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Dáil Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 4 Dec 1974

Vol. 276 No. 6

Private Members' Business. - Petrol Prices: Statement by Minister for Finance.

Deputies will be aware from the Government's recently-published White Paper of the profound effect on the Irish economy and balance of payments of the enormous increases in the prices charged by oil-producing countries over the last 12 months. This year alone, the increase in our imported oil bill will be about £130 million. Next year, as the full effect of this year's price increases works through, the extra cost could be even higher.

There is no likelihood that oil prices will fall, over any period that one can prudently foresee, by anything like the rise of the last 12 months. There is a tendency in the public mind to associate current high oil prices with the oil boycott used during the Middle East war of October, 1973. That would be a mistake. That war may have occasioned the rise in prices—and it certainly caused a scarcity of supplies for some time—but the basic reason for current oil prices is that for more than a generation, world demand for energy has been rising much faster than its supply and oil has been by far the major source used for the new energy required. Certainly, the recent rise has been both sudden and steep and this has created many economic difficulties throughout the world; but the blunt fact must be faced that oil is at present an essential and in the long run an exhaustible source of energy and its price in future is bound to reflect these facts. The sooner our patterns of energy use reflect this knowledge the easier it will be to cope with the many economic difficulties that lie ahead. The days of cheap energy are gone; we must adapt our life-styles in recognition of this fact.

The present cost of oil to our balance of payments is not a temporary difficulty that can be coped with merely by financial arrangements; expensive oil is a permanent fact of life to which we must accommodate ourselves.

The Government have already recognised this by associating themselves with the steps taken internationally to cope with the changed energy situation. As far as security of oil supplies is concerned, we have become members of the International Energy Agency and have acceded to the agency's emergency oil-sharing programme. While this will give us limited protection, we will remain vulnerable in the event of another oil cut-off, since all our oil has to be imported. As regards a European Community energy policy, we have been participating in the discussions on its formulation in Brussels and have subscribed to the Council resolution of September last which called for a reduction in the rate of growth of consumption by means of a rational use of energy that would not jeopardise social and economic growth objectives.

It has become essential, therefore, to make the most efficient use of our existing supplies, to conserve energy— and particularly oil—as far as practicable and above all to alter the wasteful patterns of use which became the norm in an era of cheap oil. This will be an immense task and will ramify throughout the whole of our society. The recent White Paper has already set out several measures taken by the Government to help reduce energy consumption. These have all, so far, been of a non-fiscal character. The Government consider the time has come to use fiscal measures as a further step towards saving energy. Normally, this would be done at the time of the annual budget, but the need to curb oil imports has become too urgent to be bound by an annual timetable. The use of fiscal measures would, moreover, be in accordance with the advice given explicitly in the recent report on the economy published by the National Economic and Social Council and implicitly in the October economic commentary of the Economic and Social Research Institute.

Some 50 per cent of our total oil imports consists of crude oil for the Whitegate refinery. Another 30 per cent is accounted for by heavy fuel oil used by the ESB and major industrial users. Nearly 6 per cent represents other fuels used for public and commercial transport and in industry. It would be extremely difficult to achieve major economies in these products without causing widespread economic disruption and unemployment. The next major oil product we import is petrol, representing nearly 10 per cent of our total oil imports. This has a number of distinct characteristics which need emphasis.

In the first place, it is the product with the largest discretionary element: I am not saying it is a luxury, but it is largely used for private and to some extent non-essential purposes and curtailment of its use would not have anything like the economically disruptive effects that a cut-back of other fuels would.

Secondly, petrol imports have been growing steadily, both in absolute terms and as a proportion of total oil products imported. For several years past, grwoth in consumption has averaged some 7½ per cent a year as a proportion of our imports, petrol rose from less than 2 per cent in 1969 to nearly 9 per cent in 1973. If account is taken of the petrol output of the Whitegate refinery, which imports crude oil, petrol represents about 15 per cent of our total consumption of oil products.

Thirdly, the price rises of the last year have hit petrol relatively less than any other oil product. This is because the duty element in the price of petrol forms a sizeable fraction of its retail price. As a result, although the price of, say, heating oil has risen by well over 100 per cent during the past 12 months, the price of petrol to the motorist has risen by less than half. Moreover, as I have told the House previously, we now have the cheapest petrol in western Europe. In Italy, petrol costs nearly 88p a gallon, in France over 74p, in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany the price ranges from 69p to 74p a gallon. Even in oil-rich Norway it is 76p. In Northern Ireland and Britain the price of premium petrol is 63½p per gallon. The existence of such a large difference as nearly 13p on a gallon of petrol between the Republic and the North has obvious disadvantages for our economy. It would stimulate considerable petrol purchases in the Republic by motorists from the North. This "leakage" across the Border would result in a worsening of our balance of payments as additional oil was imported to supply the cross-Border demand.

