ATLANTIC SERVICE COMMISSION.

I desire to move the following motion:—

(a) That the Seanad requests the Government to appoint a Joint Commission from both Houses, of not more than seven members, to report upon the most practical means of establishing a regular line of Transatlantic steamers between Ireland and America, with a terminal port in the Free State.

(b) Upon the most suitable ports for this purpose upon both sides of the Atlantic, having regard

(1) To their natural advantages;

(2) To the existing or prospective facilities they possess;

(3) To the cost of adapting them to the objects in view.

(c) That this Commission be authorised to negotiate with railway or steamship companies, harbour authorities, landowners, or others in a position to forward the above objects, with a view to obtaining reliable data as to costs, etc., for submission to Parliament.

(d) That this Commission be empowered, if they consider it desirable, to co-opt an additional member with special technical knowledge who is not a member of either Seanad or Dáil.

(e) That the Ministry be requested to make such provision as may be required to meet the necessary expenses of this Commission.

In introducing the resolution to this Seanad which appears on the Order Paper, I feel at a great disadvantage owing to the death of a valuable colleague to whom I am indebted for much of the information I propose to lay before you. I refer to the late Mr. Morley of Liverpool and Limerick, whose knowledge of shipping matters and position as a ship owner opened sources of information which would otherwise have been unavailable. We have spent hours in working out the problem, and hours grew to days, weeks, and months, and we have travelled thousands of miles, in interviewing Under-Secretaries and Chief Secretaries. Ministers and Prime Ministers of some of the Colonies interested, as well as shipping and railroad magnates from both sides of the Atlantic. When prospects were at last improving, the Great War extinguished all hopes of success, for a time at all events, and then Mr. Morley was called away by an inscrutable Providence, and I am left alone to carry on the work to which so much time and thought has been devoted. Lest any misconception should arise as to this resolution, if carried, involving this country in heavy, premature, and consequently unwise expenditure, I want to impress upon this Seanad that the object of this motion is exactly the reverse. It is to prevent the loss, failure, and discouragement sure to arise later, from the forcing of ill-considered, immature, or defective proposals upon the Government and the country by the force of public opinion. The country has been led to expect that one of the first results of self-government will be the development of its natural resources, and it undoubtedly expects the redemption of these pledges at the earliest possible moment, and if it sees no steps being taken will be apt to become impatient of delay.

Ireland possesses one obvious natural advantage of which no one can deprive her. She is the nearest point in Europe to the continent of North America. Her western and southern seaboard contains numerous safe and commodious natural harbours, as good as are to be found in the world. The approximate distance from any of these western Irish ports to the nearest port of the North American continent, Cape Breton, is 2,050 nautical miles. Halifax, Nova Scotia, owing to the excellence of its ice-free harbour, and the existing railway facilities is generally taken as a standard for calculation, and the distance of Halifax from the western Irish harbours is, approximately, 2,150 knots. There are, however, in Nova Scotia, several other excellent ice-free ports—Country Harbour, Sidney Harbour, which lie from 100 to 150 nautical miles nearer to us. Accepting Halifax, however, an Atlantic liner of the same, or, perhaps, lower speed, than most of the newer boats—24 knots—would make the voyage in 93½ hours, or 3¾ days.

