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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 21 Mar 1972

Vol. 259 No. 13

Membership of EEC: Motion (Resumed).

The following motion was moved by the Taoiseach today:
That the Dáil takes note of the White Paper—The Accession of Ireland to the European Communities —and the Supplement thereto.
Debate resumed on the following amendment:
To add to the motion the following:
"and deplores the inadequacy of the negotiations described therein and rejects the terms set out."
—(Deputy Keating).

Before the adjournment of the debate I was referring to the survey that was carried out, as reported in an article in the Irish Independent, of 11th March, by three Tokyo merchant banking houses. That survey considered the opportunities which were available in Belgium, the Netherlands and Ireland and Ireland was rated highest with 40 per cent of the possible marks, the Netherlands 31 per cent and Belgium 27 per cent. One of the factors which, apparently, influenced the decision was the absence of a language barrier. Also the traditional ties with the United States were regarded as of importance.

However, the facts of this situation, as has been repeatedly emphasised, indicate that after the EEC has been enlarged and Britain and the Six—for the moment leaving aside the two other applicant countries—are one, we will realise that 80 per cent of this country's trade has been with Britain. This alone justifies a positive decision on our part in the sense that to reject the opportunity of membership and to put at risk not only agriculture but employment in a number of existing industries that export to these markets would be an unwarranted decision.

Having said that, I believe it is important that we should at the same time look at the disadvantages. It is a mistake to present this to the electorate as a decision which provides only opportunities of employment. We must also put to them that there are certain disadvantages involved and that it is advisable to consider them and to enumerate them so that it can be clearly understood what the disadvantages are and what action can be taken to minimise, or to offset in certain cases, these disadvantages.

There will be an increase in the cost of living. It is, however, a statistical fact that the increase in the cost of living in the EEC countries in the past three years has been lower than it has been here. There is not much compensation in that—it is still an increase— and it is on this particular aspect that I find the Taoiseach's introductory speech unsatisfactory. The sections in the community who are likely to be hit more than others in increases in the cost of living are pensioners and those others on fixed incomes, apart from the social welfare categories.

On the assumption that EEC membership will result in a saving to the Exchequer here of something between £30 and £36 million annually in respect of agricultural subsidies, it is essential that there should be a firm public commitment to compensate social welfare recipients to the extent to which they will be affected adversely by the increased cost of living. We must go even further. Our social welfare level of payments is in general lower than other European countries. Apart from the social welfare classes, a great number of State pensioners, retired State, semi-State and local authority employees, retired members of the Army, Garda and teachers, find that the cost of living increase over the years has left them, particularly those who have retired for some years, substantially worse off compared with pensioners filling the same positions as they filled but who retired more recently.

There must, therefore, be a firm public commitment not only to increase all social welfare benefits, widows' and orphans' pensions, children's allowances and so on, but pensions of retired State and other public servants. There must also be a commitment to give parity to pensioners who retired some years ago.

One of the issues adverted to in a recent study indicates that in 1970 it was estimated that the disparity between pay and pension increases had approached about 4 per cent. Pending and subsequent pay awards have widened that gap and although some increases were granted in recent Budgets, the aim of bringing up the pensions of earlier retired State employees to parity with fellow pensioners who retired recently and who had filled precisely the same positions, has not been implemented. As well, the cost of living increase indicates that the 4 per cent pension increase granted in 1971 has been eroded very substantially.

In addition, there are in the community a large number of persons who do not qualify under any of these heads, who are neither State pensioners nor former employees of local authorities but who are in comparable circumstances, living on small fixed incomes. They are feeling severely the conditions which are eroding their savings. They, in addition to the social welfare classes and all public pensioners, must be clearly designated as being entitled to a substantial share of the £30 to £36 million that will be saved in respect of agricultural subsidies in the event of EEC membership.

One of the arguments in favour of EEC membership is that it will mean considerable benefits to agriculture. There are arguments from time to time about where the likely benefits will flow most freely. Nobody will dispute that if there is a rise in agricultural prices it will penetrate through the whole agricultural community: it does not matter whether the farm is big, medium or small, the benefit will naturally be there irrespective of size. Naturally the most intensive and the best organised will get the most advantage out of it. That injection of prosperity will react in other ways. There will be industries based on food processing, industries founded or getting their supplies of raw materials from agriculture which will affect the agricultural community and also others indirectly involved, those employed in industries depending for their supplies of raw materials and supplying either the home or export trade. These improved economic conditions, to a great extent, do not benefit pensioners or others on fixed incomes. In fact, the contrary may be the case. It has been estimated, and I think this figure is reasonably accurate, that some food prices will be affected, such as meat and milk. According to the household budget inquiry of 1965-66 only 6 per cent of consumer expenditure was spent on certain food products.

It is a mistake to tie inquiries of this kind too closely in the sense that very often the effect on the individual is different to what it is estimated to be. On the assumption that there is an increase pensioners and others on fixed incomes will naturally be the most affected. Statistical information is available in the Department of Social Welfare, the Department of Finance and other Departments concerned with pensioners, whether social welfare or other categories. The Government should be able to give a reasonably close figure of the sum of money necessary from public sources to compensate on an adequate basis as well as to raise in real terms the pensions of the categories of the people I have mentioned.

A number of surveys have been made, including one published some years ago in the Daily Telegraph, which indicated that this was one of the few countries that had failed to measure up to the general improvements in pensions and in addition had fallen behind in the pattern of pension increase that were then becoming common to a number of European countries, where pensioners who had retired at an earlier age were given parity in respect of pensions with those who retired at a later age.

There are certain other aspects of the European Economic Community that will cause concern. Certain industries will be adversely affected, and I believe this must be recognised. The CIO reports indicate that steps in some cases were taken and in others the dilatory nature of the measures taken to deal with the problem is a cause of concern.

The other aspect of the White Paper which I believe is unsatisfactory and which has caused concern is that in regard to fisheries. I agree with the criticism expressed by Deputy Keating. It is a mistake to suggest, as has been suggested on page 47 of the White Paper at paragraph 5.33 on fisheries:

As a member of the Council we will be in a position to ensure that our national interests in the fishery sector will be provided for by appropriate arrangements including the maintenance of special limits.

I do not believe that is a correct representation of the facts. I believe this is a unanimous decision. Although we have power to argue about it, the Council have the right to take a decision and it is a unanimous one. There is concern in regard to the fishery aspect of the agreement. I speak as a representative of a constituency that has in it a harbour, which has one of the largest fish landings in the country and which has grown considerably over the years as a result of developments there and schemes designed to improve the harbour and landing facilities at Dún Laoghaire. There is concern because in the fishing areas the alternative employment available is very limited.

It is true that many of our fishermen are part-time fishermen, but the terms of the fishery arrangement indicate that a sufficiently strong case was not put up and was not argued to its logical conclusion. This is one aspect of the negotiations in which I believe the Norwegians were right. We should have gone along with them in the battle they put up to get an agreement. It was said here to representatives of the different political parties, when the Norwegian delegation was over here, that they had to put the question of fisheries as a question of principle, that whether they would recommend the arrangement hinged on whether they would get satisfactory terms.

Fisheries do not rank to the same extent in this country. Nevertheless, I believe that the agreement in respect of fisheries is not satisfactory. Mr. Froschmeier, who was on the recent RTE programme, confirmed in a reply he gave that the decisions of the Council in this regard are unanimous decisions. To suggest here that we have a voice in influencing decisions does not accurately represent the position.

The other aspect of the terms negotiated which I believe is unsatisfactory is that in connection with dumping. This is an area in which there is concern because of the size of the market, because of our proximity to a highly industrialised country like Britain and because of past experience with Britsh competitors but also with other competitors. The terms in respect of dumping are less satisfactory than they should have been. In the event of accession further discussions will be necessary.

The other matters that have been the subject of comment here are ones more of detail than of substance. I want to refer to an aspect which of course has emotional overtones, that is the question of sovereignty. It sounds tremendous to suggest that we are abandoning sovereignty, that we are giving away something we have that we should not relinquish. Everybody believes in the independence of the country. It is one of the fundamental tenets of the party I represent that we believe in the reality and substance of independence. One of the realities of independence that is valuable is the right of the electorate to decide an issue of this sort. This right was secured for the people to exercise through the ballot boxes whether they wish to adhere to an arrangement of this sort or to remain outside.

Any emotional suggestions that we have some sort of immense power of a military or naval character or that somebody outside will impose their will on us is of course largely illusory. In any organisation that we join, whether it is the old League of Nations, the ILO, the United Nations, or the World Health Organisation, any international body presupposes that those who join it are prepared to abide by the terms of the treaty or other rules of the organisation concerned. It is true in this particular case—and this is one of the reasons for the referendum—that certain decisions made by the Community have application within the member countries. The terms of our Constitution, which vests the complete authority for making laws in the Oireachtas —in other words, in the Dáil and Seanad—give the final decision on the constitutionality or otherwise of legislation to the Supreme Court here. It is necessary because of these Articles, which have been quoted here on many occasions in other debates, for the country to decide by referendum on certain amendments included in the legislation passing through the House. That legislation will involve, if it is enacted, that the necessary changes will be made in order to allow the terms of the Rome Treaty to operate. To that extent an outside body, of which we will be members, will have the right to take certain decisions. Provided we accept the terms of membership we will go along with those decisions.

