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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 19 Nov 1968

Vol. 237 No. 4

Committee on Finance. - Financial Resolution No. 4: Wholesale Tax (Resumed).

Debate resumed on the following motion:
(1) That, with effect as on and from the 1st day of January, 1969, wholesale tax imposed by section 2 of the Finance (No. 2) Act, 1966 (No. 22 of 1966), shall be charged, levied and paid at the rate of tenper cent in lieu of the rate of five per cent specified in sections 7 (1) and 11 (1) of that Act.
(2) It is hereby declared that it is expedient in the public interest that this Resolution shall have statutory effect under the provisions of the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act, 1927 (No. 7 of 1927).
— (The Taoiseach).

I have listened carefully to the debate on the Financial Resolutions and I must say that I was very surprised to hear the Fine Gael Deputies say that the supplementary Budget had been introduced as a result of the incompetence of the Fianna Fáil Government. On the other hand we had the Labour Party saying that the supplementary Budget was introduced as an election gimmick. I, as a member of the Fianna Fáil Party, believe that these unpopular measures had to be introduced in the national interest and that their introduction goes to prove that the Fianna Fáil Government have never flinched from their duty where the national interest is concerned.

I may add that I listened carefully to Deputy Dillon speaking here on Thursday morning and was surprised that a person with the reputation that Deputy Dillon has should have engaged in swiping the House, as it were, with broad sweeping statements of corruption on a large scale amongst the members of the Cabinet. This does not serve any purpose except to cause a lot of bad talk. I was pleased, however, to hear a member of the Labour Party taking Deputy Dillon up on this and asking Deputy Dillon to be more specific in his charges and, if he had any proof of these charges or any facts that were not known to the Taoiseach and the proper authorities, to lay these facts on the Table so that they could be examined. This is how it should be done. Instead, we had these charges of a general nature which, incidentally, may not be denied by the Taoiseach until such time as he gets in to reply to the debate.

This sort of approach is typical of Fine Gael. It is an approach that has always been used by them down through the years. They have used this approach time and again. They have picked out individual members of the Government, not alone of this Government but of other Governments, and have tried to blacken their characters and to do them as much harm, personally as they possibly could. This has happened, as I have said, not alone in the case of this Government but in the case of other Governments. There were many wild charges, charges that were never substantiated, laid against the former Taoiseach, Deputy Lemass, and it is well known that on one occasion the present President of Ireland, Mr. de Valera, had to bring his birth certificate into this House in order to prove that charges made against him by the Opposition were completely false. I might add that these charges came not alone from the Fine Gael Party but from the Labour Party also.

You had better ask Deputy Flor Crowley now about this.

I listened——

Get into the 20th Century and out of the 19th Century.

I listened here to a younger member of the Labour Party on the same lines. Deputy Dr. O'Connell launched a very unfair and unwarranted attack on Deputy Kevin Boland as Minister for Local Government. Of course, this is typical. This is what one expects from the Labour Party. This is what they thrive on. No doubt, this is the approach they will have to the electorate at the next general election.

An té nach bhfuil Taca aige——

I honestly believe that this approach will fail, that the people of Ireland will not be swayed by these unfair tactics of Fine Gael and the Labour Party.

An té nach bhfuil Taca aige, caitheadh sé an chéad cloch.

An té nach bhfuil láidir, ní foláir dó bheith glic.

Without wishing to deal at greater length with these charges, I will say that, when the Taoiseach takes up the charges and asks the Opposition spokesmen, Deputy Cosgrave and Deputy Corish, to put up proof of these charges or to shut up, it is plain to be seen that they have to shut up.

Do not be stupid. What charges did I make?

Let him make his speech.

I want to have it on the record that I did not make any charges of the kind he alleges I did.

The Deputy should be allowed to make his speech.

He will not be allowed to say untruths.

I will refer at a later stage to charges made by Deputy Dr. O'Connell last week or the week before last. If the Leader of the Labour Party doubts what I am saying, he is welcome to look up the records and see what he said.

You tell me what he said.

If the Deputy is interested in finding out, he can look up the records.

That is your job when you are on your feet.

The Deputy should be allowed to make his speech.

The other day we had the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries speaking on this matter also and I am glad to say that he laid bare the slander being thrown at him when he was Minister for Local Government, the charges that were made against him in this House by Deputy L'Estrange and others. I was very glad to see Deputy L'Estrange sitting in the front bench on the Fine Gael side of the House, with Deputy Oliver Flanagan, with his tongue in his cheek. This is certainly a change for Deputy L'Estrange. When he was faced with it and had to listen to the truth Deputy L'Estrange had to keep his tongue in his cheek and was a very mild, quiet boy.

Where else could he keep his tongue?

The benefits given in this Budget have been ridiculed, laughed at and scoffed at, not alone by members of the Fine Gael Party but by members of the Labour Party. They have been referred to as sops. They have been referred to as if they were no use to anybody. Personally, I agree that the 1d given to the farmers was a very small increase. I say this knowing the farming problem and coming from a great dairying area. I know that the 1d increase is small but I am very glad to see the 1d going this time to the 7,000 gallon man. The 7,000 gallon limit is a very good thing. I sincerely hope that, when increases are being given in future in connection with the price of milk, they will be given again to farmers under the 7,000 gallon mark and the increase next time may be 2d or, indeed, 6d. I firmly believe, and always have and always will hold the view, that the small farmer is the person that we should help most. This two-tier price system is, certainly, a step in the right direction. I do not think it is anything to be scoffed at or ridiculed, as Deputies, particularly Members of the Labour Party, have been doing.

We have been told these measures were taken in panic by Fianna Fáil— that we had been taking things easy until the next general election, whenever that may be. Of course, I do not agree. We had to do this: we had to take all of these unpopular measures to safeguard our high rate of economic progress. This cannot be denied by any Deputy.

We have been told that we are on the way out, that we are breaking up, left, right and centre. Now it is our turn to laugh and to scoff, because nothing could be further from the truth. Labour have been saying that public opinion is so much against us that at the next general election they will be given the opportunity of taking over Government. They say that they will put forward enough candidates for every seat. So well they might, but this does not indicate the number of seats they will win. They certainly have nothing approaching a Party big enough to form a Government.

During the debate, Deputy Dillon compared the record of Fianna Fáil Governments to date with the things he did and the things his Party did when they were in power. He spoke of the formation of the IDA in his time and he hoped, of course, that it would wipe out all the other sins which Fine Gael, in co-operation with Labour, committed while in coalition. Deputy Dillon thought that the foundation of the IDA would gloss over the mortal sins committed in his time— sins like the effort to close down Shannon Airport, the selling of places, the closing down of hotels, the closing of the chassis shop at Inchicore, as Deputy Dowling pointed out.

I do not for a moment believe that the Irish public, the electorate, when we face them before April, 1970, will have any difficulty in comparing the record of Fianna Fáil government with the only record of Fine Gael and Labour available for comparison— their record in coalition during the years 1948 to 1951 and, secondly, 1954 to 1957. The progress and the achievements made by Fianna Fáil Government from 1957 onwards are obvious and plain to be seen by anybody who wants to see them with a fair and open mind. The record of the coalition Governments is not something to be proud of. They have told us there was no housing problem in 1957. Certainly, there was nothing then like the housing problem there is today, for the simple reason that there were not the people for the houses. It is a fact that in 1956 and in 1957 our people had to emigrate en masse, not alone single members of families but entire families and therefore we did not have a housing problem.

Nowadays, it is heart-warming to see that the population has increased, that emigration is slowing down considerably. I do not think anybody in any Party would like to see emigration figures again reach the level they were at in the Coalition reign. Emigration figures in that period had not been so high since the Famine, more than 100 years before. During this debate we have been charged with attempts to gerrymander.

We cannot have a discussion on this matter. It would anticipate the discussion on a Bill shortly to be before the House.

I did not intend to discuss that Bill but I should like to deal briefly with the charges of attempted gerrymandering which were thrown out during this discussion. We were told we would have gerrymandered under the revision of the constituencies proposal. I should like to ask the Opposition if it is now their opinion that we will try to gerrymander under the PR system as they said we would under the straight vote system. They seem to think we would do so in either case.

Why did you not have a Commission, then?

They have accused us of fixing things to suit ourselves, and that sort of business. Later, there will be opportunity for debate on this and then I should like to deal with Deputy Belton.

An independent commission.

The question does not arise on the Financial Motions: it has nothing to do with finance.

It might disturb the Deputy's rhythm.

Let the man get out the chapel gate stuff.

And he will get the chapter from yourself.

I will not have any difficulty facing my constituents because I know they have confidence in Fianna Fáil, because I know they will elect candidates of Fianna Fáil and that they will return Fianna Fáil to Government after the next election, whenever it may be.

It is a pity you do not take to the hills.

We will take to the hills when the Taoiseach decides when we should do so.

And stay there.

He looks a bit like Castro, all right.

We will not be chased to the hills by Deputy Dunne or anybody else. It is for the Taoiseach to decide when we shall go to the country and, being the good leader that he is, he will pick the most suitable time between now and April, 1970. Mention was made of the alleged small amounts from the Exchequer being given to agriculture. I should like to remind the House and the public in general to look at the Fianna Fáil record on the question of subventions to agriculture and to compare particularly the amount of money being given this year to agriculture with that given in 1957 by the Coalition. It does not take much addition or subtraction to reckon that the figure in 1957 was £17 million whereas this year agriculture has been given approximately £80 million. This is a huge increase, something which I believe all farming sections will appreciate when it comes to the election of a Government.

One Fine Gael trend I have noted during this debate has been that more money should be given and less should be taken in. I agree that benefits should be increased, but the Fine Gael people seem to think or to imagine that far less should be taken from the people. We must realise that we can give out only that which comes in— that there is not a big gold mine at the back of Leinster House into which the Government can dip their hands and pull out money for all benefits. Anything that is given out has to be taken in.

I sincerely hope that in the next Budget, there will be a surplus, that more money will have been brought in to provide for many more increases. Particularly I should like to see social welfare benefits increased substantially. Our achievements in the sphere of social welfare is something of which Fianna Fáil can be justly proud. I hope we shall be able to provide more money for education and in this context I express the hope that the Government will be in a position to give us the university we are seeking in Limerick.

Hear, hear.

I hope this will come and I hope it will be in the near future. I have no doubt the Government will give it every consideration and that if money becomes available the university will be provided in the near future — that they will give us the OK, that the button will be pressed and that a university in Limerick will be real. It has been said — I do not agree with it for a second — that this Budget is the price of the failure of Fianna Fáil. It was said this supplementary Budget indicates that there has been no new thinking on agricultural policy. I have already dealt with this, which is completely untrue. I was surprised to hear a Deputy from a dairying constituency saying this. I refer him to the figures I have given for agriculture — £17 million, only, out of the Exchequer in 1957 and approximately £80 million in 1968. This should clear up any doubts the Deputy may have with regard to lack of thought for agriculture by Fianna Fáil.

It was said by, I think, a Labour Deputy representing a Dublin constituency that the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries should be removed from his Cabinet post because, the Deputy said, the Minister has refused to meet the farmers. This is not true: the Minister has never refused to meet them.

This allegation brings to the surface again the attitude of Dublin Deputies who are not familiar with the problems of the dairying areas which Deputy Crowley and I represent. That Deputy expressed the hope that the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries will be removed. Of course, they would like to see him removed because they see in him a strong Minister whose record in respect of agriculture is something he can be proud of during his short time in that Department. It is the known habit and the practice of Opposition Deputies to single out for attack on his personal character any real good Minister who has ever sat on the Fianna Fáil Front Benches. They resort to rumour and to scandal and to vile propaganda to cause as much trouble as they can for Fianna Fáil Ministers.

I have heard it said that any Minister who was not as brilliant as his colleagues was always left off the hook, that he was not faced with the charges made against his colleagues who might be top-class men in their own right. All these charges, such as those made by Deputy Dillon the other day which he refused to substantiate and by people like Deputy L'Estrange in the past, will have no effect whatsoever on the electorate when they have to decide in a short time who they will elect and what Party will have to look after their affairs and the country. I have no doubt that when the people are taking their decision, as I have already said, they will have little difficulty in clearly indicating their preference for the Party to carry out the job for them.

This Budget is certainly not a popular one. We will have to face the electorate in a short time but we can face them proudly because we will ask them to judge us on what we have done. We will ask them to judge the alternative to Fianna Fáil on what they have done and the possibility that we will have a Coalition.

A certainly.

I am glad to hear the Deputy say this is a certainty.

It will not be Fianna Fáil anyway.

What policy will the Opposition present to the public at the general election? Will they come on their own under the Fine Gael flag hoping to get a Fine Gael majority or, knowing they will not get it, will they rob the Labour Party of their policies and come together forgetting their differences in policies and be commonly united? The one aim they have is to put Fianna Fáil out of power.

I have heard it said that you have one Party, Fianna Fáil and those who are against them. I should like to clearly define to the electorate what our policies are because it is the obligation of all Parties to let the people know what their policies are before they ask the electorate for their votes. We have always done this in the Fianna Fáil Party and we will do it in the next general election. We will have the people in our favour and we will once again be returned to Government.

Many charges have been made in newspapers that there have been divisions and splits in our Party. As a younger Member, I am glad to say that, as far as I am concerned, there is no split and no evidence of a split in the Party. There is not even a suggestion that there is a split in the Party except when we are told by the Opposition. We are told we are not getting on and that there are elements within the Party trying to get the Taoiseach out of office. As a younger Member of the Fianna Fáil Party, I am glad to say there is no evidence of this whatsoever. We are very proud of, and very lucky to have, the Taoiseach, Jack Lynch, who is leading a united Fianna Fáil Party.

The Deputy is too young to know.

We will face the electorate in the next general election without fear. Possibly I am too young to know, as Deputy S. Dunne says, but I can assure the Deputy that I am able to read and listen to my elders and as such I have got a clear picture of what happened when I was not around to see what was happening.


It has also been said that the organisation of the Party is at a low ebb. I do not agree at all. There is no evidence to indicate that our Party is at a low ebb despite the measures introduced in this Budget or despite the setback we suffered in the referendum. There is no evidence that our organisation will not be in a position to function. If the Opposition believe that we will not be in a position to take them on in the next general election they are entitled to that belief. We on this side of the House have no doubt that during the campaign for the next general election——

We are discussing the financial motions and not the matter of organisation.

I agree that this is probably not in order but I had to say it.

The Deputy had not to say it at all.

Some inner compulsion at work. Now I have interrupted his train of thought.

I have a coherent train of thought. I was pleased when the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries said, in reply to a question, that the estimated total increase for the creamery milk cheque this year— for 1968 over 1967 — was £4 million. This is a good thing and a clear indication that the farming community are doing well.

Their incomes are down by one per cent.

I am sorry for the Deputy; I do not think his mathematics are all they should be. However, we will have a chance of discussing this when the Estimate for the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries is introduced. I shall conclude as the Deputy will not allow me to continue.

This Budget has one outstanding feature in that it is one of which the Government have no reason to be proud. It is a Budget which has the distinction of being the Budget that proposes to impose on the people of this country, the taxpayers, the greatest increase in taxation that has ever been imposed since the Oireachtas was established. I hope to show on a critical examination of these provisions that what they propose is largely, if not entirely, unnecessary. Certainly if the situation that confronts the country at the moment, economical or financial, required certain remedial measures to be taken the results desired could be achieved at lar less cost to the taxpayer and considerably less damage to the economic structure of the State.

Before I go into that examination I should like to direct attention, in order to get a proper explanation from the Taoiseach, to something which I regard as a breach of parliamentary convention, a gross disregard of parliamentary convention and propriety which has been recognised in all Parties since the establishment of the State. The Taoiseach in the early part of his introduction to this Budget referred to the increase in milk prices which the Government propose to allow to the milk producing farmers. He said that the proposals that were envisaged called for a further £625,000 this year and £1.65 million in a full year, in other words he indicated that part of the taxation proposals of this Budget were to raise taxation for the remainder of this year to the extent of £625,000 and in a full year £1.65 million. He then blandly referred to the fact that the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries had announced that the day before.

This is the first time that a Budget secret was announced not merely by a Minister but by anybody before it was announced in this House. The House is entitled to get from the Taoiseach some explanation as to why the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries took it upon himself—if he did take it upon himself and if he did not why did he get authority—to make that announcement in advance of the Budget. This is knowledge that should have been given to Members of this House first. It is the first time that this has happened. No explanation has been given and we are entitled to an explanation, all the more because of the fact that the Minister having announced it before the Budget subjected Deputies to irrelevant verbosities amounting almost to three hours talk last Thursday here in this House. He occupied the House for nearly three hours with what really amounted to a filibuster. One would have thought that, having broken the conventions of this House, he would have been satisfied. At all events we are entitled to get an explanation from the Taoiseach. This has always been a convention that has been very strictly adhered to and rigidly enforced. People have been accused at times of letting out secrets a few minutes before they should have been announced. I see no reason why the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries should be given the permission that apparently he was given on this occasion.

The Taoiseach, as acting Minister for Finance, when he was introducing these Budget proposals in his peroration said that the Government were confident that the House and the people would realise that the proposals were intended and needed to safeguard our economic position. I assert that the people do not take that view at all. I also say, and I hope to prove before I sit down, that the proposals are not, whatever their intention may be, designed to safeguard the economic position of the country at the present time.

The last speaker, Deputy Collins, seemed to take a certain amount of pride in the knowledge that these proposals were going to get the Government some sort of unpopularity. They are going to get plenty of it. The kind of unpopularity they are going to get and the reasons for it were aptly and adequately stated by and on behalf of the Irish Housewives' Association when they made a statement which was published in the Evening Herald of last Wednesday. I quote:

Shock and horror was the reaction of members of the Irish Housewives' Association to the increases in the recent Supplementary Budget, according to a statement issued by the association.

Members, the statement said, could not understand how the Government could call for restraint in wage claims to 5 per cent while increasing postage rates by 20 per cent and public telephone calls by an "iniquitious 50 per cent".

The statement also criticises the wholesale tax because it "hits hardest at fixed income groups and lower paid workers, while doing little to curb the spending of the really affluent sectors".

That summarises the popular reaction to this Budget and if Deputy Collins and his friends in the Government take some pleasure in the fact—a sadistic pleasure I suggest—that they are going to be unpopular as a result of this Budget, then their satisfaction will be met to the full.

The policy underlying this Budget is one of diminishing incomes and thereby diminishing purchasing power and, as a necessary consequence, puts certain sections of the community in jeopardy of their jobs. This Budget is belated in its introduction and its real effect is intended, and obviously intended, to be prospective in its operation. It is done deliberately to get comparatively little money in the remainder of this year and to get a very substantial amount of money in the course of the next financial year. I shall have occasion to deal with this aspect of the case later in more detail.

The outstanding criticism of this Budget appears to me to be its timing. The timing is very significant. We waited until November to bring in this additional Budget and it is now clear that only one-quarter of the produce of this taxation can be obtained in the remaining months of the financial year. We can only get, I think, £4.2 million in the remainder of this year, although, according to the Taoiseach, in a full financial year the produce of taxation will amount to £15.4 million. It is obvious that this is done deliberately in order to gain the advantage of this additional taxation next year to the political advantage of the present Government. That is the position— £15.4 million to be obtained by this taxation in a full year but only £4.2 million to be got in this year. The Taoiseach in his introductory statement appears to found—although curiously enough he does not go into any very great detail in connection with the matter—his case on the paper which he refers to at column 2053 of the Official Report, No. 12, Volume 236. I quote:

A paper recently published by the Economic and Social Research Institute foreshadowed the possibility of a deficit of over £50 million in 1969 unless policy measures were taken to prevent it.

The House is entitled to expect and have their expectation realised that the Taoiseach should have gone a little bit further into the detail in that paper justifying the proposals which he referred to and on which he appears to found the case that he makes here for those drastic and very onerous proposals in this Budget. At all events we can all agree that this Economic and Social Research Institute from which this paper emanated is doing excellent work and first class research for the benefit of this country. We are entitled to look at this paper, examine it, and see what is proposed in it. We are entitled to ask why the Taoiseach did not refer to it at all and never mentioned in the whole course of his speech the proposals and recommendations made in that paper to deal with the situation created by the possibility, if not the probability, according to the author of the paper, Mr. T. J. Baker, of a deficit in the balance of payments amounting to £50 million and upwards next year. The Taoiseach did not agree with that estimate of £50 million. He said, and I think the majority of economists would agree with him, that £50 million is too pessimistic and that £30 million is what he accepts. However, taking that £30 million which the Taoiseach accepts and examining what the author of this paper, the distinguished economist, has to say in reference to his proposals for dealing with the situation that would be created if there was a £50 million deficit in the balance of payments next year, it is worthwhile reading for the benefit of the House some of these proposals. The House can consider how far the Government have approached in the proper way the problem they say they are faced with and to what extent they have really come to understand that problem. I think the House will conclude that what they have really done is to misunderstand the problem and recommend the wrong remedies.