Such a vessel leaving a western Irish port at 4 a.m. on Sunday morning—West European time—would reach Halifax at 9.30 p.m., same time or 5.30 p.m. local time the following Wednesday. She could be ready to sail from Halifax the following Sunday, and arrive back at her port of departure in Ireland the following Wednesday, thus making a voyage across the Atlantic each week. By any of the routes at present in use this would be an impossibility. From Liverpool or Southampton to New York the quickest steamers occupy from 5½ to 7 days on the voyage and they only make one journey out and one home each lunar month. From this it is evident: (1) that only half the number of vessels would be required to give the same service from a western Irish port to Halifax as are needed from Liverpool to New York; (2) half the capital would be involved: (3) less than half the working expenses for the same service, because the expense of feeding passengers, and fuel and oil consumption, wear and tear, etc., for from 2½ to 3 days would be saved. Some idea of what this saving would amount to can be gained by a consideration of the following pre-war figures:— The Chairman of the Transit Commission of Canada has placed the cost of working a bi-weekly line of steamers between Liverpool and New York at £1,804,400 per annum, and the cost of operating a similar line, between a western Irish port and Nova Scotia, at £600,000 per annum —a saving of upwards of a million pounds a year. The saving would obviously be far greater now. At first sight this might seem a somewhat startling statement to make, but the figures were prepared by gentlemen of great experience, well qualified to do so, and whose official positions should vouch for their accuracy. In considering this question, it will be necessary to dismiss from the mind all preconceived ideas based upon the usage of an Irish harbour as a port of call. The fundamental principle underlying this suggestion is that an Irish harbour shall be the terminal port of the line. With a port of call only, Ireland would lose most of the substantial advantages which have gone to the building up of such cities as New York, Boston, Liverpool, etc., into the important centres of commerce and population which they have become. When dealing with this proposal I have frequently been told, "Oh, but Ireland does not possess sufficient traffic to support such a line of steamers." At present probably not, but it must be borne in mind that neither Liverpool, Southampton, nor New York in themselves possess the traffic to support the numerous vessels which frequent their harbours. These towns and ports are simply the necks of the bottles through which the traffic flows; its final destination is somewhere else. And if we can devise methods by which the traffic, of every kind, can be more economically and more expeditiously conveyed to its final destination through our Western Irish port, and persuade it to come by that route we will have done a good day's work for Ireland, and one the beneficial effects of which can scarcely be overrated.

What inducements can we offer to passengers and mails? We must not ignore the fact that most of these are coming through or from London, and that many of these passengers are bad sailors, anxious to get to their destination as quickly as possible, and to be exposed to the torments of sea-sickness for as short a time as they can.

A Western Irish port can be reached from London in 12 hours.

Days.

Hrs.

Mins.

Ireland to Halifax

3

18

Allow for transhipment of mails, etc.

2

Train Halifax to New York

1

4

Total via Ireland

5

12

Record official time, G.P.O., London to New York, via South- ampton

6

22

33

Saving in favour of Irish port

1

10

33

If we can beat all other routes to New York itself by 34½ hours, or in round numbers a day and a half, what will the saving be to other places?

Many passengers and much mail matter would be going to other places beyond New York, and which would be as speedily reached from Halifax over the Canadian railways as New York itself, such as Quebec. Montreal, Toronto and Chicago. So that in addition to saving one and a half days to New York the time would also be saved of the journey from thence to the destination of from two to two and a half days. And this will hold good for all places further West and for Trans-Pacific mails, which must form a great inducement to Companies competing for such traffic to cast in their lot with us. Much heavy cargo is now carried at unremunerative rates as filling-up stuff, because all freight paid for is so much money saved. Why, however, carry it further than can be helped in these costly vessels, at a high rate of speed, which it is expensive to maintain? Liverpool is not the final destination of the great bulk of cargo landed there. It is simply a distributing centre. Such bulky low-freighted cargo could be much more economically distributed by inexpensive coasting steamers from the western Irish port which could, in most instances, carry it direct to its destination with no extra handling. These coasters would bring back the low-freighted outgoing cargo, and such coal for the liners as it was necessary to import. It must be borne in mind that there is transhipment at present in Liverpool for all goods consigned elsewhere, as the bulk of them must be. It may be asked why select a harbour in the West of Ireland for a terminal port instead of one nearer to the final destination of the goods. And why, if the advantages previously referred to are so apparent, should the Government of the Irish Free State be asked to intervene. The answers to both are plain, and they are two-fold. Such a route as has been outlined is not likely to be inaugurated by the enterprise of one Company or one State alone. It can only be made a success by the co-operation of several Companies (Railway and Steamship), and probably States who are in a position largely to control and direct the commerce.

(a) On the Pacific Ocean;

(b) In America (both United States and Canada);

(c) And on the Atlantic.

