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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 5 Jul 1961

Vol. 191 No. 2

European Economic Community. - Convention on Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development: Motion of Approval.

I move that Dáil Éireann approves of the terms of——

(1)the Convention on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development,

(2)the Supplementary Protocol No. 1 to the Convention,

(3)the Supplementary Protocol No. 2 to the Convention,

(4)the Protocol on the Revision of the Convention for European Economic Co-operation of 16th April, 1948, and

(5)the Memorandum of Understanding on the Application of Article 15 of the Convention on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development,

which were signed on behalf of the Government in Paris on the 14th day of December, 1960.

Copies of a publication containing the text of the Convention and of the other instruments concerned were laid on the table of the Dáil on 15th April.

Each of these instruments was signed last December by the representatives of twenty governments including Ireland. The Convention, which is the most important of the five texts involved, is subject to ratification and I shall deal with it more fully in a moment. The Supplementary Protocol No. 1 is concerned with the representation in the new Organisation of the European Coal and Steel Community, the European Economic Community and the European Atomic Energy Community. Supplementary Protocol No. 2 deals with the legal capacity of the Organisation and the privileges, Exemptions and Immunities to be extended to its officials and to governmental representatives to it. Protocol No. 3 provides for the replacement of the Convention for European Economic Co-operation by the O.E.C.D. Convention when the latter comes into force. The Memorandum of Understanding relates to the continuance by the new Organisation of such acts of the O.E.E.C. as the Preparatory Committee recommends for the purpose. The primary objective of the Memorandum is to ensure that if the U.S.A. and Canada, should not wish to be bound by a particular act of the O.E.E.C. the remaining members of the new Organisation may nevertheless continue it in force between themselves.

I do not wish to interrupt the Minister, but is there any prospect of having copies of the Minister's statement made available for us here?

I will get copies for the Deputy.

And for other Deputies who are interested.

We shall see how many copies we have; we have a few anyway.

It should be noted finally that in addition to disposing of the five documents I have briefly described the Ministerial Meeting of 13th December last approved the report of the Preparatory Committee and the recommendations contained therein. The text will be found at pages 27-83 of the publication laid on the table of the Dáil on 15th April.

As Deputies are aware the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development is designed to bring about the reconstitution of the Organisation for European Economic Cooperation. This body was established by a Convention dated 16th April, 1948, which was signed at the time on behalf of sixteen countries, including Ireland, and also on behalf of the Occupying Powers in Western Germany. When the German Federal Republic was established that country became a full member and in 1959, Spain, which for some years previously had had Observer status in the Organisation, became a full member.

The establishment of the O.E.E.C. was due in some degree to particular circumstances. The House will recall that in June, 1947, the late General George Marshall, then American Secretary of State, put forward generous proposals designed to help European economic recovery. These proposals were examined by the Western European powers in the Committee for European Economic Cooperation, which during the summer of 1947 produced a programme for economic recovery and suggested certain measures to give it effect. Among the measures suggested was the creation of a continuing body. This requirement was met by the establishment of the O.E.E.C.

The O.E.E.C. Convention was not, however, limited to the realisation of the Marshall Plan but provided for longer-term cooperation in economic matters between the member countries. Its provisions, in fact, covered a very wide field and in the following decade the organisation achieved considerable success in many different directions. One might cite in particular the division of American aid, which was a principal task of the O.E.E.C. during the first two years of its existence, the establishment in 1950 of the European Payments Union, the progressive liberalisation of trade and the very fruitful work of the European Productivity Agency which was established in 1953 with further generous assistance from the U.S.A.

By the mid-50's, the task of European recovery from the damage inflicted by the war had been largely accomplished and the O.E.E.C. had attained in some of the most important fields of economic co-operation a degree of performance which rendered difficult further substantial progress along the same lines. There then emerged a move on the part of some member countries to proceed by a different road and outside the O.E.E.C. —a move which culminated in signature of the Rome Treaty in March 1957. In the meantime, and having regard to this development, the O.E.E.C. embarked on a project for a European Free Trade Area which, without interfering with the creation of a Common Market among some of the member countries, would ensure that all of them could benefit from the advantages of freer trade in Europe. Work on the project constituted the central theme of the work of the O.E.E.C. throughout 1957 and 1958 when further progress in the negotiations proved impossible and the project was abandoned for the time being.

This result was unfortunate. It represented a set-back for the O.E.E.C. in the field of intra-European trade which raised a serious problem for those O.E.E.C. countries who were not parties to the Rome Treaty and were not in a position fully to accept obligations in the matter of trade corresponding to those inscribed in the Treaty. An early consequence of the new situation was the creation in 1959 of a second regional economic grouping, the European Free Trade Association, comprising seven of the other members of O.E.E.C. The E.F.T.A. Convention, signed in November, 1959, was not, however, regarded even by the signatories as constituting a solution for the wider issues of co-operation in trade matters between the European States. Consequently in the following month the Heads of State and Government of the U.S.A., Britain, France and Western Germany agreed that an effort should be made to overcome the difficulties created by the existence of the European economic regional groupings and also to devise co-operative schemes for furthering the development of the less developed countries; and for this purpose they decided to convene a special meeting in January, 1960, to which eleven European countries, members of O.E.E.C., as well as the U.S.A. and Canada, were invited.

When this decision was taken, the Government made known our desire to have a voice in any discussions bearing on the O.E.E.C. and on trade problems affecting members of the Organisation. The meeting of the thirteen Governments concerned took place in Paris immediately prior to a Ministerial meeting of the Council of the O.E.E.C. and produced three resolutions which came before the representatives of all members and associate members of the O.E.E.C. on 14th January, 1960. One of these provided for a study of the reorganisation of the O.E.E.C in such a manner as to provide for full membership on the part of Canada and the U.S.A. while, at the same time, taking account of the activities of the O.E.E.C. and the spirit of cooperation which had inspired its work. A second resolution on trade problems called for a study of relations between the European Economic Community and the EFTA with due regard to the commercial interests of third countries and of the principles and obligations of the GATT. The third resolution bore on the establishment of a development assistance group consisting of countries in a position to make available a substantial flow of capital for the development of under-developed countries, primarily countries in Asia and Africa.

By virtue of the first of these resolutions meetings of the twenty Governments concerned took place in Paris throughout the greater part of 1960 with a view to elaborating a convention designed to bring about a reconstitution of the O.E.E.C. The results of these meetings are reflected in the instruments now before the Dáil. The final text of the Convention as signed is based on a draft produced in April 1960 by a special Group of Four nominated for this purpose but it naturally takes account of the observations offered by the various Governments during the subsequent negotiations in what has become known as the Preparatory Committee.

As far as Ireland is concerned, the provisions of the Convention are as satisfactory as could be expected in the circumstances prevailing. It was necessary to accept the fact that the O.E.E.C. could not continue in its earlier form and that if Canada and the U.S.A. were to become full members of what may be called the successor organisation substantial departures from the 1948 Convention were required. Generally speaking, the O.E.C.D. Convention reflects the difference between the situation prevailing in 1960 and that prevailing at the time when the O.E.E.C. Convention was negotiated and signed. It thus lays stress on two tasks.

The first of these is the desirability of achieving economic growth, high employment and a rising standard of living in member countries and the need for this purpose of consultation on and coordination of the economic and financial policies of the countries concerned, having regard to the interdependence of their economies. This objective was, of course, present also in O.E.E.C. and exchanges of views on economic policies had assumed increasing importance in that forum in recent years; but there will be very much greater emphasis on these matters in the O.E.C.D.

A second major task is that of contributing to sound economic expansion in countries in process of economic development. This aim conforms with the evolution of the world situation and with the development of thinking in the matter of the moral obligations resting on more prosperous nations. The thirteen years since the O.E.E.C. was established have seen the emergence of a very large number of new states, particularly in Asia and Africa, and a growing acceptance of the view that the richer countries have a duty to help the poorer.

We in Ireland can subscribe fully to the thinking behind these two tasks. Having regard to the pattern of our economy and the extent to which we depend on foreign trade we are particularly concerned with, and can be greatly affected by, the policies adopted by other countries in the economic and financial fields; and, without evoking other motives, our own history and our sense of Christian charity make us especially sensitive to an appeal to international solidarity and to the principle of "the haves" helping the "have nots". At the same time, and without derogating from our acceptance of these principles, it is of course necessary that we be attentive to the reasonable requirements of our own situation. We were, therefore, anxious to ensure that the Convention in its final form recognises both the fact that the level of prosperity is not the same in all member countries and that it is essential that any organisation of this kind take due account of the importance of foreign trade for a healthy economy. We thus welcome the fact that the O.E.C.D. Convention, in the statement of aims, recognises the need to contribute to economic expansion in member, as well as non-member countries, in process of economic development and commits the parties thereto to contribute to the economic development of such countries by appropriate means with due regard, inter alia, to the importance of their securing expanding export markets. The implementation of these provisions, which are contained in Articles 1 and 2 of the Convention, is a matter for the O.E.C.D. and the various bodies of which it is composed. These are to include a Trade Committee as well as a Committee on Economic Policy and one for Development Assistance. The latter Committee will take over the work of the Development Assistance Group created as a result of the third resolution of 14th January which I have already mentioned.

As a consequence of the second of the three resolutions of 14th January a special committee on Trade Problems, consisting of representatives of the twenty governments concerned and of the E.E.C. Commission, was established under the chairmanship of the Netherlands Minister for Foreign Affairs. This committee met on two occasions last year but it has not, so far, made any progress towards a solution of the problems created by the existence of the E.E.C. and the E.F.T.A. However, in the course of the parallel negotiations for the reconstitution of the O.E.E.C. a resolution was adopted at a meeting of Ministers on 23rd July, 1960, which provided that the Trade Committee of the O.E.C.D. should, inter alia, consider “any short and long term trade problems currently being considered by the Committee on Trade Problems established by the Ministerial meeting of 13-14 January, 1960, which remain outstanding”. This text was incorporated in the report of the Preparatory Committee and will be found at page 32 of the publication mentioned at the outset.

Deputies will note that the Convention is a relatively short document. It, in fact, lays down a general framework for the new Organisation without endeavouring to determine in detail its functioning. I should mention, however, that the Preparatory Committee which drafted the Convention has been meeting since January with a view to preparing the ground further for the operations of the O.E.C.D.

It is our hope that the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development will prove as fruitful, both for its members and for the world at large, as the Organisation for European Economic Cooperation which it is to replace. In so far as this country is concerned, the policy of the Government will naturally be directed to that end. I think we can fairly claim to have been an active and loyal member of the O.E.E.C. and we shall do our best to contribute constructively to the success of the new Organisation, bearing in mind that enlightened self-interest is entirely compatible with, and perhaps the best guarantee of, successful international cooperation. We welcome the prospect of working closely in the matters covered by the Convention with the U.S.A. and Canada. These two countries have for many years been collaborating most usefully with the O.E.E.C. as associate members and there is every reason to hope that their full participation in the new Organisation will be of major assistance in achieving its purposes.

As I have already indicated, the European membership of the new Organisation is the same as that of the O.E.E.C. I should add that Yugoslavia, which has had for many years observer status in the latter Organisation, will maintain this status in the O.E.C.D. It is provided that the Convention will come into force before the 30th September, 1961, upon the deposit of instruments of ratification or acceptance by all signatories, if not, on 30th September if at least fifteen signatories have so acted, and otherwise on the date not later than 30th September, 1963, by which fifteen signatories have ratified the instrument. It is not possible to say now whether the Convention will, in fact, come into force at the end of September but a number of countries have already ratified it—the U.S.A., Canada, Britain, Iceland and Denmark.

As a result of the Ministerial decision of 23rd July last to which I have earlier referred it is open to any country, once the O.E.C.D. Convention has come into force, to seek to have the unresolved problems of European trade considered by the O.E.C.D. It is fortunate, I believe, that in the days ahead when European trading relations are being discussed in bilateral and group negotiations we shall have an organisation embracing all the countries engaged in these discussions. The O.E.C.D. will serve as a forum in which the problems of European and European-North American trading relations can be discussed and in which Ireland can make its point of view heard. I feel that the new organisation will live up to its name and that it will serve to bring about between its members the cooperation which is so necessary for fruitful economic development.

I mean no discourtesy to the Minister for External Affairs, but I feel bound to say that the statement he has just made to the House appears to me to be largely designed for the purpose of creating a fog from behind which he can manoeuvre in the ridiculous situation in which we now find ourselves, a ridiculous situation which has arisen largely as a result of the Government's constitutional passion for dithering about the things that matter.

I imagine that the question of the establishment of the O.E.C.D. might provide profitable material for discussion on a suitable occasion. I do not propose to pursue the matter further today or at this stage than to say that it is rather alarming to note in this story of the danse macabre that it has arrived, after protracted engagement by everybody, at a stage when we have produced a relatively short document which lays down a general framework for the new organisation without endeavouring to determine in detail its functioning. The other rather grim significant fact is that of the nations which have deposited ratification instruments, no single country belonging to the Common Market has done so to date.

I hope this excellent proposal, as I believe it to be, of O.E.C.D. will not bog down, as so many similar well-intentioned enterprises of this kind have done in the past, in the presence of the far more urgent matters arising out of the emergence of the Common Market as one of the dominant features of the economic life of Europe.

I want to complain, Sir, emphatically of the Government's extravagant dithering in regard to the matters which they now protest to be so urgent. I want to recall to the House that as recently as May 16th, at column 301, Volume 189 No. 3 of the Dáil Debates, in the course of questions which were raised with the Taoiseach, I am reported as saying— mark the date, 16th May last——

Would the Taoiseach consider the desirability of providing here, as a White Paper or in some other form, an appraisement of the consequences in respect of industry and agricultural production if we did adhere to the Rome Treaty without amendment?

The Taoiseach: No. I think it would be most unwise to attempt such an assessment on a purely hypothetical basis. It would be confusing to our own people and detrimental to the success of any negotiations which might be initiated.

I went on to ask him:

Surely, if the Taoiseach and the Minister for Finance consider it expedient to address speeches to the public at large dealing with the contingency, Members of the House are entitled to ask the Government what the contingency is. Surely if they do not know the answer we are entitled to ask to be informed what the Rome Treaty would involve for us, without involving the Government in any way in regard to whatever policy it might adopt?

The Taoiseach: This is set out in the Rome Treaty itself.

Mr. Dillon: The Taoiseach may think that is so but it is not so; otherwise, I would not ask for an appraisement.

That was six weeks ago. We were asking for the kind of information which it is now alleged we have been supplied with in the White Paper and we were told it was impossible and unthinkable.

Then Deputy Sweetman proceeded to put down a series of specific questions arising from the text of the Rome Treaty and that elicited from the Taoiseach an announcement that, instead of answering the questions, he was going to provide a White Paper. Then he was asked when would the White Paper be available. He said it would take about six weeks to produce.

The next information that reached me was when I got a letter from the Taoiseach to say he had this debate in mind and that the White Paper would be circulated in preparation for it on the following Monday, that is to say, we got a letter last Wednesday saying he proposed to initiate a debate on the Common Market in Dáil Éireann on Wednesday and that the White Paper would be made available on the following Monday. I replied saying that I thought the notice short but that I noted what he had in mind, in reply to which the Taoiseach wrote to me and said he would supply me with an advance copy of the White Paper on Friday and would circulate it at the earliest possible moment to Deputies, which he did on Saturday. So, we discovered on last Saturday that the White Paper which was to take six weeks to prepare, in fact, was prepared at very short notice and circulated and the information which he thought it inexpedient to furnish to the House six weeks ago is now to be made available and we are all to be asked to comment upon it as though the White Paper were an encyclopaedia of knowledge nowhere else to be had.

I want to suggest to the House that anybody who read the Year Book of the British Encyclopaedia published every year could have got all the information provided in the White Paper from that source. There is nothing in the White Paper which gives us any indication of the Government's thinking, and for this very good reason, that I do not believe the Government have any thinking to record.

Some people may say that I appear to make a claim for prescience on this side of the House that the Government do not appear to have, and to make it without foundation. I think I can establish that I am not doing that. I direct the attention of the House to Volume 163 of the Official Reports for the month of July, 1957, that is, four years ago almost to the day, when Deputy J.A. Costello moved and I seconded a motion in this House:

That, for the information and assistance of the Dáil and Seanad, it is expedient that a Select Joint Committee, consisting of 18 Deputies and seven Senators, of which the quorum should be eight, with power to send for persons, papers, and records, should be set up for the purpose of inquiring into and reporting to the Dáil and Seanad on the following matter, namely:—

the economic consequences for Ireland likely to follow the participation or the non-participation by this country in (a) the proposed Free Trade Area, and (b) the European Economic Community.

I shall not weary the House by recapitulating the arguments put forward by Deputy Costello and myself on that occasion, save to say that the Taoiseach intervened as Minister for Industry and Commerce to decline that proposal, although we pointed out at the time that what we wanted was a committee of Deputies and Senators drawn from all sides of the Houses who would be charged with the responsibility of informing themselves, without for a moment arrogating to any such committee the constitutional function of formulating policy which must devolve on the Government for the time being chosen by the Dáil.

The then Minister for Industry and Commerce informed us it was wholly unnecessary, that he did not propose to consent to it and that if the motion were pressed to a division, he and his Party must vote against it. On that I must say that he subsequently at some stage informed the Opposition that if they wished to attend a private briefing in his office, he would be prepared to provide it. Deputies Declan Costello, Cosgrave and myself attended at his office on that mission shortly after the date to which I have referred. I think the Taoiseach will agree with me that the volume of information he found himself then in a position to give us corresponded roughly to the contents of the preceding week's Daily Mail. He said himself he felt the amount of information he was then in a position to impart was not sufficient but that he really had no further detailed information to give.

Whether the Government have sat on their sash, hoping that something would turn up, since 1957 until now, I do not know. But I cannot help remembering that at that time, as we were urging on the Government that the Deputies and the Senators of Oireachtas Éireann required to be informed of the matters relating to the Common Market and of the possible problems arising for Ireland out of its institution—the House will bear in mind that the Rome Treaty was signed in March, 1957—other grave matters were in train. At that same time, we urged on the Government that the Trade Agreement with Great Britain of 1948 required bringing up to date in the light of developments that had taken place in the previous decade. We were told there was no time for that. The Government were so busy eliminating, or trying to eliminate, proportional representation that for two years nothing was done about it.

We were all careering around the country arguing the toss as to whether proportional representation should function in this country or not. When that matter had been disposed of by the people and the Government had been told their proposals were unacceptable, we then sent a delegation to London under the leadership of the Taoiseach which came back from its task virtually with one hand as long as the other, but with the important development that our previous position in the British market in respect of pig meat and bacon products had disappeared because the Danes had been busying themselves about these matters while we were discussing proportional representation. At the other end of Europe Greece was busy about many things, and the result of her activities is that she has now negotiated a long, complex, but comprehensive agreement for association with the European Common Market on terms which are acceptable to her and which she has persuaded the Common Market to accept as desirable for them.

We are left in the astonishing position of sending a delegation to London to inquire what the British are going to do about it. I am astonished that, despite repeated representations from this side of the House, our Government appear to have had no discussions whatever of a substantial character with the Brussels Authority to ascertain from them what was available to Ireland either by way of a treaty of association with the Common Market authorities or what other arrangements were possible for us with them in view of the special treaty relations existing between ourselves and Great Britain. Such inquiries might most advantageously have been initiated two or three years ago. It bound us to nothing, but at least furnished us with the kind of information we are now sailing out into the void to try to get at the eleventh hour. Our position vis-à-vis the European Common Market is going to be vastly different, if we are discussing our relationship with it or its potentialities after Great Britain has joined it, from what it might have been if we were discussing such a question with them before Great Britain had taken any such step.

The White Paper furnishes me with no additional information that I had not already got. Possibly, the Government are not in a position to give any further information; but apart from some useful statistical tables at the back of it, anything there is in it is already readily available to anyone who is a student of the Library of Oireachtas Éireann. But I want to raise certain questions which arise from the statement made by the Taoiseach today. He says that if Great Britain joined the Common Market, Ireland will have to do so, too. That is not a very revealing statement.

That immediately gives rise to the question, bearing in mind the public pronouncements made on behalf of the British Government, how can Great Britain join the Common Market on the terms of the Rome Treaty, as set out in that instrument, without some provision for the special situation of her own farmers and of countries like Canada, Australia and New Zealand and, indeed, such countries as our own with which she has treaty obligations of a trade agreement kind? But if Great Britain contemplates such reservations and if we are to believe that the European Common Market Authority at Brussels is prepared to concede such qualifications, surely the character of these qualifications must be very relevant to us in forming any judgment as to what it is appropriate to do in regard to our own approach to the Common Market?

But that is not the only category of consideration. That is the international consideration on which we must be informed if, as an Oireachtas, we are to express a common-sense opinion on the correct attitude for Ireland to adopt. But there are other very important domestic considerations, very important answers to domestic problems, which we ought to be in possession of now if we are to give any informed opinion on this extremely important question. There are vocational interests in this country, both employers and employed. The Taoiseach says in the course of his statement that it is now proposed to set up a series of committees but that there is no time to set up enough committees to deal with all the problems that require investigation and he exhorts anyone left out to get on with the job himself. He seems to have overlooked the fact that if Oireachtas Éireann is to act responsibly in this matter it ought to have regard to any eggs the Government propose to break before we authorise the manufacture of the omelette.

I can never forget hearing from the seat in which the Taoiseach now sits during the middle of the Economic War the declaration from the then leader of the Fianna Fáil Government that you cannot have omelettes without breaking eggs. The eggs on that occasion happened to be the small farmers of this country. I took exception to that philosophy then. I take exception to it now.

I protest that it is here we are inaugurating a discussion on the tariffed industries, the workers in them and the various other interests which must be vitally affected by any decision we may take in regard to the European Economic Community, because we are going to be asked to take decisions, according to the Taoiseach's own statement, before the complete review of such matters can be carried through and may, in the course of decisions thus taken without the information we ought to have, break eggs that are in fact human beings in order to make economic omelettes. That is a course of conduct into which I certainly for one, and I believe most of my colleagues, bitterly regret being forced.

I do not deny that the potential repercussions of the Common Market if we are to accept it in the terms of the Rome Treaty must be very grave repercussions on our agriculture, if we are to decide to remain outside the Common Market while Great Britain enters in. A study of List F on page 215 of the official text of the Rome Treaty argues sufficiently eloquently for that thesis without elaborating further but it could also be argued that there are to be found in the European Common Market very substantial long-term advantages for agriculture.

There is one thing in which we can rejoice, however, and that is the development of a degree of economic sanity—and I say advisedly a degree of economic sanity—which it has taken a great many Deputies a long time to arrive at, that is, the declaration in the course of the Taoiseach's statement of the fundamental importance to the vast majority of our people of our access to the British market. I hope that ghost has been finally laid. I note the presence of the Minister for External Affairs who once prayed that all ships might be sunk and that trade with external contacts might be suspended. I take it that that prayer by the Minister for External Affairs has now become his perennial regret. It is the only Fianna Fáil prayer I have heard uttered in this House which has been a nightmare to the minds of rational men in this country for close on a quarter of a century. If we have purged the veterans of these follies we hope they will not communicate them to the generations yet to come.

Did the Deputy not drown the British in eggs?

That is a real intellectual intervention.

I do not think it would be seemly in the course of this debate that a senior statesman like Deputy Boland—I am happy to think of him as an economic convert—and myself should engage in altercations, but now that he has reformed I only wish to rejoice in his reform and that of his colleagues.

There are certain aspects of the Taoiseach's statement which will be dealt with in greater detail by other speakers on this side of the House. I want to reiterate our deep regret at the inadequacy of the information the Government has found itself in a position to give us; secondly, at the irresistible impression of dithering which this whole procedure must make on the minds of reasonable observers and, lastly, the implication of the Taoiseacht's concluding observations in which he said that a very high degree of national solidarity and co-operation must be achieved in order to meet the changing economic and trading conditions and to ensure that we would be in a position to take advantage of favourable features and to maintain as fast a rate of national development as possible.

I must deplore the fact that, entertaining that hope now, he saw fit four years ago to move the rejection of a motion asking that a committee of this House should be established to sit with a committee of the Seanad to inform ourselves of the economic consequences likely to follow the non-participation of this country in the European Economic Community. That was in a speech made by Deputy John A. Costello in which he sought to emphasise that his purpose was not to arrogate to any committee the functions which should fall upon us but to ensure that all sides of the House would be fully informed before performing the duty devolving on them of passing any proposals. If we had done that four years ago we would be much better prepared for the problem with which we have to grapple now. If we had discussed this matter with Brussels two or three years ago we would be in a much stronger position now.

It is true that whatever the future holds for this country we must have regard to the economic importance of the British market to us. We hold that view today; we held it for many years, but I urge most strongly on the Government that there should be no sketchy or inadequate consultation with those upon whom the consequences of a decision to enter the Common Market would bear most heavily. If it becomes our duty in the national interest to interfere with the livelihood of any of our neighbours in this country we ought to do it in the full knowledge of what we are doing and with a full sense of the obligation to protect them in so far as our resources will allow from the consequences of the dilatory conduct of the Government and their failure to make provision in good time for the economic developments that now draw upon us.

Frankly, I think the country is going to express grave disappointment at the sketchy type of debate taking place here today on a problem which the Taoiseach describes as the most important problem we have yet faced, namely, whether or not we might be expected to join the Common Market, dependent of course on the decision Britain may take. For myself, may I say that I was disappointed with the type of speech the Taoiseach delivered here today.

It was not a speech; it was a statement.

I take it the intention of the Taoiseach was to make a statement to the House that would give some light or leading to the country as to what the position of the country would be vis-à-vis the Common Market. As I say, it was merely a précis of what is contained in the White Paper, an announcement that there will be certain discussions—a discussion on 7th July with agricultural interests, one on 11th July with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and one on 18th July with the British Government. There is nothing in this statement to demonstrate, to to me in any case, what the Government have done up to this, if they have done anything. There is nothing in this statement of the Taoiseach to show what effective steps they have taken to prepare for a situation in which we may find ourselves in or out of the Common Market.

