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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 30 Mar 1971

Vol. 252 No. 10

Committee on Finance. - Vote 40: Industry and Commerce.

I move:

That a supplementary sum not exceeding £250,000 be granted to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1971, for the salaries and expenses of the Office of the Minister for Industry and Commerce, including certain services administered by that Office, and for payment of sundry grants-in-aid.

This Supplementary Estimate is necessary to meet excess expenditure on certain subheads of the Vote which could not be foreseen when the original Estimate was framed.

The sum of £57,000 provided under subhead A is required to meet the twelfth round pay increases over the year for the staff of my Department.

The excess of £13,500 on subhead B is mainly due to increased travelling in connection with industrial promotion particularly in East European countries and in connection with our application to join the Common Market.

The excess of £8,200 on subhead D is due to the long delay in delivery of some equipment ordered in earlier years.

An additional sum of £41,500 is required by the Institute of Industrial Research and Standards to meet twelfth round pay increases over the year.

In relation to the Industrial Development Authority the original estimate in this case was prepared before the enactment of the Industrial Development Act, 1969. The sum of £187,500 includes additional expenditure of £41,500 for salaries, in respect of the twelfth round increase, £77,000 for office equipment and expenses, £19,000 for rent and rates and £50,000 for consultancy services.

An additional sum of £8,400 is needed to cover increased costs attributable to the twelfth round pay increase for the Irish National Productivity Committee.

Since the start of the Buy Irish Campaign, it has been mainly dependent on State funds. The grant towards promotional work was at the rate of £20,000 a year. This was reduced in the current year to £10,000 in the hope that the campaign would be selfsupporting by contributions from industry. This hope has not been realised and a further grant of £10,000 will be necessary.

The House is already aware of the circumstances of the Government's involvement in the operation of Castlecomer Collieries Limited. The problem created by the closure was that of workmen's compensation to some 40 workers who had sustained injuries or contracted illnesses in the course of their work before the Social Welfare (Occupational Injuries) Act, 1966 was enacted. It was necessary to provide £57,000 to meet these payments, which were fixed by court order, as only £21,000 was available from the assets of the company.

In relation to appropriations-in-aid the receipts from the Minerals Development Acts under subhead S (3) are now expected to yield £477,000 because of an improvement in metal prices during the current year.

In conclusion, may I point out that the gross amount required in this Supplementary Estimate is £333,100. Off-setting savings on other subheads of the Vote amount to £83,100 and bring the net requirements to £250,000.

I recommend the Supplementary Estimate to the House.

This is a Supplementary Estimate and the arrangement is that we shall be brief and allow the money to pass so that work can go on in the Department. I presume the debate is intended to end at 10.30 p.m. and I propose to share my time with the Labour Party.

The importance of the Department of Industry and Commerce transcends all the other things we have been talking about in this House for the past few weeks and all the things which bishops have been talking about outside it. All these things are of little importance compared with the employment of our people. We do not have to go very far to realise that it is only in industry that new jobs will be found. We now have an unemployment figure of 70,000 and we headed the league again in the number of work days lost. It was 900,000 odd in the previous year; it is now 1,000,000 work days lost. There should, of course, have been a Minister for Labour long before that Ministry was established. When the Minister for Labour and his colleague, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, come to ponder their stewardship they must wonder whether or not there were, in fact, faults on their and their predecessors' side as well as on the side of those directly involved. That is something we must seriously consider in this Supplementary Estimate. It would be wrong to generalise but it would be equally wrong not to advert to it. Taking the various subheads it is quite in order, in my view, to advert to these particular facets of our industrial structure which are creating a situation in which there will be no more new factories this year and a decrease in industrial expansion.

The position is that we have galloping inflation. The figure given for last year is 10 per cent. The average for European countries is exactly half that. Inflation is the robber of the poor and the feeder of the rich. Anybody with bricks, stones, mortar, green fields or holdings in industry merely waits for property to appreciate as cash values deteriorate but the poor man, the man who has no property, has to go on existing on the shilling in his pocket. That is why inflation is the robber of the poor. Inflation in this country has been absolutely savage. As I say, it is double the rate of anywhere else in Europe, with the exception of Britain. Mark you, Britain is a country in which, perhaps, there may be the most dire cutback as far as work and jobs are concerned, apart from ourselves.