The tendency seems to be for the control of ports and shipping lines to fall more and more into the hands of the larger railway companies, and of the latter into that of the various States in which they lie. As it is unlikely that one single company can be found in a position to comply with the conditions I have indicated as essential some inducements must be offered to the various States and companies which would be affected to get them to combine and cooperate. Such inducements in this case might be:—

The guaranteed co-operation and assistance of the Irish Free State.

2. The control of thoroughly suitable ports on both sides of the Atlantic which offer the shortest sea-route.

I know from experience that it would be idle to endeavour to get such a combination together unless one was in a position to assure them that the Government of the Irish Free State regarded the proposal with approval, and were prepared to do everything in their power to make the working a success. In the long run nothing can deprive places of the geographical and natural advantages nature has bestowed upon them. The West of Ireland and Nova Scotia are the nearest points in the two hemispheres where suitable harbour and railway connections are already in existence. Between no other two such harbours would a weekly journey across the Atlantic by the same ship be possible for any steamers at present afloat. The combination which first realises these facts and secures their position in the most suitable harbour on both sides will secure a grip of the trade of three Continents, of which no rivals can in future deprive them. The further answer to the second part of this question —"Why should the Government of Irish Free State intervene?" is necessary; it is obvious that the people expect their Government to do everything in its power to foster Irish development along the lines of least resistance which nature has already provided; that the soundest way of doing so is to foster the creation of a number of thriving communities, especially in those parts of the country where at present they do not exist; that the assured success of the project I have outlined would, with absolute certainty, result in the founding of at least one prosperous city and centre of population; that such success can only be assured by the co-operation of several large companies in close alliance with their respective States. The growth of such alliances and co-operation is like that of a tender plant, which cannot be hastened without injury to the plant itself, and largely depends upon the atmosphere. I submit that we should endeavour to create or foster such an atmosphere with as little delay as possible, and it is to prevent the forcing upon the Government of spurious weeds whose growth is sure to lead to failure, disappointment, and discouragement that I have put forward the Resolution which I now beg to propose.

I wish to second the motion, and I do so with great pleasure. I think probably the opening up of the West of Ireland should be one of the most important matters connected with our harbours when it is borne in mind that in the twenty-six counties in the Free State we are mainly dependent upon agriculture, as I might say, the sole industry. I know from my own experience that anyone who has had anything to do with shipping, or who has been connected with harbours, that any improvement of a harbour leads to increased industry. I have known of expenditures of £5,000, £10,000, or £15,000 enabling larger vessels to be brought in, and they were no sooner able to come in from foreign ports than some enterprising people started new industries. Therefore, I support this proposal that lines of steamers might be brought to any port in the West of Ireland, and if it is to receive any support from this Seanad it should not be done in any parochial manner, but the whole Western seaboard should be considered as to what would be likely to be more successful, and, what is more important, what would be likely to prove most remunerative for those who would invest their money in it. I think, on the whole, this matter has been kept back fifty years by promoters and people, in many cases with the best intentions, putting forward companies and schemes that had no earthly chance of ever seeing fruition. Therefore, although I am not myself much in favour of Committees and Commissions —Ireland has had too many of them, and I think the results have not been commensurate with the time that has been spent on them and the Blue Books that have been issued—I think we have passed all that now, and that the Seanad will support something that will be practical and can be carried out. While I hope it will receive support, we are not asking you to commit yourselves very much. If it is not possible to get a line of steamers into the West of Ireland, we can, at least, do this much. Some steps might be taken to improve some of the ports which are badly in need of capital to make them available for large steamers from abroad. That would undoubtedly give very much increased employment, would probably start new industries that would go on and succeed, and would be an enormous benefit to the agricultural interests, because if you have a port where there are proper harbour facilities the population begins to increase, and the farmers and people living round about such a port derive benefit from that increased population. It would also mean improved means of transit for their products and for cattle feeding stuffs. If you can bring in a steamer of 5,000 tons its cargo would be distributed within 50 miles of that place, and the farmer will get these products ever so much cheaper than if he had to pay the original cargo charges, that is, to pay the transit charges to Liverpool, and from there to some other port to the West of Ireland. I feel the matter very keenly; it is one at least which deserves every consideration, and I believe that if it is taken up in the proper spirit of the times it might mean the transformation of the West coast of Ireland and of the people who live there under very hard conditions.