If a member country objects to something because it considers it is contrary to its essential interests—and it is entitled to oppose it—the unanimity rule almost invariably operates. We can always opt out if we want to. On the one hand it is testing credulity too far to suggest that we are handing ourselves over, lock, stock and barrel, to some outside authority and then to say we have done that in perpetuity. If we decide that it is not in our interests, we can always leave the Community. Many of us, irrespective of party, when discussing this with politicians from other countries, and with people of every political persuasion whether Christian democrats, liberals, socialists, labour supporters or supporters of no particular party, found that they all expressed the view that EEC membership would mean a substantial improvement in the standard of living. Even the Italian community admitted that their standard of living has improved. Recent figures indicate that the growth of the EEC has not been as spectacular as it was in earlier years. That may be a temporary phenomenon or it may indicate a general decline in expansion. Having reviewed this as critically as it is possible to do —and none of us regards the terms negotiated as perfect—none of us wants to suggest that there will not be difficulties. There will be difficulties for certain industries and for pensioners on fixed incomes and for certain categories of people involved in certain types of production. The substantial balance of our trade—and this is a significant fact which has been overlooked—is with Britain and the EEC. One of the factors to which I wanted to refer was that 65 per cent of our total exports go to the British market. Britain relies for about 5 per cent of her total exports on the Irish market. Almost 50 per cent of our exports are agricultural products. In 1969 the exports of agricultural goods as a percentage of total exports in Austria was 4.1 per cent; Finland, 3.2 per cent; Sweden, 2.4 per cent and Switzerland, 2.9 per cent.

It is, therefore, obvious that our interest in actual membership as distinct from a trade agreement is far greater than that of these countries. Eighty per cent of our exports go to Britain and the EEC. Less than 2 per cent of their total exports come to us. It is obvious from the economic facts of our trade with Britain and the EEC that it is substantially in our interest as of now to join the EEC. Some of the alternatives which have been suggested do not hold water. The eastern European countries have been mentioned. Neither Japan nor such countries buy in any sizeable quantity from us.

There was some talk recently of opening diplomatic relations with Russia. I put down a question and it was shown that the imbalance of trade between Ireland and Russia was phenomenal. The same is true in regard to other countries. In fact, the countries with which we trade to any sizeable extent are Britain and the EEC. The only other country with which we have significant trade is the United States.

I want to conclude on a point which I made earlier. This is an important decision. It is important for the public that the facts should be put clearly before them. There is, because of the present very serious situation in Northern Ireland, an air of unreality about this debate. It is vital in present circumstances to make it clear in this House beyond question that there is only one sovereign authority in this country. The Government have an obligation to make this clear. Attacks on the Garda, Army or institutions of this State will be resisted, no matter who instigates them or from what quarter they come. This House is the only legitimate authority. It speaks, acts and is responsible to the people. The people can change the Government; they can change any of us; they can change any of the parties. No one outside this House has authority to speak or act for them. That must be clearly emphasised and not merely in speeches or comments or broadcasts. It must be seen to be operated in practice by resisting with whatever resources are necessary attacks on the institutions of this State so that we can carry conviction to those who have negotiated with this country, those who are prepared to accept this country as a member of the EEC, and above all, to those outside either the Community or Britain who are anxious, willing and concerned to invest here to provide employment, that we intend to preserve, no matter what the cost, the fabric of this State and our society. In doing that we are showing we are prepared to play a part as a member of the EEC, recognising that we have an interest in Europe as part of it, that politically we are part of Europe and anxious to see Europe coming together and that the aims and objectives of the Community coincide generally with our aims and objectives: We wish to see achieved the wider objectives of the European Community—the maintenance of peace, the increasing of prosperity, the elemination of social injustices and the more effective protection of the environment. These are all matters in which we as a people have as much interest as anybody else in Europe.

In many cases these objectives transcend national barriers and the views and aspirations of political parties. Most of them are common to all parties and every country. We are anxious to play our part in achieving these aims and objectives. We recognise that we are a small country on the edge of Europe and as regards the EEC we shall be on the periphery and in many ways less involved than other countries but because of our history and because of our present beliefs and the views and attitudes we value and consider basic to our way of life, we believe in the enlargement of the Community and that it is a decision that must be taken by the people.

We believe there are opportunities and advantages in it which we should exploit; that there are disadvantages that we shall have to minimise, problems we shall have to overcome and resolve and ease in respect of certain categories in the community but, looking at the general situation and viewing the opportunities and advantages of membership, recognising that there are no realistic workable alternatives, we believe it is in the national interest to adhere to the EEC. We recognise that it is a decision that must be taken by a free, independent people. Having put the facts before them, we believe they will make the right decision and whatever it is, it will be a decision taken freely by the people and we will defend their right to make it and to decide it freely without hindrance from anybody.

The Minister for Lands:

Notice taken that 20 Members were not present; House counted and 20 Members being present,

I wish to avail of this debate to deal as clearly and as comprehensively as I can with the implications of EEC membership in regard to land structural reforms in this country. As the House probably knows, the Council of Ministers at the moment are in the process of finalising a package of structural reform measures which, when adopted, will apply to the Community as a whole and to the applicant countries should they become members.

The principal provisions of these proposed measures are by now fairly widely known especially through the publications issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and also through a comprehensive statement issued by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries towards the end of last January. I said that the package is being finalised but, obviously, some changes may yet emerge in the final discussions but I think it can be accepted that the main provisions as we now know them, will remain. There are some aspects of these which we feel do not quite suit our conditions here and we have raised them as items for consultation with the EEC.

There are three dominant features in these proposed measures. First, their ultimate purpose in relation to those farmers who intend to continue in farming is to ensure that for the future their conditions both as to income and quality of life will be comparable to the conditions in any other sphere of economic activity. The second important feature to note is that the proposed measures are entirely voluntary. It will be for each individual farmer in any member state to decide whether he wants to participate in any of these agricultural structural reform schemes. He will be the social arbiter. The third matter for special notice is that measures have now been provided to ensure that those farmers who wish to give up farming can do so under the best possible conditions. These three points cannot be emphasised too strongly having regard to the widespread and rather malicious misrepresentation that EEC entry means the elimination of the small farmer.

The proposed measures with which my Department will be concerned chiefly relate to the provision of aids to those small farmers who adopt development plans and to those farmers who for one reason or another wish to give up farming. The farmer with the development plan will be able to get substantial reductions on the interest on investments needed to execute the plan. He will get an income allowance while the plan is being carried through. This allowance will decrease in amount from a maximum to a minimum during the period of the plan. He will get priority in the allocation of lands becoming available for distribution provided he requires more land. Deputies from rural parts will know that progressive small farmers at the moment get priority from the Land Commission in the allocation of land in their localities. A new system will merely copperfasten this priority system since in the new dispensation the progressive farmer will have the evidence of his development plan to put before the Land Commission. Clearly, the successful implementation of this programme will require the closest possible co-operation between the Department of Lands and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

I shall deal now with the proposed aid for those who wish to leave farming and to give up their land for the benefit of those with development plans. First, these will get the price of the land. Also, they will get a bonus and if they are between the ages of 55 and 65 they will get an annual minimum allowance of £250. I should add that this is one of the features which is not appropriate particularly and which will be the subject of discussion. I refer to the age group of 55 to 65. We consider that an age group of 60 to 70 years would suit better our conditions. The amount of the bonus has not been calculated yet or agreed so far as this country is concerned because on the mainland of Europe it is calculated by reference to the lease system which is prevalent there but which is non-existent here. Therefore, the amount of the bonus so far as farmers in Ireland are concerned would have to be worked out on some different basis, possibly and even probably representing a percentage of the agreed purchase price. I should add also that the pension scheme which was introduced in section 6 of the Land Act of 1965 has had very disappointing results to date. This may be due in part to the fact that the inducements offered were inadequate but I suspect also that a very significant contributory cause is the exceptional attachment to land that exists in our countryside. I do not think this will change overnight. The inducements offered under the EEC scheme represent a very big advance on our terms but whether they in turn will be sufficient to ensure a reasonable measure of success remains to be seen.

These, and other proposals of the EEC will involve a fairly drastic reappraisal of the current operations in the policy of the Land Commission where the full implications are being studied now. As I mentioned earlier, arrangements for ensuring closer integration with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries will have to be worked out. Indeed, they are being worked out so as to ensure that the proposed agricultural structural reform programme, when approved by the EEC, can be brought into operation in this country quickly after our accession.

I turn now to an aspect of our accession to the EEC which of late has been the subject of grave misrepresentation. For some months past certain individuals and bodies have been active in predicting the wholesale sell-out of our land to foreigners which they claim will follow our accession to the Community. These predictions are without foundation and appear to be designed deliberately to alarm the rural population and thereby influence them against accession.

This campaign is a dishonest one and is relying for its results on the emotive attachment of Irish people to their land. In order to dispose of these misrepresentations I propose to deal in some detail with the question of the right of nationals of the EEC to purchase land in Ireland should we join the enlarged Community. We must go back to the Treaty of Rome, which provides that the Council shall issue directives to enable nationals of one member state to acquire and to use land and buildings situate in another member state. I must point out straightaway that this is subject to the proviso that in so doing there is to be no conflict with the principle of the common agricultural policy. These principles provide that in the working out of the common agricultural policy account shall be taken of: (a) the particular nature of agricultural activity that results from agriculture's social structure and from structural and national disparities between the various agricultural regions, (b), the need to effect the appropriate adjustment by degrees and (c), the fact that in member states agriculture constitutes a sector linked closely with the economy as a whole.

To date progress in achieving the right of nationals of a member state to purchase farms in another member state has been confined mainly to two Council directives which provide for (1) the right to acquire farms which have been abandoned or left uncultivated for more than two years and, (2), the right of member state nationals who have worked as paid agricultural workers in another state for an unbroken period of two years to acquire farms in that state.

The adoption of these directives does not pose any problem for this country. Accordingly the Government have agreed to accept them. I should add that within the definition of the words "abandoned" or "uncultivated" as used by the Community, there is no land of either category, that I know of anyway, in this country. In this connection I think it is relevant to say that grass is regarded as a crop, so that land let on successive 11-month grazing lettings would be considered in use and not abandoned, and I think would also be considered as having been cultivated. It would certainly not be regarded as having been abandoned, since grass itself is a crop.

Also I do not think that the provision in regard to foreign agricultural workers who would qualify to buy land after a minimum period of two years poses any real problem, because these would not be sufficiently numerous, in the first instance, or wealthy, in the second, to present a problem for the Land Commission or for Irish citizens who might be interested in purchasing land when it comes on the market.