The party of which I am proud to be a member—a party which, in my view, will take over before many more political moons have waxed and waned —will see to it as a first priority that the work of the prices section of the Department will be streamlined and legislation passed to ensure that that body is really effective. If the job is mine I shall see to it that that body does its work. I do not say that by way of reflection on those involved but merely to give notice that the responsibility for prices rests with the Minister for Industry and Commerce and there is grave necessity to ensure that prices do not rise too high and that jobs are not put in jeopardy because of impotence on the part of a section of a Department. If a section is impotent that is the fault of the Minister and the fault of the Government.

The present Minister has not been very long in the job. I believe that the prices section of his Department is impotent largely because of ineffective legislation. There is not the proper control that there should be. In cases in which it is vital that there should be an increase in the price of a commodity so that jobs will not be imperilled there is inordinate delay and that delay can be laid at the feet of the Minister and his predecessor. So hopeless has the position been that ordinary working people have had to make decisions to go back to their employers and seek more wages, more paper money, because increases are eaten up in inflation. Sometimes the position has been that the employer could not grant an increase because of the price of the commodity he was producing. There is the person who needs a price increase, can indisputably prove his justification for such an increase, but cannot get that increase and thereby loses his profits. On the other hand, there is the unfortunate consumer who is mulcted. How could any woman going into a gown shop say that the price of a frock had been increased by £3 since last year and she will report that increase to the prices section of the Department of Industry and Commerce? The same situation exists in regard to shoes and everything else. Can the Minister say he would pay this year the same price that he paid last year for an identical suit? These are the things that are causing galloping inflation, an inflation that is so difficult to correct, an inflation that may cause grave unemployment. It is certainly causing grave unrest.

With regard to the Industrial Development Authority, there is a serious discrepancy in the level of grants to existing industry and to new industry. Looking through the report one notes that certain industries, perhaps, industries with a high female employment content, get huge grants while other industries get minute grants. One realises here that the Government have been a little politically activated in the grants system. They have been very happy to see the local TD at the opening of a new factory, having a ball of malt with the Minister—not with this Minister, of course, because in his case it would be Club Orange— calling attention to the new jobs, jobs which may mean more votes. But there is more to it than that. Existing industry must be looked after. It will be the policy of my party that where an existing industry has made a major development—I do not say it should be 50 per cent of the capital employed —we will give grants at the same level as those given to new industry.

I do not want to develop this into a general debate, but I must advert to one self-evident fact. I have been sitting here for some years now listening to Ministers for Industry and Commerce reading their briefs and none of them has ever adverted to one self-evident fact. The reason we are becoming the highest cost country in Europe is that the east of Ireland, through indirect taxation, through PAYE and, generally, through the volume of taxation from the large number of people living in the east, has had to provide the minimum infrastructure for the rest of Ireland, for the poor areas, the areas denuded of population. The minimum infrastructure of hospitals, roads, Garda barracks and everything else has meant that the people of the east have had to bear a level of taxation unparalleled anywhere in Europe. I put it to the people of the east of Ireland that they have got to realise that, if the other areas in the country do not develop and expand at some reasonable rate, then the level of direct and indirect taxation and rates that must be levied upon them will mean that we will be the highest cost producer in Europe. If that situation develops we will reach the point of no return. My definition of the economic point of no return is where you take a county or half a county, an industry or an individual company and decide, after a dispassionate examination of the prospects, that there is no hope for it. I could give the Minister areas—and if he campaigned in the Donegal-Leitrim by-election he could give me the same areas—where there is no hope.

The people of the east of Ireland must at last be made to realise that the only way in which a reasonable price level and a reasonable living can be attained for the ordinary working man is in the development of the designated areas. We industrialists must be encouraged to go further than Dublin. Otherwise, because of that infrastructure I have mentioned, the State taxation by way of rates, rents, taxes indirect and direct, on the people who are producing and who are in large number on the east coast will result in Ireland having the highest cost economy in Europe.

