Committee on Finance. - Vote 44—Industry and Commerce (Resumed).

Debate resumed on the following motion:
Go ndeonófar suim nach mó ná £1,841,000 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31ú lá de Mhárta, 1962, le haghaidh Tuarastail agus Costais Oifig an Aire Tionscail agus Tráchtála, lena n-áirítear Seirbhísí áirithe atá faoi riaradh na hOifige sin, agus chun Ildeontais-i-gCabhair a íoc.—(Aire Tionscail agus Trachtála.)

I had been dealing with the new capital investment in Irish Steel Holdings for the purpose of extending the company's activities.

The Irish Steel Holdings Limited, Act, 1960, permits the Company to increase its share capital to £4 million, to be subscribed, as required, by the Minister for Finance. All major contracts in connection with the Company's development programme have now been placed. Payments made in respect of commitments to 31st March, 1961—excluding expenditure amounting to £30,000 which has been charged against the Company's own resources —total £1.4 million approximately.

It is expected that the expansion plans of the steel works at Haulbowline Island will take at least three years to complete.

Virtually a new steelworks is being built on the site of the existing one; and I would like to pay tribute to management and workers at Haulbowline for their efforts which have resulted in not only maintaining but actually increasing output despite the large-scale development which is going on. It is estimated that deliveries to the home market in the year 1960-61 will be up by as much as 15 per cent. on deliveries in 1959-60.

Payments, as approved by Dáil Éireann on 2nd March, 1961, were made during 1960/61 to mitigate the hardships of shop grade workers of the former Great Northern Railway workshops at Dundalk who were found to be temporarily or permanently redundant.

Payments were at the rate of 30/- and 50/- a week for single and married men respectively during temporary disemployment with increases equal to the benefits lost in the case of workers who were deprived of unemployment assistance owing to the receipt of theseex gratia payments. All payments made in respect of temporary disemployment were deducted from severance payments in any case where a worker who being first declared temporarily redundant was subsequently declared permanently redundant. Severance payments were at the rate of one month's pay for each complete year of service up to a maximum of 24. Actual payments during 1960-61 were : stand-off pay, £6,275, severance pay, £143,149.

There are uncertainties existing which preclude the termination of the scheme just at present but I expect that the position regarding the future employment prospects of the workers will very soon be sufficiently clear to allow of the cessation of theseex gratia payments.

In accordance with the Grass Meal (Production) (Amendment) Act, 1959, a new company—Min Fhéir (1959) Teoranta—with share capital of £200,000 to be subscribed by the Minister for Finance has been formed and drainage operations have commenced on land acquired at Geesala, County Mayo. It is hoped to commence the sowing of grass on a small scale and the construction of a grass-drying plant in the course of the year.

As Deputies will be aware, I arranged for the issue through the post of a series of leaflets urging the public to "Buy Irish". I should like to take this opportunity of thanking the Press, the individuals and the organisations who lent their support to the idea behind this campaign and I would urge them to continue their support for Irish products.

The gross national product is provisionally estimated to have increased in 1960 by 4 per cent. compared with 1959 as against an annual increase of 2 per cent. envisaged in the Government'sProgramme for Economic Expansion. It is pleasant to be able to record a further year of progress and expanding economic activity and to thank all sections of the community, who by their co-operation, have enabled us to exceed the target set in that programme.

The increasing number of factories established by external interests to cater for export markets should lay the foundation for a further expansion in industrial output and employment but we must not overlook the vital part which has been and is being played by our own people—by the Irish industrialists who have steadily increased their output and who are now meeting with increasing success in export markets and by the Irish workers who have shown skill and adaptability and a willingness to co-operate in the expansion of production and the adoption of new and more efficient methods.

I would urge any of our industrialists who have not yet done so to examine the possibility of expanding into export markets. The rewards are considerable from the points of view both of the individual and of the nation as a whole. I would also urge trade unionists and workers to co-operate in the efforts of employers to increase exports. By doing so they will not only be securing their own future, through the increased prosperity of the concerns in which they work; they will also be helping in the provision of employment for fellow citizens who might otherwise have to emigrate.

The State has continued to do its part to stimulate increased industrial activity. During the past financial year An Foras Tionscal approved grants amounting to £1,591,250 for projects located in the undeveloped areas, bringing the total provision for such grants to £4,614,600. Of this amount grants totalling £2,115,700 were paid to 31st March, 1961, leaving outstanding commitments of £2,498,900. The total capital investment involved in the approved projects amounts to over £11 million and it is expected that they will give employment to over 8,000 persons. Sixty-one projects assisted by An Foras Tionscal are in production in the undeveloped areas and there are 29 other projects for which grants have been promised and which are in varying stages of development. A substantial number of these projects are related mainly to exports.

The increase of £150,000 in this year's provision for the undeveloped areas, as compared with last year's may be taken as an indication that the tempo of industrial development is still increasing in the undeveloped areas and that commitments entered into by An Foras Tionscal in respect of projects which have not yet reached the grant paying stage, warrant an increase of this order.

As regards grants by An Foras Tionscal for industries outside the undeveloped areas, during the year ended 31st March, 1961, An Foras Tionscal approved grants amounting to £1,686,000, bringing the total grants approved for such projects to £2,779,000.

Of this latter sum, grants totalling £537,000 were paid to 31st March, 1961, leaving outstanding commitments of £2,242,000. The total capital investment in the 34 approved projects amounts to about £15½ millon. It is estimated that these projects, which are mainly in the export field, will employ about 6,500 persons.

Deputies will probably be aware, particularly from local press reports, that I have been under considerable pressure, especially in the past few months, to abolish the distinction between the undeveloped areas and the rest of the country, thereby removing the disparity in the maximum grants available for industry as between the undeveloped areas and the rest of the country. In support of this view, it is sometimes suggested that the labour pool in the parts of the existing scheduled areas will be exhausted shortly and that the labour demands of projects sited in these areas can then only be met by importing labour from other parts of or outside the undeveloped areas. Also, it is suggested that the rate of industrial development in the undeveloped areas has been enormous,vis-à-vis the rest of the country. This is not so; figures available to me disprove conclusively this suggestion. As regards the suggestion that the labour pool in the undeveloped areas will shortly be exhausted, I feel that we are still some distance from that goal.

I do believe, however, that the time is approaching when a review must be undertaken of the original concept of the undeveloped areas and of the industrial grants scheme. Among the matters which would be covered by such a review would be the desirability of making greater use of the discretionary authority granted to the Minister for Industry and Commerce under the Undeveloped Areas Acts to enable other parts of the country to qualify for the more favourable grants applicable in the undeveloped areas. Experience of the industrial grants scheme to date makes it clear that a review of the type mentioned would be a complicated and lengthy process. Pending the undertaking and completion of such a review, it will be my general policy to continue to schedule areas outside the undeveloped areas only where they are "fringe" areas contiguous to the undeveloped areas proper.

It is necessary, however, to make certain limited amendments of the legislation in the near future and a Bill containing these amendments was introduced to-day. Its main purpose is to provide additional moneys for the payment of industrial grants by An Foras Tionscal: it is now clear that the amount of money authorised for industrial grants, up to 31st December, 1963, is likely to be committed well in advance of that date.

The exploration and development of our mineral resources continued at a steady pace during the past year. The agreement which was concluded with American interests for the carrying out of a comprehensive scheme of exploration for oil and natural gas in this country came into force on the enactment of the Petroleum and other Minerals Development Act, 1960, and the granting of an exploration licence to Ambassador Irish Oil Ltd. in March, 1960. The Company furnished me with a report on their first year's operations up to the end of March, 1961. The report shows that the Company are proceeding in accordance with the terms of the agreement and the exploration licence. They carried out geological and other investigations over all areas considered prospective throughout the year, and they had a seismic survey undertaken in the midland and north-western counties in the period October to December, 1960. The results of the investigations and survey are stated to have been encouraging. The Company is at present carrying out an overwater seismic survey along the coast from Galway to Tralee.

I have recently agreed to proposals for the reorganisation of the structure of the oil exploration group. These proposals involve the dissolution of the Irish Company and its replacement by American registered subsidiaries of Ambassador Oil Corporation, Continental Oil Company of Texas, and the Ohio Oil Company. I am satisfied that the Continental and Ohio Oil Companies are efficient and reputable and that they have at their disposal financial and technical resources which will enable the work of exploring for oil in this country to be completed more quickly and will thus make available sooner any benefits that would accrue to the country from the discovery of oil.

