asked the Minister for Finance (a) the total amount of the National Debt at 31st March, 1957, and 31st March, 1969, (b) the cost of servicing it on these dates and (c) the total amount borrowed between the same dates.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - The National Debt.
The total amount of the national debt at 31st March, 1957, was £342 million and at 31st March, 1969, it is estimated at £914 million. The amount required for the service of the debt in 1956-57 and 1968-69 was £20 million and £76 million respectively. The amount of net Exchequer borrowing in the 12-year period was £671 million.
Does the Minister believe that it is good economic policy to continue to borrow and to leave posterity in debt? We are putting a millstone around the necks of the people and the people will not be able to get rid of it.
That is unworthy even of the Deputy.
Does the Minister not admit that the national debt and local authority debts now cost £105 million to service, that they cost as much now to service as it cost to run the country ten years ago?
Where is the money going? This is capital. This is money invested in agriculture, industry, houses, roads and in all the things the Deputy and his Party would purport, at any rate, to urge us to get on with.
Will the Minister——
Question No. 10. Deputy L'Estrange should not monopolise Question Time.
I want to ask one final question. Where are the people going? Is it not true that there are 70,000 fewer at work now than there were in 1957?
That is a separate question. The Deputy is getting away from the subject-matter of the question.
The Deputy should go through the country and he will see where the £671 million is. It is in roads, factories, houses, schools and hospitals. It is there serving the people.
There are 70,000 fewer persons employed now than there were ten years ago.
Would Deputy L'Estrange please allow questions to continue? Question No. 10.