There is no necessity for me to say that a decision as to whether we should join or not join is of the greatest importance to this country. I suppose it is the greatest challenge which this country has ever been called upon to meet. The fortunate or unfortunate thing about it is that when Britain makes her decision, it will be more or less Hobson's choice for us. I believe the Taoiseach should have given much more information than he did. His statement was one of studied caution.

The Taoiseach said some time ago that it would not be right for us to speculate on the advantages or disadvantages of joining the Common Market because it might prejudice our position if we had to negotiate for special terms. I think that even making all due allowances for the approach of caution which he adopted, he might have speculated to some extent on what our decision would be in certain circumstances, because there are many misconceptions throughout the country as to what our position would be if we became members of the Common Market. Anybody who has read Article 2 of the Treaty of Rome will see that undoubtedly membership of the Common Market could be very attractive for this country.

Article 2 of the Treaty reads:

It shall be the aim of the Community, by establishing a Common Market and progressively approximating the economic policies of Member States, to promote throughout the Community a harmonious development of economic activities, a continuous and balanced expansion, an increased stability, an accelerated raising of the standard of living and closer relations between its Member States.

That in itself seems very attractive to those who may not consider what the implications of our joining would be.

I should like to quote at this stage another Article of the Treaty which might seem very attractive to those who might be inclined to consider the practical implications of our becoming a member of the Common Market. The question of European social policy is dealt with in Articles 117 to 128, in paragraph 73 of the White Paper. I quote:

In the field of social policy the aim of the Treaty is to promote the improvement of the living and working conditions of labour so as to permit of the equalisation of such conditions in an upper direction and to this end to promote close collaboration between Member States particularly in matters relating to employment, legislation and working conditions, occupational and continuation training, social security, protection against occupational accidents and disease, industrial hygiene and the law relating to trade unions and collective bargaining between employers and workers.

These may seem very desirable objectives of which we have had many examples in Treaties and Conventions which also included similar high-sounding phrases, but what we have to consider is whether or not we believe these aims can be achieved and whether or not in the process damage could be done as between a country such as ours and other States. We have been in such close association with Great Britain and if our decision were dependent on Great Britain's decision, our course would be pretty clear, but, as I have said, we cannot ignore Britain and Britain's decision in this matter, in view of the importance of our trading with Great Britain.

As the White Paper says, 73 per cent. of our exports in 1960 went to Great Britain and they were value for approximately £112,000,000. Fifty per cent. of our imports were from Great Britain and they approximated the same figure, £112,000,000. We cannot ignore, therefore, in any decision we have to make, our favoured position with Great Britain under the various trade agreements made by various Governments over the past 15 or 20 years. I think what is more important however, in this matter is that a decision of some kind would be arrived at. I do not know whether the Taoiseach or the Government would agree with that, but it seems to me that the longer the time taken in coming to a decision, the worse it will be for us. I trust that the contrary may be the case.

Britain's position, as has also been said, is made much more difficult by reason of her association with what she likes to call the Commonwealth family. It seems that some weeks ago Britain was all set to apply for membership of the Common Market. Then she decided to consult Commonwealth countries and from most of them, they have got a very unfavourable reply, particularly from some of the African States. Other countries such as Australia replied in no uncertain manner that they did not approve of Britain's application for membership of the Common Market. The outstanding example of a country which did approve was India.

We have also to consider our decision more or less in relation to the Commonwealth countries. We have enjoyed in this country Imperial or Commonwealth preference in our trade with Britain. I wonder has the Taoiseach considered what our position would be, if Britain is accepted as a member of the Common Market in respect of the special consideration given by her to Commonwealth countries? Can we claim special consideration in that we have been more or less specially treated in regard to Imperial or Commonwealth preference for some years?

We have also to consider our decision if Britain decides to make application for membership. Where then do we stand? I do not think I am unreasonable in asking the Taoiseach to speculate to some extent on a situation like that. It seems to me based on whether or not Britain will apply for membership and, incidentally, on whether or not we also will apply for membership of E.E.C.

The Taoiseach in the White Paper, though he does not elaborate on it too much in the White Paper—if he takes responsibility for it—and in a reply he gave in this House on 16th May, rules out altogether the possibility of membership of E.F.T.A. I should like the Taoiseach, when he intervenes later in this debate, to expand on his statement to the effect that membership of E.F.T.A. as far as this country is concerned would be useless. There may be some advantages but, generally, I do not think that if we do join—I assume we will—we could enjoy the special preferences we have for entry of our goods to the British market, in view of the fact that E.F.T.A. countries have no common agricultural policy—neither do they propose to establish such a policy—and especially in view of the fact that the E.E.C. countries have not established and do not intend to operate a common tariff barrier.

It seems, therefore, as far as this country is concerned that, if Britain stays out of E.E.C., we can more or less continue to enjoy the special preference we have of entry to the British market. In any case, I assume from the Taoiseach's remarks today and from the general attitude of members of the Government that if Britain does not apply for membership or does not join E.E.C., our decision is clear—we do not join, either.

The White Paper is — I think it should be admitted—pretty factual and is a pretty good précis of the Rome Treaty and of the various Conventions that have been put into operation and of the progress and the lowering of tariff barriers within these Common Market countries for the past two or three years. It does not, however, give very much information as to what would happen were we—I think these words are appropriate — required to join, we do not know on what terms. The Taoiseach in the White Paper and in statements in this House says that he favours an association rather than full membership.

Is that so?

I never made that statement.

At any rate, he seems to lean in favour of association rather than membership.

I made it quite clear that our application, if we make application, will be for membership.

Full membership?

Full membership.

I believe this is contrary to what the Taoiseach has indicated to this House. I may be wrong and, if I am, I must have misinterpreted him. As far as I can gather from the White Paper and from the replies he has given here, he seems to favour associate membership.

I thought I made it quite clear today.

It is in conflict with what the Minister said in reply to a Parliamentary Question on 16th May. However, it is clear now. We have got that much information at least.

The statement the Deputy thought too trivial contained that very important pronouncement, as the Deputy would have discovered if he had read it carefully.

It is in conflict with what the Taoiseach said earlier. That is clear as well.

No, there is no conflict.

As far as we are concerned then, it is a question of membership of E.E.C. It is a question of full membership and if the Taoiseach has indicated nothing more than that today, we should, I suppose, be grateful for it. I do not know whether or not in full membership he means that we can get special terms as full members. He has talked all the time about our negotiating special terms. I have been under the impression there were not to be any special terms for full membership of E.E.C. and this country, therefore, should be geared up for full membership, if such is to be our decision. I do not know whether or not there can be special terms for full membership.

We cannot take the example of Greece, which has applied for and been accepted as an associate member, because I do not believe that the six members of E.E.C. will regard us in the same light as that in which they regard Greece. Greece is situated in a different part of Europe. There can be a case for giving special terms to Greece in view of its proximity, not to the Iron Curtain countries but to the Soviet Union. We have no such, shall I say, advantage in that particular respect, though we have advantages in other respects vis-à-vis our position. Whether or not we can negotiate terms similar to those negotiated by Greece with the E.E.C. countries, I do not know.

It is not clear from the Taoiseach's statement, and neither has it been indicated in any public pronouncement, what we have done to prepare the country for the undoubted change that may take place. I read the speech made here by Deputy Norton on the Vote for the Department of Industry and Commerce in which he advocated certain consultations with manufacturers and industry generally in this country. It seems to me that up to that little, if anything, was done and it is only in recent weeks that the business people—the manufacturers and industrialists—have been sent these queries so that they may give information to the Government in order to help in determining what the position will be in respect of certain industries, should we decide to join the Common Market.

Apart from the general speech the Minister made in Shannon Airport recently, there has not been much of a lead, if any lead, from either the Taoiseach or the Government to either agriculture or industry since the idea was first mooted that we might become a member of E.E.C. In any case, apart from the Common Market, and apart from E.F.T.A., it seems clear that there will be freer trade in the European area, whether we join one group or the other. If we are not geared up for competition within E.E.C., it seems to me we must gear ourselves up for competition in an area in which there will be freer trade. In the two sectors of our economy—industry and agriculture—there will have to be an awareness as to what the implications of E.E.C. will be or what the implications of freer trade in Europe will be.

It has been suggested to me—I suppose I will be told this is a scare— that if we join the E.E.C., in the initial stages at least, there may be something like 40,000 rendered unemployed. Frankly, I do not believe that, but, if that is the sort of adverse propaganda our workers are to get, I think there should be some encouraging words from the Taoiseach and from the members of his Government. The establishment of industry here has been of pretty recent origin. Whether or not we can get special terms for industry is something that should be investigated as quickly as possible. The trend here over the past 20 years has been for people to leave the land and to be absorbed in industry to some extent. We had the position in which they were forced out of agriculture and those who did not have to emigrate were absorbed into manufacturing industry. It would be a tragic thing, indeed, if they were now to be jerked out of that employment because we had not taken the necessary precautions and had not taken the proper steps trading in a group such as E.E.C. to make our industries as competitive as we could.

The Taoiseach should initiate an inquiry to discover why Irish industry is not competitive. The answer may be obvious to a great many people. There may be the usual taunts about hiding behind tariff barriers and all that kind of thing, and if, to some extent, the criticism that their non-competitiveness is due to the fact that they have had these high tariff barriers is legitimate, I do not think it is the whole picture. There must be other reasons why Irish industry is not competitive. One is, I assume, the high cost in industry. The Government should have found out, or should now proceed to find out, why these industries are high cost industries. It cannot be said the labour costs are responsible for their being high cost industries. It cannot be said labour costs in this country make them non-competitive with other countries, especially European countries, because it must be well known that labour costs in Ireland are the lowest in Europe, apart from countries, say, like Spain or Turkey. Therefore, I do not think it could be alleged that labour costs are responsible for the inability of Irish industry to compete.

The Government should cause inquiry to be made—they should have had the information long ago—as to whether or not plant and machinery are adequate and should have explored the possibility of giving grants to old established industries to bring their plant and machinery up to date and to have it modernised.

There is much information the Government could set about getting with a view to preparing Irish industry for the competition that must undoubtedly come if we join E.E.C. It must be discovered whether or not our industrial management is efficient and, if it is inefficient, what is to be done about it. Can we not be competitive in Irish industry because our transport costs, especially to foreign markets, are too high? All this information should have been elicited long ago and if it is not in the hands of the Government now steps should be taken to obtain it as quickly as possible.

It is a pity that a Bill which was introduced by the Taoiseach when Minister for Industry and Commerce, the Industrial Efficiency and Prices Bill, was not proceeded with.

That Bill had an unhappy history.

Who killed it?

Why did you not go on with it?

You strangled your own child.

The Deputy had his hand in the slaying.

That Bill provided for the establishment of development councils which would have served a very useful purpose, especially in present circumstances.

There seems to be something like a clamour in agricultural circles that we should jump into the Common Market immediately. I do not know whether their optimism is justified or not. Perhaps they are attracted by one of the articles of the Rome Treaty or by what they consider to be attractive prices for agricultural produce on the Continent.

One of the articles of the Rome Treaty says:

The common agricultural policy shall have as its objectives:

(a) to increase agricultural productivity by developing technical progress and by ensuring the rational development of agricultural production and the optimum utilisation of the factors of production, particularly labour;

(b) to ensure thereby a fair standard of living for the agricultural population, particularly by the increasing of the individual earnings of persons engaged in agriculture;

(c) to stabilise markets;

(d) to guarantee regular supplies; and

(e) to ensure reasonable prices in supplies to consumers.

The farmers' organisation of this country may be attracted by these high sounding aims. Whether or not they will be achieved will not be known for some years to come. They may also be attracted by the table included in the White Paper showing the prices of various agricultural commodities in the European market. They probably believe they have nothing to do but join the Common Market and have sale and a good price for practically everything they care to produce.

On closer examination, that table of prices for agricultural produce in Europe would seem not to be as attractive as may appear at first sight. As far as I can see, the attractive prices appear to be in respect of beef and milk only. On the other hand, we, a country that gets so much employment from sugar beet, might remind ourselves that the price of sugar beet in Italy is very much lower than it is here and if farmers here believe they can dispose of their beef, bacon and milk at remunerative prices to the countries in Europe they should also bear in mind that an inflow of sugar beet would not do the farmers or workers of this country very much good.

They may also be attracted by the attractive prices that may seem to be offered for pigs but must remember that countries like Belgium and Holland could undersell the Irish farmer. It would, indeed, be a very funny situation if we found ourselves importing pigs from either Holland, Denmark or some other European country.

From its title this would appear to be a proposal to join together in an economic bloc certain countries in Europe. I do not think we should banish entirely from our minds the idea of a political association. It is not stated expressly in the Rome Treaty that there should be political co-operation or military co-operation between these countries but I do not think we should ignore such a possibility. Professor Halstein, speaking in New York some time ago, had occasion to say "We are not in business at all; we are in politics". Politics does not necessarily mean pigs, bacon and manufacturing goods. It seems to me that if we are to be associated economically with six, seven or eight countries, there must come a time when we must be associated in some form or another politically and militarily. I do not think we could avoid that sort of situation especially if we were confronted with any sort of conflict between Europe and some other part of the world.

We must also remember that every single country in E.E.C. at the present time is a member of N.A.T.O. As far as I know, practically every country in E.F.T.A. is a member of N.A.TO, with perhaps three exceptions. In any case, all the countries in E.C.C. are members of N.A.T.O. Practically all the countries—four the Taoiseach says— of E.F.T.A. are in N.A.T.O. So, I do not know whether we can avoid political association if we accept economic association.

In his statement the Taoiseach said it was proposed to have discussions with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. I should like the Taoiseach to know that, despite the shortcomings of the Government, the trade union movement have not altogether been asleep. The trade union movement for a long time past have been very much concerned about the implications of our having to join E.E.C. They have had discussions on a national level in an effort to make their members aware of the challenge in this decision as to whether or not we will join the Common Market. They have taken pains to make members of the trade union movement aware of what they will be expected to do in steps that might be taken to gear ourselves to meet such a situation.

While we may talk in a vague way about agriculture and industry, our main concern must be for the people who derive their living from these two branches of our economy. We must not merely look to the owners and directors of industry; we must be primarily concerned with the thousands who may lose their employment or may, on the other hand, obtain better employment. Fortunately or unfortunately, we are dependent on the British market. If Britain enters E.E.C., they may be able to compete and survive. If we join after Britain, it does not necessarily mean that we can compete and survive. The Government's task will now be to ensure that Irish industry and agriculture will be geared up to a sufficient strength to both compete and survive.

I think it might be helpful if we kept clearly before our minds that the conception of the European Economic Community is only one in a large number of efforts which have been made since the end of the war to promote European cooperation, in some cases aiming at European integration altogether. It is worth noting that since the war ended in 1945 there have been numerous efforts along this line, starting with the Benelux Economic Union which in fact was negotiated by the Governments in exile during the German occupation of those countries. Shortly after the Brussels agreement was ratified by the newly-liberated Parliaments, we had a slightly different line-up with the Scandinavian countries through what is known as the Nordic Pact. Benelux was a purely economic agreement. The Nordic Pact was a different conception altogether, where countries each agreed to pass laws in precisely similar terms so that thereby they could come more closely together. Consequently, by this means, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland originally came together, passed exactly similar legislation and were subsequently joined by Finland. This was a difficult way of achieving cooperation because there was no actual treaty at all, but simply an unwritten agreement whereby simultaneous identical legislation would be passed. But one striking result of that is that any citizen of a country which is a member of the Nordic Pact can move quite freely into and out of any other country which is also a member and can also enjoy all the social welfare benefits to which he would be entitled if he had stayed at home. Those are only some of the advantages which have resulted.

Then we had the European Coal and Steel Community which was in many ways the forerunner of the Common Market, which in its turn became the European Economic Community. But the European Coal and Steel Community was again something quite unique. It was the first of these organisations which were set up which included a supra-national authority. The countries which joined in this Community submitted to the decisions of a body known as the Higher Authority of the Community. This is the first occasion, I think, when national governments have voluntarily surrendered their sovereignty in any part of their own affairs. In many ways this was an altogether exciting conception, but has had its growing pains. We have seen ourselves from the newspapers, the radio and television the results of the action of the Higher Authority in closing down coal mines in Belgium and the Netherlands. It is bad enough if one's own Government closes down a redundant coal mine, but when a Higher Authority which is not responsible to one's own Government takes such action, there is apt to be trouble. In actual fact, however, this European Coal and Steel Community has achieved a tremendous amount of progress and has built itself up to such an extent that many countries, including Great Britain, have appointed ambassadors to the Community just as if it were a sovereign State of its own.

From the European Coal and Steel Community very directly emanated the proposal that there should be a European Common Market. The idea there was very simple: that a start could be made among the members of O.E.E.C. whereby there would be a free movement of goods, persons and finance between the members to their mutual advantage. But as this proposal became more closely analysed it was realised that there were very definite political and social implications in this whole idea. It was at that stage that the rift began to develop between Continental Europe on the one hand, excluding Scandinavia, and Great Britain on the other.

This has been explained to me by a man who has had great experience of international affairs. He pointed out that there is a very great difference between the approach of Germany, France and Italy, in particular, to a question of this nature and the approach of Scandinavia and Great Britain. France, Germany and Italy, are quite happy to enter an agreement which has very high aims and then to modify that agreement and to include exceptions and reservations in it to try and make it workable. It has been explained to me it is more common with Great Britain and Scandinavia to try and negotiate a Treaty without any exceptions or reservations whatever. The approach of Britain and Scandinavia is that it is no use pledging yourself to have a united Europe and then make all sorts of exceptions and reservations to deal with specific cases which may arise and might make it difficult.

In regard to France, Germany and Italy, in particular, their attitude is that unless you hold the goal of a united Europe clearly before you all the time you will get so tangled up in detail that you will not know where you are going and you will not make any progress. When you think of it that way there is a certain amount to be said on either side. In actual fact, the number of countries which were prepared to go the whole hog was eventually reduced to six. Great Britain tried to maintain the conception of the Common Market but was reluctant to take the jump of involving herself in some degree of political integration. Possibly it was on that account that negotiations finally broke down and Great Britain found herself excluded from the Six and out on her own.

It was at that stage that the name of the new community was changed. It ceased to be purely a European Common Market and became, under the Treaty of Rome, the European Economic Community which is something very much wider altogether. When the negotiations for British participation broke down, very much to the disappointment of Mr. Maudling who was then in charge of negotiations, it was quite clear to France, in particular, and I think to the other members of the Six that Britain was not prepared to go into Europe 100 per cent.

Now things are beginning to change because British public opinion has become accustomed to the fact that the British Government no longer has absolute sovereignty any more. It is a bit of a shock but these things have crept up on all of us. So far as Britain is concerned, her membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation imposed very substantial limitations on her freedom of action in a military field. Her membership of the United Nations, just as ours, imposed limitations and her membership of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade imposed limitations on her which are not yet imposed on ourselves.

This growing realisation by British public opinion that complete sovereignty has already gone does make it rather more easy for the British Government now to propose a further step which will also involve a limitation of sovereignty. It is more than possible that the French reluctance to admit Great Britain in the past will be reduced if not removed altogether but it largely depends upon Great Britain's bona-fides in the matter and if Great Britain is prepared genuinely to come in with the rest of Europe she will find that she will be admitted with very considerable good-will.

However, when we are considering the Treaty of Rome we must not consider it as a fait accompli. It is a confusing document to me. By the time I had read the first few articles of the Treaty of Rome I thought I knew precisely what it was all about. It was only as I floundered on further and further that I discovered that I knew very little about it at all because so much is still left wide open for negotiation. The first few articles are very high sounding principles with which we all agree but as we proceed to the articles of three figures or more there are plenty of opportunities given for negotiation of details of the provisions. It was only today we had some indication of that in the morning papers where we saw that certain reductions in tariffs amongst members of the Six had been blocked by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany. That shows that no one is up against an absolutely final decision instantaneously and that there is considerable room for manoeuvre.

The Community itself has certain organs. There is the council which is a council of Ministers, one Minister from each member State. Then there is the executive body which is the commission and which is presided over at the moment by Professor Hallstein. Lastly, there is the European Parliamentary Assembly which has no executive power but which has the authority to call the commission before it, to question the commission as to its activities and also to hear members of the council propounding policy.

That is quite a different set-up from the European Coal and Steel Community; it is different from the Benelux Organisation and different from the Nordic Pact. Therefore, we are still in this whole matter experimenting with new European Parliamentary and executive institutions. The high authority of the European Coal and Steel Community had power to issue instructions which had legal effect immediately they were issued, but there is no power in the European Economic Community with corresponding authority, and that is just as well. There is still considerable uncertainty as to exactly how these three organs of the European Economic Community will work together. Therefore, we should not be unduly frightened; rather should we be prepared to go in and take our part in moulding these new organs with a new spirit of co-operation so as to promote real European integration and real progress in the face of the powers which are fighting against rather than in favour of democracy.

There has been some mention, rather fleeting, of the question of what would be the position of Irish agriculture in the European Economic Community. The answer to that is that the future will be precisely what we make of it because here again as in all other cases, the Treaty of Rome has made high-sounding pronouncements about unifying agricultural policy but it has been so difficult to get any agreement so far that in fact there is no united European agricultural policy even amongst the Six at the moment. If we are to stay out, the Six, with or without Great Britain and Scandinavia, will form a common agricultural policy. If we are to go in we at least will have some chance through the Parliamentary assembly, the council and the commission of influencing the final decision as to what that agricultural policy shall be.

The same applies to industry. I think Deputy Corish was unduly pessimistic when he stated there that one of the responsibilities of the Government was to inquire why Irish industry was so high priced, why it was so uneconomic. He makes an assumption there which I hope and believe is entirely without foundation. Industrial productivity, the standard of management and the standard of technical equipment and knowledge have improved out of all knowledge in the past five or 10 years. I have no wide experience of Irish Industry; my only experience really is in connection with my own business of the assembly and sale of motor vehicles. If we take that industry as one, it is generally assumed that the assembly of motor vehicles in Ireland will inevitably have to go. I should hope, and I trust I am not being purely self-interested in the matter, that we would take no such rash decision.

I have made certain investigations into conditions in the Six at the moment and I find that, for instance, in Belgium, all motor vehicles are still imported in knocked-down condition, precisely as they are here or in almost exactly the same condition as here; but all motor vehicles have to be at least partly assembled in Belgium and they do at present exactly as we do here in relation to tyres, glass, springs, upholstery, paint, batteries and certain other components, all of which are made locally in Belgium. This shows that even under the Treaty of Rome motor assembly, as one instance, is still being carried on in Belgium rather than the importation of complete motor vehicles.

I have not yet been able to discover whether there is any financial incentive which persuades people to continue with motor assembly in Belgium, nor do I know in what other countries of the Six assembly is actually carried out, but I believe this does give us some reason for keeping our spirits up and for feeling that simply because we apply and, I hope, are admitted to membership of the European Economic Community, we will not find certain industries closing down overnight.

In the motor assembly industry, for instance, it might not be so catastrophic for those of us who are actually engaged in assembly but it could be catastrophic for the subsidiary industries such as those who manufacture motor tyres, safety glass, springs, paint and so on. I feel, therefore, that this is not a matter which we should approach with fear but rather with a real spirit of adventure, particularly because it does involve us in integration on the political and social level as well as on the economic level.

This matter has never been overlooked in the Treaty itself. We know, for instance, that particular stress is laid on the free movement of persons amongst members of the Community. That is quite clearly something which was put in at the request of Italy which has the same emigration problem as we have. Italians emigrate in huge numbers for employment in France and more particularly in Germany, and consequently they got this provision inserted in the Treaty for their benefit and the other countries were prepared to compromise, if necessary.

Then we have the French proposal that there should be equal pay for equal work, with no discrimination between the payments to men and to women. That is a particularly French idea on which France was far ahead of anyone else, but it was a provision which France felt should be made and one which she could not surrender and she was able by her own efforts to get that put, at least as an objective, into the Treaty of Rome, that amongst members they would proceed as rapidly as possible to achieve equal pay for equal work, without any differentiation between men and women.

The question has been asked here today as to why no previous approach has been made to Brussels to investigate the terms upon which Irish membership might be granted. I do not know whom the Leader of the Opposition had in mind but there is no use in merely going to Brussels and asking a question. To my mind, there is no use in going to the Commission, which has not got final executive authority. I would say that there is extremely little use in going to Professor Hallstein who has so often exceeded his powers that he is now regarded with considerable suspicion in a number of quarters and the Council of the European Economic Community does not regularly sit in Brussels, so why anyone should go from here to Brussels to ask that question, I do not know, because a decision as to the terms upon which Great Britain or ourselves would be accepted for membership is a matter for discussion between all the member States and not at all a matter on which the Commission can take a decision.

I think we have to remember, too, that if we do accept membership of the Community, while we are surrendering some part of our national sovereignty, we are gaining a tremendous amount. Initially, many of the decisions require a unanimous vote amongst members in order to be valid, but then as the whole Community develops, there is a trend which is provided for in the Treaty for subsequent decisions to be taken by what is known as a qualified vote, that is, a majority of a certain percentage, and gradually we work towards the ultimate objective of decisions being taken by majority.

That is something we should not be afraid of. It means that in the earlier stages of our membership, we would have, as full members, of course, almost a right of veto, which I hope we would use very carefully but which we could use, if our own interests were gravely threatened. From that, we could then proceed to build up a Community which was getting closer and closer together and to that Community we could make a tremendous contribution. But I would hope that our membership would be a willing membership, that we would not feel for a moment that we were being dragged into this by the hair, that we were being forced into it by British action.