St. Patrick's Copper Mines Ltd. continued in production of copper and pyrites at Avoca throughout the year giving employment to about 500 workers. A decline in the world price of copper during the second half of 1960 did not help the Company. There has, however, been some recovery in copper prices recently and this, together with increasing production and an improvement in the grade of copper produced, should put the Company's operations on a better basis.

The new Abbeytown Mining Co. Ltd. which resumed production of lead and zinc at Abbeytown, County Sligo, in 1959 continued in production throughout the past year. Exploration work for copper at Allihies, County Cork, by the Emerald Isle Mining Co. Ltd. has continued but the stage has not yet been reached where the mine can be brought into production. There has recently been an infusion of fresh capital into the venture by Denison Mines of Canada, a large scale uranium company and it is understood that an extensive drilling programme will be carried out in the area in the coming year.

The exploration in the Leinster and Connaught coalfield which is being financed from American Grant Counterpart Funds is progressing satisfactorily. The drilling so far carried out has been effective in giving precise information as to the existence of coal, the thickness of the seams and the quality of the coal in certain areas, and as to the absence of coal in other areas. The drilling campaigns in both coalfields are still some way short of completion and the full significance of the results being obtained cannot be deduced until information has been gathered from all the planned boreholes.

A scheme of technical assistance grants for private exploration of minerals in accordance with the White Paper Programme for Economic Expansion is also in operation. Grants of up to one-half of the cost may be given where there are likely to be commercially workable deposits of minerals in an area and their development is desirable in the national interest. During the past year Canadian and American firms have shown a continuing interest in the investigation of the mineral resources of the country. Facilities were granted to some of these firms to enable them to carry out exploration work.

Exports in 1960 attained the record level of £152.4 million, representing an increase of £21.7 million (or 16.6 per cent.) over the 1959 figure. Imports totalled £226.4 million an increase of £13.7 million (or 6.5 per cent.) over the previous highest figure of £212.6 million attained in 1959. In the result the import excess, which was £81.9 million in 1959, fell by £7.9 million to £74 million in 1960.

The substantial improvement in export trade affected all export groupings, the most marked improvement being in the category "Other Raw Materials and Manufactured Goods" which showed a rise of £8 million over 1959. Exports of food, drink and tobacco increased by £7.6 million, and of live animals by £5.6 million. A feature of the latter trade was its change in structure, the emphasis in 1960 being on fat instead of store cattle. While imports exceeded the 1959 figure by £13.8 million, a very large part of that amount, namely £12.7 million was in respect of materials for manufacturing industries.

Provision is made for a further extension of the activities of Córas Tráchtála in accordance with the Government's policy of intensifying export promotion activity. It has been arranged that the Board will take over general responsibility for the promotion of design in industry. A sum of £40,000 is being provided this year to continue the advertising and promotion of Irish whiskey in the U.S.A.. While results are necessarily slow, they indicate a measure of success in stimulating interest in Irish whiskey in the American market. Export sales to the United States in the past two years were 57,726 proof gallons in 1959 and 52,905 proof gallons in 1960, representing in each year a substantial increase over the 1955 export sales figure of 39,513 proof gallons which was the previous highest total. The Irish whiskey distillers have been bearing a substantial and increasing share of the cost of the joint campaign of institutional and brand advertising. With the reduced subvention from State funds, the distillers must now assume a greater share of the cost.

Encouraging as has been the expansion of our industrial exports we must not allow ourselves to be lulled into any false sense of security. It should be obvious to everybody that it will become progressively more difficult for us to sell in certain export markets, namely the Common Market and the EFTA Market. The gradual reduction of tariff barriers between the members of each of these groups will naturally intensify competition in their markets. For us this is particularly important in so far as the British market is concerned. We have had the substantial advantage of free entry. That advantage will contract in value according as other countries approach and achieve free entry. There is, as Deputies will be aware, the possibility, if not indeed the probability, that some re-grouping may occur in the not too distant future which may further affect our competitive position in the British market. It is imperative, therefore, that we should constantly strive for greater efficiency if we are to maintain, not to say expand, our exports even to our nearest market.

The necessity to strive constantly for greater efficiency is not however limited to the export trade. It applies with equal force and urgency to manufacture for the home market. For some years past, manufacturers have been warned of the possibility of Ireland becoming associated with some European free trade movement which would involve the reduction and eventual elimination of tariffs and the abandonment of other forms of protection. Time and again it has been emphasised that in the light of this possibility it was incumbent on every manufacturer to make increased efficiency his first concern.

I am sure that most manufacturers took these warnings seriously, but I fear that the atmosphere of alertness which prevailed when the proposal for a European Free Trade area was first under active consideration may have relaxed with the abandonment of that proposal and that with the passage of time some at least of our manufacturers may allow themselves to be lulled into a false sense of security. This would be a grave mistake. It is obvious that trading relationships in Europe may change, and change quickly. In this situation the only sensible course for our manufacturers is to plan their business, as stated by the Taoiseach during the course of a recent speech at Killarney, on the assumption that if a Western European economic community, including Britain, comes about, this country will go along with it, and will have to accept, with membership, an obligation to dismantle our industrial tariffs and quotas over some period of years.

It has been several times said to me that this is a difficult period for manufacturers because they cannot forecast the future. I do not accept this. Any sensible manufacturer will be doing himself good, and doing well by the country, if he assumes that the era of protection is ending and if he puts himself, by all the means at his disposal, in a position to meet unrestricted competition in the home market.

It may be recalled that in the course of my speech last year on the Estimates for my Department I ventured the opinion that the coming year would bring significant progress in the tourist industry. I think it will be agreed that that confidence has to a great extent been justified. Estimated income from visitors in 1960 reached a record figure of £42.4 million compared with £37.8 million in 1959. This means that in the three-year period since 1957 there has been an increase of about 30% in earnings from this source.

As I also mentioned last year, shortage of hotel accommodation was threatening to become the chief barrier to the further development of the industry and so certain new grant and tax incentives were introduced in January, 1960, to encourage the expansion and improvement of such accommodation. These incentives have already produced beneficial results. During 1960, 76 hotel projects were undertaken which have resulted,inter alia, in the provision of more than 600 new bedrooms. The overall capital investment involved in these projects was of the order of £1 million. Other projects have been initiated which will result in a substantial increase in the volume of accommodation for visitors.

The scheme of grants for the development of major tourist resorts is now well under way and proposals for projects at the various resorts are taking firmer shape. The nature of these projects, however, calls for careful co-ordination between Bord Fáilte Éireann and the local interest concerned and for that reason progress in the initial stages is necessarily slow.

During the past year, the Fair Trade Commission completed their inquiry into the supply and distribution of motor spirit and motor lubricating oil and they have recently furnished me with their Report. The Report is at present being studied and it will be published in due course. The Commission have recently held an inquiry into certain aspects of the supply and distribution of cookers and ranges.

During the past year, the Commission have also made Fair Trading Rules relating to entry into the wholesale trade in domestic and household electrical appliances. In addition, the Commission continued to keep under review the operation of Orders and Fair Trading Rules and, as in previous years, they gave advice and assistance to manufacturers and traders who experienced difficulties in relation to the supply and distribution of goods not covered by existing Rules or Orders.

Recent strikes in essential industries —an example was the C.I.E. bus strike —have prompted me to consider whether our present industrial relations machinery can be improved. This question is at present under examination but no decisions have as yet been taken. Before a decision is made, I will arrange consultation with representatives of employers and workers.

The Government have introduced legislation to provide for increased holidays for workers. At present, in addition to the public holidays or days in lieu, workers are entitled to one week's annual leave with pay. Very many workers have, through collective bargaining, secured an additional week's annual leave and the new legislation will make this standard of two weeks' holidays, plus the Public Holidays or compensatory days off, a statutory minimum. It is the Government's hope to have this legislation in force so that it will benefit workers in the coming holiday season.

The review of insurance legislation is at present proceeding. While an amount of work has been done, it will not be possible to introduce a comprehensive amending Bill in the present session. Present indications are that the Bill will not provide for any radical changes in the existing law.

It will probably be necessary, however, to introduce a special Bill to increase the limit of £2,000,000 for export credit insurance provided for in Section 2 of the Insurance Act, 1953. The increase in our export trade is tending to make that limit too low.

An Cheard Comhairle was established in April, 1960, under the Apprenticeship Act, 1959. Its function is to secure improvements in existing arrangements for the recruitment and training of apprentices. An Chomhairle is representative of employers, workers and educational interests. Its first task was to determine policy and I am glad to be able to report that, within a few months of its establishment, An Chomhairle agreed unanimously on a progressive and imaginative statement of policy.