In these circumstances, it would be unrealistic to expect to maintain our petrol price at just over 50p. Every gallon we use has to be imported and relative cheapness merely encourages waste. I emphasise that it is relative prices here that matter— if petrol prices are held steady while inflation causes the prices of other goods to rise by 15-20 per cent a year, then petrol becomes relatively cheaper and wasteful use quickly reasserts itself.

This has, in fact, been happening. Consumption of petrol, after falling by about 5 per cent in the first quarter of this year, was actually slightly greater in the second and third quarters than in the corresponding periods of 1973, despite a price increase of almost 50 per cent. It is significant that the percentage of larger cars with heavy petrol consumption in the total of new registrations has doubled between 1967 and 1973. These trends are evidence of unrealistic attitudes towards the cost of oil which has to be imported.

The Government have, therefore, decided that it is essential to bring about great economy in the use of petrol. We have considered whether this could be achieved by the imposition of some form of rationing, but we have rejected this approach in present circumstances. While rationing may have advantages in achieving a fair distribution of a limited supply, it is an extremely cumbersome method of reducing consumption, it poses a large number of administrative problems for suppliers and distributors, it is economically inefficient and is open to widespread abuse. The Government have, therefore, decided that a more efficient incentive to economy and to the elimination of waste is to raise the price of petrol by increasing the customs and excise duty by an amount which, allowing for the effects of VAT, will raise the retail price of premium grade petrol to 65p a gallon. The tax increase is approximately equivalent to a VAT tax on petrol of 36.75 per cent. I propose to insert a provision in the 1975 Finance Bill to convert this additional customs and excise tax on petrol into VAT. I am proceeding at the moment by way of customs and excise duties because it will take some time to integrate the increased duties into the VAT structure.

While the rise in petrol prices is substantial, I must point out that it will still leave our prices among the lowest in Europe. The Government are taking no action at present on other oil products, such as diesel fuel used in road vehicles, in order to safeguard the position of industrial and commercial users as much as possible in these difficult economic times. CIE passenger services will not be affected by this increase; this should encourage the use of public transport which would itself make a useful contribution to overall economy in the use of fuel. I would stress that there is just as great a need for economy in all oil products and everybody has an obligation to contribute to the national aim in this regard. Any relief to our present oil position that may arise from access to our own sources of oil or gas is both too uncertain in size to rely on and is, in any event, too far away in point of time to save us from the necessity for immediate action.

The increase in price will take effect from midnight to-night in so far as it concerns withdrawals of petrol from bond. My colleague, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, will be making the appropriate orders as regards retail prices. Dealers who have stocks bought at the former price should, however, continue to retail them at that level until stocks are exhausted.

This increase in taxation is not designed primarily to raise revenue for the Exchequer, but to curb consumption and to alter existing patterns of use. There is no precedent for this measure, so its ultimate effect is hard to gauge. I expect, however, that compared with the annual growth of over 7 per cent hitherto, it should produce a fall of 10 per cent or so over the next year in petrol consumption. As regards the balance of payments, the improvement will be modest, but it is an improvement that is within our own power to achieve and one which will, I hope, set a headline for users of oil products generally. If this measure does not, however, achieve the results sought, it will be necessary to look at the matter again. On the assumption that consumption does fall by 10 per cent or so, the Exchequer should benefit by about £27½ million in a full year.

I would point out that this is the first increase in petrol prices since 1969 to result from taxation measures. Every other increase since that date has resulted from other factors — the principal beneficiaries have been foreign oil producers and not any Irish interests — and I have no hesitation in saying that the additional funds accruing to the Exchequer will be welcome at a time when demands on the State coffers are far outstripping resources. On this occasion, Irish motorists can take comfort from the fact that their additional taxes will accrue to the benefit of the Irish people, whether by financing expenditure that could not otherwise be undertaken or by avoiding taxation that would otherwise be necessary. The position as regards taxation generally will, of course, be made clear in the budget, which will be presented on 15th January next.