I should hope that we would take some initiative at this stage in view of the obvious change of heart in Britain and that at the meeting on July 18th, our representatives would meet the British Government with enthusiasm and give them all the encouragement that can be given, would say: "Go on, by all means, and we are coming with you" because I feel that if that is done, if Britain is accepted, and if we are accepted, I am sure we will bring in with us countries like Denmark, countries with which we have very much in common. With Denmark and Great Britain and ourselves—Great Britain with its very considerable agricultural interests as well as its industrial interests— we can offer a very useful counterblast to the rather heavy weight of industrial power on the Continent itself. I insist that we should not consider associate membership for a moment. I am not in the slightest degree jealous of the agreement which has been reached between Greece and the Community because to all intents and purposes Greece remains out on a limb. If we are going to do anything we will have to go in one hundred per cent. We must not go in with quaking hearts and weak knees. I do not know that we have any reason to. We must go in with a definite contribution to make and with the conviction—a conviction I believe well founded that our membership of the Community will be very much to our advantage at all levels.

I was reading a magazine today which had in it a report of an interview between a journalist and the head of the E.E.C. liaison office in Bonn—that is, the German liaison officer with the Community, Herr Grüneberg. The correspondent asked him: "What has been the experience of West Germany with the Common Market?" The reply was very short. He said: "The best, the very best." All the figures produced show that trade has benefited to an enormous extent between the members of the Six. If we join we have very little to lose and an enormous amount to gain when we think of the enormous market thrown open to us and our lack of industrial development which makes us a country not to be feared by other industrialised countries. When we realise that, and with those facts in our favour, we are almost certain to be able to negotiate terms of membership which will avoid any undue strain on our economy or any undue disturbance of our employment position and which will actually allow us to make great strides forward.

We must remember that our prosperity will then be the concern of all the other members. It would be no use for the members of the Community to see the Irish economy grinding to a halt. It would be the concern of all members to help us to build up our economy so that we may become a consumer market as well as a producing country. I am absolutely positive that this decision will be to our advantage, but we must not approach it on the assumption that, if we go in, there will be wholesale closing down of industry here and that there will be a sudden desperate upheaval in agriculture. All the experience has been that any progress made under the Rome Treaty has been very gradual, very gentle, and always subject to review. I see no reason why our case should be different from that of those countries in the original Treaty.

I express the sincere hope that our delegates will press the British Government to take an early decision to apply for membership and that our own Government will immediately fol low suit. We must not, of course, spare any effort to make sure that our legitimate interests are safeguarded during the interim period and until we become fully integrated with Europe. It is only with a united Europe that we can have any feeling of confidence in the future. At the moment Europe is greatly divided. The European Free Trade Association in opposition—it is no use pretending it is not—to the European Economic Community will in itself be a source of weakness, and not purely from the point of view of trade either. It is a matter of the development of our standard of living, our social services and, above all, our common culture to such an extent that we will react upon each other to our mutual benefit.

It may well be that such a united Europe will eventually lead to some form of military alliance. I do not think we should be frightened out at this stage by such a possibility. It is certainly not an integral part of any article of the Treaty of Rome and we need not at the moment commit ourselves in any way. It could well be, however, that by working together to this extent, and producing a really integrated Western Europe, a further display of military power might not be necessary at all. A division between the countries of Western Europe is in itself an invitation to any aggressor, and we know there is one readily available at any moment.

I look forward to a favourable decision by both the British Government and our own Government and I also look forward with confidence to the conditions on which membership will be granted to us. I look forward with confidence, all the confidence in the world, and with tremendous excitement, to the wonderful possibilities and the advantages such membership will offer to us if we are accepted as full members of the Community.

In considering this whole matter I believe a great deal more clarification is needed on many points before we can reach a decision. This debate, and the consultations and discussions which have been initiated, will help whatever decision must ultimately be taken. This discussion today emphasises the fact that a great deal more information is necessary and that many questions require to be answered before we can come to a definite decision. Whatever decision is taken concerning the Common Market, the consequences for this country will be decisive and far-reaching. The interests of the country make it obvious that we must all bend our intellects and our energies to assessing the whole situation as fully as possible so that we may eventually take the proper action in the light of such assessment.

The White Paper and the Taoiseach's statement this afternoon made reference to the vital importance to this country of our trade with Britain. In 1960 the total value of exports and imports between this country and Britain amounted in round figures to £225 million—a sizeable volume of trade by any standards. The value of our trade with Britain and its vital significance for our economy has always been recognised by this Party and has influenced our economic thought and action. Our appreciation of the significance of these inescapable economic facts appears now to be shared elsewhere and these facts are recognised to be of paramount importance to the national economy.

Since the establishment of the State it has been our traditional policy to develop and exploit the trade potential between Ireland and Britain while at the same time asserting and defending our political rights. There is no serious criticism of or objection to the validity of that policy now nor any reason why every effort should not be made to strengthen these economic links and exploit to our advantage the prospects of greater trade and commercial development with Britain.

In recent times public interest has been quickened on the subject of the Common Market. Discussions and talks have been going on concerning the likely consequences for this country if we joined or were associated with the Common Market. It is on that point that the Government are open to criticism. Reference has been made in the course of this discussion to what the Federation of Irish Industries have done in this matter. Quite recently they engaged the services of an economic consultant and, indeed, some of the best articles, the most lucid and informative, on the whole question of the Common Market have been those by Mr. Garrett Fitzgerald. It is only now that the Government have taken the initiative in the question and, while it is satisfactory to note that various meetings have been arranged between the different trade and vocational interests, industry, agricultural organisations and the trade unions, it does seem to me that the Taoiseach and the other Ministers who are going on this delegation would be better informed on some aspects of the questions which will arise if these discussions had been initiated at an earlier stage.

It is quite true that this whole situation is a fluid one, that no definite decisions or no definite answers can be given to many of the questions at issue. One of the interesting features of the discussions in the British House of Commons has been the adroit shifting of ground as developments progressed. So far as we are concerned here there has been conspicuous lack of debate and discussion. Some years ago there was a debate initiated here and subsequently certain discussions took place. With the exception of occasional references in debates on Estimates and speeches by the Taoiseach or Ministers to Chambers of Commerce, no specific consultations or discussions were entered into between the Government and the organisations concerned.

No matter how emphatic Ministerial statements can be or how grave the warnings that have been issued, people tend to avoid coming to grips with realities until they have to discuss in precise terms the implications involved. Some years ago when this matter was being discussed and when certain data was complied in Government Departments an assessment was made, on the basis of the 1951 census, that in round figures about one-half of those engaged in industries included in that assessment owed their employment to protection. Undoubtedly, in the light of changes in the meantime, revision of that figure would be necessary. It is not even certain that the figure was correct but, at least, it was an effort to ascertain what were the likely consequences for this country.

A great deal of emphasis has been laid in the course of this discussion and in most of the articles written on the subject on the economic question but there has been some reference in the course of debates and questions in the British House of Commons to the wider implications of membership of the Common Market and, indeed, at the very beginning, in the Preamble to that Treaty, it is said:

Determined to establish the foundations of an ever closer union among the European peoples.

The last paragraph of the Preamble says:

Resolved to strengthen the safeguards of peace and liberty by establishing this combination of resources, and calling upon the other peoples of Europe who share their ideal to join in their efforts.

It is, therefore, important for us to realise that the Rome Treaty embraces wider questions than economic ones and that political questions are directly involved. In fact, in recent replies, the British Prime Minister admitted in the House of Commons that some limitation or alteration in British sovereignty would be involved if Britain joined the Rome Treaty.

It is to this particular matter and to the question of joining the Rome Treaty that I want at the moment to direct attention. In the course of the discussion here this evening some doubt was thrown on whether it was to be full membership or association and, to some extent, I sympathise with Deputy Corish's remarks on that matter because, in the course of the Taoiseach's statement this afternoon he used the word "link" on a number of occasions. Why that precise phraseology was used I am not certain but it seemed to me it was used in order to leave the question open. In any event, it does seem that so far as this country is concerned the question would be membership of the Common Market— full membership—or that we would remain outside.

On that matter it is important to consider what possibility there is of amendment to the Rome Treaty. The White Paper states that the links between E.F.T.A. and the E.E.C. must be based on the provisions of the Treaty of Rome. I want to put a query there because it is not clear from Article 237 that that is so. Article 237 states:

Any European State may apply to become a member of the Community. It shall address its application to the Council which, after obtaining the opinion of the Commission, shall act by means of a unanimous vote.

It goes on to say, in the second paragraph:—

The conditions of admission and the amendments to this Treaty necessitated thereby shall be the subject of an agreement between the Member States and the applicant State.

Anyone who has followed the history of these events and who has read some of the data published about about them will realise the anxiety of the members of the Rome Treaty to secure wider membership for that organisation. If Britain joins, the question of the terms in which Britain joins, and, consequently, the terms on which we join, will undoubtedly arise. If the existing membership are anxious to get, as they undoubtedly will be anxious to get, Britain as a member and anxious to increase the number of adherents to the Rome Treaty, it is quite possible they would be prepared to agree to some changes in the conditions under which new members join.

It is expressly stated in the reference in the White Paper on page 8 that whatever links may in future be established between the Community and other countries must be based on the provisions of the Treaty of Rome. On the other hand, in the course of a reply to a Supplementary Question in the House of Commons on 16th May, the British Prime Minister said they would not join regardless. That appears to have been emphasised in subsequent replies and indeed on a number of occasions. It does seem that we should endeavour to secure an amendment of the terms to suit our needs. On the other hand, membership of the Community is confined to European countries.

Association is not limited to Europe. In view of the wider implications involved and the desirability of strengthening, as this document lays down in the preamble, the ties which bind Europe—"intending to confirm the solidarity which binds Europe and overseas countries, and desiring, to ensure the development of their prosperity, in accordance with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations" and it goes on to say "Resolved to strengthen the safeguards of peace and liberty..."—it is obvious the adherents to the Rome Treaty envisaged an ultimately wider conception.

In that wider conception, it is relevant to consider the position of the United States and Canada. Until the signing of the new Convention for O.E.C.D., the United States and Canada had only observer or some such status in the O.E.E.C., but as soon as this Convention is ratified, Canada and the United States will be full members of O.E.C.D. It seems that that offers possibilities to this country for securing amendments and alterations in the terms on which we join.

I note in the reference in the White Paper to the relevant Article 237 it states:—

While there has been no jurisprudence on the matter, all the authoritative comment as well as the actual text suggest that the possible adaptations in the Treaty on the accession of new members would not be such as to modify in any important respect the basic provisions of the Treaty.

According to the footnote, "‘Adaptations' is a more literal translation of the actual text than ‘amendments'." But it does seem that now is the appropriate time for this country to endeavour to secure terms favourable to our admission; and indeed on that matter the improvement is not confined to this country. One of the factors recognised and understood in the old O.E.E.C. Convention was the right of special treatment for countries, either undeveloped countries or countries—to which category we would belong—in the process of economic development. In the O.E.E.C., special treatment was accorded in the various Conventions as applied to these countries.

On that matter, it is relevant to recall that this country has an excellent record in international organisations, whether it was in the I.L.O., of which we became members at an early stage and of which we are still members, or in the O.E.E.C. Certainly, as far as trade matters in the O.E.E.C. are concerned, our record of implementing O.E.E.C. Conventions and recommendations accorded with the terms of these recommendations. But we have experience—and this is where some people appear to be too optimistic—of other countries signing these Conventions, in theory accepting the terms of these Conventions but, in practice, not implementing them.

That applies in particular in the case of liberalisation of trade. Many countries agreed to the 90 per cent. liberalisation but not all implemented it in practice. As far as this country is concerned, when we undertook those liabilities and assumed the obligations involved in them, we carried them out with meticulous care. It is in this matter that we should be to some extent apprehensive that the best intentions are not always followed up in the actual implementation, in practice, of the undertakings signed. As far as this country is concerned, whatever obligations we assumed, we implemented. I do not mean to suggest that many others did not; but quite a few of them, by administrative and other action, avoided accepting the full obligations involved in these Conventions.

While it appears to be the impression in some places that because the Rome Treaty is laid down in a whole, lengthy list of Articles, it is immutable, I do not believe if the members of that organisation are anxious to secure, as they must be, a wider membership and to embrace a far greater number of countries, to spread a net not only in Europe but to include the countries who have signed the new convention for O.E.C.D., it is impossible to have it altered.

It is obvious that the prospect of a wider membership is envisaged and anxiously desired as a natural consequence of these arrangements. If that is so, now is the time, before the question is decided. It is obvious from the behind-the-scenes discussions which take place at these international organisations that if we seek to secure a modification of the terms of the Rome Treaty, particularly when a country with the potentialities of Britain is involved, we should be able to make application advantageously.

There are other questions which are of vital importance for this country. We have not merely the advantages of a large market in Britain and the potential advantages of exploiting that market still further, but we have the advantage in that market of what has been known as the Commonwealth preference. We now face the prospect of a common external tariff between the member countries if we join and the effects that may have on our economy.

There are other aspects which must concern us. At the moment the tax revenue of this State in respect of two specific items is very considerable. The revenue from tobacco amounts to over a quarter of the whole tax revenue. If we include with the tobacco revenue the revenue from beer and spirits which amounts, I believe, to about a third of the tax revenue. The obligations involved in the acceptance of the Rome Treaty would have a considerable effect on our domestic Budget. These are all matters that will have to be discussed and to which answers will have to be secured before we reach a decision.

It has been stated that there is also involved the harmonisation of internal economy and social problems. The implementation of that description involves consequences far greater than any we have had to envisage before in the economic or social field. It may well be that time will either modify the actual implementing of that description or that in practice some of the fears and doubts that have been expressed will not be as well founded as originally contemplated. However, these are questions that should be posed now before definite decisions are taken. These are some of the matters which we believe should have been the subject of consultation and discussion before the Taoiseach and the other members decided to go to London. If the discussions and the Consultations which we suggested here some years ago and even suggested in the course of reference to particular Estimates, had been initiated some of the information might have been available not only to the Government but to the House and to the country.

There is also the very important question of agriculture. The articles of the Rome Treaty provide for grants for structural improvements in agriculture and these do appear to offer attractive possibilities to this country although the actual terms for granting financial aid have not been defined. In the case of the arrangement with Greece it is not clear either beyond the fact that one loan has been granted and the question of further aid is to be the subject of consultation.

From the statistical data comprised in Appendix II it does appear that with the possible exception of sugar and one or two occasions in respect of livestock, the prices which this country is at present receiving are lower than those which may operate if we join the Common Market. From our point of view the vital matter at the moment is to ascertain what safeguards are necessary and, having ascertained that, to secure agreement before we join that these safeguards will be granted in respect of this country, a country in process of economic development, and applicable to other countries similarly situated. Although the actual negotiations for admission to each country applies to itself, if a pattern is laid down—and it now appears to be likely that the Common Market will be extended to cover other countries—it seems that now is the vital time to secure the granting of these safeguards for the transition period.

No one can foresee what may happen over a long period but there is one thing obvious that since we have had the traditional experience of doing the greater part of our trade with Britain, before any change is made in these arrangements we ought to endeavour to see in what direction we are going. Special treatment should be accorded to countries like ourselves in the process of economic development and we should endeavour to secure special concessions and safeguards especially for those industries which would not be able to withstand free and unrestricted competition from the products of highly developed countries.

It must be recognised that not all countries are equally well equipped to assume the obligations involved in the free trade area and the consequences of the removal of tariffs and quotas. For historical reasons our entry into industrial development have been delayed later than that of many other countries. It is therefore vital that the special concessions which were given to under-developed countries or countries in the process of economic development and which were enshrined in the O.E.E.C. convention and in the various rules and regulations, should be continued if membership of the Rome Treaty is involved.

It is significant that these safeguards are included in the Convention for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, a motion for the ratification of which is now before us and was signed in Paris in December last. Our record in the O.E.E.C. and in the other organisations concerned is one of which we can be justly proud. We have loyally implemented various arrangements but now is the time to ensure that if we join a wider organisation adequate safeguards will be provided.

Another matter that would have to be considered is what will be the position of workers under the social policy. Under the provisions of the social policy financial grants-in-aid are provided for workers temporarily disemployed or whose employment ceases as a result of the consequences of membership of the Organisation. It is not clear to me that these grants apply to those who are permanently disemployed. If, as may unfortunately be the case, some are permanently disemployed their position should be clarified and fully understood. We have implemented many agreements. Indeed we have an excellent record in the matter of ratifying I.L.O. conventions and it is therefore vital that the interests of the workers and their families should be safeguarded.

I believe that it is a right decision to discuss this matter with the British Government. We have, as I said repeatedly, the view that our economy is indissolubly bound up with British economy. It has been our traditional policy to exploit that to the full. In order to discuss this matter effectively and efficiently, it is vital that the members of the Government should be fully informed on the questions involved. Many questions posed here to-day were unanswered because these questions had not been discussed with the various vocational or trade bodies concerned. It may be that after discussions with these organisations, some questions will still remain unanswered, but, at any rate, if discussions were initiated with them, much work would have been done to secure the relevant information. To the implications involved, insufficient attention has been given.

This document goes further than economic matters; it embraces political as well as economic matters. It includes in it principles designed to safeguard the interests of peace and liberty. Our country is one of those opposed to communism and in that respect it is desirable that we should be associated with the United States and Canada. Any action taken in defence of the free world against communism should have our support and co-operation but before undertaking any contractual obligations whatsoever we should be fully informed of the obligations and liabilities assumed in this or any similar organisation.

I expected, and I am sure most members of the House and the public expected, on this occasion at least, from the leader of the Fine Gael party, the chief Opposition Party here, a more mature contribution to this discussion than we received from Deputy Dillon. I anticipated a serious and considered statement of the views of this Party, if they have views, on the very important issues which are now confronting the country. Deputy Dillon's recital of the catalogue of minor complaints and misrepresentations which occupied the greater part of his speech was, I think, too trivial to waste time commenting on. Deputy Cosgrave's intelligent and constructive contribution, if I might so describe it without appearing to be patronising, was in sharp contrast and will I think prove to be exceedingly useful.

One complaint made by Deputy Dillon I shall refer to, because Deputy Corish re-echoed it to some extent. He said that the people of this country have not been given sufficient information about these European trade developments. I think that, so far from that being true, it is more correct to say that few countries in Europe have been kept better-informed about them. I am referring not only to the many speeches which I and other members of the Government made on that topic in the Dáil and outside it; I think it is fair to say that the Irish daily newspapers have given an excellent service to the Irish public in this regard, not merely in the adequate reporting of news about these events, as they occurred, but also in the production of serious and intelligent comment by authoritative writers on different aspects of this matter. If one contrasts the service given to the Irish people by our daily newspapers with that given by the more popular daily newspapers circulating in Britain, the difference becomes very obvious. Apart from Ministerial speeches and these informative articles in the newspapers, Deputies have available to them the very excellent monthly newsletter published by the Irish Council of the European Movement. Any Deputy who made full use of all the information available to him from all these sources could easily have become an expert on the European trade situation.

Deputy Dillon seemed to me to complain about the speed with which the Government White Paper was produced. I should like to pay a compliment to the officials who, working day and night, produced it much earlier than I thought would be possible. There is now available to Deputies a printed edition of the White Paper which I was told only last week was an impossibility.

It is a pity the Government do not move as quickly as the printers.

We will see how quickly the Government are moving.

Unlike other countries our difficulty in deciding whether or not to seek membership of the European Economic Community in particular circumstances which are now foreseeable was not very considerable. That first decision, which has to-day been announced, was easy enough. In view of Deputy Corish's inability to find an announcement of a decision in the statement I made perhaps I should read what I said earlier:

The Government have taken steps to inform each of the six governments of the European Economic Community and the Commission of the Community in Brussels that in the event of the United Kingdom applying for membership of the E.E.C. we also will so apply while at the same time informing them of our difficulties in accepting, in the present state of our development, the full obligations of membership and of our desire to explore the modifications of these obligations that might be negotiated, having regard to our circumstances.

As I have said the taking of that decision was, in our circumstances, comparatively easy. The real problem of the Government was when to announce it. We have decided that now is the right time to announce it. If I have any personal doubts about the correctness of our timing, it turns on the point whether we have not made it too soon rather than too late.

The basic decision, as I have said, was not very difficult. If all the countries of Europe with which we are trading, Britain and the Six, join together in an economic union, we cannot be outside it. That clear simple proposition can hardly be seriously contested. Whatever might be the problems for us of entering into such a union—and there is no doubt these problems would be very considerable— to stay out in these circumstances would be disastrous. We can see no economic future for this country if it were to be cut off by a uniform tariff applying to both agricultural and industrial projects from all our main European markets.

Given the choice between sinking and swimming, most people would choose to swim. In this particular instance, we hope to have time in which to learn to do it well. For reasons which I have already explained on more than one occasion to the Dáil, and which I believed were generally accepted, if the two trade groupings persist, with Britain in one of them and the Six in the other, we could not join the Six without contemplating the termination of our existing trade agreements with Britain.

Deputy Dillon suggested here today, as indeed he did also some weeks ago in a speech which he made at Ennis, that we should have begun to explore the possibilities of an association with the European Economic Community two years ago when Greece did. I will make no comment on that suggestion other than to say that, if in the circumstances of two years ago, and in the mood of the British Government at the time, we had done as Deputy Dillon now thinks we should have done, it would have been regarded by Britain as a very hostile act. It is certain that if we had done so the Trade Agreement of 1960 would never have been made and our economic relations with Britain would now be a great deal worse than they are. The elementary facts of our trade situation determine that our decision to seek a link with the European Economic Community must be related to the British decision. Our position in that regard is the same as that of Denmark and Norway and, perhaps, other E.F.T.A. countries as well.

You have to have British permission. Is that right?

Deputy Dr. Browne's pose as a post factum republican is most unconvincing.


I am not suggesting that, even if the facts are coercive, this decision to join the European Community, if Britain does, should be taken reluctantly. Halfhearted participants are not likely to be welcome in the European Community. Given a situation in which all the countries of western Europe are entering into a Free Trade régime, whether in one group or in two, I have already expressed the view to this House that the best arrangement for this country is the Common Market with Britain in it. The present two-group system is in many ways the worst of all possible situations for us. The prospect that it may end should not be a matter of concern for us. On the contrary, it is one that we should welcome.

Let us be clear—perhaps it is necessary to emphasise this in view of certain observations made by both Deputy Dillon and Deputy Corish—that we have not the choice of joining the European Economic Community or leaving things as they are. We must not have any misunderstanding about the alternatives that face us. Conditions as they are will disappear forever. The emergence of the Common Market of the Six has already brought about a decisive change. A Common Market embracing Britain would fundamentally alter our economic situation.

Apart from the economic problems that it poses for us, there is no reason why we should not welcome the prospect of western European Union. In this country we have not got the same considerations about a possible weakening of Commonwealth ties which affect people in Britain. Neither have we obligations under international agreements or arising out of traditional national policies, such as appear to arise in the case of Switzerland, Austria and Sweden, which need cause us to hesitate in accepting the authority of the institutions of the European Economic Community. If we can be satisfied that it will promote this country's economic welfare and progress we can welcome the prospect of European integration, even those of us who are not prepared yet to look further than the obligations which are specified in the Rome Treaty. If, as I have said, the hard facts of our situation make it necessary for our decision to be related to the British decision, what then is the British position?

It was stated no later than last week at a meeting of Ministers of E.F.T.A. held in London that Britain has not yet reached her decision. Notwithstanding newspaper forecasts and assumptions we must accept that to be so. It is known that the British Government is engaged in a process of consulting with Commonwealth Governments. It is possible that their decision may be made known when these consultations are completed, though there has also been some talk of a Commonwealth Conference. Our discussions today are proceeding—as did the Government's consideration of the situation—on the assumption that Britain will decide to seek membership of the European Community. I may say that the British Prime Minister readily and promptly responded to my request for early consultation with us and I wish to express our appreciation of his so doing. It is, however, necessary to make it clear—Deputy Cosgrave may be under some misunderstanding in this regard—that we are not going to London for the purpose of negotiations of any kind. The meeting there will be solely to facilitate a general exchange of views.

I did not say that.

In the light of certain remarks made by Deputy Corish it is, I think, necessary that we should avoid any confusion between the problems of the Commonwealth countries and our problem. While it is true that we are to some extent within the Commonwealth preference system we are nevertheless a European country. It is open to us to join the European Economic Community under the terms of the Rome Treaty. Membership of that community is not open to Commonwealth countries.

Deputy Dillon expressed a view here in a debate a couple of weeks ago that the European Economic Community cannot succeed unless the United States of America and the Commonwealth countries are also in it. That remark merely suggested to me that the Deputy has not yet fully grasped the problem we are dealing with. This is a movement for Western European economic integration.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce expressed cordial agreement with me.

I do not believe he did. This is not just a trade organisation like the GATT in which any country can join that is prepared to accept the conditions. The aim is not merely to eliminate trade barriers between the member countries but to provide for full economic union, full economic integration, of the countries of Western Europe.

The authors and sponsors of this movement have no doubts about its success. Indeed, it is the very fact of its success which has raised the issue of membership for Britain no less than for ourselves. Even if Britain seeks and secures some special treatment for Commonwealth products in the Common Market it would not be applicable to us. Whatever arrangement we desire, we must seek it for ourselves as a European country. We do not know the extent to which Britain may seek to obtain, or may succeed in retaining, Commonwealth preferences in any form nor, indeed, do we know the extent to which it may be possible for us to retain our trade agreements with Commonwealth countries, agreements which provide for the mutual grant of preferences, although I must say that this seems very unlikely.

The obligations arising on acceptance of the Rome Treaty are to maintain the common community tariff on products from outside countries, to accept a common commercial policy towards the rest of the world, including the conclusion by the European Council of trade agreements with other countries on behalf of the whole Community. Member countries are also required to secure an adjustment of all their existing trade agreements so as to permit them to meet these obligations in full.