There are two other minor directives in the matter of land purchase which also must be mentioned, and these provide for the right to change farms and for a legal equality of access to the rural lease system. These directives again do not pose any real problem to us, and I should add that the leasing of land, as the House knows, is almost non-existent in Ireland. All we have are the agistment, conacre and grazing lettings on the 11-month system, and indeed, it is doubtful, having regard to our history, if a system of leasing land will become acceptable here for many years ahead.

Could the Minister explain what he means by the exchange of land?

By the directive which refers to the right to change farms?

What does that mean?

It means that a farmer who is already in farming in another country must be allowed to sell that farm and purchase another one if he so desires.

Page 170 of The Accession of Ireland to the European Communities gives a fairly detailed account of that. I assume that is where the Minister got it.

Does it mean he has as much right as an Irishman?

It means that if he is already here and legitimately here he has the right to go into the open market on equal terms with anybody else. I now come to the draft directive which was put on the Table of the Council of Ministers in January, 1969, and which sought to grant the full right of establishment as envisaged in the Treaty. This directive has not been adopted to date, and there is no indication that it will be adopted before the date set for our accession; in fact we have been assured that it will not be adopted before that date. Of course after accession we will be in the position, as one of the member States of the Community, of having a full voice through our Minister on the Council of Ministers, and I can assure the House that he can be relied upon to ensure that our special interests are taken fully into account. I think it relevant to add that the mere fact that the directive is still in draft form and has not been adopted obviously indicates lack of agreement among the existing countries about its merits, and the fact is that this is so and the identity of the countries are also well known.

Let me say also that right through the negotiating period the Minister for Foreign Affairs, or External Affairs as he then was, indicated quite clearly to the existing EEC countries our very serious concern about the possible extension of the right of establishment on land and stressed the need to maintain sufficient control over the disposal of land here in Ireland to enable us to pursue policies to deal with a serious structural reform problem. We are, of course, unique among the countries involved, in that we still have almost 30 per cent of our people engaged in farming. We therefore have a unique problem and one that is acknowledged by the existing states in EEC and equally well understood by the other three applicant countries.

I shall now pass on to deal with the question of the disposal of land which comes on the market for one reason or another under the existing Land Commission powers, because it is badly worked or the owner is not residing on it or because it has been let for a long period of time. At the moment, as the House knows, this land is taken up for the benefit of the existing uneconomic farmers and under EEC the right of the local people will be greatly strengthened because land given up must be disposed of to people in the locality who are working a farm development programme.

Does the Minister mean bought by the Land Commission?

Land that is taken up from people who voluntarily hand it over will have to be used in the locality for distribution to the people with the farm development programme who are acknowledged to require land in addition to what they have for the purpose of bringing their land development programme to fruition.

If it is up for sale can the Land Commission buy it and do the same?

Yes, they can, because their existing powers enable them to do so, and that will continue, and indeed it will be the Land Commission's responsibility to ensure that such land does not pass into the hands of, shall we say, undeserving applicants of one kind or another.

Internally or externally.

Yes, because, as the Deputy knows, the existing powers of the Land Commission do not discriminate. They apply equally to our own citizens as they do to anybody who might be coming in from outside.

I got into a row myself for saying that and I just wanted to clarify it.

Yes, and in regard to the land voluntarily given up which must be used for division among deserving local farmers operating a development plan, this is clearly an advance on the present situation so far as those are concerned.

Finally, provided that the terms of any further legislation which we might like to introduce are not discriminatory but apply equally to our citizens as well as to the citizens of all other countries, then we can take such further measures as may be necessary to push through a vigorous and effective structural reform programme as is envisaged under the measures which I have mentioned as now being in the process of finalisation.

It is, I think, clear from the weapons we operate at the moment that we are now well equipped as compared with seven or eight years ago when the first effective measures to control the purchase of land were taken under the 1965 Land Act. These weapons we can continue to use against the type of land I have mentioned—land that is to let, land that is badly used or land offered for sale. We are already well provisioned and, on the adoption of the EEC measures after accession, we will have further methods at our disposal to bring into operation an effective land structure programme in regard to agricultural land. Provided we do not discriminate against the nationals of another member State, we can take such further legislative measures as the House will agree and deem appropriate.

I stated at the outset that it was my intention to confine myself to those particular aspects of EEC entry pecularily relevant to my Department and that I would not stray into discussion on other matters. I will conclude by adding that I personally approach the prospect of Ireland's entry into a new Europe with great enthusiasm in the belief that it will bring a new era, a new spirit, a new determination and a new dimension to the Irish people and to their future because, in the end, the sole purpose of economic activity is to make social conditions and people's lives better, just as the object of a father working is to make the life of his wife and children better. Through increased economic activity and the broadening of horizons generally I believe the Irish people will rise to the challenge and their true potentiality will then be realised.

One of the things I dislike intensely about the present campaign by the pro-EEC people is the fact that, not alone do they skate around the truth but, on top of that, they continue to refer to those who are opposed to entry as dishonest and anti-national. I have heard this repeated so often that I wonder if, in fact, those who make the allegations really understand what it is they are talking about. I listened to Deputy Seán Flanagan, Minister for Lands, for the last half hour. I like him. In my opinion he is an honest man and always pretty factual in anything he says. However, his comments here tonight could not be further from the truth. I would not say that he was deliberately telling lies but either the script he was using was written by someone who knows nothing about the EEC or it was deliberately designed to try to prove that things are as they are not.

Let us deal, first of all, with the question of land and land purchase by non-nationals. I have here The Accession of Ireland to the European Communities, a Government publication. The heading to paragraph 3.46 is “Purchase of land by non-nationals”. The paragraph states:

The progress made to date by the Community in regard to the right of nationals of a member State to acquire agricultural land in another member State has been confined mainly to the adoption of measures which provide for (a) the right to acquire farms which have been abandoned or left uncultivated for more than two years, and (b) the right of nationals of member States who have worked as paid agricultural workers in another member State for an unbroken period of at least two years to acquire farms in that State. The Council has had before it since 1969 a proposal which, if adopted, would permit nationals of other member States to purchase agricultural land generally on the same conditions as nationals.

I suggest that, if the Council were going to refuse to accept that, they would have done it a long time ago and I believe that ultimately that will be the decision. Let us go on now to pages 168, 169 and 170 where there is a reference to the same subject—the purchase of land in certain limited cases. Paragraphs 264 and 265 read:

Of particular concern to us is the effect of the Community provisions on our present legislative controls in regard to the purchase of land by non-nationals. The EEC Treaty envisages that nationals of one member State should be enabled to acquire and use land and buildings situated in another member State. Under our legislation all non-nationals who have not lived in Ireland for at least seven years require the consent of the Land Commission to acquire rural land other than land required for industrial purposes or holdings up to five acres for residential purposes.

The measures adopted so far by the Community in regard to the right of nationals of a member State to purchase land in another member State are of limited scope. They provide for the removal of discriminatory restrictions on

—the right of nationals of member States to acquire farms which have been abandoned or left uncultivated for more than two years in other member States;

—the right of a national of a member State to acquire a farm in another member State where he has worked as a paid agricultural worker for two years;

—the right of a national of a member State to change farms in another member State if he has been established in farming for more than two years in that member State;

—the right of access by a national of one member State who is established or who is establishing himself in another member State, to the rural lease system in that State; and

—the right to buy wooded land or forest for forestry purposes.

That is plain sailing. That is as the Minister stated the position to be. However, the following paragraph, paragraph 266, reads:

The implementation of these directives will not raise any significant problems for us. However, the Council has before it proposals which would in effect grant a national of a member State the right to acquire agricultural land generally in another member State on the same conditions as nationals of that State. The present indications, however, are that the Community is unlikely to reach a decision on the adoption of these proposals until after the accession of the new member States. Should the Community reach the stage of making decisions before accession we will, under the procedure agreed in the negotiations, be consulted by the Council so that full account can be taken of our interests in the matter as prospective members of the Community. Should adoption of these proposals be deferred until after our accession they will, of course, be the subject of examination by the enlarged Council in which we will have a full voice as a member of the Community. In the negotiations, we expressed our concern at this possible extension of the right of establishment and stressed the need to maintain sufficient control over the disposal of land in Ireland to enable us to pursue policies to deal with our structural problems.

I suggest that neither the Minister for Lands nor Foreign Affairs are really serious in their contention that they can protect Irish interests, interests that should have been included in the agreement made with the EEC, and, since that agreement has now been made, there is no doubt in my mind that over the next few years the EEC will extend the right, as was originally intended in the Treaty of Rome.

I do not want to bore the House by going through the Treaty. In that Treaty the right to purchase land in another member State was given to people moving from one State to another. There is no use in any Minister or anybody else in this House or outside it trying to bluff his way through by saying that land can be protected and that the Irish are the only people who will be allowed to buy. It is too bad that we should be asked to accept that when the people who make such statements must know that this is not true.

I have a document here—"Agriculture, 1980"—published by the European Community Information Service, London. It contains things which lead one to believe that the EEC we are talking about is not the same one these people are talking about. It starts off:

The European Commission—the Common Market's executive body— has proposed a revolutionary ten-year farm-reform plan to help modernise the peasant basis of farming in the Six European Community countries and to give farmers adequate incomes based on minimum production units of:

200-300 acres for grain and root crops;

40-60 cows for dairy farming;

150-200 head of cattle for beef and veal production;

100,000 chickens for poultry producers;

10,000 laying hens for egg-production.

I wonder if this is what the Irish farmer has to look forward to. I know we have people saying that the structure of Irish farms will remain, that there will be no change, that everything will go on as it is now and that anybody who says otherwise is dishonest. Yet this booklet, dealing with agricultural employment in the Community, gives these figures. From a total of 20 million in employment in 1950 in the Six it was down to 15 million in 1960, down to 10 million in 1970 and there is a projection that the number of people who will be employed in agriculture in the Six countries of the EEC in 1980 will be 5 million. As a percentage of the total work force the figures are 1950, 28 per cent; 1960, 21 per cent; 1970, 14 per cent; 1980, 6 per cent.