While in full sympathy with the objective which lies behind this motion I cannot vote for it, and I hope to give the Seanad some reasons why they should not do so. I think that this Seanad as a Second Chamber should be exceptionally careful, especially at the inception of its career, not to originate any proposals which are not likely to have some practical results fairly soon. Now, it seems to me that the particular line of action which is suggested in this Motion would only lead to the expenditure of a great deal of time on the part of the Commissioners, and of a certain amount of public money in defraying their expenses. I have no firsthand knowledge of ocean steamship business or Transatlantic trade, but I have considerable experience of transportation business, and transportation ventures are subject to certain common rules. This Motion aims at bringing a line of regular Transatlantic steamers with a terminal port in the Free State. What is necessary for the success of such a venture? The first thing is that there should be sufficient traffic. That traffic must be goods, passengers, or mails, or any or all of these. Take goods, in the first instance; in my opinion they must be goods to and from Ireland only, because I do not believe in any proposition as being a practical one which involves the breaking of bulk more frequently than would be the case if the goods went direct to their destination on the Continent or in Great Britain. Now, considered by itself, goods trade between Ireland and North America requires a special line of steamers. The steamers need not be very large or fast. The harbours of Dublin, Cork, and Limerick are all suitable for steamers capable of dealing with the trade which exists. We have the Head Line, The Moore-McCormack Line, and, I believe, two others, all serving the direct trade in goods between North America and this country. I have not had any communication with any representatives of those lines, but I hazard a guess that if I were to approach them they would tell me they are in a position to handle all traffic that offers, and if their traffic were very largely increased they would have no difficulty in dealing with it, but would be very glad to see it. This motion, however, aims quite clearly, as has been explained by both the proposer and seconder, at something more ambitious than that. It means steamers to take passengers and mails, and to compete for the world's traffic in passenger business. There I see a great difficulty. Both the proposer and the seconder, as a matter of fact, did not suggest that there is sufficient passenger traffic between this country and America to make such steamers pay. They merely contemplate a share in the very much larger traffic with Europe generally. But in that direction great difficulties appear. The Transatlantic lines of late years have aimed more and more directly at the great centres of population. Liverpool has declined in favour of Southampton and Cherbourg, Southampton for London and for traffic to Great Britain, and Cherbourg for the Continent. Now, the only gain in coming to an Irish port would be the saving of time, and, no doubt, as the proposer explained to us, if different ports were used to those now being used, and if Halifax or some other far-Northern port were selected there might be some saving in time, but I do not believe that the inducements which we offer would cause people to take very long train journeys, which they do not now have to take. I believe that people in New York, which is the natural gathering point for the bulk of the population of North America, wish to sail to and from New York. Now, if you take New York, the distance, you will find, from New York to Londonvia Southampton is 3,205 miles; New York to London via Galway—I have taken Galway as being obviously the proper point for making the shortest possible journey to New York and Europe—the distance is 3,153 miles. Therefore, the journey via Galway is 52 miles shorter. But then you have to break the journey twice more than is now, the case if the steamer goes direct to Southampton, and I doubt if the travelling public would put up with that. All the tendency of late years and during our lifetime has been in favour of the steamer as against the steamer and train. There was a time when people dreaded ocean voyages. Most people do not dread them at all now. Steamers have grown enormously in size, and have very much improved in comparison with trains. Therefore, people are quite content to spend a day or two longer on a journey if they save themselves the disturbance of having to change in and out of a steamer, with all its attendant inconveniences. If we take from New York to Paris via Cherbourg the distance is 100 miles shorter than by Galway, so that that Continental business will be still less likely to use a Western Irish port. In addition to that the present is hardly the time for the establishment of fast train services across Ireland. I need not enlarge upon that, but I do not suppose there has been a time during the past generation which has been so unfavourable for development of this kind, and I think to fail now in an endeavour of this kind would prejudice success in the future. It would tend also, in my opinion, to discredit this Seanad as a practical body. The present is not a time in which a venture of this kind has much chance of success. It may have a much better chance of success some time in the future, and I suggest that it would be much better to postpone action in favour of a venture of this kind. If times improve, as we hope they will, you can take it up later on.