The position of our trade agreements with Britain during the transitional period, that is to say, during the period between the commencement of membership and the final elimination of internal barriers to trade in Western Europe, is another question that would arise. Ultimately, if we join the Community our trade with Britain as with the other members of the Community will be conducted in accordance with the rules of the Community and our special economic relationship with Great Britain, for which these existing trade agreements provide, will come to an end. This would happen whether either country joined the Common Market alone or both joined. We would lose our preferences, our contractual as well as our de facto preferences in Britain and Britain would lose her preferences here.

The proposals which were made by the Government in 1960 for a still closer economic relationship with Britain than the then existing agreements established, and on which I reported to the Dáil after the signing of the Trade Agreement of that year, were put forward in a situation in which the division of Europe into two trade groups seemed likely to be permanent. They are irrelevant to the present situation. A decision by Britain to join the European Economic Community would make them no longer applicable. If Britain decides not to join, or if having decided to join, her application should be refused, if the 1959 situation should reappear and the trade divisions in Europe seemed likely again to become permanent and irreconcilable then these proposals could perhaps be revived. Deputy Corish asked me to speculate upon what might be our attitude in such an eventuality. To attempt to do that at this time would be going much too far into the realm of speculation.

The prospect that henceforth our economic relations with Britain may be determined by the rules of the European Community instead of by bi-lateral agreements made between the two countries will be received here with mixed feelings. The termination of our special economic relationship with our nearest neighbour, the absorption of that relationship into the wider arrangements of a European Community will be seen by some as the loss of important advantages which derive not only from the facts of geography but also from a complicated historical process. It will be seen by others as a release from a situation which has often been described, however inaccurately, as one of economic dependency. However, the facts of geography cannot be changed by either the institutions or the rules of the European Community and it is certain that the proximity of the two countries will retain a situation in which the great bulk of our exports to and imports from Europe will be consigned to and from Great Britain. It is in our mutual interests that that should be so.

The question can very appropriately be asked why in the eventuality which is now visualised we should seek membership of the European Community instead of association. I indicated in my preliminary statement that the Government consider that our application to the Community, if and when made, should be for membership rather than association, whatever changes in our ideas on that question may be brought about in the course of negotiations. We desire the members of the European Community to understand that we accept the principles of their Treaty, that any hesitation we have had about joining with them arose out of our special relations with Britain and the economic problems it would pose for us and not from dislike of the idea of European economic integration. We want to secure the full benefits of membership, with special reference to agriculture. We want to participate in the formulation of policy within the Community and to have a voice in its future development.

We hope that some time this country may be economically strong enough to accept the full obligations of membership without reservation. In the meantime, we will seek their modification in some respects, and their delayed application in other respects, to meet our circumstances.

Deputy Cosgrave very rightly said that there are many questions which have yet to be answered. We do not know if full membership on a basis of some modification or postponement of the obligations is feasible in our case. We assume that it is. We are aware that various spokesmen of the Community have been saying that new entrants must apply for membership without reservation and be prepared to accept the full obligations from the start or, in the alternative, seek some form of association.

I cannot say whether those who have been speaking in that strain are expressing the settled views of the Council of the European Community or whether they are just taking up a tactical position in anticipation of negotiations with the United Kingdom or whether there may be a different approach to the problems of the United Kingdom and those of smaller countries like ours. Our experience in the European Free Trade area negotiations which proceeded during 1957 and 1958 suggests that we can expect to encounter goodwill in relation to our problems, a desire to have us as members and a willingness to grant concessions that will make membership possible for us.

I have said that the view of the Government is that we should apply for membership and negotiate for that status, but I have also said that the full application of the obligations of membership on the basis of the time table envisaged in the Rome Treaty would impose a burden on our economy which it could not bear at its present state of development. The provisions of the Treaty regarding industrial imports are particularly onerous in our case. Deputies are aware that in Britain the main concern has been expressed regarding possible effects in the agricultural sector.

The Rome Treaty envisages the complete disappearance of industrial protection, of all internal barriers to trade between members, in from 12 to 15 years from the 1st January, 1958. More than three of these years have elapsed, and, indeed the Community has heretofore been accelerating this process of tariff dismantling during its first stage, although some recent developments have raised doubts whether further acceleration proposals would secure the same agreement. Will any new members be required to come into this tariff dismantling process at the point which the existing members have already reached? Will they have to effect immediately the reductions which the existing members have already made between themselves? Will they have to complete the whole process of tariff dismantling at the same time as the original members? The answers to these questions are not known, and that is apart altogether from the question of any special modification of these obligations in our case.

Surely it would not have given offence to anybody to seek the answers to these questions.

I do not think it would have given offence to anybody.

The Taoiseach said he would not do it.

I shall deal with it.

He is chancing his arm all over.

Listen. We are a national Parliament discussing a matter of major importance and at least let us have fewer of these childish interruptions.

Would the Taoiseach, like to withdraw what he said a few minutes ago. I have the proof that he was not telling the truth and I am going to ram it down his throat.

Will the Deputy stay quiet until I am finished? There are those other than the Deputy interested in what I am saying.

The country is interested in what is happening.

Exactly. Would the Deputy have the good manners to stop interrupting.

The Taoiseach should be allowed to continue.

When he contradicts himself we are entitled to seek elucidation.

If membership of the Community is obtainable, if we find as a result of negotiation that it is only obtainable, on the basis of complete acceptance of the full obligations as they are now defined, the problem with which this country would be presented would indeed be critical. There would, however, be the alternative of association. When one thinks of association with the Community as an alternative to membership of it a number of questions arise. Would association give us the full participation in the Community's agricultural policy which we desire and need? Would a permanently inferior status in the agricultural sector be too high a price to pay for prolongation of our industrial protection? What different regime for the dismantling of tariffs might be proposed and acceptable in our case? Would we be happy in committing ourselves to association with the European Economic Community in whose policy and development we would have no direct voice?

The only guide we have, in seeking answers to these questions now, is the draft agreement with Greece, an agreement which has not yet been concluded. There are indeed indications of some possibility of opposition to that agreement in the Council of Ministers, and as Deputies know who have read the White Paper, the Council of Ministers must accept it by unanimous vote. The Greek precedent, as Deputy Corish appreciates, while it is of some value, is not completely reliable as a guide for us. It is, however, not necessary for us, as I understand it, to take decisions on these aspects until we know both whether the character and procedures of the European Community are to be modified as a result of British membership and, in such event, the outcome of our own negotiations with the Commission for membership.

The attraction of membership of the European Economic Community for us, in contrast to the European Free Trade Association, is that it includes agriculture as well as industrial trade within its scope. I do not think it is too much of an oversimplification to say, in contemplating our membership of the European Community, that the benefits would be experienced on the agricultural side and that the problems would arise on the industrial side. The aims of the Community's agricultural policy as they have been stated are attractive to us, including as they do increasing agricultural productivity, fair standards of living for farmers and farm workers, stabilising markets, guaranteeing regularity of supply and price. These are all the aims that we have set ourselves and we realise that they cannot be achieved except in an international context.

The European Commission, which as Deputies appreciate, is the executive body of the Community, was directed to prepare an agricultural policy for the Community in accord with certain directive principles which were laid down at the Stresa Conference of 1958. These directive principles are set out in the White Paper and it is not necessary therefore to refer to them, except that I would like to direct the attention of Deputies—in view of certain statements which have been published here which suggested that it was an aim of the European Community to encourage rural depopulation and the development of large industrial-type firms—to the fact that the directive principles settled at Stresa are clearly directed towards preserving the family farm by strengthening its economic and competitive capacity. That also is our aim. There is no conflict between our present national agricultural policy and the directive principles upon which the agricultural policy of the Community is to be based.

The proposals of the Commission in regard to agricultural policy are known and the White Paper refers to them. It is known also that there is some divergence of view about them within the Community and the European Council has not yet dealt with them. It is stated that one reason why Britain may decide to join the Community now rather than later is that it will give them an opportunity of influencing the character of the Community's agricultural policy before it is finalised. We also would wish to be heard before that policy is finally determined although I think it is right and proper that we should say that we do not find the Commission's proposals unattractive as they are.

I have said that the problems of membership would arise mainly on the industrial side. We have, as Deputies are aware, a number of industrial concerns which were brought into being by the policy of protection, by the reservation to them, through protection, of our internal market, and for which, as they are now organised, protection is still necessary. The Minister for Industry and Commerce said here recently that some secondary industries would have difficulty in surviving in a free trade situation and that is a practical possibility which we have to face. It is the policy of this Government to give to these industries every assistance in getting themselves reorganised so that their survival may be possible. There are, on the other hand, some industrial proposals planned and prepared which seem to have been awaiting the announcement which I made today before being put into development.

It would be quite useless to attempt now to assess the consequences of our membership of the European Economic Community for all our industries. There are, however, some points which may be worth mentioning. Rules of the European Community, which have not yet been formulated, will deal with dumping and unfair competition by other members. We would have a special interest in these rules in our circumstances. In most Irish industries, I have found from discussions with their managements, it is the fear of dumping, of this country being the disposal point of surplus output or end of season stocks by large foreign producers which is their chief anxiety. In the European Free Trade Area negotiations to which I have already referred we sought to retain the right of unilateral action against dumping subject to a procedure for subsequent justification of any action taken. We think that rules made to ensure fair trading between large, highly industrialised States may not apply as effectively to trade between those States and others which are smaller and less developed. We can hope that safeguards against dumping and against unfair trading practices of any kind would be effective. It is an encouraging fact that most of the new industries recently established did not seek any, nor have they been given, protection, and appear to have little doubt of their powers of continued expansion in wider European markets.

It is impossible to forecast to what extent our older industries may encounter difficulties. Deputy Corish asked the question: why are Irish industries not competitive? I do not think we should accept that they are not competitive or cannot be made competitive by a process of rationalisation. As I have already informed the House, a systematic survey of the sensitive industries has been begun in conjunction with the Federation of Irish Industries, assisted by technical experts, to plan readaptation measures to meet the situation. Deputy Cosgrave said the Government should have taken steps to bring about that survey, and the examination of the problems before this. It is always possible to say that. As I am sure Deputy Cosgrave fully realises, there never was anything worth doing on the earth begun but somebody stood up and said: "You should have done that a bit earlier". Let us not, however, exaggerate the time factor. It is likely to be very many months before the main question will arise for our decision, the question of whether or not we are to accept membership of the European Community on specific terms which will then be known to us, and it certainly will be many years, certainly not less than 12 years, before the full impact of unrestricted competition is experienced, assuming that the original 15 Year Plan of the Community is adhered to.

As a part of a great and expanding West European market, Ireland can hope to participate in its inevitable industrial expansion. Whatever handicaps we suffer by reason of our peripheral location and island character can be countered by offsetting advantages or by our own energetic exertions and there may be helpful developments in production techniques and transport costs which can, in the period of years before the full impact of competition is experienced, help us to meet the situation. Time is all we need and time is something we may hope to obtain.

Our protection against imports from countries outside Western Europe will, as we understand it now, be afforded by, and limited to, the extent of the common external tariff. We would not, it appears, be free to adjust that protection to meet our own problems —certainly not with the same freedom as we now have. As Deputy Cosgrave very rightly pointed out and indeed as is indicated in the White Paper which has been circulated, membership of the European Economic Community would also involve other obligations than the dismantling of our industrial and agricultural protection. The Rome Treaty, as I have been trying to get understood, envisages agreement for common policies in many matters where uniformity is regarded as necessary for achieving the aim of complete economic unity. These include what I have already mentioned, a common commercial policy for the rest of the world and also free movement of men and money, the right of establishment, fair trading rules and so forth, all of which are set out in the White Paper.

The right of establishment of what?

The right of establishment as it is defined in the Rome Treaty. The point I want to make is that rules for the realisation of these aims have not yet been formulated and therefore I cannot tell the Deputy or the House any more than the Rome Treaty indicates. It is not possible now to forecast for what these rules will provide.

Does it not mean very likely the repeal of the Control of Manufactures Act?

Certainly: I accept that. It may be that there will be a modification of view regarding some of these obligations before the end of the transitional period, before the Common Market comes into full operation. I think Deputy Cosgrave, if I understood him correctly, anticipates that there may be such modification of view, arising from our experience in the operation of other international organisations. While the character of the obligations we must be prepared to face, are as indicated in the Rome Treaty, their particular effect on our circumstances and their possible modification or delayed application in our case is not a matter on which comment is now possible.

There is, however, one matter to which I think I should refer, not merely because Deputy Cosgrave referred to it but also because it is one upon which misunderstanding and unnecessary apprehension may arise. The Rome Treaty refers to the right of workers to move to employment throughout the whole area of the Community. Certain proposals made by the European Commission in that regard have been formulated but have not yet been accepted by the European Council. Deputies are aware that the barriers to the movement of workers to employment in other countries are not merely those erected by Governments but include also differences of languages and social custom.

In our case, the only country in relation to which those barriers do not exist is Great Britain and the fact is that we have now vis-à-vis Great Britain all the rights of freedom of movement both ways——

It is a good job for you and the Government that you have.

——which the Rome Treaty envisages.

He will soon have the whole of Europe. That is what he is looking forward to.

The trouble that I find with the Deputy is that I do not know whether he is joking or not——

You sent a million people out of the country in the past 40 years. We have had too much of this bluff—whom do you think you are fooling?

Certainly not the Deputy, I gather——

Indeed not.

——but I do not like arguing with the Deputy in his condition. I think he is over-excited.

You have no answer to it and it is too damn good for you. You are not fooling the 70,000 people leaving the country. Read about the youngsters living in slums in London.

The Deputy must cease interrupting.

There is a limit to what anyone can stand.

The Deputy can leave—did that occur to him? He does not have to stay here.

I have to stay to keep an eye on you—somebody has to do it.

To get back, however, to the matter we were talking about, the rules prepared by the European Commission do not envisage giving to individuals the right to go to any country to seek for work and indeed, so far as I understand them, they appear to contemplate a procedure which is not very much different from that which now operates here regarding the employment of aliens. The main purpose appears to be to ensure that countries which have to import labour will, when doing so, give a preference to labour from other countries within the Community rather than to labour from outside it.

I should like now to say a few words regarding the institutions of the European Economic Community, the political aspects of the Treaty, to which some Deputies have referred. It must be realised that the ultimate aim of the Treaty is full economic unity through the gradual introduction of a common policy for most fields of economic activity and to this end, the members have agreed to accept far-reaching limitations on their freedom of action in respect of economic policy. The Rome Treaty is based upon the principle of strong institutions, institutions which are increasingly empowered to take decisions by majority, decisions which commit all the Members. This method of achieving the declared economic aims of the Community appears now, however, to be undergoing some questioning within the Community and certainly the Community does not appear to be working out to be as supra-national as was, I think, originally contemplated. That is due to some extent to the persistence with which General de Gaulle has pressed his view as to how international co-operation should be organised.

The French Government do not appear to favour integration through a supra-national system, and are advocating instead a system of close and binding co-operation between Governments. There are indications that Britain's view, as to how the Common Market should be managed, would coincide with the French view. I mention that development to indicate that, even on the institutional side, the character of the European community may not yet be finally settled, although I think we must recognise that the provisions of the Rome Treaty are not likely to be changed. Deputies who are perturbed by the prospect of surrendering any part of our power of decision over important aspects of national policy as envisaged by the Rome Treaty, or by the prospect of policies for unification being proposed in other than economic fields, should take note of this continuing element of uncertainty as to the extent to which that is involved in membership.

Small countries entering a union with powerful highly developed States must be careful to look to the extent of the powers given to the institutions set up to manage the union. We come up against this issue also in the European Free Trade Area negotiations and we opted then for keeping the unanimity rule wherever feasible, but that was not necessarily a firm and irrevocable decision because there is a view that, if the aim of the institutions is to ensure that the benefits of the union are shared equally and fully by all members, and it becomes clear that that aim is being genuinely and consistently pursued, we might find in time that the strengthening of the institutions would serve our interest. I have said, however, that the provisions of the Rome Treaty in that regard are already fixed and it is unlikely that they will be easily amended. Deputies should study these provisions in the Treaty because it is not desirable that there should be any misunderstanding as to what we are accepting if we sign it.

As a conclusion to this statement upon our position in regard to the European Economic Community, I would ask Deputies to appreciate that there is a situation now developing in Europe which requires the reassessment of our national policies, no matter what the outcome of any future negotiations in which we may be engaged. If we join the European Economic Community—or even if we do not, but particularly if we do—it will be obvious that, especially as regards industry, a very thorough re-thinking of policies will be required by Government, by management and by trade unions alike, indeed by everybody who exercises a function of leadership in every field of economic activity. We cannot enter this new age in European economic progress with the outlook or the methods of the past, and the task of bringing up to date the outlook and attitude of all the elements of our community may not be easy.

There may arrive a stage, whether it comes in five, ten or fifteen years, at which we will have to ask ourselves if the adjustments to the new situation which are necessary, which may mean life or death to our nation, are being effected speedily enough, or whether they can be left to the goodwill and understanding of all the elements whose total co-operation is vital; whether the normal process of securing fulfilment of national aims may not have to be temporarily reinforced so that the required adjustments will be completed uniformly and in good time. It is essential we should not under-estimate the magnitude of the changes we are facing or of the national effort that will be needed to adapt ourselves to them. There is, as Deputy Booth said, a stimulus and excitement in the challenge in these great events with which we are now confronted which will call forth the best in all of us.

We must not permit ourselves to think of these new developments in Europe as a sort of misfortune which has fallen on the world—it is anything but that—but rather as an opening of new opportunity for economic expansion, for technical progress and social improvement. In this situation, and especially in any negotiations in which we may become engaged, we will have to conduct our affairs with skill and resource, with persistence and determination, to ensure that we will share fully in these benefits. We need not doubt our capacity to do so.

Finally, I should like to relate these prospects to our old conception of the national destiny. We never thought of Ireland as an isolated and inward-looking community, resentful of change and progress, preserving obsolete equipment and procedures, a sort of museum piece living on the edge of a dynamic and progressive continent.

That is above in the Park now.

We belong to Europe. We have no desire to remain aloof from Europe in planning for human betterment, believing that we can both contribute to it and share in it. In the context of a European economic union the partition of Ireland, which never made much sense in any case, will become even more than now, a patent and obvious absurdity. We have long realised that the setting up of our free political institutions did not change the economic realities which made our British trade agreement the keystone of our external commercial policy, as I have described it myself in the past. We could perhaps read the obligations of the Rome Treaty, even our acceptance of the authority of the institutions of the European Community, as giving us a newer and freer economic status equal in all respects, on the basis of membership, to that of all its other members, including Britain. As I see it, this may be opportunity knocking at our national door and, if so, we must not allow ourselves to be deterred by excessive caution or formless fears from opening the door and grasping opportunity with both hands.

Duffy's Circus will never be short of an acrobat while the Taoiseach is around.

The Deputy should not use these words in respect of any member of this House. The Deputy should withdraw the statement he has just made.

What statement? The most skilled man in the world today is an acrobat, and the Taoiseach has shown himself a most skilled political acrobat.

He will never take a somersault like the Deputy did anyway.

I have asked Deputy McQuillan to withdraw the statement he made in relation to the Taoiseach.

I have described the Taoiseach as being such a skilful acrobat that, if Duffys are short of an acrobat, or a tightrope walker, the Taoiseach will never be short of a job.

I am asking the Deputy to withdraw the statement.

It is certainly in order, Sir.

It is a matter for the Chair to rule, not Deputy Sweetman.

I am asking Deputy McQuillan to withdraw the statement he has just made.

I think that is a terrible reflection on acrobats. I think the Taoiseach is a very highly skilled acrobat. It is a very skilled profession.

There can be no discussion. If the Deputy refuses to withdraw the statement I must ask him to leave the House.

In deference to your instructions, and as you are the man responsible for order in this House, if the Taoiseach dislikes being described as an acrobat, I withdraw the statement.

That ruling is an outrageous one.

That is a disgraceful statement.

I thought I was fortunate in that the Taoiseach was here to give an explanation but I am just as much in the dark now as I was before the Taoiseach spoke. The Taoiseach in his speech immediately after Question Time referred three times to a link with the Common Market and on one occasion to the fact that if Great Britain applied for membership we would do the same. Which is it to be—link or full membership?

If words can make it clear to the Deputy, if Britain applies for membership we will do the same.

Why did the Taoiseach refer on three distinet occasions in this paper to a link?

Membership is a link.

Membership is not a link. Membership would mean that we would be one with the other countries in the Community. Has any appraisal been made of the capacity of the Common Market countries to absorb our agricultural and industrial surpluses?

There is certain information contained in the White Paper in that regard.

No, there is not. I searched for that because I think that is the problem facing us. The position as I see it is that if Great Britain enters the Common Market and we do not, we immediately find ourselves outside a tariff barrier. Under the terms of the Rome Treaty, Britain must react against us. If we go in, will we be any better off than we are to-day? Let me make my position clear. I think we will be making the mistake of our lives if we do not join in full membership of the European Economic Community. We are making a desperate mistake if we do not apply. Should our application for membership be accepted, we should join. I am all for it. At least, we would have certain pains to suffer in the process. Standing alone, a small entity on the western coast of Europe, we would be taking one of the most retrograde steps we could possibly take if we did not apply for membership.

The officers in the Department of Industry and Commerce, the Minister and the Taoiseach must know what the chances are of the six countries taking our agricultural produce. Supposing the situation should arise that Britain does not join and we do apply for membership, can the six counties provide as good a market for our agricultural and industrial produce as exists at the present time? That is a matter that should be examined in the first instance.

May I help the Deputy? While there is no doubt whatever that you could not hope to obtain in Europe markets for agricultural produce to replace those we have in Great Britain if we lose the British market, nevertheless, the information the Deputy wants, namely, to what extent is there a market in Europe for our agricultural produce, cannot be given now because the policy of the Common Market is to prepare a marketing plan which will be designed to maintain agricultural production at the level of European requirements more or less and, naturally, it would be the function of our negotiators to ensure that our requirements were taken fully into account in the preparation of any such plan.

I am thankful to the Taoiseach for that information. The reason I asked that question was that I can see this country being in a much more favourable position than other countries for the reason that we are exporters principally of food. According to the White Paper, the population of the six countries in the Common Market is 170 million and their headache must be to find a market for their industrial goods and also to find food to feed the 170 millions. For that reason we are very favourably situated at least as regards agriculture.

Without going into too much detail, let us consider the industrial side. I think it is Deputy Corish who said that many of our industries are not in a very flourishing condition. I would not have any fear for the majority of them if they were faced with competition within the six or eight countries if we join the Common Market. I think I am safe in saying that our industrialists have the cheapest labour in Europe or, if not the cheapest, as cheap as any of the others.

That cannot continue, of course. That will not be allowed to continue under the Rome Treaty.

I would be very glad of that.

Nor would it be true.

While I mention it as a fact at the present time, it is something that I should not like to see continuing.

I think it would be true to say that the productivity of Irish workers in relation to wage basis is quite high.

That is the basis.

All right. In industry and agriculture we have nothing to fear by joining. I wish the Taoiseach would be more explicit as to our position. If Britain is not a member and we decided to join, the Taoiseach said that would have been regarded in the past as a very hostile act by us and the Trade Agreement of 1960 would in all probability be repudiated. I want to put these questions bluntly. Suppose there were a commercial advantage to be gained, would Britain consult us? Britain could not blame us for doing something which was to our advantage, that is, if we did it in an open, manly, honest way, as we are entitled to do as a self-governing nation, as free to manage our own affairs as any other country.

I was very anxious that the Taoiseach would give a clear illustration of these matters. That is something the Taoiseach missed and perhaps the Minister for External Affairs or some other Minister can give it.

It is not the intention of the Government to manage their own affairs in this. It is their stated intention to do whatever Britain will do.

The Taoiseach made that quite clear. Whatever Britain is going to do we will do it.

I do not know the complexities of the situation that I am speaking about. I am merely putting the question. Could we join if Britain does not join?

Certainly but we cannot expect to have it both ways at once.

I know that but what exactly would be the repercussions?

Ah, well now. I expressed a view as to what they would have been two years ago. Do not ask me to forecast the future.

95 per cent. of our trade, both imports and exports, is with the neighbouring country and it should not be difficult to assess that part of the problem. I hope that if our joining the Common Market depends on Britain joining, Britain will join and that we will do the same very quickly. I do not think we could be in a much worse position than we are in at the present time. The Taoiseach shakes his head.

We were in 1956.

No, we were not. That is a very useful political stunt for the election. It paid big dividends.

It is a statistical fact.

But the curtain has worn a bit thin and the people have begun to see through it. Our principal export at present is men and women. Does the Taoiseach dispute that? That is why I think any change could not leave us any worse than we are at present. The bottom has dropped out of the market for agricultural produce. For the last couple of years pigs, eggs, cattle and sheep were never as low.

They were much lower in 1956. I can give the Deputy the figures.

Does the Taoiseach honestly believe that?

Does the Deputy honestly believe otherwise?

Do not go down to Castlebar, Ballinrobe or any place in Mayo and make that statement from a public platform.

I shall bring the figures.

The Taoiseach is the last man to whom I should like to see anything happen.

The one place he will not go back to is Belmullet.

If the Taoiseach believes that, well and good. Let him say it here in the city or where some audience do not know the difference, but not to a crowd of farmers who have never had it so bad for the last four years. I would welcome the day we would join the Common Market. While we would suffer from pains as a result of the change over, in the long run it would be for the better. The Treaty of Rome, though yet in its infancy, is something big. The sooner we take part in it, the better for all concerned and particularly for our farmers and industrialists.

I do not think probably since the great and terrible Treaty Debates there has been a debate in this House of greater seriousness than that which is now taking place. Certainly, in its implications for the country, I do not think even that debate could have more far reaching consequences than the decision which we are now discussing—I shall not say "we are now taking" because the point I hope to establish is that we have no powers of decision on this matter, good, bad or indifferent. It is not unusual to be in a Parliament in which the Opposition have little power to decide anything, but it must be unique to take part in a debate in which neither Opposition nor Government can take any final decision in the great and terribly important subject which is being debated, the question of joining the Common Market.