Are the Government really serious or are Fine Gael serious? Fine Gael should have looked at it even if they had not got the responsibility; they did not have people in their party who had declared that we would go in on our own whether anybody else did or not, that we would take everything in our stride. Surely they should have looked at the facts. Surely they must realise that they cannot wish away facts like those, that they will not be able to persuade themselves in the years to come, if we are unfortunate enough to go into the EEC, that it was not their fault that we finished up in the mess in which we must finish up if these figures are correct.

In the fifth page of this document there is a heading:

Fewer farmers, larger farms.

The document goes on to say that various far reaching measures will be needed to alter the structure of production. It continues:

In the past, it was mostly farm labourers or members of farmers' families who left the land. In the future, the number who leave the land will have to include a much higher proportion of the farmers themselves. The authorities will have to take special steps to help those who give up farming and are too old to find other work, or who are switching over to some other occupation. Young people, in particular, will need good training for jobs outside agriculture.

Training for what? We have almost 80,000 people who cannot get jobs.

The new structure of production must not impair the balance of the market.

This is an interesting comment.

A great deal of land will have to be taken out of farming. Farmers' organisations and producer groups will have an important part to play in helping to adjust output to market needs.

The programme needs the support and help of farmers. Their participation must be voluntary and no compulsion will be used.

How do they propose to do it?

The programme should offer farmers a wide range of opportunities, leaving them to decide how they will take advantage of them. This means that the programme must be adaptable to regional and local conditions.

It goes on in this vein until it comes to the question of how they will get the farmers out. It says:

To make it easier for farmers to move off the land, the children of farmers and of farm-workers could receive educational grants of £250 a year.

That is a help. It is not as much as they are getting at present under our free education system but it is a help. It goes on:

For farmers aged 55 years or more who were prepared to give up farming, special help will be given:

Farmers could receive an annual allowance if they allowed their land to be developed under the programme. For those aged 65 and over, the allowance would be about £420 a year, less their old-age pension. For farmers aged between 55 and 65, the allowance would rise from £275 at 55 to about £420 at 60. It would stay at that level until the beneficiary was entitled to an old age pension.

Apparently the Minister for Lands thinks this should encourage people to leave the farm. He must know that a better system than this which was introduced in this House under the Land Act, 1965, has persuaded only four farmers to avail of it as far as I am aware. This document goes on:

A similar system could be worked out for farm workers and members of the farmer's family who had been working on the farm.

The whole point in this is that—and I am dealing deliberately with this because the Minister for Lands began and finished with it—apparently in the EEC they must prevent overproduction. It says under the heading of "Selecting the Products":

The authorities would have to exercise caution in encouraging investment in products already in surplus.

This would apply to the milk industry here.

They would also have to consider regional needs, and to give priority to regions whose need is greatest. Between now and 1975, they should concentrate aid on setting up modern agricultural enterprises; after 1975 they should reserve aid exclusively for them.

Here is an item which the Irish farmers may not be too happy about:

Modernising the system of land tenure will be a major task. The Community needs to overcome obstacles to mobility in ownership or use of land.

Nice phrases. We know what they mean here. They were used a lot before security of tenure was introduced. Maybe it is the right way. Maybe the system that is used in Britain where land is leased instead of owned is the right one. If this is what the Government or Fine Gael want they should say so because this is what this document says and they are talking about 1980 in the EEC. They say:

Member Governments must consider how far legislative changes might encourage farming in larger units. The Commission is studying these points, and plans to submit specific proposals.

To adjust the supply of farm products to demand, the member States should try to concentrate the sources of supply, and adapt quality to changing requirements. The Commission's earlier recommendations on producer groupings are still valid.

The idea is that we should change the system of farming and produce what there is a market for. That of course, will mean that many farmers will have to go out of production and the wonderful market which so many people hoped to have in some of our products may not be there because if they are going to rationalise, particularly on milk products, then they will not need the milk from the Irish farms and in case anybody has any doubt about it let me give the solution which the Common Market have for that little problem. There was, this time 12 months, a million tons of surplus butter in the Common Market which was disposed of. They give several ways in which they disposed of it but they do not give them all. They say that they suggested lowering the price of butter. Of course they would never do that in this country. They sold it to some Army and I understand quite a lot of it was fed to animals. Some of it was turned into fertiliser.

However, they disposed of the one million tons and then they decided that this could not happen again. So, the Commission proposed a system of subsidies in order to give farmers an incentive to abandon dairy farm work and to slaughter their dairy cows. The Commission estimated that as a result of these subsidies an extra one-quarter of a million dairy cows could be slaughtered each year, cutting the annual output of butter by 30,000 tons, but they said that even this would not be enough because by 1973 butter stocks would be rising again and a balance could be established only by reducing dairy herds by three million cows between now and 1976. They were talking of the six countries without counting the agricultural countries which would be attached to the Common Market if the four applicants became members. They said:

Such a drastic reduction is bound to alter the pattern of Community farming. It can be carried out only as part of a programme that considers all the human aspects involved. The Commission is none the less convinced that farming must be reorganised if a durable balance between output and sales is to be achieved.

The Commission proposes:

An average subsidy of £125 for each dairy cow slaughtered; to qualify for the subsidy, the farmer must have at least two dairy cows, and must slaughter his entire dairy herd. The Commission estimates that about 250,000 cows—about 125,000 tons of meat—would be slaughtered annually.

The principle of a slaughter subsidy was accepted by the Council on 13th May, 1969.

So, whatever we may say about the position with regard to the dairying industry at the present time and the promises which have been made to the dairy farmers of this country, that they will get lán an mhála if they join the Common Market, it does appear that this is not what the Common Market holds for them and they should be told that.

One thing that I cannot understand is that of all the documents produced by the Government, so far I have come across only one in which there was even a slight suggestion that we were not going into a land flowing with milk and honey. It is terribly dishonest of the Government, as Deputy Keating said here this evening, to put in every post office—and I understand they are now being passed to school children —documents which give only one side of the story. We are entitled to get the two sides. Deputy Keating pointed out, and Deputy FitzGerald picked him up on it very quickly, that at the present time the price of fat cattle in this country is similar to the price in the Common Market. In fact, the price of dropped calves here is, for some reason or other, higher than in some parts of the Common Market. Deputy FitzGerald asked would it drop considerably if we do not go in to the Common Market. It will be nothing to the drop the Irish farmer will get if he does go in. Because of the propaganda by the Government, the farmer is under the impression that he will again get a very substantial increase in prices over and above what he is getting now, if we enter the Common Market. I have not heard anybody on the Government side or on the Fine Gael side attempting to put the facts straight for the farmer. I have not heard anybody saying that due to the fact that it is believed that we will enter the Common Market, prices have already increased and those buying in calves are under the impression that by the time they are fattened they will be selling them at Common Market prices. But, they are paying Common Market prices for their calves now and the fat cattle prices are as near as possible to Common Market prices.

The calves are as dear but fat cattle are not.

Fat cattle in this country the week before last were at exactly the same price as in Italy. I checked. It is difficult to understand, but that is the position. There is something else I cannot understand. Nobody on the pro-Common Market side has taken the trouble to explain that if there are higher prices in the Common Market for most commodities, as there must be, the cost of production will also be higher.

I was intrigued listening to some of the people on the television programme last week and to Deputy FitzGerald on a radio programme earlier, in which I also took part, trying to explain that even though it is admitted that the cost of foodstuffs, particularly those with an agricultural base, will be higher in the Common Market, this will be counterbalanced by a lower cost of industrial goods. They seemed to think that that was all right and that everybody should accept it. It seems to be generally accepted that that will be the case. Let us follow it a step further. If industrial goods are to be lower, does it not follow that Irish industry has not a snowball's chance in hell of survival? Let us be honest about it. I cannot understand why we cannot get the two sides of the story. Why must we always have the story that everything will be grand and that we will get the best of both worlds when those who make the statement must know that it is not true? It is like the story that was current for quite a long time about there being no unemployment in the EEC. Eventually it leaked out that there are at least 1½ million registered unemployed in Italy and possibly another one million who are not registered. I will not swear to the figures but they are the figures that I have got. It should be borne in mind that more than half a million have become unemployed since last October. Therefore, it cannot be suggested that they are all unemployable, as I heard being suggested on a programme recently. These people were employed up to last October and it was over the winter period that they became unemployed. In West Germany, where, we always understood, the economy was so good that unemployment was unthinkable, there are roughly 260,000 persons unemployed at the present time and of that number nearly 80,000 have become unemployed since the fall of last year. Over all Common Market countries there is evidence of unemployment. In those circumstances it is not right for people claiming to know the facts to come into this House or to go on radio or television and to announce that there is no unemployment in the Common Market. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Time and again we have asked what is the alternative to going into the Common Market. If Britain goes in, what can we do? Deputy Keating said that he understood, and I think he is correct, that Norway will almost certainly vote against entry. There will be a plebiscite in Norway. Denmark is closely associated with Norway and the Danes will almost certainly adopt the same decision. If the people of Britain were to get the opportunity of voting they would most certainly vote against entry. A rather extraordinary situation has arisen in Britain. I was speaking to Members of Parliament in Westminster the week before last. I was amazed to find amongst a group of anti-Common Market Conservatives the certainty that they would not enter the Common Market because of the fact that legislation in Westminster would be so bogged down by late June or early July that the matter would have to be abandoned and therefore, as far as Britain is concerned, the Common Market is as far away as it ever was.

That is absolute nonsense.