This is a paper from the Economic and Social Research Institute by Mr. T. J. Baker published in September last. It is relevant to note the date but there is internal evidence which I should point out to the House that this paper was written long before September and that the contents of the paper were in the hands of the Government and certainly within the purview of the Department of Finance long before September and, at the very latest, in August.

One distinguished representative of the Department of Finance is mentioned by name in a note underneath the contents at the beginning of this paper where it is stated that helpful criticism was received from him and others. The House may take it that in considering the timing of these proposals the Government, and certainly the Department of Finance, had ample notice long before September and certainly long before the present time, of the problems that were likely to face the country in the immediate future but they waited until November. The House is entitled to an explanation as to why they did wait having regard to the fact that they had the notice of this particular paper and the warnings that were in it at the very latest in August and, I am sure, long before that.

The Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries wasted the time of the House last Wednesday night talking almost without stop, demonstrating how he could not know what was going to happen with the milk-producing farmers and the wheat-growing farmers and, therefore, he could do nothing before this. They knew the problem and it was not a problem of milk or wheat but a problem of a £50 million balance of trade deficit anticipated in the year 1969. That is the problem they have to meet at present. That is the problem, according to the Taoiseach in introducing this Budget as Acting Minister for Finance.

I want to refer Deputies to the very first page of this paper where the author states the problem and suggests what is to be done and also to subsequent pages. In the last paragraph on the first page he says:

Thus the time appears ripe for the responsible authorities to decide whether they can tolerate the probability of a large deficit on the Balance of Payments in the coming year. If they decide they cannot, then some modest action very soon to lessen the rate of growth of private consumption and of total building would appear appropriate. Slowing down the boom now should avoid the need to halt it altogether later. The possibility of taking appropriate action is not, of course, confined to public authorities.

I emphasise, and endeavoured to emphasise it in reading, this passage from the paper where he, first of all, refers to the decision being in the hands of the responsible authority, namely the Government, and then states what they have to decide, whether they can tolerate a large deficit in the balance of payments for the coming year; if they decide they cannot, as they have now by their action in bringing in this Budget decided, all that is required, according to this distinguished economist, is modest or moderating action. You will find afterwards he called it moderate action. That is what this man says is required to deal with what he says will be a £50 million deficit in the balance of payments but which the Taoiseach says will be only £30 million. Can anybody say the action taken in this Budget we are discussing can be regarded as moderate action—this Budget that imposes the greatest amount of taxation imposed by any Budget in the last 50 years since the State was established? Can that be regarded as modest action when it is described by people who are going to feel its full effects as producing reactions of shock and horror? It is certainly not modest action and I think it will be found by the time we are finished with this debate that it is not appropriate action.

He said that £5 million possibly or probably would be the deficit on the balance of payments and that modest action must be taken soon. We did not take action soon; we waited until midNovember until this kind of action was taken and that is not taking the action the man who drew the attention of the Government to the problem recommends should be adopted.

I turn now to page 23 of this publication and again he has some very significant recommendations to make which have not been adopted. Having analysed the position of certain imports and the balance of payments deficit he deals on page 23 in paragraph 3.14 with "Policy Implications" and says:

If the foregoing analysis is accepted, the decision as to whether or not to initiate changes in the policy of demand management depends on the relative weight attached to different policy objectives.

It may be felt that in the light of the present state of the external reserves, and the possibility of an increase in the long term capital inflow as private investment grows and corporate profits improve, the likelihood of a very substantial current account deficit is a worthwhile price to pay for rapid economic growth and a substantial increase in nonagricultural employment. If this view is taken, no action is necessary at the present time, and the period of high deficit can be endured in the hope that exports will subsequently resume a more rapid rate of growth.

This means that this economist dealing with the problem and analysing it says it was within the competence and reasonable discretion of the Government to decide what to do, that they could take the view that even if there was this £50 million deficit in the balance of payments that he says is likely to arise it would be open to them to say, having regard to certain matters which he refers to and to which I shall refer in a few moments, that it would be a worthwhile price to pay for rapid economic growth and a substantial increase in nonagricultural employment. The Taoiseach has not dealt with that. What is his answer to that? Why did he not accept that it would be a worthwhile price to pay for an increase in nonagricultural employment and rapid economic growth, that you could put up with the position and endure it having regard to our external reserves and the growth in the economy at present?

He goes on to give the alternatives —put up with the £50 million deficit; we are well able to stand it having regard to the economic position. You could take that decision if you liked. He does not say it is a wrong view to take. He says you can take it.

Then he goes on to say:

On the other hand it may be considered that the probability of a deficit in the region of £50 million, with the possibility that it could be even worse, cannot be regarded with equanimity.

That is the view that the Taoiseach has taken, as acting Minister for Finance. The writer goes on to say:

In this case it is almost certainly better that some moderate action be taken now——

I emphasise that he had spoken in the beginning of his paper of modest action. He said some moderate action should be taken now and he goes on:

——to curb the rate of expansion, particularly with regard to private consumption and building activity, rather than delay until the middle of 1969 when much more drastic steps might have to be taken. If it is decided to restrain the growth of demand, action to moderate the apparent rapid increase in private credit, particularly consumer credit, would appear to be the most sensible first step. If, through such measures as mild hire purchase controls and Central Bank advice to the Associated Banks, the rate of growth of consumer credit were held to half that assumed in the projection for 1969, it seems likely that the result would be a rise in current price Gross National Product of around 8 per cent rather than 10 per cent, a growth rate of perhaps just under 4 per cent rather than just over, a slower rise in prices, and a balance of payments deficit of around £30 million rather than £50 million. On this calculation quite modest action, taken soon, would suffice to keep the situation well under control.

He goes on to say at page 24:

The decision remains one for the responsible authorities, and according to the relative importance attached to the growth rate, employment, internal prices and the state of the reserves, a plausible case could be made for either taking action or not. One warning however bears repetition. If it is decided that a large deficit is not tolerable, but nevertheless to wait until overwhelming evidence is available before taking any action, the correct moment for that action will almost certainly be past.

That can be summarised by saying that it was open to the Government, having regard to the warnings they have received that there is a possible or a probable deficit of £30 million—if the Taoiseach does not accept £50 million — to take either no action, relying on the reserves and the state of the economy, or to take certain mild, modest action which will not disrupt the economy in the way proposed in this.

All this talk from the Government to the effect that they do not mind being unpopular, that they are the great fellows doing their duty, is all nonsense. There is no necessity to do what they are doing here. The writer of this paper says that the decision remains one for the responsible authorities. However, we are told here by the Taoiseach, and I presume by others, that if this action is not taken the economy will be disrupted and we will face a threat of inflation. This man says it is not so. The facts show it is not so. It can be demonstrated, from what I have just said, that there was no necessity whatsoever for the introduction of this drastic Budget and for the outrageous impositions that it is proposed to place on the taxpayers of this country.

What is the position? It is a remarkable fact that, in addition to allowing the Constitutional convention or political convention to be overridden by the Minister, he does not carry on the tradition that we established in this House, that is, that the Budget was regarded as an instrument of economic policy and should be shown to be such, and that each Budget should give a resumé of the financial and economic position of the country and the policies that were available to deal with the situation.

The speech made by the Taoiseach, as acting Minister for Finance, gives no indication of the Budget being used as an instrument of economic policy. He says, however, at the beginning of his speech that Ireland has had two excellent years and that increased industrial production has made a big contribution to the national progress. He says, and I quote:

The volume of output of transportable goods industries rose by nine per cent in 1967 and even faster in the first half of 1968. Activity in building and construction has been much greater in both years, while agricultural output, which had fallen between 1964 and 1966, rose by two per cent in 1967 and should show a similar increase this year. An important factor in the increase in national output has been the vigorous expansion of exports.

This is all he says about the bright side of the economy. He gives a few outstanding features of the bright side of the economy at the present time. There is no doubt that there have been indications this year of expansion in the economy and improvement in the financial structure of the State. We have been coming out of the inflation of the past two years. We have been overcoming the incompetence of the Government in handling the financial situation and the country has been showing signs of getting back on its feet again. The remedy that is proposed by the Government is to bring forward the proposals which, I believe, will affect and disrupt the economy and slow down the progress that, no doubt, has started to be made. These proposals, therefore, are entirely unnecessary and certainly ineffectual. The Taoiseach, in introducing this Budget, does not show both sides. He says:

There are clear indications that the economy is gathering speed too quickly at present and that if the brake were not applied we would run into trouble in 1969.

As with driving, it is bad to apply the brakes too quickly and too forcibly and that is what is being done at the present time. The vehicle which is carrying the Government is, according to the Taoiseach, gathering speed too quickly. It is being renovated and repaired for the past few years, is being run-in, is showing some signs of improvement and of being able to do its job. That is not a vehicle to which the brake should be applied quickly or forcibly — certainly not to the extent that is being done at the moment.

Let us look at what the final effect of this Budget is. The Taoiseach says that there will be a deficit of £15 million this year, notwithstanding the huge amount of money which will be gathered in from the taxpayer as a result of the April Budget of this year. He then says that as a result of this Budget there will be a collection of taxes for the remaining portion of the financial year amounting to £4.2 million, and in a full year that £15.4 million will be produced from all the taxes including, apparently, the Post Office charges. Therefore, when you add the additional taxes imposed by the previous Budget of £3.5 million plus the £15.4 million and the £3.5 million additional taxation you have the position that the Government next year, when they face the Budget in April or May, will have £22 million in hand before they impose one penny taxation. Yet the Taoiseach says that they estimated in the April Budget for a buoyancy of revenue of £24 million but it is apparent now that they are going to have an increase of £7½ million in that buoyancy so that they will have an unexpected bonus of £31.5 million next year. You will have the £22 million that will be available as a result of this Budget, without an increase of one penny in taxation next year, available to the Minister for Finance to hand out benefits in the light of a general election if it is forthcoming. Is there any doubt, therefore, that the inescapable conclusion of all this is that this Budget has been brought in belatedly not to do what, in fact, it is not doing, meet a problem created by a possible increase in the balance of payments deficit, but for the purpose of putting themselves in a position next year where they will have something like £40 million available to distribute in benefits by way of political expediency to meet a possible general election shortly after the Budget? Is it not an inescapable fact that they are doing that?

The Taoiseach gives five items of additional expenditure in his speech, education, the farmers, milk, and so on, and, of course, the inevitable slap at salaries, all amounting to, and quite rightly, £27 million, but for all that expenditure which he says faces them next year he has about £40 million in hand before he starts to impose one penny taxation to deal with that situation of £27 million additional expenditure and also a large amount to hand out by way of benefits to all and sundry, for political purposes.

That is one aspect of this Budget. The other aspect, perhaps, is to be looked at in a more economic way and certainly in a way devoid of political overtones. I have already emphasised the position as stated by the learned author of this paper from the Economic and Social Research Institute where he said a modest action, or no action at all, if you like, will serve the position sufficiently to enable us to do nothing in order to overcome the possible balance of £50 million. He says £50 million while the Taoiseach says £30 million. He says to do nothing because the position is sufficiently strong to entitle us to do nothing. Some of the items dealing with the strength of the position will corroborate the suggestion made by this economist.

We have in the statistical supplement of the Quarterly Bulletin of the Central Bank of Ireland at Table 7 the figures for our external monetary reserves and it appears from the second column of that table that in September, 1967 the gold reserves were £7.8 million while in December of that year the figure was £8 million. What were they in September of this year? From September, 1967 to September, 1968 the gold reserve rose from £7.8 million to £32.2 million, four times what they were in September 1967. Therefore, the gold reserves have quadrupled in 12 months but nothing was said by the Taoiseach about that. That is one of the matters which you are entitled to take into account in assessing the problem and seeing how you can solve it. Taking all our reserves together, our total external monetary reserves in September, 1967 amounted to £292.2 million while in September of this year they amounted to £295.5 million. In 12 months there has been an increase of £3 million in our external reserves. On top of that the capital inflow has shown a tendency to increase, and, indeed, not merely a tendency but an actual increase.

Taking all together, the substantial amount of gold reserves, our external reserves, and our capital inflow, they all show that the country is doing well and would continue to do well if it was allowed to. We have nearly £300 million external reserves or, in other words, we have 20 times the amount in reserves of our deficit on the Budget which was anticipated for this financial year and we have ten times in reserves the amount of the adverse balance which the Taoiseach put at £30 million. What are reserves for if they are not to meet a situation of that kind? As I say, we have ten times the amount of reserves necessary to meet the situation at the present time and according to Mr. Baker the Government would be quite justified in taking no action and could say: "We will not disrupt the economy any more but give it a chance to get better as it seems to be doing at present." That is what they could have done if they wished to do nothing. We have those reserves and, as I said, what is the use of having reserves if you cannot use them. But what did they proceed to do? They proceeded to increase taxation to the extent of £15.4 million in a full year, to get something like over £11 million from the general taxation, on spirits, tobacco and wholesale tax, and to get in the remainder of the year £400,000 from the post office charges and £1.6 million, I think it will be, in a full year. These are the kind of charges that are being imposed in this Budget.

Take this case of tobacco. We are all familiar with the phrase about the "traditional method of raising revenue by means of increased taxation on tobacco, beer and whiskey". I would remind the Minister for Finance, the Taoiseach and the Government in general that the tobacco people were induced to set up business here because of tariffs imposed by a Fianna Fáil Government from 1932 onwards. These tobacco manufacturers set up their organisations and put themselves in a position in which they had to face, and have to face, all sorts of competition. They give excellent employment to a considerable number of people.

Over the years they have been made the butt of the Minister for Finance. In every Budget the tax on cigarettes and tobacco is increased, thereby making it even more difficult for these people to carry on business, to make ends meet and go on giving good employment. Because of increased taxation the jobs of those employed are jeopardised. In addition, life is made a little less comfortable for those who are addicted to smoking. Added to all that is the fact that these tobacco manufacturers are now being "hung" in the interests of public health. They will not be allowed to advertise on television or radio. Other steps have been taken to which I cannot refer, unfortunately, since I am professionally interested, steps of a kind of which the Government should be ashamed. The Government are "hanging" these people, the people who were induced to establish themselves here at the behest of the Fianna Fáil Government. It is time these people got some sort of letup.

Beer and spirits carry increased taxes. We have here one of the best manufacturers and employers in the world. I refer to Messrs Guinness. They are doing tremendous good for the country, not merely from the employment point of view but also from the point of view of the cultural, scientific and economic advancement of the country.

What about the manufacturers of whiskey? They are paying a huge amount in taxation. Their product is native to the country. They have been endeavouring to build up an export trade in the United States and elsewhere in the teeth of fierce competition from Scotch whiskey. Instead of helping our whiskey distillers to meet on some terms the proprietors of Scotch whisky our Government hinders the efforts of our distillers by increasing the tax on the product they manufacture. Not until quite recently did Irish whiskey succeed in finding a footing in the United States. Indeed, it was Deputy Norton, Minister for Industry and Commerce in that much maligned, as Fianna Fáil are pleased to call it, Coalition Government, who gave Irish whiskey distillers a chance for the first time of exporting this product. These are the commodities the Fianna Fáil Government tax in every Budget they introduce and additional taxation increases tremendously the difficulties of the distillers in finding and keeping an export market.

We have then the wholesale tax. That was devised by the Government, in their wisdom, and they netted a vast sum of money out of it at the expense of the consumers of ordinary commodities. It is proposed now to double that tax by imposing an additional 5 per cent. There was a pamphlet circulated to Deputies recently dealing with the added value tax. That pamphlet was distributed on behalf of the Minister for Finance. I refer, in particular, to the last sentence of paragraph 13 on page 35:

If food, drink, medicines, clothing, fuel, tobacco, petrol and oil continue to be excluded from the wholesale tax a tax of about 15 per cent should have theoretically produced £25 million——

This is what I want to emphasise—

but a sudden increase to such a high rate might lead to a fall in sales with serious results for business and employment.

It is not 15 per cent. It is 10 per cent, very near the amount which, according to the Minister, might lead to "a fall in sales with serious results for business and employment". What are they doing here in the teeth of their own advice in this document? They have doubled the wholesale tax, with the inevitable result of a fall in sales because of increased prices and ultimate unemployment. That is what the added value tax would have done. That is what this increased wholesale tax will do.

Post Office charges have been increased. Additional revenue to the extent of £400,000 in the remainder of this year and £1.6 million in a full year will be collected as a result of these increased charges. The excuse is the old cliché to which we have listened so often here; the Department of Posts and Telegraphs must be run on business lines as a commercial undertaking; it must pay its way and the taxpayer must not be called upon to discharge any deficit in Post Office revenue. That is the alleged principle of operation. The Taoiseach referred to the fact that there had been no increases in these charges since 1964.

I want to direct the attention of Deputies to what happened in 1964 when charges were increased. We on this side of the House objected to the increases and I put the case that, if these increased charges were being justified on the basis that the Post Office must be run as a commercial concern and in accordance with commercial principles, Deputies were entitled to be assured and given conclusive evidence of the fact that the Post Office was being run as a commercial undertaking would be run and that all possible economies were effected. The Taoiseach, now Deputy Lemass, made his usual flat-footed observation — not merely flat-footed, indeed, but as windy as most of the expressions he habitually used—and said at column 1781 of volume 208 of the Official Report of 15th April, 1964:

The principle that the Post Office should pay for itself and not be subsidised from taxation is not merely sound but, as far as I know, has never heretofore been questioned in the Dáil.

I emphasise the following:

There is, I agree, an obligation on the Government to ensure that the cost of these services is not unduly inflated and the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs is now about to initiate a drive for economies in the Post Office by the adjustment of the services to the reasonable needs of the people and by changes in procedures which will, it is hoped, increase individual productivity.

Following that speech, I made a speech in which I took him up on those matters. I asked why, if the Minister was about to do all those things that day, that Wednesday, had he not done them before. I asked was he really going to do them at all. From that day to this, Deputies have not heard a word about what the Minister was to do —"to initiate a drive for economies in the Post Office by the adjustment of the services to the reasonable needs of the people and by changes in procedures which will, it is hoped, increase individual productivity."

Four years afterwards we are asked to agree to an increase in Post Office charges without any indication that one single thing was done by the then Minister, or his successor, to carry out what the windy Taoiseach said was going to be done that day. We have not heard a single word about whether he did it or not, whether he drove or did not drive, or whether he did nothing which he always does. Now we are asked to agree to an increase in the Post Office charges without any indication that the undertaking of the then Taoiseach has been carried out. I think the House should very seriously consider the position before they do anything of the sort.

In introducing these proposals the Taoiseach said his object was twofold — I am summarising what he said—and that he had to decrease consuming power and encourage savings. At the end of his statement we had the gloomy announcement that there had been a considerable drop in savings. I want to say with all the emphasis at my command that this Government did more than any other Government to prevent people saving. What is the use in giving an increase of half per cent? The Taoiseach said that in order to meet the economic difficulties that still exist they must take the purchasing power out of the hands of the community and get people to save. How they will do that I do not know. How will you encourage people to save when that is the only incentive given in this Budget which apparently will make the Government unpopular and, at the same time, bring disruption and possibly dislocation to the economy?

As reported at column 2059, volume 236 of the Official Report the Taoiseach said:

The intake from small savings has been disappointing for some time. In the current year so far there has been a net outflow of £1.6 million from the Savings Banks. This is a disimprovement of £4.7 million as compared with the corresponding period last year.

That shows a very serious falling-off in savings. Everyone, every economist, every Government, insists that one essential way to build up the economy, and to provide the means whereby the Government can carry on, and whereby there can be expenditure in the interests of the country and people can be saved from increased taxation, is by increased savings. The incentive here is that they decided to increase the rate of interest by half per cent. You could get over seven per cent in a building society, or 7½ per cent in a national loan, but for the Savings Banks the incentive is an increase of half per cent. That may be justifiable having regard to the history of the Post Office Savings Banks. You get a small amount of interest because you are entitled to withdraw your money fairly quickly.