The next step in the progress of An Chomhairle—and this is already in hands—is promotional in nature. It must attempt to create a climate of opinion among the various interests concerned which will be favourable to change and improvement. It must, at the same time, commence to implement its policy in the various craft trades. I understand that An Chomhairle hopes, in the near future, to commence the examination of a number of trades under the Act and, since it cannot examine all the Trades simultaneously, to promote voluntary efforts at improvement in a number of other trades.

Apprenticeship as a method of training can be regarded as successful only if it produces an adequate and adaptable force of skilled men to meet the problems arising in an era of industrial expansion. The apprenticeship system in Ireland is not at present geared to do this. An Cheard Chomhairle has the important, but difficult, task of securing the necessary changes. It has made a good start; but if it is to make rapid progress it must have the goodwill and co-operation of the trade unions and the employers. One thing is certain, we cannot allow the impetus which has been achieved to be checked in the years to come by shortage of skilled men, and by deficiencies in skill arising from inadequate training methods. It is up to An Chomhairle to use its powers firmly, but fairly, to see to it that this does not happen.

Considerable progress has been made with the drafting of legislation to amend and consolidate the Companies Acts. In addition to effecting such amendments as have been shown to be desirable, it is intended that the new Act will bring together in a single measure all the law in this field, at present scattered throughout a number of enactments. It is not possible as yet to say when the Bill will be introduced, but every effort is being made to expedite its preparation.

A review of the law relating to trade marks, designs and patents is being carried out by the Patents Office in orderinter alia to meet certain changes in the international Convention on these matters, to which this country is a party, and also to keep in line with the international trend in trade mark design and patent practice. It is already clear that legislative proposals will have to be submitted to the Dáil in due course.

A review of the law of copyright, which is contained in the Industrial and Commercial Property (Protection) Acts, 1927-1958, has been completed and I hope to have a Bill prepared on the subject before very long which will provide for the protection of sound and television broadcasts and for various other amendments of the law.

That represents the statement as already prepared on the administration of the Department of Industry and Commerce during the past year. If there are any other details or facts the House would like me to elucidate, I shall be glad to do so in my reply.

The most significant fact about the Minister's speech, was, I think, the omission from it of any reference to the cost of living. The Minister gave a review of the activities of his Department and covered a great number of topics without making a single reference to the cost of living and, in particular, any reference to the recently published figures which show a further rise in the consumer price index. Since 1957, when this Government were elected, there has been a continuous rise in the cost of living. In 1957, the February index, just before the present Government were elected, stood at 135. The latest figure, which was issued for the middle of May, 1961, shows that it now stands at 150.37. This increase in the cost of living has occurred during a period in which there has been a continuous reduction in import prices. The Government have had the advantage of a fall in import prices compared with the conditions which existed during the term of office of the previous Government when import prices were rising. The rise in the cost of living, therefore, is all the more remarkable now.

At the same time, individual items have shown a very substantial increase. As well as the consumer price index, food items have increased on the latest figures by 0.97 of a point and sundries by 0.68, so that food alone has increased by about 17 points since 1957. Clothing has increased by over four points and housing and sundries by 11 points. In addition to these items, there have been very considerable increases in other commodities widely consumed, such as tinned salmon, 15 per cent.; condensed milk, 4 per cent.; biscuits, 10 per cent.; cocoa, 12½ per cent.; and other groceries, 15½ per cent. At the same time bus fares have increased by no less than 14 per cent. and train fares by 12 per cent.

As I say, these increases occurred at a time when import prices were falling and we have the position that, over the past four years, there has been a very substantial increase in the cost of living. The very latest figure issued, the consumer price index, shows a further rise. It is of some significance, I think, that the Minister omitted to make any reference to these in the course of his remarks. He also omitted to indicate what the prospects will be for the future. The Taoiseach was reported in theSunday Press of 8th July, 1956, as stating that “We can hold out a genuine prospect of price stability.” That statement was made at a time when import prices were rising. There has been a continuous decline in import prices during the past four years but, despite that, there has been this substantial and continuous increase in the cost of living, an increase affecting all sections of the community.

In addition to the items I have mentioned, many other items, affecting in particular the lower paid sections in the community and large families, have increased in price. Flour has increased by 89 per cent. Bread has increased by 69 per cent. Butter has increased by 22 per cent. We have the situation therefore that, although we have reduced the price paid for wheat to our own producers, we are charging our own consumers substantially more for bread and substantially more for flour. We are also charging them substantially more for butter. These increases have to be borne by those same people who are obliged to bear the impact of the increases in bus fares and train fares and who have, at the same time, to meet increased social welfare contributions by reason of a recent decision. They are also obliged to pay an increased cost of 10/- as compared with 6/- for hospital accommodation under our health services.

These increases are all being borne by people who were promised in 1956 that there was a genuine prospect of price stability.

Simultaneously with that undertaking being given, the present Government undertook, if elected, to provide over a five-year period 100,000 new jobs. That programme was outlined in very considerable detail and, in order to have a certain margin or enough leeway, the figure for any specific year was not strictly defined but, over a five-year period, it was estimated that the target would be achieved. Now, after four years in which this Government has had the advantage of stable economic conditions, a comfortable majority in the House, and a co-operative and constructive Opposition, we find that, although there has been an expansion in industrial production, the figures quoted by the Minister show that last year only 3,400 additional people secured employment in manufacturing industry. It is, I think, notable that, despite the increase in industrial production, the increase in the numbers employed in manufacturing industry is not great. Indeed, the increase in production that has occurred here is lower than the average European increase.

Instead of having reached the target set out in 1956 by the people who now constitute the Government, we find that this year, according to the figures published in theEconomics Statistics issued at Budget time, there are now 51,000 fewer people employed in Ireland as compared with the number employed in 1956. Side by side with that decrease, very large numbers have emigrated, and continue to do so. Some few months ago, in reply to a question in the British House of Commons, figures were published which showed that the number of working emigrants who went into Britain for the first time from the Republic in 1959 was 64,000; in 1958, the number was 58,000. These figures are based on the number of insurance cards issued to people entering employment in Britain for the first time from the country. In the short space of two years, we have the position, therefore, in which not only have we fewer people employed here as compared with 1956 but, at the same time, we have continuous and sustained emigration to Britain. In the same period this country has made very substantial State investments. It is disappointing to find that for the amount of money invested the return is comparatively small.

I have here before me the report of An Foras Tionscal. I noted the figures contained in the Minister's speech. In relation to investment both from State sources and other capital invested in projects since the initiation of An Foras Tionscal, and including grants under the Industrial Grants Act, we find that for a total investment of over £7,000,000 the total number employed is estimated at 5,800. I noted, too, from the Minister's speech that the total capital investment in 34 approved projects amounted to £15,500,000 and it was estimated that these projects would employ 6,500 persons. Whether the earlier or later figure is taken, for a total investment of that magnitude the number employed is not very considerable. Indeed, only a slight impact was made on the problem that has to be surmounted here.

I have always held the view and I am convinced that progress in industry is essential, if we are to provide employment for our own people. The figures taken over any period of years show that the trend away from the rural areas is continuous. The most optimistic hope would be that we could maintain the existing level of employment in agriculture. We cannot hope for an increase in agricultural employment. If, therefore, we are to provide employment for those persons who leave agricultural occupations as well as for the boys and girls who reach manhood or womanhood each year, we must seek opportunities through industrial development and expansion. The prospects of providing increased employment to a very considerable extent depend on such expansion and development. It is, therefore, of vital interest to the country that we should consider the developments that are taking place and carefully examine the return which is shown for the large-scale investment being made from both State and private sources.

It is satisfactory to note that industrial production last year increased and that the trend is in the right direction but it is well to keep that matter in proper perspective because compared with the expansion in industrial production in other European countries, we still lag behind many of those countries and our increase is not up to the European average.

The Minister referred to the developments likely to take place with the advent of the Common Market. The House and industrialists will be anxious to hear what steps the Minister and the Department of Industry and Commerce have taken to keep industrialists abreast of possible development in that field. This is a matter which has been the subject of considerable Press comment and interest for a number of years.

While various changes and alterations in the attitudes of various countries have been canvassed from time to time, the actual developments have been in certain respects slight. It does appear from references in our own newspapers and in the British Press and from recent statements in the British Parliament as though the British Government are giving this matter closer attention than was the case up to now. If that is so, and if the British Government reach a decision on it, our interests will be vitally affected.