Only Deputy Dockrell and God would know whether that is right or wrong. I am merely giving an opinion which I heard expressed in Britain. I am giving this opinion for what it is worth. The difference between the pro- and anti-Common Market people is that the latter admit they could be wrong but the people in favour of the Common Market, according to themselves, are always right. However, we have seen them proved wrong frequently. Fine Gael supported the Anglo-Irish Free Trade Area Agreement but now they say it was not a good agreement. I am not at all surprised at the attitude of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael. Somebody said to me last week that now Fianna Fáil are in the same position as was Cumann na nGaedheal in the early twenties—I do not know where that leaves Fine Gael but it is a point worth remembering.

It has been asked what is the alternative if we do not enter the EEC. There is an alternative. We should have asked for some kind of association, if for no other reason than to give us an opportunity of seeing what would happen. I am not prepared to go along with Deputy Cosgrave and Deputy FitzGerald that if we do not like the Common Market after entering we can leave it again. It is ridiculous to make such a statement. If we enter the Common Market and adopt the laws of the Community we have got to stay in whether we like it or not.

The question of whether we could leave the Common Market was raised in connection with any defence commitments we might have to undertake. It is correct to say that at present according to the Treaties of Rome and Paris they do not require any defence commitments. However, that did not stop the Taoiseach from volunteering three years ago in Paris that this country would be prepared to back the EEC to the hilt, even if it meant entering defence commitments. His comments have been repeated here on more than one occasion by the Minister for Foreign Affairs who has said that a Europe worth joining is a Europe worth defending. I do not think he will carry the country with him on that point.

Deputy FitzGerald has pointed out that if defence commitments arise it will be necessary for the Government to hold a referendum and we could then opt out. I should like to know what use there would be in voting against entering defence commitments if we were five or ten years in the Community. Holding such a referendum would be a waste of time and money.

The alternative to entry should be either a treaty or a form of association. During the years other countries have succeeded in getting treaties and this is evidence that we could have succeeded here. In 1961 when there was a democratic form of government in Greece, that country got a 22-years agreement—we settled for a three-year agreement. That agreement enabled Greece to sell their industrial goods in the Common Market free of tariffs and they were allowed to retain their tariffs against Common Market goods entering Greece.

By virtue of the Treaty of Ankara in 1963, Turkey obtained a 22-year agreement. They got the right to maintain tariffs against EEC goods and in addition got a loan of 175 million dollars. Israel obtained a similar agreement; in fact, I understand 98 countries negotiated agreements with the EEC. They include the Lebanon, Tunisia, Morocco, Yugoslavia, Spain, Malta, and the United Arab Republic. I heard somebody remarking that the EEC will allow in only goods they do not produce themselves. It is evident that this is not true because the person who made that remark said Israel was allowed to sell citrus fruits in the Common Market only because they are not available in those countries. Anyone who thinks that the South of France or Italy do not produce these fruits does not know much about Europe.

Sweden, Austria or Finland have not entered the EEC. At the moment Sweden is negotiating a trade agreement. The reason that country did not apply for membership was because they have a treaty of neutrality. It may be pointed out that in some cases countries have such treaties with large neighbours who do not wish them to become involved. It does not matter what is the reason; the facts are that these countries will not enter the EEC because they are neutral countries. Yet, we find no difficulty whatever in accepting that this country, which traditionally is neutral, should be prepared to enter into all commitments, including defence.

I think the Government have jumped into something that is too deep for them and now they find they cannot get out. They are trying to get this business through and they are hoping for the best. I agree the EEC has been a livesaver in the past ten years for the Government because every time the economic situation got bad they were able to fall back on the EEC and tell us everything would be all right when we entered the Community. The late Seán Lemass was the first person I heard use this argument but since then down to the present Taoiseach it has been repeated time and again that the way to solve our problems is to join the EEC——

In the Lemass era the people were told that the Government would give them 100,000 jobs——

The Deputy should be fair.

The people who produced that myth are the same people who now speak about 50,000 new jobs. These same people produced three programmes for economic expansion and they were wrong in each of them. How can they expect us to accept as gospel what they put forward in the literature on the EEC? I do not think that anyone is prepared to accept what the Government are trotting out.

Mr. J. Lenehan

Has the Deputy any alternative?

I would rather not discuss that now with the Deputy. Perhaps at some other time.

Mr. J. Lenehan

The Deputy will not discuss it now because he knows he cannot.

Deputy Tully should be allowed to continue without interruption.

It is too bad that a Deputy who has not been seen for three months in this House should come in now and attempt to interrupt the debate. I would ask the Deputy to go back to where he has been all evening.

The Deputy is not being fair. Deputy Lenehan was here——

Mr. J. Lenehan

I have been in the House.

When the Government are short of votes we know the Deputy is always here.

The Deputy is not being fair.

The Parliamentary Secretary should not start defending the Deputy now. He did not defend him very much when he was thrown out of the party.

I have told Deputies that Deputy Tully must be allowed to speak without interruption. Will Deputy Lenehan please cease interrupting?

One of the things in the Common Market campaign which I do not like is that Ministers apparently are requisitioning civil servants to attend Fianna Fáil meetings for the purpose of selling pro-EEC propaganda; I might add that this was denied here last week. The Parliamentary Secretary may shake his head but the facts are that these people have appeared at such meetings. Either they have no option but to attend the meetings or, worse still, they have volunteered to do it. If this is the case it places their colleagues who do not take such action in a rather peculiar situation. Such a precedent should not have been adopted and the Government should stop it immediately.

Let the politicians sell the political programme of the Government if they want to but let us not involve the Civil Service. The Civil Service have always been above politics and they have served faithfully whatever Government were in office. It is too bad that anybody should use them or that they should allow themselves to be used as tools by any political party. I appeal to the Government to stop this despicable practice because it is terribly unfair that it should be done.

You are wasting your time.

I am probably wasting my time but whether or not I am wasting my time——

Mr. J. Lenehan

You are certainly wasting your time.

Would you go away? You are giving me a headache as well as having one yourself. This should be stopped. It is entirely wrong and there is no reason why it should be continued.

I can only speak for one Department but I can assure the Deputy that this does not happen.

I give the Parliamentary Secretary credit for that.

You only advertise social welfare benefits three weeks before an election.

Mr. J. Lenehan

You gave 2s 6d.

That was the time you were supporting Fine Gael and you voted for it too.

Mr. J. Lenehan

You gave an increase of 2s 6d in seven years.

Fianna Fáil gave nothing for 16 years.

Mr. J. Lenehan

For Christ's sake——

Something should be done about this person. This is not the first time this sort of thing has happened. I do not see why the House should be turned into a bear garden.

Mr. J. Lenehan

I am as much entitled to talk as you are.

You are not entitled to talk in this House while I am talking. I am in possession.

Mr. J. Lenehan

I have as much right as you have. I have as much right as a big, fatheaded "gobbaloon", wherever you come from. I am not sure. You have no more rights than I have.

I do not like a drunk coming in here and interrupting me. Sir, unless you do something about this I will have to make an official complaint. On more than one occasion this man has interrupted the House in this way.

Mr. J. Lenehan

Go on.

It is absolutely ridiculous that this sort of thing should be allowed, that somebody should go down to the bar for three or four hours and then come up here and try to upset the business of the House.

Mr. J. Lenehan

I was not born in the bog like you were. I was reared.

Would Deputy Lenehan please cease interrupting?

That sort of an appeal will not do much to him.

The Deputy is looking for something.

The Parliamentary Secretary should also keep quiet. He commenced this business.

I do not think you could blame me for it.

There is also the question of horticulture and fruit and vegetables. The one document published by the Government which contained some semblance of truth about the Common Market was the one which referred to fruit and said there was not much chance of the fruit industry surviving. Since that time numerous suggestions have been made in documents produced by the Government that there is a future for soft fruit and that we will be able to export to the Continent certain types of soft fruit, particularly strawberries. It was also suggested that at least we would have the home market for apples and that a good type of apple is grown here. It was suggested that because imported apples would have to be brought a long distance the Irish apple industry would not be interfered with. Surely this is a lot of nonsense.

If you go into a shop and buy an apple, four times out of five you will get an Australian apple. You may get an English apple but you most certainly will not be offered an Irish apple. With regard to the question of soft fruit, but for the fact that there is an embargo on foreign fruit it would be impossible to sell within the country the soft fruit which is being grown here. In the circumstances, is it not wrong for anyone to suggest that there will be a market for Irish fruit when we go into the Common Market and that we may possibly be able to export Irish fruit to the Continent? It is terribly unfair to the people who make their livelihood out of growing fruit to make this suggestion.

We are exporting soft fruit at the moment.

Deputy Nolan is a very decent man but I think I know a lot more about the soft fruit industry than he does because I have been involved in it for a number of years. I know quite well that it is impossible to protect the Irish fruit industry. If you can grow strawberries in February you can sell them and get a good price but I cannot see anybody growing strawberries in February in this country.

They are exporting strawberries from Bunclody to Britain and elsewhere in competition with other European countries.

I do not want to get into an argument with Deputy Nolan but I think I know a lot more about it than he does because I happen to be involved in this industry. It is stated in "Agriculture 1980":

The Commission is convinced that steps should be taken to prevent structural surpluses, and that large-scale destruction of fruit and vegetables is a bad way of restoring balance to markets.

To me that suggests that in order to keep up the price on the Continent, fruit and vegetables have to be destroyed in the same way as the butter was destroyed. It also states:

The Commission therefore proposes action to influence supply; to introduce a real Community system of intervention; to prevent good-quality produce from being destroyed or distilled; to encourage processing of surplus produce; and to cut down sharply on subsidies for new orchards.

This means that they recognise that there is no future for the fruit industry and therefore they will not encourage the growing of a product for which there is no market.

Another problem about which we hear a great deal is the question of a regional policy. We are given to understand, by people who do not mind telling a few fibs, that if this country goes into the Common Market we will get subsidies to improve the outlying regions of the country. The people who say that conveniently forget that, as far as Europe is concerned, the whole country is an outlying region. The people in Brussels treat the people here in the same way as we treat the seagulls on the Aran Islands. We know they are out there somewhere but they are not annoying us very much and therefore we do not have to worry very much about them.