There is a port pre-eminently best situated for the purpose of an Irish Transatlantic Terminal. This is sustained substantially when the natural advantages of the port are considered. So far back as 1602 Elizabeth's naval advisers occupied it for Admiralty purposes, and it was again requisitioned in 1641, 1649, and 1690, and from then onward even up to our own time.

In 1805 the Navy Victualling and Ordnance Departments built magnificent stores in cut limestone, and they were so splendidly constructed that they (5 storeys high) still exist in a perfect state of preservation, and are capable of warehousing thousands of tons of cargo.

It is in the direct route of all steamers making for the Mersey or Bristol Channel, Cork or Dublin, and has deep water quayage capable of accommodating the largest liners using those ports. It has railway siding laid, running to the water's edge, connecting with the G.S. & W. R. system.

A very fine railway station with up-to-date refreshment rooms, Custom examination departments capable of dealing with hundreds of passengers, and all modern lavatory and toilet accessories. Large parcels and baggage stores accommodation and telegraph office, numerous hotels. The moment steam replaced sail in Transatlantic liners Cobh was instantly selected as the port of call.

So from the middle of the 18th century onwards various lines sprung into existence, to rise, to fall, and to survive. The steamers of those lines have come and departed, but those surviving, and they are many, much improved, some magnificent, all, or nearly all, still use Cobh, one of the world's finest waterways, out and home, to and from American ports, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Canadian ports, Halifax, Montreal. The largest triple screw steamer in the world, the s.s. Olympic, has frequently anchored there. In the inner harbour, with her 857ft. of length and anchor cable, she would require a diameter of 2,000ft. for her swinging circle in a depth of 36ft. of water. This in perfectly calm and sheltered waters the port of Cobh affords. I have seen three large liners, 20,000 ton ships, such as the Baltic, anchored at one and the same time within the inner harbour, together with a dozen warships— two large liners alongside the deep water quay at the railway station—yet room for more.

Every navigator seeking the Mersey or Bristol Channel, and coming from an American port, is anxiously looking out for the Fastnet or Old Head. They are respectively about 60 and 12 miles from Cobh. He is in foggy weather reduced to the necessity of taking soundings, and is mindful of the ocean current setting from 20" to 25" west in an easterly direction. This current divides itself, and sets north part of it, and the rest into the Bay of Biscay, I am informed.

Such soundings, taken on the South coast of Ireland, give clear indication of a ship approaching the land, and danger consequently.

On the West coast of Ireland deep ocean depths are carried to within a few miles of the land. Soundings, then, are comparatively of much less or slight value. The danger is very great, consequently, in thick and foggy weather for a ship approaching the land on the West coast of Ireland.

The distance from Cobh to Ushant is 240 miles; Cobh to Glasgow 335 miles; Cobh to Liverpool (rivers) 255 miles, and to bar about 240 miles; Cobh to London 500 miles; Cobh to Waterford 50 miles.

The distance Cobh to Londonderry is 329 miles; Cobh to Dublin 178 miles; Cobh to Belfast 264 miles; Cobh to Cardiff 215 miles; Cobh to Milford Haven 145 miles; Cobh to Swansea 190 miles; Cobh to Dundee 820 miles.

The port is entered by two channels, the east entrance being most favoured by liners.

It accommodates vessels drawing 33ft., and has been frequently used by such for the past fifteen years.

Most of the largest battleships of the British Navy have frequently anchored there, as units and as fleets.

Nowhere in the 26 counties do the same docking facilities occur. There are four graving docks, ranging from 600 feet and 540 feet downwards, with the most up-to-date machine shops. Sheer legs capable of lifting up to 80 tons, and a deep water basin with cassion attached to one, capable of giving any required additional length when pumped dry, and when in flood accommodating alongside its quays three or four battle cruisers, huge vessels.

£640,000 has been expended on two of those docks within recent years, and the capital involved in all of them would run to millions.

