Finance Bill, 1957—Second Stage (Resumed).

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

I was commenting on the general aspects of Deputy Corry's contribution to the debate. Many of us were not surprised to find the Deputy at his old game of coming into the House and making an unwarranted attack on civil servants generally. By word and implication, Deputy Corry endeavoured to convey that there were hundreds of civil servants walking around the various Departments of State doing absolutely nothing. I think a statement like that should not be allowed to go unchallenged. It is a dastardly thing for anybody to carry out an attack on a body of public servants who are not in a position to defend themselves. As I say, from past experience I, for one, was not surprised.

Deputy Corry also dealt with another aspect of the Civil Service. He upbraided the previous Government for, as he said, making permanent so many temporary employees of the State. I do not know whether Deputy Corry examined the situation before he made this statement. I do not know if he really appreciates the position as far as temporary State employees are concerned. For his benefit, I would refer him to column 1061 of Volume 158 of the Official Debates in which is set out a question asked by me on June 26th, 1956, and the Minister's reply to that question.

It relates to the Department of Posts and Telegraphs and succeeded in elicting from the then Minister for Posts and Telegraphs the following information: In his Department at that time the Minister had 3,081 temporary employees with less than ten year's service. When I refer to temporary employees, I mean full-time employees fully occupied. There were 343 temporary employees with from ten to 20 years' service; there were 114 temporary employees with from 20 to 30 years' service; 71 with from 30 to 40 years' service; and five with over 40 years' service. I should like to know from Deputy Corry on some future occasion whether he regards it as a crime to give permanent appointments to people who have given from 30 to 40 years' temporary ful-time service to the State.

That does not seem to be very relevant.

It appeared to be relevant last night when Deputy Corry made the reference. In my opinion, no decent member of this House on either side would regard it as good policy or fair comment to keep people with that length of temporary service on the temporary list, depriving them of their security and their pension rights. I shall not pursue the matter any further than that.

To go on to the business in hand, I am very glad to find Deputy Healy present now because I have a few remarks to make and a few pertinent questions to ask to which he can reply later, if he likes. I have here a cutting from theCork Examiner dated March 4th last, reporting a Fianna Fáil election meeting hold in Cork the night before. Deputy Healy is quoted as saying that one of the most glaring examples of bungling on the part of the Coalition was to be found in their administration of the Health Act, which was prepared and piloted through the Dáil by Fianna Fáil after prolonged delays caused by the tactics of the Coalition Parties who were then in opposition. The Deputy continued:—

"Now because of the manner in which that Act was being worked by the Coalition there is chaos among the hospital authorities and the citizens covered by its provisions."

I am quite sure that when Deputy Healy said that in Patrick Street, at Cork, he did so in all good faith. I think I am now entitled to ask the Deputy what has been done or what does his Party intend to do to rectify that situation?

Surely that is adminstration?

As far as I can see——

We are discussing the Finance Bill.

I am endeavouring to do that, Sir. As far as I can see, the only manner in which an attempt was made to rectify such matters has been through the increase in hospital charges.

I cannot allow the Deputy to proceed on these lines. The matter has been discussed already and decided in this House. There was a decision taken in respect of the amendment of the Health Act. That was decided here and every aspect of it canvassed. I cannot allow the Deputy to proceed on that line.

With respect, Sir, I shall obey your ruling, but I would draw your attention to the fact that the Leas-Cheann Comhairle allowed Deputies to speak on those lines.

Nobody allowed Deputies to speak on the administration of the Health Act or on the increase in charges under the Health and Mental Treatment Bill on this measure.

I am endeavouring to comment on Government policy.

The Deputy is endeavouring to comment on what Deputy Healy said in Cork. That may be all right in its proper place but it is not relevant to this measure.

Perhaps something that Deputy Lynch, Minister for Education, said at the same time in Cork may be relevant.

If it has relevance to the administration of the Health Act——

I shall give the quotation.

I cannot allow the Deputy to proceed unless his remarks are relevant to this measure.

With respect, Sir, may I, on a point of order, point out that this Bill is designed to give an extra £3,000,000 in the form of taxation, part of which would be applied towards the health services.

Everything could be discussed from A to Z if I allowed that.

I feel that the measure being implemented here as Government policy will bring about greater unemployment than we already have. In that regard I am quite sure I am now free to give the specific portion of the speech made by the Minister for Education prior to the general election in Cork. He said:—

"The election was forced by resentment of the people at the incompetent way in which the Coalition Government were mishandling affairs."

As true as can be.

I am simply trying to ascertain what the Government is endeavouring to do to rectify that position because as far as Cork is concerned they have not been active in that sense. They have acted contrary to what any reasonable person might have been able to understand from the promises made by various Deputies in Cork before the election.

They were not promises; it was criticism.

They had an advertisement "Women Get Your Men Back To Work". They had a special message: "To the workers of the building and allied trades, and the 3,000 families who urgently seek rehousing. Fianna Fáil will restore life and vigour to the building and allied trades."

That is being done.

I shall tell you how it is not being done so far as Cork is concerned. Fianna Fáil promised to restore life and vigour to the building trade and urged the women: "Get your men back to work." I should like to know what the women are saying now. In the last financial year the Government made available to Cork Corporation for capital expenditure £825,000 to finance our direct labour scheme and our contract schemes. This year, under the Government who issued manifestos to the building workers of Cork and others seeking houses, that has been reduced to £750,000.

