Committee on Finance. - Vote 44—Industry and Commerce.

Tairgim:

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 crioch an 31ú lá de Mhárta, 1962, le haghaidh Tuarastail agus Costais Oifig an Aire Tionscail agus Tráchtála, lena n-áirítear Seirbhisí áirithe atá faoi riaradh na hOifige sin, agus chun Ildeontais-i-gCabhair a íoc.

Sara ndéanfad tagairt cruinn do sna seirbhísí éagsúla ar a bhfuil an t-airgead so le caitheamh, ba mhaith liom, ós rud é go bhfuilim ag teacht ós comhair na Dála chun cúntas a thabhairt ar imeachtaí mo Roinn-se, tagairt ginearálta a dhéanamh do staid na tíre chomh fada is a bhaineann sé liomsa mar Aire.

Is féidir liom a rá láithreach gurab ábhar sásaimh an stáid sin maidir le n-a bhfuil déanta cheana agus gurab ábhar dóchais é maidir le n-a bhfuil rómhainn. Tá cúrsaí tionscail agus tráchtála na tíre go bríomhar beoga agus tá gach cosúlacht air go ndéanfaidh siad tuille dul chun chinn sa bhliain atá rómhainn.

Admhaím nach bhfuil deire curtha fós leis an difhostaoícht agus an imirce ach tá tionscail nua dá mbunú níos tapúla ná ariamh agus táid ag cur obair fónta ar fáil dár mhuintir annso i nÉirinn. De bhárr saothair mo Roinne agus an Udaráis Forbartha Tionscail, tá toradh mhaith ar na h-iarrachtaí atá dá ndéanamh chun lucht tionscail a thabhairt isteach ó thíortha eile, agus tá roinnt maith d'ár gcuid tionscal féin ag coiméad céim ar chéim leis an ngluaiseacht domhanda i leith breis éifeachtachta agus breis táirgiúlachta. Tugadh cúnamh, maidir leis na neithe seo, dár gcuid tionscal ón Scéim Deontas Cúnaimh Teicniúil atá dá riaradh ag mo Roinn-se agus fuaireadar cúnamh, leis, ón gCoiste Náisiúnta um Tháirgiúlacht.

Tá méadú mór tagaithe ar an gnó easportála de bhárr an laghdú cánach atá le fáil ag easportálaithe agus toisc go dtuigtear go bhfuil an t-am ag teacht go mbeidh sé deacair do thionscal maireachtaint maran féidir leis dul san iomaíocht ar mhargaí an domhain. Annso sa bhaile do bhaineas trial as a bhfeachtas san "Ceannuigh Earraí Gaeleach Anois" chun a chur 'na luí ar ár muintir gur féidir le gach aon duine acu rud a dhéanamh chun obair a chur ar fáil ach earraí a deintear in Éirinn a cheannach. Ní deirim gur smaoineamh nua é seo ach bféidir go bhfuil glún ag fás suas anois nach foláir é a mheabhrú dóibh.

De lean an Foras Tionscal de bheith ag gríosú daoine chun tionscail nua a bhunú tré deontasaí a thabhairt mar chúiteamh ar chuid de sna costasaí móra a ghabhann le gach iarracht nua. D'éirigh go maith leo maidir leis an gcúnamh a thugadar chun monarcháin a chur ar bun i n-áiteanna iargúlta, áiteanna ná maolófar ar an imirce uatha, do réir dealraimh, ach tré tionscail a bhunú.

Le cúnamh óm' Roinn-se tá cuartú agus forbairt mianraí sa riocht anois gur féidir a rá, le muinín éigin, go bhfuil acmhuinn mianra na tíre, pé mhéid de atá ann, ag déanamh ar bheith forbairthe go h-iomlán don chéad uair riamh.