It is terribly dishonest—and this word was used by the Minister for Lands when he was referring to the way the anti-Common Market people talked—of the pro-Common Market people to try to put across the story that there is a regional policy which will improve conditions here if we enter the EEC. It is quite true that we can continue with a regional policy of our own supported by our own money, but there will not be any support coming from Europe to outlying regions such as ours. They tried it once and it was not very successful and they will not try it again.

Another myth which has been created mainly by the Minister for Finance is that, if we enter the Common Market, in some peculiar way it will do away with the Border. That is the usual expression used: "do away with the Border". It may do away with the customs border but it will not take one British soldier out of the Six Counties. Although there is nothing in the Treaty of Rome which says so, it is generally recognised that, when countries join the Common Market, political boundaries remain, and the evidence of this is there for anybody to see. There has been no change in political boundaries in any of the countries that have joined, and the effort being made by the Government to sell the idea that we can in some way end Partition by joining is a lot of nonsense. Anybody who stops to think about it will realise that.

The whole problem—Deputy Keating says he does not know when the referendum will be held but there is word going round that 14th May has been selected—which will face us in the referendum is whether the people will understand what they are voting for.

Mr. J. Lenehan

They are not fools.

I know one of them is. If they are to vote, at least they should get the opportunity of knowing the two sides of the story. In this, the Government are being unfair to them. We had the question some months ago of whether the over-eighteens should be allowed to vote and we were told the legal position would not permit this until after the new register is out. Be that as it may, in view of the fact that it is the youth of the country who will have to live with it for a long number of years after we have passed on, they should be given a say in the making of the decision of whether we join or not.

Even if the youth are not given this opportunity, at least those who will vote are entitled to get full facilities. They are not getting them. Not alone should the people be given the two sides of the story but every facility should be made available to them to enable everyone to vote who is entitled to do so, even if this means providing transport to the polls. It will be a terrible situation if we see the two big parties hauling in everybody whom they think will vote for entry to the EEC while many who would possibly vote the other way will not vote because they will be unable to get to the polls. An effort should be made to ensure that we will have a big poll and a decisive result.

We have listened to a lot of talk about the effect Ireland's vote will have on the affairs of the Community, that if we do not obtain full membership we will have no say. We must face the facts in this respect. In the European Parliament of 208 members, Ireland will have only ten votes. In the Commission, France, Germany, Italy and the UK will have two each and we will have one. In the Economic and Social Committee of 153, we will have nine votes only. That gives an idea of how much our say will be in the running of the Community.

There is the argument I got from a senior statesman in France last summer. I discussed Ireland's application for membership and our objection to it. After he had tried to persuade me by way of all the old arguments, he put forward a new one and, perhaps, this is the real reason why some countries are so anxious that Ireland should become a member. He pointed out that during the last war Germany attempted to over-run Europe and had nearly succeeded, that the German nation had peaceably got control of quite a large portion of Europe and would do so because they wanted one State of Europe, and his suggestion was that the small countries would stand behind France which wanted individual States, each with autonomy, in order to try to outvote the Germans. Perhaps, that is an argument in favour of joining the EEC.

However, I think the greatest mistake in our joining is that we will hand over completely to another authority the right not alone to decide our future but to decide the ordinary laws of the country. Do not forget that the referendum proposed is for the purpose of giving the right to the Government to enter the EEC and in doing so to allow any law which is in contravention of the laws of the European Parliament to be over-ridden by the European Parliament. I think the people would be very foolish if they voted in favour of entry and I hope, therefore, that the Government will be defeated in the referendum.

Wishful thinking

Deputy Tully is normally regarded in the House as a first-class all-rounder, a man who can make a good case for most causes, but any of us listening to him this evening must realise that he was speaking with something less than his usual conviction on the cause he was trying to support—that we should and the people should decide to stay outside the EEC. He spoke about references to honesty and dishonesty in relation to putting the case for or against entry. Certainly, I agree there should be absolute honesty in our discussions on this subject because there is no question that in deciding this issue the people are taking one of the biggest steps in the history of the country. I agree it is necessary that the greatest sincerity should be used and the maximum of information should be made available to the people.

Many feel that the people in the country generally know very little about the EEC or about what they will be facing and what the country will be confronted with as a member. I am not a bit sure that is correct. The people read the newspapers, watch television and listen to the news on the radio and I believe they know far more than most of us give them credit for. They may not know the final details but, broadly speaking, they now have made up their minds whether the EEC will be good for the country or not, whether there are real alternatives for us. They are the issues.

I should like to support the view that the recent television show, on which there was a discussion on the lines of a court, was extremely effectice. Ample opportunity was given to all sides to put their case before the people. I watched the programme throughout and was convinced at the end that although those who oppose entry had no case to make they, in fact, did make a case. It could be said that Father McDyer in his own way made a case for the small farming communities in Donegal and other parts of the country. At least the man sounded sincere and I am sure he was sincere in what he had to say. He put his point of view over very well. It would not cut much ice with most people who have worked on the land. We talk about small farmers and the wonderful thing it is to keep them in existence but they will not remain and accept this low standard of living any longer. Small farmers endured this in the past but the people who are now aged from 18 to 21 years will not remain on farms of 20 or even 30 acres of any type of land. Many of them will emigrate because emigration is very easy. If they do not emigrate they will migrate into the industrial areas and get a higher standard of living. The pull to the lights is there.

We have heard much discussion about the fact that money and investment will be attracted to the more prosperous and larger areas. I had the experience recently of meeting an industrialist who came in here and made inquiries about a rural area. This industrialist felt there would be less labour unrest and there would be more stability in a rural area. However, the majority of industrialists want to put their investment in the large towns and cities.

Those of us who feel that the right and proper thing to do is to go into the Common Market should not try to oversell it. It is possible that some people are overselling or underselling the Common Market. It is like high pressure salesmanship. It is no use just telling people that there will be an increase in the cost of living. Of course there will be a substantial increase in the cost of living. We have had a substantial increase in the cost of living here over the past few years and there was no Common Market.

Small farmers have been flying from the land without any Mansholt Plan. Some people pretend we have no problems now and that we will only have problems when we enter the EEC. We have a very high unemployment rate in this country at the moment but this has nothing to do with our entry into the EEC. Those people who try to sell that point of view are giving the impression that it has in some way something to do with our entry to the EEC. That is an indication of the type of semi-dishonesty and of overselling and underselling we have in connection with the whole treatment of the Common Market situation. I am glad that the case has been put simply to the people and I am also glad that the date of the referendum has been postponed until after the new register of electors becomes operative in the middle of April. This gives an opportunity to a greater number of people to have a say in this important issue.

I could understand to some extent the attitude of the members of the Labour Party while the negotiations were in progress. This was good for the country and it helped our negotiators to get a better bargain. All of us had a responsibility to prod them to look for the maximum they could get. We may be satisfied or we may be dissatisfied with what has been secured by our negotiators. However, the negotiations are over and the Treaty of Accession has been signed. All of us would like to see better terms but on the whole the terms negotiated are reasonably satisfactory and perhaps are as good as we could hope for in the circumstances where we were mainly an agricultural country and where we had little or nothing to contribute to the EEC. In fact, we could only add to their problems. Now that the negotiations are ended and that we know the terms we should go out and advise the people that there is not, in fact, any real alternative. It is nonsense to be talking any longer about other possible agreements or some form of associate agreement or even some sort of trade agreement. Nobody could honestly say that any of those forms of agreement short of full membership have a decided advantage for this country.

Some people talk about things we lose by becoming full members. The main thing they talk about is a loss of sovereignty. What good is this sovereignty to us and in what way do we exercise it at the present time? In what way can we insist on getting any particular benefits from having this sovereignty at the moment? Most of those things will be decided in future for us in the EEC. In what way will this particularly curtail us as a nation? I do not believe it will curtail us in any way.

I am glad that it has been made clear that there is no defence commitment in the EEC for this country. This cannot be emphasised too often because there are people who are putting forward the idea that if we enter the EEC we have to accept a defence commitment and that we will find ourselves out fighting all over Europe as a result of this. It should be made quite clear that we go in without a defence commitment and that if we were to enter such a defence commitment this House and the people would have to decide on it.

I hope we never enter into such a commitment. We have more than enough to do to bring the strength of the Army in this country up to a level where we will have enough people to defend us. Obviously we have to strengthen our defence force above what it is at the moment, but I do not think we should ever strengthen it for the purpose of going out to fight in Europe. It is fairly clear to most people that we are not entering into a defence commitment. Those who do not want us to enter see nothing good in this. They see no advantages. Unfortunately, some of the people who want us to enter see nothing bad in it. Both are wrong.

Deputy Tully says that there is no advantage in a regional policy and no great hope for the poorer parts of this country if we enter the EEC. It has been shown that the part of Europe which has gained the greatest advantage was the poorest part.

Southern Italy? When was that?

The facts and figures are all here.

When did all that happen? They were the first mentioned.

Southern Italy has improved 100 per cent. Some of the richer portions of Europe have improved by only 38 per cent. The poorest region has had the greatest advantage. It has been said that people emigrated in large numbers from Southern Italy. Now they are migrating in Italy itself but not emigrating to Germany as before. That is an improvement.

Mr. J. Lenehan

They are too well off to go.

The maximum advantages will accrue to the regions which make the greatest effort to prepare schemes. Funds exist to assist such schemes of development. The Government are falling down badly in their preparation for entry. I have not heard of schemes being prepared. If we have a programme for regional development the Minister should have given the House some information about it today. We cannot proceed too fast in this direction. If we are to take advantage of membership, we should be preparing to make use of the various funds in the EEC for this type of development as soon as we enter. We must prepare now.

