying to keep industries going.

I ask the Opposition not to allow their backbencher or anyone to say that during the period of the floating of Coalition loans the leaders of our Party went out of their way to stymie them in any way. That is not true and I think it is most unfair. Anyone whp is now a Minister on this side of the House never, to my knowledge, attacked a national loan. Deputy de Valera always asked the people to support the national loans.

What about the pawnbroker's sign put up in Dublin which was issued by the Fianna Fáil Party?

What about the sign in regard to the two different sets of prices?

I am talking about loans.

Deputy Corry gave you your answer on that last night.

He did, I am sure, from the lobby.

The last time Deputy O'Sullivan and I were debating the Budget, Deputy O'Sullivan made a very bad mistake in relation to information from Hume Street that a certain dance hall promoter made a substantial profit over the week-end.

That is a ticklish subject on the Government side of the House. They accepted bribery—they got the hand-out.

Deputy O'Sullivan must cease interrupting.

With respect, they were invited. On a point of order, is Deputy Gallagher relating his remarks to the Finance Bill?

It has no relation to the Budget or to the Finance Bill.

So I thought—and the Deputy is proceeding to ignore the ruling of the Chair.

I will take pity on Deputy O'Sullivan this time—I fought it out with him the last time. He got a lot of unfavourable publicity out of——

Deputy Gallagher must come back to the Finance Bill.

I will. We in Fianna Fáil are satisfied we have taken the right steps. Few people have attempted to tell us how to meet the deficit, except to say that we should not have removed the levies on cars, and so on. When I spoke in the Budget debate, I went on the lines that the previous Government and the present Government were pestered by people who has been workers in those industries to get them back to work. Very few Opposition speakers could prove that the removal of the levies on cars and television sets would be sufficient to take us out of the economic slump. I believe that an alteration of the levies, not a complete removal, would put back a number of people to work and that is the main objective of the Budget. Everybody must agree that it is important to put people back to work and if the Budget achieves that, then it will prove to be a very good one.

Deputy Gallagher stated that his Party did not deceive the people, in view of the fact that they were not fully aware of the financial position. He has not explained how it is that, although the leader and the deputy leader of his Party categorically stated a few days before the general election that they would not remove the food subsidies, the Minister for Finance has nevertheless done so in this Budget. Surely that was deception? The people in general and, indeed, supporters of the present Government feel very sore about that action, and no wonder.

The increased taxation is having a very serious effect on the community. In the Bill, we have increased taxes on petrol, beer and tobacco. The Petrol tax is the most serious because it affects every section of the community. It is a tax on production, so far as agriculture is concerned. Petrol plays a very important part in the haulage of agricultural produce, live stock, beet, grain, and so on. An additional tax of 6d. a gallon is, therefore, very serious.

People who own petrol tractors will be severely hit by this petrol tax. In the past, whenever it was proposed to increase the tax on petrol, a concession was given to those people in respect of their agricultural work. The same can also be said about petrol combine harversters. There is a certain number of these harvesters in the country—not a large number—and the tax will impose a great hardship on the owners of these machines. The machines are very big and consume quite a lot of petrol per day. Some of them use up to 24 gallons per day and it will be appreciated that an extra 6d. per gallon on such a large consumption is a serious imposition on the owners and users of these vehicles.

It has been argued that the Government had to face the fact that last year's Budget did not balance. Deputy Sweetman brought in that Budget with the full intention that it would balance, and every supporter of the inter-Party Government believed and hoped it would. At the time, the present Minister for Health congratulated the Minister of the day on making a serious effort to bring in a balance, Budget. If that Budget did not balance, it was because of the prevailing international situation in addition to the imposition of the levies. While the levies were necessary, they affected revenue. For those reasons, the Budget did not balance.

This Government stated that if they were returned to power, they would reduce taxation and put people back in employment. We have already seen the adverse effects of the Budget. Far from being reduced, taxation is increasing. Government spokesmen have said no suggestions were made from this side as to how economies could be secured. Surely, in a bill of over £112,000,000, it should be possible to secure substantial economies.

The main grievance of people in general is that, although levies were imposed on goods last year which were considered to be luxuries, this Government removed the levies on wireless sets and television sets and reduced the levies on motor cars. That happened at a time when the food subsidies were removed and the poor were badly hit. If the levies on wireless sets, television sets and motor cars had been allowed to stand, it would have looked as if this Government were really serious about tackling the problem which faced tem, but they were not.

Deputy Gallagher has argued that the removal of or reduction in the levies has provided more employment. Although the levies have been reduced on motor cars, it is strange that there has been no reduction in the retail price. I do not see how that will prove an inducement to people to buy motor cars or that it can help the assembly industry here to provide more employment, despite the substantial reduction in the levies.

The big problem at the moment concerns the removal of the food subsidies. We do not deny that we realised that the food subsidies would have to go at some time. Our big objection to the present situation is that the food subsidies were removed in one swipe and the poorer sections of the people put in a very awkward position.

It is very doubtful if the butter subsidy should have been removed at all. We saw in the past that it had the effect of increasing consumption. Since it has been removed, shopkeepers all over the country have experienced a serious drop in consumption. I have spoken to some of them and they say that in some cases the demand has fallen to half. We will find that consumption of butter will be reduced considerably and that will mean more butter for export. We will have to subsidise that butter on the export market at a much higher figure than we have to subsidise it here on the home market. The export subsidy will be 1/2 or 1/3 which would be sufficient to subsidise three or four pounds on the home market.

I think the Minister was very foolish to remove that subsidy. Milk producers and farmers want to know what the position is. Earlier, Deputy Lynch asked the Minister two questions: Did the Government want increased production of milk and did they want increased production of wheat? That is something the farmers of the country should know. Soon after the Government took office, a question was put down asking the Minister for Agriculture would there be an increase in the price of wheat for this year. The reply was that it would not be of any advantage in getting increased production at the present time——

That does not arise on the Finance Bill. It would be more relevant on the Estimate for Agriculture.

I was referring to the position regarding milk, butter and wheat. The Minister said it would not give increased production. The Minister for Finance told us in the Budget debate that we have over-production in wheat. At the same time, the Minister for Agriculture was looking for increased wheat production. The farmers of the country want to know where they stand in relation to that. It is very important. At present, we have the Government subsidising a certain amount of wheat, supposed to be of inferior quality, for animal feeding stuffs; but they are not prepared to subsidise in a small way the bread the people are eating. That seems an extraordinary thing and it is very hard to get the people to realise that it is for the advantage of the country. We are subsidising butter for export to the British market and we are not prepared to subsidise, in a much smaller way, butter for home consumption. We are subsidising wheat for animal feeding and we are not prepared animal feeding and we are not pre-consumption.

The people are very disappointed by the Budget and this Finance Bill. They expected from this Government that they would get economies. In the election, they told the people that they would have them but the economies are not coming. Instead, we are to have an increased tax on petrol, on beer and on tobacco, and the removal of the food subsidies, which was a very serious shock for the people.

Deputy Koughman made an illuminating contribution to the debate this morning. He said: "We are as skilful as any in coaxing the electorate." I admit that and I admit that I was somewhat surprised at the pall of gloom that fell over the supporters of the Fianna Fáil Party in the country when the Budget was opened because I thought they should have been anticipating the kind of Budget on which this Finance Bill is founded. But Deputy Loughman was more perceptive than I because he know that coaxing was a part of the Fianna Fáil armament which had been carried to a high degree of perfection.

I should like to ask the Fianna Fáil members here to-day to they think you can legitimately carry coaxing the electorate to the point of saying:—

"Some Coalition leaders are threatening the country with all sorts of unpleasant things if Fianna Fáil becomes the Government—compulsory tillage, wage control, cuts in Civil Service salaries, higher food prices and a lot more besides.

A Fianna Fáil Government does not intend to do any of these things because we do not believe in them. How definite can we make our denial of these stupid allegations? They are all falsehoods."

Is it a Fianna Fáil euphemism to describe that as coaxing? I think that might be more honestly described as deceiving the electorate, because the reason a Fianna Fáil Government does not intend to do any of these things is "that we do not believe in them."