It happens occasionally that the Taoiseach is transparently frank—I shall not use the word "honest"— with the House and with the people of the country generally. It happens so occasionally that I think it is well worth putting on record when it does happen. It has most certainly occurred in this matter of the Common Market. Repeatedly, on being asked about our joining the Common Market, the Taoiseach has made it clear that it depends completely on the decision which the British Government take in regard to joining the Common Market. I do not think I am misrepresenting him in that statement. He has repeated it on the numerous occasions on which questions were asked in this House, right up to a couple of weeks ago when he said no White Paper could be published, or should be published and that no decision should be taken. He has reiterated that statement again in the expanded statement to the House he has just finished.

There are many sides to this question of the Common Market, industrially, politically, nationally, historically. Those of us who followed just after the Taoiseach's generation have had to sit and listen for the best part of 40 years on and off—some of us for less—to the reiterated panegyrics, the repeated debates and discussions, the repetitions, the arguments, the analyses, the narcissistic admiration of the many things which have taken place and in which that generation has taken part over the last 40 years—all because of their moment of greatness, because in 1916 or 1922 they took a particular stand for the foundation of an independent Irish Republic and the creation of an independent system even in the truncated part of Ireland.

The Taoiseach is now the spokesman for this great organisation, the Fianna Fáil Party, whose leaders took such a prominent part in that struggle. I draw attention to that reiterated declaration by the Taoiseach about our now absolute dependence on British decisions in relation to this most important decision in the life of our nation. Our position is now one of abject dependence on Great Britain, the House of Commons and, ultimately, Mr. Macmillan. We are now once again back sheltering under the battlements of the British House of Commons and British institutions. There can be no doubt about that by anybody—no question on that matter by anybody in this House. I think that must be established.

Therefore, this discussion is likely to have as much impact on the future of Ireland, our future welfare, prosperity, destitution, pauperisation or even commitment to war—this House has about as much information and say in the taking of that most important decision as the merest university debating society or technical students' discussion. Power no longer rests with this House. We have as much say in this matter, the Taoiseach, the Government and, of course, the Opposition have as much say in this matter as the Welsh people or the Scottish people have in their affairs or our fellow Irishmen in Northern Ireland have in their puppet Parliament. We are yet another puppet here.

The Taoiseach cannot be allowed to get away with the idea in this debate that we must forget all past wrongs and let bygones be bygones; that we should come in here and discuss this as if there were no great struggle, as if there were no Civil War, as if young men did not give up their lives for an ideal, as if young men did not fight for the establishment of a free, independent society. This is what they fought the Black and Tans and the British Forces for, so that in 1961 the Taoiseach could tell us here again and again that the decision which is to be taken within the next few months and which affects the lives of every single one of us—the trade union, the consumer, the housewife, each family and its children, our welfare, our livelihood and our future—is one which must be taken first by the British Tory Government and the British House of Commons. As we said: "We have taken steps to inform the Commission that in the event of the United Kingdom applying we will also apply."

A short while ago Deputy Blowick asked the Taoiseach: why could we not do the manly thing and take a decision to go in independently. Would Britain mind? Should it matter whether Britain minds? Surely it was the intention to establish an independent society, an independent Parliament. We have power to seek admission as the Rome Treaty says every European State has the right to. The Taoiseach says if we had taken this decision two years ago Britain would have treated it as a hostile act. The Taoiseach does not want to annoy them. He does not want to talk out of turn or to take any decision without referring it to the British House of Commons. Therefore we waited until it would not be a hostile act any more, until we had the consent of the British Parliament; then we go along and apply for admission subject to the proviso that the United Kingdom also make their application.

When I interjected "You had to ask their permission" the Taoiseach, having had time to think about it, I suppose, the last few times I asked him that—he was not so quick the first time—said something about my latter-day Republicanism. One of the things that has bedevilled the whole life of this country and for which the whole of our people have suffered so severely is this fact that his generation believed in shibboleths and catch phrases without any meaning. Yes, I am a Republican. I am a Socialist Republican as James Connolly was. However, when I say that, I am not concerned with achieving what the Taoiseach seems to be concerned with achieving in his Republicanism, green, white and yellow instead of red, white and blue, green pillar boxes and green omnibuses, a million of the best of our people out on their ears, living in the slums, working in the mines and the pits, cooley labour for Britain. That is the difference between the things in which I believe and the things in which the Taoiseach believes.

I am not concerned with this question of British, Irish, French, Belgian or any country's other domination or position in European society. I am concerned with the practical implications of being subject to British decisions, with the results or consequences of being subject to British dictation in relation to this most important matter. There is the practical consideration in this subservience to British decisions, that there is a conflict between British interests and Irish interests. Ireland is mainly an agricultural country, primarily agricultural in its exports, as the Taoiseach said. He must have found it very difficult to have said it; the benefits in this will flow to agriculture; the difficulties will be found on the industrial side. Of course, he is right because of the futile nature of the industries he has created in the past 30 years and, in spite of his attempts to keep agriculture in a state of stagnation with rural depopulation and all the evil consequences, agriculture is likely to benefit.

We are primarily an agricultural produce exporting country. We want the best possible prices for agricultural produce. Britain wants the cheapest possible end product in the agricultural industry. Clearly, therefore, there is a basic conflict of interest. That is one of the reasons I believe it is wrong we should be so completely subservient as we appear to be to the British decision. I am not interested in petty-minded chauvinism, nationalism or anything else. I leave that to the Taoiseach, to his generation and his colleagues. Goodness knows we suffered enough from it.

There is the second consideration, that the British in their negotiations are faced with a problem of fantastic complexity. It is absurd that our decision should depend on the outcome of the considerations involved in the new relationship between Britain and the Commonwealth and the Commonwealth's relationship with the European community, if that is possible.

We are tied to this British decision at a time when Britain is going through one of the worst, or what is likely to be one of the worst, economic crises of its history. I suppose everybody accepts that devaluation is more than likely during the coming year. Certainly a period of great economic difficulties and stringencies is in store for Britain. Defections in the Commonwealth are being signalled all the time. New Zealand and Ghana have made it appear that they are going to take independent action; consequently the position for Britain is becoming more complicated. Her industry is not competitive; she is frightened of going into Europe. Clearly all these decisions will affect the British economy; I am not criticising them for adopting measures to safeguard their economy beyond saying that in the taking of our decisions we should not be completely dependent as we are now on British efforts to disentangle themselves from the difficulties which face them.

First of all, we object to the fact that apparently there is no alternative to the Common Market and that we are depending on Britain to decide whether or not we should join the Common Market. We do not appear to have any freedom of action on the question of joining the Common Market. As I have said, we are like Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland; we are waiting for the outcome of the British negotiations with the Commonwealth. We object to that position, that an independent, or so-called independent, sovereign State should find itself in that position as a result of the deliberate and conscious mishandling of our affairs by the Taoiseach and his colleagues, certainly for the past 20 or 30 years. There is no doubt that that charge can be proved to the hilt. That we should be faced with this dilemma arises from the fact that if we mean to go into the Common Market, we should be so ill-prepared for that decision. That again is the end-product of our ill-preparedness, the end-product of the foolish, stupid mishandling of our affairs for 40 years.

I was fascinated listening to some Deputies, Deputy Booth in particular, who appeared honestly to believe that this whole question of our joining and of the conditions under which we would join, was a matter open for discussion and debate and that eventually we would be given a treaty here which we could accept or reject. That is not the situation at all. We form more or less one of the junior partners in an international take-over operation. The senior partners will see that they retain control. So far as taking an active part in the future of the Common Market is concerned, the attitude of these Deputies is completely unrealistic. There is no likelihood of that happening at all as a simple reference to the voting conditions will show: France 47, Belgium 4, Luxembourg 4 and, I have no doubt, Ireland 4. All the decisions are loaded against us.

This is certainly a long way from the nationalism of 1916 and 1922, from the Irish Irelander's view in 1916 and 1922 or the Sinn Féin view of 1916 to 1922. The Taoiseach dismissed all these as irrelevant shibboleths, dreams or nightmares—which I suppose they must be to him now—which have no relevance to modern conditions. I think that the Taoiseach, more than anybody else, should take complete credit for steering us into this particular cul-de-sac, this dilemma, which allows us no decision, which allows us neither a right turn nor a left, which leaves us debating an issue which we cannot decide but dependent on the haphazard whim of the British as to whether they will accept the disintegration of their Commonwealth or not. On that decision rests our decision.

I am not myself completely certain; I do not feel it is possible to be dogmatic or to say with any certainty what will be the likely results of our joining but it must be clear that the repercussions on industry will be very far-reaching indeed. There is no doubt that the Taoiseach is whistling past the graveyard when he uses the wonderful phrase here: "There is no reason why industry should not be made competitive by rationalisation". If that is true to-day, why was it not true last year, five years ago or ten years ago or on any of the occasions when the Taoiseach came in here and promised a review of the whole protective system for our industries?

All the time apparently there was a simple solution to this system of protection, the solution of rationalisation, whatever that means. If he had said "nationalisation" he might have said something of importance but rationalisation! I am not sure what that is intended to be but apparently it is the Taoiseach's nostrum for the many-headed monster which he created himself, starting in 1922. That is his so-called industrial arm. There were the industries created in order to retrieve the promise and the dream of the then Taoiseach to create an industrial arm which would so gobble up the unemployed that we would have to send ships out to bring back the emigrants to keep this insatiable monster satisfied.

We know what happened. The industries were established under tariff protection. Many of them were subsidiaries of British companies. The British parent companies took the opportunity—I am not blaming them for it—to establish subsidiaries here on condition there would be no competition from outside and, equally, on condition that there would be no competition at home and no competition in Britain from the subsidiary British company. Not only did they devise this wonderful system of protection against competition in Great Britain and elsewhere but they set up the racket now known as restrictive trade practices which prevented competition from even one another at home. This industrial monster—there were a few exceptions; there are a few exceptions in every society—inefficient, lacking in initiative, lacking in dynamism, living in a structure in which it was absolutely unnecessary to plough back capital, has battened on the situation ever since.

Automation and mechanisation have passed us by. The majority of our industries employ 50 people, or under, and most of the employees are little girls. Our best workers are working in Liverpool and London and Manchester. These are the industries the Taoiseach has spent the last 30 years in building up and which he now tells us will cause serious problems in our Irish economy if the Rome Treaty is implemented. He can say that again. Not 5 per cent. will be able to stand up to the Germans, the French, the Belgians, the Italians, or the British parent companies. The British will not keep these subsidiaries on. They kept them on in the past because they made money out of them. When protection goes these subsidiaries will become an unnecessary, costly appendix to the parent company in Britain.

The British will no longer have a privileged trading position here under the Rome Treaty. They owe us nothing. There is no reason in the world why they should keep on these subsidiary companies. These subsidiaries are so backward, so inefficient, so underdeveloped, so ill-equipped, so lacking in marketing ability, that they have no hope of competing, putting it at its worst, as it is its worst, with British industry.

British industry today is probably one of the most inefficient industrial arms in the world. They are waking up to that fact. They are being uncovered now. They have lost their colonies. They have lost their cheap labour, their cheap raw material and their protected markets. They are on their own and private enterprise is seen not to work, after all, and apparently Tory freedom does not do. But I am not concerned with them. I am concerned with us. I am concerned with our country. In answer to Deputy Corish the Taoiseach said it would be possible to make our industries competitive by this process of rationalisation. If that is so, then in Heaven's name what have we been waiting for for 30 years? Why was the secret kept? Why was it kept from the people? Who does the Taoiseach think he is fooling? How long does he think he can go on fooling the people?

This was the industrial arm which was to gobble up all our unemployed. We read with shame and nausea about the conditions in which our Irish boys and girls are living in another country, uneducated and untrained. We send them out to these big cities in Great Britain unequipped. Why? Because the industrial arm failed to absorb them. But that was not the whole reason. We could not give them a living here. What have we today? Broken homes, broken families, young boys and girls thrown on the streets of London, uneducated, untrained, rural depopulation, houses closed, and whole families gone. But none of these was a good enough reason for the Taoiseach to pull the rabbit of rationalisation out of the hat. What is the result? The Taoiseach is being geared into a decision now by the decision of the House of Commons, the decision of the British Prime Minister, Mr. Macmillan. He decides for Belfast, for Edinburgh and for Cardiff. He will decide now for Dublin. So much for our independence.

You cannot blame my generation for asking what all this 1916 and 1922 was about? What were you fighting about? What were you fighting for? Why did you kill one another? Why did you imprison one another? What was the objective of this whole movement when, 40 years later, you are sitting here waiting for a dispatch from Whitehall before you will guide the country's footsteps in one direction or another? What a repudiation of an ideal! Not only have you failed to establish a viable dynamic industrial arm but you have denied the best of our young people the right to live and work here, neglected the care of our sick, neglected the care of our aged. Could there be a longer litany of blunder after blunder on the part of an independent Government acting in a so-called independent society?

The Taoiseach now asks for pity. He led us into this situation himself. I am glad we have come to an end of that era, that fiction of freedom, the end of the old catch-cries. The Taoiseach sneered at me for my catch-cries. Could I remind him of some of his own catch-cries? Does he remember about "twisting John Bull's tail"? Does he remember about "breaking the link with Britain", "breaking the connection with England", "boycotting British goods", "England's difficulty is Ireland's opportunity"? These are sad spectres on the historical screen that, no doubt, the Taoiseach would be too short-sighted to recognise now if he were to see them.

Then there is the pathetic admission that agriculture is going to gain from this European Community. He is quite right there. Bad and all as it is, derelict and all as it is, it is likely to gain but no thanks to the Taoiseach or to any action that he has taken during the time in which he has had power to make decisions in Government. We have seen a remarkable situation in agriculture taking place. We have seen the situation where automation or mechanisation has taken place in the agricultural industry. Virtually, that is true. There has been a remarkable modernisation in Irish agriculture in the last 30 to 40 years but the purpose has been, not to increase production, not to increase the national wealth in order to create jobs for boys and girls on the land and wealth to look after our old, sick and so on; mechanisation has been used for the simple purpose of displacing men and women from the land and continuing to produce just as much with the machines as heretofore had been produced by men and women.

Instead of using the wonderful advances, mechanical, scientific and engineering, of one kind and another, so to increase our agricultural production that we would be in a position to offer all these boons to our people, to retain a living society in rural Ireland, to provide jobs for young people, to provide food in plenty for those who need it and a surplus for export, to create the wealth we want to make for a prosperous and socially just society, we have imported machines and exported men and women. The bright hope for the Taoiseach now— agriculture; the Common Market prospect—agriculture—even it is undeniably stagnant and completely unnecessarily so but, again, as a result of Government failure over 30 or 40 years.

That is the kind of suppliant that is going to ask the Commission in Brussels to re-write the Rome Treaty in order to make up for our own stupidity, 40 years of it, our blunders, 40 years of them.

I was interested to read one day that a spokesman for the French Government was talking about the possibility of the British entering the Common Market. Somebody said to him that the British were thinking of going in, that they were finding it difficult and would like some amendments of the Rome Treaty—rather like the Taoiseach. Speaking off the record, he said, "If Britain thinks we are going to re-write the Rome Treaty to suit them, they can go to Hell". I believe as far as the Taoiseach is concerned, if he thinks they are going to re-write the Rome Treaty in order to cover up the defects and deficiencies of his own thinking and policy making and those of his colleagues over the last 30 years, then he is going to get a big surprise. They do not want us particularly. We are not needed in Europe. We are completely unnecessary to their prosperity.

This is not a benevolent association. This has not got the aspirations of a socialist society where they are interested in common humanity, whether it is Irish, French, Belgian, Japanese, German, black, yellow or white, or whatever it is. This is a combination of the old capitalist competitive idea. This, everybody recognises, is a last ditch stand for European capitalists. They know their backs are to the wall. This is the old "hang together or, if we do not, we will hang separately" philosophy. That is all it is. Everybody knows that. Every intelligent industrialist or businessman who read his Marx knows quite well what this is. This is the last stage, the pre-socialist stage, in European society. This business of take-over bids is all part of the inevitable historical development in industry under private enterprise where one merges with the other and eventually there is the creation of cartels and monopolies, the aggregation of all these small industries into one large industry, facilitating the final socialist take-over, which is, of course, why I am quite satisfied, in some ways, taking the long view. I am not quite content, not quite so happy, about the immediate prospects because of the fact, as I said when I opened, that we are going into this association as suppliants. We are going in as beggars. We are going in empty-handed. We are going in worse than that—broken down hacks. We have nothing to offer.

They can make any terms they like. We cannot lay down conditions. We are not in a position to lay down conditions. Britain cannot lay down conditions. If Britain cannot do it, we most certainly cannot. I say, from the short run view, I am very perturbed indeed. I am not concerned with the Taoiseach's worries or the Government's worries but I am concerned about the impact on our people as a whole and those, I think, will be very serious indeed.

As Deputy Booth pointed out, the close-down of the Belgian coalmines was an essential decision of the coalmines organisation for purposes of economy but there were a whole lot of miners thrown out of work and it was not much consolation to them to know they could get work in Turin or Glasgow or the South of France or some other country. There are human questions involved in the movement of population, which the Taoiseach is so delighted to know about, that workers can move to any country they want to. They might not want to move to any other country. They might be quite happy where they are, like most of us are. They might not want to emigrate. But, this whole thing will be decided for us in Brussels, Rome or somewhere like that and the workers affected will have no say in that decision.

It seems to me the short-term likelihood is considerable unemployment in our small State. I have no doubt that does not concern the Taoiseach or the Government very much because it merely means that the excellent service to Liverpool will be rather overstrained for a couple of years while the young men and women get out and get jobs in Hamburg, Brussels, London or Liverpool and that we will then settle down to an even smaller population. Having lost 1,000,000 in 40 years, there is nothing to prevent us losing another half million in the next ten or 15 years. That seems to be no problem whatever to the Taoiseach.

It seems to me that, having faced and failed to master the problem of Government during his period of office, the Taoiseach is greatly relieved and looks forward to the day when he can share the burden of governing Ireland with the Italians, the French, the Germans, the British and the Belgians and that he can lay the blame somewhere else if industries have been closed down as Belgium and other countries can do. No doubt the Breton farmers will be told "That is the price. You will take it or leave it." Our farmers will probably be told the same thing. It seems to me that the Taoiseach leaves us with no alternative in the present situation. There is no other road open to us.

I should like to have seen economic development in Ireland on the lines of the co-operative movement in agriculture and public ownership in the industrial sector and the creation of an international marketing system, bearing in mind the fact that there are a number of countries emerging from colonialism and imperialism with goodwill towards Ireland—the non-committed countries in the best sense—India, the African countries and the Middle Eastern Countries and that we could have and should have developed trade with these countries. The wonderful thing about a country the size of India, Ghana or Nigeria is that half of one per cent. of the trading rights with such a country would mean a tremendous amount to a relatively tiny country such as ours. It appears that socialist Sweden is the only country likely to be in a position to take an independent stand.

There is a matter which the Taoiseach professed to deal with but which he did not deal with at all, that is, the political implications of this federation of Europe. The general platitude which would seem to cover the political aim of the movement is to try to establish an ever closer union among European peoples and to "unite in defence of peace and unity." I suppose it could be that the political implications of joining the Common Market might be the most important of all. For a period at the United Nations we took up a genuinely politically uncommitted stand. Then, shortly after the appointment of Mr. Boland as President of the Organisation, I believe our position deteriorated and we became pro-British and pro-American and we certainly were no longer uncommitted.

Since that time I believe we have ostensibly retained the non-committed stand, but in fact we are not neutral in the true sense of the word. I think we should be neutral. I have opposed as long as I can remember any likelihood or any possibility of any association, good, bad or indifferent, with the N.A.T.O. alliance, the military alliance in Europe. I do not think we have any right to enter into any undertaking or any association, tacit, overt or covert in regard to the N.A.T.O. alliance. The Common Market, with all its implications in regard to a great United States of Europe, which in theory could be a wonderful thing, but which would be dominated by Adenauer, backed up by de Gaulle, clearly would be a grouping to which it would be most dangerous indeed to belong. Chancellor Adenauer clearly has ambitions to recover the rest of his German territory, as he calls it, the German boundaries on the Oder-Neisse line. They intend to recover them. It is anybody's guess what are the ambitions of de Gaulle, the frustrated Napoleon, whose anxiety is to re-establish the greatness of his effete and decadent France. We should think very carefully before we have any such association.

It is only 20 years ago now since our country opted out of the Second Great War against Nazism and Fascism. History will judge whether we were right or wrong on that occasion. I think the general position was that there was a united front among all politicians to stay out of that war. They did so because they felt the people wanted to remain uncommitted even in those rather appalling circumstances. I think the position is still the same. I think the people do not want any military alliances. As I said, if there are any tacit, overt or covert agreements which might lead to military commitments of any kind, other than the pacific United Nations' ones, if there is the slightest hint of any such associations, the people should be told about it.

The Taoiseach made one statement —he may not have meant to imply this —which seemed to suggest that there might be changes in the organisation or the machinery of governments of the Common Market sometime after our going into it. I do not know what he meant by that. I would like to know whether he meant we might be committed to any military or political undertakings with which we might not be in agreement.

Everybody in this House, I have no doubt, is very happy—I have heard very little discussion on the political side—about the fact that we are going into a declaredly conservative right wing consort of nations. It pleases everybody here because they are all conservatives; they are all right wing. However, should there be political decisions to be taken and we survive a démarche by Adenauer of Western Germany on Eastern Germany, it might be worth a thought that the dominating powers are France, Italy and Germany and that in France and in Italy, in particular, there are very strong Communist parties. You might be laughing on the other side of your faces, should we survive the Berlin and other crises, if the Common Market and its political decisions become dominated by the decisions of a Communist Italian Government or a Communist French Government or both together.

If the Taoiseach knows of any such commitments now is the time to tell us about them. He is quite right to say that we would be given a voice in the decisions of this Common Market in the future, but it is only a voice, certainly not a say in these decisions. We do not want to be tied to Adenauer's tail if he goes marching into Eastern Germany. I do not think the people want to fight for anybody's cause, particularly those of the central Europeans, and that should be made quite clear.

Seeing that we are one of the most backward nations in Europe on the social side, there is a little hope in the fact that we will get equalisation upwards of economic and working conditions. We might even have a welfare state imposed on us. That would be a right laugh on us if we were ordered by Brussels to create a welfare state, to provide free no-means-test health services, free education, scholarships to the University and so on. It is a wonderful thought and is one of the aspects of this Common Market proposition which tends to give me a little comfort. The prospect of equal pay for men and women is a magnificent conception.

I wonder what our views on it are or what they are going to be? It is possible that all the ambitions and hopes of the Common Market would be realised and that this wonderful disease of full employment which we never seem to be able to catch may spread around the European community. We might go down with it. I hope that is true but it would be wrong to think that the institution of a federal system was necessarily going to create that situation, a welfare society with full employment, and so on. We have the position of many federally organised societies in which they do not have this, particularly the United States of America, where they are in the throes of one of their impending depressions and a very high level of unemployment.

The great barrier between us and a socially just and prosperous society here in Ireland or in an international organisation such as the Common. Market is that we are a competitive society. We are not a co-operative society. We believe in private enterprise and capitalism instead of socialism and collaboration. Because of our belief in private enterprise and capitalism in the past 30 years we have failed miserably. That is why we are going cap in hand to Britain and then to Brussels asking for permission to join on our conditions because we are so backward and so hard up. The Taoiseach should be ashamed of himself and his colleagues should be ashamed of themselves because of the situation they have created after 30 years of blundering policies.

I would like to approach this debate not from the standpoint of scoring points or from the standpoint of making political capital out of the situation in which we find ourselves. No matter how much hindsight some people possess, the plain fact of the matter is that, whether we join the Common Market or do not join the Common Market, we are all in the one boat and any decisions taken by this Parliament or by this Government will in the course of time not merely determine the viability of our economy but our ability to maintain an independent economic State here.

It is because I believe this matter presents such a serious problem for the nation that I think it ought to be the task of the Government and equally the task of all political Parties to try and evolve a common policy so that the question of our membership of the Common Market, if it takes place, will not continue to be a source of discord, discussion and acrimony in the years to come. Similarly, if we decide to stay out, I hope the decision will be based upon whatever a majority of the House and the people think are the best interests of the nation.

In the past few years an organisation known as the European Economic Community has been born. It was born out of the Treaty of Rome. It was born because of the fact that there existed in Europe since the conclusion of World War II, the organisation known as the Organisation for European Economic Cooperation, in other words, O.E.E.C. The purpose of establishing the O.E.E.C. was to make available very substantial sums of American money for the purpose of endeavouring to rehabilitate Europe which had suffered the devastation of a war unparalleled in history and, at the same time, to promote European integration, European cooperation and endeavour to give Europe an economic cohesion without which, it was believed, a seriously impaired economic unit could not survive.

I think nobody will quarrel with the high ideals and lofty motives on which the O.E.E.C. was established, nor will anybody attempt to thwart the objectives of the architects of that organisation in seeking to enthrone their objectives and lofty ideals as a pattern of life for the European Community; but I think it would be a cruel mockery if the O.E.E.C., which, one might say, gave birth to the E.E.C., were to result in the setting up of the European Community in such a manner that from the earlier objectives of European integration, European cooperation and economic cohesion, a situation were now to be created by the activities of the European Community which would, at the price of survival, impose upon the undeveloped countries in Europe crippling burdens which their economic fabric could not support.

