If I am in order I would like to introduce a subject here which, I think, is of national importance, and which I think was raised in the Dáil some time ago. I should be glad if the President would be so good as to give us some idea as to what attempt the Government is making to institute something in the nature of coast watching and coast defence. Owing to the lack of coast defence all round our coasts, and especially at this period of the year there are depredations by foreign fishing-boats. But that is not all. There is also a considerable amount of smuggling going on along the Irish coasts. It always did go on, even when the British were here, and even they were unable to stop it. I think it would be in the interests of the country generally, and I am sure it has not escaped the notice of the Government that such protection should be provided. Perhaps this would be an opportune time for the President to say something as to what provision is to be made for coast watching and coast defence, to prevent the depredations of smugglers and those who are robbing our fisheries, and generally, perhaps, he would say what is being done against the dangers which arise when a great coast-line like ours is left without any protection as it is.
APPROPRIATION BILL, 1924—SECOND STAGE. - (CERTIFIED BY THE CEANN COMHAIRLE OF THE DÁIL AS A MONEY BILL).
Perhaps this will be a suitable time for the President to answer my question which I put him some time ago about land annuities.
It would be convenient at this stage if the House would make up its mind as to what it proposes to do with the remaining stages of this Bill and other Bills on the Order Paper that have received second reading. I mention that particularly in regard to the Appropriation Bill, because it will be in the memory of the House that a number of Senators expressed the desire to raise a number of topics on the Appropriation Bill; they were asked to intimate their intention of doing so. There are quite a number of topics that can be referred to. Senator Sir John Keane, Senator Colonel Moore, and Senator Counihan had intimated their desire to raise questions. Senator Sir John Keane, who is very interested in all matters of finance, sent me a letter on Friday saying that it was impossible for him to attend to-day, but he presumed that he would have the usual facilities afforded him when we reached the Committee Stage. It does not seem to me, unless we hold the Committee Stage over until to-morrow, that we are going to have any opportunity for a Committee Stage at all. I wrote and informed him of that, and also informed him that it was possible that the House might desire to conclude its business to-day, and that, in that event, his opportunity would be lost. I had a wire back from him to say that "Economancy" was a subject in which he was greatly interested. I could not quite make out what that meant. I thought at first it was an effort at Gaelic, but I came to the conclusion, later, that it was the fault of the transcriber, and that "economancy" meant "economy," or it might be "accountancy." I am not even certain, if we put off the Committee Stage until to-morrow, that we would have the benefit of Senator Sir John Keane's presence. He did not say, in any case in his telegram, as to when he would be in Dublin. I mention this now for the convenience of any other Senator who wishes to raise a point upon the Appropriation Bill. Senators have full opportunity to raise any question they like that is relevant to the Estimates, or they can claim the right to wait for the Committee Stage, but, in view of the position we are in, it seems to me possible that the House would think it wiser to dispose of the Bill to-day. That is a matter upon which I do not desire to force my views on the Seanad.
Is there any other business that would bring the House together to-morrow?
There may be one or two small matters, but that would largely depend upon the action the House takes as to suspending the Standing Orders. But inasmuch as we have reached the last of the Bills to be read a second time, we have now to determine what to do in regard to their further stages. If no Senator wishes to say anything further upon the Second Stage of this Bill, I will put it now.
I take it that in Committee one can wander over the whole Bill under Clause V.
Yes, but the wanderer must have some regard to the time available.
We are only allowed in Committee to speak to an amendment.
In Committee on the Appropriation Bill I cannot imagine any subject that I would not allow any Senator to ask a question on.
I take it then that we can speak as freely on the Committee Stage as we could on Second Reading?
It will be desirable for the Minister, in the meantime, to have some idea of the questions he will be expected to answer. If Senators desire to have a regular Committee Stage upon this Bill they cannot have it to-day, and we must meet to-morrow, and if so, I would expect that notice of amendments to be raised would be put down on the Order Paper, so that Ministers or the President might have an opportunity of knowing what points are to be raised. First of all, the Seanad has to determine whether it desires a Committee Stage with all its consequences or not. Meanwhile, we are on the Second Reading still.