That was not a statement made by Deputy Lemass, as he then was, casually in the course of a heated political speech from a public platform. One could well imagine that he might have allowed himself to go a little further than he intended and might have said a little more than the meant, unless one had the remarkable confirmation of that studied declaration of policy in the fact that on the same day the Taoiseach went to Belmullet and, though he did not say as bluntly what Deputy Lemass said, he said enough to persuade every rational man and woman who heard him that he did not believe in increasing food prices, either, and Deputy Traynor, as he then was, addressed a meeting in this city on the same day and made the same asservation. I suggest that that is sufficient proof that the leaders of Fianna Fáil agreed on the eve of the election that the time had come to tell the people that they did not intend to abolish the food subsidies because they did not believe in doing that and that the time had come——

Perhaps the Deputy would give the reference?

Reference to what?Pravda—the Irish Press of March 1st, 1957. They were all cheek by jowl, column after column, and Izvestia came out in the afternoon and reported it also. Then I am sure Mein Kampf came out on the following Sunday and recalled those ringing declarations of the leaders of the Fianna Fáil Party —but they are forgotten now.

When I see financial proposals brought before the House, designed to increase the cost of bread and butter, at the same time as we reduce the charge on motor cars, radios, television sets and even currants and raisins, I begin to ask myself if the Government of the country has gone mad. A circular was sent out in the course of the last week from the Department of Industry and Commerce to all and sundry, to say that anyone who wanted to bring in currants and raisins, if they were to be used for baking a cake—and what else you would use currants and raisins for I do not know—would be entitled to get them in free of the levy. We ought to ask ourselves where we are going and what is the purpose of all this.

A number of Fianna Fáil Deputies got up here to-day and said: "We have balanced the Budget." Did they know what they were talking about at all? Did they look at the Book of Estimates? There is £10,403,0736 on the cover of the Book of Estimates for which the Government is making no provision, and do not purport to make any provision, declaring that they accept the view that it is desirable to budget for a deficit in respect of that sum. The particulars of it are in the Note regarding Capital Services. There is £2,691,000 in regard to the land rehabilitation project; there is £783,000 in regard to the farm buildings scheme and water supplies; there is £2,000,000 in regard to grants under the Housing (Financial and Miscellaneous Provisions) Acts, 1932 to 1952, and the Housing (Amendment) Acts. So far as these matters are concerned. I think they are all items of expenditure which are calculated to produce most desirable assets, but they are all of an annual, recurring character; and there is no use in Deputies tramping around the country saying they are balabcing the Budget whast they are doing in this Finance Bill, since they are doing notthing of the kind

That is the fault I find with Fianna Fáil; I do not beleive they know what they are doing. I believe they are like a bull in a china shop, prancing around in every direction. To-day they are balabcing the Budget, to-morrow they are doing something elese; but at the bcak of their minds they do not know what the duce they are doing. They are not balancing the Budget—and if that is the soothing unction they lay into their sould, they are daft.

When I read the Taoiseach on the Financial Resolutions, I begin to wonder if the man knows what the situation is at all. He was in a very didatic frame of mind and he was explaining that the running of the nation was like the running of a company. I think it is a great mistake to imagine that the running of a nation is like the running of a shop or of a company in respect of which there must be annual accounts. Each year stands on its own. In managing the national accounts that is not so. If you are running a nation, yoy have to looke sometimes at a ten or 20 year period and face the fact that if, for a variety of reasons, your nation is decrepit in certain respects, those decrepitudes must be repaired if the nation is to go ahead.

I am sick and wearly listening to people here drumming and drooling about the awful state of this country. I want to remind Deputeis what the true facts are. To my mind to foot-rule by which progress or failure to progress in this country is to be measured is agricultural outpur. In the last nine years, the goss output of the agricultural community here has incresed by 32 per cent. and the bulk of that increse has taken place in the course if the last six years. That is no mean achivement. I suggest it is the money we invested which in now producing the result to which I am about to refer. We invested a great deal of money in this country—nearly £1000,000,000. in housiong about £30,000,000 in rural electrition, about £17,000,000 in bringing the telephone to the rural areas, about £12,000,000 or 15,000,000, or more, in the rehablition of the land. These investemnt are yielding results now and what I am idesperately apprehensive of is that, if Fianna Fáil get prancing aroundm, not knowing where they are going, we may withdraw from that programme of expansion and if we do we sill be in serous trouble.

That great danger in which Fianna Fáil stands is of equating in their mind the job of running a country with the job of running a shop or a factory. They are two radically different operations. Some prople—not— ably economists—say they cannot see any economic value in housing, that housing creast dead weight debt. What I am always trying to teach the Fianna Fáil Party is this, that economists and economic advisers have their value but is a very limited. Their advice ought to be listened to by those who are responsible for government and correctly valued. We who are responsiblle for governemnt and the maintences of the welfare of the people know that housing is of very great economic value to this country, because if our people not devently housed there is very little other progress which can be made on any made on any front.

We have spent considerable sums of money on housing and I think it is true to say that outside the cities the housing problem is very largely resolved in rural Irealnd. It must be known to many Deputies that in the last half century the whole standrad of living of out prople in rural Irealnd has been revolutionised. One of the most remarkable cristeria of t revolution in the revolution in their housing conditions. That extends from the remotest part of the Gaeltacht to the very thershold of Cork, Dublin, Limerick and waterford. That has cost a lot of moeny but I think it is an asset the value of which we ought to appreciate. I think the money we have spent on the land, and which we shall spend on the land,is peoducing not only a vast social dividend—such as housing is producing—but over and above the social dividend itnyeilds it is now beginning and only beginnig to yeild a very remarkable dividend in the sphare of pure economics.

Would these not be matters for the Estimate?

Surely, Sir, the broad policy on which the Finance Bill is submitted must be discussed? The Finance Bill is a poweful instrument for controling and directing the economics if the country. Two million pounds odd is provided in the Budget —but not in this Finance Bill—for the development of land. Our colleagues in the Fianna Fáil Party are hugging themselves ub the belief that this Finance Bill is designed to balance the Budget. It is not, and part of the £10,000,000 imbalance is the £2,000,000 that we propose to spend on land. If the Fianna Fáil Party realised that, they would recoil from this expenditure the and say this is unbalancing the Budget.

If I correctly read the Taoiseach on the Budget, he suggest—although he does not say it explicity, he never does say anything excplicity—that there must be no expenditure over and above what the revenue can support if that expenditure is of an annually recurrent character. The £2,000,000 a year we are spending on the and is of an annually recurrent character. I am making the case that it is eminently right to spend it and to spend it without raising it from currnet revenue, because I beleive the expenditure is yielding results, not only social but economic results. Very frequently in the case of expenditure of that type the economic return is in some degree delayed. The great danger that I am trying to emphasise is that if Fianna Fáil do not grasp that, the danger is that they will stop something which is about to produce very valuable returns, because they do not understand the fundamental difference betqween renning a country and running a shop.

I have been engaged in both opweratiions for nearly 30 years and I know the distinciton. The £2,000,000 that is being spent on the land is now beginning to produce results, and I invite Deputies to pause and think what those results are in terms of figure. If they will do that, they may get courage to face the future with a little more fortitude than they appear to have fortitude than they appear to have at present. Do Deputies realise that in the first three months of this year we have shipped from this country more cattle than were ever shipped from Irealnd before in any similar period in our recorded history.

I ask Deputeis to pause and compare that situation with the situation revealed in respect of Denmark's economy in a television feature which some Deputies may have seen last week. Danish farmers were intereviewed about their present circumstances and they said that they had vast quantities of butter, a vast quantity of cheese, vast quantities of eggs and vast quantities of bacon, which they had to sell in Great Britain but for which they are not able to get the cost of production, in respect of those items, from Great Britain.

These matters do not arise on the Finance Bill which deals with the qauestion of taxes, with special emphasis on new taxes. The question of expenditure is not discusssed on a Finance Bill

Surely, Sir, the policy on which it is based can be discussed?

It opens up the discussion very widely.

Am I not allowed to refer to the Estimate in relation to the taxes?

The Deputy is entitiled to refer to it but to go into detail on this stage would not be in order.

Our policy as a Government was to expend the economy of the country. I am making the case that the policy of this Government is to contract it and that out policy put the country,vis-a-vis other countries, in a very much more advantegeaious position. I am putting the case that Denmark, which is often held up to us as an example, is in a deplorable condition and has an abundance of exports avaiable for which it cannot get the cost of production. We are shipping more cattle off the land which we improved out of the part of the £10,000,000 which is not provided by the revenue arising from this Finance Bill. We are shippinig all those cattle at a profit at all present time because we were not afraid to invest money that was not raised by the Finance Act in the development of out land. We knew that ultimately that would produce exports which would produce revenue in God's good time.