I should like to say that whatever decision is reached in regard to the Common Market must be a national decision and not a Party one. The welfare of the nation is involved and whatever action is taken will have permanent and serious consequences which will affect our economic interests. It is important, however, that, at this stage, before a decision is taken or before any further developments occur elsewhere, we should generally gear ourselves to meet the likely consequences of a decision to join or to be associated with the Common Market. For these reasons, the Department of Industry and Commerce should take steps to advise manufacturers and keep them informed on this matter.

Very many references have been made by persons qualified to express an opinion, by economists, by people who write on these subjects, to the effect that this development, whether it is in the form of membership of the Common Market or of a European Free Trade Area, will mean, as the Minister said, stronger and fiercer competition for Irish industry. That competition will not be confined to the domestic market; we will have to meet it on the British market also.

It has been a tradition of this Party to see that the trade which we have with Britain is developed and exploited to the full. At the present time the trade between this country and Britain amounts to over £200,000,000 annually, on a two-way basis and, by any standards, that is a sizable sum. Our interests will be directly affected by the action the British Government decide to take. With the problems which will concern many industries, with growing competition not only on the home market but also in the export market, it is important that our industrialists should develop their efficiency and gear themselves on that basis.

What that will involve for industrial concerns here is a matter on which those directly affected are probably in the best position to express an opinion or to have views, but from the consideration which has already been given to the matter, it would appear that it will involve structural changes in industry. Developments in Britain and Western Europe tend towards larger units. In some cases, there have been mergers of existing firms; in other cases, firms have been the subject of take-over operations; in still other cases, firms make agreements in regard to marketing technical information, sales, distribution, production, and so on. In this country, firms, generally, are relatively small and more numerous so that mergers or agreements are less easily accomplished.

It is, therefore, important that there should be the maximum co-operation possible. In that regard, discussions might well be initiated under the auspices of the Department of Industry and Commerce with the trading bodies concerned, representatives of manufacturers, the Federation of Irish Industries, the F.U.E. and the trade unions because all concerned have a vital interest in this matter. In the likely absence here of the developments which have occurred elsewhere because of the size of the industrial units here, there is a very strong case for the Minister and the Department taking the initiative to secure co-operation and agreement between the parties concerned.

If discussions were initiated on this matter, I have no doubt they would have beneficial results, first of all, in securing as far as possible a correct appraisal of the likely consequences and of the prospect of action being taken to meet the situation which would develop and then it would be necessary to provide the basis on which there could be further progress and development. This is a matter that will tax the resources of our industrialists and manufacturers. It involves not merely our welfare but the welfare of the economy as a whole.

The development of the tourist industry is one of the brightest prospects before this country and one which affords an opportunity for substantial development in the future. The figures for last year show a further increase in the number of visitors here as well as an increase in tourist earnings. Again, it is satisfactory to note that increase but, from figures published in the last report of An Bord Fáilte, the increase in income for the year ending the 31st March, 1960, showed that this country was less noteworthy than other European countries according to the annual reports of the O.E.E.C. Tourrism Committee. For the years 1955 to 1958 there was an increase in tourist income of 12 per cent. for this country. In the case of Britain it was 25 per cent.: West Germany, 64 per cent.; France 30 per cent.; Switzerland, 5 per cent; Italy, 48 per cent. and Austria, 103 per cent. With the exception of Italy, where the potential is probably already pretty fully developed, this country was less than half the lowest figure for increased income. Therefore it is important that we should exploit that development to the full.

The work which An Bord Fáilte are doing in collaboration with individual organisations has contributed a great deal towards expansion and improvement in that regard. I have referred here on previous occasions to the grants and loans provided for hoteliers who wish to expand accommodation and while these facilities have been availed of to a considerable extent—even in the past year An Bord Fáilte estimated approximately £750,000 was being spent by hoteliers in providing increased accommodation either in the way of new buildings or additions providing up-to-date accommodation—it seems to me that one of the deterrents in this connection is the fear of revaluation and that hoteliers are prevented from availing of the opportunities which exist because of the fear of revaluation. That is one of the matters that I believe should be the subject of consideration by the Department as well as by An Bord Fáilte.

Very substantial efforts have been made to attract tourists by the promotion of special events of tourist interest. These have been proved to be of very considerable value. I think the most remarkable example is the very considerable contribution which the Irish Hospital Trust has made in that respect, the international golf competition at Woodbrook which has been held there for the past few years. That has been most successful and has attracted world-wide attention, providing this country with the opportunity of seeing some world-famous golfers in competition with our own equally famous golfers. Now, the decision that has been announced that for 1962 the Irish Sweep Derby which will take place at the Curragh will probably be the most valuable race in the world, has directed attention not only to this country but also to the value of Irish bloodstock.

These individual undertakings by the Irish Hospital Trust as well as other efforts that are being made all contribute to a very considerable extent towards developing the tourist trade. We have vast, untapped resources in America. According to the most recent figures we have an increased number of visitors from the United States but in view of the fact that this country has in the U.S.A. over 20 million, or perhaps 25 million people of Irish birth or extraction, we have there a potential that has not been fully and adequately developed. At present we have the enormous advantage, from a prestige point of view, of the fact that the President of America is of Irish extraction. We should exploit these advantages to the full and seek, as I think was once said by Deputy Norton when he was Minister for Industry and Commerce, to secure capital from the United States, as he did from families of Irish birth or extraction taking a holiday every ten years in this country which would have a most salutary effect on our economy.

It is surprising how little is known of this country in the United States. It is only when promotional activities are undertaken, when efforts are made by Government Departments, by Government missions or by a State body, or even by private enterprise or when, in some other way, trade missions or individual manufacturers go to the United States that they realise the vast potential that is there and the problem of tackling it effectively. We now have the opportunity, which was not available previously and which has to a considerable extent focussed attention on this country, of exploiting an advantage which we can utilise to the benefit of our economy and, I have no doubt, to the benefit of our already good relationship with the United States.

During the Minister's remarks he referred to the fact that there was a change in the arrangement under which oil development would be undertaken here. Does this decision mean that the Ambassador Irish Oil Company ceases to exist and if so could he state what is the financial strength of the new company? Are there Irish directors and if so, what is the extent of the Irish holding in the company? Could he also say what alteration in the programme does this change envisage and to whom is the prospecting licence now available?

As I understood from the Minister's remarks, there is now a joint company. Previously there was Ambassador Oil Company and that company had furnished a report for their first year's working. Now we find that that having been completed there is a reorganisation of the structure of the group and they have been replaced by American-registered subsidiaries of Ambassador Oil Corporation, the Continental Oil Company of Texas and the Ohio Oil Company. The Minister is satisfied as to the reputation of these companies and their financial resources but it does mark a very substantial change from the arrangement which was previously made. I believe we are entitled to further information on this matter.

In connection with an announcement which was made some time ago and which was referred to here last week I would like again to refer to the decision of the Board of Aerlinte to be associated with the new hotel company here in the establishment and equipment of three new hotels. It is accepted that we need here substantially increased and improved hotel accommodation and the decision to establish these hotels is in no way questioned. However, it does seem a matter on which the House is entitled to express an opinion, that the association of an air company—particularly an air company which has recently embarked on the very competitive and costly transatlantic air service and which has already a full plate—with a hotel project is something which was certainly not envisaged at the time the company was set up and, in view of the large number of privately-owned hotels and private companies, something which might better be left to private enterprise. As I understood from the remarks of the Minister for Transport and Power, the companies concerned declined to go ahead with the project unless Aerlinte were associated with it. In view of the size of the Aerlinte investment that seems a somewhat strange qualification.

It would seem to be a matter for the Estimate of the Minister for Transport and Power rather than the Minister for Industry and Commerce.

In view of the over-all responsibility of the Minister for Industry and Commerce for industrial development, I was anxious to make a reference to it. However, I do not wish to pursue the matter except to say I would be glad to hear a statement from the Minister in reply.

Since the end of the war this country has made many trade agreements with Continental countries as well as trade agreements with Britain. Without exception the trade balance between this country and these Continental countries is heavily adverse. While it was inevitable and natural at the end of the war period, in view of our requirements of many commodities and the leeway that had to be made up from the war years, that imports from these countries would be considerable, the time has now arrived when we should review these trade agreements critically.

For a great number of years these agreements have been either renewed on an annual basis or periodically and with minor exceptions the trade with Continental countries has been heavily adverse. This country as a member of O.E.E.C. implemented the trade liberalisation measures which were agreed under O.E.E.C. auspices and we find that while other countries agreed to implement these trade liberalisation measures, when it came to putting them into practice, administrative and other restrictions were placed in the way and while a country was committed to 90 per cent. liberalisation in theory and had signed such an agreement, in practice that was not so.