I do not like to interrupt the Deputy again but clearly that is administration. The Budget and the Finance Bill are the machinery by which money is collected to enable the Government to carry on the services of the State. The question is not where it is spent or how it is spent.

I am endeavouring to comment on the effect that Government policy will have on the community and I am endeavouring to relate that to promises made before the General Election.

The Deputy will have an opportunity on another occasion of discussing administration in detail.

In the course of the next five years.

We will take about it on every reasonable opportunity.

The opportunity will arise on an Estimate.

Perhaps Deputy Healy would like to comment on some of the statements made at public mettings, and otherwise, regarding the prices of various commodities and explain to the people of Cork exactly what has happened since Fianna Fáil came into power. I am quite sure there must be some plausible story that he can tell to the people as to why sugar, bread, flour, butter, petrol, motor car insurance, cigarettes, tobacco and beer went up in price.

Deputy Healy knows as well as I do, particularly in relation to the bread, butter and sugar increases, that these are a greater burden on the poorer people than on richer people. If the Government had some burden to impose on the people why should they have put it on the shoulders of the weakest sections of our community? There is not much use in saying that certain provisions were made to alleviate the distress by giving certain increases and certain benefits. The unemployed man with three children, gets no increase at all in his weekly benefit. It can be said that he gets an increase in children's allowances. Working it out at the rate of approximately 4d. per day, by the figures given here by Deputy Beegan on the consumption of bread in the family, that 4d. per day is expected to meet an increase of something in the region of 1/9. I invite Deputy Healy to place on the records of this House what went wrong, between the time he stood in Patrick Street and made his promises, and now. I should like to hear him on that.

The rotten financial position of the country has been the cause.

Deputy Davern can make his own statement.

He is being questioned.

All interruptions whether questions or assertions, are disorderly.

Deputy Barett referred to certain agitators who were coming from across the water to sir up a certain campaign amongst the unemployed here. He seemed to have some information that these were highly undesirable people from highly undesirable organisations. I do not know whether that is true or not—it may well be—but I feel that we cannot place the blame on unsuspecting unemployed people if they are gulled and led away by people of that type. The Government has placed these unemployed people in such a position by lowering their already very low standard of living that it has a duty to ask: what are we going to do about this? The Government must except and accept part of the blame for bringing about a situation where these unfortunate people are driven to such a low standard of living that they will grasp at any straw and allow themselves to be exploited in that way.

I appeal to the Minister and his cooleagues in the Cabinet to get cracking on that matter straight away. If we do not create opportunities for employment, our people will be open to that kind of exploitation. It is not as if there is no work to be done. In many areas such as Cork, and particularly Dublin, we still have a grave social problem in respect of housing. Let us get our people to work. Let us kill two birds with the one stone by getting our men back to work and rehousing our people. I make that strong appeal.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce, as we know, made a special appeal to the trade unions as to their approach in regard to the present difficulties. He would be the first to admit that, by and large, the trade unions in this country over the years have been very responsible people. As a trade unionist myself and as somebody with some little voice in the trade union movement. I say we cannot except the ordinary wage earner to accept a lower standard of living. We cannot except the trade union leaders willingly to advocate that to any body of working men.

We are prepared to study the problem with him. We are not prepared to be delayed in studying it. We are not prepared to accept lower standards of living. As far as my voice, energy or influence in the trade union movement go, I say that while we hope to do it in an ordinary fashion, I think we can say it is inevitable that our point of view will be a further increase in wages to meet the burden thrown upon us by the Budget.

At the beginning of this debate, questions were raised which have not been referred to to-day. Deputy Sweetman advocated that there were certain reliefs which might have been given in the Budget. He mentioned children over 16 years of age and also an allowance in respect of payments for a superannuation scheme. I just refer to these but he mentioned others as well.

First of all, I should like to say that these things would naturally be considered by any Minister for Finance if he was in the position of having money to spend; in other words, if the accounts presented to him in preparing his Budget showed that the income for the coming year was likely to exceed the expenditure as then visualised. I think I can say that when that stage arises, these things will be considered, but I do not say in the priority in which Deputy Sweetman put them.

He mentioned another case, however, which I think merits more serious consideration. He spoke of death duties and said that for many years we had adopted the policy which had the effect of attracting people with money to come to live here. The reason why we attracted them was that taxation was lower here than it was elsewhere. I believe that was a sensible policy because if our taxation was higher in relation to such things as death duties and surtax, we would not get them at all. If we put it a bit lower, then we get something out of them. If I were in a position to do that next year, I would be accused by the Deputies opposite of giving something to the rich and taking something from the poor. A responsible Government has to ignore that sort of talk from irresponsible people or people who want to make capital by playing to the lower instincts of the people. As I say, these things must be put aside for the moment. They cannot be considered during this year.

A number of Deputies mentioned hire purchase. I mentioned already on one of the occasions I spoke since the Budget was brought in that we found, on coming into office, the hire purchase scheme was ineffective. Changes had been made in the hire purchase scheme by the outgoing Minister for Industry and Commerce which left it altogether ineffective and the only hope of making it right was to take the restrictions off. At the time, we did not decide whether we would put on the hire purchase restrictions or not. It is open to us to do that at any time. It is not a matter for me to initiate. It is a matter for the Minister for Industry and Commere to initiate that policy, and he may find himself in the position of having to impose those restrictions again.