Now the danger is that Fianna Fáil, not understanding that, will be seduced by their own fallacious arguments and will announce during the course of this year or next year that, because the Finance Act had not made provision for that £10,000,000, the Governemnt would have a duty to turn to the summary of capital services and proceed to whittle them down in order to produce this balance which the Taoiseach regards as tgesine qua non of sound finance and they would have the consolation: “We balance the Budget.” You are crazy if you believe that.

Do Government Deputies understand what they mean when they say they balanced the Budget? Do these Deputies understand that the present Minister for Finance, Deputy Dr. Ryan, is pledge not only to spened the £10,000,000 that is not provided on the cover of the Book of Estimates but to spend £209,000,000 to £3d0,000,000 more? Is that not so? Do you not know that? You are all clutching to your bosoms the belief that you are wrapt in the rectitude of the Report of the Committee on Capital Investment. But you are not within an ass's bawl of what the recommmendations of that report are. If you could fall in with their recommendations, yopu would not only abolish the food subsidies but you would budget for a surplus and you would divert the £5,000,000 for the relief of rates to some other purpose and leave the farmers to pay the full rates on their land. And you would do a great deal more.

The reason I am emphasising these things is because, if you go on persuading yourselves that you are blameless in respect of what you have done in relation to the subsidy on bread and butter, and you have acquired the honourable status of a balance Budget, you are fooling yourselves. If you go on persuading yourselves that that is true, your next logical step will be to wind up the land rehabilitation programme, to suspend the grants for housing, to abolish the new works and buildings under the Vote for the Office of Public Works, to suspend the arterial draining cionstruction works under the Office of Publilc Works Vote and to suspend all the other matters provided for in the summary of capital services in the opening pages of the Book of Estimates.

As a result of investing money in the land, we have to-day more cattle on the land than we ever had before. We are shipping more cattle at a profit than we ever did before. Your own Minister for agriculture, Senator Moylan, went down to Wicklow and gloried in the fact that we now have more sheep than we ever had before and we are shipping them at a profit. We are shipping the wool off them at a profit. We have more pigs, 50 per cent.more pigs than we had ten years ago-no, 100 per cent.more pigs than we had ten years ago—and we can feed them without importing a single ton of foodstuff because we are able to grow the feed on our own land. Why? Because under the land project and the lime scheme we have made the land of this country capable of grwing the barley wherewith to feed them.

The Deputy is travelling outside the ambit of the Second Reading of the Finance Bill.

Now, Sir, compare that state with the state of countries in Europe with which we are unfavourably compared.

That would be relevent on another occasion but, surely, it is not relevant on this debate.

What are we discussing if it is not the policy on which our financial policy is founded?

The policy of taxation.

Yes, and what I am warning against is that they have all been annoucing the justification for increasing the price of bread by 4d. a loaf, four by 2/6 a stone and butter by 7d. per 1b.

On that very compendius irrelevancy, one could extend the ambit of the debate to anything.

It is a wide debate. They are arguing that they have balanced the Budget and I am saying they have not and they could not and, if they go on arguning that they have, the next thing they will do——

Surely land rehabilition, the increase in the number of cattle and other such matters do not fall relevntly for discussion on this Bill?

Does the £10,000,000 fall for discussion—the £10,000,000 for Capital Services?

That, of course, is expenditure.

This Bill is to authorise the collection of taxation for that expenditure.

Yes, and they believe, or say that they believe, that this Finance Bill is collecting revenue to meet that outplay.

I should be sorry to think tha the Deputy does not see the irrelevancy of it.

I really do not. I am warning them that this Finance Bill does not collect that revenue. I am warning them, the Taoiseach notwithstanding, that you cannot run a country in the same way that you run a chandler's shop. It is right to invest your money in productive operations in your own country though you cannot, at the moment, raise that money form the revenue. There is terrible danger that the fruits of capital investment in your own country very often do not manifest tjemselves is made. If this obsession, which seems to doiminite the Fianna FÓil mind, should operate on them to its logical end work of incalculable value to this country could be stopped because they would fail to appreciate what the fruits were or ought to be.

I am putting the case that this obsession is an ignorant onsession on the part of the Taoiseach in relation to balancing the Budget. If it had been pursued it would have left us in much the same state as some European countries find themselves to-day, whereas we are virile and the proof of that is in the dramatic improvement which has taken place here in the balance of trade figures. I take it the balance of trade is relevant to the Finance Bill. That balance of trade has been achieved not only by a reduction of imports but by an expansion of exports. Mark you, I want to issue this warning to the Fianna Fáil Government to-day, and perhaps they will bear it in mind: they are removing the levies, it seems to me, with no regard whatever to the ultimate possible conseqences of that course of conduct. They are removing the levies. They have relaxed the restriction on hire purchase. I know that these may be popular things to do at this timebut I want to ask the Minister for Finance is he satisfied in his mind that these decisions will not have very serious repercussions before the end of this year? It may be that he has greater confidence in our capacity to maintain exports at their present volume than I have, but he is taking a mighhty risk.

He has conceded, as has the Minister for Industry and Commerce in the balance of trade is now respect of the first four months iof this year, we have had a credit balance in our trade . That is fundamental to our whole survival. One can maintan unbalanced Budgets if it is expendient to spend more money on national development than it is expendient to raise by revenue but one cannot maintain an adverse trade balanve unfortunately for the simple reason that, if you run out of external assets and have to borrow abroad, the lender abroad proceeds to impose conditions as to how you will spend the money. Therefore, the one thing against which you must ptotect the nation, if you want to preserve its sovereignty and independence, is the danger odf losing all its external reserves and becoming subject to cotrol by a lender from abroad when your current exports will not meet the imports you must have.

I want to warn the Minister for Finance that he is running the very grave danger of slipping back in the matter of the balance of payments. You can correct a thing like that once —and wer were able to do it by taking the necessary measures to restrict unnecessary imports—but once the present Minister for Finance and Tánaiste commit themselves to the proposition that these imports can no longer be oroperly restrained, what will happen supposing they find the balance of payments begins to go wrong at the end of this year? That is something I suggests the Minister should think about.

We are told by Deputies of the Fiana Fáil Partly that they are balancing the Budget. I think I have shown to them that, in respect of £10,000,000 of it, they are not even attemting to balance it, but they think they are balancing it in respect of the other £102,000,000. Do they see the first back-sick of thier policy that arrived on our desks on the day before yesterday? We have saved£2,000.000 odd on the butter to our people by 7d. a 1b., but the consumptin of butter has dropped in parts of the country by 50 per cent. Nevertheless, the cows have not stopped giving milk; the grass has not stopped growing, and the milk is still going to the creameries. Therefore, we get a revised Estimate for the Department of Agriculture.

What does this Estimate show? Take sub-head P. Subsides, allowances, etc., for dairy produce, £666,000. When you turn to the note at the back you discover that this provision is for the payment of subsides on exports of creamery butter: "Provision for payment of ssides on exports of creamery butter, allowancies on production and sale of cremery butter, allowances for storage of butter for winter consumoption, etc. These payments will be at such rates and subject to such other conditions as the Minister for Finance may from time to time approve." There is a note underneath which says: "Similar allowances are payble from the Dairy Produce (Price Stabilisation) Fund (No.21 of 1935, etc.). It is estimated that the payments from the fund in 1957-58 will not exceed £405,000."

Where is the money to come form to provide the £405,000 that is to be paid out of the Price Stablisation Fund, in addition to the £666,000 that is to be charged upon the revenue which, so far as I know, has no provision for it in this Finance Bill? Would the Minister at some stage of the procedings elucidate this for us because, as far as I can read this, there is no provision for approximately £1,000,000 for the export of butter, a considerable part of which is made necessary by the iinability of our people to consume our own butter. Is that good or sensible policy? Is that producing the results that anybody in this House wants? We are actually undertaking a very substaintially increased burdon to subside butter for British consumption as a consequence, in part at least, of having prevented our own people eating the butter at home.