It is being said that immediately we enter the EEC Irish land will be purchased on a large scale. Many people have mentioned this point to me. Wholesale purchase of Irish land will not happen. Purchase of Irish land will be on a limited basis. Some time ago Deputy Tully said that there was a man employed in County Meath as a labourer and that he was from one of the EEC countries. This man probably has sufficient money to buy land and wishes to come in and qualify. He is prepared to endure his present position for two years. Any young man could do this. There will be a limited transaction in regard to the purchase of land. There will be no wholesale land purchase in this country. The land of Ireland will not pass out of the hands of the Irish people. There is an emotive attachment to land here, as the Minister for Lands has said. If it was not for this love of land many more people would have left it long ago because the level of income was very low. There was very little to brighten the lives of people in many rural parts of the country. It was only the love of the land that kept them there. It is hard to extinguish it. If the Land Commission want to pursue a vigorous policy of keeping the land of Ireland for the Irish people, they can certainly have a scheme ready which will ensure that the land will not pass to foreigners. The scheme cannot be framed in a way that will give the impression that we are discriminating against any of the people in the member countries, but our land re-structuring programme could be so arranged as to ensure that the Land Commission would buy up all available land and distribute it among uneconomic holdings in order to bring them up to a certain level. Such a scheme has progressed too slowly over the years. It can be improved. We should be preparing that sort of legislation now in order to ensure that the things that could happen can be satisfactorily arranged when we enter the EEC. A certain danger exists but safeguards can be arranged and loopholes closed.

Government Departments may already be actively engaged in this type of exercise. It is a little disappointing that we have not heard more about the preparations which are being made behind the scenes to ensure that the maximum advantage will be gained by membership of EEC and that the disadvantages or dangers that some people see are guarded against as far as it is possible to guard against them.

Fisheries have been mentioned. Many of our fishermen are dissatisfied or not fully satisfied with the outcome of the negotiations. It could be said perhaps that a better bargain could have been made.

Mr. J. Lenehan

You come from a good fishery district. Leave that to the likes of me.

I am sure that the Deputy can speak when I am finished. It might be some advantage to him to know——

Mr. J. Lenehan

No advantage whatever.

——that I have a couple of fishery harbours in my constituency.

Mr. J. Lenehan

They must be something that came in with the tide.

If we had stayed with Norway and started our negotiations as they started theirs perhaps we could have got a more satisfactory bargain for our fishermen.

Mr. J. Lenehan

Where have you the fish? We are perfectly satisfied——

The Deputy will get an opportunity to speak.

Mr. J. Lenehan

He must have pulled them out of the Shannon by accident.

I was trying to make the point——

Mr. J. Lenehan

There are no foreign trawlers going up the Shannon.

The Deputy must cease interrupting.

Mr. J. Lenehan

The Deputy is entitled to interrupt——

The Chair will not permit it.

Mr. J. Lenehan

When did a foreign trawler come up the Shannon to do anything to you?

I said nothing about foreign trawlers. I have not got to that point yet. The Deputy must be hearing things. He must be waking out of a dream. I wanted to establish that I can see the point of view of the Minister for Foreign Affairs. I take it that he had in his mind that, if we could enter the EEC with our existing fishery limits, we could hope because of the unanimous voting arrangement where the vital interests of any country——

Mr. J. Lenehan

Is the Shannon 12 miles wide?

The Chair will not warn the Deputy again.

Mr. J. Lenehan

Keep warning me.

The Chair will not keep warning. The Chair will say that if the Deputy wishes he should retire.

Mr. J. Lenehan

The Shannon is not 12 miles wide and I think the Chair knows that as well as I do.

The Minister was obviously relying on the fact that any decision reached up to now required the unanimous vote of all members of EEC. He stayed with that view and if he had succeeded the outcome would have been better. But he did not succeed. With hindsight, it is easy enough to say that if we had stayed with the Norwegians and adopted their attitude from the beginning we might have got a better bargain. That is also conjecture. The fact is that we have not a very satisfactory arrangement for fisheries and that we have only succeeded in getting the 12-mile limit for portion of the coast and the six-mile limit for the remainder. It is a great pity that the EEC countries were not somewhat more generous with us here because great strides were being made in the past few years in improving our fisheries. Our fishermen displayed great courage in the amount of money they were prepared to borrow and invest in boats and gear to equip themselves, first, so as to provide themselves with a better livelihood and, secondly, to meet the competition that was inevitably ahead.

We have a degree of protection for the next ten years but it still presents a rather insecure position for our fishermen and one can understand their apprehension and disquiet, but we must admit that a hard effort was made and a hard fight fought to make a better bargain for these men. They were in Brussels themselves at the conclusion of the negotiations and saw at first hand how difficult it was to do better. What is of most concern is that fishermen from the member countries have a right of access to our harbours from the beginning. This gives them a kind of foothold that can make them competitors in a way in which they have never been competitors before.

Mr. J. Lenehan

Dún do bhéal.

Perhaps I have said sufficient about fisheries——

Mr. J. Lenehan

You said far too much.

——and it is very difficult to discuss anything while we have a Member of the House interjecting in this foolish manner.

Mr. J. Lenehan

What are you talking about? You never saw a fish except in a picture. I was a fisherman.

It is very difficult to know how to deal with an interrupter of this kind who is talking through his hat.

Mr. J. Lenehan

I shall call for a quorum if you do not shut your mouth soon.

If the Deputy does not cease interrupting the Chair will do something.

Mr. J. Lenehan

You can do whatever you like with me, Sir.

The Deputy will cease interrupting or else leave the House. If the Deputy interrupts again, he will leave the House.

It is disgraceful that anybody should come into this House and, as Deputy Tully said, turn it into a sort of bear garden when we are discussing a subject that concerns the people very seriously. I should like to say a word about industry. There is no doubt that here again there will be disruption in certain industries but we should be extremely grateful for the conditions that have been secured for industry. It was particularly hard to believe that it could be fully agreed that the tax concession on exports would be allowed to remain until 1990. But that has been allowed or, if there is any alteration in the situation, we have a guarantee that the incentives that will take its place will be at least as good as that already there. While some industries will not be able to continue in EEC, certainly the fact that we are allowed to retain this incentive and that we now have access to a market of 250 million people should be a great attraction to American or Japanese industrialists and industrialists from parts of Europe which are still outside EEC and unlikely to enter it for a considerable time.

I would hope to see quite an in-flux of industry here as soon as it is definite that this country is going into EEC and will have free access to that market. I understand that the number of inquiries is increasing all the time but still I do not think definite decisions will be made by people who will eventually come here until there is a final decision on our entry. We should have a very big attraction for Americans and Japanese and outside countries in Europe such as Sweden where salaries, wages and taxes are extremely high and where, because of the costs of production, they are importing quite a large proportion of their own requirements and have a ready market there at present if they came over to produce here with very much lower production costs. On the whole I would see industry prospering, not immediately but in quite a short time.

During the time I spent on the Council of Europe I availed of the opportunity to discuss with representatives of countries that are already members of EEC the effects on their small industries and on their small farmers particularly because these are the areas in which people are fearful and apprehensive of the changes that are likely to take place. Without exception they assured me that all of them gained as a result of membership and that the small farmer and small industrialist benefited by the increased prosperity generated in EEC. All of them got some of it. They said there was initial disruption in certain industries and instead of producing for themselves they became service industries to larger industries but they are still in existence as small industries. Their small farms are still in existence and I do not understand how anybody can say small farmers will fare worse in EEC. I cannot see how increased prices will be bad for a small farmer. He will not, of course, get the same advantage as a large farmer who is producing more goods because there will be more profit on more produce but he will gain the advantages. There will be enormous advantages, for milk products particularly, and milk production is intensive farming. If people want to stay on a rather small acreage they are most likely to get most through milk production.

By small farmers I do not mean those having 20 or 30 acres because any farmer who has less than 50 acres has a very poor livelihood today. Small farmers will have to get more land if they are to continue in agriculture. In Germany, for instance, farms are much smaller in size than they are here but these people are not worried. As well as getting increased prices for their produce the opportunity is open to them of being employed in industry. In fact, people are being imported to Germany to work in industry. I am aware that recently a figure for unemployment in the EEC countries was quoted but by comparison with the level of unemployment that exists here and in Britain, this was very low. This unemployment within the EEC is a recent development.

Membership of the EEC will result in huge increases in the prices of beef, lamb, milk and barley. These will be our main products. The prices for wheat and sugar beet will be much the same as they are now. Of course, the inputs will be greater but I think it is acknowledged by all that the profits from farming will increase substantially.

It follows automatically that there will be an increase in the cost of living and unless incomes and social welfare benefits are increased accordingly there will be suffering and hardship. I fail to see how any Government would allow that situation to develop. If they did they could not hope to stay in office. It has been made clear that there will be a substantial saving in subsidies on milk products alone— about £30 million. This money will be available for distribution among people on fixed incomes and those in receipt of social welfare benefits to enable them to meet the increased cost of living. However, there is no point in exaggerating the effect of these extra moneys because in any case there will be some increase in the cost of living regardless of whether we enter the EEC.

I would like to stress again that the question of preparation for membership is one of great urgency. This applies to many Government Departments and I hope that before the conclusion of this debate we will be told something about the plans that are being formulated in the various Departments so as to enable us to reap the full advantages of membership at the earliest possible date. I hope, too, that we will be told something of the measures being taken to safeguard against any danger that may exist in regard to entry. I was surprised that the Taoiseach did not give us some insight into what is happening.