The last Deputy who spoke seemed to think that we did nothing about housing, but some Deputies complained that we gave all our attention to housing since we became the Government. They said we thought we could solve everything by building houses. That is not true either. We have, it is true, removed a lot of the handicaps that existed on going ahead with housing schemes and giving employment, incidentally. We hope that housing will run smoothly again from this on.

We all know that houses are needed. Therefore, the people should get them, but, taking it from the employment point of view, we regard it not as a permanent nut as a temporary solution to absorb the unemployed until the country is built up and more permanent employment found for our people generally. Since 1933, we have been in favour of providing proper houses for the people and I think I need say nothing further on that matter. Our record as a Government will surely make that plain to anybody who wants to lookup the figures.

A number of Deputies on the opposite side seem to believe—at least if they always say what they believe— we have no policy. I stated our policy very clearly in the Budget speech and I am quite sure it has been stated also by the Taoiseach and other Ministers. Our aim, first of all—I am talking on the economic side of our programme only—is to create a better standard of living all round. I suppose I could probably say that would also be the aim of Fine Gael and of Labour. Therefore, we need not have any dispute on that point.

However, our method is to try to get more production in both industry and agriculture. It must be obvious to anybody who thinks on the matter that the only way by which we can achieve a better standard of living all round is to have more goods produced in the country and more services. The Budget was framed with that object in view. It was framed, as I pointed out in my Budget speech, with the object of balancing our current income against our current expenditure and, after that, with the object of providing as much as we possibly could afford for capital expenditure. It is on the capital side, naturally, that we would hope to build up our industries, including agriculture, and to get more production in order to give us the higher standard of living at which we are aiming.

Mention was made several times in this debate of the import levies. In my opinion, these levies are necessary at present to help, in so far as they do help, to keep our balance of payments right. In addition, the income from the levies is very helpful in our capital programme. However, we should not over-rate the import levies. Fine Gael speakers would give one the impressio that the import levies last year were responsible for bringing this country from a very bad position, economically, to a very good position, economically. I do not think we can claim that the import levies had such a very great influence generally as they are reputed to have had by the Fine Gael Party. I admit that they helped but they are not totally responsible for the improvement.

In the first place, in the last financial year we collected something like £4,500,000. In itself, that shows they were not entirely effective in balancing our payments because if, in spite of the levies, the goods came in and the levies were paid, then, to that extent, the balance of payment was not affected by these levies and they became really revenue rather than a remedy for the adverse trade balance that was there. They were effective in relation to our balance of payments whenever a person said: "I will not buy that article because it is to dear and it is dearer because"—whether the person knew it or not—"of the import levy."

It is difficult to calculate the effect of the import levies in that way but they were not solely responsible for bringing the adverse balance of trade down to the figure which it had reached by the beginning of this year. The other factor was much more potent, that is, the restriction of credit. That restriction came not by the will of the Government but as a result of the trade depression that occurred in 1956. I need not go into it fully. People in business, farmers and others, found it very difficult to borrow money during 1956 and that is the position even up to the moment. It was on account of the credit squeeze, as it was called, that the balance of payments was brought into line, in my opinion, more than on account of the import levies.

When we took office, we examined the import levies and decided, first of all, that where they were hindering employment they should either be altered or abolished. Disparaging references are frequently made by Opposition speakers to the way in which we dealt with the motor industry. We removed the import levies because they were having a disturbing effect on motor assemblers.

Motor assemblers have to incur a certain amount of capital expenditure in importing parts before they get the car together. They were never assured how long the import levies might last. They were in the position that they might pay a certain amount on importing parts, and pay the levy, nut, by the time the car would be assembled, the levy might be removed and they would then have to sell the car at a loss. They were living from hand to mouth. They were bringing in a small amount at a time, turning out a car and getting rid of it, in case the levy should be removed. That was because the then Minister for Industry and Commerce stated on more than one occasion that the import levies would be taken off shortly. If the the Government had even said: "These levies will remain in operation for 12 months"——

The Minister should look at his files.

Do not try to put it across that the did not say the levies would be taken off shortly, because he did.

There was a public announcement.

Public announcements from the Coalition Government did not matter because another Minister contradicted them afterwards. That was the Coalition way of doing things. The uncertainly was there. The Minister for Finance said they would last for 12 months but the Minister for Industry and Commerce said they would come off in the autumn. The motor assemblers did no know where they stood.

What about the seven new State cars?

We took these motor duties and we said: "(1) let us get as much as we can out of them and (2) whatever we decide to do, let it be permanent." Consequently, we changed over to an import duty—not an import levy, as we understand it in this debate —and we said to the motor trade: "Now you know where you stand. You may go ahead with your business." As a result, we are getting import duty now which I think amounted to about 50 per cent. of the import levy, in addition to the import duty that was already there. My information is that there has been some improvement in employment in the motor industry.