I am told that part of this taxation is designed to provide money to enable not by any means the greater part but a substantial part of last year's wheat crop to be reduced to wheat feed. I do not know why this decision was ever taken, but there is a great deal more behind this decision than Deputies appear to understand. I have expalined to the House on another occasion that there is no need, in my judgement—and I know something about it—on the merits of this case or in respect of any agreement that was entered into by the Irish Governemtn—our Governemnt or any successor to it—to provide £160,000 for the prupose here set out.

There is no wheat in store in this country that is not capable of being used for converstion into flour for human consumption. It has long been sought by certain interest to maintain that it was not possible to mill certain types of Irish wheat into flour, and if that is conceded in this year it will become a precedent which it will be impossible to depart in futute years. The only point I am concerned to establish is that there was no wheat put into store that was not capable of conversation into flour for human consumption. It is a policy imstake of the first magnitute to accept a proposal that we must provide money in order to facilitate conversion of a part of that wheat crop into wheat feed.

I understand we are raising £250,000 for market research. Are we entitled to inquire at this stage, if we are to be asked to provide £250,000 to do that, what is the prupsoe of this proposal? Has the Minister any claear purpopse in mind? Does he know or can he tell us what it is for? Frankly I do not know what it is for, but I should very much like to be told. However, I should like to sound this note of warnig. Reaserch has its own uses, but let enthusiasts whatch their step. Trade, particularly international trade, is a queer thing. It flows in its own channels and nosprudent man disrupts those channels untile he is absolutely certain that he has an alterative avenue to travel. If there is to be research I should like to know its scope but,ad interim, I would like to sound this note of warning: do not suspend the known and functioning avenues of trade until you are absolutely certain that laterenatives will work.

It is not unnatural, in the course of a debate a Budget and a Finance Bill, that a great deal of thought should be given to figures and statistics, calculations and banlces of one kind ir another, but I want to make this submisstion to Dáil Eirenn, that there is some wueer kind of blight on Fianna Fáil, in that they love to run down their own country, and, mind you, it does this country harm. I have been lisstening to Fianna Fáil now for the past three months and I have actually heard relatively responsible members of the Fianna Fáil Party declaring that the credit of this country was brought so low that we were no longer able to borrow money.

I could understand a person who knew nothing about it syaing that kind of thing, but when a whole Party, and that Party which is now the governing Party of the State, say it and repeat it, I want to warn them that they do this nation grave injury and I want to remind them, if they do not themselves understand it, that one of the diffculties in getting capital for this country is the same dufficuity as prevented the city of Birmingham getting capital.

The city of Birmingham has a greater population than the whole of Irealand, with all the industrial resources and wealth of Birmingham, at its pledge, and yet, when it sought to raise a comparatively few millions on the money market of England, it could not do it, even though it was offereing between 5 and 5/nem/1/den/2 per cent. That stiry could be repeated 20 times in respect of borrowing units whose wealth was incomparably greater than the wealth of this country could ever be.

Perhaps it is necessary to tell Deputies of the Fianna Fáil Party what the real root of the difficulty in raising capital at the present time for any Government or municipality or, indeed, for any great corporation is. It is that the investing public are turning away from fixed-interest securities and the question is becoming one which will require very careful examination as to whether that kind of finance can ever be raused again.

In the old days, the great financial institutions were prepared to lend to Governments, to municipalities or to mercantile corporations because they were resolved to hold the stock they purchasedd over theentire period up to the date of its redemption and they wanted the certainly that would get back £100 for every £100 they lent. That had an attraction for trustees and people who were more concerned for safety of capital than they were for current income. But we are living in a different world, in 1957. from that in which our fathers lived in 1907. We are living in a world in which there is a creeping inflation going on all overlthe world, both in the wealthy countreis and in the less well-to-do. So, it is gradually coming to dawn on investors everywhere that the degree of security that used to be associated with that kind of lending is tending to decraese as inflation becomes a more constant characteristic of the societies in which we live.

This country, if you judge it by the value of its securities on the stock exchanges of the world, has a higher credit standing than the British Governemnt and it is nearly time that some of our own people said that and understood it.

The second song if Fianna FÓal—and it is damaging this country—is that we are all down and out and that everybody wants to get out of the contry because he has kist faith in it.

Some Deputies must remember, if not in their own perrsonal memories, then through what their fathers told them, what the state of this country was 50 years ago. Compare that with the condition that obtains to-day. Can anyone seriouslhy doubt that the economic progress of out prople in the past half-century has been dramatic and people is to-day higher than it ever was and the earning capacity of our people greater than it ever was?

What is wrong with Fianna Fáil is that they have become so obsessed by figures and calculation that they cannot see the wood for the trees. I hear the Taoiseach bleating here about external assets and so forth. Has he altogether forgotton the internal assets? Has it ever occured to him that when you are counting up the assets of a community, you must not think only of their investments in London or New York? You must think also of the 100,000 new houses they have, of the 1,000,000 acres of rehabilitated land, of the increased numbers of stock of the land, of the rural electrification, of the telephone, of the running water, of all the things that have been provided in this country to change our people from peasants into independent property-owing farmers, of all the things that made our people, a race of paupers as they were in the last century, into a race of independent proprietors to-day who can carry on their backs—for that is what they are doing—all the industries that are functioning in every town and city in this country, of which not one of those established in the past 30 years can survive without the tariff protection which is, in fact, their licence to get from the farmers of this country more than the world price of the commodities they are producing. Are these not assets?

I am told that the negation, the proof of the falsity of all this, is that emigration is going on. Emigration is going on, but let it be said and let the world know that there is nobody leaving this country at the present time to emigrate from destitution—nobody. There may be men and women leaving here in search of better times because they believe that in Great Britain and the United States of America, they can earn more money and enjoy a greater degree of what they call freedom than they do here at home. Many if them will discover, when they get there, with their expenses paid and the type of life they have to lead, that what they have chosen instead of what they have left is not as attractive as they thought it would be. Many others will thrive and prosper and do well. There is nobody leaving this country to-day to tmigrate from distitution.

Seventy and 80 years ago, 90 per cent. Of the emigrants who left this country left becuase they fled from hunger. It is a revolutionary change that our people are now so circumsatanced that there is no one left who need ever make that choice again. I want to direct the attention of Deputies to the fact that they are all obsessed with the question—on which a great many people have already strogly pressed the view thatIreland should join the free trade market—

The Deputy is travelling beyond the scope of thye debate.

Perhaps I am.

As I said before, I should be sorry to think the Deputy does not know that.

I do not want to elaborate on the free trade market. The only aspect of it that I want to mention is—and most Deputies do not realise it—the participation in freedom to emigrate because that is an essential element in the arrangement. It is extraordinary that members of the Fianna Fáil Party spend most of their time wailing and weeping becuase our people have access to the whole world with a welcome before them if they would only come, and that there is nobody in Europe who wouild not give their right hand for the privilege that we have come to regard, or are trying to teach ourselves to rregard, as a blight upon the nation.

All I want to say is that I oppose this Finance Bill because I believe it is part of a general scheme of half-baked economics. I recall that in 1947 Fianna Fáil brought in an emergency Budget in the autumn, and if Deputies are sufficiently curious they can look back to the speech then made by the present Tánaiste. He said that Budget was made necessary by the acute crisis that had come upon the nation and that he wanted to warn all that the next five or ten years in Irealnd would be a period of austerity and almost insuperable difficulties. High taxes and new taxes were piled upon the backs of the people in that instrument, the 1947 Supplementary Budget.

We took office in the following February. The Tánaiste had announced that it was idle to think thar there was any hope of material expension in agricultural exports. We took office in 1948 and the exports from this this county increased by nearly 200 per cent. In the following five or six years. Our total exports went up from something like £40,000,000 in the year in which the Tánaiste was then speaking, to £110,000,000 in 1955, and agricultural exports played a very large part in that expansion. But the Supplementary Budget of 1947 was justified by the confident anticipation that it was enthinkable that there should be any expension of kind!

We took off most of the taxes put on in 1947 and we invested bodly in the development of thia country. Fianna Fáil returned to office in 1951 and they sought to reverse our policy, in part at least. We had a whole series of strickes and an immense increase in unemploymenmt. Deputies will remember the atmosphere of the 1954 Election when Fianna Fáil went out again. The deplorable fact has to be faced that one of the obsessions of the present Taoiseach is to proove that in the past he was always right whereas in the past he has almost always been wrong. Most of the financial prblems that this country is stuggling out of at the present time derive directly from the first catastrophic mistake that he made when he launched us into the economic war. His purpose in this Budget, as in the last Budget, was to prove, and is to prove, that the policy he fathered in 1947 and again in 1951, was right.