The channel from Roche's Point to Cork quays is lighted all the way by the most modern gas buoys, a distance of about 14 miles. The most powerful tugs and tenders, salvage vessels and plant on the Irish coast are, and have been, stationed there for the past 50 years.

I therefore respectfully submit that either as a good port of call, refuge, or terminal, the port of Cobh (Cork) has no rival in Ireland, and few anywhere else.

With the wisdom of imposing a consideration of the question at issue presently on the Government I am not so agreed. I would respectfully suggest that the Government appoint a Commission, not composed of well-meaning amateurs, but of thoroughly practical men, fully qualified to speak, and representing every branch of Irish shipping interests. Let them give their experiences and offer their suggestions. This is the way to get the truth as to the real extent and effect of foreign competition, and how to counter it. It is the way to learn just why our shipping has languished and been allowed to slip out of our control.

I shall not keep you very long on this very important question, although it is one that has interested me for the last thirty years—I may say all my life. I may say at once that I am a great believer in the proposition, but we are not here to argue as to the merits of one port or another. We have only come to determine whether we shall ask the Government to institute an inquiry which will consolidate our ideas, and, after hearing all sides, come to a sound and firm judgment. I am sorry Senator Bagwell has gone, because I disagreed with his views very materially. It is no secret that I have taken a very active part during the last twenty years in endeavouring to bring this problem before the English Government Now that the English have departed I think it is time that our present Government should really study the problem. It will not be done during the time of this disturbance. As Senator Bagwell suggested, it will take years to prepare, and anything that will further it, I believe, must prove of material benefit to this land. Of late years the view I have taken in discussing it is that the service must be a high speed mail and passenger service. The state of affairs is this, that the class of vessel you are driving now at 24 knots an hour cannot afford time in port to load a cargo. It was forecasted some years ago by one of our shipbuilders that the time would come when the time in port would form such an important item in the cost of a ship that it would not pay you to be carrying any cargo beyond the fuel to carry the vessel across the Atlantic. Recent practice has shown that that distinguished shipbuilder was right, and anything that can be done in the way Senator Barrington has pointed out to-night in shortening the time of these vessels in port and in passage means an overwhelming advantage from the financial point of view. I have turned these matters into figures, but I am not going to weary you to-night with them. They are matters which should go before this Commission that is suggested. I have the greatest possible pleasure in supporting Senator Barrington's views that the matter should be referred to a Commission set up by the Government.

The interest that has been displayed thus early in the Seanad proceedings in the different parts of Ireland is natural enough, and I am glad that Senator Barrington has brought this matter up on behalf of the West of Ireland. We would all like to see the West of Ireland prosper. However that part of our country prospers it affects the whole land. I am glad to say that I noticed in recent months, in fact for more than a year, that the increase in the trade coming into our port of Cork is very encouraging. There are several liners, as Senator Bagwell has brought under our notice, coming to our harbour, and I heard to-day before I left Cork that vessels are coming over with full cargoes, which is a very encouraging matter. I believe that the great majority of the people of the territory covered by the Free State Government are optimistic with regard to the future of our country. We have at no time been pessimistic in Cork. We are optimists in Cork, and we are optimistic about the magnificent harbour we have in the South of Ireland, than which there are few in the entire world to surpass. So much do we believe in the future of Cork and its harbour and its wonderful possibilities that within the last year and a half or two years we went to a very considerable expense in bringing from Seattle, on the Pacific slope of America, officials to advise us with regard to the alterations that would be necessary in order to place the harbour of Cork in an unrivalled position on the Continent of Europe. We have those plans, and they are at the disposal of the Seanad or any other body that would like to see them, and we look forward to the Seanad lending its sympathy to us in our proposals, and we hope giving practical support to Cork, whatever other part of the country it may also lend its support to. The late General Michael Collins, whose death was so universally deplored, knew what was passing through the minds of many of us. I have had the honour of sitting in the Cork Harbour Board for a great many years, and it is due largely to the energy and ability of our present Chairman and some of his colleagues that these things were brought about, and that we had reason to think that something practical would be done on behalf of the South of Ireland. I am glad the discussion has taken place, but I think it would be premature for us to appoint any Committee, at the present time, in the state of things that surround us. I would much prefer that the matter should be postponed for the present.