Two questions have already been raised to which I would like to reply, and I will take the last one raised by Senator Colonel Moore first. Some day last week he raised that question which he also raises to-day. It is in reference to an item that appeared upon the Estimates of last year of £2,944,000 odd for Land Commission annuities. Now, the necessity for votes for land purchase annuities ceased on the passing of the Land Act of 1923. Under Section 12 of that Act the Purchase Annuities Fund has been set up, and it is provided that out of that fund there shall be paid to the appropriate authority an amount equivalent to the purchase annuities accruing due in respect of advances. Formerly, the payment of purchase annuities over to the National Debt Commissioners was governed by Article 4 of the Transfer of Functions Order, 1922, which provided for payment of these sums out of the Exchequer. In the circumstances, it was considered necessary to bring these payments to the attention of the Dáil by means of vote until the position was altered, as previously stated, by the Land Law Act.
In respect to the point raised by Senator Love, particulars were furnished to the Minister for Defence in respect of certain violations of that benevolent neutrality exercised by the various governments, and people of the world, and also information was conveyed to the Minister for Finance that there was some infraction of the Customs regulations. The President also had his attention drawn to the fact. Further, it was suggested that provision should be made in order to deal with smuggling or the importation of arms or some other unfriendly act that might be committed against the State. I came to the conclusion that it would be desirable that there should be a meeting between the Ministers concerned. I found that the Minister in each case was the same person, and that the meeting in consequence would be deprived of the wisdom of two other Ministers, and in the circumstances it was considered best to leave the matter over until the Minister for Finance is able to resume his duties and the Minister for Defence is appointed. The Executive Council is not unaware of the necessity for instituting some further service to deal with this matter and to afford some protection to our fisheries. In that case I should say that there would be a conference between the President, the Minister for Finance, the Minister for Defence, and the Minister for fisheries to see if a particular service would be instituted which would defend the interests of the State so far as any of these three Ministries would be concerned. I take it that early in the autumn a conference will be held to see what can be done in that direction.
Perhaps it would be well if we could know whether a general discussion should take place on the Second Stage or on the Committee Stage, as there seems to be some misunderstanding at present.
I think it would meet the general convenience of the Seanad if the general discussion took place now on the Second Stage, because it may be that Senators do not wish to put down amendments in Committee, but nevertheless they might want to raise certain questions to get information in regard to them. Therefore, I think, unless there is a strong wish to the contrary, if any Senator desires to raise any question in regard to any of the matters of public finance he would be well advised to take this opportunity of doing so.
I wish to raise the question of Irish cattle slaughtered at British land ports. I am sure that the Minister for Agriculture is tired of replying to the question but as his replies so far are regarded as unsatisfactory to the cattle trade that must be my excuse for raising the question now. It is a question of vital importance to the country, and the cattle trade are in a state of nervous suspense over the present regulations. We have come to the conclusion that the time has arrived when the matter should be finally settled one way or the other. Several propositions have been put forward for fixing the regulations. The only scheme of which I approve is the suggestion that the Irish Government should be responsible for Irish cattle slaughtered at British landing ports during the first ten hours of their detention, and that the British Government should be responsible for those slaughtered after that period. I quite agree with the Minister in some of his statements. It is the duty of the British Government to pay for slaughter which they carry out but if the British Government refuses to pay we can do nothing more except to come to the best arrangement we can. We cannot compel them to pay. The cattle trade are in such a predicament over the matter that they believe that the Minister for Agriculture should devise means by which the present difficulties could be got over.
This matter has been discussed so often, I do not think that the Minister for Agriculture requires any further arguments to convince him of the necessity of doing something. Some months ago in this House a resolution was passed proposing that definite steps should be taken to facilitate the transit of live stock, and to ensure that a better means of transport would be established, and that less hardship and cruelty would be inflicted on live stock coming to fairs and markets at the railway stations, shipping yards and at the Dublin markets. I proposed at that time that the Minister should call a conference of the cattle trade, the experts of the Department of Agriculture and the officials of the railway and shipping companies, but nothing has been done. I think it was a reasonable proposition and that the Minister should take a note of it. Perhaps he did not get the resolution. A good many resolutions are passed here and we never hear anything more about them. I do not see the necessity of passing resolutions if they are to be treated in that fashion. If my proposition were adopted some of the hardships which are suffered at present could be obviated. For instance, the latest order of the Department is that all stock coming in, no matter from where, must be fed, even if they only come across the road from the lairages to the shipping yard. We consider that that is an unnecessary expense on the cattle trade. We do not say that the cattle should not be fed but we say that there should be exceptions, whereas the Department's order provides that there are to be no exceptions. It says that every beast coming into the yard must be fed.