As I explained also, when talking about this matter before, it was laid down in the trade agreement with Britain that, whenever the import levies were either modified or abolished, cars over £1,200 imported from Britain would, according to the 1938 trade agreement and confirmed in 1951 by the Coalition Government, come in at a duty of 22-2/9ths per cent. —not free. Fine Gael Deputies, without very much regard for the truth, always say they are coming in free. We do not make those cars here. We collect our 22-2/9ths per cent. on them.

While I am on that topic, I may say that we also hear from Deputies opposite that radio sets, gramophones, fur coats and umbrellas are coming in free-all of which is wrong, I need not tell you. That does not prevent Fine Gael from coming along with the yarn, because they think it will suit down the country, appealing to the lowest instincts of the people, that here was the Government putting up bread and butter and giving fur coats, umbrellas, gramophones and big motor cars free to the rich.

There is a fairly big amount of employment in the assembly of radios in this country. The import levies were interfering with that business, in particular with the export business, and these assemblers have a big export business. It was thought better to make it a permanent duty and there is now a permanent duty on radio sets coming into this country. I think it is 50 per cent. That was done in order to encourage the radio assemblers. There is a duty of 50 per cent. on the finished article, but, if an assembler wants to get in parts for his business, they come in free duty of duty now. The same applies to fur coats. There is a very heavy duty on them, but there were certain people working in the fur business here —very highly skilled people, I am told —so the duty was removed on raw furs coming in, in order to allow these people, small in number, to operate.

I mentioned all that on two previous occasions since the Budget was brought in, but I have no great hope that it will have the slightest effect on the Fine Gael people. They do not want to tell the people the truth. They only want to tell the people what they think will suit them in their election propaganda——

To come back to the import levies, the Fine Gael Government appeared to put their whole faith on them, as if they were the sheet anchor of economies in this country. We do not think so. We are glad to have them, such as they are. We might disagree with Fine Gael about certain levies and I am quite sure, if the Ministers of that Government had to decide at any stage the articles on which they would impose levies, they might disagree on particular items, too. Take, for instance, the levy on oranges. I am not saying we were 100 per cent. right in removing that levy and I am not saying that Fine Gael were 100 per cent wrong; but we thought that, on the whole, there was a certain agitation here, because oranges were regarded by many people as very good health. If the mother of children is told that oranges are good for health and yet a levy has to be paid on them, she has a grievance. On the whole, we thought it would be better to take the levy off——

The price did not come down.

I am not sure about that.

It did not.

There might have been a different price.

The price came down very substantially.

Leaving aside the import levies for the moment, our policy generally is to expand industry by having more production, both in industry and agriculture. That will give more employment because more production means, in most cases, more employment. Anybody will admit that more production will add to the national wealth and that will mean a better standard of living all round.

That is agreed.

More production per worker would, of course, add to the standard of living. As I said when winding up the debate on the Budget, there are many things we agree on here. I do not see why we should be losing time in disputing those facts. We all agree there should be more production. We all agree that should be the source of wealth in this country because it is the only way we can get a agree that a better standard of living is desirable. Why then do we try to accuse the other fellow of not being in favour of that? I have always admitted that Fine Gael and Labour were in favour of it, but why do Fine Gael speakers get up, one after another, for a whole two days of tedious debate and try to accuse Fianna Fáil of not wanting more production? It is ridiculous to be putting forward that sort of argument all the time.

Possibly where we do differ is in our methods of achieving more production. We started our by saying: "First, balance your Budget and make your current account pay. Then get what money you can from any legitimate sources for a good capital programme." As far as I know, Fine Gael also agree with that. They always said they agreed with balancing the Budgetand agreed with getting whatever money they could for a capital programme. It must be remembered that money we get for a capital programme is used, first of all, for what one might call a State capital programme, for such things as electricity, telephones, Bord na Móna, Irish Shipping. Aer Lingus and so on. These are all bodies that require money to carry on their activities, but which, in most cases, is paid back. It is productive capital expenditure, if you like. It is in respect of companies organised by the State and whose boards are largely manned by State nominees.

The other part of the capital programme is in respect of such thigns as housing, sanitary schemes and matters of that kind. Every Government, more or less, follows the same pattern there also. We may say we have gone further in some things than they have gone and they may say that they have gone further than we have, but the figures will prove which is correct.

I heard a Deputy from the other side speak yesterday as if the rural electrification scheme was a Fine Gael scheme. I suppose if that Deputy were down the country talking to his constituents, he might believe him, but there is no use in saying that sort of thing here. As a matter of fact, if the Deputy looks it up, I think he will find that the rural electrification scheme was introduced by Fianna Fáil before a Coalition Government came in at all. From 1948 to 1951, the Coalition Government carried it on in a half-hearted sort of way. Then Fianna Fáil came back and got going again. During the last term of office, I admit, the Coalition Government took it more seriously but not any more seriously than Fianna Fáil did——

Be honest all the way.

I will tell you this: the programme for this year arranged by the Coalition Minister for Industry and Commerce, with the sanction of the then Minister for Finance, had to be increased by 33? per cent. by the Fianna Fáil Government since they came in. That will give you some indication of the difference between us on that matter.