I am proud again to say that we on this side of the House were the first to produce a policy which faced up to that self-evident fact. The job I am trying to do tonight, before I move to the various items of the Minister's speech, is to sell to the people of Ireland this fact that it is no good for the NIEC report of 1962 to tell the Government that there should be growth centres specified when the Government, in case they would lose votes, will not act on it and we are left with Galway, Waterford, Shannon, Sligo and a couple more areas. In 1963, 1964, 1965 and 1966 we should have been designating our growth centres, building our advance factories, looking at our complete national infrastructure, building roads that were fit to carry our heavy goods from the particular places where our factories should have been. We should have been telling the truth but, unfortunately, we are ruled by a Government who think only of their own political future. I often think that, perhaps, the proudest moment of the political existence of the father of the leader of Fine Gael—and the people opposite did not believe it was possible—was to hand over the machinery of State having been defeated in an election. His proudest moment was when by so doing he proved he had instituted democracy in this country without as much as a blow being struck or a gun discharged. That is not what we are here to discuss tonight, but I do want to impress upon the Minister the necessity for a policy of growth centres, advance factories, of stating where we are prepared to allow factories to be built, of giving that flexibility whereby, if a chamber of commerce or an organisation in a small western town produces a project, we will give them a grant to make a feasibility study and that we will tell them the truth and lose votes if necessary. We in Fine Gael were always ready to do that; perhaps that was one of our political mistakes. Having done that feasibility study, it is our policy to help those who are prepared to help themselves in the establishment of a factory in that small town, which might not be in the growth centre or which might not be at the location where the advance factory was built. That is our policy. We have also a "first" in that the empty railway wagons and the empty CIE lorries returning from these areas will get subsidised freight rates and that people in Mayo will be encouraged to produce goods in Mayo knowing they will get a subsidised freight rate or no freight rate at all depending on the decision of the cost of bringing the goods to the east coast for export and for selling to the people who live in what is now referred to in copying London, as Greater Dublin.

This Supplementary Estimate is introduced at a time when the attack on profits by the Government is unprecedented. I must not go into too great detail but I want to advert to the fact that we are talking on the various subheads here about encouragement for industry, about providing grants for industry, about providing salaries for people to issue grants to industry to do all these things. Not many months ago there was introduced in this House a package deal. That package deal was the Prices and Incomes Bill, 1970, and the Finance (No. 2) Bill of the same year. In the Prices and Incomes Bill that was introduced there was the abhorrent provision pegging wages, which is not practicable anyway, as everybody knows. There was the pegging of rents for furnished flats, furnished homes and so on which, in my view, is extremely desirable, from 31st December, 1971. There was the pegging of prices and various other provisions.

Of course, the Government had to do something else. They said: "We have been very rough on the working man. What will we do with the big fat business magnates who will still get their profits?" They produced the Finance (No. 2) Bill which increased company taxation to the staggering figure for a small nation like this of 58 per cent. Faced with the utter impracticality of pegging wages they removed the Prices and Incomes Bill in toto; they did not amend it and remove the abhorrent features from it. It must be remembered that in that Bill they did not peg rents. I had to advert —indeed some of my friends will not thank me for it—to the dreadful situation in Drogheda town in regard to the charging of rents for furnished homes to unfortunate people who found themselves without a corporation house in which to live. They then created a situation whereby, at 58 per cent taxation, industry is being pressurised to the stage at which it is not worth while any more to work in industry. There is no longer the profit motive and existing industry that is not exporting or is exporting an old export as distinct from a new export is giving 58 per cent, on average, of its profits back to the Government. Then the people who derive some income either through dividends or salaries from a company or an industry pay their personal tax after that again.

Where is the incentive? Why have we done this? The political correspondent of the Sunday Independent told us last Sunday week that in round figures the Budget will turn out with a deficit of £30 million, that revenue has increased by £58 million and that expenditure has increased by £88 million. The reason given for this extraordinary and incalculable loss in the development of Irish industry and the loss of Irish jobs was that in the year ending 31st March the extra revenue therefrom will be £3,500,000 and in a full year it will be £6 million. Because of this high level of taxation we are forcing out of this country people who might have developed their industry further. We are forcing out people who have not got new exports. This is absolutely against expansion but at the same time we are giving out millions of pounds in grants to create new jobs. The thinking in relation to all this is inexcusable and what is needed is a powder keg in the Departments of Finance and Industry and Commerce.

I shall refer now to the Buy Irish Campaign. The Minister said he hoped that existing industry would put up £10,000 towards this campaign but he now finds that he must provide the full amount of £20,000 himself. Why should industry, having been treated so shabbily, put up anything? The fact that they have not done so is a measure of their confidence in the Government. One of the first things done by Mr. Faulkner in Northern Ireland was to discontinue the campaign aimed at attracting industry to the north at a cost of £100,000. He did this because he knew that while there were disturbances in that part of the country, no campaign would succeed in attracting industrialists. Is it not an insult to the Minister and to his predecessors that the many industries in this country, some of them employing thousands of workers, would not, between them, contribute 100 subscriptions of £100 each?