I think the facts demostrate that the policy he fathered in 1947 was wrong and that many people have come to realised, thought not all, that the policy he sponsered in 1954 was wrong. I hope we shall have time to realise the folly of wha the present Government has put its hand to in time to repair it, but we have to face the fact that the sovereiogn people of the country at the last election exercised a right which the present Taoiseach has constantly declared he did not believe they had. He has alwayslaid down the doctrine the people have no right to do wrong and when you ask him was is right and what is wrong, he says :"I look into my own heart."

I say the people have the right to do wrong, and say we have to foot the bill. The Government has a clear majority at the present moment. No element in the country is entitled to challeged them and, whem people comoplain bitterly of wha the Government is doing, they must bear in mind that this Government was chosen by the votes of the Irish people exercised with absolutely unquestioned validity and authority and the Irish people have nobody but themselves to thank for the position in which we now stand.

There is, however, the consoling prospect that possibly we may induce some members of the Dáil tlo retire. I should not like to think of protion of any of this genial company being dismissed to the bosom of Abraham, but rather that they should retire to a well-earned and honoured repose and so afford the people some interiam opportunity of passing judgment on Fianna Fáil before that. I do not think that hudgement can be fairly passed until Fianna Fáil has had about a year in which to prove themselves to suffering far as the people are concerned, they can reconcil themselves to suffering on for at least 12 months.

I should like to end on a cheerful and optimistic note. I have been a member of this House for a good time now and I can throw my mind back to 1947 when Fianna Fáil was riding high, wide and handsome and they thought they were in for life. I think they had a clear majority in the House at that time, but they were out within three months and they never knew what hit them. Gos speed the day when the retirement into honoured and respected leisure of about half-adozen Deputies of the Fianna Fáil Party will give us another opportunity of reproducing the results of the Louth, Cork and Wicklow elections and thus delivering our people from the consequences of their temporary mental aberration.

I think that Deputy Dillon's Contribution in certain respects, might be useful. His candour on the question of emigration was, I think, something that many more people should emulate. I cannot help thinking that he has drifted a long way in a very short time from the days when he was saying here that any banana republic could raise £20,000,000 or £30,000,000 at the rates of interest that were being offered in our national loans.

To-day, Deputy Dillon is aying that the whole system will have to be revised, that it will no longer be possible to secure moneys for our capital development programmes by way of national loans. I wonder why that is so. Why does Deputy Dillon now believe it may not be possible in the future to raise substantial sums of money through national loans? I did not intend to speak in this debate, but I felt Deputy was directing a lot of his remark to us back benchers of the Fianna Fáil Party and that he felt we were obseeed with the ignorant idea of the balance budget. He gave the impression that the idea of the balanced budget was a fallacious beleif drummed into the ears of Fianna Fáil Deputies.

It is the idea that you are doing it in this Financial Bill that is fallacious.

The Deputy drew a comparison between the State and the ordinary shopkeeper and said the Taoiseach's idea that the affairs of the State should be run as a shopkeeper runs his affairs was wrong. I am a businss man and Beleive there is absolutely no difference between the management of one's private affairs in buisiness and the meanner in which the Governemnt should run the affairs of the nation. In advancing that contention, I think is is true to say that in both cases the scrupulous balancing of the budget is absolutely necessary.

Deputy Dillon tried to that in this year's Book of Estimates there are items of expenditure amounmting to £10,000,000 which are not provided for by way of taxation. That may be so, but it does not get us away from the absolute necessity of balancing current revenue against current expenditure. What os true of the private individual is also true of the State. If the private individual in business adheres in the strictest sense to the principle of the balanced budget, he will get credit to finance schemes of improvement aimed at expanding his buisiness.

If the State is just as scupulous about balancing its Budgets, it can turn with confidence to the lending public and say:"We have a programme; we have schemes of a productive nature; we have work of national development to be undertaken and we want you to back it". If the State makes that approach from the background, it will get full support in so far as the resources of the lending public are able to support it.

The Coalition had not got a balanced Budget; it was out of balance to the tune of£6,000,000. What effect had that on our national well-being? In the second last national loan, the Coalition Government sought £20,000,000 from the lending public. Public subcriptions amounted to £11,500,000; the banks and other institutions made up the balance of £8,500,000. To briidge the gap between what the Government wanted and what the public were prepared to give, the banks and the o ther institutions were called upon. In the last national loan, the Coalition Government again looked for £20,000,000. at infinitely more favourable terms than those offered by the Fianna Fáil Govenment to whom Deputy Dillon said at the time: "A banana republic could get £20,000,000 or £30,000,000 without difficulty at the terms you are offering."

The two loans floated by the Coailtion Government failed solely because the people belived the Govenment were not making a serious attempt to balance their Budget. What did these unbalanced Budgets mean to the ordinary people trying to earn a living here? They showed it in their refusal to subscribe to the Govenment's two loans, £1,500,000 and £8,500,000 of which were met by the banks and other institutions. Of course, the banks must cut their clothe according to their measure and can provide credit facilities only in accordance with what money they hold.

When the Coalition Government failed in their national loans, the fact that they had to turn to the banks meant that private enterprise was strangled because no business man, farmer or building contractor, no matter what security he had, no matter how creditworthy he was, could get credit facilities from the banks because of the Coalition's unbalanced Budgets. That led to 100,000 people being unemployed and to wholesale emigration. I agree with Deputy Dillon's remarks on emigration, but I should like to say that under Coalition rule a far bigger number of prople emigrated owing to econimic difficulties than hitherto.

An atmosphere of hopelessness and despair which led to appalling chaotic conditions prevaild before the general election. I know there were elements in the Coalition who did not condone the action of the Government in failing to balance their Budgets. However, these elements failed to carry the day. Perhaps Deputy Dillon was one of them. The other elements prevailed and that is the reason more than any other why those Deputies are now occupying the Opposition Benches. I think that Deputy Sweetman as Minister for Finance made a fair enough attempt in the circumstance in which he found himself but he was controlled by that element. How, therefore, could I be blamed to-day for thinking that Deputy Dillon has done an about-turn from the days when the was here, declaring in the most eloquent fashion, that Fianna Fáil were altogether wrong and that it was altogether wrong to offer 5 per cent interest on borrowings to the lending public?

Like the business man and shopkeeper, you have to exercise a considerable degree of common sense when you are carrying out schemes of national development. I do not propose to go into any detail, but I do think that if land is reclaimed, at a cost per acre higher than the cost which it is commanding at auctions in the public market, then you are all wrong. Though there may be a long term return, it is not enough to justify the expenditure, if the expenditure is higher than the cost at which the best of land can be bought. If your are paying a higher price per acre to reclaim bad land than what you can get for the land, it is all wrong. There should be a sounder proposition.

Deputy Dillon thinks we are so backward on the Fianna Fáil back-benches that we are supporting a programme and a policy of which we have no knowledge. Deputy Dillon made a very able attempt with a bad case to confuse current expenditure and current revenue with capital expenditure and revenue from capital expenditure. He made a lot of play with the £100,000,000 provided for in the Book of Estimates. No doubt, it is true to say that it would be impossible in our circumstances to raise all the moneys required for capital expenditure from current revenue. Having said that, we must at the same time keep an eye on the volume of capital expenditure.

We have, as Deputy Dillon said, spent £100,000,000 on housing, £30,000,000 on roads, £17,000,000 on rural electrification and £15,000,000 on the rehabilitation of land. That is quite a considerable amount of money and the schemes are all very worthy schemes, but can we afford to continue spending at that rate? Even though it is producing very valuable and worthwhile national assets, can we continue that level of capital investment? Are we as a nation able to do it? It is my opinion that we are going to be put to the pin of our collar to continue that level of capital expenditure. Even though we have an undeveloped country calling for capital development, it is still going to be impossible to carry on the schemes of capital development at the rate at which they were going.