However, our production is not all by State companies. Most of the production in this country comes from private enterprise. As I mentioned before, we are a private enterprise country. Private enterprise also requires capital, and industry, especially fairly big industry, requires a very big amount of capital. That capital must be got from private investors. The private investor who has money to spare takes an interest in the financial news. He becomes an adept at it and he gets information from it. Sometimes he makes a mistake. He sees what why shares are going and if there is a prospectus published for a new company he is able to judge fairly well for himself what the chances are that that company will suceed. Therefore, a person or group starting a new company must make the terms attractive if they are to get investments; and if they wish to expand an industry they must make the terms attractive in order to obtain the extra money necessary. How did we help in that case? That is the point. We could help only by not taking too much from them.

A person here has an option, if he has money to invest—he may put it into Irish industry or put it into industry somewhere else. He is not going to put it into Irish industry unless he will get a fair return for it. We may have patriotic people who will put money into Irish industry if they get a fair return, rather than put it into a foreign industry where they may get a bigger return; but you will not have patriotic people putting money into industries here if they are going to lose that money. Therefore, we must make it attractive. There must be a profit incentive. We can help only by saving we will not be too hard on them in the way of taxation.

Some of the items mentioned in this Budget are aimed at that particular object, to try to make it more attractive for people to put money into industries in this country. I knew very well, when framing these resolutions, that I would have the comment from the Opposition that we were "giving money to the rich". We could, of course, have evaded that sort of accusation by putting another 10/- in the £ on Irish industry and wiping it out and then we could go round like Fine Gael and say that we did not give way to those people.

It is all right as an incentive to industry.

You did not attack that?

Then it is a pity the other members of the Opposition were not the same, as they did not all say nice things about it. Then we decided we would give a bigger allowance for wear and tear. I was told that in other countries—Engaland especially, which always is compared with this country— they give a better allowance for wear and tear; so we said we would give it also. That is a fairly costly item. There is also a provision that shares in an Irish industry get a 20 per cent. relief in income-tax as compared to shares in a foreign industry.

That is sound.

There are other items. Shipping is getting a good relief. There are other reliefs also which I need not enumerate—all done to get our people here who have money, to put that money into Irish industry.

That was the only object we had in mind.

And that is all right.

We are twitted here by the Opposition because we have not a clearly stated policy. We aim at more production and we believe that if we can get more production in both industry and agriculture we will have achieved our object to a great extent. There will be more goods produced for ourselves here at home and that will obviate the necessity of importing goods which we are importing now. We would also have more goods for export and that would help to pay for more imports if we need them and would naturally give us a better standard of living. I think that policy is very clear and I cannot see that anyone would need a clearer policy. It is a broad policy. We are aiming as it in certain ways, which I will refer to later.

The Coalition Parties think that by writing down a policy they are doing the job. They write down 14 points and they say that is the policy. I remember going down to Cork for a by-election and I had the 14 points with me. I did not know what I should talk about and there was a very big crowd in Patrick Street. We stopped the traffic at that meeting. As I read out each of the 14 points, there was a huge laugh from the crowd. I read out No. 1, that the Coalition intended to put more people into employment. There was a huge laugh all over Cork at the idea that they would provide more employment. They were going to stop emigration and speed up housing and provide money for housing. I do not remember all of the 14 points now. When the Coalition Parties have written out a policy, they think the job is done. We did not need to write out things like that. We told the people what the policy was and we started to get on with it.

Is that a bit of Deputy Lemass's plan—the £100,000,000 plan? That is a slap at the Tánaiste.

I made a complaint here, when winding up the debate on the Financial Resolutions, that I did not get any worthwhile suggestions from the Opposition. I mean "worthwhile" in the sense of being worthwhile in efficacy. Deputies will understand what I mean by that. I said at the time that we wanted millions of pounds, that our job was to cover a deficit of £12,500,000. By getting in certain items in taxation which were obvious at the time—I am not talking about the new taxation now—and by certain savings, we eventually arrived at a sum of £8,000,000. We had to cover £8,000,000 and there was no use in making suggestions for a saving of £50,000. I got a letter from a man yesterday saying: "Why not wipe out the Seanad?" Even if we did, it would save only £50,000; and from the point of view of our economy it would not have any real effect on the Budget deficit.

Therefore, I say I did not get any worthwhile suggestion from the Opposition. The only one which emerged in the last few days was that we should have left the import levies as they were and brought them into current account, that that would meet our difficulties. First of all, these import levies were brought in as a temporary measure, to meet a crisis. Everybody knows that if the crisis were gone the import levies would go also, since no one regards them as being permanent . I feel sure it was for that reason that the Minister for Finance at that time actually put a clause into the Central Fund Bill to the effect that he could not use that he would have to put it into the Central Fund and use it for some capital purpose. I agree absolutely with that. The levies were brought in for a certain object. No one would think of putting those levies on for current income. Sometimes import taxes are put on for protective purposes and, of course, they are used naturally for current expenditure. Sometimes you have duties put on for revenue purposes—as for instance the duty on tobacco and the increase in the petrol duty. They are revenue taxes, not put on for protective reasons but for revenue.

This is a third type of thing, brought in in a critical situation to deal with a particular problem. Everyone agrees it should be removed as soon as the crisis has passed. Naturally they should not be brought into current account.