In relation to the east European countries, I can tell the Minister that our efforts in this direction are a waste of money. I have some little experience of dealing with these people. They will sell to you if they want hard currency and they will buy from you if they have not got the particular commodity themselves but they will buy them of the lowest quality and at the lowest price possible in any part of the world. They will not live up to the spirit of their bargaining. Therefore, we would be far better off intensifying our efforts towards exporting to Britain. We would be far better off searching, as I am searching at the moment in respect of one particular factory in my constituency, for a country in western Europe who, via the Anglo-Irish Free Trade Area Agreement, are anxious to get their goods into Britain and who can send partially manufactured goods here to be completed or who could have goods produced under licence at their plant here. These industrial goods could then be sent to Britain. If we did this we would not have to go behind the Iron Curtain and make asses of ourselves. All I could do in my dealing with these people was lose money.

Deputies have been asking questions about the imbalance of trade between east European countries and our own country. From time to time they have said we should force these people to do this or do that and that if we buy £100,000 worth of goods from them, we should ensure that they buy goods to the same value from us. They are not interested in doing business in that way. Trade pacts have been made with Britain and can be made with America. They can be made, too, with the traditionally governed countries but there is not a hope in so far as these east European countries are concerned.

In relation to the Castlecomer collieries, I am not sure that enough has been done. I remember hearing a very helpful comment in this House from Deputy Crotty's late father when first there was trouble in relation to these collieries. This party was firmly behind any efforts made to mitigate hardship or displacement of workers in the area. I hope that matters will go well in so far as the Ballingarry collieries are concerned. I know that the people down there are doing their best. They are decent people. So far as my party are concerned every help will be given to them.

Under the subhead for geological survey, there is merely an indication that machinery was late in arriving. There is not much point in referring to this except to say that I hope the most energetic efforts will be made in relation to geological surveys and that we will keep abreast of all mining developments as they occur. In this regard, I might say that the debate on the Adjournment the other night was interesting. The Minister acted wisely. The proper procedure was adopted in relation to Tara Mines. The Minister was courteous and his approach was fair. That is what I would expect from a Minister whom I believe to be an honest man.

The appropriations-in-aid remind us that we now have royalties accruing from mineral exploration. The Minister mentioned the other evening that he expects greater royalties from the present strike which is the subject of some comment. My view is that the Minister is entitled to these and I hope he will approach this in a business-like manner, in a manner in which nobody kills the goose who lays the golden egg but where, at the same time, one expects to be in a position to pick the golden egg from the nest and leave the goose to lay another the following day. It is my belief that the Government have acted correctly in this instance. Since this matter is sub judice at the moment I suppose it is not right for us to discuss it in detail but I would say to the Minister that he is entitled to seek extra royalties and I wish him luck in that regard.

Let the appropriations-in-aid increase. Any ratepayer in this country knows how much he must contribute. Therefore, it is necessary that there be an equality of the carrying of the burden and in this regard, royalties accruing from mineral strikes are necessary and proper. I am sure this is international practice. The extra money for the Institute of Industrial Research and Standards I am pleased to see included in the Supplementary Estimate. I am aware of the work of this institute. It is good work and I hope it will be proceeded with.

The Irish National Productivity Committee are spending quite a bit of money and sometimes I wonder as I wondered at one stage in relation to the Agricultural Institute and still wonder sometimes if the work of that body is related in a commercial way to the benefits that the country can enjoy. I would hope that there would be a less academic approach than there might be and a more practical approach. I will say no more about that except that I would hope that practical benefits would be emerging and that we would not be paying money without getting something back. I think we are not but at the same time it might well be that a more practical approach might be possible.

Having said that, I shall sit down because this is but a Supplementary Estimate. I have made a general case in brief which I shall expand upon on the main Estimate. The Minister is facing a most difficult time in industry. Most of the difficulties spring from the economic and fiscal policies of his own party.

The Deputy is anticipating the coming year.

Well then the Minister is in a most difficult time at this moment. This difficult time is largely the result of the economic and fiscal policies of his own party. As a Member of the Cabinet he must try to change that. In his position as Minister for Industry and Commerce he must change that. All we are waiting for is a chance to do it for him much better than he could do it.