What I object to is that the entire policy of the Government over the past ten or 15 years has been directed, not by accident or mistake but by design, in such a way as to discourage anyone from saving. I have spoken again and again in this House about the plight of people who are self employed. They have to do the best they can by saving over the years to put aside a certain amount of money for their old age, or for their wives and families if anything happens to them. Very frequently when people save it is not for themselves in their old age but their families, but the Government take most of their savings from them. Their policy has brought about a depreciation in the value of money. It has fallen catastrophically in the past ten years or so. If you insure your life you pay a big premium and when the policy matures it has depreciated in value as a result of Government policy, and they then proceed to take a big lump by way of death duties. That is also done by deliberate design.

I think it was in the Budget of 1965 that the Government increased the period during which you would be entitled to transfer certain savings to your wife or children from three years to five years. That was done deliberately in the Finance Act. People asked — and I asked it myself —"What is the use in saving? Why keep it up when the Government will take a big lump at the end in death duties?" I want to insist very strongly on this: unless the Government give an incentive — and not this half per cent which is ludicrous and laughable — by way of relief of income tax, or preferably by way of death duties relief, and people who save, provided they can be established as savings out of earnings during the years, will be entitled to pass their savings over within a year or so at the outside to their wives and children and will not be charged death duties, there will not be savings.

This provision of five years was put in deliberately by the Government at the instance of the Revenue Commissioners. I think it was in the same Budget that the development tax was brought in by the then Minister for Finance who is now the Taoiseach. That development tax had to be repealed this year by his successor, in the Finance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1968. It was bad and it was proved to be bad. The Minister had to humiliate his predecessor, not to talk of himself, by repealing an entire section of the Finance Act, 1965, which had been recommended to the then Minister by the Revenue Commissioners, and accepted by the Department of Finance without any critical examination. At that time we exposed it in this House and we were laughed at, but subsequently it had to be repealed.

There will be no savings unless there are some incentives. The Savings Committee have done very good work. They deserve the thanks of the public for their efforts but they were up against the impossible almost. People asked: "What is the use in saving because when I die the Government will take one-third and sometimes onehalf of it?" Until that is got rid of there will be no incentives to save, and the Minister for Finance in Budget after Budget will have to report, as the Taoiseach had to report this year, an almost catastrophic drop in savings. That is bad for the country. It is bad for the economy and it is still worse for the individual outlook of people as to whether they should or should not save or spend. It is a matter that requires the greatest consideration from the Government at the present time. As on this question of saving, their attitude on death duties is entirely incorrect. I have listened or heard or read speech after speech on the subject by the Deputies of Fianna Fáil who have spoken on this. There is not a speech made on this or any other relevant matter that does not draw down the abuse they would like to hurl at the Coalition Government. It is no part of my job or duty nor do I intend to occupy the time of the House in going over the record of the Coalition Government. I am proud of its achievements. I am conscious of the lies told by some of the Members now occupying ministerial positions in the Government. During the general election that led to their subsequent occupation they told lie after lie. They told the people of this country the Coalition Government was responsible for the Suez Canal crisis and the petrol position. They persuaded the people by their false propaganda. I would not like to sit here having spoken for only two or three minutes on it.

Any prosperity this country has at the present time can be traced back to the policy initiated for the first time by the inter-Party Government of 1948 and particularly the policies of the former Deputy McGilligan. He established the principle of capital Budgets, the principle of spending by the Government for productive capital purposes, of capital expenditure that had been unknown at the time the Fianna Fáil Party had been in office. They are now talking about it as if they themselves thought about it. We started the export board. It is now called Coras Tráchtála. It was we who gave the incentives for exports which were the foundation of the export trade now in existence without which it would not have been in existence. That is something to be proud of. We never get anything but lies from the Fianna Fáil Party. We do not expect anything else. I am saying this to have it put on the record. We gave them the incentives at that time which laid the foundation of our export trade and if we had not done that at that time Fianna Fáil would not have done it ever and we would have one-quarter of the trade we now have. We have ample export trade. We gave them the incentives and we gave them the markets.

We established the Industrial Development Authority. I want to say to the Fianna Fáil Deputies who cast aspersions on our work that we established the Industrial Development Authority and Deputy Lemass gave a solid undertaking when that Act was being passed that when they would get into office they would repeal that Act and dismiss the people we had appointed. I had the utmost difficulty in persuading the people we intended to appoint that he dare not do that and that constitutionally he could not do it even if he tried. In spite of that threat we set up the Industrial Development Authority and it has been a source, a tremendous source of good to the people and to industry. Deputy Lemass did not change it despite the fact that he gave a public undertaking. He did not do so.

Deputy Collins speaking this afternoon about our record referred to the fact that Deputy Lemass, frequently quoted in this House, acknowledged, when they resumed office after the last inter-Party Government in 1957, that there was no housing problem in the city of Dublin. Deputy Collins tried to say there was no housing problem because there were no people. There was no housing problem because I had to go on the radio and ask our people who had gone abroad to England— tradesmen and skilled labourers—to come back and that we would guarantee them ten years work. We got houses built. We have a record of housing that can bear any scrutiny or any lies on the part of Fianna Fáil.

I could tell how we made the Fianna Fáil Party give the old age pensioners 2s 6d, which they had refused. With the widows and orphans it was the same record. Our record is there to be seen. I was compelled to make these remarks. I did it merely for the purpose of at least bringing some sort of charity into this House in connection with this matter and letting the young people know that what is now being falsely said is quite incapable of being substantiated. In my view this Budget will have the effect of disrupting the economy of the country and bringing about a serious financial situation. It is wholly unnecessary. It is utterly wrong. It may be that there is a case to be made for something to be done. This is not the way to do it. We only come, as I said before, to the inescapable conclusion that they are adopting this device of a prospective Budget to get £11.4 million next year or whatever the amount is in order that, adding that to the amount already imposed by the April Budget of this year and anticipated increases in revenue, they will have about £40 million available to discharge £27 million which the Taoiseach said we will have to pay, and he will have a large amount of money to buy himself votes in the next election.

It is a pleasure to listen to what I regard as a brilliant analysis of this Budget delivered by Deputy Costello. There is no doubt it is only just to have it put on the record. This House does not at the moment have as many Deputies as one would imagine we should have. It is on the record and we hope people will be afforded an opportunity of reading the records of this House. I feel it was a brilliant analysis of the Budget, showing to the people exactly what has happened in a very clear and distinct way. I personally believe while this Budget has been described as a miniBudget it is just an expression anyone could use. In fact, it is a Budget of great magnitude. It is a Budget that could be described as a vicious retaliation on the part of Fianna Fáil on the people because of the way in which they misbehaved in the eyes of Fianna Fáil at the referendum. Fianna Fáil have a record of doing this. They have a knack of being vicious and calculating. They have a knack of coming up with Budgets at opportune times, Budgets away from elections, Budgets on the edge of elections. In this particular Budget they are repeating their previous behaviour and hoping that the Budget's vicious aspects will be forgotten by the people when they come before them. Another Budget and then a general election — but times have changed and the last people to realise this are the Fianna Fáil Party, which the referendum proved. It is not only that the Government are out of touch with the Party but they were found to be out of touch with the people. This Budget is another audacious move far removed from the people's needs and far removed from their desires.

Every single Department in the Government stands accused in regard to the situation that confronts this part of our country. The Department of Local Government have failed to provide adequate housing for the people. The Minister for Labour seems to have forgotten that for quite a number of years we had serious objectives in regard to full employment. This Budget is being introduced at a time when there are more unemployed than there were last year. The Department of Industry and Commerce has failed to control prices. The marvellous system that is in existence—and I do not say this in any sarcastic way—for getting information in this House has brought forward very useful information in regard to the cost of living. If we consider the answers to the questions that were put in connection with price increases we can see how these things have contributed to making the working man's burden greater, apart from the levies that are proposed in this Budget. I shall not delay the House in adverting to the absence of care on the part of the Department of Industry and Commerce in ensuring that money given by way of grants is not squandered and not given out to flyby-nights.

The Department of Social Welfare also finds itself on trial because of the paltry benefits provided. The increases boasted about by the Fianna Fáil Government are still insufficient and do not compare favourably with benefits in other parts of Europe, never mind outside of Europe. Fianna Fáil show their concern for the old age pensioner by putting 4d on cigarettes as against the imposition on hard plug tobacco. Suffice it to say in that connection that 25 cigarettes more or less equate to an ounce of tobacco. We know what the effect will be on the unfortunate users of hard plug tobacco. Who are these people? They are amongst the lowest paid workers: agricultural workers, county council workers, forestry workers, hospital workers; and the old age pensioner— all people on the lowest rung of the ladder. These are the people about whose needs Fianna Fáil profess to be concerned.

The Department of Health stands accused because of the shameful service that continues in existence. There is no indication in this Budget of any serious attempt being made to modernise our health services. The promises have been made, but they remain to be fulfilled.

The Department of External Affairs must cost this country a lot of money, particularly in regard to the movements of the Minister. While he very well knows the national and natural desires of our people, he has ceased for a long time to talk about the issue of civil rights which is now so prominently before us.

We have had an abundance of promises in relation to education. There was a demonstration outside this House today in this connection. More and more people are becoming alive to the need for further opportunity for all types of people to be afforded education. A very significant thing struck me about this demonstration this afternoon, that the people concerned made their protest and came right up to the gates. Not so very long ago organised workers found themselves in difficulty; they were not let next or near the gates and when they picketed outside they were arrested. We can only conclude that this is an indication of Fianna Fáil on the run. In saying what I have said, I am not objecting in any way to people demonstrating, but it is a bit late for the Fianna Fáil Government to realise that there is such a thing as the right to demonstrate. What the people want now from the Government is action. Certainly, if one is to reflect on the activities of every Department in the Government and the behaviour of the Taoiseach as against that of the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, we can only conclude that the Government are in disarray, that they are merely clinging on because of the promises they have made, not to the ordinary voter, but to the people who entrenched them in office.

The Minister for Transport and Power is a very lone gentleman who spends most of his time pontificating as to how things should and should not be done in this economy. He is the person who purports to know all the answers. Within the last few weeks, apart from other occasions, he has proved himself to be absolutely out of touch with what is going on within the confines of his Department. He had not got a single clue about what was happening in the B & I. He knew less about the deal that was being conducted between Ryans and Aer Lingus. This is the man who talks down to the workers and tells them: "You should be careful or you will bring about a situation that will not be good for the nation."

This is the same gentleman who is responsible for the Department of Posts and Telegraphs. Deputy Costello mentioned the Post Office charges already, £400,000 for the remainder of this year and £1.6 million for next year. We have the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, Deputy Erskine Childers, who behaves like a Jekyll and Hyde, telling working-class people to behave, to be careful of the nation's economy, who blandly refuses to afford the workingman an opportunity of really saving and benefiting from the saving and continues to refuse to introduce the Giro system, although it has been repeatedly advocated by representatives of the working classes.

Another thing which I think is a disgrace is this increase of 2d on each public telephone call. I defy contradiction when I say that in budgeting for an increase in telephone calls and all the other provisions to meet the commitments, an increase of 1d per public telephone call would have sufficed. But it would have cost too much to adjust the public telephones to take up to 5d and it was simpler to use the "tanner". This is another way of codding the people. This shows conclusively the sincerity, or supposed sincerity, of this man, the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs-cum-Minister for Transport and Power. If it costs too much to adjust public telephones to accommodate a 1d increase and provision is made to increase the charge by 2d because the coin boxes can take sixpences, what will the situation be when we change over to decimal currency? We have heard nothing about this. This will involve further expense. The only conclusion I can come to in that regard is that a big "fiddle" has been perpetrated on people who can ill afford it because, in the main, the public telephone boxes are used by people who cannot afford to have private telephones.

Something which often surprises me in connection with budgetary provisions is that there is no indication given as to how, in fact, they will operate or what control will be exercised to ensure that this is all the increase there is. For instance, take the price of the pint. It has happened in the past, and I have no reason to believe that it will not continue in the future, that it is left entirely to the publican to determine now much he will put on the half-pint. In most pubs in Dublin now the price of a half-pint is nearly two-thirds of the price of the pint. This is an example of the Fianna Fáil Government seeing fit to leave things in the air.

As Deputy Costello has said, this constant attack on drink and tobacco can be overdone. It is easy to say that but, at the same time, it would appear that the Government have decided for some time to ignore the effect of increases in the price of drink, cigarettes and such commodities, on the tourist industry. If the Minister for Transport and Power were "with it" and were in sufficient contact with Bord Fáilte they could give him facts and figures that would show clearly and distinctly that the price of cigarettes and drink is used by many tourist countries for the purpose of attracting tourists. We are at a stage where we describe our tourist industry as being the second largest industry in the country, and some people are inclined to believe that this industry is as big as the agricultural industry. In my view, the care that is being taken in this matter is not sufficient.

The wholesale tax has been doubled. That could be described as a hidden tax because the man-in-the-street knows more about turnover tax that he does about wholesale tax. However, he will very soon awaken to reality when he finds that the wholesale tax has been doubled. It is another indication of Fianna Fáil's attitude towards the people and their contact with the needs of the people.

This knowing Minister for Transport and Power and Minister for Posts and Telegraphs talks down to the workingclass people whenever he can get the opportunity and requires them to make sacrifices. If we are going through bad times, surely it is not impossible to ask these patriotic Taca boys or those who have been canvassed to subscribe, outside the Fianna Fáil Party or any Party, to make sacrifices? An increase in the price of cigarettes, spirits and even of the pint will mean nothing so far as most employers are concerned but it certainly will hit the working man.

If the Government are serious about what is likely to happen, if they know how to take stock, if they do not continue to be unmindful of what is happening around them, the obvious thing for them to do is to get out as fast as they can because this is what all sections of our people are crying out for. The Government stand accused. The people are absolutely dissatisfied as a result of what the Government have continued to attempt to put over on them. The people will not forget this so-called mini-Budget. The memory of this Budget cannot be cast aside by another Budget introduced on the eve of a general election. We are dealing now with a different type of person in this country. We are dealing with people who have forgotten the wrangling that went on in the past. We are dealing with people who can judge matters in the same way as people outside Ireland can judge matters. Our people are not going to tolerate this solidifying in place and place-hunting. They will take steps at the first available opportunity to ensure that the nation gets a proper Government and that, when sacrifices need to be made, they will be properly apportioned.

In conclusion, I want to say that during the course of this debate it was alleged that some people had been making quite a considerable amount of money by various means. This is a fear which has been expressed throughout the country. It should be investigated because perhaps they are the people who should be highly taxed to raise the amount of money being sought in this Budget.

The last sentence of the speech of Deputy Mullen typifies the attitude Opposition Deputies have been adopting during this debate. They have been speaking in vague generalities to cast aspersions on members of Fianna Fáil. Indeed, it was typical of the example set by Deputy Dillon last week— his undisciplined arrogant attitude towards various Ministers. That was one of the most irresponsible outbursts I have heard since I came into the House. One would have thought that, with all his years in politics, Deputy Dillon would have tried to engender a sense of order, a sense of decorum and courtesy in political debate and commentary. He told us he had been weaned and reared in the political tradition.

We had heard from the Minister for Industry and Commerce earlier.

What you should do is have a commission, a public inquiry.

Will Deputy Andrews allow Deputy Crowley to make his speech?

Deputy Dillon was guilty of a distasteful and arrogant outburst. Coyly and piously he told us that he was nurtured and reared in the political tradition. If that is Deputy Dillon's idea of a responsible political tradition, I certainly do not want any of it. The truth of his claim, the veracity of what he claimed to be in true political tradition, can be gauged from the contents of his statement. He was churlish, offensive and denigrating in every possible way. He does little to elevate the role of politics and the function of politics in this country. It is not Deputy Dillon's first time in the House to adopt the role of the political gargoyle, giving us his political obscenities and vulgarities, deliberately setting out to sneer at and to slander Ministers who have made fine contributions to the welfare of the country.

The whole kernel of Deputy Dillon's outburst lies in his jealousy of the achievements of those Ministers, of their being encompassed by a fortress of integrity and genuine achievement. In this way, Deputy Dillon thinks he can penetrate this fortress; but the Irish people are intelligent enough to bear with Deputy Dillon in his outbursts and in his crying for the lost years. None of us, in Cork, particularly, will ever forget his political outbursts of foolishness and ineptitude in connection with the setting up of the Verolme dockyard in Cork. On that occasion, we were given in the House a lecture on the imagined piracy and lawlessness on the high seas being carried on by the Verolme directors and by Fianna Fáil Ministers. At that time the Deputy deliberately set out to attack, malign and pillory an industry that has brought tremendous employment to Cork. On that occasion the people of Cork, in their charity, granted Deputy Dillon a fool's pardon; but they did not forget to mete out punishment when they returned Deputy French here, another Fianna Fáil Deputy for Cork.

If that is what Deputy Dillon means by being reared in a political tradition, he is welcome to this type of political tradition. It took his colleague, Deputy M.P. Murphy wrom west Cork, to challenge him to substantiate his allegations, to get positive proof of the allegations he had levelled against Fianna Fáil Ministers. If one does not accept the situation that proof is necessary or that proof can be given, then Deputy Dillon's arguments fall and are condemned as a piece of nefarious political buffoonery. Certainly, Deputy Dillon has done nothing to elevate the tone of the debates or of the House.

You are not fit to wipe his boots.

You are very fit for that. One cannot leave this matter without referring to the attempted character assassination by Deputy Lindsay, the supposed shadow Minister for Education. We have come to expect this type of attack from a politician of Deputy Lindsay's calibre. He has endeavoured to turn this House into a veritable Vulcan's stithy.

Is all this on the Budget?

The Deputy got plenty of opportunities to throw political dirt during last week but when contradictions come back from this side which might not suit their colours——

Speak about the increases in the Budget.

——they know the only way they can get——

Deputy Crowley will appreciate that we are discussing the Budget and that the matters for discussion are taxation, expenditure and financial policy. Anything else is irrelevant.

I would agree completely, but having listened to some of the debate last week I imagined that everything was being discussed but the Financial Resolutions. However, I bow to your ruling. You are perfectly right that only the Financial Resolutions should be discussed.

Deputy Costello spoke about the wonderful years of Coalition Government. He said they had done a great job and, between "hear, hears" from his Front Bench, he referred to savings. Does he realise that savings during the period 1954 to 1957 made up seven per cent as an expression of gross national product and that now they make up 12 per cent? Is that an achievement for Deputy Costello to be proud of and to boast of? Does he remember that when he was Taoiseach in a Coalition Government there was a growth rate of a half per cent by comparison with three and three-quarter per cent now? Is that something the coalition can be proud of?

During his period in office, exports went down at a rate of £2 million per year and they are now increasing— they have been since 1957 — at the rate of £16 million per annum. When Deputy Costello spoke about the achievements of the coalition he should have explained the facts, which completely contradict any claims Deputy Costello made for the performance of coalition Governments. During their period there was a capital outflow of £1 million per annum as against an average inflow since 1957 of £21 million per year.

That is an achievement of which any Government can be proud. Listening to Deputy Costello, one did not know which side he was on. One moment he was talking about the inefficiency of the handling of the finances of the nation over the past two years and the next minute he was talking about the tremendous buoyancy of £31½ million. Surely you cannot have it both ways?

You had it both ways when you were canvassing for two Taoiseachs and two Parties.

You were Fine Gael that time. Deputy J.A. Costello was always on the one side, from the foundation of the State. He stood by law and order.

The Deputies know very well that I never had anything to do with their miserly Party.

Would Deputies please allow Deputy Crowley to make his speech?

He need not talk about Deputy J.A. Costello being on two sides.

Deputy L'Estrange came in here to interrupt.

I shall keep quiet if you think that; we shall not waste your time.

I think Deputy L'Estrange will find it difficult to keep quiet. He was under orders a few weeks ago to keep his mouth shut. It did not last long. I do not know who ordered him but certainly one or other of his leaders ordered him to keep quiet.

Deputy J.A. Costello spoke about cigarette manufacturers and the whiskey industry and the tremendous effect this tax will have on export. He talked about taxation being put on the whiskey industry and preventing that industry from entry into any sort of export trade. Surely this taxation has nothing to do with exporting? Of course, it has not.

Of course it has — if they are being taxed out of existence.

The Deputy could not stay quiet for one minute.

I will read this now.

No amount of character assassination will bring about the fall of this Fianna Fáil Government. We are asking the people who are making these allegations to substantiate them. To give Deputy L'Estrange his due he apologised last week——

I certainly did not.

——to the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries.

If any alleged corruption is there, anything I said is on the record.

The Deputy has not repeated it outside the House.

It is there that the man got the cheques. What I said is on the record of the House. It came up in the courts.

Will Deputy L'Estrange let Deputy Crowley continue his speech? These are disorderly interruptions.

Can you prove what you said in the Dáil? When you were asked to say it to the courts you had not the proof.