I do not agree with Deputy Dillon. I know it will be very difficult to restore public confidence to the level at which it stood among the lending public before 1954. I know the Fianna Fáal Government has a ball and chain around both ankles because of the way financial policy was undermined by the Coalition Parties. It is going to be difficult to get the necessary resources from the lending public to carry out the programme initiated for this year, next year and the year after. If the difficulty is great, it has been aggravated to a very great extent by the Coalition's financial policy and for that Deputy Dillon must take his share of the blame, as a member of its Cabinet.

It is true to say that out standard of living has been transformed over the years—I think the Deputy mentioned 50 years. Even in the past 25 or 30 years, the standard of living has reached a level that even the most optimistic people did not expect it to reach. It is the concern of every member of each Party to try to maintain and improve that situation, but it is no easy task. We have an undeveloped country heavily burdened with taxation.

The Minister indicated in his Budget speech that there will be no recruitment to the Civil Service and that some economies will be affected in it I will be sadly disappointed if no positive action is taken on that score. It is my firm conviction that we are overloaded, that we have far too many civil servants for this undeveloped agricultural country. We have the overheads of a nation four or five times our size and there is a duty incumbent upon the Government to tackle that problem in a sound, positive way. It must be faced up to fairly and squarely. We have too many public servants. I am not criticising any individual. I am saying in a general way that the country is overburdened with the number of civil servants it is being asked to carry and for which there is no gainful return.

Government Departments cannot be looked upon as employment bureaux, unless there is an absolute need for staff and that work of a valuable nature is being carried on. I think the Government has a duty on its shoulders to effect substantial reductions. If it does not do that I am afraid it will be very much against it when it comes to facing the public at the next general election. Apart from the political aspect, the paramount consideration is that the general well-being of the nation calls for a reduction in the Civil Service.

I do support, in the full knowledge of what I am doing, the principle of a balanced Budget. I believe it is right and necessary that the Budget should be balanced. We are depending and relying on estimates and they cannot be 100 per cent, accurate. If they fall short by a small amount, we requirements by a small amount, or exceed cannot help it, but a fair attempt has been made to balance the Budget.

Most important of all, this Budget will restore public confidence and it will enable the private person who was accustomed to getting credit facilities from banking institutions to do as he has done before. I could cite d100 cases of sound propositions that would normally receive credit facilities without difficulty, but that were turned down because of the financial policy of the Coalition Government. When the Coalition failed to get support from the lending public, the banks came to their rescue, and there were no resources left available to the private person. That meant that a small builder who went into a bank with a contract document ot build four houses and sought credit to get cement blocks and put men to work developing a site did not get it. We believe the Coalition was responsible for that. I believe this is a sound Budget, that it is balanced and that it will bring a contions f our people, and I support it in that spirit.

Deputy Maher has made a few statements that came as no surprise to me. One of the astonishing propositions he put forward was that no acre of land should be reclaimed at a cost grater than good land could be purchased at.

I agree with that.

I do not agree with that. I think that is an absolutely restograde policy to propound in this House. I have not the slightest doubt that a great deal of the land reclaimed under Deputy Dillon's rehabilitation scheme cost as much as, if not more, that good land in other parts of the country.

It does not arise on the Finance Bill.

Deputy Maher has adverted to it and he has, I presume, let the cat out of the bag in regard to the Fianna Fáil policy on all this. I want to ask Deputy Maher two questions. He can ponder over the answers. First of all what does it cost in Holland to reclaim an acre of land 60 feet lower than the level of the sea?

That has no relation to the Finance Bill and the Deputy may not continue on that line.

I want to reply to the points made by the Deputy. I do not agree with what Deputy Maher said that money in excess of the price of an acre of good land should not be spent on the reclamation of land in need of reclamation in this country. There are approximately 150,000 small farmers who have not sufficient land upon which to live.

That has nothing to do with the Finance Bill and the Deputy may not continue on that line.

Am I not allowed to reply to what Deputy Maher was permitted to go into very fully while the Ceann Comhairle was in the Chair a few minuter ago? I thought it was within the rules of order to reply to points made when other such points were already allowed to be made by the Chair.

The Deputy has been allowed to make his point and he should now come to the Finance Bill.

Very well. I will deal with this matter on another occasion. If Deputy Maher's attitude is the attitude of the present Government in relation to the land reclamation scheme and the cutting down of it and other schemes like it, the matter is much more easily explained.

Deputy Maher tool the inter-Party Government to task on the question of the loan we floated. Our loans were a success on every occasion. We were quite pleased with them. They were better subscribed to by the public, and particularly the small investors, than any loan Fianna Fáil ever floated

Not at all. That is the tallest story I have heard in my life.

Perhaps the Minister does not like hearing some of the falsehoods propagated during the last general election campaign exploded sky high.

You could not explode that.

Our loans were always a roaring success. They were an outstanding success—much more so than the loans floated in the past by the Fianna Fáil Minister for Finance, Deputy MacEntee. We always got the support of the public——

Do not be ridiculous.

——with the exception of one year, when a loan was floated in Britain at something like I per cent. higher right in the middle of the time our loan was being floated. That was the only time there was a falling off. Due to the confidence of the people in the inter-Party Government, there was a wave of spending by the people unsurpassed in the history of this country. On one occasion, the people actually spent over £90,000,000 more on imports than exports. That did not show a lack of confidence in the Government then in office. It shows that the spending public were so confident that inter-Party Government would be there to maintain the prosperity, they thought the day Fianna Fáil could sneak back into office would never come again. In spite of the fact that people had spent £90,000,000 in a single year which forced us to put back an import levy on luxury goods and a few nonessential goods, our loans were always subcribed very decently and they were surprisingly successful, with the one exception which I mentioned of the time when the British Chancellor of the Exchequer offered a loan at three-quarters per cent. or one per cent. higher than our rate of interest right in the middle of our loan. It had a dampening affect and it induced investors to send their money across the water. That was hot the fault of the Government here.

The Fianna Fáil Party have a mania in regard to balancing the Budget. Perhaps it is good housekeeping that it should be balanced, but to give reliefs to the wealthy and tax the poor is a harsh and dangerous way of balancing the Budget. As I say, it might perhaps be good housekeeping and Fianna Fáil probably introduced it for no other reason than to prove that what they attempted in 1947 was still right. They were put out. In 1952 they did the same and were again put out. In d1957 they want to prove that what they did in 1947 by taxing the food of the poor was correct. They want to prove it is necessary to do it. If the 150,000 people who supported us in 1954 and who stayed at home and did not support the various Parties that formed the inter-Party Government ment in 1957 had an opportunity of voting now, I have not the slightest doubt what way they would vote.

Instead of running down our country and saying it is sunk and doomed, we ought to be proud of it. We have a good country. People who travelled all over the world and who worked in many countries and who came back home told me that Ireland is the best and most peaceful country under the sun having the highest standard of living of any other country, with the exception of the United States. We have made remarkable progress. Over 1,033,000 acres of land have been reclaimed and brought into first class production sincde 1948, or are in the course of being reclaimed.

It is a fine thing that our forestry acreage has been double. It is an immense asset that we have doubled our forestry acreage since 1948. We now have 250,000 acres where we had only 125,000 or 128,000 in 1948. We have built and improved houses and hospitals and put into that work a vast amount of money. we have good roads and a fairly good rail system, in spite of all that has been said against it.

Forestry is our greatest asset, although Deputies may say it would be possible to buy timber cheaper from Russia or Siberia than for us to produce our own timber at home. If we examine figures in this connection, we will find that we could purchase timber from foreign countries cheaper than we can produce it at home. Nevertheles, I am still a strong exponent of the policy of producing our own.

Instead of taking every opportunity of running down our coutry, we should be proud of it. The fact that people are emigration is an evil from which our country suffers, but people are emigrating from practically every country in the world. No country has a steel wall around it, except the Iron Curtain countries where people are not allowed freedom of movement. With the improvement in condition in this country, the land reclamation scheme, arterial drainage, forestry, housing, roads, good hospitalisation, I believe the present trend in regard to emigration will ease as the years go on.

Nobody seems to have the magical formula for suddenly putting an end to emigration. Nobody claims that, because it will not happen. However, it was very much eased during the two periods of office of the inter-Party Government. I do not doubt that it will ease completely in the future. It is about the one drawback we have. Emigration is largely due to the fact that we have a very wealthy neighbour, England, at our backdoor. There is almost full employment in England and she can afford to pay higher wages and to give, perhaps, better social services. Organised labour has brought about improvements in conditions, particularly in the industrialised parts of England. All that is very attractive to Irish youth. The cause of emigration is much more than a gravitational pull from outside which is drawing the people away from this country.