I rise to oppose this from another point of view altogether. Is it wise for us to subsidise ships to take in the produce of American trusts to this country? Could we not do something to help employment and the industries of this country? At present we have two companies—the Head Line and the Moore-McCormick Line-both able to deal with traffic of this kind, and the other little traffic that might be sent from Ireland would not fill one-tenth of the boats going back. What benefit is it to Ireland or to the rest of the country to have those passengers coming to Galway and being transhipped and sent across Ireland to Paris or London. I say we want to do something to help on the industrial revival of the country, and the way to do that is to put up a tariff wall to prevent Uncle Sam dumping his stuff here, instead of subsidising ships to help him to send across the stuff here. If you go into the shops of Dublin you will find that nine-tenths of the articles displayed there are manufactured outside Ireland. If you go to the West it is just the same. Go into any Galway or Mayo shoemaker and you will find him mending a pair of American boots with leather tanned in England and rivets manufactured in some part of the United States. If you go into a blacksmith you will find him shoeing a horse with American nails and putting on American shoes. I am sure that when this scheme is in proper shape we will be able to send a horse across to America, get him shod there, and have him back by the next boat. That is the way we are drifting, assisting the foreigner, and preventing working men getting employment at home. I oppose this because I think it is not right to spend the money of the State on matters of this kind. The way to give employment is by putting up a tariff wall and keeping out the produce of the States of America. At present an American farmer living five or six hundred miles up the St. Lawrence can land his stock at the North Wall more cheaply than a Louth farmer can land his barley at Guinness', of Dublin. I think that so long as that is feasible shipping is well organised, and we should not appoint a Commission to see that these farmers and industrialists and trusts of America should get their stock landed in Ireland. The idea is that boats coming over here should be full of highly manufactured stock, boots, bicycles, and curry-combs, and articles of that kind. I say that we should put up a wall to keep these things out. We should let nothing in except raw material. We should manufacture everything that is required in the shops in Dublin if we were a properly organised industrial nation. We can do that if our new Parliament follows on the old lines of Grattan's Parliament. On these grounds I oppose this scheme.

I also oppose on the grounds that this discussion and this scheme are altogether too premature. While opening up the West of Ireland and shortening the Transatlantic passage is very important, it is still more important that disorder should be put down in the West of Ireland, and that the reign of anarchy should be shortened there. I am surprised that Senators should come from the West of Ireland at a time when railways and bridges are being blown up and places burned, and that they should come in here, and instead of asking the Government for more adequate protection for railways, they proceed to spend their time in discussing a scheme, one of the advantages of which I understand is that it will reduce the amount of sea sickness amongst Transatlantic trippers.

I was going to remark that I quite agreed with a great deal of what Senator Bagwell has said. There is no doubt that his criticism of the great scheme of fast steamers from here with passengers and mails alone is very sound from a great many points of view, and the point of view opposite to it of Sir John Purser Griffith has also a great deal to be said for it. There are two entirely antagonistic points of view, and for a Commission, appointed as it is proposed here, to deal alone with that part of the matter, we know that it could do no good at all. There are a great many harbours of ours around Ireland that want attention. There is not the slightest doubt of that, and if a Commission were appointed to consider the harbours of Ireland and their possibilities, and how they can be improved, we could get ordinary practical benefits without being committed for enormous lines of steamers to run across the Atlantic, which is, considering the present state of the country, a scheme which is a little bit too previous. I do believe that there is a crying need for Irishmen to consider the conditions of our harbours, how they are going to be improved, not only for cross-Atlantic traffic, but for traffic going from here to Great Britain. I know something of one or two harbours in the West, and a great deal of business has been built up by efforts to improve those harbours, and they will not compete by bringing in foreign goods, for, I suppose, even our protectionist Senators will admit we must carry on some traffic with Great Britain. We may be able to keep out other countries' goods, but if we attack America we may find that out that a small island like Ireland can hardly set up a wall and exist inside the wall. We can undoubtedly improve our own harbours, and it were well to set up a Commission to see what could be done in that way, and it were well not to limit the whole of the action of this Commission to one consideration, namely, the establishment of a regular line of Transatlantic steamers between Ireland and America. I believe if we appoint a Committee to inquire into the harbours of Ireland and the possibilities of traffic, not only across the Atlantic, but with Great Britain; we may easily find a way of doing a great deal of good to the country.