The President, in making his explanation did not explain why the Estimates were claimed to be three millions better this year than last year. Last year certain claims were not included, but in the Estimates this year they are put down as being paid away last year. They are not to be paid away this year. In balancing the statement they make out that they are three millions better off this year than last year. They claim that there are fifteen millions, of which three millions are arranged in this way.
I explained in the Dáil that while the Estimates afford an exact picture of the liabilities we have to meet during the year, they are not true in this respect, that the entire cost of the services which has to be met is set down in the Estimates, but for some years to come, until there is exact information regarding the cost of the service of the public debt and until we reach a period in which defence and other such costs are normal, it will not be possible to give an exact picture of the ordinary expenditure that has to be met each year. In that respect those particular Estimates could not occur in a few years' time unless there was a corresponding sum on the other side of the account. I explained, I thought, to the satisfaction of the Seanad that this particular item had to appear on the Estimates until a fund was established through which Land Commission annuities should be paid, and in that respect there should have been a corresponding item showing the receipt of the amount and also authority to discharge from the Exchequer such amount also. That is not necessary this year by reason of those funds which have been set up under the Land Act last year, and once there is a particular compartment into which those land annuities are to be paid, and out of which they will be paid, there is no necessity to include it in the liabilities we have to strike each year, unless a contingency arises that the local taxation account would be unable to meet the deficiency that would arise from payment of Land Commission annuities. A special Vote would be then necessary and the Oireachtas would have to provide out of the Central Fund such deficiency.
I think Colonel Moore thinks that £2,900,000 is being paid away to somebody outside the Free State.
I accept the President's explanation so far as he has explained it.
I think the President's explanation so perfectly right. The money is not being paid away outside the Free State.
Yes, it is paid to the English Government.
It is a liability.
This cross-questioning cannot go on.
I understood that what was troubling Colonel Moore was that the Free State were paying away a sum of money that it ought not to pay.
He said he has ceased to be troubled.
I would like to raise a point on the question of agricultural education and research. I see a considerable diminution on the Estimates under this head, and I feel I would like to know whether the policy of the Government is to lessen the amount of attention given to agricultural education and research, or whether they believe that the activities they have been pursuing can be pursued more economically. I find in one particular branch, "inspection of seed and plant diseases," the sum is diminished by about 40 per cent. this year from last year. I find this is the most valuable work the Government can do, and to diminish the activities of that plant-breeding section, to my mind, is not a proper course. It can hardly be considered economy to diminish research work in any Department, particularly in this. Then we have the question of agricultural education and research. There is a diminution there of £6,000, and taking the aggregate total there is a diminution of £10,000 for agricultural education and research. I would like to be assured that there will be no falling off in the work done, because I consider under the present conditions that we want a great improvement in the type of plant we need. If sufficient research were given, a type of oats and barley which will stand the terrible weather conditions here could be produced. There is a plant in Japan with four inches of straw which leaves a good head of grain. All this matter is for research. If this work is neglected we cannot make any advance. I hope the Government will be able to carry on more research work with lesser money, as if they do not then it is a fatal economy.