It seems to me that it is not outside the bounds of possibility that crippling burdens could be imposed on this country as a condition of entry to the European Community, unless we can get our position fully understood by the countries of that Community as a condition of our membership. Although the previous speaker seemed to think that the position had been decided for us by whatever the British Government will do, I think that what we have to recognise in this matter is that if we do what the British do, it is not just for love of the British but because the economic advantages lie in taking a step which the British may take, in the same way as the British themselves may go into the Common Market not out of love for any of the six members of the Common Market but because she realises that it is to her own economic advantage to adhere to the European Community.

In my view, because of our close proximity to Britain, because of our long and interdependent trading relationship with her, because of the ease of the flow of capital between the two countries and because of our well-developed trading relations, capped as they are by the very valuable trade agreements, it is of vital importance to ourselves that we should take note of what moves the British make in the matter of becoming a member of the European Community.

It seems to me that we have two vital questions to answer. One is: should we wait until Britain joins? Without the slightest hesitation and concerned only, as I am, with Ireland's economic interest, I say "yes" to that question, because, in my view we could not join, if Britain remains outside. If we did join while Britain remained outside, we would be compelled to impose Common Market Tariffs against British goods and generally would be compelled, by our membership of the European Community, with Britain absent from it, to make common cause to promote the well-being of the European Community.

If we were compelled to do that, because the rules of the European Community so compelled us, does anybody believe that Britain would continue preferences to us for the entry of our industrial goods into the British market? We can export to-day our goods to Britain under conditions which are probably without parallel between any other two countries in the world. A very substantial proportion of our industrial goods get into Britain without question, without import duty. They might as well be made in Lancashire as made here in so far as British tariffs are concerned, because they pass in automatically under the Trade Agreement. If we join the Common Market and Britain does not do so, we will then be compelled to impose tariffs against Britain. Does anybody in his sane senses believe that the British in those circumstances will say: "That is all right, lads; we will still let your goods in free, although you are deliberately, as a member of another community, imposing Community-dictated sanctions against British goods." Is it not quite clear that if a situation of that kind develops, we have to be prepared to say to the British: "The Trade Agreement with you is gone," because the British will make sure it goes in any case?

Does anybody believe that that is a good bargain from our point of view? Does anybody believe it would be good if the British started a retaliation policy against us? If we join the European Community while Britain stays outside, does anybody believe it would be good policy for tariffs to be imposed against our industrial products exported to Britain? Does anybody believe it would be good for tariffs to be imposed on our agricultural and dairy produce going into Britain? Of course not.

While that would be inevitable if we were to take the line of joining the European Community while Britain was outside and were compelled to adopt a policy of imposing Common Market tariffs, instead of the clear and straight trading arrangement we have with the British at present and which is of considerable advantage to the British as well as to us; in other words, if we were to become members of the European Economic Community we could take our chance of selling our industrial goods there amongst six of the most highly rationalised and industrially capitalised countries in Europe—our chance—and we could still try to take our chance of getting what we could into the British market, with the certainty that the Trade Agreement with the British which we have now would be abrogated by the British.

Does anybody believe we could succeed in a situation of that kind? We cannot sell many of our goods in this country, our industrial goods, without imposing a substantial tariff on British goods to-day. If we were to join the European Community while Britain stayed out, we would be set the task of selling those goods in Germany, in Holland, in Belgium or in France on competitive terms with the local industries. As we cannot sell them on competitive terms in our own country, without the assistance of a tariff, who believes that in present circumstances we could sell them in these other countries without any tariff protection whatever? When determining that one has to bear in mind that practically all the raw materials we use for our industrial goods have to be imported and there has to be a pretty heavy freight charge on their exportation.

The next question is should we stay out of the European Economic Community if Britain joins? If Britain joins the Community, and we decide to stay out, Britain will then be compelled to impose tariffs against us. We would lose our preference in the British market for industrial goods and agricultural produce. If you reckon what the cost of that would be in the loss of industrial exports and the loss of agricultural and dairying exports to Britain a pretty hefty bill would have to be met in that regard as our deficit on the account. I see nothing whatever to commend our taking the course of abstaining from membership of the European Community if Britain decides to join. I would be prepared to consider a second time, I think, whether we should join if Britain does not join.

It may very well be that our best interests would be served by not joining if Britain does not join, but there is certainly no case whatever to be made for the point of view advocated by the last speaker that we should stay out, and exercise our right to stay out, if only to spite Britain and to demonstrate our independence. I do not want an independence to destroy myself. I do not want an independence to wreck the whole Irish economy. If I am qualified to receive independence, and to enjoy independence, then it ought to be on the basis that I have sufficient intelligence to exercise it in the best possible way in the interests of the Irish people. To stay out if Britain were to join would lead to one result—economic, industrial and agricultural stagnation, and ultimately utter decadence for the whole nation.

The question of joining E.F.T.A. has been raised here. I think one has only to examine the amount of our imports from E.F.T.A. countries, including Britain, and the amount of our exports to those countries, to realise that, so far as the Nordic group in E.F.T.A. is concerned, we have little to gain from any expectation by us that we could export more and more industrial goods to them. I am quite certain we could not. I am equally certain that by being members of E.F.T.A. we would be compelled to lower our tariff walls in such a way that many valuable Irish industries, and particularly the paper industry, would be forced out of business because of their inability to compete with the heavily capitalised Scandinavian undertakings from which paper, for instance, can be sold at a price substantially cheaper than that at which it is manufactured here by our Irish workers.

So long as employment is a way of life and not just a balance sheet so long have we got to keep our people in employment here, producing goods such as paper and other commodities even if it costs more because that is the only means of sustaining the nation and keeping in employment in their own land those whose work ultimately sustains the viability of our economy. If we look at the figures set out at page 42 of the neostyled White Paper we see there is very little to be gained by any association with E.F.T.A. If we were to join it, it seems to me the first activity would be to lower the tariffs on our industrial goods to the advantage of Britain, who is also a member of E.F.T.A. That must not be forgotten. If we were to join E.F.T.A., so long as Britain is in E.F.T.A., then we roll down the tariffs and let Britain in to compete with our industries here. That is hardly a situation anybody would desire to see established. There is clearly no compensating advantage to us from membership of the E.F.T.A. organisation.

I said my preference is that of waiting to see what the British do in their own interests. They are entitled to act in their own interests. We need not apologise to anybody for doing the same. It is quite clearly in our best interest to follow our best customer and see in what way we can best maintain our trade with our best customer rather than engage in histrionics about our independence. Nobody worries about our independence. The world does not give a tinker's curse about us. Nobody owes us an apology. Nobody owes us anything but a living. Nobody cares what way we live. We have to spell out a living by our own skill, our own intelligence and our own ability to maintain a healthy economy here.

One wonders, at the same time, whether in fact Britain will yet join the Common Market. There are substantial forces in England which question the wisdom of Britain associating its independence in political matters with other European countries. While perhaps the concept of a supranational control of the European Community is somewhat weakened, there are still forces in Britain which believe that that is the only way in which you can ultimately develop a satisfactory European Community. Aside from that, there are industrial and agricultural interests in Britain which question the wisdom of Britain going into a Community of that kind in Europe having regard especially to the manner in which agriculture is buttressed in England for the benefit of the British farmer. Left to their own resources the British might in the long run find this is not the time to go into the European Community. Interests in Britain which can make their voices effective might well persuade the Government yet that it ought not to take this step.

In the past few days we have had the voices of New Zealand and Australia raised in unusually pungent terms in regard to the relationship of these two countries with their Motherland. The New Zealand Prime Minister said, in substance, that if Britain joins the European Economic Community it will have a frustrating and seriously deteriorating effect on the economy of New Zealand. Those are strong words for the New Zealand Prime Minister to use vis-à-vis the step he fears Britain may take. The Australian Prime Minister said that he thought that, if Britain joins the European Economic Community, political changes would take place of what he thought might be an undesirable kind. That seems to suggest that, if Britain joins the European Economic Community, and Australia has to fend for herself in economic spheres she might not in future render to Britain the same obeisance as she does now in international matters but might instead be compelled to find other friends nearer home, friends she would be forced to make because of being forsaken and deprived of her Motherland's affection in favour of the European Community. There are, too, the Afro-Asian nations which have recently won freedom and some of which have remained in the Common-wealth and who apparently expect the Commonwealth to be something more than just an abstract membership of a distant club. If Britain joins the Common Market, Britain must impose tariffs against these new and emergent Commonwealth countries. They may not easily understand why the British Commonwealth, membership of which was held out to them as offering such attractions, should take this course in order that Britain might be a member of a European community.

Therefore, if you add up the objections of New Zealand and Australia and remember Britain's difficulties with the African and Asian countries which have recently emerged from colonialism to independence and remember the strength of the forces in Britain which would be opposed to Britain's membership of the Economic Community, you may very well find that it would be many months before Britain decided it was in her best interest to join the European Community, if, indeed, Britain so decided at all. I do not regret that delay. The longer notice our people here get of the possible consequences of our joining, the better for ourselves.

Judging by their writings in the newspapers and from their speeches, there are some people who imagine that if we join the European Economic Community, we will participate instantaneously in a flow of prosperity which will hit our agriculture like a tornado. There are simple people who believe that. Anybody who looks at the statistics will find that the European Economic Community is self-sufficient in agriculture to at least 96 per cent. Where are we going to get into that market? Anybody of an inquiring mind who wants to probe that matter further ought to look at the statistics in the white Paper issued in respect of the prices prevailing in the various European countries. They will have a sobering effect on those enthusiasts who believe that membership of the Common Market will bring immediate prosperity to our agriculture. I do not believe any such thing because I do not think there is a market there for our surplus agricultural goods.

In any case, the whole purpose of the European Economic Community is, not to take our surplus goods, but to control prices and production and the hope is to develop a situation in which there will be no surplus goods, that you will produce for a market which will be ordered and not chaotic.

All the papers and documentation that I have seen on the subject of the European Economic Community convince me that it will be probably ten years or more—hardly very much less, unless something miraculous happens —before the agricultural side of the E.E.C. takes shape. Targets have been set, admittedly, but very slow progress has been made in the implementation of those targets. My fear is that it will be a long time before we get any benefits on the agricultural side, if we get them at all, because of the delay in getting agreement between the different countries in respect of agriculture. You can be sure that if Britain comes in, there will be another delay in respect of the agricultural side of the Rome Treaty, in which case it may or may not turn out to be favourable to us. One way or the other, the European Economic Community does not look an all-over attraction to us on the basis of our prices compared with the prices in some of these European countries.

True, we can sell cattle there perhaps more advantageously than other countries at the moment but it has to be established that Europe, or this portion of Europe with which we are doing business, is so short of cattle that each country cannot remedy the shortage by its own efforts instead of buying cattle from an outpost of Europe and paying freight and incurring the other risks involved in transporting live cattle from, say, Connemara to Hanover. I imagine there must be some remedy for that situation and that ingenious Europeans will find it, and find it quickly, if they have to contemplate importing cattle from this country.

If we were to join the European Economic Community, compelled, on the one hand, to dismantle our tariffs and finding, on the other, that the agricultural side of the association was not working, then we would have the situation that we would get no benefit whatever in agriculture and would be losing all the time in industry.

I was glad to hear the Taoiseach mention this afternoon that the Government had at last come down on the side of membership of the European Economic Community, unless, I take it, the conditions are so onerous as to make that impossible, in which case we might have to consider a lesser status with the Community. If we did decide to join, under the Rome Treaty as it now stands, there are far better advantages to be gained by actual membership than by association. It seems to me that actual membership will mean that we will be sitting at the table where the decisions will be made and will have an opportunity of putting our case on the basis of the facts as we understand them. If the high idealism of the Rome Treaty is a reality and not just a paper expression to ensnare people into the European Economic Community, everybody must be impressed by the fact that an undeveloped country such as ours, after a long period of political bondage and having gone into the industrial race only in this generation, has a special case for being treated differently from those countries whose industrial background goes back many hundreds of years.

Therefore, it would be very much better, if we do join the Community, to have a voice in making the decisions. In that Community, there will be other small countries ultimately. Many of them will have problems similar to ours because there is a certain community of interest, outlook and of problems between small countries. It might be very well for us to be associated with many of these other small countries at the conference table, in the hope that, with their assistance, and by our own efforts, we could influence decisions in a manner which would react beneficially on our own economy here and could put points of view which would be unknown probably, to the industrial giants sitting at the table with us.

In addition, membership of the Community would give us access to the European Social Fund with all the uses to which that can be put under the Rome Treaty. If we do join the Community, I would regard the European Fund as something which could be utilised to re-train people here, to re-deploy people here, to provide new industries indigenous to this country which would give employment to many of our people who might lose their employment in the course of the revision of our tarriff barriers as they exist at present. In any case, as far as membership of the Community is concerned, our general status would be much better by being in before the decisions are made rather than that we should have to wait for bulletins issued after the main decisions have been taken and we are then put in a position in which we have no real power to effect a change in the decisions already made.

If, after thinking over these problems, I have to ask myself what should I do in respect of our membership of the Economic Community, at this stage I think my answer must be that we should in our own interest, not in the interest of Britain or anybody else, wait to see what Britain decides to do. If Britain decides to go in, it seems to me that in our own interest we ought to go in, too. If Britain decides not to go in, we should not go in, because, by doing so, we lose the advantages of our trading relations with Britain and get no compensating advantages I can see in the foreseeable future from the Economic Community. That is my view. It is not based on any ground other than the sheer economic facts of our relations with Britain, industrially and agriculturally, and the impact of her decisions on our economy here.

Reference has been made to the fact that Greece has been admitted to the E.E.C. subject, I think, to final sanction by the Council of the Community. I would not regard Greece either as a good example for us in the treatment accorded to her, nor do I see any reason why, because Greece decided to apply for membership, we should automatically do the same. We have never patterned anything we have done in the past on what Greece did, and I see no reason why, in 1961, we should think that Greece's action is a fount of wisdom for us. In any case Greece has no customer which takes, as Britain does from us, 70 per cent. of our exports and from whom we buy 50 per cent. of our imports. If Greece had a customer who took 70 per cent. of her exports and from whom she took 50 per cent. of her imports, I am quite sure she would have been actuated by the consideration of keeping her best customer. But that is not the Greek situation. Our position vis-á-vis Britain is entirely different. Whatever Greece did was no doubt done in the best interests of the Greek economy and we have to think about what is best in the interests of the Irish economy. We ought to determine what we think is best to do in the light of whatever way our best customer moves.

I think this should be said, although the Taoiseach did say "Yes" to a question put to him this evening. Under the Treaty of Rome, we are bound to facilitate the establishment of industries here by any of the nationals in the European Community, if we become members of the Community. Similarly, nationals of that Community must facilitate our nationals, if they decide to establish industries in Europe. Whatever about the latter possibility, there is a distinct possibility that Europeans might establish industries here. We would be compelled to allow them to establish these industries, even though now they cannot establish such industries unless they export 90 per cent. of their products.

In other words, if we join the E.E.C.—and this should be known to all our industrialists because it may heighten the element of competition here—we would have to abolish the Control of Manufactures Act. Not only will we have to abolish it, but we will be compelled to afford facilities here to those other countries in the Community who decide to establish industries here. That is a very big and important change. It is a change which ought to be known to our own industrialists and one which they should understand. It is another compelling reason why all the difficulties and dangers involved in reappraising our situation should be brought to our notice in case we decide to join the Community.

Deputy Dr. Browne in the course of his speech seemed to think we could do here only what the British did. We could do other things as well. We could display our independence and stay out if Britain goes in, and we could go in, if the British stay out. But as I have already shown, as far as this country is concerned, to take either course would be economic lunacy and has nothing whatever to recommend it because of the appalling consequences either action would have on our industrial and agricultural development. The plain fact of the matter is, whether we like it or not, the economic conditions of life compel us to be guided by wherever we can sell our produce on the most advantageous terms.

For over 40 years, we have shown to ourselves that the British market was clearly the market in which we could sell the most produce. For years we strived to build up the foundations of that market and we encouraged our industrialists to do likewise. It would be nothing short of deranged thinking to contemplate doing anything which would destroy a market which has been built up so laboriously and only after a lot of hard work by a whole variety of contributing people. We are free to stay in or stay out. I do not think anybody in the world will bother whether we stay in or stay out, but that is not enough. We have to be vigilant and watch where our best interest lies. Whatever anybody thinks about us, we have to make sure that whatever policy suits us will be vigorously and intelligently pursued and that our claims to go in will be pushed strongly, if we think that is advantageous to ourselves. But if we think otherwise, we are not compelled to take anybody's decisions except our own.

It has been said, and I think the Taoiseach resorted to it again this evening, that this challenge can hold out glittering prospects. I should like to believe that it was all that, but I think there will be a lot of headaches before we see the prizes. I think many people will suffer before any benefits accrue. Well and good. After a while, when the reappraisal has been made, when adjustments are made and things settle down, we may say that though that was the bad side of the balance sheet, there was a good side coming up and that in the long run we would be able to get from E.E.C. something we did not think was there when discussing the matter.

In so far as this is a challenge to us, there are two courses we can take. We can wince under the challenge and go down before it, or we can stand and fight. I am strongly in favour of standing and fighting. I am not prepared to recommend anybody to adopt the attitude of a miserable groveller and say: "There you are. It is too bad the Government have done this. They should not have done it." This is a desperate decision for anybody in our circumstances to have to take. If the whole thing goes wrong and it goes to what the Taoiseach contemplated at the conclusion of his speech, economic disaster might overtake us here. I hope it will not and that the intelligence not only of the Government but of Parliament and the people generally will enable our industries to be equipped with the wherewithal to meet the challenge and to ward off any of the dangers that may threaten us.

In the course of his speech the Taoiseach mentioned the establishment of a Committee which he called the Committee on Industrial Organisation. This was to be composed of representatives of Departments, probably outside economists and industrialists. They were to be told what the problem was; they were to be asked what is their remedy for the situation and efforts were to be made in that way to equip them for the challenge which is to come and the difficulties which have to be met.

It is a pity that the Trade Union Congress is not associated with that Committee in some way. It is at that point its contacts could be useful. It might be a mistake to allow this Committee on Industrial Organisation to function and, having come to a decision, then to tell the Trade Union Congress: "We have decided this"; "we have decided that" and "we have decided the other." You do not get the best co-operation by handing out decisions in that way and I would suggest that in some way the Congress ought to be associated with the Committee in the hope that its full co-operation and enthusiasm for solving problems can be got from the beginning. At all events, trade union co-operation in this matter is absolutely vital to the success of any steps we take to meet the difficulties ahead.

What we must point out to our people is this. It is not sufficient to produce more goods if there is nobody available to buy them. What we must do is put the emphasis not so much on increased production as such—because increased production at uneconomic prices is no solution for any problem— as on productivity, in order to ensure that whatever we do produce we can sell at economically rewarding prices in the European community or any other market in the world. Merely producing goods for which nobody has a market at our prices makes no serious contribution to the solution of our problem.

If trade union cooperation cannot be got, if they can be got to accept the emphasis on increased productivity as distinct from increased production, though both together is the ideal combination, and if the whole nation can be made realise that, then we will have discovered a hidden asset in the form of skill and efficiency which may well tell in the long run when we are fixing our prices for our produce in Europe. At all events I urge the Taoiseach not to let pass the possibility that the T.U.C. could be associated with that Committee. I believe association at this stage is the best that could be done to ensure the maximum cooperation.

In all this reappraisal and re-examination of what must be done if we join the Economic Community, two things appear to me to stand out: first, we have got to promote more and more skill among every class of worker and, secondly, we must insist that the capacity of management will be enlarged so that a combination of increased skill among the workers and a new and dynamic capacity amongst managements will enable us to build up the best possible defence to the new situation which now confronts us. There must be new techniques and educational facilities must be extended. We must be prepared to pick the brains of the world in the matter of finding out how a thing can be done cheaper and better. If we can do that and provide these weapons for our workers and our managements, it may very well be that a combination of that skill and managerial capacity will be found to be the best weapons in meeting the challenge which is now before us.

This debate is one with reference to which I want to divide my remarks into two separate parts. The first—and I take this first because it influences the second— is the manner in which the Government have handled the situation up to this; the second is the situation as we are faced with it. There is no doubt about one thing in relation to European trade, the European Economic Community and the general picture; no man has been wrong more often and no man has turned more somersaults than the Taoiseach. It is an unfortunate thing that we now have to accept that the Leader of the Government is always prepared to chance his arm with a statement without being careful enough to verify whether that statement is true or not. It does not befit the Leader of the Government to make reckless statements of the type to which we have become accustomed from Deputy Lemass both as Taoiseach and formerly as Tánaiste.

The Taoiseach gave us a perfect example of that only this evening when in criticising the Leader of the Opposition he said that he did not believe that the Minister for Industry and Commerce had agreed with the Leader of the Opposition. May I refer the Taoiseach to the debate of last Thursday, 29th June, in which Deputy Lynch, Minister for Industry and Commerce is reported as saying:

I want to comment on what the Leader of the Opposition said about a wider basis and extension of the Common Market.

That was the statement by Deputy Dillon to which the Taoiseach took violent exception, and here is what the Minister for Industry and Commerce said:

I would agree with him.

But the Taoiseach choose not to accept that and to chance his arm in the hope that no one would go to the Dáil Debates to get the reference.

I want to remind the Taoiseach of a few other things he has said in relation to this whole question so that we may get his mind and his outlook in considering these problems and that we may evaluate at their true worth the very categorical and positive statements he has made from time to time. In July, 1958, the Taoiseach went to Paris to a meeting at that time dealing with European trade. In the Irish Press of Saturday, 26th July, 1958, he is reported as having said when he came back:

Other agreements with these countries are being discussed but on the main issues our battle is over.

Then within two months, perhaps three months, of the Taoiseach's coming back saying that the whole project for free trade in Europe in which we were going to participate has been revived and we were going to participate in it, it collapsed.

That was not our——

But the Taoiseach on that occasion, as on many others on which he decided he would stake his word, so to speak, on the outcome of the negotiations, again had been proved wrong.

Let us come back to what he has been saying this year in relation to these discussions. The Dáil debates are full of references by the Taoiseach in reply to questions by one Deputy or another who tried to extract information from him. Let me quote the Taoiseach some of them, to see how good he will be at swallowing things he said in the course of this year. On the 8th February, following questions about the position in Europe, as reported at the bottom of Column 10, Volume 186, Deputy Norton asked:

May I take it from the Taoiseach's reply that the whole position vis-à-vis both these trading groups in Europe is as indecisive as it was 12 months ago?

The Taoiseach replied:

I dealt with this situation in a speech which I made——

and this is what I want to stress—

——in which I said that we do not expect any developments earlier than next year and perhaps the year after.

That was only five months ago.

We come on then to the 16th May. As reported in Volume 189, Column 301, the Taoiseach was asked whether he would not consider the desirability of providing a White Paper on the position and an appraisement of the consequences in respect of industry and the Taoiseach's answer was a blunt: "No."

We pass on then to the 7th June and in Column 1488, we find this:

The Taoiseach: It may be quite some time before there is anything to debate so far as agricultural policy is concerned.

He went on to say:

One estimate which I have seen is that there may not be a common agricultural policy finally determined for 10 years.

Yet he comes to us today and he gives as one of the reasons for advancing the decisions he has come to is that it might affect us beneficially from the point of view of agriculture. Just a month ago he said that it would not be operative as a policy for 10 years.

Finally, on the 21st June, I addressed a whole lot of questions to the Taoiseach with a view to getting certain vital information on this matter so that people would be able to judge whether it was desirable to come down on one foot or the other in relation to this problem. I want to say categorically that the excuse of a White Paper on that occasion, following as it did on the swallowing of what he said earlier, was used merely because the Taoiseach found it too awkward to answer the questions for reasons which I am going to give now. It became clear in that discussion, in so far as one can have a full discussion at Question Time, that the Minister was merely stalling for time in saying that he was going to produce a White Paper.

I said that the White Paper would be completely factual. Read it again.

I have read it several times. I know what the Taoiseach said. I was listening to him. I know that in dealing with the matter in this fashion he was trying to fob people off for a certain purpose. The Taoiseach believed that nothing was going to happen until after the general election and he did not want to go into the matter until after the Dáil had risen. However, he has had to change feet. The tragedy of it is that it is not the Taoiseach and the Fianna Fáil Party but the head of the Irish Government, who has been caught napping in consequence of which he has to keep officials of the various Departments burning, as he said, midnight oil, to produce a White Paper which the Government should have taken steps to have prepared not weeks but months ago. That was withheld for a political Party purpose.

I do not criticise this White Paper or the people who prepared it because I think the opportunity given to them was not such as should have been given. It bears on its face what the Taoiseach admitted it was, a document hurriedly put together by the burning of midnight oil, without the people who had to do it being given a real and proper opportunity and sufficient time to consult the documents and data that are so vitally necessary for its proper preparation. I personally have no doubt whatever that the whole reason that it is produced in the form in which it has been produced, without being exhaustive in the way it should be exhaustive, is that those who obviously had to do the spade work were not given the chance by the Taoiseach as can be seen easily. In this House he has deliberately refused to face the issue of making the necessary inquiries and to make the House aware of the very serious implications which are bound to arise from the decisions that may be taken now.

The Leader of the Opposition already referred to what happened on a similar occasion when the Danes were able to step in behind our backs to ensure that our 10 per cent. preference would be wiped out, while the members of the Government were cavorting around the country trying to settle themselves in office by the abolition of P.R. They preferred to play Party politics rather than look after the business which the country expected them to do. I only hope something similar has not happened on this occasion.

I was interested to hear in that regard the Taoiseach admit during the course of his speech that nobody should have taken offence if we tried over the past months and years to find out what the situation was. But the Taoiseach and the Government then took the view that we should not inquire what the likely effect of it would be, that we should keep away as far as we possibly could from any contact with anybody likely to be in a position to supply us with information in relation to some of these problems. As a result the Government are not in a position to tell the House or the country now the categorical answers that could otherwise be given to certain other problems that must inevitably arise.