The same is true in respect of trade agreements. This country has many rights under the trade agreements but in certain cases devices and procedures are adopted to defeat their purpose. Whatever the method adopted the time has now arrived when we should critically re-examine these agreements. If our trade balance is found to be heavily adverse, in so far as any steps are available to us we should take appropriate action to remedy the position. It may be that we have not shown sufficient initiative, that the competitive quality of some of our goods is not comparable or not capable in certain respects of meeting competition from other countries. In certain respects and for certain commodities it is quite capable of competing and we have secured very valuable trade with the Continent.

Overall, the picture is one in which the continental countries sell very substantially more than we sell to them; in some cases it is three to one in their favour. We should therefore examine the situation to see if any steps can be taken which would alter these terms to our advantage. The view was expressed here on previous occasions that if any action was necessary it would be taken but so far as one can see agreements are renewed on an annual or periodic basis without any substantial alterations and the adverse trade balance which has existed for so many years continues year after year. I would be glad also to hear the Minister's observations on these matters when he is concluding.

The Minister in the course of his remarks referred to two matters which are expected to be the subject of amending legislation in the near future. One was that of company law reform. This matter was the subject of investigation by a committee some years ago and their informative report was produced on the basis of which amending legislation would be introduced. I am glad to hear it is proposed to amend the legislation and bring it up to date in one comprehensive measure. I hope there will be no avoidable delay in introducing the necessary legislation.

The other matter is the subject of insurance. Although I gathered from the Minister's remarks that while the question was under review it was not very likely that there would be any substantial alterations. In view of any possible public disquiet on this question I would urge the Minister to proceed as rapidly as he can with the examination of the problem and if necessary to introduce the legislation without delay.

The other matter I wish to refer to is the question of industrial relations. I understand from the Minister's speech today that this matter is still the subject of consideration by the interested parties, employers' organisations. This country, or indeed any country, cannot expect to make progress without harmonious relations. That has been expressed as a matter to which there are two sides. Whatever problems are involved ought to be capable of solution by persons of goodwill, who are prepared to discuss these problems, and if changes in legislation are desirable, there is no doubt that the Dáil would be willing to pass that legislation. But, in the first intance, this matter must be the subject of discussion and consideration by the organisations concerned.

The various disputes which have occurred and which have affected production in other economic spheres, such as transport and distribution, have all seriously interfered with industrial progress. Happily, most of them were settled before any irreparable damage was done, but the events which occurred are the indicator of the path of danger in that regard. It is therefore important that the interests concerned should submit their proposals to the Minister, who, in turn, can submit them to the House without any further delay, so that no lack of harmony will impede the progress which is vital not only to the interests of those concerned, whether employers or employees, but to the national interest as well, and on which the future progress and development of the economy depends to such an extent. I hope this matter will be examined by the parties with a full sense of responsibility involved and that the proposals which are made will reflect the mature and careful consideration of men prepared to act in a reasonable manner, conscious of the high responsibility which devolves on them as well as the interest which the nation as a whole must have in this very important question.

The Minister covered a fairly wide area in the course of his speech on the Estimate. There are some aspects of the matters dealt with on which I should like to get some more information, if it is convenient for the Minister to supply it when concluding on the debate. For instance, on Page 13 of the Minister's typescript, I observe the Minister states that 61 projects assisted by An Foras Tionscal are in production in the undeveloped areas and there are 29 others for which grants have been promised or which are in various stages of development. I wonder could the Minister give us a broad picture of the counties in which these actual projects are located and a further picture of the areas where the 29 other contemplated projects will be located. We might, therefore, get a picture of the extent to which new industries are being established in that broad piece of territory described as the undeveloped areas.

I should like also to ascertain from the Minister whether there have been any cases in which industries started in the undeveloped areas have, because of difficulties of one kind or another, been compelled to close down. I know of one instance where a particular firm found it necessary to take its plant to Dublin or close to Dublin because it did not feel it could operate economically in a western area. But, side by side with that, I should like the Minister to give us an indication of the industries in the undeveloped areas and to give us a picture, if there is any such picture to paint, of where there have been any failures of industries launched with the assistance of An Foras Tionscal.

On page 14 of the typescript, the Minister refers to 34 projects which have been approved for industrial grants in areas, I take it, outside the undeveloped areas. Could the Minister tell us where these 34 projects are located so that again we might see to what extent the country is being covered by new industries assisted by grants or special legislation for promoting industrial development?

The Minister refers on page 16 to a change in the agreement which the State had with the Ambassador Oil Corporation. I am not just too clear whether in the future we are to have the Ambassador Oil Corporation and two of its subsidiaries operating here or whether Ambassador Oil have pulled out and future operations will be in the hands of The Continental Oil Company of Texas and The Ohio Oil Company, which are stated to be registered subsidiaries of Ambassador Oil Corporation. The Minister seems to be satisfied that the two companies that are taking over from Ambassador Oil, or taking over with them, whatever the position is, are reputable and efficiently equipped firms. I have no doubt the Minister has taken steps to check this.

In the course of his speech, the Minister said the results of the investigations which have been carried out by Ambassador Irish Oil Company, that is, the Irish portion of the American Ambassador Oil enterprise, were stated to be encouraging. Would the Minister find it possible to amplify that? Has the company or its exploration teams found oil anywhere in Ireland? If so, has the company found the oil in what might be described as merchantable quantities? Is there any prospect that that oil can be brought to commercial use?

I know that any people associated with the search for oil will tell you that you can find oil in a considerable number of places as oil, but the difficulty is to find it in merchantable quantities. It is one thing to be told there is oil in two or three counties here, but it is another matter if it is only a bucket of oil that can be found after a day's operations. I should like to know from the Minister if he could expand on what he says and give us some idea as to what justified the phrase "encouraging results".

I should also like to find out from the Minister whether the exploration team found any natural gas in the course of their explorations. From my talks with this group, I got the impression that they had more hope of finding natural gas which could be pumped into the cities and towns than they had of finding oil in merchantable quantities. I would be more than satisfied if they did find natural gas which could be pumped in sufficient quantities to supply a few cities and large towns because in that event the moneys would not be misapplied. If the Minister does not think it undesirable, he might give us some further information as to what progress this oil company has made.

At page 19, the Minister refers to the promotion of whiskey exports and he says a sum of money is being provided this year for advertising and promoting the sale of Irish whiskey in the United States. He says, quite rightly, that while results are necessarily slow, they indicate a measure of success in stimulating interest in Irish whiskey in the American market. Anybody with any experience of trying to popularise Irish whiskey on the American market knows from the moment he touches the problem that he is up against a heartbreaking job because of the frustrations that confront him at every turn.

I remember on one occasion being in a large hotel in Washington. The manager was Irish-born and took great pride in his association with a certain northern county with which the Leas-Cheann Comhairle is very familiar. I asked him if he sold Irish whiskey, if there was any demand for it and, if so, what the demand was like. He said: "We do not stock it at all because nobody asks for it". I asked him had he never tried putting it on the shelf. He said: "We did that on one occasion, but it was there for months. Nobody asked for it". I asked him if his salesman had done anything to push it. He said: "I do not suppose he did any more for that whiskey than for any other whiskey. The fact is, if it were an attractive whiskey, people would come in and ask for it. If they were willing to do that, we would be willing to stock it, but there is no use in keeping something in stock for a long time before one can sell it."

The fact of the matter is that in large areas of the United States, they do not know whiskey is made in Ireland at all and, if one wants to tell them about the quality of Irish whiskey, one has to deliver a long lecture. One has to tell them how long we have been making whiskey and apprise them of the fact that even the Russians acknowledge that whiskey is a special Irish product. Most people in America have never heard of Irish whiskey. When it comes to advertising, one finds that the cost of advertising in American papers is appallingly high and £40,000 or £50,000 could be used up in one day's advertising in some of the larger newspapers. A sum of £40,000 spread over the 50 or 52 States makes very little impressionvis-á-vis the vast advertising that goes on in American newspapers.

Our whiskey producers will have to face the fact that they will have to spend a great deal more money before they can make any substantial impression on the American market. There are, I think, very obvious advantages to the national economy in promoting the sale of Irish whiskey abroad. The Scots sell about £35,000,000 worth of whisky in the American market. That gives one an idea of what whisky is worth to them. By comparison, our sales are trifling. It ought to be possible by consistent effort to make a substantial impression in time on the American market. Irish whiskey is a completely home-made product. Everything in it from the barley to the finished product, to the label on the glass bottle, is home manufactured. From that point of view, it is a product that should be pushed wherever we can sell it. The American market seems to offer the best opportunity because America is a whiskey-drinking country and whiskey does not have to compete there with any keen competition from wine as it does on the Continent of Europe.