In conclusion, I would remind the House that this measure represents but one element in a cohesive and comprehensive set of policies that will be appropriate to the new energy situation. The measure I have announced today is specific in its application and is meant to produce early results. It should not, however, be seen in isolation. A number of other specific measures already taken were indicated in the Government's recent White Paper. Other complementary measures like the expanded IIRS advisory information and technical consultancy services have brought about substantial energy savings in industry. Consideration of other conservation steps is proceeding at various levels and in differing agencies. Because of their far-reaching nature it will take some time for the full benefit of these conservation measures to materialise.

In two areas, however, early action is being taken. The Minister for Local Government will make an order fixing a maximum speed limit of 50 mph and the Garda Síochána are being asked to ensure that the limit is respected. It is estimated that the abolition of winter time would effect a worthwhile saving in fuel consumption. The Government will consult the interests concerned as regards the feasibility of maintaining standard time throughout the year. The Minister for Transport and Power will shortly undertake a comprehensive promotional campaign to persuade domestic users to reduce consumption by wiser use and this campaign will convey practical advice on how to save money on fuel costs.

Apart from direct Government action, however, there is considerable scope for effecting reductions in petrol consumption by measures which can be taken by the public themselves at relatively little inconvenience, such as the greater use of public transport, slackening speed, pooling cars, the use of smaller cars and so on. The overriding necessity is that future use of energy, in particular of oil, should be based firmly on a consciousness of its true economic cost — and value.

Give him a clap.

What is the name of the receiver?

Are you disappointed that it was not £1?

Bianconi Ryan.

Order. Deputy Colley.

This party are opposed to this increase although, because of the procedure by which it is being affected, we have not got an opportunity to record our opposition by voting. I want to make it quite clear and unequivocal that we are totally opposed to the increase in the price of petrol which the Minister has just announced. We are opposed to it because it must be evident to everybody that such a steep increase in the price of petrol will inevitably bring about further increases in the cost of living for practically every man, woman and child in the country.

It will, of course, affect every day directly all of those people who travel to and from their work on motor cycles or in cars. It will also affect people every day indirectly as the cost of this increase works itself through either in the factory process or in the cost of transporting of goods, or both. It will affect everybody as it works its way through. It will, of course, be a particular hardship on those people— and there are many of them — whose work compels them and obliges them to use cars and consume petrol.

I notice that the Minister said that the primary purpose of this was not to raise revenue but, mind you, £27½ million in a full year, which is probably a conservative estimate, is no mere bagatelle and especially it is no bagatelle to a Minister whose budget is not working out at all as he told us it would last April.

Although the Minister refers to the leakage across the Border he proposes to increase the price above that obtaining in Northern Ireland. The Minister did not tell us why he was doing that although, no doubt, he will eventually. As regards his claim of a leakage across the Border if one analyses this one will find that already, and without this savage increase, the bulk of the price of petrol goes in duty and tax and that is even more true as a consequence of what the Minister has just announced. For this reason the sales across the Border would, if one viewed that aspect of it, simply mean that revenue would accrue to our Exchequer but there is a balance of payments element involved. The Minister did not quantify it for us but I would suspect it is not a major amount.

In so far as it does effect our balance of payments we are entitled to ask whether it was not possible to devise some administrative method whereby this leakage across the Border could be controlled if it was going to have any substantial effect in regard to our balance of payments. One thing which is quite clear is that whatever amount is involved for our balance of payments in this regard a very much greater amount could be saved for our balance of payments if the Government embarked on a proper all-out campaign of information and exhortation on fuel saving generally. I understand that early this year a group of very highly qualified people offered their services to the Government free to assist in this matter.

We have heard the Minister make a few references to things that are suppose to have been done. Some similar references were made in the recent nonevent White Paper but what is the reality of the situation? We have all known that this problem was in existence from the beginning of this year at the latest and, effectively, the Government have done nothing so far. I cannot understand, despite my low opinion of the members of the present Government, this extraordinary dilatoriness in the face of what is undoubtedly a major problem, the major problem of the increase in oil prices. The most obvious, logical step for the Government to take is to embark on an all-out campaign to induce people to save fuel. They are tinkering with the problem here. The fuel saving is minimal and the Minister has admitted that. What are the consequences of what he is doing? He is increasing the cost of living again when people are at the end of their tether trying to subsist with the cost of living as it is.