It is on the records that Kelly got £1,000. They are post-dated cheques. He took an action. If the Government have an inquiry they know too well that too much will come out.

If Deputy L'Estrange refuses to obey the Chair I will ask him to leave the House. The matter is totally irrelevant and does not arise on the Financial Motions.

Then, rule Deputy Crowley out of order.

The Deputy must not question the ruling of the Chair.

The Deputy came in here to make these allegations and he is doing his job of character assassination.

Hold an inquiry.

You should repeat your allegations outside the House and not abuse the privileges of the House.

This does not arise on the Financial Motions.

Getting back to the Financial Resolutions the measure of the understanding of the Opposition about our external assets position is borne out by the fact that under a coalition our external assets were allowed to go down from £241 million to £183 million by the end of 1956.

You had no houses.

There were plenty of houses and at this time the external assets of £183 million handed to us in 1957 now stand at £295.5 million, and Deputy J.A. Costello said that we should use them. We know the use to which the coalition put these external assets. We know of their importance and value more than the coalition knew. They could not get credit from any financial institution and that was because they let their external assets run down at a rate which alarmed these financial institutions who considered them a bad risk and unworthy of any credit.

That is bunkum. The only time the county councils could not get credit was when you could not give them the money.

Deputy J.A. Costello said that we should "blow" our external assets. He talked about our gold reserves at £9 million last year gone up to £12 million. He talked about the whole of our external assets going up to £295.5 million. Of course they have gone up because we have a thrifty, efficient and professional Government managing the country. This does not happen by accident or by waving a magic wand, as Fine Gael think.

A pity the people did not think that at the referendum.

Deputy L'Estrange knows as well as I do that the referendum was a completely different issue. It was a national issue. We are now talking politics and in the next 12 months we will know who is right or wrong.

You will come back to the fold.

You were ruffled today.

There will be a few people ruffled in Longford and Westmeath. I do not think it is any wonder the Opposition feel grieved and peeved. Those are statements coming from people who should know better about external assets and about our trading interests in general. The other allegation talked about was that the budgetary proposals of last April were dishonestly conceived and deliberately fabricated to suit the political climate in order to win the referendum and that the Government deliberately misread the economic barometer to seek short-term political gains. The Opposition must have a "cow radar system" of some description. Apparently, they were able to foretell that 50 million more gallons of milk will be produced in the 1968 milking season over that produced in 1967. Of course, the gift of hindsight is a great gift and one which Fine Gael have in abundance. They have so many legal men in their Front Bench that they were able to twist what they said four or five months ago to suit the figures and make them out as projections.

You have a legal man on your Front Bench now, so do not say too much.

Yes, a man we are proud of. The Government instead of employing a lot of statisticians and economists will use the Fine Gael "cow radar system" which is able to foretell the future. All this chicanery and talk cannot take away from this fact. It is a fact that the farmer, especially the dairy farmer, has had good increases this year. He has had good increases——

In overhead expenses.

——not only because of the foresight of the Government in pouring money into his coffers but also because of the aids given to him to make himself more efficient and more productive on his land.

Is that why they are all leaving the land?

108,000 left in the last five years.

If one member of your Party had his way we would have nothing but 300 and 400 acre cow-farms left and I would say we would have a few more people leaving the land then. Of course, it is convenient to forget this sort of statement at times like this, is it not, Deputy L'Estrange?

Wives, put your husbands out to work. God help them they are our greatest export.

The farmers are alive to the motives and political knavery that make Fine Gael and Labour men make this sort of statement. The essential fact is that £4 million extra is needed for milk on this occasion and £1½ million extra because of the bumper return we had in wheat. These are some of the reasons why it was necessary to introduce a Budget at this stage. These are the facts that the Deputies on the opposite side cannot fight shy of and cannot run away from. They can give all sorts of other reasons but the fact is that because of increased production, because of increased yields, the Government found it necessary to impose extra taxation in order to finance the farmers. When you deduct the cost of production and overheads from the figure of £6 million that is being given to the farmers you will find that there is a net increase of nearly £2.5 million already gone to milk suppliers this year. On top of that £2.5 million you have the extra penny a gallon which the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries gave a few weeks ago.

The Opposition, I know, do not like to be reminded of those hard economic facts. They like to go around preaching gloom and doom, that the farmers never had it so bad but in actual fact they know and we know and everybody knows that they never had it so good. There are certain sections of the farming community that we would like to see doing better and all the powers and all the energies of this Government will be devoted to ensuring that everybody in the farming community has an adequate living, for example, by putting an industry near him so that he can subsidise his income from farming with a job in industry.

Or work in England.

Not as many as went in your day when we had the greatest spate of emigration since the time of the Famine.

1,225,000 since you came to power. There will soon be as many Irish in England as at home.

Bí ciúin.

Más é do thoil é.

Of course, the Government's record in the field of social legislation is very much envied by the Opposition Parties. As everybody knows, every bit of social welfare legislation has been introduced under a Fianna Fáil Government. The question now is not will we get something but now much will we get? We are very conscious of the needs of older people and the IRA veterans and we gave them free electricity and free transport.

I am glad that the Minister for Education is here because I have one plea to make and it has to do with a section of our community that deserves our sympathy and assistance. We have some excellent young people who take courses at night in universities and in various other institutions in order to further their education and employment opportunities. I would ask the Minister if he could intervene with the Minister for Finance to alleviate in some way the tax burden on these people. They are doing a productive and a good job for themselves and ultimately for the country and they deserve some consideration by way of tax relief. Every encouragement should be given to encourage young people like this because they can positively contribute to the nation's wealth in the future.

If you saw them outside the gate today it is a little more education some of them want.

Yes, but you know they would not be outside the gate if this Government in their wisdom did not see fit to give grants to those who had four honours in their leaving certificate this year. The Minister for Education is very well aware of the problems of the people involved in education. He is also trying to solve these problems and trying to alleviate hardship where he sees it. We took we step in the right direction when we gave free university scholarships to those with four honours. I can see a time in the future when that standard may be lowered but the mere fact that there were so many out there this afternoon is indicative of the trend of thinking in Fianna Fáil. We want as many people as possible to go to university and we do not want the poorer people kept out of universities. For that reason you have so many going to university and so much agitation because people see that these are opportunities for, perhaps, getting a bit more and you cannot blame people for trying. I promised that I would not be very long. I am sorry I upset Deputy L'Estrange.

Devil a bit.

It does not do his constitution any good. In regard to the taxes we know that these are unpopular measures but we know also that these are necessary measures and because they are necessary we have imposed them. The Fianna Fáil Government have always taken the long-term interest rather than the short-term in imposing taxes because we know that ultimately the beneficiaries are the Irish people themselves.

Some years back it was usual in this House to speak once only in a Budget debate but now it seems to have become popular to have to speak twice in the year. Apparently the Government or the Minister for Finance is not capable of budgeting 12 months ahead in a businesslike fashion as any ordinary business person would do. However, we can understand that this year in particular there may have been causes for this because the members of the Government were busy trying to get through their proposals in the referendum in order to rig the constituencies to suit themselves. A few days ago at the end of the speech of the Taoiseach a Deputy — I think it was Deputy Oliver Flanagan — said: "The Government are gone stone mad." I am beginning to wonder are the Government gone as mad as we think because I believe that at the back of this Budget — and I certainly will not refer to it as a mini-Budget— the Government have an ulterior motive and that motive is to find themselves in the Budget next April with a surplus in order that they may distribute additional benefits before the Taoiseach dissolves this House and goes to the country.

Hear, hear.

I am perfectly convinced that there is no other motive at the back of what happened here last week. We have heard from various members of the Government Party, including the Deputy who has just left, who saw fit to close his speech by criticising a speech made last week by Deputy Dillon. I can understand Deputies opposite preferring to refer to individuals on these benches so that they can waste time in this debate and try to take the public mind away from the taxation the Government have imposed. I am only, six and a half years in this House and if my memory serves me rightly, in 1963 when Deputy—now Senator—Ryan was Minister for Finance he introduced the system of turnover tax and I think at that time he said the old type of taxation had reached saturation point and that the new type of taxation was needed. The turnover tax was imposed and under it the Government are now getting in the region of £16 million a year. With all these additional millions and even with the fruits of succeeding Budgets since then, they have come back to the old method of taxation on such items as beer, spirits, cigarettes and petrol. The acting-Minister for Finance finds himself, only six months after the main Budget, compelled to introduce what the Government term a mini-Budget but what, in my area, is known as the maxi-Budget.

The items taxed, the 4d on cigarettes, 2d on the pint, 2d per glass on spirits—I shall leave the wholesale tax increase of 5 per cent until later—are, if you like, luxuries but many people will not look on them as luxuries. What about the old age pensioners' hardpressed tobacco which, I believe, is up by something like 11d on the retail price for two ounces? Surely the pint is food to an elderly man on a pension? In the last Budget the Minister gave an uncertain social welfare benefit. The non-contributory pensions were increased from 1st August and the contributory pensions from January 1st, 1969. Speaking after the Budget I asked the Minister to reconsider the matter and introduce these reliefs from 1st August but now we find that before the contributory old age pensioner is due to get his increase next January the Government have taxed that person further.

Many people seem to think the wholesale tax is something that only affects a wholesale business. There are very few items that are not affected by wholesale tax and in particular I want to draw the attention of the House to the fact that the five per cent increase in wholesale tax will have the effect of increasing the cost of building of necessity. That will increase the cost of houses that are badly needed. I think there are only two items in house-building which are exempt, cement and lime. Everything else, so far as I know, will be affected by the increase in wholesale tax which consequently increase building costs at a time when people are not able to pay more.

We have wholesale tax, turnover tax and taxation on cigarettes, beer, spirits and taxes imposed on petrol in other Budgets. Where does all this lead? The Government, over the years, have made nothing more of the business community than a crowd of unpaid tax collectors. Nobody would mind limited taxation if assured that the benefits were being channelled in the right direction, towards social welfare, but it is a monstrous state of affairs that we have increased taxation on the same items year after year. On the day when increases are due to the contributory pensioner under the previous Budget, January 1st next, we have in the present Budget increases in Post Office charges which will come into force. Letters will go from 5d to 6d, postcards from 3d to 4d and there will be increased telephone charges. What effect will these have on industrialists, businessmen or anybody in commercial life? Necessarily it will increase their costs and how many firms can continue to bear this burden of taxation?

I was amused at the Government and the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs being so anxious to increase these charges because I know, when I asked for a telephone kiosk for an area with a certain population where I felt a telephone was necessary, the answer I got was that they could not provide a telephone kiosk as it would not be warranted and would not pay its way. By the time the present charges are put into operation under the Budget they should be able to put telephone kiosks in every corner of Ireland. I cannot see how they would lose money with these charges.

I notice at long last that there is an increase in this Budget for the farmers and my only regret is that the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries did not see fit to give more substantial increases. Perhaps, if he were talking to the farmers and discussing their problems his assistance would be a little more generous than the extremely small hand-out he gave. I wonder is this a little softener prior to the coming general election? The Government are continuing to tax all these items that five years ago were supposed to have reached saturation points as regards taxation. Surely the old age pensioners are entitled to enjoy their pipeful of tobacco and their pint and I think it is fair in these circumstances to regard these items as necessaries but the Government continue to tax these items. They seem to care nothing and have no time for these people. One need not be a Minister for Finance with ability to be able to take out a piece of paper and say: "We will put 4d on cigarettes, a penny on the pint and double the wholesale tax." What will happen if this money is really needed and the people cut down on the use of these goods? How will Government finances fare then?

The Government have been on a wild spending spree and nobody will convience me that they have seen where they have been going not only in the past five years but in the past 15 years. We have seen what happened recently in the referendum. Let no one tell me that it was not a political matter; of course, it was political. There was a definite swing away from the Government. I believe that swing will continue. This Budget was introduced in order to try to have a surplus next April and so create a softener before the next general election in the hope that the people will forget how they have been treated by Fianna Fáil. I am convinced that the people will no longer fall for that kind of trick and that no matter what softeners are given by the Minister for Finance in the April Budget the people have had their eyes opened and will make sure at the first opportunity, which I hope is not too far distant for the country's sake, that they will remove from office the incompetent Fianna Fáil Government who have loaded the people with taxation.

Perusing the debate that has taken place here over the past fortnight it is quite evident to me, at any rate, that Fine Gael will remain in perpetual opposition in this House and in perpetual opposition in Ireland. The sort of speech we have just heard from Deputy Governey indicates the kind of negative, destructive attitude that has always been adopted by the Fine Gael Party in opposition. There is no evidence in any of the speeches by Fine Gael spokesmen of any desire to be a constructive alternative Government to whom the Irish people can turn and give responsibility and power. The Fine Gael Party may be interested in making a political issue out of the recent referendum or matters of that kind, where they can have the luxury of beating Fianna Fáil when the responsibility of being in Government is not involved, but I do not think Fine Gael are serious about wanting to be a Government. The sort of negative, destructive criticism emanating from Fine Gael——

Then, go to the country in the morning.

——indicates that they are not serious about wanting to become the Government or facing up to the responsibilities involved in being an alternative Government or of producing in opposition constructive proposals which the people could examine and which they might or might not accept. Fine Gael have proved themselves to be born losers over many years now and they still prove themselves to be born losers and willing to continue to be born losers——

We were not as great a loser as the Government were. They got the biggest defeat ever——

Deputy L'Estrange should allow the Minister to make his speech.

What has this to do with the Budget?

It has been mentioned by other Deputies on both sides of the House.

If that is the case the debate could go on until Christmas.

The Fine Gael Party, in coalition with the Labour Party — who cannot escape responsibility for their part in that maladministration — have on two previous occasions shown their joint ineptitude in Government. The indications are quite clear.

Over the past ten years there has been a steady rise of four per cent annum in the growth rate of our economy. We have had that four per cent per annum increase over the past ten years compared with the miserable half per cent increase in growth rate per annum in the period 1954-1956. That is an indication of what a coalition Government means. Coalition Government, as practised by the Fine Gael Party and the Labour Party between 1954 and 1957, meant declining exports, exports which are the very lifeline and lifeblood of our economy.

You did not believe in them 20 years ago.

Exports declined by £2 million per year on average between 1954 and 1957. In the ten years between 1957 and 1967 there has been a steady upward rise, a £16 million increase each year in our exports.

Due to the Trade Agreement made by the inter-Party Government with Britain in 1948.

Along with the haemorrhage of emigration and the substantial unemployment which existed during the last year of the last coalition Government, along with people going out of the country in substantial numbers, we had an unemployment figure of 95,000. We also had a steady outflow of capital.

On a point of order, Sir. Is it your intention to allow the debate to be widened because, if it is, I will instruct all my speakers to follow suit? The present speaker has not mentioned the Budget and the Chair has not called him to order.

The Minister has just commenced. Obviously, the Deputy has two sets of rules, one for his own side of the House and one for the other side. The Deputy's colleagues were allowed to discuss the matters being mentioned by the Minister.

If the Chair allows all these matters to be discussed that is all right with us.

The most important indication of faith and confidence in an economy is the presence of capital and the expansion of capital in the economy.

He is coming to the Budget now.

The main function of a Government is by responsible management, through responsible budgetting and by the responsible imposition of taxation where necessary, so to guide the economy that this confidence can be maintained and capital investment can take place. That is what ruling a country is about, in case the Fine Gael Party or the Labour Party wish to know. The whole essence of good Government is the creation of confidence through the management of the economy so that capital investment can take place to an expanding degree. Between 1954 and 1956 the annual outflow of capital from this country was of the order of £1 million per year, for each year of the last coalition Government. Mismanagement of our economy was accompanied by a situation wherein national loans failed, wherein the Minister for Finance was incapable of facing up to his budgetary responsibilities. All this was part of a picture or of an environment wherein lack of confidence and pessimism created an inevitable downward trend in development.

In these taxation provisions we are facing up to our responsibilities and stating quite openly and fairly that the economy needs this sort of treatment if we are to avoid a massive deficit on our external account in 1969. This is forward thinking so as to ensure that we can have development here without inflation and so that, if we have to make disbursements from the public purse in various desirable directions, these disbursements can be met by current taxation. I might mention as a contra-distinction to the haemorrhage of capital outflow during the period of the last Coalition Government—the figure which I have already mentioned, of £1 million—that the capital inflow into our economy in the past ten years has been of the order of £20 million a year. All the indices are there to indicate quite clearly in 1969 what another coalition would mean. As a result of the referendum and as a result of the efforts on the part of the Fine Gael Party and the Labour Party during that campaign, it is now quite evident that the only alternative to a Fianna Fáil Government after the next general election will be another coalition Government. That is the only possible and feasible alternative.

You admit that it will not be a Fianna Fáil Government?

That is why I consider it very relevant to spell out in 1968 what was involved in the last coalition experiment only ten years ago. It is important to spell out this for the people so that coming up to the next general election they can see what is involved if we are going to have a repetition of what happened before when two Parties with contradicting and conflicting policies were involved together.

Did the Independents who were bought by you agree with you in everything?

I might mention further figures which indicate the lack of progress and achievement which existed at that time. In 1958 our industrial exports were at the meagre figure of £33 million while in 1967 our industrial exports had risen to £147 million.

Tell us what they were in 1947.

Between 1959 and 1967 the total capital investment in industrial enterprise rose by practically £100 million.

Did you not object to the Bill we introduced in the 1950's?

Linked with that we have rising employment in manufacturing industry which has now risen from 142,000 to 177,000. In all these indices of economic progress on the financial side, the export side, the industrial side and on the employment side, we have a situation now in which we have rising exports, rising employment and rising production, compared with the situation in 1956 where we had falling exports, falling employment, rising unemployment and rising emigration.

There are now some 70,000-odd fewer employed.

Will Deputy L'Estrange please restrain himself?

The Minister has not mentioned the Budget.

The Minister is quite in order.

If he is, thank you.

On the latest census figures we have now reached the situation in which for the first time since the Famine the population is rising.

That is also wrong.

Because employment is rising and emigration is reducing all our budgetary provisions must be seen in this context of economic progress. I have mentioned a number of matters in order to fill in the picture and put the whole matter into its proper perspective. These budgetary provisions must not be seen in isolation but in the context of an expanding industrial economy. They are designed to create the environment for further expansion. We do not want to create a balance of payments deficit which could put us into an economic decline. Again, we have the parallel of what happened when Deputy Sweetman, as Minister for Finance, mismanaged the economy on behalf of the Fine Gael Party and of the Labour Party. The basic trouble in 1955-56 was, along with the difficulties I have already mentioned—the failure of the national loans in those particular years along with the other difficulties which faced that divided Government at the time —that action was not taken in sufficient time to deal with the balance of payments crisis at the time. Action was not taken for fear of unpopularity because of the division within their own ranks and because the Fine Gael Party could not do what they wanted to do because of fear of the Labour Party and the Labour Party could not do what they wanted to do because of fear of the Fine Gael Party. The result was that we drifted into a balance of payments crisis, into the situation in which in 1956 a massive deficit in our external account was created.

They were not fighting like the Taoiseach, Deputy Jack Lynch and the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Deputy Blaney.

And these Budgetary provisions are precisely designed by a courageous and responsible Government——

Because there is no election now.

——to prevent that sort of situation happening.


Would Deputy L'Estrange please cease interrupting?

All the indications we had and all the advice we received had led us to the conclusion that we were drifting into a situation in which, if the Government did not take corrective action in the form of these taxation proposals, we would face a balance of payments crisis next year. We were not going to allow that to happen, and the fact that we were not is a further indication of responsible Government management compared with irresponsible Government management at the time of the coalition Government, irresponsible management which the people can expect again if we drift into another coalition Government. It is in order to prevent the people drifting into another coalition Government that I want now to reiterate the failures of the past and the fact that these failures are more than likely to be repeated, almost certain to be repeated, in the event of another coalition Government.

The Minister knows he is on the way out.

I believe people will not succumb to the temptation of such a development provided the issues are fully explained to them and they understand precisely what is involved. Fine Gael cannot become a Government on their own. Labour cannot become a Government on their own. The only alternative is another coalition Government. It is up to this issue the people will have to face in the next election, in the sure knowledge that, if they want to safeguard the future, as I feel sure they will, they will have to elect another Fianna Fáil Government.


Will Deputy L'Estrange cease interrupting?