Even in the short time since the food subsidies were withdrawn, the repercussions of their removal have been very severe on the poorer sections of our community. I urgently appeal to the Minister to do something—I leave it entirely in his own hands—to bring about a reduction in the price of bread and butter so that the poorer section and those who have to rear families on very limited means and those who depend entirely on bread, butter and tea for their sustenance will get some relief. There are households throughout the country where meat is eaten only once in the week, if at all. This Budget has his those people very hard, without giving any corresponding relief.

The Minister may reply that he has given some little increase to the old age pensioner and in children's allowances. I suggest that these increases are similar to stealing £1 from a man, giving him back 1/- and fooling him in that way. It was very bad management to give concessions to the rich by taking off the taxes on certain luxury goods which had been imposed by the inter-Party Government. We did not receive a single complaint from prospective purchasers of these luxury goods on the question of the import levies. The man who can afford to pay £1,200 for a motor car can afford to pay £1,400, if he wants it. It is much better to tax moneyed people who want certain luxury articlea in order to maintain their social standing, and who are willing to pay for them, than to tax the bread and butter of the poor. Without making politics of it, the situation in many working-class homes in towns and in small farms throughout the country as a result of the impact of the removal of the food subsidies is that some of the people find the conditions unbearable and are near to the starvation level.

The present Minister for Finance was Minister for Agriculture for many years in a previous Government. To say the least of it, it was a shabby thing that some hint was not given on the 20th March last, when the change of Government took place, that the food subsidies might be removed. The small farmers would have been able to sow a statute acre or half a statue acre of wheat which would be of some help when the haqrvest comes in. At that time it was not too late to put down a small area of spring wheat. It was bad policy to lift the taxes from the wealthy people on whom we had imposed them. The person who could afford to pay £300 for a fur cat could afford to pay £375 for it—£75 being the tax imposed— and relieve the poor people. I make an urgent appeal to the Minister, on behalf of the poor people who are so badly hit by the removal of the food subsidies, to re-examine the whole question and, if necessary, to take a different line of action. The Minister and the Government any lose some prestige in doing so but it would be an act of charity on their part.

I do not rise to make a contribution to this debate as an economist. When I talk of "economists" I mean people who have either written books on economics or studied them and developed their own principles therefrom. My approach to economics is simple. It is the approach of the average person, namely: What is my income? How far will it go towards providing the necessities of life for myself and my family? Side by side with that, how much can I save towards unforeseen contingencies such as sickness, death, or if I am living on a holding, the loss of an animal or some much occurrence that makes quite an impact on the economic life of the average person?

In considering taxation in relation to the average person in this country, in my opinion—and I am giving this opinion without reference to any ecoomic views expressed by experts whether in the academic or the administer field—there are two principles: (1) what is the justification for increased taxation and (2) is there any justification? Once I have satisfied myself that there is such justification I must look to the avenues from which that taxation can be collected in the best possible way, that is, from those sources which will cause least hardship to the community.

In advocation two such principles, what I will call the principle of justification and the principle of capacity to pay, onec justification is established, I do not think I am proposing an unreasonable basis for an examination of the proposals before us to-day. This debate has lent itself to a discussion of many aspects of Government policy related directly and indirectly, immediately and remotely, to the principles of the Finance Bill which is the subject of the main discussion. First of all, I want to take the question of the tax on petrol and oils. I want to consider it, and I want the House to consider it, in so far as there are Deputies here from constituencies with similar economic characteristics to mine, North Mayo.

Petrol has become a very important commodity in the lives of our people, agriculturally, industrially and socially, and indeed in every aspect of life that one can envisage in a consideration of this kind. As the years go by, people have become more travel conscious. People in the remoter areas are now travelling to bigger towns than those which they used to visit up to a few years ago. There has been an expansion of outlook and from that expansion of outlook has come that travel consciousness to which I refer. Putting it on the simple social plane, people visit friends now at long distances many times a year whom they formerly visited only once a year, or even less often.

In a country constituency, if you take as the guiding point for your computations the local church on a Sunday morning, you will find there are now many more cars there than there were some ten or 15 years ago. In my opinion, that does not mean that people have possessed themselves of cars who do not require them. I know in many parts of North Mayo, and indeed in other parts of the country, of young men who have devoted practically all of their savings over the years to the purchase of a car which they now use for hackney purposes, keeping their minds on this increasing travel consciousness of the public. This increase in the price of petrol will interfere with them in no uncertain manner. Fares will, of necessity, have to be increased and from there we move on to the passengers' capacity to pay the increased fares.

The net result will be a reduction in the use of such cars and in the employment of these drivers. The grave risk is that, owing to the lack of demand for their services, some of them at any rate will go out, of employment, will sell their cars if they can, or else leave them there and move off to some other part of the country in search of other employment, or indeed move off to England, Scotland or America. That is a situation which I can see happening, a situation which, in two instances since this Budget was brought into operation, has happened. Instead of increasing employment, I can tell you, in relation to the increased prices of petrol, that there have been two instances of unemployment leading, of course, in their natural sequence, to further instances fo emigration.

There is the proposed tax on beer. I wonder has it occurred to the Minister or the Government that beer as consumed in this country does not fall into the category of a luxury, but to a very great extent, not alone in the cities but in various parts of the country and even the remote rural areas, is a substitute on occasion for food. Here again we have a tax put on a very necessary commodity.

Side by side with all that, there is the consideration of the people's capacity to pay. On the one hand, you have them being asked to pay the higher taxation on these items contained in this Finance Bill and, on the other hand, they are being asked, by the withdrawal of the subsidies on essential foodstuffs, to pay higher prices for what they eat. A two-pronged attack is being made without warning, without giving them any time to prepare or make any provision for such an impact upon their small resources.

Since I spoke here on 14th May on the Budget proposals themselves, I have had all to adequate and all too miserable a picture of the truth of the prophecy I made on that occasion. I said that in the rural areas, in the small farms and in the homes of the under-employed in my constituency the only solution they would have to the problem of getting the extra money required for flour and bread and butter would be that at least one more person would have to emigrate to England, Scotland or America and emigrate at a younger age than was ever anticipated in any family thus affected.

For some years back, supervisors or gangers recruiting workers for the potato fields of Scotland from areas in my constituency—and I am sure the same applies to the counties of Galway and Donegal—were having the greatest difficulty in filling their squads. This year, in the parts of my constituency of North Mayo that are vitally affected —and I challenge denial of this by either of the two Deputies on the Government side, Deputy Calleary and Deputy Doherty—applications for admission into the squads of potato diggers and pickers in Scotland had to be rejected. They had no room for the rush that was precipitated by the impact of the savage proposals in this Budget.

Where otherwise could the unfortunate people on small holdings, whose struggle from birth to death is a difficult one, even in the best of times, have got the money necessary to purchase these commodities which had been so savagely and so unnecessarily increased? I do not know about other constituencies, but I know about other own. I know it was not possible for those affected by such a serious increase in prices to find the extra employment which was promised to them during the general election campaign. We now know in my constituency that, in the last three months, there has been no increase in the possibility of extra employment, and in the one place where extra employment might be expected—on the bogs under the auspices of Bord na Móna—the numbers are decreasing rather than increasing.

I feel that that would be a matter for the Estimate for Industry and Commerce.

Yes, but in relation to the opportunities and in relation to the difficulties, I am submitting, Sir, that a reference to it, brief as it may be, is still in order. The financial proposals in this Bill are designed, according to the Fianna Fáil Party, to give more employment and to curb emigration. Speaking from my own knowledge and the knowledge of my own constituency, I can say that has not happened so far. In fact, the reverse has happened and has happened much more noticeable in the particular business to which I referred, in Bord na Móna, in respect of the assurance alleged to have been given by Deputies Lemass and Calleary, prior to the general election. However, I will have more to say about that on the appropriate Estimate.