I cannot refrain from commenting on Deputy Donegan's last sentence. There is nobody in this country who knows the difficult position the Minister is in better than the Minister himself as a representative of Laois-Offaly. He knows all about it and he does not try to hide it at all. It is always on his mind. I shall allow time for Deputy Crotty to speak on this Supplementary Estimate.

This is relatively small compared with other Supplementary Estimates. Just look at the figures for this Department over the last three years: £10 million for 1968-69; £16 million for 1969-70; £23½ million for 1970-71; £24 million now. If I wanted deliberately to create inflation and destroy the currency of a country that is the way I would behave. I shall take an example, that of the IDA. Its expenditure on administration was about £260,000 in 1968-69. This year it will be £1,037,000, four times as much. That kind of thing goes to my heart. The salaries, wages and allowances under the Department itself are not so bad but the travelling and incidental expenses are up from £22,000 last year to £36,000 this year. How does Industry and Commerce do that kind of thing? Of course, I enjoyed myself thoroughly when I was in the Department of Finance. I was constantly stuck in them. I had the greatest contempt for that Department when I compared it with the Department of Agriculture which at that time had serious problems which the Minister's own Department has now. At that time the Department of Industry and Commerce had nothing whatever to do with exports. There were negligible exports and the Department had nothing to do with them but now they have and they will learn very quickly. I hope they will change and become more like what the Department of Agriculture was 25 years ago.

The expenditure on the Institute for Industrial Research and Standards— Deputy Donegan approved its work, I am sure it is doing excellent work— since 1967-68, that is in three years, has more than doubled. The other one quadrupled in two years, a most absurd and ridiculous situation. I shall have a few very trenchant words to say about the people in the IDA in a moment. That is what they are capable of, quadrupling their expenditure on administration and staff in two years.

The corporation profits tax here is now 58 per cent. It was cut to 40 per cent in Britain today. We have fabulous grants to foreign companies who get them only for export and they are hardly here six months when they are coming to the Minister's Department looking for the right to sell inside this country. You have not yet felt the kind of breeze in our industry that will hit us if any international depression occurs. Continuously the Government talk about creating employment. This game is rather like creating credit. These two phrases are not used in sophisticated countries. We are constantly given to them and no Department more given to them than the Minister's Department.

I want to come now to the report of the Industrial Development Authority since there is so much money in this Supplementary Estimate for that body. I think it is discreditable on the part of the two men who signed this report and I repeat the word "discreditable"—John H. Donovan, Chairman—no credit to the name if I may say so—and Michael J. Killeen. You would think from this report that the IDA was established in 1952. Every word in it suggests it. I went over to the Library and got out a book of fairy tales entitled: "Éire: Achtanna an Oireachtais. Acts of the Oireachtas, 1950."

Did any leprechauns leap out?

Some interesting things came to light. No. 29. Industrial Development Authority Act, 1950. Mind you when the Fianna Fáil Party came back into office a man who was not a leprechaun at all but was the best administrator the Fianna Fáil Party has ever produced, Deputy Seán Lemass, said the first thing he would do would be to demolish this. When the Act came into the House he said he would abolish this authority when he came back into office. He did not do it then. I think it is discreditable on the part of these men to approach this thing in the way they did, in this dirty manner, this filthy dirty way. They start off with the Industrial Development Act, 1969, and go on in and out of the thing in every way they can except to tell the simple truth. If they had even put in one paragraph I would say: "Fair enough", but, according to them, it was all done in 1960; nobody did anything before 1960 and nobody thought up anything before those who thought up the idea of inflation, of getting this country heavily in debt. Let me read out one section of this Act of 1950, section 3:

The Authority shall be an autonomous body with the following functions:

(i) to initiate proposals and schemes for submission to the Minister for the creation and development of Irish industries;

(ii) to survey possibilities of further industrial development and advise the Minister thereon;

(iii) to advise the Minister on steps necessary and desirable for establishing new industries;

and so on. It is all there: it is just in different language in this Industrial Development Authority (Ireland) Review, 1952-1970. Why 1952? It has no significance in this context except pull and I know what the pull is; it has nothing to do with the IDA.