One must, in a constructive political debate on a matter of this kind, look at both sides of the coin. It is easy enough for Deputy Governey to advocate substantially increased benefits for the farmers and, in the very same speech—I heard him myself—deplore the taxation increases and advocate a reduction in taxation. That is not treating the people as adults. It is completely immature for a Deputy to make that type of speech, to advocate, on the one hand, substantial increases for the farmers, or some other section of the community, and, on the other hand, deplore increases in taxation. I do not want to spell out what is involved. Everybody knows that the whole purpose of taxation is to increase benefits where the Government of the day think they should be increased and where the Government of the day think resources should be allocated. It is the purpose of the Government of the day to allocate out of the surplus from economic development in various directions sufficient to ensure there is a balanced social policy as well as a sound economic policy within the community. On this aspect, it is important to spell out precisely where the increases in taxation over the past ten years have gone. I challenge Fine Gael and Labour to deplore where these increases from taxation have gone. In the past ten years we have more than doubled expenditure on social welfare. We have more than trebled expenditure on health and education.

But the percentage on social welfare is dropping yearly.

Over the past ten years we have more than quadrupled the State investment in agriculture, which stood at the miserly figure of £17.5 million in 1956-57. When the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries introduces his Estimate next week, between the main Estimate and a Supplementary Estimate, the figure for investment in agriculture will amount to £80 million. That represents a rise in ten years of £62.5 million.

The farmers were quite satisfied then. They were not marching, as they are now.

This substantial investment in agriculture under Fianna Fáil and the investment and increases in other directions have all taken place because we had the courage, not alone in our recent taxation proposals but in taxation proposals over the past ten years, to impose taxation where it was necessary in an expanding economy in order to yield the revenue necessary for social development in directions which were thought desirable.

Does the Minister remember when the President told the farmers the cattle trade was gone and he advised the farmers to keep bees?

Italian bees.

Egyptian bees.

If the conversation is finished would the Deputies allow the Minister to make his speech?


Deputy L'Estrange is very insistent on order in the House. He might himself help a little in that direction.

Turning now to that aspect of development with which I am associated, education, I have already mentioned that non-capital expenditure has more than trebled in the past ten years. This has been the sustained policy pursued by successive Fianna Fáil Ministers for Education. There are other figures which show the dramatic nature of the improvement in education in that period. The number of pupils attending secondary schools has risen from 59,300 in 1957 to 118,800 in the current year. The number of boys and girls attending secondary schools has more than trebled in that period. The number of teachers has almost doubled. In vocational education the numbers during that period have jumped from 22,000 to 42,000; that represents the number of pupils attending wholetime day courses. The number of teachers has practically doubled as well.

The student numbers in our universities have more than doubled in the past ten years from 7,700 to 16,000. My forecast is that that 16,000 will be doubled again inside the next ten years because Fianna Fáil have, in the past few months, passed into law a new scheme of student grants for those attending higher education. Where last year the number of student scholarships in higher education stood at 275 I am glad to be able to tell the House that, under the legislation we passed last summer — legislation I was criticised for rushing — between 1,100 and 1,200 boys and girls are now availing of these grants in higher education, a jump from 275 last year to between 1,100 and 1,200 this year. I said at that time that our target was to achieve a figure of between 900 and 1,000. I am glad to be able to tell the House that the number is, in fact, over 1,100. We hope that figure will continue to be a rising figure in the years ahead.

I want to emphasise the fact that, as far as taxation proposals are concerned, we in Fianna Fáil will always introduce appropriate taxation proposals where such proposals are necessary to expand social development pro rata with economic expansion. This must be the object of all policy. First, the object must be to create the climate of confidence necessary for investment. That climate is created by balancing the Budget, by keeping the external account situation in order and by acting as a responsible Government. It is responsible Government which attracts investment into a community. Having created the appropriate climate through responsible management, economic expansion will naturally follow. That has been the pattern over the past ten years. Investment and expansion have taken place and, out of the fruits of that investment and expansion, the Government can distribute that which is essential in those areas of social development in which prudence demands such distribution.

I am concerned with investment in education. Investment in education has risen by £8 million this year as compared with last year. We have now a substantial overall approach to the whole educational problem, in which we see the education problem as a unit, in which the old distinctions between the various branches of education will gradually disappear and we will have a common system of education and training for our teachers, and we will have a common salary scale for our teachers as well. The old distinctions which existed between the primary, secondary and vocational schools will gradually disappear in the context of a comprehensive system of education, free and available for our boys and girls, and supplemented by the grants towards higher education which I have mentioned.

The most important investment we can make is an investment in the human resources available to the nation. This type of planning will be incorporated in a document on the whole future of education which I am drafting and hope to put before the public within the next few months. I mention that in the context of the taxation proposals because we cannot have the type of investment we require in education, we cannot have the humane approach towards the social welfare services which we want, we cannot have the investment required in agriculture, we cannot provide more industrial employment, unless we have a properly managed economy, an economy which, through good management, and with the confidence instilled by good management, creates a climate in which these things can take place. This is done by having a balanced Budget and by avoiding an external account deficit.

That is the thinking behind the taxation proposals. In the overall management of the economy, these proposals must be viewed in a proper light. That is the type of discussion we should have been having over the past few weeks, but balanced discussion has been absent from the Fine Gael and Labour benches. We have had instead taunts of unproved corruption, remarks and epithets flung across the floor of the House without any attempt at constructive or sane debate.

When Fianna Fáil get backbenchers to come in and interrupt me while I am speaking, what do they expect?

I cannot let this occasion pass without referring to the scandalous allegation made by Deputy Lindsay against the building design associates consortium that planned and are planning our regional technical and technological colleges. Side by side with our university system we will have a planned system of technical technological education and training for our boys and girls, in which they will be trained and equipped for the jobs that will be coming up in the type of economy we are developing. We want more technicians and technologists and, since these categories were not coming from our system, we decided to have a planned system of erecting in various parts of the country regional technical and technological colleges in which in each case there would be a technological top which would equate to a university degree.

These colleges are well under way. We will have an extra one in Dublin in Ballymun. We have five under construction at the moment, and another five will be under construction very shortly. We intend to have an overall Institute of Technology to supervise the regional technological colleges. It was important to approach this matter in a planned way to ensure co-ordinated development in regard to design and standards. We did not want building construction to go ahead in a haphazard way. I want to put it on record that the building design associates who were slandered by Deputy Lindsay, the consortium which planned the regional, have saved this State £1½ million as a result of their planned approach. By having a single team of architects, quantity surveyors and engineers in one group we have saved the State £1½ million. If any Member of the House wants any further explanation I can give him the facts and the figures.

That is the sort of thing that has been twisted and turned into a scandal-mongering effort by Deputy Lindsay in this House. I was highly gratified to be able to sit down and sign the contract for the Sligo and Athlone regional colleges last Monday week in the knowledge that the contract price in each case was below the estimate fixed from 18 months to two years ago despite the interim rise in building costs. I want to put on record that the excellent work done by this group has saved the State £1½ million. Furthermore, we will save the State more money because this co-ordinated approach in regard to school building now adopted for the regional colleges is the type of planning which we will be using for school building in the future. We hope to save the State many more millions by adopting this co-ordinated national approach. We will have a type of design which can be used in a uniform way throughout the country rather than be dependent on a haphazard selection of construction on an individual basis as heretofore.

So much for that effort at scandal. So much for that imputation. Deputy Dillon is now in the House. Far be it from me to bring the debate into an area where I do not want to go, but I was horrified last week—I was not in the House—to read in the papers the type of wild, unfounded, uncorroborated allegation of corruption made by Deputy Dillon. I do not think any service is done to this House, to any political Party, or to democracy in Ireland by making unfounded allegations. If a Deputy thinks he can prove an allegation and stand over it, he should spell it out and give names, dates, times and places. To make wild, unscrupulous, unfounded, irresponsible allegations without any factual backing does nothing but bring the whole system with which we are all so concerned into disrepute, and creates in the public mind confusion and lack of confidence. Every Deputy knows what it creates. I know politicians at all levels, at local authority and parliamentary levels and I have never seen in public life any example of corruption or anything of that nature. Maybe I am innocent, or maybe I am optimistic.

The Minister must be.

I have knocked around the world and met people, and I have never seen any instance of it. I say this about people like the people opposite who are my political opponents. I have never seen it and I would never suggest it. I hope I will never be in a position where I might have to suggest it. If I am I will do so out of a sense of duty, and I will have the facts; but I will not stand up in this House or in any part of the country to make wild, irresponsible allegations against my political opponents. That can only bring politics and democracy into disrepute.

If things were not happening charges could not be made.

I do not propose to deal with that any further. I want to emphasise that the issue which the people will have to decide in the next general election will be the issue of how the community was managed during our period in office. The issue of the referendum will be entirely irrelevant.

The Minister hopes.

What the people will have to examine is; have Fianna Fáil managed the economy well and managed the community well since the last general election. Have they gone ahead with social development side by side with the economic expansion created by Fianna Fáil through a climate of confidence in which expansion could take place? Good management and a good social attitude are important criteria. The people will decide in the general election whether or not we have rendered a good account of our stewardship. I intend between now and the general election, when that examination of our work— the plus or minus of it—has been carried out, to show how we have conducted the nation's affairs. They will put against us what is now imagined as the only possible alternative— another coalition Government. They will be given the record of that Government and asked to place the records against each other and to examine them. They will be reminded that during the years of coalition Government we had gross mismanagement of our economy. They will be asked to set against our record the record of the coalition Government and whether they want another coalition of that kind—do they want those strange bed-fellows to come together again to mismanage the country? By their activities during the referendum campaign Fine Gael and the Labour Party have destroyed for themselves the possibility of either ever being a Government on its own. You know in your hearts that, having regard to the political developments in our nation at present and having regard to the election system with PR, it is impossible for Fine Gael on its own or for the Labour Party on its own to get an all-over majority. The only issue which will be spelled out loud and clear for the people is: "Do you want another coalition which will wreck our economy as it did on two previous occasions?" That will be the issue and I am quite confident we will again get an all-over majority in the next general election.

It amazes me that practically all the speakers from the Government side have spoken in outwardly very confident terms of the next general election. In fact, I think they have all mentioned it in their speeches on this debate, but they have not told us when this is going to take place. They have, over the past number of weeks since the Dáil re-assembled avoided moving the by-election writ in Wexford and they are hoping to cloud the issues between now and the general election. It is obvious from the terms of this Budget they do not intend to have a general election in the near future. It is obvious that the earlier Budget this year — I call it the earlier Budget because with this system of Budgets it will be difficult to know which is the principal Budget and which is the second Budget — was obviously got together with one eye on the referendum, and the next Budget will be got together with one eye on the general election.

When I heard the Minister for Education speaking of the responsibility of the Government and of their complete indifference to taking unpopular measures I had to accept it with a bit of a smile on my face because the Fianna Fáil system of Budgets appears to be that the Budget must be made up of proposals that will ensure the success of Fianna Fáil as a Party.

There was evidence of this and there continues to be evidence of it. At the present time this so-called mini-Budget has turned into quite a big Budget because the Government do not intend facing the people until they have had an opportunity of bringing in a further Budget, a political Budget, for the next general election. If the economic situation is such that these measures were necessary in this Budget, then I think it was a scandalous state of affairs that the time of this House should have been devoted to days, weeks and months of almost endless debate on the proposals to amend the Constitution. I think the public felt that, because of the luxury of having these Bills brought into the Dáil and debated at length here, the economic situation was all right and that things were going well. After all, this debate went on for weeks during which all the economic issues and dangers facing the economy were pushed into the background and forgotten about. Now we come to the time when the folly of all this is evident and these very severe measures have to be taken — measures that will affect everyone in the community.

The increase in the wholesale tax will inevitably lead to an increase in the cost of living, even though it does not directly affect essential foodstuffs and matters like that. It will lead to a lessening of the purchasing power of wages and salaries and, as such, will tend to raise living costs more than they should rise. The Government speakers have referred to the improvements in the social welfare benefits. They seem to think these improvements have taken away practically all the hardships and the other types of suffering that old age pensioners and people on sickness benefit have to endure.

The numbers of voluntary organisations to look after needy people in recent years have increased in every town and in all parts of the country and the work which they are called upon to do has increased considerably. Any Deputy who is a member of a local authority will see in the estimates of these local authorities the increases for Home Assistance. These have been steadily increasing in the past number of years. This may mean in the case of voluntary organisations that people are more willing to help others in need. But it may mean there are more people in need and more people requiring this type of assistance.

In local authorities I find that home assistance officers are worked practically all around the clock. The demands for assistance have brought about increases in the amounts provided in estimates of local authorities. The estimates have increased because there are thousands of needy people, thousands of old age pensioners, people on sickness benefit or people unemployed who are unable to meet the costs of essential foodstuffs and of other essential commodities, such as clothing and heating. Organisations such as the voluntary social services have eased the burden on these people. In doing that they may have blunted all the awareness of the plight of these people. These people badly need to be helped. The present level of social welfare payments is not adequate. The amounts that have to be taken from home assistance and other voluntary contributions to supplement these benefits are in some cases very big.

There is complete indifference to people on, say, disability benefit who are cut off at the whim of a medical referee and left there maybe for four or six weeks awaiting an appeal. No thought is given as to how these people can manage in the meanwhile. There is complete indifference to the plight of the woman who suddenly finds herself a widow. It takes two, three or four months to process her claim, and the local authority have to step in and pay home assistance. When her claim eventually comes through the home assistance payments that she got have to be collected from her.

I could go into more detail on the social services, but I do not think it would be appropriate on this debate. I just mention those few—and they are only a few—injustices that occur in our social welfare system. I mention them just to put the record right, as so many speakers have shown complete indifference to these things. They are quite satisfied with the social welfare code as it stands and, in fact, congratulate themselves and the Minister concerned on what has been given over the past number of years, thinking that it is sufficient just to compare the present level of social welfare benefits with the level that obtained ten years ago. Everything looks well on paper but certainly not in practice.

We would appeal again to the Taoiseach and the Government to take immediate steps to introduce the necessary legislation to have pensions paid at 65 years of age. This is long overdue. It would cost very little, if anything at all, to implement. There are also the pensions of retired public servants, both of central government and the local authorities. Some of these pensions have not been increased for many years. These pensioners are in receipt of pensions based on salaries that were in existence at the time they retired. Obviously a pension calculated on a salary of ten, 15 or 20 years ago is completely unrealistic having regard to the present day cost of living and present day demands. The pensions of local authority road workers and other such people are very small, and very little effort has been made in the past to give them increases that would give their money the purchasing power it once had. Similarly, the pensions of retired civil servants should be revised. These people who, in the formative years of the State, had to do the spade work, as it were, in the various Departments, find themselves in very serious difficulty in trying to make ends meet. We should see to it in this House that all these people are reasonably well looked after. When there is a rise in costs pensions should be increased accordingly.

The Taoiseach, in his opening address on this Budget, spoke a great deal about the necessity for saving and proposed certain improvements to attract people to save more. I hope saving will increase, but the Government are not giving the incentive they should give to saving. The competition against saving is very well organised. The emphasis all the time, particularly on television advertising, is on spending, and it is very difficult to counteract this high-powered advertising. I do not think the increased spending which has occurred in the earlier part of this year or, indeed, in recent years, is due to increased salaries and wages. It is due to this high powered advertising to which the public are subjected. If we are to attract people to save we have got to be as good as the advertisers who are trying to get people to buy goods.

Another cause of unrest at present is the income tax allowance. This is something that will have to be dealt with in the next Budget. These allowances are way out of date. The personal allowance of a little over £6 and the allowance for dependent relatives are completely unrealistic. It must be borne in mind that a family that bring aged parents into their home are not entitled to the free electricity allow-people who are good enough to look after their aged parents in this way are penalised in this respect. They get a very meagre allowance for looking after these aged or disabled persons.

When increases in social welfare pensions were forecast earlier this year the tax allowances of persons claiming relief in respect of the care of aged or disabled pensioners were reviewed on the basis of the increases given. This was a ridiculous situation. First, all these claims had to be processed and revised, for the sake of a few shillings, showing the concern the Government have for the aged and the disabled. I would ask that these tax allowances be reviewed as a matter of urgency.

The amount payable in income tax by young workers and, indeed, not so young workers, is a disincentive to work necessary overtime or bonus schemes. This element of taxation which destroys the incentive to increase earnings should be abolished. The fact that the miserable wage paid to road workers is subject to income tax shows that revision of allowances for income tax purposes is long overdue.

In opening the debate, the Taoiseach referred to the increases that have been granted and in course of being granted to workers. He tried to show that the increases were in some way responsible for the supplementary Budget. Of these increases of 30/- and 40/- per week, only £1, at most, is being granted this year. In most cases, this £1 will represent a net gain of 13/- to 14/- per week. In formulating wage claims trade unions will have to take cognisance of the fact that under the present tax system an increase of £1 will represent less than 15/-. I am not talking about the person on a high salary. I am talking about people on £8 to £15 a week, who, if they work incentive schemes or do overtime, pay a greater share of taxation than they should pay.

In reference to savings, when the Taoiseach announced a change in the Prize Bonds draw, I could not but recall the irresponsible charges that were made against the Government that first instituted the Prize Bonds.

We were going to run the country on a raffle, the Minister for Social Welfare said.

They have been finally converted to the necessity for Prize Bonds. When the Minister for Education charges the Opposition with irresponsibility and complete indifference to the economy, all one has to do is to refer back to some of these things that happened not so many years ago and to the low, sneering attack that was made on the Prize Bonds proposals when they were first introduced in the House. The proposals have been proved not to have been irresponsible. Time has proved the charges made at that time to have been very childish, indeed.

I hope that during the next few months local authority housing programmes will not be held up, that schemes that are in the Department of Local Government will be sanctioned. I hope that those schemes at present awaiting sanction will not have to wait until the announcement of the general election, as has happened before. I should not like to see people who are badly in need of housing being held up to ransom in this way and the Government using their right to sanction housing proposals as a political gimmick in order to fool the people for the few weeks immediately preceding an election. There are a number of proposals from my county and, I am sure from other counties, with the Department and I hope that sanction will be forthcoming with speed.

This debate has become a major debate on Government policy, and on financial and economic matters. It is clear that the people will regard this and future Budgets with a great deal of suspicion. They will be justified in this because of the policy which has now been adopted by the Fianna Fáil Government of having two Budgets per year. Government speakers have been asking across the floor of the House as to what policy an alternative Government would implement after the next election.

I have been concerned in a number of general elections and before the last general election I did not hear Fianna Fáil speak of telling the electorate they would have a policy of ignoring the farmers' demands, or of leaving them sitting on the steps of Government Buildings. Before the 1961 election I did not hear that the Government were going to have a policy of taxing essential foodstuffs and clothing, in fact, everything people had to buy. I did not hear them say during the referendum, and they had much to say of their economic and social policies, that they were going to tax the people a few weeks after the referendum.

I am not going to go back over the years and talk about the 100,000 new jobs and so on. I am merely answering questions that were posed here by these people. Some of them probably have not the experience to know better but they seem to be very concerned about what is going to happen after the next general election. Obviously they are losing confidence in themselves and they must have now reached the conclusion that they are not secure, and not having the support of the people, they will not be back in power after the next general election.

Therefore, I hope it will not be a question of confidence. They have been trying to hide their responsibilities. They charged previous Governments with running away from their responsibilities but the Fianna Fáil Government are trying to cover up and hide their responsibilities, trying to put another name on them and trying to blame somebody else for these proposals. Like this extra taxation, the reason for which, according to Government speakers is that other people, over whom the Government have no control, have done certain things, and because of this the Government find themselves with no option but to introduce these proposals. I hope that 1968 will be the last year in which we will be subjected to a second Budget.

There are many other things about which we could speak and criticise Government policy but I think that sufficient has been said at this stage of the debate. The electors, as has been shown very recently, have the ability to judge programmes and to judge the policies of the Parties. They have the ability, above all, to judge the intentions of the Parties and I think the day is gone when Budgets like this can be brought into this House and explanations offered for them like the one we got from the Taoiseach and various speakers on the Government benches.

I will not detain the House very long. Last April two years, the present Taoiseach, as Minister for Finance, introduced his Budget and opened the debate by asking what had gone wrong with the Budget of 1965. Before Fine Gael or Labour had an opportunity of asking the question, that hardened old warrior, that former Minister for Finance — I refer to Deputy MacEntee — rushed into print in the Irish Times and stated in a letter that he could tell the Minister what had gone wrong with his Budget of 1965. He said he had been the Minister responsible for introducing a considerable number of Budgets and he stated that what had gone wrong with the Budget of 1965 was that the Minister for Finance had paid too much attention to soothsayers.