Caithfidh an tionscal fíor-tháchtach san, an cuairtíocht, chomh maith le tionscail eile, a chuid custaiméirí a aimsiú ar mhargadh go bhfuil an iomaíocht ag dul i méid ann i n-aghaidh an lae. Na teoranna a bhain le taistil i gcéin de dheascaibh an chogaidh, agus na constaicí eile a bhí ag cur isteach ar taistil go dtí an Mór-Roinn agus go dtí áiteanna eile, teoranna agus constaicí a thug buntáiste dúinn thar tíortha eile, táid sin imithe ar fad anois, geall leis, agus caithimíd dul san iomaíocht leis an gcuid eile den domhan gan an buntáiste sin. Tá áthas orm a rá go bhfuil cruthú láidir againn gur caitheadh go fónta an t-airgead a cuireadh ar fáil cheana tré Bhórd Fáilte Éireann. D'éirigh go maith leis an tionscal cuairtíochta sa bhliain 1960 agus ba chóir go mbéadh 1961 'na bhliain mhaith eile.

Maidir le cúrsaí tráchtála dhe, tá mórán obair fónta dá dhéanamh as mo Roinn i leith rudaí mar, cuir i gcás, athchóiriú na dlithe a bhaineann le cuideachtaí, paitinni, cóipcheart, agus arachas. Ní foláir na dlithe so go léir a thabhairt suas chun dáta agus tá an obair seo ag dul chun chinn go maith.

The Estimate of £2,761,000 for 1961/62 shows a net decrease of £909,550 as compared with a total sum of £3,670,550 granted in 1960/61.

As will be seen from the explanatory statement at the end of Part II of the Estimate at Page 224 in the Book of Estimates, the original net total for 1960/61 was £2,471,000. To this is added £1,200,000 granted by way of Supplementary Estimate for the purchase of shares in Irish Steel Holdings Ltd. This brings the total grant to £3,671,000 from which a sum of £450 is deducted in respect of the annual subscription to the International Wheat Council. This service has been taken over by the Department of Agriculture and is no longer a charge against this Vote. For comparison purposes therefore a total of £3,670,550 must be taken as representing the 1960/61 Estimate.

A second Supplementary Estimate for a token sum of £10 in relation to Dundalk Engineering Works was taken too late for inclusion in the printed Estimate, but does not affect the final figures in the Estimate.

The principal increases in 1961/62 are in the provisions for Tourism, £70,000 (Subheads H.1, H.2 and H.3); Córas Tráchtála, £39,000 (subhead I.1); Industrial Development Authority, £35,625 (Subhead J); An Foras Tionscal, £175,000 (Subheads K.1 and K.2); and Repayment of Trade Loan Advances, £28,599 (Subhead R). Increases in other subheads amount to £31,840, bringing the total of increases to £380,064.

The principal decreases in 1961/62 are in the provisions for Irish Steel Holdings Ltd., £1,200,000—there is no provision for this service in 1961/62—and for Córas Tráchtála, £40,000 (Subhead I.2). Decreases in other subheads amount to £38,252. To these must be added an increase of £11,362 in the appropriations-in-aid subhead which is equivalent to a decrease in the net grant. This brings the total of decreases to £1,289,614. The net decrease in the Estimate for 1961/62 compared with 1960/61 is therefore £909,550, as I have already stated.

The rapid increase in industrial production which became evident in 1959 continued in 1960. For the year 1960, the provisional index of volume of production, to base 1953 = 100, of manufacturing industry was 120.0 compared with 112.1 in 1959 and 105.7 in 1958.

The average number of persons engaged in manufacturing industries is provisionally estimated at 149,600 in 1960 compared with 146,100 in 1959. There has been a further reduction in the total unemployment figures as compared with recent years. On 27th May, 1961, the number on the live register was 49,000 compared with 53,000 on the comparable date in 1960.

Excluding projects in which the capital involved was less than £10,000 in each case, 45 new industrial undertakings or extensions of existing firms came to notice as having commenced production in the year ended 31st December, 1960. The aggregate capital investment in these 45 undertakings is estimated at £8 million and the employment potential is estimated to range between 5,000 and 7,000. Included in the 45 are 30 with external participation. The total capital involved in these 30 undertakings is estimated at £6,700,000 and the employment potential at 4,500 to 6,000.