As well as that both the Coalition Government and this Government agreed that expenditure should be cut down. I quoted here on a previous occasion what the former Taoiseach and the former Minister for Finance said at a meeting in November. They said that expenditure could be cut to £96,500,000. It was £94,500,000 first but on account of C.I.E. they had to include an extra £2,000,000. They had in mind, I am quite sure, what we had in mind and that was that expenditure was too high. We had in mind that expenditure would have to be brought down. The point is, and it is important, that we needed the money on the capital side. We found it very hard to get sufficient money to meet our capital commitments for the coming year. We will, of course, have to borrow in order to make up the deficiency but we canmot leave too big a gap for borrowing because experience has shown that there is a limit to the amount that can be borowed in any one year, therefore, these import levies were badly needed on that side.

A number of Deputies on the other side made the point that if we had not abolished the levies and taken them into current account then we could have avoided abolishing the food subsides. That could be but I have given the reasons why it would be wrong to bring them in. We could have brought them in and afterwards could have made the cut in current expenditure but, whatever way we did it, I am afraid we would arrive at the same result.

Deputy Sweetman was disappointed that I did not make a more constructive speech. As I have already said, when winding up in the Budget debate, I think I dealt with every suggestion which was made. I took notes during the seven days of the debate. They were seven long days in which I had to listen to speeches being repeated and I think I dealt with practically every point that was raised. I have a few points that I was told I did not deal with then and I intend to refer to them. It was a seven-day debate; surely it was long enough for Deputies to make constructive suggestions if they had any to make. I did not read the full report of those seven days in the Official Reports but I did glance at them as I was anxious to see if I had missed anything I should have referred to. I knew I would have the opportunity of referring to them now.

If anybody would like to make some research into this matter he would be surprised when he reads that seven days' debate to see the difference of opinion between members of the Opposition. One of the Opposition members said there was no reason why we should give an additional £250,000 to relief schemes. A number of others said that we had not given enough at all. There were contradictions right through from the members of the Fine Gael Party and I need not say that speeches from the Labour Party also differed. It threw some light, if you like, on why the Coalition Government made such a mess of things when they were in office.

The Minister is annoyed. He is distributed about us.

I think that it would be more than one could hope for that we should all agree on everything but when we are arguing we should try and argue on the real facts of the case, We should not argue on false premises, I have already mentioned that gramophones, radio sets and other thigns are heavily taxed coming into the country. The parts of these articles are not taxed because it was hoped to build up an industry here. Knowing that, if Deputies have any complaint we can discuss it. Perhaps we will not agree but we can discuss it.

Another point made by a number of Deputies was in regard to butter. We all know that the better situation is difficult. It is difficult in this way, that we have to give our producers a certain price and when we come to export the surplus we cannot get anything like that price. There is a big deficiency between what the importers will give and what the producer is prepared to produce it at. Last year and the year before the Government was paying a subsidy to make up that difference. There is no change so far as that is concerned and the subsidy will be the same this year. One would gather from Deputies on the other side that on account of taking off the levies we would pay a higher export subsidy. We will not, providing the British give us the same price for butter as they did last year. The subsidy payable out of the Exchequer will be the same per lb. as last year.

We agree. Would the Minister not refer to what it is going to cost in a year?

There may be more butter produced——

That is an understatement.

Why blame Fianna Fáil if there is?

We are not blaming you for that. we are blaming you for lowering the internal consumption of butter.

That is all right, as long as we know the facts. We have a certain amount of butter to deal with here and, as I said already, we were compelled because of circumstances to remove these subsides. Some people would agree, apart altogether from that, that the home consumers should pay with it costs to produce in any case. What we are asking the home consumer to pay is what it costs to produce in the creameries, just that. Then we say to the creameries: "Whatever you have left over, for the present anyway—we do not know about the future—we will pay a subsidy on the exports." There are, of course, wild estimates given here that the consumption of butter has come down by half. I asked a person who has a few shops in Dublin what truth there was in that and, as far as Dublin is concerned, I do not know about the country, there was a reduction in the first week and that is all.

He has the contraband now.

He has not. He is paying the creameries for his butter.

Will the Deputy for goodness' sake keep quiet and allow me to speak?

Deputy O'Sullivan wants a reduction in the price of butter.

I do not know what he wants. He will not listen to anything. We were accused of telling the people in 1947 that they were eating too much. Deputies on the other side brought in the Official Report here to quote something that was said in 1947. Deputy Blowick also took up the point. I am surprised at Deputy Blowick. I thought he was a sensible man. There were three different years —1947, 1952 and 1957.

Three different years, but the same Fianna Fáil.

I shall tell the Deputy all about it. They brought in the Official Report to quote something that was said in 1947 and every speaker on the other side, one after the other, quoted it. Even yet, I do not know exactly what the point was, but there seemed to be nothing in it, in any case. In 1947, we were accused of telling the people that they were eating too much. What did we do in 1947, if we thought the people were eating too much? We brought in a Supplementary Budget to give them still cheaper food. Is that not what we did? What does any Deputy expect to gain by saying that we accused the people of eating too much, considering we brought in a Budget to make food cheaper still?