I am one of the people who believe that there is no alternative to full membership and I consider it nonsense for anyone to say otherwise. We know that approximately 65 per cent of our exports go to Britain and that approximately 15 per cent go to the EEC countries. Should tariff barriers be erected against these exports what would be our position? We know how poorly industry can stand up to any rough wind even now and if our firms were faced with tariff barriers, they would go out of business and wholesale unemployment would result. Therefore, those people who talk of staying out must have no idea of what the position would be. We would be exporting shiploads of our young people. I do not accept that there are alternatives by way of trade agreements or association agreements that would prevent this happening. By not entering we would have a situation that would be much worse than the economic war because our people at that time at least were accustomed to low standards of living. However, standards have increased very much since then and there must be money to maintain this changed situation. If we were faced with tariff barriers we would almost starve. We should consider these aspects very carefully before deciding to vote against entering. We are getting an opportunity now that has been denied us for far too long. For as long as any of us can remember, we have been tied hand and foot to the British market. It was they who decided the amount of produce they would take from us and the price to be paid for that produce. We had no power to alter their decisions and neither had we any alternative market to turn to. The amount of produce that we were able to sell outside the British market was so small as to be of very little consequence. It is unreasonable for anyone to state that because we are Britain's third best customer we have a certain leverage that we could use because, of course, Britain could not continue prices. In Brussels, we will have our accession to the Community if we should remain outside it.

Now that it is clear that Britain will enter, those people in this country who oppose membership for us should discontinue this opposition and tell our people that there is no chance for us if we stay out. The false impression is being created that we could stay as we are. If we could do so, even with the prospects we have at the moment, I would probably opt to stay out rather than face the unknown and the fierce competition that we will have to face, but that option is not open to us.

During the referendum campaign I shall strongly exhort the people in my constituency to vote for joining. I will tell them that this is our opportunity to produce to the maximum and to sell at good prices but if the Irish people are not as good as any others in Europe then, in my opinion, they deserve to remain poor. As well as those advantages there are sufficient safeguards built into the terms that have been negotiated to give us an opportunity of building up where we are weak and of enabling us to reach a standard that would allow us to produce alongside people in any other country in the Community.

I must agree with Deputy Clinton in his opening remarks. I also listened to Deputy Tully, who is an able contributor to debates in this House, but, like Deputy Clinton, I too felt he was not putting into his speech the same punch and conviction that we normally associate with speeches from Deputy Tully, which, to my mind, proves that even he is not convinced of the "no" campaign that has been launched against our entry into Europe.

The Taoiseach, in his address to the House, said that the referendum would be held in May. In this referendum the people will make the biggest decision they have ever made since the State was founded, and it is right that as many people as are eligible should be on the voting list. Therefore the decision to hold the referendum in May when the new register will be available was a wise one and one on which the Government should be complimented.

The usual argument has been trotted out in defence of our staying out of Europe. As many Deputies have said, there is no such thing, as there was in the last referendum, as stay as you are or change. In this case there will be change whether we go into Europe or stay out of it. If we stay out we shall be cut away from the main stream, a little island in the west, divided, as we are, and with an economic barrier and a political border to our country which would be greater even than it is today. However, I am satisfied that the people are not foolish enough to vote against entry and that Ireland will be going into Europe.

It has been said that we must have some defence commitments with the other applicant and member nations of Europe. Why this issue has been bandied around I do not know. It may be because certain applicants and present members are also members of NATO, as is America, but America is not part of the EEC. It is no harm to quote from the Taoiseach's speech today on this matter:

These obligations do not entail any military or defence commitments for there are no such commitments involved in Ireland's acceptance of the Treaties. The reason why I am emphasising this point again is that some people are persisting in their attempts to make this an issue in our membership of the Communities despite the clear evidence to the contrary and the repeated, unequivocal assurances on the subject. One can only assume that this is a diversionary tactic designed to distract attention from the real issues involved in membership to which they are opposed for other reasons.

We all know what a trade agreement is and this entry into Europe is, strictly speaking, a trade agreement. How anybody can say there is any defence commitment in a trade agreement is beyond me. For example, we have a trade agreement with Britain, but surely we have no defence commitment with Britain. Industry and agriculture are the matters involved here. Other matters like housing, social welfare and health will still be matters for the Government, matters to be discussed here and for the Irish people to pay for. There will be no special grants or concessions in respect of them whether we are in or out of Europe.

A great deal has been said about agriculture. It has been stated recently that anybody engaged in agriculture, whether he be a farmer or a farm labourer, or engaged in the service industries associated with agriculture, or has any other connection with agriculture, should be certified if he does not vote for entry into the EEC. I shall come back to agriculture afterwards, but, generally speaking, there will be problems. The proof of that is the hard negotiations conducted by our Minister for Foreign Affairs in connection with the motor car assembly industry and in connection with our sugar quota. The Minister has done his part to see that, at least, we shall have time to adjust ourselves to the changes that will come about. In regard to industry we can still have our tax-free concessions; we can still pay grants to industrialists who wish to set up here, and as Deputy Clinton said, there are quite a number of inquiries in the pipeline by such industrialists.

The main problem we must face is that there are 35,000 people employed in industry which depends on the export market. Most other workers are associated with industries that supply the home market or with service industries of various kinds. Certain protective action can be taken if the jobs of these 35,000 people are in jeopardy as a result of our entry into Europe. What I want to ask is: if Britain with the Six and the other two applicant countries apart from ourselves form a trading group to be known as the Nine and we are outside it and they put on a tariff or duty on our industrial exports coming from the firms in which those 35,000 people are employed, where are we going to export those goods to? It has been suggested that we could export to Iceland, Portugal, Spain, eastern Europe, Yugoslavia, Latvia, Lithuania. Why is it that we are not exporting to these countries now? If exports can be made to these countries the people in this House who are making these suggestions should see to it that such trade is developed. To say that by staying out of Europe we can sell our industrial goods to Europe, and that we can put duties on imports coming in here, is not a reasonable expectation. Whether we like it or not there must be free trade for industrial goods. Even if we stay out of Europe we cannot expect to get special concessions to send our industrial goods into Europe and, at the same time, impose duties on their goods coming in here.

It is very unfair to management and to workers to say that we are not able to compete in industry at this stage with other industrialists in Europe or anywhere else. Irish men and women in the field of education and in every other sphere, as workers who have travelled from Dunkirk to Belgrade, as the saying goes, down through the years have held their own with everybody else in Europe. I am quite satisfied that, with the adaptation grants that have been availed of by management for the retraining of workers and for the further training they will get between now and the time that all protection will have to go, Irish manufacturers and Irish goods will hold their own with any other nation in Europe.

As Deputy Clinton said, there is no alternative. From the first moment that I learned of the formation of the European Economic Community I was in favour of it. I was in favour of it before we ever started to negotiate our entry into Europe. We have been tied to Britain economically for 700 years or, perhaps, longer. It has been argued that, when we enter Europe, our decisions will be made for us in Brussels. The price of our agricultural produce will admittedly be decided in Brussels. During the 700 years, or more, to which I referred earlier, where were the decisions made? The price of our agricultural produce was decided in London in the Smithfield market. If there was a recession in Smithfield it was a case of their getting a cold there and our getting pneumonia. When we enter Europe we will be able to break away from that and have prices decided for us in Brussels. In London, we had no voice in any decision about making agreements with us on her representative. He will be a member of the Council of Ministers. Some member states will have two representatives. Britain will have two. Belgium, Ireland and Norway will each have one representative. Bearing in mind our population and the population of Britain surely one representative for 3,000,000 of a population is a generous representation. Britain will have two representatives for a population of something over 50,000,000 people. The Council of Ministers is the really important body and we will have in that Council equal representation with the three smaller countries and I am satisfied our representative will be as good as any of his counterparts in Europe.

I doubt if it would be possible to have a debate in this House without some reference to the Border. If we were to stay out of Europe we would have a border not merely between the Twenty-Six and the Six and not merely between Britain and Ireland, but we would have a border also between this country and Europe. When we enter Europe, the economic border goes and we hope it will not be long before the political one goes too. Those who would claim to be superior republicans—that is the best way to describe them—are joining with Ian Paisley, William Craig and the other great Irish Republicans. But why do Ian Paisley and William Craig want to stay out of Europe? Because they want to keep the Border and the nice subsidies from Britain. These will have to go when Britain and Northern Ireland go into Europe.

Looking at Europe, can we not see how world trade is going? After the last war we had not alone countries joining together for trading purposes but we had businesses amalgamating for trading purposes. Europe is now a big trading bloc, one of the richest in the world from the point of view of population and the amount people have to spend. There is then the eastern trading bloc made up of the Communist countries and there is the United States trading bloc. Where will we go to trade? If a man in Deputy Esmonde's constituency of Wexford wants to set up a business and trade with Galway, it is not in Wexford he will set up; he will set up in Galway. If he wants to trade in Wexford he will set up there. We cannot move this island of ours out into the North Atlantic in order to trade with America. The only suitable area in which to trade is in Europe with our European neighbours. I cannot understand how we could hope to trade with North America. America does not want many of the products we produce. We have some quotas for meat and we supply about 4,500 tons of sugar, but we have not much else with which we could trade with America. Eastern countries then, because of poverty, perhaps, or for some other reason, are not very keen on buying from us.

Ours is basically an agricultural country. Deputy Pattison and I come from a predominantly agricultural constituency. Every town and village in our constituency is based on the surrounding agricultural hinterland. Everybody is tied in in some way with agriculture. Even the road worker is tied in with agriculture because he is maintaining and repairing the roads to provide an easy passage for the farmer's agricultural machinery, his tractor and so forth.

In Carlow town we have the sugar company. There is a steel industry. These survive on agriculture. The sugar company is based on agriculture. That is why we were so pleased with the sugar quota in the Common Market. We got a quota for 150,000 tons, an excess of about 15,000 or 16,000 tons on the average production from sugar beet in Carlow over the last ten years. Apart from that, if the factory is able to produce it and the farmer grows the beet, we will have a further 50,000 tons.

As I said, our whole economy is based on agriculture. Every shop is supplying something directly or indirectly connected with agriculture. Even the lorry driver who carries milk or manures is connected with agriculture. Anyone who does not vote for entry into Europe should be certified.

Debate adjourned.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 10.30 a.m. on Wednesday, 22nd March, 1972.