Apart from projects which had already reached the production stage, there were, at the end of the year 1960, 30 factories in course of construction. These additional projects will involve a total capital investment in the region of £13 million and are expected to give employment ultimately to 5,000 workers.

Industrial proposals before my Department and the Industrial Development Authority, which had reached a stage at which it was considered likely they would come to fruition, numbered 95 on 31st March, 1961.

The special campaign to attract industries from abroad is being continued and the efforts of the Industrial Development Authority, who are carrying out this work, are continuing to show satisfactory results. The Authority are pursuing their campaign by visits to Continental countries and the U.S.A., by the appointment of representatives in Europe and the U.S.A., by the publication and distribution of attractive brochures and through advertising.

A delegation from the Authority visited France during the year and had discussions with important industrialists and banking concerns and made a number of promising contacts. These contacts are being pursued by the Authority's representative in France with the object of maintaining and stimulating the initial interest awakened there. During the present year, the Authority are planning to send a delegation to other countries which will include Italy.

The results so far achieved in attracting foreign investment have been satisfactory. It would seem that the sustained and widespread publicity abroad is bearing fruit in increasing measure. Deputies may be interested to know that investment in Irish factories has come from a wide variety of countries, including Great Britain, Germany, the U.S.A., Canada, The Netherlands, France, Sweden, Belgium, Norway, Italy and Switzerland.

Under the scheme of technical assistance grants administered by my Department, grants may be given of up to one-third of the cost of the engagement of consultants to advise on matters directed to the improvement of productive efficiency.

Even in the most efficient industrial units, there is a continuing need to keep abreast of technical developments and to take advantage of the latest and best techniques in organisation and management. The need is, of course, all the greater in the case of factories which for one reason or another may not yet have reached the point of optimum efficiency.

Technical assistance grants have been made available to encourage industrialists to engage competent, independent consultants to survey their industries, to point out any shortcomings in the organisation of the productive unit, and to advise on the means of remedying such defects and increasing general efficiency and productivity.

I am greatly impressed by reports received in my Department from a number of firms which had taken advantage of the technical assistance grants scheme. These reports have been very favourable and have pointed to results such as substantial reductions in costs, increases in production and productivity, expansion of home and export sales, and, in many instances, an addition to the number of workers previously employed as well as an increase in the average earnings of the workers.

Whether by availing themselves of technical assistance grants or by adopting such other means as they consider appropriate, industrialists throughout the whole range of our manufacturing economy should, if they have not done so already, lose no time in bringing their businesses to the point of maximum efficiency. Amidst many uncertainties and obscurities in the future, certain things stand clear: as time goes on, the trend towards freer international trade is bound to become more marked, international competition keener, and the need to reach and maintain the highest pitch of productive efficiency, therefore, all the greater. There will be no room in trade or industry for the inept or the inefficient.

Under the provisions of the Anglo-Irish Trade Agreements, the British Board of Trade have requested reviews of the import duties on the following items:—braid, wheaten breakfast foods, wooden furniture (other than bedsteads), full chrome leather, cotton bags, tableware not of porcelain or china, unglazed floor tiles of clay, files, carpets and drinking glasses.

The reviews of these import duties are being carried out by the Industrial Development Authority.

The Irish National Productivity Committee was established in January, 1959. It is composed of representatives of management and workers and of educational and other services. The Committee maintained its liaison between the European Productivity Agency and Irish organisations during the past year. It organised further successful joint labour-management conferences; a two-day seminar held in University College, Dublin, in May, 1960, was followed by a further three-day conference at Skerries, in September.

The Committee appears to have had considerable success in helping to develop a new outlook on productivity, and I understand that its future plans are aimed at developing a more widespread interest in the importance of increased productivity and the measures necessary to achieve it.

Progress reported: Committee to sit again.