There are one or two small items on which I would like to have some little information. There must be one or two departments which certainly seem to have outlived their purpose if they ever had a purpose. One is the North-Eastern Boundary Bureau, and there is an amount of £2,790 in the estimates for that Department. I would like to know what exactly is its purpose. Members of this House have been flooded with literature upon it, which I hope everybody read. It seemed to me to be an unnecessary Department, having no object except one of a propagandist nature which is not very clear. The work of the Boundary Bureau, in my opinion, is work of a real Government Department, and any information to be got should be obtained by a Government Department, and not scattered throughout the country as mere propaganda. Then, there is the much-talked of Publicity Department costing £8,693. Is this also a propagandist department? After all, a nation is not a patent medicine that requires every day, advertisements to keep the world alive to the fact that it exists. I think it is absurd to pay the head of this Department £1,000, as well as to pay a fairly large staff all fairly substantial salaries. Are its activities of a national or an international character? One could quite understand the need for a Publicity Department in time of war, but war has ceased. For trade and other purposes as we have our representatives abroad, it seems to me unnecessary to have a special Publicity Department. I would like to know what its relationships are with our foreign representatives. Is it purposed to keep those representatives in constant and immediate touch with the developments here, and is it that they are by peaceful penetration forwarding Free State trade purposes in other countries? If it is it should be put down under some other heading than the one under which the estimate is voted. Regarding our foreign representatives, it would seem as if those are further officials of the Publicity Department. They are given under different headings in the Estimates, in some cases as consuls, in others as representatives, and in others as trade representatives. If there is a difference between their functions, what is the nature of the difference? Do we appoint those before they get official recognition from the country to which they are appointed?
I am informed that in the recent Olympic Games the Free State representative was not amongst those in the stand in which the representatives of all nations taking part were accommodated, and that he had to pay for admission into the ordinary stands. One of his functions, while he is there, might have been to render a little assistance to the Irish athletes who took part in the Olympic Games. If reports are true, our representatives there made a very sorry display. I am informed that of the representatives of forty-five nations that marched toward the presidential stand, that the Irish were the only group who marched like a lot of sheep, out of step and time, and while the representatives of other nations gave the Olympic salute, that the representatives of Ireland were the only ones who forgot that ordinary courtesy, although they had the example of the representatives of twelve other nations who marched in front of them.
That as a display on our first entrance internationally, I think, as a nation, was certainly not a very happy one. Our representatives did their best in the actual competitions, but certainly as an actual display of discipline, courtesy and training, it was a lamentable failure. Why is there no sum for Berlin in this year's Estimates? There was an amount last year for a Consul in Berlin. I do not know if it was expended. It seems strange that the Brussels representative should be paid £750 and his assistant £550, while our Paris representative is only paid £700, and his assistant £250. It seems to me that their functions must be different, or the accredited representative to a nation like France should certainly have as big as, if not a bigger salary, than the representative to a little country like Belgium.
In regard to the Estimate of £22,823 for forestry, I notice that only £100 is put down as against education in connection with a subject which certainly requires a great deal of development and research in order that the forests of the country may be developed and extended. I would like to know what exactly do "forestry operations" mean. What is the estimate of £21,400 for? Does it mean merely the planting of trees, because I think only 40,000 trees were planted last year? If that is so the average cost is very high. I presume it means for operations, but having no idea of what they are, I would like some information.
The pensions are growing ever larger. One of the reasons is, no doubt, that advantage is being taken of the provisions in the Treaty whereby civil servants can retire, but another cause is because of the grave uncertainty and unrest within the Civil Service at present. I am afraid that the economy of the Ministry of Finance is going to involve us in far greater expense rather than in economy, because large numbers of people are leaving the Dublin Metropolitan Police and different branches of the Civil Service because they have no guarantee, either temporary or permanent, that their present conditions will not be over-hauled from top to bottom in a manner detrimental to them. I think if the Ministry had gone a little easier in this respect it would have been a far greater benefit and advantage to economy than the more or less haphazard manner in which they have been seeking to effect it. The autocratic manner also in which they deal with civil servants is having a very detrimental effect. No employer would dare to deal with his employees in the autocratic, contemptuous manner in which the Ministry deals with its employees. Even Whitley Councils have been definitely refused, because obviously conciliation has no place in the policy of the Ministry. While that condition of affairs obtains within the Civil Service, and while changes in conditions are effected without consulting the people concerned, there will be an increasing tendency for people to leave the Civil Service if they can leave it, as they can, on fairly substantial pensions. Our Budget in this respect will be bigger every year, and the State will be deprived of the experience of men of long service which would be valuable to it.