Irish whiskey is, of course, very heavily taxed in this country, and the distillers have been complaining for many years that they have been asked to bear an unreasonable burden in that respect. I think they have made a case for some relief from taxation having regard to the extent to which they are burdened. If I were the Minister, I would frankly face up to giving the whiskey distillers some reduction in taxation, on the understanding that, for a period of years, the amount of the remission would be utilised for advertising and promoting sales of Irish whiskey in the United States and elsewhere. If we can once establish ourselves in the market, we can hold a good position there. The difficulty is to get a foothold.

I remember meeting a gentleman whose name was world famous two years ago. He occupied high office in the Eisenhower administration. He told me he could not understand why more Irish whiskey was not consumed in America. He said he did not think it was even consumed by the Irish in America. He said: "I like a spot of whiskey myself and any time I pass through Shannon, I make sure to take some with me because I do not like my cellar to be without Irish whiskey. I reckon it is one of the best in the world." I jokingly asked him if he would allow me to say that to the Irish whiskey distillers but he thought using his name might constitute a slight political risk for President Eisenhower at the time, and we had to leave it at that.

That gives some idea of how we could make a better impression on the American market if the merits of Irish whiskey were driven home properly. That can only be done by spending money. We must spend generously and hope that an investment in advertising Irish whiskey there will bring returns, not instantaneously but progressively. If we can hold our place then in the American whiskey market, we can make what is a permanent investment in the sales of Irish whiskey in a market which is socially, and as a matter of habit, favourable from the point of view of the consumption of Irish whiskey.

The Minister refers on page 6 to the establishment of new industries and congratulates the Industrial Development Authority on the work it is carrying out. He says it continues to show satisfactory results. I should like to join with the Minister in congratulating the I.D.A. on the excellent work it has done. I am sure the Minister, like myself, is glad that his Taoiseach did not put into operation the threat which he made in 1950, namely, that the first thing he would do if a Fianna Fáil Government returned to office in 1951 was to abolish the I.D.A.

I would say that it is a good mark for the Taoiseach that, having appraised the situation, he did not do it.

The Taoiseach could not tear his hair out quickly enough the day he was told about the establishment of the I.D.A. He fulminated from these benches and said that one of the first things Fianna Fáil would do was to get rid of it. We gave the I.D.A. a contract that we never intended to give it in order to make the job of getting rid of it more difficult. But, of course, the Taoiseach relented. The I.D.A. was spared the woodman's axe and has now lived to enable the Minister, like his predecessor, to pay tribute to them for the excellent work they have done. I am not blaming the Minister for threatening to exterminate the I.D.A. What I am doing is joining with him—I can do it publicly; he may have to do it privately within the solitude of his own soul—in congratulating the I.D.A. on surviving the Herodian threat of his colleague, the Taoiseach, to kill the I.D.A., in 1951.

All I said was that the fact that the Taoiseach did not do it was to his credit. He was man enough.

I am not unprepared to recognise that he did not carry out his threat to annihilate the I.D.A. The I.D.A. has done very valuable work in the meantime and I hope other threats which the Taoiseach may make during the rest of his political life will be measured against the wisdom he displayed in sparing the life of the I.D.A. In any case, the I.D.A. has lived and has done this excellent work. If it continues to do it, let us all be glad it is doing it, in the interest of the whole nation.

The Minister referred on page 20 of his speech to the expansion of exports. Here, I am sure, everybody will join in expressing satisfaction that exports continue to expand. I have no doubt that the expansion is due to the tax reliefs we are giving firms now in respect of exports. Not merely is the newly-established firm getting tax relief on exports but even the old firm is getting tax relief in respect of an increase in exports of its products over and above the level of a datum year. I have no doubt that that very valuable reform instituted by the previous Government to encourage exports has yielded and will continue to yield very satisfactory results. I do not think any other country in the world is treating industrialists as generously as we treat them here. Whether you take the undeveloped areas or the nominally developed areas, so far as the establishment of new enterprises is concerned, the facilities made available do not find a parallel in any part of the world.

The income tax concessions also represent an encouragement to industry of which everybody not completely bereft of wisdom ought to take advantage because, obviously, these are not concessions which can continue forever and which in fact may be brought to a very rude end, if the full provisions of the Treaty of Rome are implemented when it comes to our being a member of the Common Market. Therefore, anybody who wants to get his exports geared to a satisfactory and permanent level ought to do so with the minimum of delay and thus ensure that his industry has the benefit of these concessions while it is possible for us to make them available. We may well be told that in future we are going into the Common Market and cannot subsidise exports, which is equivalent to subsidising production, by giving income tax reliefs on the basis of exports.

However, whatever the reason, I am personally glad that our exports continue to expand and that we are continuing to sell a greater volume of our production on the export market. The worst mistake that could be made, however, in this connection is to think that everything is magnificent and that we have nothing to do now but to pull in the oars and let the boat go anywhere it likes, that the waters are bound to be calm and the atmosphere halcyon for the rest of our lives. There could be no bigger mistake.

All the indications are, and the Minister seemed to think, that we are going to move into a period of competition which will be keener than anything we have known. Already, the countries in the Common Market have substantially reduced their tariffsvis-à vis one another. If Britain goes into the Common Market, the British will be compelled to fall in line with the other countries in the Common Market. That will mean that the British market will be open without customs duty to the products of other Common Market countries. We will have to compete in that highly competitive market with British goods as well as the goods of other Common Market countries. That will be a pretty agonising exercise for a number of our industries. It will be a pretty agonising exercise in the case of a number of our industries which have been established with the aid of a tariff and yet can supply only the home market and even then not in its entirety and have never been able to export even to the British market because their prices are above British prices. If such an industry has to meet British or German or French competition on the level, it will be extremely difficult for them to survive and many of them will have to go.

Of course, I was not present at the recent conference in Killarney at which the Taoiseach spoke. Judging by the report of the speech, he spoke well from the point of view of illustrating the needs of industry herevis-à-vis the possibility that one of these days we may find it necessary to go into the Common Market. I understand from people who were there that they did not take the advice too kindly. One man put it to me that it was like listening to the death sentence on an industry. This person employs a substantial number of workers and he came away from the conference saying: “It is only a matter of deciding how long we can keep going if we have to compete with British and American interests.”

The Minister must know, and the Department of Industry and Commerce certainly know, a number of industries which we have been able to maintain only by a tariff and some of which never have been able to reach the export stage. What is to be done for those industries? I asked the person to whom I have already referred what he thought he would do. I must confess he did not seem to have any obvious remedy at hand. It might very well be that industries like that should try to find continental groups to work with them so that they might get the benefit of their techniques and skills and, more than that, get access to the overseas markets to which it might be possible to export Irish-produced goods. These markets are not at present available to existing Irish industries.

Deputy Cosgrave raised the question of whether Irish industrialists understood the position. I know that the Minister's speech is intended to gear them to an awareness of what is coming. I noticed that the matter has been referred to by quite a number of speakers in recent months but I still do not believe industrialists fully understand what it means for them that in future the heavy overcoat of protection must come off and they will pretty well stand as industrial nudists in Ireland trying to compete with producers elsewhere. It will only be a matter of time to decide how long they can withstand the wintry economic blasts that will blow from Britain or the Continent.

In the Federation of Irish Industries, there are various industrial groups and I think it might be possible—it would certainly be desirable—for these people to be seen individually or in groups and to arrange to discuss individually with them and have brought home to them not only the necessity of thinking out what their future should be against the background of membership of the Common Market but that they should also be asked to prepare plans and say: "Here is what we intend to do to meet the competition which obviously is going to face us in all its ferocity." It is not just good enough to close down those industries and say: "We could not survive." Large numbers of workers have dedicated their lives and special skills to this type of employment and it would be tragic for them and the nation if, because of the inertia and the supineness of those who control industry, it was to go out of existence. Certainly that should not be allowed to happen, no matter what powers the State has to take in order to preserve industry for the benefit of the nation.

Of course it is very easy when you are doing some little export business and looking at a balance sheet to say: "That pays 10 per cent. Everything is all right. Probably you cannot do much better than that." That mentality will not allow us to survive very long unless we are able to stand on our own feet without the props of quotas and tariffs against the severe competition that will come if we join the Common Market. It may be that some people believe that you can have an E.F.T.A. or a European Common Market in Europe but that somehow or other the ancient Irish nation will be able to survive strong and powerful in spite of these two massive trading groups. Our whole economic policy here has been built up largely on the reasoning of Arthur Griffith, a policy of industrial development and of protecting our industries by tariffs and quotas. That was a product of the Revolution, a product that has guided every Government since 1922, but the policy of Arthur Griffith in Europe today has nobody to defend it. You cannot defend it in the circumstances in which Europe has been redrawn and recast in recent years.