I want to say a few words about the nature of these enormous grants given for new industries. I shall not decry these new industries although I could quite easily in regard to a couple of counties. I could take them one by one and tell the truth about their present position but I want to talk about adaptation grants. I can understand adaptation grants being given to companies that are not enormously wealthy corporations but let me read these names picked at random from pages 82 onwards of this report. I took the big ones: to Gateaux Limited, Dublin, for confectionery, so far, £93,000; to Arthur Guinness and Company for malting—that was not the only one for malting; I noticed others—£147,000 up to the present; to HB Ice Cream Limited, Rathfarnham, for ice cream, £201,000; to Irish Biscuits, Limited, Dean's Grange, £163,100. That is the new factory. What is the adaptation money for? All I shall say about Rowntree-Mackintosh is that whether they would subscribe to Deputy Donegan's scheme to buy Irish or not I think they would be very unlikely to give a subscription to the Minister's party in an election campaign. I would reckon that many of those who would not subscribe to the Buy Irish Campaign gave large sums to the Minister's party in all elections in the last decade.

That might be protection money.

It might also be throwing out a sprat to catch a salmon in certain cases. There is also P.J. Carroll and Company, Dundalk. I have the greatest respect for the company but that is not what I am talking about. They got £183,400 for cigarette and pipe tobacco. Robert Usher and Company, Drogheda, got £89,000; Albatros Fertilisers Limited, New Ross, £250,000. There is nothing deliberate about the way I picked these people; it was the idea of giving such companies adaptation grants. What standards have we? I know how it happens. Rules should be drawn up so that such people would not get adaptation grants.

I asked the Taoiseach a question recently. I wanted a list of the documents submitted by people exporting minerals. I am glad there is something relevant in the Supplementary Estimate about this, an additional sum for appropriations-in-aid arising from mining of £50,000. This is not bad; I am all for it. I asked the Taoiseach for a list of documents submitted when companies are exporting mineral ores. I did not get anything, not even the statement that it was the ordinary bill of lading. I wanted to know what check was made on the accuracy of these documents. I was told it was done by the customs men who passed them to the Central Statistics Office who then checked them—I suppose to make sure the arithmetic was right.

I asked a question of the Minister the other day. He gave me a long answer but no information in which he said that prospecting work programmes are carried out under the general supervision of the "Geological Survey of my Department"—which is also in the Supplementary Estimate—"which is also responsible for checking on results reported". We were not born yesterday. I take it the Minister has been reading about Australia. I have myself occasionally read examples from South Africa. We must be very careful on this matter because the greater part of the income of South Africa depends on mining. The Minister said that it would not be appropriate for him to comment in detail on the checking system. I had asked: "What checks if any were made on behalf of the State?" I merely wanted him to state the checks. He is not prepared to do that. I did not want detailed comment. He then said: "I can assure the Deputy it is adequate to test the accuracy of the claims made for mineral quality of cores from bore holes."

Does this mean that in the case of the 166 bore holes to which the Minister referred the other night made by Tara that did not yield anything, there was no check on whether or not they did, in fact, yield anything?

I do not know.

The Deputies are talking on two different subjects. Deputy Donegan is talking about bore holes and Deputy O'Donovan about exports.

I am talking about both. The first question to the Taoiseach was about exports and that to the Minister was about cores from bore holes. I asked the Minister: "What checks are made on behalf of the State on the accuracy of the claims..." I wanted to know what the checks were. I did not want to be told that the Geological Survey does it.


Dr. O'Donovan is in possession.

Where was the Geological Survey for the last 100 years if we have these valuable minerals? I believe there should be accuracy about these things, that there should be no doubt in the public mind that the claims made are accurate. I stand over that question.

That is a function for the Stock Exchange.

Come off it.

One Deputy at a time. Deputy O'Donovan is in possession.

I am going to finish with that. I do not regard this matter tonight as important. I do not regard it as nearly as important as the Industrial Development Authority aspect of this Supplementary Estimate although it could be very important on another occasion. I could say a lot more about the amount of money the Industrial Development Authority are spending this year. You could do what the present Government are doing, borrow large sums of money abroad, spend a good part of them here and add to the GNP for one year and you get a most wonderful result. Of course the truth is there was supposed to be a one and a half per cent growth this year. This Industrial Development Authority Report is full of this GNP thing. This is one of the greatest frauds ever. I do not think officials should laugh when a Deputy is talking in this House.

The officials cannot answer the Deputy.

Deputies must not refer to officials in the House.