In regard to the Local Government Estimate, one feels that it is useless to say anything at present except that the tendency to suppress popularly elected bodies without making any provision for electing new bodies is a dangerous one. It is all the more dangerous because it is being done by a Government which bases its strength on moral ascendancy and the fact that it is a popularly elected body. After all, if you take away from the citizens generally that sense of responsibility which work in public bodies imposes you are not going to increase the stability of the State. Undoubtedly there have been grave causes for complaint as to the way in which local councils and bodies have been administered, but some of the suppressions that have taken place have been unfortunate, to say the least. One of the most unfortunate, in my opinion, has been the suppression of the Dublin Corporation. The Dublin Corporation may have done many silly, nonsensical things in its time, but I do not think it would ever have been guilty of the colossal blunder of involving the city in the dispute which is now in operation, on the very eve of the Tailteann Games. It is an indication of the policy of some Government departments as represented in the people they appoint. To suggest at this period that there should be a fairly substantial reduction in wages and in a manner which would undoubtedly leave the people concerned no option but to fight it, on the very eve of the opening of the Tailteann Games, which have been so widely advertised, and in connection with which there have been fairly large State grants, is one of the most eloquent testimonies of the detachment of these people from public opinion or from the real hard facts of life. I hope that the good sense of the citizens will enable us to rescue the city from the position into which those Commissioners have landed it. It certainly does not augur very well for the success they are to make of the task which they have been entrusted with, and it is another indication of the fact that they have merely got instructions that they are to effect economies without any regard whatever to the manner in which these economies are to be effected. That is a policy which is bound to lead to disaster eventually, and you now have one of the examples of it.
May I be allowed to intervene, in view of the latter portion of the Senator's speech? My information in connection with this dispute in the City of Dublin is that the Commissioners had a conference at which it was intimated that a reduction of some 2s. a week was to take place in September, 2s. in October, and 2s. in November; that no written demands on the men were made, but that the men, without a moment's hesitation, and with very little notice, withdrew their labour. I say that no Government, no Commissioners, and no persons responsible for the administration of a large city like Dublin could tolerate such blackmail on the part of their employees. The facts of the case are—and they will not be denied, I think—that these men have a position under the municipality, which by reason of holidays, sick pay, superannuation, and so on, puts them in a position of being 20 per cent. better off than men in a corresponding state of life outside of the municipality. I do not by any means criticise the giving of better treatment to men in the employment of a municipality, such as the city of Dublin, but I do say that it is very bad treatment to the citizens for men in respect of whom no direct application has been made for a reduction of wages, immediately to withdraw their labour from those who have treated them well, and to precipitate the city into a position in which typhoid, lack of water, lack of light, or anything of that sort might be the result within twenty-four hours. The Government, sir, in this case will not hesitate to see that these essential services are carried out, notwithstanding what the consequences are. The public will not be blackmailed, and while people speak about pacifist motives and the militaristic Government, I say that that action on the part of these men is nothing short of a military action. A man with a gun presents it at you, and demands your money. A man in employment in an essential service can also do that.
What would there be to prevent the medical profession of this city, or of the country, from saying tomorrow: "We will not cure a single patient unless our fees are increased." If they made that demand would we not refuse it? That is not the way in which cities can be rebuilt or nations be reconstructed, and, I submit, from the information put before me, that the Commissioners in this case have not acted outside of the way in which the Dublin Corporation itself would have acted if it were there. I think the first thing in such a case would be that the matter would be mentioned. But before any overt act could take place, if one of the parties to the dispute threw down the gauntlet, I submit that would not be in keeping with Irish traditions; it is not in keeping with the code of co-operation and of assistance which should appertain in the case of the employees of the city of Dublin in view of the way in which these men have been treated.
What are the facts? Something like £50,000 a year, I believe, is at present on the estimates of the Corporation of the City of Dublin for employees who have been superannuated—£50,000—1/- in the £. The city of Dublin, groaning as it is under extraordinary taxation, having little business, is exerting itself as it should towards housing the people, yet we are faced in one instance by the withdrawal of labour under the housing scheme, in respect of which the Government itself is putting down two-thirds of the cost of every house. In the second instance, when I was a member of the Corporation the cost in respect of service of loans was 5/- in the £. When I say 5/- in the £ I mean when the rates were 10/- in the £. Fifty per cent. of that rate was struck to make good the cost of services on the loans, and the cost of the ordinary maintenance of the city was at that time 5/- in the £. The rates are now something like 19/- in the £, and there is a difference of 14/-. Where is it going to? Who is getting it? Are the citizens deriving value for the 14/-? I am by no means satisfied that they are. These men have been well treated, I do not know that there is any representative of Labour in Ireland who will deny that the Dublin Corporation employees are well treated. And just as the city is going to boom in respect of the Tailteann Games, the Horse Show, and all the rest of it, what is the action of the men? "We will give you no water; we will give you no light; we will not cleanse the city, and we will see that you do not make any money out of these within the fortnight, or three weeks, or a month in which this city could progress." I say that is a challenge that the Government, or the Commissioners, or anybody else, if they have any courage, could not fail to accept. We have accepted it, and these services will be maintained, the consequences notwithstanding.