Arising out of Senator Jameson's remark, I may remind him that there is a Commission being formed, if it is not already formed, which would have powers under the usual terms of reference to inquire into the matter he mentioned. I think Sir John Griffith is Chairman of the Committee, and if the powers are not sufficient already I suppose they would get their terms of reference widened to include their taking up the matter mentioned by the Senator.

The only remark I feel obliged to make is that all the Senators have fallen under the impression that what I was suggesting was the immediate establishment of a line of steamers and the immediate incurring of a large amount of liability and tremendous responsibility on the part of the Free State. I had hoped I had made it quite clear that the object I had in bringing forward this proposal was exactly the reverse. Anyone with any experience knows quite well that you cannot get these things up in a moment. It requires a long time, probably years of negotiation. You have to handle them with the greatest judiciousness, and the very idea expressed here is the thing I was trying to pour cold water on, namely. the immediate establishment of a line of steamers. That is a thing I believe neither possible nor desirable. What I suggested was the establishment of a Commission to see how a reasonable scheme could be brought forward. What Senator Bagwell really said amounts to this, that we have been living under certain circumstances in the past on all sides and we cannot improve them. There may be something to be said for that from some peoples' point of view, but I do not think it is any argument why we should not attempt to get something that we have not had in the past, why we should not try to develop the resources of the country which have not been done in the past. There have been many powerful interests competing with us in the past, and naturally the British Government did not look with favourable eyes on anything competing with them. We have now a Government of our own for the first time, and it seems to me that the country was led to believe that one of the main reasons for the establishment of that Government was the fostering of our own industries, and that they will consider it an extraordinary thing if the Government does nothing to fulfil the pledge they gave.

Would I be in order in making a suggestion in regard to this particular question? The division of opinion resolves itself into a question of ports and harbours more than into one of principle in regard to this matter. We have heard more about Cobh, its beauties and its ugliness and its probabilities than we anticipated. Would it not be better that we should ask Senator Barrington to refer this matter to the Committee, which will meet to-morrow, instead of having a division on it now? I do not think we should take a vote on the matter. Some of us might require to know a great deal more about it before giving a vote upon it. I submit the Senator should withdraw his motion, and submit the whole thing to the Committee.

I was going to make a similar suggestion. I did not speak upon the motion because I do not know anything about it. It is in the power of the Seanad to set up Committees as is done in Canada, where we know that Seanad Committees are most important. They arrange with the other House in matters of business, and we hope that will be repeated here between a Committee of our Seanad and a Committee of the Dáil. I think it would be wise, as suggested by Senator McPartlin, that Senator Barrington should withdraw his motion and submit the matter to the Committee.

I suggest that Senator Barrington's name be added to the Committee.

I should like to say a few words with reference to the appeal to Senator Barrington to withdraw his resolution. I had a great deal to do with the question of a short passage to America. Mr. Worthington, lately deceased, and I worked as far as we possibly could to try and get a concession from the British Parliament. We attended on several deputations over there. Therefore I am not absolutely ignorant as to the schemes that have been on foot, but, unfortunately, there had always been a difference of opinion as to which is the best port in the West. I think this matter has been well ventilated to-day. These are certainly very unsuitable times to bring forward such large projects. I do not think that the public mind is in a position to grasp them now. If Senator Barrington withdraws his motion and brings it up at a more favourable time he would do a great service, and he would get the support of everyone here.

I have very much pleasure in falling in with the suggestion made by Senator McPartlin and Senator Douglas to submit the question to a Committee that is set up instead of submitting it to a vote of the Seanad now. There is a great deal to be said for that proposal, and I agree to it.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

Have you any objection to having your name added to the Committee?

I am afraid that living at such a distance as I do, and having regard to the difficulties of transit, I would not be able to attend. I am sure the Committee is quite capable of dealing with the matter without me.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.