Deputy Maher prefaced his remarks by saying he did not intend to speak, but that Deputy Dillon had provoked him into doing so. He made a speech which must give rise to anxiety even in the breasts of members of the Fianna Fáil Party. He referred to the cost of housing, land reclamation, drainage, rural electrification and telephones and expressed a doubt that we as a nation could afford to go ib paying for these things. In my view, that is a hint at what we are to expect. If by stifling the avenues of production in such a manner the Government, hope to increase employment and curb emigration, then there is need for that wisdom which the present Minister for External Affairs, Deputy Aiken, prayed for as Minister for Finance in the autumn of 1947. n These proposals bear a remarkable similarity to the proposals of the autumn of that year and to the proposals of 1952. What is the reason? The reason is, I think, as Deputy Dillon has put it much more forcibly, that it is an effort by the Government and by the Fianna Fáil Party to prove that they were right in 1947 and that they were right in I do not quarrel with anybody's right in to prove anything; but when innocent people and people unable to bear that experiment are subjected to it unwillingly—and, in my view, fraudulently, because they were not told about it— then I object.

I listened during the course of the general election comapaign to Deputy Calleary talking about "the dead hand of the Coalition". It was his favourite phrase. Under the "dead hand of the Coalition", there was never a greater exodus by way of emigration from the constituency of North Mayo than the exodus this year. The "dead hand of the Coalition " never allowed more people than are being allowed now to go without butter and to curtail themselves seriously in their supplies of bread. I should like Government Deputies from my constituency to put on the record of the House what they are telling the people in secret and in private throughout the constituency. If there is to be an argument, let us be clear what that argument is. Obviously, the Fianna Fáil view is the same now as it was in 1947, that the people have too much money, that they are eating too much and drinking too much.

In Volume 108, column 399, Deputy Aiken, then Minister for Finance, said:

"So far as the rise in domestic prices is not due to outside causes it must be the result either of too much money in the hands of the community or of a reasonable volume of money which is too active for the volume of production."

There is "too much money in the hands of the community". Was that the reason again in k1957 which prompted this Government to get hold of that money which they believed to exist in quantities far too great for the people to have or to spend? Or there is "a reasonable volume of money which is too active for the volume of money production." Does this Government think that by making people eat less, by having people nourished in a less effective and less reasonable way than that to which they were accustomed, they will produce more? That is quite a contradiction of the old adage that an army marches on its stomach.

Anybody who has to work to produce more and more must be fed better and better in accordance with his efforts to produce. We have preventoria and sanatoria in this country, most of which are now emptying, thank goodness, but I believe that once the bread supply is curtailled and once the consumption of a high food value commodity like butter os reduced there are people, particularly in that vast section of our people who exist on a bread and butter diet, who are on the way to malnutrition and a decline in health and on the way to filling the preventorial and sanatoria again.

Why attack the consumer alone when it comes to looking for money to engage in what has been described by Deputy Dillon as the fallacious process of balancing the Budget? I think it was Deputy Hogan who said, in the course of her contribution to the Budget debate, that if there is subsidisation of production, then there is a case to be made for the subsidisation of consumption. I think that is a proposal that is worthy of examination. The consumer alone is being attacked in these proposals, and in the Budget proposal generally, while the producers confined to certain areas are being subsidised at the expense of the consumer over the whole of the area.

Are we not all something of both—consumer and producer?

It could be argued that some are not.

Over there, perhaps.

Reference has been made to the question of our credit and to matters relating to loans. It has been claimed on this side of the House that our loans were a success. That has been denied by the Minister for Finance. People on the other side have claimed that their loans, while they were in government, were a success, whereas on this side that argument has been denied. I am prepared to compromise on that argument and to say that all loans of all Government met with the success that could be equated to the conditions appertaining at the time. I think it is a great mistake that we should indulge in an attempt to canvass the goodwill of the people for loans for one Government, on the one hand, and to try to destroy the goodwill of the people for loans for another Government, on the other.

Deputy Gallagher tried to deny allegations that loans floated by the inter-Party Government were sabotage them, by the Fianna Fáil Party, then in opposition. His denial could not be regarded as an unqualified success. It is true that there have been difficulties and it is equally true that there will always be difficulties of some kind or another, some less severe than others, depending on the time to which they refer. I do not believe in a policy of gloom. I do not believe in the patriotism of the person who states that this Government was elected "to clear up the mess". Nobody has attempted, either in the course of the Budget debate or this debate, to define-exactly what that mess was and what they mean by it. Even in Deputy Gallagher's speech to-day, he moves far away from the posters and the speeches which said: "We will stop emigration; we will reduce unemployment." Nowhere in his speech does the word "will" appear; rather is there the vague hope expressed in the terms "This Budget should ..." and "We hope this Budget will ..." These vague terms lack that positive nature of the pre-election posters and speeches.

Deputy Maher finished his speech by saying that this Budget and these proposals will confer benefits on the community, but he left it as that. He did not tell us what the benefits are or what they were likely to be. His was the first speech, which, apart from his hint that certain State projects might be stopped, and in his view, should be stopped, did not have a pervading atmosphere of gloom. A people properly led, with that degree of confidence to which they are entitled, can be resolute enough to overcome gloom of any magnitude, but it is wrong to depress people into the belief that gloom exists and exists to a degree which has no foundation in fact.

The same gospel of gloom was being preached in 1947. It was preached again in 1952. In Volume 108, column 402 of the Official Reports, listen to what the present Minister for External Affairs, Deputy Aiken, then Minister for Finance, said on 15th October, 1947:—

"While the economic situation is serious, there is no reason to doubt our ability to survive the next few critical years."

Everybody will recall the next few critical years. They were the years of the first inter-Party Government from 1948 to 1951. They were not critical. They were not critical because there was a policy and there was resolution to put that policy into operation. Deputy Gallagher asked us, in opposition, not to blame the people for putting us into opposition. We do not blame the people because, as Deputy Dillon put it, we recognise the right of the people to do wrong and we sympathise with them when they are aided and abetted in doing wrong by promises that amount to nothing but mere pretences, and false pretences at that. Is Deputy Calleary smiling at the 72/- for the bag of flour?

Is he smiling at the 6d. increase on the gallon of petrol? Is he smiling at the thought of all the people who have gone away to England and to Scotland from his cnstituency?

Sent off by the Deputy and his Party.

I do not see that the question of Deputy Calleary's smile is relevant.

He smiles so seldom that I have reason to ask why the smile now? Deputy Calleary will, I hope, put on the records of this House before this debate finishes the reason for his unaccustomed jovial expression, the reason why he chooses to poke fun at me when I am attempting to show how these proposals and this proposed taxation will affect unduly and in a very severe manner the people we both represent. I should like Deputy Calleary to put on record that he approves of the emigration that has been caused by this Budget, that he approves of the hardship of the increase in the ten stone bag of flour from 40/- to 72/-. I want him to put that on record here. I exhort him to do so because it is far, far better that we should be clear on what the argument is rather than that we should have to go around trying to find out what was said in secret and in private, without the benefit of the Press.

It was Socrates who said: "It is better to do a little well than to do a great deal badly." It was within the competence of this Government on taking over, to do a little well. They chose instead to do a great deal badly. As I have already said, increased taxation must be ustified and it must be directly related to the capacity of the people from whom it is sought to pay it. Subsidies are an inverted form of taxation and their removal should be a matter of timing and degree. By adopting the principle of timing and degree, it was within the competence of this Government to do a little well. But, by a broad sweep and taking the easy way of solving, as they think, their difficulties, believing they are going to improve the lot of the unemployed believing that they are going to curb emigration, all the Government has done is a great deasl badly, and the people will indict them for that.

How can anybody justify charging our own people an increase of 7d. on every lb. of butter while, at the same time, subsidising the export of butter so that the people in the land to which it is exported, either the natives or our emigrants, may eat it at a cheaper price. The Government, by virtue of their activity in Opposition, by virtue of their statements in public both inside and outside this House, are under a clear commitment to the dairy farmers, to increase the price of milk. Taking away the subsidy on butter and increasing the price by 7d. per lb. has swept the ground, in my opinion, from under the Minister for Agriculture in any effort that he might attempt to bring about an increased prices for milk.

I was fortunate enough or unfortunate—it all depends on the way one looks at it—to be present in the House last night when words of wisdom flowed from the lips of my colleague, Deputy Corruy, on the financial situation. It would appear to me that, having failed within his own Party to make the grade in agriculture, he is now turning his energies to studying the financial problems fo the country. I would not deem myself competent to cross swords with Deputy Corry on such matters but, knowing him in other fields and from past experience, I think I can say safely and confidently that he was talking through his hat.

Debate adjourned.