It is now quite clear that if we are to live and be reasonably prosperous and stable, we can only do so on the basis of our own skill and ability to produce first-class products and sell them in keen competition with everybody else who produces the same type of produce even though the other fellow may have years of tradition behind the manufacture of a particular product of which we may have had only a few years' experience. That is the kind of competition that we shall have to face in the future. I do not believe—apparently some people in this House pretend to believe it—that we can do what we like, independent of what the British do. We cannot. The British market is our best and natural market. It is the market to which we can export at the lowest possible prices, lower than any other country in Europe. They understand our people; the two peoples speak the same language; currency presents no difficulties nor do methods of measurement. Our whole trading relationship has been on the basis of a British-Irish interchange of trade and Britain is obviously the best market from our point of view. To think we can tell Britain that they can go their way and, that with our heads up in the air, we are going to go the other way, is nonsense. We can live going the other way only by getting somebody to lend us money to support our standard of living. That will not go on very long unless we get ourselves into the position of being self-supporting and able to pay our debts.

I am all with the Minister in what he says here, but I urge him to try to get these different industrial groups together, tell them what is coming and, at the same time, get from them some indication of the plans they have for the time, whenever it comes, that membership of the Common Market is the only course open to us. As I view the situation about the Common Market, it is not a question of whether you join it or not: if the British join, then we can export nothing to Britain and Britain, by being a member of the Common Market, would be compelled to impose tariffs on our goods while, at the same time, she would be opening her own markets to countries against which there are at present very heavy tariffs. Anybody who gives the matter even the slightest thought will realise that, whether we like it or not, we must follow the line the British take, because it is on that line that we can best sell our goods and maintain a viable economy. To think of staying out of the Common Market if Britain goes in and selling our goods to the impoverished people of Asia and Africa is just crying for the moon. It cannot be done. We must sell our goods to the people who want them, who can pay for them and who, in turn, will establish mutual trading relations to the benefit of both countries.

The Minister referred in his speech to industrial relations. On that subject, I think the time has arrived when the old Industrial Relations Act should be reexamined. It has been in operation now, I think, since 1946, for 15 years. During that time, the Labour Court has done magnificent work by reason of its recommendations always being accepted but one shudders to think what would have happened all these changing years if there had been no Labour Court to intervene in these disputes and bring together people whose tempers probably had got the better of them. The very fact that so many of its recommendations have been accepted is a tribute to the work of the Labour Court. We can all rejoice in the fact that in spite of all difficulties, notwithstanding the peculiar nature of the Irish temperament, it was possible to get so many recommendations accepted after the Court's patient and painstaking investigation of the problems presented to it.

I think—and I believe others will support me in this view—that the time has probably arrived to make a further advance along that road, to see to what extent we can make the Labour Court recommendations more effective and more commanding. This is an extremely difficult issue as far as the trade union movement is concerned. The trade union movement will not accept compulsory arbitration but it might be possible to devise machinery which stops short of that and yet give the trade unions some method by which disputes, particularly in the essential industries, could be adjudicated on.

I should imagine, that by 1961, the ordinary worker realises that the right to strike is a very valuable weapon which distinguishes between the serf and the free man. However, the ordinary worker knows perfectly well that a prolonged strike can cause havoc in his home and havoc with his domestic budget. If he can be shown there is a reasonable means of avoiding a strike, which he exercises only because he thinks it is the last weapon left to him. I believe he may well be wooed to the situation in which he will accept a reasonable alternative, provided he can keep what the trade union movement regard as its inalienable and inviolable right, namely, the right to withdraw its labour at any time it thinks fit.

I think the tone of recent speeches indicates it may well be possible to find a solution for the problem but if I would leave any word of advice with the Minister on this matter, it would be to be as audacious as possible in trying to find the machinery but to make sure in the long run that the machinery is voluntarily accepted, because if it is not, the machine will not function at all. You can get voluntary acceptance of a suitable type of machinery which, as I said, preserves the right to strike but at the same time provides the industrial worker who has a dispute with his employers with some alternative to parading the pavements as the only method of enforcing the claim which he thinks has every possible justification.

There is one question I should like to ask the Minister. About two years ago, on this Estimate I asked the Minister what the position was in respect of man-made fibres. At present you cannot export to Britain without duty any garment that contains man-made fibre. That duty is payable on the garment even though it contains less than one per cent of man-made fibre and even though the man-made fibre was British made. In other words, you could buy from, say, I.C.I. in Britain 300 yards of it in a piece of cloth, export the cloth to Britain, and pay duty on it. There is no duty if it does not contain man-made fibre but if it does contain man-made fibre duty must be paid on the whole lot, although the value of the man-made fibre in the garment may not amount to more than a penny or twopence. This problem goes back to 1925. An effort has been made by the British to get the matter sorted out because it seems illogical that such a small amount of this commodity which is of British origin should attract duty on the value of the whole garment. I should like to ask the Minister if any progress has been made in that field, if we are likely to have an early decision and if the decision is likely to be a favourable one.

The Minister made reference to the coalfield surveys which are taking place and said that some surveying had taken place in the Leinster and Connaught coalfields. Can the Minister tell us something more than is in the report? He says that drillings so far carried out have been effective in giving precise information as to the existence of coal, the thickness of the seams and the quality of the coal in certain areas and as to the absence of coal in other areas. Could the Minister let us know what sort of material has been found in these areas? Is it anthracite, steam or bituminous coal. Are the seams which have been found any thicker than the ones we have been working in the Leinster coalfields or in Arigna and does whatever has been discovered so far hold out the prospect that we will be able to work these coal deposits in such a way as to supply an increasing quantity of our domestic requirements and obviate reliance on the importation of so much coal from outside sources?

Another matter to which I want to refer, a matter touched upon by Deputy Cosgrave, is the absence of any reference to the cost of living in the Minister's speech. It is the first speech I recollect for a number of years in which there has been no reference to prices, price movements or anticipation of stability in prices. I should like to know what caused the omission. Although I am very tempted to do it, I do not want to come down flat-footedly on the side of saying that the absence of any reference to the cost-of-living index figures is a clear indication that the Government have completely abandoned any effort to control prices. That, of course, is notorious. I imagined that the Government might still at least follow up their assertions that they were continuing to supervise prices and were concerned about the cost-of-living index figure.

In the past four years, the index figure has increased by 15 points from 135 to 150. That is a pretty hefty increase, especially from a Government which, on the eve of the last general election, told us if they were put back into office, they would maintain the food subsidies and control prices. We have seen the food subsidies go. We have seen the control of prices abandoned; and there is not in operation today a single price control order. The Prices Advisory Body has been abolished and the Prices Bill itself has been put in a pigeonhole, as the Minister said, there to repose until such time as it may be thought desirable in the dim and distant future to take it down and look at it if an emergency ever overwhelms us.

It is because of the Government's attitude on the question of prices that the ordinary man in the town and in the country areas is paying today a higher price for every commodity he buys than he paid five years ago. During the past year, a despicable trick was played on the people. The farmers who grew wheat were naturally disappointed at the bad harvest and they expected the State as a whole would compensate them for the loss. What happened? The Government told Grain Importers Ltd. to buy the wheat at a guaranteed price, and allowed the millers to charge an increased price for flour and bread so that, in fact, the compensation paid to the farmers for last year's bad harvest was paid for by the consumers of bread and flower.

The consumption of bread and flour impacts heaviest on those with the smallest possible incomes. Bread and flour are used mainly in the homes of working-class people. It was that section of the community which had to bear in the main the compensation for the fact that last year's wheat crop was an unsatisfactory crop, inasmuch as it was not millable to the extent at first thought. There were other backs in the country better able to bear that burden than those of the unfortunate consumers of bread and flour. The Government ought to have found the money elsewhere besides asking that section of the community to bear a burden so heavy as that.

At all events, the effect of what the Government did then and what they did in 1957 was to create a situation in which bread is now dearer than it ever was in the memory of any living person. That is one of the momentous achievements of the Government. Bread is now 1/3½d. for a 2-lb. loaf, a price it never reached before. The Government ought not to have abandoned them but ought to have kept a normal check on bread prices in order to make sure that the consumer section of the population got fair value for their money and that somebody stood sentinel in a situation in which, almost every day of the week, one heard of other increases in prices by some percentage or other. However, I suppose it is not possible to hope that the Minister, at this belated stage in his ministerial career, will want to change his mind or apologise for the change in policy.