Deputy Burke of the Fianna Fáil Party was moved to tears then, and he said something had gone wrong and that the best thing to do was to push round the hat and let each worker contribute sixpence per week and in a few months we would have remedied the error of the Minister for Finance. Now, I think what has gone wrong with the economy of this country — there is no doubt it has gone wrong — is the result of what Deputy Seán Lemass did in 1963. It case the House has forgotten 1963, we had then two by-elections pending, one in Kildare and one in Cork. There was a demand at that time for a wage increase of 9 per cent. Feeling in the country was running against Fianna Fáil and the Taoiseach decided to change it overnight. Instead of granting an increase of 9 per cent, he approved an increase of 12½ per cent in order to win those by-elections. The country has not got over that blow struck at our economy in 1963. Deputy Lemass knew that, and despite the fact that in the following general election Fianna Fáil asked to let Lemass lead ance. It would appear that young on, we knew where he was being led, and he knew where he was leading the country and the Party, and he got out.

He was a wise man, but he handed over the country to the present Taoiseach in a sorry mess—so much so that the Minister for Finance in 1966 had to ask himself: "What went wrong with my Budget of 1965?" I have not heard him or the present Minister for Finance, through the Taoiseach, asking what went wrong with the Budget of 1968. I am sorry the Minister for Finance is absent from the House and I sincerely hope he will have a quick recovery and be back with us very shortly. However, last April when he introduced his Budget, the Minister for Finance held up his hands in holy horror when we suggested it would be necessary for him to introduce a further Budget in the autumn. He said there was no truth whatever in it, that it was propaganda put out by the Opposition to do damage to the country. But he hinted, or rather the Taoiseach did, that a mini-Budget might be necessary in the autumn. There was very little talk of it during the referendum but when the referendum was over we did not get a mini-Budget but a maxi-Budget, a severe blow to the economy of the State, so severe that it will take us a long time to get over it.

I live in a border county and today the Border is a very topical subject. Today the British Customs could be withdrawn from the Border because there is not a solitary thing we can smuggle into the Six Counties other than sweep tickets. Everything else on this side of the Border is dearer than in the Six Counties. Our whiskey is on a par with whiskey in the North and beer is dearer than it is in the North. There is one thing being smuggled in here, and that is butter. What butter is it? It is Irish creamery butter on which we pay a subsidy to export it into the Six Counties and it is smuggled back in here and sold at 2s a pound cheaper than we can buy it. I remember in the days of the inter-Party Government when Budgets were introduced what we sought and looked forward to was subsidy on foodstuffs to enable the poor to purchase the necessities of life at a reasonable price. We subsidised these foodstuffs for the poor of Ireland. We are now subsidising for the rich of England and the Six Counties. Leave this Government in office for a short time and you can pull down every British customs hut along the Border because there will not be a thing smuggled out of this country.

That is one of the effects of the present Budget. It will do a considerable amount of damage to the tourist trade. Let us face up to it. Were it not for the fact that we had a good summer last year we would not have the influx of tourists we had to this State. Prior to that when we had bad summers there was something to encourage tourists to come. We had cheap foodstuffs. We had cheap cigarettes. We had cheap beer. We had cheap hotels. Those things encourage visitors to come to our country, just the same as the Canary Islands or the Channel Islands encourage visitors there now. There was something, call it whatever you like, to attract tourists and now we have nullified that in this Budget.

We have struck a deadly blow to the tourist trade, particularly in Border counties. We know that even in the height of winter we had tourists from the Six Counties, people coming for long weekends to the Border counties. They were coming in there simply because they could live there cheaper than in the Six Counties. They could procure drink cheaper. They could procure cigarettes and tobacco cheaper. They no longer can do this. Things are now dearer here than they are at home in the North and we will be at the disadvantage in the Border counties of losing that tourist trade which we have held since the War years. It was something which we looked forward to and something which was of considerable value to us.

In reply to a Question the other day in the House we were told that there are over 300 increases in prices and services since the 1st January, 1968. That is to say that 300 increases in prices and services have been allowed by the Government since 1st January, 1968. There is no mention of the increases which will occur as a result of this Budget. The Government and every person knows that there must be a demand for another round of increases in wages and salaries. There is no option as a result of this severe taxation which is imposed by this Budget which we are now discussing.

Let us think of the local rates. Many of us serve on local authorities and many of us know that the ratepayer has reached the stage where he can no longer bear the burden of the local taxation. In my own county it is practically £5 in the £. We are faced with another increase when we come to strike our rate in the month of March next. Do not forget that we have to pay for the additional increases which the additional tax on cigarettes, tobacco and spirits will impose on the maintenance and upkeep of the inmates of our institutions. That is something we have not provided for in last year's rates and it is something we have to provide for in the coming year's rates. That again will increase the burden of taxation at local level.

We have been promised on many occasions by the present Government that they were about to look into this question of poor rates and see what could be done, particularly in the western counties, but instead of any decrease there will be an increase. I know the Government can point to the fact that land is derated up to £20 poor law valuation per holding. What was the rateable value of land in these poorer counties? In some cases it was very small indeed but the impact of increased local taxation on building has now a greater impact than the decrease or relief which the ratepayers enjoy on the derating of lands or farms of a poor law valuation of £20 and up.

While all this is going on we have the wholesale tax increased. This is bound to have a severe effect on our exports. I will not go into who is responsible for the increase in our exports. Deputy John A. Costello dealt with it today. He told us about the setting up of the Industrial Development Authority in this country. He told us how it was received by the Leader of the Opposition, Deputy Lemass. He told us about what Deputy Lemass said at the time, that he advised the members of the Authority not to take up the appointments because as soon as Fianna Fáil got into office they would wipe out the Authority. He told us about the setting up of Córas Tráchtála and An Foras Tionscal and other bodies. Surely this wholesale tax will affect severely our rate of exports? Only yesterday or the day before, as published in yesterday's paper, the Minister for Transport and Power referred to the low rate of employment in the State. We are still running somewhere between 50,000 and 60,000 unemployed. Our emigration rate has fallen slightly but employment has not risen as the Minister said. But taxation is rising and no money is available for the essential social services of this country.

For instance, in 1963 an Act was introduced here, known as the Coast Erosion Act. We spent a considerable time debating the merits and, particularly, the mechanics of it. We said the mechanics of the Coast Erosion Act would be cumbersome, but in reply to a Parliamentary Question by me today the Minister for Finance informed me that since 1964 fourteen schemes for the abatement of coastal erosion were submitted by Donegal County Council. Not one scheme has been implemented, not one penny has been spent in my county, a county exposed to the Atlantic gales, on coastal erosion. In other words, the debate which was initiated in this House by the then Minister for Finance was pure waste of time. There is no money the Minister said. These schemes will be put on the long finger.

The same thing applies to houses. There is no money for houses. The same thing applies to sewerage and water schemes. I remember in my own county schemes were submitted in 1965 and the loan was sanctioned only the other day. I am glad that Deputy Cunningham is in the House. The Deputy remembers coast erosion schemes submitted by Donegal County Council in 1964 and the Minister today told us that not one has been done. The Deputy and every other member of a local authority in this House know of the sewerage, water and housing schemes held up in the Department of Local Government simply because there is no money for them. Then we have this very severe tax imposed by the maxi-Budget of November, 1968. The Minister for Health is in the House. I know the Minister for Health is anxious to implement the White Paper introduced by his predecessor. I know the Minister for Health is most anxious to introduce a new health Bill. Do not think it is for the want of plans he is held up. The Minister knows, just as the House knows, that the conduit pipeline between the Department of Finance and the Department of Local Government is blocked up and that is what is holding up the health Bill. But let me warn the Minister, and I will not refer to it at any great length, that unless the health Bill is introduced very shortly we will have no dispensary doctors in the poorer parts of this country. I know the Minister is anxious to do what he possibly can and despite the fact that blisters are being imposed on the taxpayer in this Bill there is still a shortage of money to implement essential Bills such as the health Bill.

Most of these new taxes are not to apply until after the New Year, in other words we are going to have a boom of spending in and around Christmas and that will be followed by a long slump such as we had in 1965 and 1966. I do not think that is proper economic planning. I do not think that it is being fair to the taxpayer. These taxes are not going to apply to the Christmas shopping and there will be a spree of spending but then there will be this sudden slump in the New Year.

I was very glad to hear Deputy Pattison refer to the Prize Bonds. I think the Prize Bond scheme was one of the best schemes introduced in this State by Deputy Sweetman when he was Minister for Finance. I am glad that the Government are taking advantage of it but I distinctly remember the present Minister for Social Welfare, Deputy Brennan, sitting on these benches and when the Prize Bonds were introduced he said: "We have slumped and sunk very low when we are going to run the country on raffles." We are damn glad of the raffles today. Where it not for the "raffles" where would our economy be today? Two weeks ago a member of the Opposition asked the Minister for Finance would he consider running a bi-monthly, a monthly or a twomonthly draw for prizes and thus encourage more subscriptions to the Prize Bonds. The Minister gave him an answer. He said that it was too complicated, that it just could not be done, that more staff would have to be employed and the usual Civil Service rat-tat but, having got the clue from the Opposition, the Minister was very glad, indeed, to make use of the suggestion made by the Opposition and have these bi-monthly draws which in my opinion are an attraction. I am very glad, indeed, if we do throw out constructive suggestions such as that, that the Government are not afraid to adopt them but they should at least give credit where credit is due and say that the suggestion came from the Opposition.

There would be no need for these increased taxes if we could only catch some of the tax evaders. If the energies of some of our civil servants who are so busily engaged in ferreting out the figures of income and expenditure of those that are already caught in the web were expended in catching the non-taxpayers, those who are deliberately evading, then it would ease the burden on all. Unfortunately, it is mostly the salaried men, the men whose salaries are more visible than others that are caught for taxes. We all know people in this State who should and could and would, were they compelled, pay the taxes which are due and even the burden on the rest of us. I feel that a special team should not be recruited but should be taken out of the existing Civil Service and be set upon these tax evaders and parasites who are living on the rest of us.

Today we saw a demonstration outside Leinster House, a demonstration of students protesting against a scheme which the Minister for Education has implemented. Last week or the week before we saw farmers outside Leinster House protesting against a scheme which the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries has implemented or refused to implement. On another occasion we saw dairy farmers parade outside Leinster House. On yet another occasion we saw the householders, the ratepayers, parade outside Leinster House. Is there a section of the community that has not protested against this Government in some way or other within the past few years? They did not get a great opportunity of making their protest until the referendum and, by heavens, they then let the Government know what they thought of their economic planning and their economic messing of this State.

The Taoiseach, and I refer to him now as Taoiseach and not as Acting Minister for Finance, informed the farmers the other day that he was prepared to wipe the slate clean, he was prepared to meet them and meet them with a clean sheet. But what happened when they accepted the offer of the Taoiseach? He had his tail twisted by the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries and refused to meet them except on certain conditions. If the Taoiseach wanted to meet them and wanted to wipe the slate clean, why did he not command the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries to restore to the Farmers Journal the advertisements to which they are entitled, especially those dealing with farming matters and agriculture generally? There is no more advantageous or better place to advertise than the Farmers Journal. Why has that not been done? Why has the Taoiseach not kept his word and met these people with, as he said himself, a clean slate? Something has gone wrong. We have the Minister for Local Government who is so thinskinned that when he is criticised on television by a priest he refers to that priest as a “so-called cleric.”

Surely if one is in Government, one must be prepared to accept the criticism, whether it be constructive or destructive, of the citizen. We all admire and respect our clergy, irrespective of what sect they belong to. Surely it is unbecoming for a Minister of State to refer to one of our Catholic priests, or any cleric for that matter, as a so-called cleric.

These things do not make for good relations between the Government and the citizens of the State. After all, the Government should be the servants of the people and never their master and if the people criticise them they should accept that criticism and try to remedy the grievances which have brought about the criticism.

This Dáil, in my opinion, is one of the most fruitless since the foundation of the State. We spent many months discussing the Common Market and we spent a considerable amount of money investigating the possibilities of entry into it when it was quite evident to everyone——

At this stage, we are getting away from the Budget resolutions.

I am, with the greatest respect to you, a Leas-Cheann Comhairle, referring to money that has been spent. This Budget is for the collection of money and I am entitled, with respect to the Chair, to say what has brought about this situation. As we spent so much time and so much of the citizens' money discussing our entry into the Common Market and discussing a referendum, surely we are entitled to point out the folly of spending this money?

For instance, we had a presidential election and county council elections in the one year. The local elections were postponed but if they had been held on the same day as the presidential election, hundreds of thousands of pounds could have been saved. We refer again to the fact that a referendum was not necessary. If this money had been saved there would have been no need for the taxes that have been introduced in the present Budget. Now, on the eve of a general election, we are to spend money discussing an Electoral Bill; we are to spend money in discussing how the Minister for Local Government has butchered the constituencies of the country.

This, as I have said, has been a fruitless Dáil and the longer it continues the more fruitless it will become. I believe that the Taoiseach and the Government should now hear the cry of the people and go to the country and give the people an opportunity of electing an alternative Government.

Having listened to Deputy O'Donnell, I have been tempted to rise because the theme of his contribution to this debate seems to be, in the first place, that the Government are not spending enough money on housing; that they are not spending enough money on drainage or on agriculture but at the same time that they are raising too much money by way of taxation. Deputy O'Donnell and other Deputies in Fine Gael are adept at suggesting new schemes which would cost more and more money but they never give a thought to where that money will come from.

I believe that there should be fair social distribution of national income. I am a Dublin Deputy representing mainly a working class area but time and time again I have walked through these Division Lobbies, transferring sums of money—on two occasions £5 million—from the workers of this city and the other cities to the agricultural community because I believe this to be good, sound social policy. If the workers, through their own organisations and by their own means, can bring about increases, while other sections of the community are unable to do so, then it is up to this House to see that the national income or the gross national product is distributed fairly and equitably.

This Government have been courageous in this matter. They have not stopped to think about any loss of support they might receive in the cities. Most people who are members of trade unions realise the justice in this social policy. It seems to me, however, that no matter how often I walk through the Division Lobbies so that some sections or organisations representing the farming community may benefit, they do not appear to be satisfied or to show any gratitude for any transfer made to them by the national Governmade to them by the Government. They are soon back on the demonstration campaign.

It seems to me as a Dublin Deputy —I am not entitled to speak with any authority on rural matters—that there is a certain rivalry within the various sections of farming organisations, one trying to score off the other and that, in the end, it is the working man in Dublin who has to pay the bill.

I do not know what the attitude of the Labour Party might be, and obviously I will not know tonight, if the Government had said on this occasion that they would give the dairy farmers an increase of twopence on the gallon of milk and to put that increase on the pound of butter. The Government could have done this. The increase could have been given but it could have been transferred directly to the bottle of milk or to the pound of butter on which the poorer sections of the community rely.

Instead of that they proposed to raise the money by taxing such items as cigarettes, whiskey and beer. I do not know which is the better philosophy. I should like to know if the exponents of the Just Society believe that it would have been better to put the increase on the milk and butter than to put it on luxuries. I do not know how the Labour Party believe that these social problems should be handled.

Before the referendum took place at all—Deputy O'Donnell referred to it as a waste of money—the Taoiseach clearly announced that our balance of payments situation was such that corrective measures would have to be taken. He did not try to conceal this. The announcement made the headlines in the newspapers. The Taoiseach did not try to conceal this fact in order to get public favour. If anything can be said about the Government, it is that they are an honest Government, a straight Government and a Government that have shown an increase of more than four per cent in the gross national product each year during recent years. It looks as if this figure will be exceeded next year. By European standards this is no mean achievement.

It has been said that the amount of the increases secured in the eleventh round have exceeded productivity and this may be true but I believe that every trade union official and every married man working for wages are more concerned with job security than with the actual size of a pay packet because the most important thing to any working man raising a family is job security. Job security can only be maintained here while our exports are kept competitive, provided that we can attract foreign capital and that we can keep our books properly balanced. This Budget was very necessary at this particular time. It was not so long ago since we had a very comprehensive report by an American firm of consultants, A. & D. Little, and since that report we have had a reorganisation of the Industrial Development Authority. Consequently all the industrial promotion authorities that we had are now under one roof in Ballsbridge.

If the speculation about which we have read in the newspapers is true or has any substance—I respect the press in their ability to find out things quicker, perhaps, than some backbench Deputy, like myself—it would appear that there is to be massive industrial investment in this part of the country—in other words, the type of investment that is now envisaged as a result of the Little report. No industrialist will invest money in Ireland just because he likes our lakes and hills or because we are a friendly sort of people, in spite of occasional marches outside Leinster House, but they will invest in Ireland only if they are sure in their knowledge that there will be stability of Government and that there will be a sensible handling of national finances. They must be sure that their money will be invested in secure circumstances and that it will bring them a profit. There is nobody willing to transfer a large amount of money to industry in Ireland unless he believes that a profit will accrue from that investment.

Today, I watched the students marching down O'Connell Street and from the chants I heard from them it seemed to me that what they wanted was that the scheme of the Minister for Education be retrospective. When the Minister for Education introduced this scheme he said it was just a start and that he hoped that each year he could come back to this House exending the system of grants, raising the limits in so far as personal income is concerned or land valuation. The Minister said this was a start. It was to give every boy and girl, regardless or religion, an equal chance——

I must remind the Deputy that this is not relevant to the financial motion before the House.

Unfortunately, you were not here, Sir, when Deputy P. O'Donnell was speaking. He made reference to this. I am referring to the amount of money that is being spent and I am saying to the people who are involved in the demonstration today that if extra money is to be spent on these things we must decide what to do about raising these sums.

Once again, Deputy O'Donnell criticised the housing situation and once again this year there is more money being spent on housing than ever before in the history of the State. I agree with Deputy O'Donnell that drainage, certainly in the Dublin area, has fallen behind time but I am inclined to believe that rather than plans being held up by the Government through lack of finance, as Deputy O'Donnell alleges, these schemes are behind time because of the slow-moving local authority engineers. When Deputy O'Donnell is driving home he will agree with me that of the roads he passes through when he leaves Dublin city the worst is the stretch through the Dublin County Council area. This applies no matter in which direction you choose to go.

During the Budget debate this year I took up the question of working wives and suggested that certain amendments might be made in accordance with the recommendations of the Commission on Income Taxation. This matter was discussed at the Party and the majority of my colleagues were not in agreement with me. However, the Minister indicated that I had his permission to put down an amendment so that this matter could be discussed at greater length. There are only two ways in which a Deputy can raise a matter of which he has not got the majority support of his Party but which he wishes to have discussed at some length and in some detail. The two ways in which he can raise it are on Second Stage of a Bill or by putting down an amendment. If I put down an amendment on this matter my loyalty is first to the Fianna Fáil Party. I have been elected to represent the Fianna Fáil Party and unless a majority of the Party are on my side I will withdraw the amendment with the permission of the House. But what happens here is that I do not get the permission of the House. The Opposition may think it is very clever to try to force a Deputy to vote against something he seriously wants aired and discussed. It is not funny at all. What strikes me as being very peculiar is that, whether it is the unemployed sitting on O'Connell Bridge or a certain type of parade, it is only when Fianna Fáil are in office that we seek to have these things happen. I think this is a Fine Gael tactic which goes back to the Blue Shirt days. It will not succeed——

I remind the Deputy that he is getting away from the Budget debate.

I am replying to some of the points raised by Deputy O'Donnell. I made notes. I would not have risen at all——

We are discussing taxation and expenditure.

——only for Deputy O'Donnell's golden Fine Gael formula which says that we are not spending enough money but that we are imposing too much taxation. That is the sole content of Deputy O'Donnell's speech — we are not spending enough on this, that and the other but at the same time we are putting on too much taxation. As I have said, I rose mainly out of annoyance at the usual type of nonsense we get from Fine Gael. It is a completely irresponsible type of contribution to the debate and I ask Fine Gael and Labour, if we are to make a redistribution of money in this country, to help the agricultural section by, say, increasing the price of milk, is it better to put the increase on tobacco or to put it on milk and butter, which the working people need far more?

This evening I listened to the Minister for Education, Deputy Lenihan, speaking not alone on the taxes which were imposed in this maxi-Budget, but on many other matters as well. He pointed out that the taxes imposed on beer, spirits and other items were imposed to prevent inflation. He also referred to the wholesale tax and the tax on tobacco. In fairness to the Minister for Education I will say that he is continuing the good work started by his predecessor, the late Deputy Donogh O'Malley. I gave him credit for that. The educational facilities provided by way of new schools, additions to schools and the equipment provided in schools and colleges, will be a great asset to the rising generation. As a matter of fact, I will go as far as to say that they are a great asset to members of my own family. However, it should be borne in mind that, side by side with these educational facilities which are being provided, we still have, particularly in the western areas, the continuing drain of emigration.