The debate on the Appropriation Bill has developed into a discussion on the strike of municipal employees. That being so, it is just as well that the facts, and all the facts, should be known. There is no use in having half of the facts, and leaving essential facts untold. The facts, as I am informed, are these. A joint conference was held of the representatives of the urban and municipal authorities, embracing Dun Laoghaire, Blackrock, Rathmines, Pembroke, and the Commissioners of the Dublin Corporation. This joint conference met and decided they would have a reduction of 6s. per week in the wages of the unskilled employees of these authorities. Representatives of the work people were brought before this conference, and the chairman of the conference told them that they were going to get a reduction of 6s. per week in their wages and that that was their last word. Then they realised they had made a colossal blunder and that they were on the eve of the Tailteann Games, and they said to these men, "We will not enforce it," but the men replied, "You are only waiting until the Tailteann Games are over and then you will enforce it." They said, "All is fair in love and war," and "What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander." If these people were biding their time to make a reduction, the men were equally justified in taking the most favourable opportunity to suit themselves. Not that I say I welcome this dispute. I am sorry it has taken place, but these are the facts, and it had better be understood that the working people of Dublin are satisfied and are convinced that the Commissioners were sent into the Dublin Corporation for the express purpose of reducing the wages of the working people in the Corporation.
On the part of the Government, I deny that.
I say this with all respect to the President, that last December the Commissioners started in the Dublin Union, where all the permanent employees, tradesmen and labourers from time immemorial have been paid according to the custom of every public board in Ireland, for Bank Holidays, and deducted a day's pay for St. Stephen's Day, a bank holiday, from all the permanent employees, tradesmen and labourers employed in the Union. I say that was contemptible meanness. It is the custom of every public board in this country to allow a full day's pay for all bank holidays to their permanent employees and most of their casual workers, but the Commissioners stopped a day's pay for that holiday. It is not much of a holiday to the unfortunate man to have his day's wages docked, and I am sure the Commissioners do not dock their own salaries of a day's pay for a bank holiday. They docked these men for Easter Monday also and they intend to dock a day's pay for the August Bank Holiday. I have had a file of correspondence with the Minister for Local Government in connection with these cases to see if the action of the Commissioners had his approval and he never had the decency to say whether it had or not. The position is this: that the working people are satisfied and are convinced that the object of the Government in appointing Commissioners is to reduce their wages. I have had ample evidence that the Government have set out to reduce the wages of the working class and they are going to resist that by the best means in their power.
The President referred to blackmail. It is not a question of blackmail if a man is going to fight to retain a wage that is necessary to keep himself and his family in a decent standard of comfort. I regret essential services are being held up. I am prepared to do all I can to bring about a better state of affairs and always have been, and I make this suggestion to the President and the Government, that if these people will withdraw this notice of a reduction in wages and let things remain as they are until the end of this financial year, the working people will be prepared to meet them and deal with the matter. This time twelvemonths or earlier than this time twelvemonths, when similar differences occurred in the Dublin Corporation. some of us risked something and got plenty of abuse because we went to the representatives of the working class in the Corporation and advised them to meet the Corporation and make an arrangement. The men came together and met the Corporation and made an arrangement, with the result that we had one twelvemonth's peace at least.