Officials should not laugh at Deputies.

Deputies must not refer to officials in the House.

I take the blame for that. I was smiling behind the Deputy.

I have not eyes in the back of my head.

A discussion at this stage is out of order.

Quite rightly, but I think I was right to protest.

The Chair has already said that Deputies may not refer to officials in the House.

The Deputy's colleague was laughing.

The Deputy has interrupted me enough tonight and if he interrupts me again I will tell him to shut up.

Deputy Crowley will have to cease interrupting.

He is making a very bad job of it.

Deputy Donegan also will have to cease interrupting.

This GNP thing is the greatest fraud which was ever perpetrated in any part of the world, this business of creating arithmetical superstructures. In fact what they are doing is inflating through the destruction of the currency and nowhere has it been more than in this country where at the moment we are borrowing large sums abroad and the only good sign is that our exports went up last year by a larger percentage than our imports. They went up absolutely by slightly more than imports and percentagewise they went up quite sizeably. That is the only good sign I see in this country at the moment. All the other signs, particularly those illustrated by Deputy Donegan, are unfavourable, unfortunately.

I was indeed very surprised to hear Deputy O'Donovan and Deputy Donegan talk about the royalties of mining and not knowing how they were calculated. I would have thought the two principal spokesmen of the Opposition parties would know the basis on which this royalty calculation was made but obviously they do not. I am surprised that before making comments on that particular issue they did not go to the trouble of finding out the facts.

Substantiate that.

I did not make any comment. I asked a question which was not answered.

The Deputy has made a charge against me and he should substantiate it.

Deputy Crowley without interruption.

The more the Deputy talks the more he shows his ignorance of the subject. If the Deputy kept quiet he might be in a much better state.

I will not be attacked in this House. Deputy Crowley has stated an untruth in my opinion. I merely ask in the normal gentlemanly way if he will please substantiate the charge he made both against myself and Dr. O'Donovan.

Does the Deputy not realise that the royalties are calculated on profits and not on tonnage?

What has that to do with this?

Of course it is the most significant factor of all. Does the Deputy want the State coming along spending more money on necessary work, on necessary checks, on necessary calculations?

On a point of explanation——

Deputy Crowley is in possession now.

On a point of order, is Deputy Crowley entitled to impute things to me that are untrue? What does it matter whether or not the increase was on the point of the profits or of the tonnage?

It is not a point of order.

In fact I praised the situation whereby there was an increase.

That is not a point of order.

I am sorry if I hurt the Deputy in any way.

The Deputy did not hurt me.

Nevertheless, the Deputy should make himself aware of the facts before commenting on them. Of course it is very relevant as far as the Department of Industry and Commerce are concerned, and as regards the questions raised by Deputy O'Donovan, as to the basis on which those calculations are made. It is totally unnecessary to have officials of the Department going around checking and ensuring that the statements put out by the various mining companies are correct. That is not a function of the Department of Industry and Commerce. I am sure all people who know anything about the industry would agree with me in that.

I thought the mines in Ireland belonged to the people of Ireland.

Of course they do.

If Deputies will cease this cross-chat and if the Deputy in possession will address the Chair we can get on with the debate.

Deputy Desmond raised the point that the mineral rights of Ireland are owned by the people of Ireland. Of course they are. They are vested in the Government on behalf of the people of Ireland and nobody denies that fact. That is stating the obvious. The Department have obligations from the point of view of ensuring that all commitments entered into are honoured, that where a prospecting licence is issued and when a company complies with all the regulations and to the satisfaction of the Minister that company should automatically get a mining licence.

This is something I do not want to raise in the House any more because the more talk there is at this stage about this particular mining venture the more harm it may do to the company itself. However, it is very important from our point of view here that we ensure that justice is done and is seen to be done because as far as I am concerned this could have repercussions on a vast scale as far as the industry of this country is concerned. I know the Minister is very concerned with the type of repercussions that could occur if any opportunistic deals were pulled off on this particular occasion. I read today in the Financial Times where one of the biggest United States corporations is thinking of coming into this country to prospect. The great thing about this is that we have those people coming over here getting to know Ireland, getting to know the people in Ireland, getting to know the various officials in the Department. The potential for the future industrialisation of the country, outside the mining industry, is tremendous if we look after those people properly. I do not have with me the figures of the amount of money which the IDA spends in trying to attract industry to this country but here is a heaven sent opportunity to put our best officials in contact with the directors and executives of some of the biggest companies in the world. This is an opportunity which should not be lost. We must satisfy these people who are investing in this country that we are prepared to honour every one of our commitments. We must show them we mean business. We must welcome these people and hope they will give good employment to our people.