The new taxes imposed, plus other increases in the cost of living which are likely to occur in the near future because of increases which are to take place in the price of tea, bread and flour, will add to the problems of the people. In my opinion, this will cause serious unrest and lead to another spate of strikes and industrial disputes. Goodness knows we have experienced enough of those over the past two or three years without having to face up to more of them. It is a very serious matter from the national point of view to have such unrest because it results in a loss in production and a loss of working days on the part of our work force. We have the unenviable reputation throughout Europe of having the worst labour relations any country could have. This, plus the many other difficulties with which we are faced, will intensify our problems in the future.

The Taoiseach, when introducing this maxi-Budget, pointed out that we were going through critical times and that it was absolutely necessary to impose these taxes in order to correct our course. I must say, in fairness to the Taoiseach, that many of our present problems are not of his making. We can recall that in 1965 the then Taoiseach, Deputy Seán Lemass, misled the people by telling them to "Let Lemass lead on" to prosperity and then, having continued in office for a short period, when he found the going was too tough, he got out and landed the whole kettle of fish in the lap of the present Taoiseach. The Taoiseach and the Fianna Fáil Government are still wrestling with the problems inherited from the Lemass era. For that reason we should not place all the blame for these impositions on the Taoiseach, who had the unpleasant duty of coming in here and listing the items that had to be taxed. These impositions are going to make matters very difficult for working people, for people in receipt of social welfare benefits, for old age pensioners and widows and people in receipt of unemployment benefit and all the poorer sections of the community. They are all going to have a very lean Christmas followed by a very lean spring and summer afterwards.

The reason for much of the unrest that we have is the very high cost of living, which must be one of the highest in Europe, and that down through the years we have been experiencing increases like this which create many headaches not only for working people but for business people. Last April the Minister for Finance came into the House with his Budget and made his usual forecasts; certain taxes were imposed and certain small reliefs were given here and there, certain increases in social welfare benefits and so forth. But now all these small increases which social welfare recipients got are gone with the wind because of the increase in the cost of living. These impositions will create serious unemployment problems. I have it from people in the licensed trade that there has been a falling off in the sales of beer, stout and spirits. There will also be a decline in the profits of business people.

The Minister for Education spoke at length about coalition Governments. I should like to remind him that I can remember, when I came in here in 1951, the bargaining that went on in regard to the five Independents and the speculation about which side they would support. I witnessed the huggermugger which went on around the House in an effort to get them to support the Fianna Fáil Party. They did support the Fianna Fáil Party and they were glad to have them. The Fianna Fáil Party carried on until 1954 when an inter-Party Government, or a coalition Government as the Minister for Education prefers to call it, came into office. The Government with the five Independents lasted for three years and our Government lasted for roughly the same period. Due to by-elections, in which we were rather unlucky, the situation was created that the inter-Party Government of 1954-1957 could not continue in office any longer. They did the honourable thing. They dissolved Dáil Éireann and went to the country.

The result of that was the return to office of a Fianna Fáil Government. I was defeated in that election. Fianna Fáil won the election as a result of their propaganda. They said the country was bankrupt and that the people in the coalition Government, as they called it, had wrecked everything. There was no mention of the good work they did. For the benefit of the Fianna Fáil Party I will mention just a few of the things the Minister for Agriculture, Deputy James Dillon, did for the farming community in the years 1954 to 1957. This is an agricultural country but not until Deputy James Dillon took over that Ministry was ground limestone made available to the farmers. He took the necessary steps to ensure that ground limestone would be available but, even today, it is not available in sufficient quantity. However, we have reaped certain benefits as a result of what Deputy James Dillon did as Minister for Agriculture. It was he who initiated the Land Project. Everybody knows the benefits derived from that scheme.

I am afraid we are getting away from the discussion and travelling a bit far from the Financial Resolution.

I just mention these things because the alleged harm has already been mentioned. I should like to remind the Fianna Fáil Party of the Local Authority (Works) Act and certain other schemes that were implemented during that period. We were, of course, faced with the Suez Crisis. There was no mention of that by the Minister for Education when he spoke here this evening. Listening to him speaking, one would think that there were no problems until they returned to office. That is not true. I do not want to misrepresent him, but I think it is time we got away from this kind of propaganda and started facing up to the realities of the situation that confronts us.

The Minister for Health is in the House. He is a neighbour of mine. No doubt in the near future we will be contesting the election in the same constituency. He will bear out that what I say now is true. Indeed, pretty well everybody must be aware of the facts, remembering the publicity. A committee was formed in the West of Ireland. It was called the "Defence of the West Organisation". Meetings were held in Charlestown and in my home town, Foxford. Bishops and clergy of all denominations were in that organisation and, at a meeting in Foxford, they protested loudly against the manner in which the West was being treated. I addressed a question to the Taoiseach at the time and he said he was not aware of the existence of such an organisation. Considering the depressed state of the West he must have been unaware not alone of the organisation but of the West as a whole.

Deputy O'Hara will appreciate that this is not a general discussion. It is a discussion on the Budget. Taxation and expenditure are relevant but what the Deputy it talking about is not relevant.

With great respect, I want to point out that the taxes imposed here will not and the taxes imposed in successive Fianna Fáil Budgets have not corrected the sort of situation that exists in my part of the country. Carloads of people are leaving the West and travelling to Britain and elsewhere. The position of those that are left will be worsened still further by these impositions. No fewer than 500 ESB poles that once connected up rural homes in my neighbourhood have been lifted. The Minister, if he wishes, can check the facts for himself.

The Moy drainage scheme provided a good deal of employment, but workers are now becoming redundant because the scheme is nearing completion and 22 gangers will be redundant on the 22nd of this month, plus scores of others. They will go on unemployment benefit. Will they be able to pay the extra tax on cigarettes, tobacco and beer and bear the increases in the cost of tea, bread, and all the other items?

I should like an all-out effort in the West. I should like to see towns like Charlestown, Ballaghaderreen, Swinford, Ballina, Crossmolina, and all the others having industries established in them. There is no mention of any industries in the Budget statement. We lost the Six Counties. We are in grave danger of losing the Province of Connacht. The day is not far distant when there will be only two Provinces left in the Republic. That is a serious situation. If the Government do not sit up and take notice they can rest assured that the time is coming when some other Government will have to take over and rectify their omissions. Fianna Fáil are definitely on the way out, judging by the referendum figures. This is their last term in office for some time to come. It is noticeable that they are reluctant to face the electorate at an early date. They are dilly-dallying in the hope that something will turn up or that some favourable winds will blow.

Whatever Government replaces them will have to do something to create employment for the young people in the West. There should be employment in forestry, in drainage, under the Local Authority (Works) Act and in all the other schemes and projects that were introduced by the inter-Party Government.

Young people today are not satisfied to put up with what their fathers and mothers put up with, and if they cannot get these things they will quit the land. They are getting out like flies and have been for a long number of years. A figure was quoted during the week in reply to a Parliamentary Question of, I think, 109,000 people who left during a short number of years. I forget the exact number of years. We cannot continue on that road. Surely the Fianna Fáil people opposite should take notice before it is too late and in whatever little time is left to them as the Government, they should make some attempt to pull up their socks and try to provide employment.

The question of savings has been mentioned and was stressed by the Taoiseach in his opening speech. We cannot in these times expect younger people to save when they see what happened to their elders. Older people, and people of my generation even, did something about trying to save by going to the post office and putting in a little money, or putting some aside in the bank, or taking out insurance policies. A number of them tried to protect the future of their wives and families and, to some extent, their own future, and what happened?

I know what happened in my case. I took some measures many years ago. I know for a fact that the insurance policies which I took out and which were fairly substantial, which will mature in a matter of two or three years, will have very little value. The amount was sizeable at the time. It amounted to quite a lot of money in 1939 or 1940. You could do a lot with £1,000 or £2,000 in those days, but today that sort of money is no good. The younger generation realise and appreciate that savings today, with the trends of our times, is really an unwise practice, because money values are going down every day of the week. They have no interest in saving and it is hard to blame them.

It is no wonder the Taoiseach had to refer to this trend in his statement opening this debate. The Fianna Fáil Party are mainly responsible for these things happening, although they were warned by people on this side of the House. They were warned by me on many occasions when I pointed out that, if they failed to realise the importance of agriculture to the economy of the country, they were travelling along a road which was bound to lead to disaster of the type which we experienced when the Taoiseach came in to make his Budget statement. It was a case of ignoring the farming community, and not only that but also of trampling on the farming community. It is extraordinary that they have got away with it for so long. One means by which they used to get away with it was by giving out little doles and pensions here and there. By doing so they managed to hold office for as long as they did, but the day of reckoning is not far away. I can assure you, a Cheann Comhairle, that when Fianna Fáil go to the country in an election they will get the most telling answer they ever got in their long history.

We have just listened to a typical Fine Gael speech by Deputy O'Hara. By a typical Fine Gael speech I mean one of despair and gloom. His speech was typical, too, in trying to give the impression that the public can have the sun, moon and stars without having to pay for them. That is the type of thing the Opposition have been trying to put across to the people down through the years. They should realise by now that it is not acceptable to them.

I believe the people realise that the Budget was necessary in order to give increases in salaries to those employed in the public sector, and to give an increase in income to the farming community of 1d per gallon on the first 7,000 gallons of milk produced. It was also necessary to find money to pay the increased subsidies to the farmers who were lucky enough to qualify by having a very good and successful year, despite what the Opposition have to say. I come from an agricultural area and I can say without fear of contradiction that the farmers realise very fully that they have had a good year. They also realise that they have the sympathy and support of the Fianna Fáil Government. They realise that we are subsidising agriculture to the tune of £80 million and that we are trying to channel this in the best possible way to the small farmers.

We have shown this by giving this 1d increase on the first 7,000 gallons of milk. We have shown it by the subsidy we have paid to relieve the ratepayers. Deputy O'Donnell mentioned the increase in rates and said what the rate in the £ was in his own constituency of Donegal. I should like to point out that we in Fianna Fáil are the only Government who have ever done anything about this problem, with the result that holdings of up to £20 valuation are completely derated today, and there is a sliding scale up to £33. That is of tremendous advantage to the small farmer. Deputy O'Donnell said that that has been somewhat taken up by the increase in the valuation of farm buildings and farm houses. Of course, we know there has been an increase in the valuation of buildings because farmers have been able to carry out improvements to their buildings with the aid they are getting from the Government.

We know that when the time comes for us to face the public they will appreciate those things and give us credit for them. They will not be misled by the tactics of the Opposition. We have never been afraid to face the public. In 1966, the Opposition were challenging us about the by-elections in Waterford and Kerry but when we took up the challenge and got the result it showed that the people of Waterford and Kerry stood loyally behind Fianna Fáil. We had very little further talk about a general election until the referendum. The Opposition have taken some heart from the result of the referendum. They believe they have an opportunity of replacing Fianna Fáil as the Government. We were not too pleased with the result of the referendum but, nevertheless, it was not a political issue.

We know that when the time for the next general election comes people will again rally to Fianna Fáil because they have as an alternative a coalition Government only. The people have shown their confidence in this Government by the success of the recent national loan, which was oversubscribed. That is confidence if ever there was confidence needed to be shown by the people in the Government, not but that attempts were made by the Coalition Government to try to make money by national loans which were unsuccessful because the people had no confidence in that Government. We are not afraid at any time to face the electorate because we know that we have their confidence and we also know that while any Budget is not popular it is necessary and the people will see it is necessary to find the money to give to the people I have already mentioned.

We would like to hear from the Opposition whether they are against giving this money to the agricultural community or against giving the nine per cent increase to those employed in the public sector. If they are it would be as well that they would come out and say so. If they are against raising the money to meet these increases by the methods of taxation we have found, I would like if they would come out and say by what method they think the money should be raised. Should the price of milk or the price of butter be increased or should the price of foodstuffs be increased rather than the price of luxuries? We have increased taxes in order to provide this money. I think the onus is on them to come out and say this, if they are serious. This is what the public expect from the Opposition because the public realise you cannot have services without paying for them. We would like to think there was a fairy godmother somewhere to wave a magic wand in order to provide the finances necessary for the running of this State. Unfortunately, this is not so. In an expanding economy and with increasing population it is necessary to find the money in order to provide additional services for our people and to provide improvements in our social welfare and health services. There is no one to provide this money which has to come out of the pockets of the people by way of taxation. On this occasion we have taxed luxury goods. If that is not acceptable to the Opposition they are quite free to criticise us but the onus is on them to say where we should find the necessary money.

There is one thing I would like to make quite clear, particularly to the last speaker and it is about time it was stated by someone in this House. When a national loan is floated it has been customary, and it was done on this occasion, that it should be supported by all sides of the House. On this occasion in conjunction with this Budget the Taoiseach announced the flotation of a national loan on the day that there was due to be discussion of motions dealing with the question of confidence in the Government—motions of no confidence and a motion of confidence put down by the Taoiseach. Nevertheless, speakers from this side of the House in the Fine Gael Benches and in the Labour Benches gave their wholehearted support to the loan and urged the public to subscribe to it. That has been the tradition in this Parliament. That has been done time and time again from the Opposition Benches. When the Fianna Fáil Party occupied these Benches they adhered to that. It was done on this occasion. I think it should be accepted by the Government that the assistance of the exhortations from the Opposition Benches to the public to help national development to subscribe to these loans is valuable assistance. Instead of that we have the kind of remark that was made by the last speaker who said that the success of the national loan is a demonstration of confidence in the Government of the country.

I want to repudiate that suggestion utterly. It is a demonstration of confidence in the basic soundness of our economy. I myself was a subscriber to the recent national loan. I did not subscribe a penny piece in order to demonstrate confidence in the present Government. I subscribed because I believed it was the right thing to do and it was the patriotic thing to do in the particular days that are facing us and accepting the advice given to the public not merely by the Taoiseach but by spokesmen of the Fine Gael Party and other Opposition spokesmen.

I think it would be entirely wrong and very damaging for the future success of national loans, regardless of which Party sponsored them, that they should be pounced upon by Government spokesmen now or Government spokesmen in the future as an acknowledgment that their success demonstrates confidence in the Government. There is no question of confidence in that sense in the Government. There is a question of supporting the national economy and expressing as best you can according to your ability support for the basic soundness of the economy. I want to make it quite clear because I feel sure very many people who subscribed to the recent national loan and who according to their means would subscribe to future national loans might very well be deflected from that pattern if they felt that their subscriptions were going to be used by the Fianna Fáil Party as evidence of confidence in the Fianna Fáil Government.

The fact of the matter is that this Government are breaking up before our eyes. I know that that cannot be a very enjoyable experience for them. I do not want to partake in any jibing at the Government. Regardless of how we may esteem or respect individual members, the fact is that the Government, as a whole, are breaking up and it seems to be quite clear that whenever the next election comes the Fianna Fáil Party are not going to form the next Government. In those circumstances the right thing for the Taoiseach to do would be to seek a dissolution of the Dáil earlier rather than later and certainly before the question of another Budget arises. Whatever else the people want I think they demonstrated only last month that old-time political affiliations are no longer regarded as binding and that many thousands of Fianna Fáil supporters were prepared, on an issue which, it is no exaggeration to say, the Government regarded as of fundamental importance, not merely to abstain from voting, to stay away from the polls, but to vote against the Fianna Fáil proposals. That is an experience which Fianna Fáil have not had to any great extent in the past. That is a development in the political history of this country that is of very great significance indeed. It holds out a warning to the Fianna Fáil Party that they can no longer rely on being able to get acceptance of Fianna Fáil proposals on a plea for loyalty to old-time Fianna Fáil supporters. The position has clearly arisen where it will be necessary for Fianna Fáil Governments, and for the present Fianna Fáil Government, in particular, to justify not only before this House but before the bar of public opinion any measures they introduce.

The Government will find it exceedingly hard to secure acceptance of this Budget. I suppose most of us remember a time when Budgets were annual events, but in recent years under Fianna Fáil Governments that is no longer so. Even though this is the second Fianna Fáil Budget this year, there is no guarantee that there will not be yet another Budget before the end of the financial year. It is a comparatively short step from one annual Budget to two Budgets a year; it is an equally short step from two Budgets to three Budgets a year. We must remember that in recent weeks, in addition to the new taxes that the Government are imposing by means of this Budget, there has been an announcement of a not inconsiderable increase in the price of tea. There has also been an announcement of a fairly considerable increase in car insurance.

One of the matters that Deputy O'Hara spoke about here a few minutes ago is of very great importance in the context of this Budget and these what might be called extra-budgetary increases such as the increase in the price of tea and the increase in car insurance. He spoke about the reduction in the value of money and how that created difficulties in regard to savings. As I say, many people subscribed to the recent national loan because they felt it was the right thing to do. They are putting their savings into that national loan. Other people save in different ways. In this Budget Statement the Taoiseach referred to the changes which were being made in order to encourage savings. He referred to the idea, for example, in connection with the Prize Bonds of having further draws for five prizes of £1,000 each during months when the regular draws are not on. He referred to other features designed to encourage savings.

People are likely to take a cynical view of exhortations to save unless, at the same time, this Government, or some Government, can bring about a reasonable measure of price stability, and the present Government have failed signally in that regard. In the present situation price stability is of the utmost importance. I know this is a difficult field, but I certainly wish that some of the speakers who have during the course of the discussion on this Budget decided to launch their attacks against the inter-Party Government which was in existence in this country, would cast their minds back sufficiently far to remember the efforts made by those inter-Party Governments to bring about price stability and the success which was achieved by those Governments in those days, in days of extremely great difficulty, difficulty occasioned by events which no Government in this country was in a position to control.

I wish those Deputies thought back to the time when the inter-Party Governments which were in existence in this State maintained food subsidies, for example, to act as a buffer and a cushion against price increases so far as the weaker sections of the people were concerned. I also wish they thought back to the way in which Fianna Fáil Governments succeeding the inter-Party Governments, first of all slashed the food subsidies and then removed them completely. I know that from an economic point of view there is a lot to be said against a system of subsidies. From an economic point of view I suppose all the arguments are against subsidisation. However, at a time when it was important to the people that a measure of real price stability should be brought about and continued, one way of doing that was to continue the food subsidies, and that was done.

I wonder has any Government in this State since the days of the first inter-Party Government given back money to the people to the tune of about £6 million as was done by the first inter-Party Government. These are some of the things on which those who in the course of this debate attacked the inter-Party Governments and the idea of inter-Party Governments, would do well to reflect.

The first inter-Party Government was formed—and I think for some of the older Fianna Fáil Deputies, in any event, there may be a note of warning in this—following the introduction of a Fianna Fáil supplementary Budget and one of the first actions of that inter-Party Government was to hand back to the people, to the tune of about £6 million, taxation imposed by the Fianna Fáil Government which preceded it in its supplementary Budget.

Notwithstanding the attacks which were made in the course of this debate on the inter-Party Governments, I do not suppose it would be strictly in order to deal at any great length with the accomplishments of those Governments. However, I trust the Chair will at least permit me to balance up the record to some extent by referring, as I have, to the handling back of £6 million to the people of this country by the first inter-Party Government and will allow me to record briefly that that Government were also responsible for the Trade Agreement of 1948, for retaining the food subsidies, for introducing the Land Project and the Local Authorities (Works) Act, for setting in motion the policy to lead to the eradication of bovine tuberculosis and, far more important to the ordinary people of this country, for the great hospitalisation programme and housing programme which helped to eradicate TB as a major disease in this country. I think the Chair will permit me to record, again very, very briefly, the fact that one of the inter-Party Governments which have come under attack in the course of this debate were responsible for setting up the Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme which, from small beginnings, from beginnings which were virtually derided by the then Opposition in this House, has gone on from success to success.

That Government also introduced tax incentives which aided our industries and geared them for export. They were instrumental in establishing in this country the Whitegate oil refinery. They introduced the Prize Bonds scheme which the Taoiseach now sets out to make even more attractive and there were many other achievements which we will be able to speak of on another occasion.

So that, when the younger Fianna Fáil Deputies come in here to attack those Governments, no doubt encouraged by their elders in that, it would be as well for them from time to time to reflect on the work done by those Governments, work done in the face— and I hand it to the Fianna Fáil Party for this—of extremely strong and tough Fianna Fáil opposition, but work which will inure to the benefit of the people of this country for many years to come.

I was talking about the importance of savings and, in relation to the importance of savings, the importance of price stability. I do not know if the Minister for Industry and Commerce has recently been asked for information with regard to the number of price increases sanctioned by his Department but I do know that under Fianna Fáil Governments the value of the people's money is dropping down and down and down and that, as long as that situation continues and is allowed to continue, it will be extremely difficult to get people to take an interest in saving.