Now in the last week, or since the 21st June at any rate, the Taoiseach has suddenly changed his feet. He is taking decisions, decisions which he himself said a short time ago could not and should not be taken until such time as far more information was available to us. I suggest to him that it is not merely wrong not to be able to inform this House in relation to these matters but that his view then was right and his view now is wrong. It is wrong for him now to try to cover up and make it appear that there is consistency whereas, in fact, there is nothing but complete inconsistency in the line he has taken.

It is unfortunate for him that there are nine alternative situations that can arise in relation to the European Economic Community and ourselves. We in this Party accept, and have always accepted, unlike Fianna Fáil, that the pattern of our trade was such that we would find it virtually impossible, if not absolutely impossible, to exist without being able to trade reciprocally in the manner in which we do with Great Britain. It is perfectly clear to all of us that any decision we may make in relation to E.E.C. is a decision which must be influenced to a tremendous, if not an overwhelming, degree by the decision that Britain likewise may make. That is why I say that, in considering this matter, there are nine separate alternatives that can arise.

We could have the situation in which Britain becomes a member of the Community. We would in those circumstances have open to us three alternatives; first, we could become a member; secondly, we could become an associate; thirdly, we could stay out altogether. We could have a second set of three alternatives—the alternatives which would arise were Britain not to become a full member but to join the Common Market in some form of association. Equally, then, we would have the alternatives of considering whether we should become full members, should have some type of association, or remain out altogether. Thirdly, we would have the alternatives of considering as to what would eventuate in relation to the Treaty of Rome if Britain decided she would stay out altogether, either as a member or as an associate, of the Six Common Market countries. We would equally then have the same three alternatives to decide.

Let me say quite categorically that, so far as I am concerned, if Britain stays out we have no alternative in my view except to follow the same line of action. The whole pattern of our trade is such that we could not possibly exist if Britain became a member and we stayed out and we had to try to surmount the external tariff wall which would be thrown up around the whole community. We would be condemning ourselves to economic slumdom if we were to endeavour to adopt an independent rôle and to take the view, as one speaker suggested tonight, that just because Britain went in we should stay out to spite them. We would be spiting ourselves and cutting off our noses and most of our faces.

Similarly, it seems to me that if Britain decided to stay out and we went in we would inevitably have to erect around this island a similar type of external tariff wall against British trade to that visualised by the Treaty of Rome, but which would operate in reverse if they went in and we stayed out. Therefore, so far as I am concerned, I do not think there is any real solution for us along either of these two alternatives. The reason I quarrel with the Taoiseach in the manner of his presentation, and the manner in which he has failed to give to the Dáil and to the country the information that I think should be given, is because I think there is a very much narrower division; there is a very much narrower line on which to decide as to whether it is better for us to accept complete membership or a type of association.

There are, on the one hand, very substantial benefits in relation to membership. There are, on the other hand, very very substantial disadvantages. In the event of our joining the European Economic Community as a full member I am afraid we will find here, in the short run, considerably more difficulties than the Taoiseach would have us believe. I believe that that picture again is being painted by him for political Party engineering purposes rather than on the realities of the situation. The advantages of full membership, if those difficulties are about to arise, is of course, that we have access as a full member as a matter of right to the social fund to which reference is made in Articles 123 to 128 of the Treaty itself under which, as of right, we would be entitled to 50 per cent. of the cost of re-employment and re-establishment of workers who might be displaced by reason of the transitional difficulties into the Community as a whole.

I know that, in relation to the Greek agreement, there have been some special terms negotiated by the Greeks. Again I quarrel with the Taoiseach. I think he has let the country down because while the Greeks have been carrying out their negotiations for the last two years and know now where they stand, and therefore which leg they can choose, the Taoiseach and his Government neglected to make any such inquiries on our behalf to see if it were possible to negotiate a treaty of association which would give us such advantages, without necessarily involving us in full membership of the Community. Until one knows the answer to that, for example, I do not think it is feasible for anyone, even the head of the Government, to come down flatly on one side or the other, because it must be clear that to us, as an undeveloped country, it might be of very great advantage indeed if we had as of right access to the Social Fund to be set up under Articles 123 to 128, on the one hand, and the development loans to which the Greeks have been able to get access from the Investment Bank set up under Article 129. That would be one of the very relevant considerations in relation to taking a final decision Again, because of the Government's failure to make proper explorations, we are not in a position to know the answer to that question.

Let me be perfectly clear that I am criticising and condemning the Government for failing to explore the possibilities in certain respects. I do not think anybody should be offended by or should take offence at our exploring the possibilities. I am not suggesting for a moment that until we knew what those possibilities were, it would have been right or proper to come down on any one side in relation to this matter.

I said a second ago, and I want to repeat, that I believe full membership will involve a very great strain on our industrial arm, a strain that will arise largely because of the policy adopted by Fianna Fáil over the past 30 years. It is the chickens which were hatched by the Taoiseach himself more than anybody else that are now likely to come home to roost and because he realises that it is these chickens of his own that are likely to come home to roost, he was trying to avoid having to make any declaration——

If we had no industries, we would have nothing to lose.

——until after the election campaign. Of course, according to Fianna Fáil the State only started when Seán Lemass became Minister for Industry and Commerce. That has always been the theme. We are quite used to that bragging and boasting.

There were industries in this country before he was ever heard of.

Before coming to any conclusion as to whether it was membership or association, I would have liked a greater explanation as to whether full membership inevitably involved acceptance of the transitional period set out in the Treaty, the period that was originally to end in 1970 but which the members have been canvassing in recent months should be accelerated to 1967 but that now perhaps, because of the recent action of the German Government, may not accelerate in that regard as much as was anticipated quite a short time ago. We are unable to tell for certain whether that is so or not before the Taoiseach asks us to accept categorically that membership is better than association on any terms.

On the White Paper, let me say that I believe if those responsible for it had been given a fair chance by the Government to prepare it, one of the things they would have done was to produce an index for ready reference to it but the Government did not give them that fair chance.

So far as I can see, in that White Paper there is no suggestion as to whether membership alone enables us to obtain the tariff quotas visualised under Article 25. It seems to me that that also would be a vital question in deciding whether or not the one form or the other was desirable. Nor have we got in this White Paper or from the Taoiseach any indication of whether there has been anywhere any definition or quasi-definition or suggestion as to what is visualised by Article 226 in relation to serious difficulties which may in certain circumstances defer the operation of the transitional period.

In relation to some of the questions I asked on 21st June, the Government have chosen to ignore them and they are not dealt with at all in the paper as such. Naturally enough, I turn to certain aspects perhaps more than other people. Is it clear, for example, that the elimination of customs duties under Article 21 means inevitably the elimination of the duty on tobacco which comprises 25 per cent. of our national tax revenue, or is it clear, on the other hand, that if we have to eliminate that as a duty, we are enabled under Article 95 of the Treaty to impose an internal form of excise tax on it, once it has come in? That is one of the things the White Paper should have made clear.

I have stressed on many occasions that we have an imbalance here that has grown up over the years, an imbalance which, let me say quite frankly, is not entirely the fault of the Government opposite or of any Government. It has grown up over the years between Governments, an unhealthy situation, in respect of which 25 per cent. of our tax revenue comes from one single commodity— tobacco. A result could easily emerge from that, if it were not clear that under Article 95 we were entitled to submit some other form of excise tax in exchange for the customs duty which operates for us at present, which could mean Government expenditure as we know it would be virtually impossible to carry on. But there is no information, as far as I can see, in this White Paper, in that respect for the members of the Dáil or for the community as a whole.

As far as I can see, there is no reply in the White Paper to the third question I asked on 21st June, as to whether the Court of Justice visualised under Article 164 and the subsequent Articles of the Treaty will be entitled to over-rule the Supreme Court here, if we accede as a full member to that Treaty. Again, the Dáil and the country are entitled to know the answer to that question.

The fourth question I asked on that day is the one to which I have already referred in relation to tobacco but I cannot find it has been answered, although we got an undertaking from the Taoiseach that we would get the answers to the questions in the White Paper when it was produced. The Taoiseach took the view, and I will not press him on it, that the answering of Questions Nos. 5 and 6 might embarrass him in negotiations. I shall accept that for the moment, although I am not inclined entirely to agree with him, but perhaps there may be some confidential information he has in that respect.

The Taoiseach has included the reply to Question No. 7, that is to say, the proportion between the direct and indirect taxation in the various countries. I referred to this on the Finance Bill. The difference in our pattern—I was told by the Minister for Finance of their more advanced state of development—is certainly one that may give us considerable cause for thought when the time comes about. I asked the Taoiseach also whether the E.E.C. had made it clear that the time for the commencement of the reduction in tariffs was to operate from the inception of the Community as such or whether it would operate from the accession, so to speak, of any new country. He told us today that the answer was he did not know.

That is one of the things he should have ascertained by exploration, so that he would not have had to come into the Dáil in the humiliating position of having to say in relation to a matter like that that he did not know before he asked the House to come down flatly on one side or the other in relation to whether we should become a member or endeavour to become an associate. Of course, I imagine that that also covers the level of the basic discussions that are to be considered. If it is to be that the transitional period started from the inception of the Treaty of Rome on 1st July, 1957, then presumably it is the duties then operative that would be included in the terms we have to consider.

Perhaps some of these questions may have required exploration. As was made clear by the Leader of the Opposition, we condemn the Government for not having made those exploratory contacts before they asked the Dáil to express its opinion here today. But there is one question that certainly did not require exploration. It merely required that the Government would give those charged with preparing the White Paper adequate time to prepare it. That is the question if the Taoiseach would make available details of the customs tariffs that are at present common to the six members of the Economic Community. That would be only a matter of giving adequate time to those who had to prepare the White Paper to see the customs and excise tariff in each country. I am sure each country publishes a customs and excise tariff in the same way as the Revenue Commissioners publish one for us here.

I could quote other matters of this sort in respect of which the Government, by their own direct, deliberate action, have decided not to put themselves in the position of giving to the House the information surely necessary for an informed opinion on whether it is better to accept membership or to look for association. As I said at the beginning, I rule out the other two of the nine alternatives. Others may not feel as I do, but it seems to me in that respect the country is not being given the information to which it is entitled.

I want to refer to the third Appendix in the White Paper. As the Leader of the Opposition said, these two Appendices were the two things that were of any value in the White Paper. Otherwise, one could have got the summary of the Rome Treaty from any of the reference books, contemporary archives or the book published on the Common Market and European Trade. Some of these figures were obtainable in the memorandum on the Common Market published by the N.F.A. on 27th April last. One of the things I am a little perturbed about in relation to this Appendix is, bearing in mind that the Taoiseach advises us that the advantages are in agriculture and the disadvantages in industry, that the main openings in agriculture are for things we do not see much prospect of being able successfully to sell. If I may take the entity of north-west Europe, because I think it is fair for us to say that if the British go into E.E.C. it is almost certain Denmark and Sweden will follow, I would think it would be most unlikely that Denmark would stay out——

She said she will.

Yes, but she is capable of changing her mind, though not as much as the Taoiseach. It is almost certain she will go in. I do not think the position is quite so certain in relation to Sweden.

Norway, surely; not Sweden?

Norway is not taken into these figures at all. That shows how little time the Taoiseach gave those preparing the White Paper. He did not give them sufficient time to incorporate the Norwegian statistics.

Any effort I make to keep the discussion right only leads to abuse in return.

I am afraid I am getting a little deaf. If one takes the bloc of countries in north-west Europe, which I think is the fairest bloc to take for this discussion, one finds production as a percentage of supply. That is obviously the most relevant statistic to take in order that we may decide what openings there are under various headings. There is a very large opening in relation to wheat because only some 44 per cent. of wheat requirements are produced within the Community itself. There is an opening in relation to barley to the extent of some 16 per cent. There is a huge opening for maize which we cannot produce at all.

There is an opening in relation to sugar but whether that is an opening which would be available to sugar beet equally with cane sugar is again a matter about which I do not think we have enough information to decide. However, the margin at the pork, beef, veal and cheese end is very much smaller and the egg position is that there is an over-production to the extent of 6 per cent. Butter provides a margin there but the percentage gap between production and consumption is smaller at the end of the things we are likely to have available at once than it is in respect of the things like maize that we cannot produce at all.

Deputy Norton referred to the question of prices in relation to these articles. For a different reason I am not so happy about the prices tabled. It is virtually impossible always to compare like with like in relation to standards of quality as between one country and another but the certainty is that where there is a large gap there will be a substantial market but where there is a small gap the extent of the market is likely to be very much less. When we bear in mind the things we could perhaps ourselves produce and, on the other hand, that the final emergence of a policy in relation to agriculture may take, in the Taoiseach's own words, up to ten years, I am wondering on what he based the very confident assertion he made to-day in relation to agricultural openings.

Whatever might be said about the wisdom or the lack of wisdom of our making exploratory approaches to Brussels, the seat of the community, there can be no doubt whatever that it is tragic that there should be a delay in regard to the survey indicating the impact the new system that is likely to arise in European trade would have on our home front. The Taoiseach has, in the statement he made immediately after Questions today, condemned himself and the Government; he has convicted them out of his own mouth far more easily, far more readily may I say than the Attorney General has been able to secure convictions in certain respects in recent weeks. He requires a critical appraisal to be made urgently of the measures that may require to be taken to adapt our Irish industry.

Why has it to be made urgently— and it has? Because the Taoiseach and the Government failed to assess the likelihood of the situation arising that we have been discussing here today. The Taoiseach himself said last February that it was unlikely to arise in 1961 or even in 1962 and we have to discuss it today because he was wrong in that respect. Because he was wrong in that respect the survey has to be taken urgently and, because of the fact that there are not sufficient personnel skilled in the matter available, it has got to be done on the basis of a queue. The survey can be taken only in respect of certain aspects of industry at once; as regards other aspects of industry, they must wait, because the Government did not mend their hand in time.

The very statement the Taoiseach made suggesting that there was not enough staff to tackle the problem at once on all fronts as he would wish in relation to our industries was exactly the same as that made six months ago. If there was then the limitation of staff that there is today, would not a wise and prudent Government have taken steps to ensure that the survey would commence so that it would be available when the time came and so that the head of the Government and whatever representatives from the Government were going to enter into final negotiations would not enter into those negotiations blind because they had not seen the results of the survey that were necessary to decide how Irish industry could get over the initial teething difficulties that are certain to arise?

Due to the manner in which this problem has been handled by the Government they have given the country no proper chance. They were prepared to gamble on their own opinions instead of taking prudent steps, maybe not to publish, but to collect and to collate all the information that was necessary to come to a final decision in relation to this correctly termed most important economic decision we have had to take in our 40 years of self-government.

It may well be that it is not a question of which is the best decision for us. It may well be that the decision we have to take is one which we must take, but it would be far better if we took it with our eyes open, with full knowledge of all the effects, having taken full advantage of all the exploratory contacts we could make so that, not by unilateral action at the top but by proper and adequate consultation with all the various vocational interests that are involved, we could get the real reflection and the real picture of what was likely to accrue before the Government go to their discussions arising out of the decision the British may make. Because of their failure we are going to have to take decisions in the dark, a failure for which I believe not merely the country but history will condemn them bitterly.

I should like to refer for a few minutes to the original motion which gave rise to this rather lengthy debate—the motion of approval in relation to the OECD Convention. It appears to me that this new organisation which is another European organisation is very much outdated now, in view of the developments that have taken place with increasing rapidity over the past few months. I for one am sorry that the OEEC has been wound up and I do not believe the new organisation which constitutes part of the old world and part of the new world will be an adequate substitute for the organisation it is replacing.

The OEEC was essentially a European organisation committed to the rehabilitation of Europe after the war, with the generous assistance of the United States Government. It is very difficult to see what the functions of this new organisation are to be. However, the Dáil has very little function in the matter beyond agreeing to the ratification of the documents. I for one do not see what this new organisation can do that the Common Market participants cannot do or, in a wider field, the United Nations Organisation cannot do. We seem to be living in an era of organisations of one kind and another and it appears to me that this is just another addition to a long list.

I must confess that, sitting here as I have almost since 2 o'clock, my reaction is that there is an air of unreality about this whole debate. Summing up my reactions, it appears to me that having for the past two years done everything they possibly could to keep out of any association with the Common Market, the British Government have at last seen the inevitability of going in one the terms of the Treaty of Rome. I do not know whether the Taoiseach is psychic or whether over the past couple of weeks he has received information about the inevitability of the British approach, but certainly in the past two or three weeks there has been a stepping up in the tempo of the Government's interest in the Common Market.

I do not think the Taoiseach can exculpate himself completely from the charge that his attitude and the attitude of the Government over the past 18 months or two years has largely been one of academic interest in the European Economic Community. If I am doing him an injustice by saying that, I am relying on replies he has given to me personally to various questions which I put down over the past two years and also on the references which have been made by his Ministers on the occasion of the introduction of their Estimates. Various speeches have been made about the necessity for rationalisation, for amalgamation and for greater efficiency, but one never got the sense of urgency which the Taoiseach, for the first time in my recollection, sought to give the House today.

In fact, the Taoiseach has already taken a decision in the matter and the production of a further White Paper seems to me to be largely unnecessary now. The Taoiseach has made it quite clear, and I think the vast majority of members will agree with him, that if Great Britain enters the Common Market, we must enter. There is no question about that at all. The economic facts of life, which have been ignored on a number of expensive occasions in the past, make it absolutely essential that Great Britain and ourselves should move together into the community comprising the Common Market.

I should not like to be as emphaticas the Taoiseach in suggesting that if England does not go into the Common Market, we should therefore stay out. I should like to leave to a later occasion a decision on that matter. While at the present time the circumstances would seem to suggest that where England goes, we go, it may not be so in six or 12 months' time. And even if England does not join the Common Market, it may pay us to consider seriously being associated with that body in some other way, such as associate membership, provided always of course, that we can maintain our trading relations with Great Britain.

Although the Taoiseach told the House this afternoon that he had informed the countries of the European Economic Community that if England joined, we would apply for membership and intimated that, in present circumstances, we would not be in a position to accept the full implications of the Rome Treaty, he did on more than one occasion this afternoon refer to "a link" with the Common Market. I am not quite certain whether by "a link" he means full membership or whether he is leaving the way open for possibly some other form of association, if Great Britain does not become a full member.

The idea of a Common Market or an expanded market is not a new one. Experiments of this nature have been tried in Europe before. Some of them have been partially successful and some of them have been failures. Where the idea of a common or large or expanded market has been successful, it has been accompanied not alone by economic integration but by political integration and two outstanding examples of this are the United States of America and Germany. Other efforts between France and Italy to establish an agricultural common market have been failures, largely because of the incompatibility of the economies of the two countries.

I think it is true to say, as the Minister for External Affairs intimated in his speech to-day, that the beginning of all this conception of a wider trading area came from the O.E.E.C. which was established after the war to rehabilitate Europe, with the assistance of United States funds. That organisation never contemplated close integration or integration in depth of the countries participating in O.E.E.C. It did succeed admirably in putting various nations in Europe on their feet again.

The first effort at complete economic integration was the Benelux Union, which was later followed by the European Coal and Steel Community comprising the Benelux countries and Germany, France and Italy. Although those experiments appear to have been a success, it is true of course that they were established in, and have enjoyed ever since, booming conditions, but any impartial observer will, I think, agree that this concept of a limited economic integration has been an outstanding success, so much so that the counties participating in it looked further afield, to the question of integrating completely their economies, with a view to giving themselves a large, stable and managed market, with all its advantages.

This gave birth to the idea of the Common Market, the idea we have been discussing here this evening. In theory, the Common Market means a large market in which the participants will have the advantages of large-scale manufacturing, the benefit of mass production. Only the large manufacturing unit can spend the requisite sums necessary on laboratory experiment and market investigation. Only the large manufacturing unit can raise the standard of living of its workers. In our age, only the large manufacturing unit can satisfactorily provide the various social services and other services concomitant to big industry.

The merging of the economies of different countries has caused, and in our case is bound to cause, many headaches and heartaches. Despite the Taoiseach's remark this afternoon that such a merging does not mean that we must be prepared to sacrifice some, at least, of our independence in the interests of common partnership, we must be prepared to delegate or hand over to supra-national authorities the right to decide the form of a large part of our economy. That is implicit in the success of this whole project. Unless we are prepared to accept that and make that sacrifice, there can be no hope of our entering the Common Market as a partner.

The two essentials for the success of this Common Market are, first of all, complete economic integration and, secondly, a substantial degree of political integration. So far, we have not had to face up to that consequence in this country but, in discussing this vast project and in considering it, we must keep that consequence before our minds. The main danger from our point of view, from the point of view of all under-developed or undeveloped countries, must be that in any association of States the tendency will be for the wealthier and more advanced industrialised countries to draw away both labour and capital from their weaker partners. That is one of the reasons why previous efforts to get groups of countries to co-operate together have failed.

On this occasion, however, the Treaty of Rome visualises a social fund that will provide the necessary financial assistance to develop backward countries and ensure that labour will not be drawn away from them because of unsatisfactory working conditions. If that concept can be put into practice one of the our great fears, as it would be the fear of all weak members of the Community, will be allayed. I hope that that concept can be put into practice.

One of the factors that concerns me in this matter is the position of agriculture in the Common Market. As the White Paper points out, the Treaty so far has provided little more than a framework. The details are left to be dealt with subsequently by directives, decisions and regulations to be issued by the Council. It goes on to set out certain aims and proposals which, on the face of them, are very attractive to any country dependent substantially, as we are, on agriculture. I must confess to being rather concerned for agriculture and I should like the Taoiseach to clarify the position. He has said that, if Britain goes into the Common Market, we will automatically follow. I hope he will make some announcement to allay the fears of the agricultural community in regard to this project.

There are proposals at present under discussion in the Council of the Common Market. There is as yet no assurance that a group of highly industrialised countries will finally decide to give to agriculture its rightful place in their plans. I notice that the proposals recognise the place of the small and family farm in agriculture. That is a most important proposal. It is a most important recognition for a country of small farmers. It is, however, one thing to make proposals and quite a different thing to put them into practice. It will be rather late to consider our position in this regard if we become members of the Common Market and find that our farmers, particularly our small farmers, are not protected in this new set-up. In theory, at least, the Common Market should provide the one essential our farmers require—a large, stable and expanding market with reasonable rewards for their produce and an opportunity of selling that produce under conditions of fair competition. I do not think any farmer would ask for more than that. One of the things, indeed, that has inhibited our agricultural production over the years has been the fact that this country has been substantially confined to a single market.

I appreciate the value of the British market to this country but I do not think it needs any great imagination to visualise how much better off our farmers would be if they were free to export to a market of 200,000,000 people instead of to a restricted market of 50,000,000 even though these 50,000,000 are living much closer to us. The greatest threat that this country will have to face, however, will be in the industrial sector of our economy. I am encouraged to hear the Taoiseach say that something definite is being done now to prepare our industries for the vastly changed conditions they will have to face in the near future.

The Taoiseach suggested that we would have 12 years in which to dismantle our tariffs and put our industrial house in order. I do not think that is quite correct. The original plan provided that within 12 years from 1958 all protective tariffs, quantitative restrictions and other hindrances to the free flow of industrial and agricultural goods will have to go. That period can be extended to 15 years as from 1st January, 1958, or 11 years from 1st January, 1962. During that period of 11, or 12 years, there will have to be substantial reductions at stated intervals in our tariff structure. That alone indicates the urgency with which our industries will have to get down to the hard task of putting themselves in a position to compete with the bigger and more efficient Continental industries and those of Great Britain, and not only in outside markets but, more particularly still, in our own protected market. It will also mean, of course, that certain Acts under which our industrialists have enjoyed various types of protection will have to be drastically reviewed. The Undeveloped Areas Act, the Industrial Grants Act, the Control of Manufactures Act—all these, I suggest to the Taoiseach, will need to be reviewed fairly quickly.

The time has come to take another look at the five year Programme for Economic Expansion of the Government. That programme was conceived in conditions far different from the conditions our industrialists are likely to experience within the next couple of years. I would urge on the Taoiseach the necessity for having another look at that plan and bringing it up to date in the very changed circumstances.

Another thing that will need to be dismantled besides our tariffs—I hope the Taoiseach will agree—is the protection mentality which has been built up in this country over the past 25 to 30 years. I do not blame the industrialists concerned. They had this assurance of protection against outside competition. Many of them became efficient and some of them, to their credit, have effectively entered the export market, but there are some industrialists in this country who have not taken advantage over the past 30 years of the opportunity to put their houses in order, and it is almost certain that when the cold blast of Continental competition comes to our shores, this section of the industrial community will find themselves in very serious trouble. The Minister for Industry and Commerce made that point quite clear a few days ago in this House.

It is up to the Taoiseach, above anybody else in this country, as the architect of the policy of protection, to sell the new idea of this era to our industrialist population. If he can do that and if he can persuade them that the past is gone and that they are facing a new era, he more than anybody else will have done a good day's work in preparing the country for this new competition.

The Taoiseach mentioned that membership of the Common Market would provide our people with a challenge. I agree wholeheartedly with that. I further agree with him that given the proper leadership, not only at Government level, which they must get, but also from industry, trade unions, agriculture and other facets of our life, our people will accept the challenge. Inherent in them is the necessary ability, courage and capacity for hard work, if called upon to do it, and the willingness to make the necessary sacrifices. All these things will not happen overnight. That is why the Taoiseach and his Ministers have a very heavy task in front of them in trying to imbue the people with the sense of urgency the situation undoubtedly calls for.

I was glad to hear the Taoiseach say that he and the British Prime Minister would be having discussions on this whole question, particularly the question of our participation in the Common Market, in the next couple of weeks. I can only express regret that these discussions did not take place at least some months ago. If the Taoiseach had availed of the opportunity to discuss with the British Prime Minister and the other British Ministers concerned the outcome of our participation and our feelings in regard to association with the Common Market, the announcement he made in the House this afternoon would have been better timed.