When I raised the matter of the mining industry on the Adjournment I said I did not want to discuss the present rate of royalties or whether or not there is merit in the present system of royalties. I do not think we should enter into this issue at the present time.

The Deputy appreciates that there is nothing in the Supplementary Estimate about mining.

I appreciate that.

The Supplementary Estimate deals with geological surveys.

Whatever that is. I assume a geological survey is a preliminary to mining.

But it does not open a discussion on the mining industry.

It has been discussed.

Only geological surveys.

I must comply with the ruling of the Chair, but I cannot see why, if we are going to discuss geological surveys, we cannot automatically discuss prospecting and mining, because they are a natural sequence to the surveys in the first place. However, if the Chair so rules, I am quite prepared to obey the ruling.

The position is that it is only the work of geological surveys which is concerned in this Supplementary Estimate.

For clarification may I ask who advises the Minister on mining and the various aspects of prospecting and mining other than members of the geological survey team? I am not trying to put the Chair in an awkward position, but it would seem to me to be a natural sequence.

Their work is in order for discussion but what we are concerned with here on the Estimate is the sanctioning of the expenditure of money for this work under subhead D.

Does the Chair feel we should not even discuss prospecting or mining under that heading?

The Chair is only concerned at the present time with the work of the geological survey.

I accept what the Chair says.

Deputy Dr. O'Donovan raised what they did in regard to tests.

Surely, geological tests have an absolute bearing on the future of the mining industry?

The Chair could not permit a discussion on the mining industry at this stage.

I think it is a very important point and, if the Chair says we cannot discuss it, then I will accept the Chair's ruling.

I do not know what the Whips' agreement is.

I was under the same impression as the Deputy.

I have taken over from Deputy Burke and he told me there were to be speakers from all sides provided no effort was made to carry them on.

The Chair understands there has been an informal agreement, but the Chair has no control over informal agreements.

This Supplementary Estimate is not affected by the informal agreement.

Does that mean I can discuss mining?

The Chair is now talking about the ending of the discussion.

There are some other Estimates to come up for further discussion.

Is this one of the Supplementary Estimates we need to get through by the end of the month?

How many more have we to get through?

All the Supplementary Estimates on the Order Paper have to be got through by tomorrow night.

I presume we can discuss all other aspects of the Department of Industry and Commerce?

No, only the ones arising on the Supplementary Estimate.

The Industrial Development Authority does come under that?

Only salaries and wages. It is very difficult when Deputies do not read the Supplementary Estimates and yet tell other people that they do not know about mining.

The Deputy's visit tonight will have been worth while if he has learned something about the mining industry even though it was not in order to discuss it. This party have always been committed to the industrialisation of the rural part of the country. South-west Cork has benefited enormously from the enterprise and activity of the IDA. Five industries have been established in Bandon in the past two years bringing tremendous sources of employment and ensuring that we no longer have emigration from this area.

I can remember when an industry in a rural area was unique but I am glad to say it is becoming the norm. The IDA are doing a tremendous job attracting industry to this country. I know the type of competition they are up against in trying to get industries to establish themselves here. I know the size of the grants and the locations for industries offered by other countries but despite this competition the IDA have risen to the occasion and we have got our fair share of the number of industries available.

I would urge the Minister to influence the IDA to a greater degree to send more industries to rural areas instead of putting them in the cities. I realise that the cities are probably much more attractive to the incoming industrialist, but the problems of providing housing, sewerage and all the other facilities necessary are far greater in the city than they would be in the country. The young fellow growing up in the country is very well equipped to become a successful industrial worker because from a very early age he probably has been on the farm, meddling with machinery, getting used to fixing the tractor and other machines and, as a result of that, he has had a good basic training in behaviour in precision industry. We are, I am glad to say, getting this type of industry. In Bandon we have special training facilities in the vocational school and the students are trained to meet the requirements of prospective employers. As well as that, the students are given a guarantee of employment. It is very important to train young people in skilled occupations.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.
Supplementary Estimates 48, 49 and 47 already agreed to in Committee, reported and agreed to.