Is the Deputy being hopeful in calling it "a belated stage"?

The Minister has now been nearly four years in office. Seeing that the policy of the Government and the Minister has changed, I suppose it is too late now to expect any reformation? Not even the sight of the general election will produce any reformation from that standpoint. Therefore, I suppose we must take these things to the hustings and submit them to the judgment of the people, in the hope that, when they vote, they will remember all the rosy promises made to them, all the glittering prizes held out to them, and how sadly they were disappointed when they got into the queue to cash the promises and receive the prizes.

I must say my reactions to the Minister's speech were that he gave us a sober document of quite satisfactory progress over the past 12 months, but that it was one which, I feel, failed to take cognisance of the developments which have been threatening for the past five or six months and which are bound to eventuate in the not-too-distant future.

A quick look at some of the statistics which the Minister supplied to us indicates that industrial production in 1960 was satisfactory compared with 1958 and 1959 and that an increase, taking 1953 as base, of 15 points is something to be grateful for. I think the Minister might have gone a little further in these particulars and compared industrial progress here with the progress in other OEEC countries over the past three years. I think he would have found—probably he has found it—that, although our progress is encouraging in comparison with some of the other countries of Europe, we still continue to lag behind.

It is also a sobering thought to realise that, in spite of the satisfactory increase in industrial production, the total number obtaining increased employ-in industry during 1960 was only the very small figure of 3,500 persons, that is, an increase from 146, 190 in 1959 to 149,600 in 1960. When we consider this modest increase, we must have regard to the fact that over the past three years industrial production has increased coincidentally with the general boom conditions in Europe and the United States. It is not being pessimistic to visualise that the same conditions may not apply in the years ahead. In fact, I think there is distinct evidence that Britain is having considerable difficulties in maintaining her export markets. If that is so, the British market itself may not offer the same opportunities to Irish industrialists as it has offered in the past two or three years. If the British market turns against us to any degree, our whole hopes of continuing to increase the export of manufactured goods may receive a serious setback. I should like the Minister to make some estimate of the opportunities for continuing the increase in the export of manufactured goods, having regard to the likely change in conditions in the years ahead.

I think the Minister might also have been a little more realistic in giving us figures for the number of industries which closed down during the past couple of years. I am aware from my own knowledge in my own city that three industries closed down during that period. I do not pretend to lay the blame at the Minister's door in that regard, but certainly I think that when we are talking about the number of new industries established or about to be established, it is only right that we should get the other side of the picture and that the House should be given particulars of industries that have, for one reason or another, ceased production.

The number of new industrial undertakings started in 1960 certainly is an encouraging figure, 45, of which 30 have outside capital invested in them. The Minister estimates that these industries will have an employment potential of from 5,000 to 7,000 persons. In addition, there are 30 factories in course of construction which will employ a further 5,000 workers. These are encouraging figures and the Minister is to be complimented on the picture he put before us. But we all appreciate that, even if industrial employment is increased by from 5,000 to 7,000 per year, it is far short of the estimate of the 25,000 new jobs which we must provide, if we are to make serious inroads into the continuing high level of emigration which, in spite of the rosy picture presented by the Minister, still continues at the very high rate of at least 40,000 per year. Those are the figures given by the Minister for Finance when making his Budget statement and I am quite certain they do not overestimate the position.

I should like to join with other speakers who have complimented the Industrial Development Authority on its activities in recent years. Certainly it has shown commendable enterprise in trying to attract outside industralists to come to Ireland and set up their plants here. We should remember, however, that the attractions which bring industrialists to this country are not confined to the generous terms we offer in the way of grants and tax concessions on the export of industrial goods. Conditions in other countries must be taken into consideration. In some there is over-employment. In others—and this is particularly true of those countries situate in proximity to the Iron Curtain—the situation politically is, to say the least of it uncomfortable. Industrialists find this country, therefore, a very useful and a very promising haven for their industrial activities.

Sometimes I wonder if we are not being over-generous to outside industrialists at the expense of our own manufacturers. I am well aware that there is a feeling abroad that the home manufacturer has waxed fat behind protective tariffs over the past 30 years and there are grounds for this criticism. It would, however, be most unfair and quite wrong to apply that criticism generally to all Irish industrialists. Some of them have done a very fine job indeed. Some of them have taken advantage of the protection given by successive Governments over the past 30 years to modernise their factories, train their workers, and put on the home and export market goods of first-class quality at competitive prices. These firms are undoubtedly reaping their reward by their increasing inroads into the export trade.

A number of firms have not taken advantage of the protection of the past 25 or 30 years and, when the wider European trading area comes into being, as come it certainly will in some shape or form, these people will find themselves in very sore straits indeed. The tragedy is that not alone will they, as individuals, suffer but their many workers will find themselves in a very precarious position, unless a sense of urgency pervades the owners of the factories in question. I do not altogether blame these industrialists in this regard because, up to quite recently, they had an assurance from the Taoiseach himself that it was his intention to reserve the home market for the Irish industrialist. In theory that may have been a very good thing; in practice, it is now likely to prove a very negativing influence on the desire of industrialists to modernise plant and increase export trading.

On several occasions I have made reference to the difficulty of the normal small industry in this country accumulating capital in order to plough that capital back into the industry concerned. Up to now no Minister for Finance has thought it worthwhile to encourage manufacturers to plough back more of their profits into modernising their plant and buildings by giving concessions in relation to the retention of profits. Encouragement of that kind in the past would now be paying dividends and we would not be in the position of having Irish industrialists—there must be a large number of them— without the requisite capital to carry out amalgamations or specialise in the way that the Minister for Finance, the Taoiseach, and other Ministers, have indicated will be necessary in the years ahead. These things cannot be done overnight and, unless the Minister and the Government indicate in very clear and specific terms the type of assistance they will give to Irish industrialists to enable them to carry out these changes and reconstructions, the industries will be in a very serious position.

I do not think we have any conception of the type of competition with which we are likely to be faced if our small home market is thrown open to the highly efficient plants situated in Great Britain and on the Continent. I have always been in favour of encouraging outside industrialists to come in here and set up plants, provided they have the right type of industry to offer, but we will, I think, have to make assistance to the home industrialists the basis of Government assistance. In the last analysis, the native industralist is much more likely, with his roots in the country, his family connections and all that, to want to survive and continue in difficult times as against the foreign industrialist who sets up a branch factory here and has nothing to do but pull out if the winds of change get too harsh for him in Europe.

The Minister referred to the assistance given by his Department in relation to the employment of industrial consultants. He stated that that had been a great success. I am very glad to hear that. We lack two things in this country. One is a high level of management. While I think that does not apply to every industry, there is in general, a lack of high-quality management. That has been repaired to some extent now by the activities of the Irish Management Institute. We also lack technical assistance, though the Minister's Department in recent years has been rendering some assistance in this regard. It is unfortunate that a couple of years ago, the Minister, or his predecessor, thought fit to reduce that assistance from two-thirds to one-half of the cost of engaging industrial consultants. I regarded that as a retrograde step at the time and I think the Minister should consider restoring the grant from its present proportion of one-half to its original proportion of two-thirds.

The introduction of works study, flow-line techniques, and all these other methods are not, I think, sufficiently understood either by the workers or the employers. It would be helpful if some agency like the Productivity Committee were to give lectures to groups of workers and employers on works study and other methods. If the employers and workers appreciated the benefits that would flow from modern methods of production there would be greater co-operation in the utilisation of these methods.

The Minister referred to certain tariff reviews that have been carried out. These reviews take a certain length of time—at least a couple of years, if not longer. I should like to ask what the situation will be if we have to face up to a vastly accelerated time-table for the reduction or elimination of tariffs. Up to now the Industrial Development Authority has looked after this task. Will the Authority be competent or has it got the necessary personnel to carry out the drastic review that may be called for if we become associated in some way with a larger trading area?

Deputy Norton referred to the duty on man-made fibre imported for the manufacture of clothing. I have raised this matter time and again over the past two or three years. I hope the Minister will accept Deputy Norton's request for some information as to the progress his Department has made in relation to having this duty eliminated altogether. It is a most unfair duty. I do not recall the reason for its introduction but, if it was introduced in the early 1920's, I should imagine it was done to protect the British man-made fibre industry.

We are now going on to another Estimate which was ordered, further consideration of this Estimate will be postponed.

Ordered accordingly.