The Taoiseach has said that the only doubt he has about the timing of the announcement is that, if anything, it is too soon. I disagree with the Taoiseach. As regards the Common Market and our participation, the writing has been on the wall for the past two years and, in spite of the vaccillating of the British Government in the matter, the Taoiseach should have foreseen that this position would inevitably arise. That is past and done with. We must face up to the position and I have every confidence that our people will react to this challenge.

This is a very great decision to take and it is difficult to know exactly how our decision will affect our people. We have to consider the complete change that has taken place in the country. There certainly has been a complete change in the constituency which I represent during the past four or five years. Towns where the only hope was to clear out now have workers travelling into them to decent employment. One wonders what will be the impact of our joining the Common Market on an industry like Irish Steel or on the Dwyer factories in Midleton and Youghal. These are the questions that we must ask ourselves. I am fairly happy in so far as these industries are concerned. They were always ready to take their place and to fight. When they are able to get an export market at the present time, I see no reason to be too fearful for them.

The position in agriculture is very different. I take it that when the British go into the Common Market and we also join, the Border will be gone and that we will no longer have the chase after the tons of butter that we read about in the paper to-day. The Border will be gone with a vengeance as far as tariffs are concerned.

I heard Deputy Russell and other Deputies talking here this evening about trade agreements. The British Trade Agreement is not worth a snap of the fingers. A trade agreement depends very largely on the intelligence or ignorance of the people who go over to make the agreement. We had people going over to London to arrange a trade agreement in 1956. They came home with a whole new agreement—a new perfection—that has cost the farmers of this country a market worth £2 million a year. The then Minister for Industry and Commerce who made the bargain knew nothing about it; the then Minister for Agriculture who is now Leader of the Opposition knew nothing about it either. We had to pay, under that Agreement, for our exports of sugar to Britain this year £550,000, which went to subsidise Commonwealth sugar going into Britain. Then we talk of agreements. One Minister did not know what he was doing; the other Minister did not know it was happening. We have the result in black and white—a complete breach of the 1948 Trade Agreement.

There was a levy of £16 on every ton of sugar exported to Britain. On top of it all, there is a cut in the production of beet here. Beet contracts are now rationed to farmers because of the ignorance and incompetence which has allowed Britain to get away with that. If Britain goes into the Common Market now, she will no longer be entitled to put this levy of £16 per ton on our sugar and, in addition, we will be entitled to expand our sales in that market. In my last conversation with the General Manager of the Sugar Company, he had no hesitation in telling me that he was certain the farmers were prepared to increase the production of beet by 100 per cent. or 150 per cent. But we are completely deprived of that market because of the levy put on by Britain and in regard to which the then Minister for Agriculture told us here that the Minister did not think it right he should mention there was a breach of the agreement and that it was never discussed in the Cabinet. When such things happen, we can only thank God that we now have somebody who has the intelligence to make decisions and to carry them out.

I was very much intrigued by a figure here. I look at this White Paper and I see our farmers are paid the lowest price for milk of any of the European countries mentioned here. The price for milk here, including the skim milk, is 1/9d. per gallon and the average price paid in these other countries is 2/8d. a gallon. I should like to see Deputy Dillon or anyone else try to keep the farmers out of a Common Market that will give them that. I am rather surprised some of our dairying experts and financial geniuses, to whom we are throwing out money in shovelfuls, did not go to some of these European countries and find out how it was done.

We hear about research and all the rest of it, but I wonder why they do not take a trip to Austria and find out how they can pay 2/5d. a gallon for milk. Why do they not take a trip to Belgium and find out how they can pay 2/- a gallon; or to France, where they pay 2/8d. per gallon; or to the Netherlands, where they pay 3/4d. a gallon, or to Norway—the place Deputy Sweetman could not find—where they pay 2/8d. a gallon? That is the average price paid for milk delivered to creameries in the Common Market countries, 2/8d. per gallon. That will be a most interesting figure for our dairy farmers who get, even taking into account skim milk, only 1/9d. per gallon.

As far as I can see, our farmers will gain enormously by this change. They will not have agreements breached every day and the blind eye turned to it. They will have a market which will mean they will no longer have to work on the basis of slave labour— £5 10s. a week for the agricultural labourer and £10 a week for the industrial worker. It is time that ended for good here. You could end it on the basis of 2/8d. a gallon for milk. You could not end it on the basis of "a bob a gallon" and you could not end it on the basis of the present price for beet and sugar. But if the levies are removed, it could be ended on that basis.

There is no doubt the agricultural community will benefit. The only thing I am nervous about is the livelihood of the workers in the new industries which have been built up in my constituency. I would not like to see anything happen that would interfere with that employment or with the expansion going on there every day.

First, I should like to say a few words on O.E.C.D., about which there seems to be some misunderstanding. The O.E.C.D. is an organisation for European co-operation and development. Although it is the successor of O.E.E.C. it does not mean the close down of the operations of the other European organisation. This wider organisation was created for two vital purposes. It was created to build an economic unit consisting of Europe as a whole. That is the ultimate aim of the United States and Canada. The first purpose of that is to ensure that the strongest economic organisation possible exists in the free world, and the second is to deal with the aid it is so essential to give to the many countries newly-emerging into self-government now.

It is perfectly clear that unless the free world is able to produce a vital organisation with a strong and fundamental economy, powerful enough to overcome the propaganda of the forces active today in communising the world, the aims of Khrushchev, the Soviet leader, and those in the Communist world will succeed and they will eventually be able to impose their ideology on the free world. It would be a mistake if Deputies went away with the impression that this organisation was in some way doing away with the European economic conception. It is not. I mention the fact only because I have sat through this debate the whole afternoon and listened to many speakers, several of whom seem to have got an incorrect appraisal of the facts.

I should like to join with other speakers in saying that in criticising the Government's White Paper I am not attributing any blame to those who produced it. They were asked to do the almost impossible, to produce at very short notice this very important document. It is vital for this Parliament and this country to know what is going on but they have had an inadequate time in which to do it. That document should have been produced weeks ago. Apart from the appendices relating to prices in Europe, trade quotas, imports and exports, there is really nothing in the document that could not have been cut out of the newspapers we have seen over the past two or three months. It seems to me that the Government have panicked. They realise they must face the issue at last and in a hurry they have produced this document.

I am sure the Government in power, with all the journals and other means available to them, must have far more information than I have, but there is practically no reference, or very limited reference, to the agreement of association that Greece reached with the Six. The Taoiseach himself glossed over it saying that practically nothing had come out of it and nothing had been finalised. I have here the Bulletin of the Economic Community published in Brussels last April. That document must be available to the Government and when they were producing a White Paper, they could have produced all the facts that are in that document and they could have let the House see that the agreement with Greece from their point of view—it may not be exactly acceptable from our point of view—was a good agreement.

Furthermore, it emerged from the many questions we have been firing at the Taoiseach over the past few months in an effort to get some information as to what was going on, that any representation we had was in Brussels. About five or six weeks ago, the Taoiseach admitted that we had no representative to the Six other than our representative in Brussels. Our representative in Brussels is the representative to the Belgian Government. He has in the office with him one other official. I do not know if there are any Belgian nationals there. It is unlikely that there are, judging from the Book of Estimates and seeing the salaries being paid there. We have one Minister and one assistant there representing this country in the community of the Six, perhaps one of the most vitally important developments for the economy of Europe, and perhaps of the world generally, since the last war or in this century.

That seems to me to indicate that the Government did not become alive to the fact that something was going to happen in the economic conditions in Europe and happen quickly, until the other day they discovered that Britain was likely to enter the Common Market. I fail to see from the information at my disposal, which is pretty limited, how they could not have known that negotiations were going on, as negotiations have been going on not only for the past few weeks but for practically 12 months now. I fail to understand how the Government, with ambassadors scattered around all the capital cities of the Six and in most of the capitals of the E.F.T.A. countries, could not have known that vital negotiations were proceeding.

On the question of Greece, the Greeks sought association with the Community two years ago. In 1959, they commenced to negotiate with the six and those negotiations went on for practically two years before they were finalised. What the Greeks have achieved is considerable. They have achieved a form of association with the Six and have succeeded in convincing the Six that they have an economy that wants assistance. Although as an associate, they are not entitled to access to the social fund which would be so helpful to any full member, they have got a loan of 125 million dollars with no strings attached, repayable over a great many years, to enable them to build their economy and then to cushion themselves against any effects that might flow from the imposition of imports. In regard to one-third of their imports —which are the vital imports to them —they have got an extension of 22 years in which to keep their tariffs on. That means a lot.

I have listened to many Deputies here and to the Taoiseach talking of the hardships that will accrue to us if we have to remove our tariffs. Can any Minister stand up and say that for one hour we have negotiated with anybody or made any inquiries of anybody in the Six to ascertain what terms we should get, whether it is by association or as a full member or whether we should go in on the tail of Britain, as appears to be the mind of the Government? Further than that, the Greeks have got quota benefits in agriculture. The Bulletin of the European Economic Community says:

A special procedure will be established between Greece and the Community which will take into account the legitimate interests of the former (for such items as tobacco); in the period before harmonization is attained, however, the benefits that the Six have granted each other will be extended to Greece for the Greek agricultural exports listed in Annex III to the Association Agreement.

It has been found necessary to place restrictions on a small number of products if disturbances on the Community markets are to be avoided; these concern citrus fruits, dessert grapes, peaches, wine, etc.

These are the items which Greece had to allow to the Common Market but she is allowed exports for her tobacco and other agricultural products. It is guaranteed also that these products, which include tobacco and raisins, will be bought in Italy and France. I mention these products which do not directly concern us but it goes to show that Governments in Europe have been alive to the circumstances that exist today. Our Government have been sleeping and have done nothing whatsoever.

Now we come to the matter of agriculture in relation to Great Britain. Britain has already been negotiating for some time for markets for her agricultural products and it was admitted by Dr. Mansholt, who is vice-president of the European Economic Community Commission, that Britain would be allowed 15 years to alter the structure of her agricultural arrangements. In other words, quite obviously, Britain is negotiating at agricultural level to join or to be an associate member of the Common Market.

These negotiations did not take place yesterday or two months ago; they have been going on for 12 months. The British Government have not had a Minister of State, Mr. Heath, specially in Europe negotiating trade agreements, without the Government here knowing it and all the time we had no representative there. We had nobody anywhere and we had no consultations whatever with anybody. In other words, we stopped thinking. I do not know what advice the Government received from their officials. They probably received the advice which officials usually give and which, I suppose, it is their duty to give: "Be cautious and look before you leap." There is no question that this Government looked before they leaped because they have not leaped at all yet.

Further than that, the negotiations have been going on all the time and it is quite obvious to everyone that Britain has been negotiating with the E.F.T.A. group. It is easy for the Taoiseach to come in here and say: "We will do nothing; we cannot do anything; our accepted policy is that we will not join the Common Market and we will not look for association with the Common Market. In fact we will do nothing at all but wait and see what Britain does." I want to pose this point to the Government: suppose that goes on for the next two or three years, suppose it goes on for five years, is it not crystal clear to anybody who knows anything about economics that the E.F.T.A. group, now consisting of eight nations, will be gradually reducing tariffs amongst themselves and that this situation is bound to militate against us? We have a vast amount of our trade with Britain. Our economy is bound up with hers but it is on a reciprocal basis. We buy from Britain per capita more than anyone else in Europe, with the exception of the Federal Republic of Germany and it is only quite recently that the Federal Republic of Germany have become bigger buyers from Britain than we are.

It seems to me that the argument of practically everyone who spoke was that if we do anything at all, we are going to lose the whole of our British trade. Does any Deputy imagine for a moment that that will happen? Does he imagine that the British, if we do seek association with the Common Market, as we may well be obliged to do, or if we join as a full member, as we may well be obliged to do, does it mean that we are going to lose every export we have into the British market? Does it mean that the British are not going to sell us anything more? We have to move with the times, after all. We are faced at the moment, I agree, with a very difficult situation but every country has found itself in the same quandary and every country has to go out and seek agreements for itself and see how it is possible to get down to the economic circumstances existing at the moment.

I cannot for the life of me see why there has been such a delay in producing the White Paper, and, as I said at the outset, I do not see any great value in this White Paper. It has however done one thing. It has at least initiated a discussion on this very vital matter and it may to a certain extent help the people of the country, who are very much more interested in this matter than the Government may think, to have an appraisal of the facts of the situation as they exist today.

It seems to me that we have three courses of action here. We can join the E.E.C. We have a considerable volume of trade with that bloc and, as the appendices to the White Paper show, the prices there are considerably better than they are in our own country. Several speakers have referred to the question of what we can sell and where we can sell. I can only quote for the House statistics that have been produced by the F.A.O. at a meeting I had the privilege of attending not as a representative of this country but as a representative of the Council of Europe last October. These statistics, if they mean anything—and this body has perhaps more access to the facts than any other international organisation today —show that there will be a shortage of meat products in these countries in the very near future.

They also show that there will be a demand for proteins, the cheaper form of proteins, such as processed milk products, cheese, dried milk, and so on. Anyone who knows anything about farming knows that if we are to produce more beef, we have to have more milk as well to do it and in that regard one is complementary to the other and we have to have an export for both. One of the representatives of the Agricultural Section of the E.E.C. assured me that the Six were in short supply, by five per cent., of meat products. The population of the Economic Community, a population with a rising standard of living, is 175,000,000. We could export that five per cent. of meat into the Common Market.

We already have a considerable export of agricultural products, but there are other products as well and there are markets for such commodites as sugar and other products and at times there are markets for course grains, as well. That market varies very much from one year to another. From looking down the appendices and from my own knowledge from reading papers when I go abroad, I know that the prices are considerably higher than they are here. In the case of feeding barley, the guaranteed minimum price in Ireland at 37/- a barrel is the lowest in Europe.

All these things are to be considered. There is a ready agricultural market if we go into the Six. There is a social fund from which we can draw to enable us to adjust ourselves in face of any disturbance that may be caused by changing our economy. We would also have the benefits, as a full member of E.E.C., of being able to take part in the discussions and we would have direct representation in the European Economic Parliament itself. According to the Rome Treaty, the representation of the various countries is on a population basis and on the basis of our population, we would probably have a representation of about three. The larger countries have only six each. We would in these circumstances have a vital say in the discussions there and we would also be associated with one of the most viable economic forces in the world today, a Community with a steel production greater than that of the United States of America and a purchasing power equal to that of the United States of America.

Secondly, we can be an associate member. The reason I put before the House all the facts at my disposal about Greece is in order to demonstrate that, if Greece were able by negotiation to get the benefits I have mentioned, and if the Common Market Group are looking for the very products we have to export, there is no reason why we should not get the same terms as Greece. If Greece was able to secure a loan as an associated member—associate members are not entitled to the benefit of the social fund —I do not see any reason why we could not achieve the same result. Until we apply and until we make some sort of representation, or rapprochement, we can have no idea as to what we might or might not get.

This brings me to the third alternative. The third alternative is that we could stop thinking and continue as Britain's stooge. That appears to be the policy of the Government. It was elicited from the Taoiseach today that he has asked the British Prime Minister to see him. I welcome that move, as I am sure does every Deputy in this House. The Taoiseach, the Minister for Finance, and I think the Minister for External Affairs, are going to London to discuss the Common Market. That is the only fact that has emerged so far. It does rather seem to me as if we have a Government now that has stopped thinking. The difference between the political situation here and the political situation in Europe is that, in Europe, vital decisions are taken by Parliamentarians. It is the duty of Parliamentarians in Europe to take vital decisions. They are elected by the people for that purpose and they have an overriding authority to take decisions. Had European Parliamentarians not taken the vital decision they did, there would have been no Common Market.

Let us disabuse ourselves of some of our ideas. For a long time the Maudlin Committee was negotiating in Paris. Many British Parliamentarians to whom I have spoken, and so did many other people, thought then that the Common Market was something that would endure and succeed. Its endurance and success have now become crystal clear. Not only will it succeed but it is a vital force. If there is to be a Community in Europe it is obvious now that it will have to build around the Economic Community. They will not give an inch. They took the risk.

To illustrate my point, France, one of the most highly protected countries in Europe, went in. She did not go in without acrimonious and bitter debate in her Parliament, but she went in, and went in in spite of very high tariffs. The result has been that her economic status has improved considerably. Perhaps the improvement was not due entirely to her entry into the Common Market. The coming of General de Gaulle into power in France may have had something to do with it too. From being on the brink of becoming a second-class nation, France is today on the edge of becoming a first-class nation again.

By courtesy of my Party, I have been going to Europe for the last six or seven years as a delegate to the Council of Europe. Anyone who keeps his eyes open can see the vitality of the European Economic Community. They are building up and strengthening their position all the time. The time has come when we here must stop mere wishful thinking and think in positive terms of a free trade area for all. It is quite obvious that any European Community will have to be built around the Six. It is not for me to give orders to British Parliamentarians, but the sooner the British Parliamentarians realise that fact the better it will be. I would say that 65 per cent. of the back benchers in Westminster are very seriously concerned about the vital economic issues that face them and they have come to realise that their future lies in entering the Common Market.

I have tried to put before the House the three angles as I see them. Before I sit down I should like to give my opinion. I stress that it is my opinion. I am not giving it on behalf of the Party to which I have the honour to belong. I believe that this group and the new organisation of O.E.C.D. are the only things that will save the free world from oblivion, from sinking into the slough of dictatorship under Communism, without a single shot being fired anywhere. We must look at this from the broad point of view. If we enter the Common Market repercussions may be severe for a short time. As against that, we have the guarantee of the social fund to help us cushion the impact of our entry. I believe we should enter.

As a result of my experiences abroad I believe that Britain will enter the Common Market sooner or later. When that day comes you will have Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Portugal and Austria lining up in the queue in the corridor waiting for admission. If we wait until then we may find ourselves at the end of the queue. If we take our decision now we may go in before any of them. If we get in first we will get the best that is going.

Deputy Sir Anthony Esmonde's contribution to this debate has been most helpful. There is, however, one criticism I should like to offer. The Deputy and others have had a long experience abroad as a result of their membership of delegations to various bodies in Europe. It is a pity that over the years they did not make some report on their return so that we might be informed in the same way as they apparently are today instead of having to wait until this late hour. Had that been done, we would have been much more alive to the problems confronting this country now. I do not blame the delegates but it is quite obvious now that the type of report I have mentioned would have been invaluable.

They always report most adequately to their colleagues. They represent their Party.

I am speaking as a member of this House and not just as a member of a particular Party. As far as we can see the Government have made no decision yet in this matter. They can make no decision except one; they will have to hang on to Britain's coat-tail. Deputy Dillon will remember that when the inter-Party Government were in office there were full discussions with all Parties. Advice was available to all members and advice was sought by the Government in the preparation and implementation of policy. Had the same practice been adopted in relation to these delegations abroad we would now have much more vital information at our disposal rather than have to depend solely on the Minister for External Affairs at this stage and we would be in a better position to decide whether or not we should enter the Common Market.

A great deal has been said here today as to what may or may not be the British attitude to the burning question of entering or not entering the Common Market. I agree with much of what Deputy Sir Anthony Esmonde says about our hesitancy, waiting to see what Britain will do. It is obvious, even from the approach of the Taoiseach, that we must be content not to do anything that may be construed by Great Britain as being out of step. We must wait. When the Taoiseach and members of his Government have had discussions with Ministers of State in Great Britain, then but not till then, will the Taoiseach or the Minister for External Affairs on behalf of the Government inform us of what they are going to do.

At a later stage, when more information may be at the disposal of the Government, they may come here with proposals to enter or not to enter the Common Market but whatever may be said then the die will be cast because it is the majority in this House who will decide and the Taoiseach, naturally, having his majority, will take a decision which may or may not be for the benefit of the community as a whole. In dealing with such a grave problem as this the Government should take into their confidence the leaders of all Parties and should consult economists or other such persons who might be able to help, before the matter is decided by a majority of this House. It seems obvious to me that the decision will be known, not when the matter has been decided by this House, but immediately Britain decides whether or not to enter.

It is an extraordinary situation that the Taoiseach, as Leader of the Government, is making it clear to all and sundry that even the views expressed or the vote cast by the members of this House will not decide the course to be adopted but that it is a case of where Britain leads we will follow. I am surprised at the Taoiseach and more surprised at the Minister for External Affairs, in view of their political background, that they should have come to the stage of admitting that they are so helpless in dealing with a problem of such magnitude affecting the lives of so many people in this country that they can do nothing, that all we can do is to follow Britain.

I know, of course, that this is a question that cannot easily be solved. I am not going all the way with Deputy Esmonde. He has expressed his views most clearly and has explained why he as an individual believes it advisable that we should enter the Common Market. Some of us may be hesitant about coming to a decision. There may be angles that we would wish to have ironed out. The Taoiseach has not been prepared over the last two or three years to make a move, as he should have done or as the Minister for External Affairs should have done, such as was taken by the representatives of the Greek Government and others, to open negotiations with the responsible authorities. They should not have waited for the British Government but at least should have put out feelers in order to ascertain under what conditions we could get into the Common Market should we decide to join.

It is useless to have a long discussion at this stage when we do not know what conditions may be laid down for us if we enter the Common Market. Certainly, the Taoiseach has not told us, I suppose because he does not know himself. If he is depending on second-hand or third-hand information from Britain he may be sure that the information will be chiefly of benefit to Britain. It is vitally necessary for the Government, even at this late hour, to accelerate their activities in seeking independent help or advice from European countries rather than Britain. It is quite obvious that dependence on British information and advice may leave us in the lurch, as it did in the past.

Deputy Esmonde referred to the question of membership or association. Of course, as the Government have made no attempt to explain to us what conditions they would even hope for, we are discussing a problem when we do not know how serious it may be for us ultimately. We have our ambassadors abroad. We have heard a great deal about our trade connections recently. A magazine is being published by a Government Department in regard to foreign trade. With all these contacts it should not be impossible for us to get information that would help us to come to a decision. In fairness to the people, our final decision must not be based on political views of political Parties. We must individually examine the question to see how it will affect, not us as politicians, but the present and future generations.

One Deputy here today made it perfectly clear that Britain would be warmly received into the Common Market. It was Deputy Booth. That would imply that he is well in the know. If he believes that Britain will be warmly welcomed into the Common Market it must be obvious to the Taoiseach and to the Minister for External Affairs that we should be actively enquiring as to what kind of reception we might get. Would it be warm or lukewarm or would we get the cold shoulder? I cannot understand how it is that Deputy Booth, who was so eloquent in expounding the warm welcome that is before Britain, could not have encouraged the Taoiseach to be a little more lively in dealing with this problem over the last few years.

It was extraordinary today to hear in the first statement of the Taoiseach that different firms and associations in this country are now asked to co-operate. That is all right. But the weak link in the chain is this. The Taoiseach had to inform us that there are not sufficient technical facilities to enable this problem to be tackled in a speedy manner. According to him, it can only be done piecemeal. How long then are we to be tinkering with the problem? When Britain joins will we jump on the band wagon before the job at home is completed and before we know the effect on the various sectors of our economy here?

I notice the White Paper states that the specific implications cannot be stated until we apply for membership and, even then, will be dependent on negotiations. That is in page 3 of the White Paper. May I ask the Taoiseach why negotiations have not been initiated long before now? Would anyone expect the Government to offer a White Paper for discussion at a time when they say the implications cannot be stated because they know little or nothing about what may happen until application for entry is made and then they tell us much will depend on negotiation? It is deplorable to say at this stage that no information can be made available to us to help us explain to our constituents what the prospects are, for good or for ill, on our entry into or association with the Common Market.

Neither the Taoiseach nor the Minister for External Affairs can give us that information. The warcry of the Taoiseach seems to be "Britain must decide first". What assurance have we that in any discussions British Ministers have on the Continent they will consider anything other than their own economic interest? We cannot forget that Britain negotiated a trade agreement with Denmark—the Minister for External Affairs cannot forget this—which was inimical to the improvement of trade between this country and Britain. In regard to the trade between Denmark and Britain on the one hand, and Ireland and Britain on the other, Denmark certainly came out the winner, whether or not it was a question of bargaining. That was at a time when, as mentioned by Deputy Sir Anthony Esmonde, such a high proportion of our imports came from Britain. Britain had such love for us that she was prepared to let us down if she could come to a better understanding with the Danes. Yet we are told to wait until we see what Britain does, because what she will do will be right and we will do the same.

There are a few problems connected with our entry into or association with the Common Market. It is all right for Deputy Sir Anthony Esmonde to tells us of the benefits that will accure from membership. We know what has happened in the six countries comprising the Common Market and we suppose Greece will benefit, too. But we cannot forget that we do not enjoy the geographical advantages of the Common Market countries. Even with the reduction of tariffs we would be faced with the transport and freight charges the other members would not have to face. Even the present freight charges between here and Britain are anything but helpful to our trade. Would we be faced with the same problem in exporting to the Continent or would the transport monopolies on the Continent come into that trade? That is one problem that would confront us and we would expect some information from the Minister on that.

It is all right for Deputy Sir Anthony Esmonde to believe in membership of the Common Market, but we must consider the industrial aspect as well as the agricultural. We must realise that the capital at the disposal of our industrial firms here bears no relation to the huge capital resources of the industrial combines on the Continent. Not so long ago I remember the Taoiseach saying in regard to the Common Market that many of our small industries would either have to combine in large units or fade out altogether. Is that still the case? Could we possibly hope for the survival of our small industries? Maybe they are big in our eyes, but they are not big in comparison with the industries in Britain and the Continent, and we must understand how insignificant they would be within the framework of the Common Market.

We must concern ourselves not so much with the protection of the industrialists but with the livelihood of the workers employed in these industries. I believe that, should we decide to enter the Common Market in the near future, the employment of 70,000, 80,000 or even 100,000 workers in our industries here may be at stake. The benefits offered to us in agriculture would hardly compensate for the sacrifices that those dependent on industry would have to make.

Debate adjourned.