In 1947, we reduced the price of bread and butter under the Supplementary Budget. I think those were the two items, as far as I remember. When the Coalition came into office, they found that Budget was not necessary. Why? Because Fianna Fáil had been in charge of the country for 16 years and they left the finances of the State in such a condition that they could remove certain taxes. But the position is different now. I could not take off £7,000,000. I have had to put on £8,000,000 instead. Therein lies the difference. I have dealt with 1947. Let us have an end now to this quoting of somebody as saying that in 1947 the people were too well off and getting food too cheaply. It was in 1947 a Budget was brought in to give them still cheaper food. That should put an end to that argument.

I dealt in length with 1952 on the last occasion I spoke and I do not propose to repeat all that I said then. When we came in in 1952, what was the position? In 1947, I had prepared a Social Welfare Bill. The Coalition Government came in and sat on that Bill for three years. When we returned to office in 1952, we had to bring in the Bill and pass it. It cost £7,000,000. We had to find that £7,000,000 in 1952. We gave better benefits all round and the result of all that was visible in 1954. Everything had improved in 1954. The highest employment ever given was in 1954.

Teh figures are there. The highest employment ever given was in 1954. We had the highest number of cows and the highest number of pigs. Deputy Dillon talked about pigs being 250,000 up. As a matter of fact, they were down last year. In 1954, we had the highest number of heifers and calves and it was the first year in which agricultural employment did not go down, but when the Coalition came back into office, it began to go down again.

All the improvements shown were the result of the 1952 Budget and if we get in two years' time the same results from this Budget, we shall be quite pleased. I know the Fine Gael Deputies will not be pleased, but we will be quite pleased. Of course, this time the situation is different. We found ourselves faced with the stark reality of £6,000,000 short in the Budget last year. That was the first time that ever occured. There were Budget deficits in the past, but only to the extent of £500,000 or so. Last year, it was £6,000,000 short. The Estimates presented to us by the outgoing Government were £5,000,000 up, making a total of £11,000,000, and the Central Fund Bill put another £1,500,000 on to that. We had to do something to rectify the situation and it was obvious to anybody that a Budget would have to be produced which would take note of the fact that there was a gap of £11,000,000.

Deputies opposite would balance the Budget. They would balance it by the import levies. They would balance it in the same way as they balanced it last year, namely, by leaving it £6,000,000 short at the end of the financial year. Most of the Fine Gael Deputy makes a point, all the subsequent Fine Gael speakers repeat it. One Fine Gael speaker said we had a different approach. We have a different approach, a very different approach. The approach of the Coalition was not to do anything; let the Budget go and let there be a deficit; let nobody do anything about it. Their policy was a policy of "drift"; avoid any difficulty; do not do anything that might get one into trouble and stick it out as long as one can. God knows, they did stick out a long time. Even with the by-elections going against the, they did not take any notice.

We came in and our task now is to put the country on its feet and balance the Budget. That is only one step in the right direction, putting the country on its feet by providing the capital requirements which will put people into employment and bring about increased production. Therein lies the difference and it is no use Deputies contradicting, because the facts are there. The fact is they failed to balance the Budget by £6,000,000 and the fact is that, when we were in office, we balanced the Budget and kept things right.

The Minister's Party never balanced a Budget in 20 years. What is the Minister talking about?

The Deputy says we never balanced a Budget. From 1951 to 1954 the complaint always was that we had £10,000,000 too much. Look back over the speeches in the past. In every speech made by Deputy McGilligan, Deputy Costello and Deputy MacEoin, we were accused of taking £10,000,000 too much by way of taxation.

You never got it. Would the Minister indicate one year in which he balanced a Budget?

Deputy O'Sullivan will say anything that comes in his head, and he is in the right Party because he need not bother about the truth. Deputy Russell made suggestions, and that was something other Deputies did not do. He said he would have avoided cutting the food subsides to the extent of 100 per cent. He agreed we might find it necessary to go a bit of the way towards cutting food subsides and he suggested we should find our finances from other sources. He suggested taxing entertainments. Entertainments are a poor source of revenue and I doubt if we would get very much if we increased such taxation. Even if we doubted the tax, I doubt if we would get very much more. Doubling the tax on cinema seats, theatre seats and everything else would bring in only £200,000 to £300,000 in the year. Everybody knows that would be an absurd proposition.

Deputy Russell also mentioned luxury goods. I would certainly put a tax on whiskey, if I thought we would get anything out of it. The last time we taxed whiskey, we got practically nothing out of it, because the people went off whiskey. I am sure it is as high as it can go, although some of us might be prepared to pay another 6d. on it. I am afraid it is as high as we can possibly make it and that is the only reason why we did not increase the tax on it.

The Minister taxed the poor man's pint instead.

It is not the case of the poor man's pint. If I could get more by increasing the tax on whiskey, I would increase the tax. We put a heavy tax on wine in the 1947 Budget and when Fine Gael came into office they look that tax off and boasted they got a higher revenue yield. We did not say then that they were taxing the rich. We knew they were right in taking it off, and they got more out of it. I am not here to hurt the rich man or anybody else. I am not here for social or religious reform. I am simply here to get money. That is the only object I have.

Deputy MacEoin blamed me for not dealing with the Racing Board in the Budget debate. Everybody will agree that the horse-breding industry is a very important industry, particularly on the bloodstock side, because we are in a position to get good returns for any bloodstok we export. It was realised some few years ago that the only way our bloodstock would be properly tested and, therefore, secure the best prices, was by having good race meetings where they would be properly tried against good horses.