We made an arrangement satisfactory to both sides. Some of us got a good deal of abuse in connection with it. A reduction of 9/- was accepted by the labourers, clerks and so on. If that spirit had been adopted on this occasion and if the dispute had been dealt with in the same way there would be no talk of essential services being held up to-day. The President also referred to the question of the unfortunate dispute and hold-up of the housing at Marino. Nobody regrets the stoppage more than I do. I think I can claim that nobody worked harder than I did to get that scheme in operation and I exceedingly regret the hold-up and the cause of the hold-up. But I say that all the bricks should not be thrown at the Labour Organisation. Labour organisations are not perfect any more than any other organisations. Labour organisations have not been responsible for as much trouble as the political organisations. It is the first occasion on which the finger of scorn could be pointed at them for a split in their own ranks being responsible for a hold-up in anything. They are now taking a leaf out of the book and the example set them by the organisation of which the President himself was such a very eminent member. I exceedingly regret the hold-up and I sincerely hope that work will soon be resumed.
To get back to the business of the Appropriation Bill, there are just one or two matters I would like to refer to. The first matter is in connection with the vote for the Pensions Bill of 1923. It has come to my knowledge that in the case of several people whom I have been interested in and have been in touch with for a considerable number of years, there has been a considerable delay in the awarding of pensions and I mention this for the President so that he will have them hurried up. There are some of them urgent as the people are waiting to get the money to make very good use of it, and I hope that the pensions will be awarded without further delay.
I should say, on that, that I spent at least two days last week signing those orders in respect of pensions. We have now got three medical boards, and on each board there is an eminent surgeon from one of the Dublin hospitals sitting as well. We hope to be able to clear off a good deal of arrears within this month. Sometimes the pensions or allowances or gratuities are delayed, not altogether against the interests of the persons applying. Sometimes, very much in their interest, delay does take place. I regret the delay. I hope, now that the Dáil has relieved us for a couple of months, the Seanad may follow suit and enable me to devote my entire time to clearing off these matters.
I am sorry the Minister for Local Government is not here, but in his absence I cannot let pass this Vote for £98,644 for Reformatories and Industrial Schools, including places of detention. This is an extraordinarily large amount. It is not the full amount, as the local authorities pay one-third, in addition to the £98,000 odd. Some people with whom I have been associated on public boards for the last ten or fifteen years have decided views on this question. The President knows that there is a desire for a change in the Industrial School system in Ireland, as it is not one suited for the children of this country. The Industrial School system was set up in England for English needs, and for the needs of industry in England. It was necessary, in order that a child should get into one of those Industrial Schools, that it should first break the common law. Therefore, where there was need, and where homes had to be broken up, the little child had to be sent out on the street to beg. That was a technical offence. The child was then brought by the police before the court, and this charge was made against the child before it could be admitted into an Industrial School. The child was afterwards branded on account of that offence. That had to be done in order to have the child admitted. I do not think it is necessary that such a thing should happen in Ireland now. Some time ago Mr. Blythe gave us an assurance that children, in order to get into such a school, would not have to go through this form. But there is no definite evidence before us as to that.
This is a very large sum, and it means about twelve shillings per head for each child in these institutions. In addition, a further sum goes to these institutions. Most of us who have been administering the poor-law system in this country for the past fifteen or twenty years know that if half that sum were given per head to the mother of the family, the mother would be able to keep the child at home. We are now two years here, and about a year and a half ago I went on a deputation to the President from the Finance Committee of the Dublin Corporation, asking that something should be done, that home life should be fostered, and that the detention of the children in barrack-schools should be discontinued. Now we have this enormous sum being voted, and I would like to know if anything is being done or are the children still being forced into these barrack-schools under conditions that are unsuitable to this country. The boys there get some training. But on account of trade union conditions, when they are trained as tailors, carpenters, or some such tradesmen, they are not accepted in the "shops." They are not considered as having got a trade, because they have not been apprenticed in the ordinary way. The girls get no training at all, except domestic training. They are put out at fourteen or fifteen years of age, with very little but domestic training. I think it is time that the public should know what is being got for this £98,000, and what are the conditions under which the children go into the schools. The previous Vote here, Vote 41, shows that the Government gives only £16,000 to hospitals, infirmaries, and certain charitable institutions. The difference is considerable, and I would like some explanation.