This Government, in their early days, apparently did not understand the enormous importance for a Government at a time of raging inflation of avoiding any steps under their control which would increase the cost of living. I am not trying to depart from the subject under discussion but I say that because of the various and substantial tax increases that were applied across the board by the Government. The Government were not aware of the importance of what was happening. I suspect that now they should be aware of what is happening but what frightens me is that they have given up the ghost because recently, in the areas under the Government's control and these are the important ones, they seem to have forgotten that if one is ever to have any hope in the battle against inflation every little increase which can be stopped must be stopped. The Government can control us a great deal.

Tonight we have an announcement from the Minister for Finance of a savage, unprecedented increase in the price of petrol which will directly, and indirectly, shove up the cost of living. This has come at a time when we all know that even a small increase in the cost of living is likely to throw people out of their jobs. That being the situation I suggest that there was an obligation on the Government, if they felt it was necessary to conserve petrol, and it was necessary to do so, to devise any other method than one which would increase the cost of living and throw people out of employment.

It seems, apart from the attitude of the Government in their earlier days when they did not understand the effect of what they were doing, that now things which are directly under the Government's control such as TV licences, postal charges and now petrol, are being increased on a massive scale. These enormous and massive increases have been directly produced by the Government. The effect of these increases is that not alone should the Government be opposed to what they are doing now because of its direct effect on the cost of living and employment, but, more important, because of the evidence it gives of this psychological surrender by the Government in the battle against inflation.

I should like to ask a question, I am not endeavouring to make a contribution. This single increase in the price of petrol superseded the increase in several budgets in overall taxation. On these occasions we were given an opportunity as an Opposition, to express our views on it but will the Minister put this proposal to a vote of the House or how otherwise does he propose to implement the increase?

We deliberately did a courtesy to the House to have made this statement in the House.


This House is the only place the Minister could have made such announcements without being lynched.

This is the only occasion on which an order made under the Imposition of Duties Act, 1957, was brought before the House for a statement by the Minister concerned which gave the Opposition an opportunity to reply. The Adjournment Debate will shortly take place and I have no doubt that the Deputies in Opposition, who are now accustomed to being in opposition, will use that occasion for such remarks as they want to address on the matter.

Out of the £27½ million will the Minister provide the Minister for Education with £109,000?

Is the Minister imposing this under the Imposition of Duties Act?

That is the greatest sleight of hand I have ever seen.

I have permitted all that can be permitted just now under the appropriate Standing Order.


We should have a vote on this matter.

Item No. 12, resumed.

On a point of order, might I, as an ordinary Deputy, be informed, if not by the Minister by the Chair, as to how this particular item comes to be taken the way it is and that I, as an ordinary Deputy, do not seem to have any right whatsoever in this House?

The matter came before the House under Standing Order No. 38 and the Chair is obliged to comply with that order.

I should like to know what is my right in this House because I have tonight experienced something new in that I was not given a copy of the Minister's statement. I have not had an opportunity of saying anything. I am not saying that what has been said is not what I also would say but as a Deputy who does not belong to the Fianna Fáil Party I am entitled to be heard on this matter.

The Chair has conformed to the appropriate Standing Order. No further debate can be allowed.

I am not asking for a debate. I am asking the Chair what are the rights of an ordinary Deputy who does not belong to the party that has had a representative speak?

I can only refer the Deputy to the Standing Orders. We cannot go into that matter now.

It is not a question of trotting out Standing Orders by numbers or by reference. I want to know specifically the Standing Order under which I am precluded from being heard on this matter that is as much my concern as that of any other Deputy.

The House makes the Standing Orders. Next business.

I am asking what the Standing Orders are?

I am not going into that now, Deputy.

I want to know what is the Standing Order that precludes any Deputy from having any say in the business of the House.

Number 12, Transport (No. 2) Bill, 1974.


Standing Order No. 38.


Deputy de Valera to resume.

Could the Chair read out the Standing Order?

That is not the function of the Chair.

What is not a function of the Chair? Surely the function of the Chair is to protect the rights of every individual Deputy in this House and my rights are being flouted. I want to know under what order they are being flouted.

The Chair is obliged to conform with Standing Orders. That is precisely what he is doing now. I referred the Deputy to the Standing Order.

I am entitled to know what is the Standing Order. Surely that is the least the Chair can do.

The Deputy is seeking to argue with the Chair. The Chair will not be involved in argument.

Fifteen pence on petrol and we are supposed to sit here and say nothing.