The Racing Board was set up at that time. They were given the power to improve the courses and to increase the stakes. By increasing the stakes, they hoped to get more and better horses running, bring horses in from outside, and so on. I think they achieved their object in that respect. That, of course, would help the breeders and trainers to produce good horses which would eventually bring a good return. The board were making very good progress but last year the Minister for Finance —I can sympathise with him; he was badly of for money—proposed putting a tax on bets on the racecourses. The Racing Board said it would practically finish them, if that were done. They said they would give him a certain sum for the year. I do not know what the Minister for Finance thought, but the Racing Board thought one year would be enough, and I think it was. If you were to put a tax of £100,000 or £140,000 on the Racing Board every year, their whole function would go. They would not be able to give grants to improve courses and they certainly would not be able to give grants for increased stakes for racing. For that reason, I did not proceed to put on that tax in the present year.

My only complaint was the Minister did not tell us he was doing that.

Perhaps I should have informed the House but I overlooked it.

Finally, we are accused as regards our future of preaching a gospel of gloom. Nothing could be further from the truth. I do not think any Party could have had the same faith as Fianna Fáil had in the future of the country. When Fianna Fáil assumed office in 1932, they had the faith in the people of this country to build up industry, which Fine Gael had not. They had the faith to achieve the growing of wheat, beet, and so on, which Fine Gael thought could not be done. they had faith in putting the country on its feet economically. There is no use in Fine Gael saying we preached a gospel of despair as if they were the custodians of the country's future.

Deputy Dillon made a speech to-day similar to that which he made on the Financial Resolutions. He pointed out what had been done here in the past 30 or 40 years. Deputy Dillon spoke at length and I do not want to cover the same ground. However, he was quite right when he pointed out the great improvement in standards compared with 30 or 40 years ago. As regards the talk about this country not being worth living in, I do not think any Fianna Fáil Deputy has spoken on those lines; at least, if he has, I have bot heard him. There is not much point in having one Party accusing the other of that gospel of despair. There is nothing in it at all, and it is not justifiable to make that accusation against Fianna Fáil.

Question put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 70; Níl, 46.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, patrick.
  • Blaney, Neal T.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Boland, Kevin.
  • Booth, Lionel.
  • Brady, Philip A.
  • Brady, Sean.
  • Breen, Dan.
  • Brennan, Joseph.
  • Brennan, Paudge.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Burke, Patrick.
  • Calleary, Phelim A.
  • Carty, Michael.
  • Childers, Erskine.
  • Clohessy, Patrick.
  • Collins, James J.
  • Corry, Martin J.
  • Cotter, Edward.
  • Cuningham, Liam.
  • Davern, Mick.
  • de Valera, Eamon.
  • de Valera, Vivion.
  • Doherty, Seán.
  • Donegan, Batt.
  • Dooley, Patrick.
  • Egan, Kieran P.
  • Faulkner, Padraig.
  • Flanagan, Seán.
  • Gallagher, Colm.
  • Geoghegan, John.
  • Gibbons, James.
  • Gilbride, Eugene.
  • Gogan, Richard P.
  • Griffin, James.
  • Haughey, charles.
  • Healy, Augustine A.
  • Hillery, Patrick J.
  • Hilliard, Michael.
  • Humphreys, Francis.
  • Kenneally, William.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kitt, Michael F.
  • Lemass, Noel T.
  • Lemass, Seán.
  • Loughman, Frank.
  • Lynch, Celia.
  • Lynch, Jack.
  • MacCarthy, Seán.
  • MacEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Maher, Peadar.
  • Medlar, Martin
  • Moher, John W.
  • Moloney, Daniel J.
  • Mooney, Patrick.
  • Moran, Michael.
  • Ó Briain, Donnchadh.
  • Ormonde, John.
  • O'Toole, James.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Sheldon, William A. W.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.


  • Belton, Jack.
  • Blowick, Joseph.
  • Browne, Noel C.
  • Burke, James.
  • Byrne, Patrick.
  • Byrne, Tom.
  • Carew, John.
  • Carroll, James.
  • Casey, seán.
  • Coburn, George.
  • Coogan, Fintan.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Costello, Declan D.
  • Costello, John A.
  • Crotty, Patrick J.
  • Desmond, Daniel.
  • McQuillan, John.
  • Manley, Timothy.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, William.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Donnell, Patrick.
  • O'Higgins, Michael J.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Maurice E.
  • Esmonde, Anthony C.
  • Fagan, Charles.
  • Flanagan, Oliver J.
  • Hogan, Bridget.
  • Hughes, Joseph.
  • Jones, Denis F.
  • Kenny, Henry.
  • Kyne, Thomas A.
  • Larkin, Denis.
  • Lindsay, Patrick.
  • Lynch, Thaddeus.
  • MacEoin, Seán.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • O'Reilly, Patrick.
  • O'Sullivan, Denis J.
  • Palmer, Patrick W.
  • Rooney, Eamonn.
  • Russell, George E.
  • Sweetman, Gerard.
  • Tully, John.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Ó Briain and Hilliard; Níl: Deputies O'Sullivan and Kyne.
Question declared carried.
Committee Stage ordered for Tuesday, 25th June, 1957.
The Dáil adjourned at 5.10 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Tuesday, 18th June, 1957.