If a person takes out an insurance policy—I think that was the example given by Deputy O'Hara some minutes ago—he does so in the expectation that, when over a number of years he continues to pay his premiums, he will get at the end of a period a lump sum which should at least represent the money he has put into the policy together with whatever benefits attach to the policy. I wonder what many people who now have policies maturing or about to mature, who took them out in the last, say, 20 years, are going to get in terms of real money values when their policies do mature? There was a Question down in the House last month by Deputies Gerry L'Estrange and Luke Belton asking the Taoiseach how much the £ was worth in 1932, 1948, 1956, 1966 and 1967 in terms of the present £ and the reply given on behalf of the Taoiseach was circulated in the Official Report. Just so that no one will accuse me of misquoting it, may I say that the table is prefaced by this statement, "Estimated amounts which would be required at mid-August, 1968 to purchase the same quantum of goods and services at retail prices as would £1 in the years specified. The estimates are based on the retail price index numbers." We find according to that table, going back, first of all, to the year 1932, that the estimated amount required at mid-August, 1968, to purchase the same amount of goods as would have been purchased for £1 in the year 1932 was £4 1s 2d. In other words, as compared with the year 1932, the £ had dropped in value by approximately three-quarters, was worth roughly 5/-as compared with what it was worth in 1932. However, that is a long way away. But we find that the estimated amount required at mid-August, 1968, to purchase what could have been purchased for £1 in the year 1956 was £1 9s 11d. So that, in those years the £ again had decreased in value.

This is a matter which, it is fair to say, probably is not merely of peculiar importance to this country: it is something that all countries have to experience. However, when we find a situation in which people's savings are being reduced in value not through any fault of their own but merely because the money that is put aside for savings has gone down in value, then it is necessary to do something fairly drastic to try to persuade the people to continue saving. I do not know whether the Government have anything in mind other than a continuation of the pattern of national loans from time to time.

Certainly, the last inter-Party Government, by introducing the Prize Bonds scheme, introduced what was at the time a novel departure, one that caught the imagination of the people and which was, I think it will be acknowledged now, of considerable assistance to the development of the country since in the amount that was invested in the scheme. If the Government try to think up something novel, something likely to attract the support of the people, they may yet get savings on a worthwhile footing and keep them there.

The principal point I want to make is that it appears essential the Government should do something and that exhortations, whether from the Government Benches or these Benches, will not be completely successful from the point of view of getting savings from the people.

Deputy L'Estrange addressed another question to the Taoiseach on Thursday, 31st October last, about the consumer price index. The Taoiseach was asked for the consumer price index figures, (a) for 1965 and (b) for the latest available date. He was also asked the reason for any increase. A statement was circulated with the Official Report which stated that the consumer price index, base August, 1947, 100, was 181 at mid-August, 1965, and 200 at mid-August, 1968. The statement circulated dealt with the increases according to the various commodity groups.

In relation to nine or ten different items of food, varying increases were listed giving a total increase, as far as food is concerned, of 6.66 points. Of that, bread, which always has been regarded as the staple diet of the people, alone showed an increase of 2.13 points. In the middle of the statement, housing showed an increase of 2.40 points, rates and rents of rented dwellings showed an increase of 1.74 points, and then there is a list of sundry items which accounted for an increase amounting to 8.6 points; among the figures, cigarettes and tobacco showed an increase of 2.27 points. There we had a gradual increase not merely in items which would be regarded as luxuries.

In so far as the Members of the House and the general body of the public are concerned, price increases in luxury commodities are, by and large, regarded as acceptable. Though most of us would feel that everyone is entitled to a little luxury, to whatever luxury he or she can afford, at least it is more desirable if money is going to be raised by Government taxation that the taxation should in the first place bear on luxury articles.

However, in this table here, and this was given as I said on 31st October last, the increases I am speaking about are, by and large, not in the luxury category but are in respect of goods that most people would regard as essential. As far as food is concerned, we have had the increase to which I have referred in the price of bread. Other increases were in respect of milk, beef, flour, butter, mutton, rashers, tomatoes and bacon. There is an increase of nearly 1 per cent in clothing, an increase in fuel and light, rents and rates.

I referred also to the fact that the table shows, and this was before the present Budget, an increase of 2.27 points for cigarettes and tobacco and that has gone up again. I know that nowadays many people look on the smoking of cigarettes with a jaundiced eye, and I assume from the health point of view the general policy would be to try to get away from cigarette smoking, but many people still smoke cigarettes. For many people cigarettes are not regarded as being in the luxury class, and certainly for many, such as the old age pensioners throughout the country, tobacco is, I think, as much in the necessity category as any of the other items. Yet we find that in this Budget these commodities are getting another knock from the Government.

A question has been raised with regard to the bearing of Government policies on unemployment and on emigration. Many Deputies will remember that when Fianna Fáil were last in opposition, when they were endeavouring to tear down the then inter-Party Government, there was a lot of talk and propaganda about unemployment and emigration. They will remember we were told that the question of employment was the acid test of Government policy, that if the policy was putting people into employment it was all right. If it was not, if it was putting people out of employment, it was all wrong. In case the Parliamentary Secretary, the sole representative in the House of not merely the Government but the Fianna Fáil Party——

Like yourself, the only representative of Fine Gael and Deputy James Tully, the one representative of Labour.

——might overlook passing on this reminder to his absent colleagues I should like to get in on the records of the House.

I hope you will pass the remark on to your absent colleagues. If I so desire I can bring a fair number of them here. I could increase the membership by 100 per cent.

Would the Parliamentary Secretary be able to get a House?

I am not saying a House, but 100 per cent increase in the actual attendance.

The Parliamentary Secretary might overlook passing on the words of wisdom in the quotation I am about to give to his absent colleagues and for that reason I wish to get them on the records of the House. I was mentioning the fact that the test set by Fianna Fáil as to the effectiveness of a Government was the employment test. Speaking in Drogheda and reported in the Irish Press on the 16th February, 1957, the former Leader of the Fianna Fáil Party, Deputy Lemass, had this to say:

Unless the policy of the Government is successful in putting people to work, of giving a chance of getting work to all who are dependent on it for their livelihood, it is not good enough. The aim of any worthwhile policy must be full employment.

Again, in the Irish Press on the 23rd February, 1957, and remember Fianna Fáil were at that time striving to tear down the then Government and to assume the reins of Government themselves, Deputy Lemass is reported as saying:

The policy of any Government should be judged by its effect on employment. If it is putting more people into work it is all right. If it is putting them out of work, it is all wrong. Fianna Fáil had never refused to accept that test. Its main economic aim was to bring about conditions in which every Irishman and woman can get a livelihood in Ireland. Full employment must be the objective of any worthwhile programme.

It was only last week there was a question asked in this House with regard to employment and emigration. I am referring to the Dáil, Debates of Tuesday, 12th November, this month. Deputy L'Estrange asked the Taoiseach:

the total number of people who have left the land since 1956; and what plans the Government have to encourage people to stay on the land.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach gave this as a reply:

The number of persons mainly engaged in agriculture declined by 108,000 between 1956 and 1967.

He did go on to say:

This figure cannot, of course, be equated with the number leaving agriculture to take up employment elsewhere since the rate of decline is also affected by deaths and retirements and the number of new entrants.

I think the Parliamentary Secretary will agree that, even with the modification he appended to his answer, you have a situation that after 11 years, ten of them with Fianna Fáil Governments in office, the number of people engaged in what is the primary industry in this country has dropped by 108,000. When one thinks of figures such as 108,000 people it reminds one that at the time I am talking about, when Deputy Lemass was making those speeches, there was a figure that used to be bandied about, a figure of 100,000 new jobs for the people. If the Government were to report, in the context of 100,000 new jobs, that they had only succeeded in giving the people 10,000 or 20,000 or 30,000 new jobs, surely there would be grounds for serious criticism? Surely it would be open to criticism that they had not succeeded in fulfilling even 50 per cent of their target?

I know, and I say this to the Parliamentary Secretary in case he thinks I am unaware of it, that Fianna Fáil do not claim that that was a plan for 100,000 new jobs. I do not care whether it was a plan, or a proposal, or a proposition for a discussion. The fact of the matter is, and I do not think the Parliamentary Secretary will disagree with me, that that was the figure bandied about at the time, 100,000 new jobs, and here we have this month the Parliamentary Secretary coming into this House to tell us that in agriculture the number of people engaged in our primary industry has declined since 1956 by not less than 108,000.

Did I not say in reply to a supplementary that the reduction in Ireland was 18.1 per cent and that it was the lowest of 11 countries in an OECD report and that included Italy and West Germany? It is there in the Official Report.

The figure is ten, not 11. However, the Parliamentary Secretary will be able to make his speech on it. That is not the point. We are not concerned with what happened in other countries.

Is the Deputy not alleging something?

I would be interested to know where the Parliamentary Secretary got the figures for 1967.

I said ten years to 1956. I said twice as many people were leaving the land in Italy, percentagewise.

One of the things the present Government overlook at times is their job, the job they were elected to do, which is to deal with this country. We had for some months past Fianna Fáil drawing all sorts of conclusions about electoral systems in all other countries under the sun when what the people here were concerned with was the electoral system in this country. So, too, when we talk about the decline in people engaged on the land we are interested in the people engaged on the land in this country and not in Spain or Japan or anywhere else.

We did not quote those countries, I think.

You are chancing your arm now.

The same day another question was asked of the Taoiseach and it was also replied to by the Parliamentary Secretary. The Taoiseach was asked the total number of people who had emigrated since 1956. Perhaps before I give the reply which was given by the Parliamentary Secretary then, I should refer to a speech made by the present Minister for Local Government in this House in May, 1957. If my memory serves me at that time the present Minister for Local Government was a comparatively new recruit to this House. I think he had succeeded in getting in in the previous election.

No, 1949 or 1950, I think.

I am talking about Deputy Boland.

I do not blame the Parliamentary Secretary one bit for being at sixes and sevens. Apparently, he did not know that Deputy Blaney is still Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries.

You are going back to 1957. I thought that Deputy Blaney was Minister for Local Government then.

The present Minister for Local Government is, as far as we know, Deputy Boland.

I thought you were talking about 1957.

I am talking about a speech made by the present Minister for Local Government in 1957.

I got mixed up with your cross-references.

My recollection is that he was a comparative newcomer to the House at this time. This, in any event, is what he had to say. This was his reading of the election result which brought him into office as a member of the Government and brought Fianna Fáil back as the Government Party. It is recorded in the Dáil Debates of the 15th May, 1957, at columns 1283 and 1284. He said:

In my opinion, and in the opinion of any fair-minded person who even now goes back and looks over the speeches made in the election campaign, it is beyond all doubt that we were put in here as a Government to take the necessary steps to remedy the situation of mass unemployment and emigration brought about by the previous Government.

There we have the words on record of a person who at that time was a Minister of Government, who is still a Minister of Government. His reading of the general election which brought Fianna Fáil back as a Government was that they were put back to bring an end to a situation of mass unemployment and emigration which he said was brought about by the previous Government. You have in the same context, remember, the speeches that I have referred to the speech of the former Leader of the Fianna Fáil Party about employment being the test of Government policy. Now in that context let us look, 11 years later, at how Fianna Fáil have fared in relation to the job which, according to the Minister for Local Government, they were put there to do. The Taoiseach was asked in this House on the 12th of this month to state the total number of people who had emigrated since 1956 and again the Parliamentary Secretary replied. He said:

Reliable figures for net emigration are available only for intercensal periods. Between the Censuses of Population in April, 1956, and April, 1966, the total net emigration was 292,608.

There you have the story in the reply given by the Parliamentary Secretary. More than a quarter of a million people had emigrated in that ten year period up to April, 1966. When one thinks in terms of a quarter of a million people one wonders what would have been the result of the referendum if this quarter of a million were here also to add another quarter of a million to the vote against the Government. A quarter of a million people left the country in that period, there are 108,000 people fewer employed in agriculture. These are the figures that are given here by the Parliamentary Secretary.

We have the topsy-turvy economic situation where, shortly after Fianna Fáil coming back as a Government in the last general election, we had all the difficulties of 1966—we had the bank squeeze, the credit squeeze, we had the difficulties encountered in those days and we have this hair-shirt supplementary Budget introduced this month. In the field of economic planning there is little doubt but that this Government have been a complete failure. So far as the cost of living is concerned from the figures which I have quoted here, and which again are official figures given by the Government in reply to Parliamentary Questions, the Government again have proved to be a complete failure. The same undoubtedly is so in the field of price stability. Again, the drop in the value of the £, as shown in an official reply to a Parliamentary Question, demonstrates that very effectively. One has only to think of the housing needs and the demands made not only in this city but throughout the country to realise how the Government have failed to measure up to the needs of the times as regards housing. We have the anomalous position that we have a Government that have failed to measure up to the requirements in all of those fields— economic planning, housing, cost of living, employment, emigration, price stability—and yet that Government have succeeded in getting an overall majority in this House so that whatever their successes or failures are, and I think the failures are there to be demonstrated, the Government have no one but themselves to blame. They are in a position now, and they have been in a position for some time past, where merely by counting heads in this House they can enact any legislation they choose. They are in a position to implement any policies they desire. But, at the end of it all, the sum total result of giving Fianna Fáil an overall majority has been this supplementary Budget.

We had the experiences of 1966; we now have this supplementary budget just two years later. Remember the general election which resulted in this Fianna Fáil Government coming into office was in 1965, so that in a three-year period we have had these dire times and difficulties—and all that following a period when Fianna Fáil were also in office in the previous Dáil. It seems that this Fianna Fáil Government, in particular, have not proved themselves to be very successful in either planning or programming because during the last general election campaign Fianna Fáil could not see any difficulties in the way. There was a bright future facing the people and the only possibility of any trouble arising, apparently, in the minds of Fianna Fáil then, was the possibility that they might not be returned as a Government and that we might have inter-Party Government instead.

That line paid off in the last general election and I daresay that is why we have heard so many speeches from Fianna Fáil in this discussion referring to coalition Governments. It paid off in 1965. I refer now to a quotation which I have noted from the Irish Independent of 4th April, 1965, from the then Leader of the Fianna Fáil Party where he is reported as saying:

The only prospect now in sight——this was in April, 1965—

of future difficulty and of a slowing down of the momentum of the nation's advance would be a temporary interruption of Government leadership by reason of an interlude of ineffective minority government which might survive for a few months at most and then only if they did nothing. This is a danger which the people can eliminate by the manner in which they use their votes next Wednesday.

How did the people use their votes that Wednesday? They took that advice and elected the Fianna Fáil Government and straight away we were thrown into the blizzard of 1966. Now, two years later, we are in a situation where two major Budgets are produced by the same Fianna Fáil Government in the same year.

Deputy Lemass was also reported on the same occasion as saying:

If the progress now going on can be maintained for another five years not even a minority or coalition government could then stop it. This is the now-or-never stage of national economic development and on April 7th the people, by a majority, will decide one way or the other.

What did they decide? They decided to let Lemass lead on and straight away they were caught up in the blizzard of 1966 and they are now caught up in the second Budget of 1968.

I do not think this Government have anything to be proud of in introducing this Budget or that they are entitled to feel that they have been able to plan effectively even for a period of half a year. Perhaps it is not their fault, but surely the people are entitled to expect that the Government will be able so to organise their finances that they can carry on for a period of 12 months without major financial changes? The Minister for Social Welfare speaking here on 14th of this month at column 363 of the Dáil Debates said:

If there is to be any honesty or reality in the discussion of this whole problem, people must look upon the Government as a group who are genuinely concerned with doing what any business firm or, indeed, any domestic householder must do. That is to run the business or the household in accordance with their income and if it is necessary to do things better and bigger, then they must resort to the prudent use of borrowing.

I want to dwell for a moment on the phrase "that the people must look upon the Government as a group who are genuinely concerned with doing what any business firm or, indeed, any domestic householder must do ... run the business or the household in accordance with their income." It was the tradition in this country that Governments would come before the House once a year through their Minister for Finance and that he would lay before the House financial proposals to cover the span of a year, lay down the proposed income and expenditure in the State for 12 months. When the Minister for Social Welfare talks about the Government acting as any business firm or domestic householder must do to run the business or the household in accordance with their income, I do not think any of us will disagree with that as a headline. But what would we think of any business firm or householders who would only be able to manage their affairs for a period of five or six months and who would then have to go bumming around trying to raise money wherever they could, as the Government are doing in imposing these taxes? Is that the kind of example the Government want to set the people? Is that their conception of how a good business firm or a good domestic householder would act—that they would be able to manage their affairs for a six-months period only?

The Taoiseach, when the first Budget of the year was being introduced in April last, chided the Opposition with not being able to offer any effective criticism of it. I am reading from Volume 234, No. 3, of the Dáil Debates, column 369, dated the 25th April, 1968. This is what he said:

Even though the time since this debate started has been of short duration, the speeches from the Opposition benches have been markedly diffuse and inept as far as criticism of the Budget is concerned. In the circumstances, it is possible to have sympathy with Opposition Deputies for even though they cannot say it readily, they recognise the Budget as a good one, one that can stand up to any reasonable criticism, a Budget which is suited to our needs of the present and suited also to our hopes for the future.

"Our hopes for the future" and six or seven months later the same Taoiseach, acting in place of his Minister for Finance—whose recovery we all hope for—has to come into this House with another Budget, a Budget imposing considerable taxation and a Budget that will prove for many people to be a very great burden and a very great hardship.

As I said at the beginning, it seems to me that this Government are breaking up. I do not wish to indulge in any gloating; indeed, it is often a sorrowful spectacle to see this kind of thing happening to a political Party but it might be no harm for Fianna Fáil to prepare themselves for the worst. They should be prepared to face it and not postpone it; they should dissolve as quickly as possible.

I do not ever remember in this country, whether it be Fine Gael, inter-Party or Fianna Fáil Governments, a situation where the same Taoiseach had to repudiate a Junior Minister and a Senior Minister of his Cabinet. The present Taoiseach has found himself in that unenviable position. The Parliamentary Secretary, if my memory serves me right, was repudiated by the Taoiseach for some utterances of his with regard to the question of education and only within the last few days we have all witnessed the rather sorry spectacle of the Taoiseach having to talk as he did with regard to a speech made by a Senior Minister of the Government in relation to Partition. We had the Taoiseach going on record to express his regret that the speech had been made and to record the fact that it had not been made with his prior approval.

Could this kind of thing happen in a Government who were sure of themselves, who were confident in their policies and confident of the direction in which they were going? I do not believe so. The trouble is that the present Government are out of touch with the people. They are genuinely bewildered by the referendum defeat they got last month.

In these circumstances, I believe that the best service the present Government can give to the people is to withdraw the withering and dead hand of Fianna Fáil from the reins of government and to give the people an opportunity of handing over the reins of Government to a Government that will approach the problems with a fresh outlook, with more vigour and with more determination. I do not say this is any harsh way but I believe this is a natural outcome of being too long in office. Even their own supporters now realise that Fianna Fáil have been too long in office and that a change is coming—a necessary change.

As I see it, the responsibility is one which must be shared like by the Opposition and by the ordinary people of the country and to see to it that during the next few months, before the general election, the people will accept that another Government are coming into being shortly and that Fianna Fáil are going out of office. I have no doubt that Fianna Fáil will fight like tigers to convince the people that no Government, other than a Fianna Fáil Government, will suit the people of this country. I wish to say to the Government that it is a mistake for any one of us, whether we be a private Deputy or a Government Minister or a Government as a whole, to regard ourselves as being indispensable. No Deputy in this House is indispensable. The House will get along very well without us.

This Government are not indispensable to the people of this country. The people now recognise that whether they want it or not, this Government are going out of office and I sincerely trust that many Fianna Fáil supporters, recognising that, will also recognise the necessity for strengthening the hand of the incoming Government and of ensuring that the new Government to be formed after the next general election will get the opportunity which they will deserve of implementing their policies. We in Fine Gael will approach the matter in that way and I am hoping that many Fianna Fáil supporters throughout the country will also approach it in that way. If they do, the new Fine Gael Government will be able to achieve much for this country when it comes to office.

I am delighted to hear from Deputy M.J. O'Higgins that once more Fine Gael are manufacturing a new policy. This new policy, we have been told by Deputy O'Higgins, is being prepared for the next general election. I cannot recall how many policies have made their appearance in this country during the past number of years. There was one for every by-election but they did not turn out very successful and there was one for the referendum. That one——

Say "No". That was the policy for the referendum.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 20th November, 1968.