Is the Minister for Local Government here?

Transport (No. 2) Bill, 1974, Deputy de Valera to resume.

On a point of order, is it normal practice to impose £27 million of taxation on a people without a vote? Is that a Standing Order?

Deputy de Valera.

On a point of order, could I inquire from the Minister for Finance on what he proposes to spend the £27½ million? Are we entitled to know that, or is it to prevent the country falling into bankruptcy on which it is now on the verge?


Deputy de Valera to resume on the Transport Bill.

Is this discussion finished, or may I make a remark on it?


This is a disgrace. There has been more tax raised here tonight than there was in several years' budgets.

The Chair is a party to the taxation.

We have had more taxation here tonight than in the last two budgets and we have not a vote. Why is there not a vote?


The Chair is a party to it. Go back and tell them in south Tipperary what you are doing for them. You will have to stand for election again. You will not always be there.


Deputy de Valera.

What about the shoe industry?


The Chair has complied with the Standing Order governing statements.

The Chair has complied with the order of the Taoiseach.




If Members will not assist the Chair to restore order I will have no——




I wish to propose that we suspend Standing Orders and that we have a debate on this. I propose that we have a vote on it.

If Members will not assist the Chair to restore order and proceed with the business of the House, I will have no hesitation in suspending the sitting.



Business suspended at 8.05 p.m. and resumed at 8.20 p.m.

Item No. 12 — Transport (No. 2) Bill, 1974, Second Stage (resumed).

On a point of order——

May I again ask the Ceann Comhairle whether a matter such as this can be disposed of in the manner proposed and, secondly, where and what is the Standing Order in detail which precludes a Member of this House, duly elected as I am, having no say and apparently having no right to have a say on a matter of such great importance at a time like this?

I have earlier quoted the Standing Order to the Deputy. It is Standing Order No. 38.

On a point of order, may I ask the Ceann Comhairle whether it is his ruling that a Member of this House who is not represented by any other spokesman is precluded by his order from speaking in this House on a matter of as great concern to his constituents as to any other constituents in the country?

It is not merely the ruling of the Chair. It is the Standing Order adopted by this House to which the Chair must conform.

May I then put a further point of order and ask the Ceann Comhairle, before he finally determines this matter in the manner in which he is disposed to do so and believes he is obliged to do, to check back on the assertions of the Chief Whip, Deputy Kelly, and promises in this House in regard to the changes proposed in Standing Orders which he will find totally misleading in so far as questions I ask him are concerned of which the Chair would have record and are recorded in the House and which would be a total fabrication, which I am not accusing Deputy Kelly of, but either that was a fabrication or I am——

I understand the Deputy's concern but that matter does not arise now.

It arises to the degree that I have been elected here and I am not going to be silent merely because of the fact that I have been misled by Members of this House and that it may now be put on record, if it is on record, in the Standing Order in question. I am asking the first question again also. What precedent is there for this matter being disposed of in the manner proposed, without discussion and without any opportunity to vote, or to voice one's expression on it.

It is not usual for the Chair to quote Standing Orders or to become involved in an argument about Standing Orders in the House but on this occasion I will quote the Standing Order for the Deputy. It is No. 38:

A Member of the Government who has given prior notice to the Ceann Comhairle may make a statement in the House on any matter. No debate shall be permitted on any such statement but further statements may be allowed at the discretion of the Ceann Comhairle from a spokesman nominated by a party in Opposition.

Arising from the quotation of the Standing Order——

I should say, before the Deputy proceeds, that there is clearly no motion before this House and, therefore, there cannot be a debate or a vote as such.

And should not be used for taxation.

That is not the concern of the Chair.

May I then ask what is before the House that gives effect to taxation which in the next 13 months will raise £30 million from the taxpayers and hard-pressed motorists of this country on top of the 10 per cent and 30 per cent imposed on them already by virtue of the ministerial order allowing an increase in insurance?

The Deputy will have to find another opportunity to go into that matter.

I cannot. I want to know how if there is no motion before the House there can be £30 million of a blister put on the people of this country. This cannot be done and has never been done. There is no precedent for it and no Standing Order covering it and it has never happened before.

That is a matter for the House and not for the Chair.

I am asking the Chair in order that the House may so determine to determine the matter as to whether it can be done in the manner proposed or not. I am quite happy if the Chair leaves it to the House to determine the matter, as he now has said he is prepared to do.

It is a matter for the courts to decide whether any order is legal or not. The Chair is merely conforming to Standing Orders and no more.

With all due respect——

The Deputy may not continue to argue with the Chair in this fashion. The matter must be clear.

I am just a little thick in getting things through to me. As a Deputy, I am entitled to be heard. Standing Orders were never intended to silence a Deputy in this House and there is nobody else here speaking for me.

It is a matter for the House to amend Standing Orders, if they so desire.

I want to know if the Chair is prepared to stick to the last statement he made, that it is a matter for the House. If it is a matter for the House, let the House decide whether it is, in fact, carried here tonight. Let us have it decided by the House.

The House can change Standing Orders, naturally.

I beg to differ—that is not what the Ceann Comhairle now told the House. He said that it was not a matter for him but for the House. I am asking that the House be allowed to determine whether or not £27½ million of extra taxation next year, plus £2½ million this year, is going to be added in the manner proposed without a word being enabled to be said until next January. This is not in the orders and never was.

It is not before the House now.

And there is no order covering it.

It cannot be before the House on a statement.

The Ceann Comhairle knows that there is no order of the House and no Standing Order that covers this matter and there is no precedent for it, and I am asking the Chair to leave it to the House to determine in the normal way and that would be by debate and by vote, if necessary, or by vote only, if the Government so decide to closure it but that we as Members of the House are entitled to have it decided by the House and not in this slick way which has been put across.

I have nothing further to add, except that I have conformed to the appropriate Standing Order as is my duty and obligation.

The appropriate Standing Order does not apply in the case I am quoting to the Chair and the Chair knows it.

The Deputy may not continue to argue with me. I am moving on to the next business.

The Chair knows that this is not so and I am asking on a point of order——

It is so. The Chair is absolutely correct in its ruling.

The Chair is correct in the manner he has put it but the Chair is not correct in inferring that that Standing Order allows the Minister for Finance to add £30 million of taxation, without a word being said and being said by somebody who is not represented by any other spokesman.

If the Deputy thinks so, he has a remedy.

I want this to go on record, that there is no Standing Order enabling this to be done and no precedent that ever happened in this House that would show it can be done. The Minister and the Government are being slick in putting this across. Their action stems not from a balance of payments situation, not because of a leakage concerning the Border but from their bankruptcy.

The Deputy is flouting the ruling of the Chair.

We are entitled to debate the matter and to have a vote on it.


Hear, hear.

We are not entitled to any debate at this juncture.

The Government are not entitled to apply this measure unless and until this House have agreed to it.

I am calling Item No. 12.

The Standing Order which you read, Sir, was designed obviously for such occasions as a vote of sympathy but it was never designed to impose almost £30 million in extra taxation on the people. This measure is wrong. It is immoral that any Government would increase taxation in this way.


Let us have a vote on it.

Would the Deputy please allow the business of the House to continue?

The Standing Order referred to was never designed to be used by any Minister in the way in which it is being used here. I would propose a vote of sympathy for the Minister for Industry and Commerce who was being blamed tonight by the Minister for Finance for our difficulties.


If Members will not allow business to proceed normally——

This is not normal business.

It is not normal business to impose taxation of more than £27 million.

It is not in order and we must have a vote on it.

If Deputies will not allow business to continue, the Chair shall have to adjourn the House. Deputy Burke, resume your seat, please.

I recognise the ruling of the Chair.

I am calling Deputy de Valera to resume on Item No. 12.

On a point of order——

I have called Deputy de Valera and he has precedence.

May I put a point of order?

I do not know what the Deputy is rising on.

Is Deputy de Valera being called to speak on the next item or on the matter with which we have been dealing?

If the Deputy continues to cross-question the Chair in this fashion I shall have to adjourn the House. The Deputy understands Standing Orders as well as anybody else.

The Deputy understands Standing Orders so well that he is absolutely clear that there is neither precedent nor Standing Order for what the Chair is allowing as being proper here this evening. The Minister for Finance has given reasons that are completely bogus as to why this measure must be taken but these bogus reasons should be exposed to the public. There should be a debate on the measure and a vote taken on it.

If the Deputy continues in this fashion he will leave me no option but to adjourn the House.

I have never had to withdraw from the House.

The Dáil stands adjourned until 10.30 a.m. tomorrow morning.

The Dáil adjourned at 8.35 p.m. until 10.30 a.m. on Thursday, 5th December, 1974.