I see the Minister for Lands and Agriculture here, and I would like to ask him about Friesian cattle. This is an old subject which I have discussed with him a good many times. It interests a great many people in this country. I would be glad to know if he would take any measures that would permit the importation of Friesians, and if he would make some arrangement whereby cattle imported from a country from which there was danger of foot-and-mouth disease, would be kept, say, on an island for a time, until it was clear that they did not suffer from the disease. Nobody recognises more than I do the danger of bringing that disease to this country. If that disease were brought in the country would be ruined. But the difficulty could be got over by having some place set aside in the manner I suggest. I do not see what the object was of keeping this particular class of cattle out of the country. I know it is done under the pretext of keeping out disease. But I believe the Friesians are being excluded because there are certain classes of people here who breed shorthorn cattle, and they do not want any competition. That is really the root of the whole difficulty. I wish the Minister for Lands and Agriculture would try and find some means whereby these cattle might be brought in with safety and so do something to improve the breed of cattle in the country.
I would like if the Minister responsible would give some more explicit information as to what he is going to do with the College of Science. I read carefully the statement he made in the Dáil and I cannot say that I understand what he intends doing. I think he means to attach it in some way or other to the National University. Against that I have nothing to say. I think it is a necessary thing. But I do urge that science should be centralised in the College of Science. If it is attached to the University it should be free to govern itself, and the science people of Ireland should be allowed to work together for that purpose in a centralised place. I believe this is a most important matter, and I know the science teachers are most anxious about it. They should not be merely merged in the university as ordinary professors.
I now desire to refer to the University College of Galway. What the Minister said caused grave concern to the people of the West generally. His statement was not very clear about that. He said it was a problem and he did not get much further. He said afterwards they did not intend to take away that institution. I do not know exactly how the matter stands but I do think that if we, in the West of Ireland, are to have our college taken away from us, it will be a very serious matter. It will cause the greatest resentment throughout the province, and it will be very serious for the Government too. The west has always been a neglected country. It is a very poor country and requires help. It requires a College of Science and it requires a College of Agriculture too. The Minister for Agriculture said he was going to establish a scheme of agricultural instruction in Dublin and Cork. He excluded Galway, where it is most wanted. Near Galway there are several farms under Government direction which we think it is very necessary should be kept on in connection with Galway College.
I should like to support the observations which have fallen from Senator Colonel Moore regarding Galway College. Galway College is the centre of light for the Western Province, and its extinction would be a great loss. To convert it into a fishing school, which has no precedent and which I think would have no real aim, would be a catastrophe. During its short existence, Galway College produced some very distinguished men. They went at that time more towards the East. Raymond West, for instance, one of the foremost, became the occupant of high office in India. When England seized Egypt he was brought from India to Egypt to look after the finances of that country. He visited Ireland and he contrasted the manner in which the Irish landowners had been treated with that in which the landowners in India had been treated—much to the advantage of the Indian occupiers. Another gentleman I knew, Mr. O'Kinnealy, became one of the Judges of the Supreme Court of India and there are other judges. educated in Galway, in different parts of Ireland and elsewhere.
Those examples were calculated to stimulate the energy, work and ambition of the people there, and they did bring many peasants of the Western Province forward. They created a new spirit of emulation, because the people saw the means of rising, and seized them. Galway College is a college excellently suited for the work for which it was proposed. It has new equipment and laboratories, and I may mention that the assistant-chemist, Edward Dyver, was the first professor of chemistry in Japan. He remained in Yokohama until he had trained the Japanese students to be good chemists and then he was allowed to retire, and became President of the Chemical Society of London. These are instances that have come under my own notice, and there are others since first I saw that college and had the honour of beholding Hardiman, that distinguished Irish historian, of Galway, an eminent Gaelic scholar, who was the first librarian of the College, to which I went for a time after studying in France.
I would like to say a word as regards the College of Science. Let us recall for a moment its history. Why was it built, or what was its origin? It happened that Doctor Kane, a most eminent chemist and a good Irishman, delivered a series of lectures in this city, and, I think, near these premises, on the industrial resources of Ireland. That was a new subject. It was almost a revolution to hear the resources of this country spoken of authoritatively, when we were told officially that it was fit for nothing but to produce flocks and herds. This was, one may say, the first scientific effort to call attention to the many and great resources that Ireland had in the realm of industry. He carried forward his ideas, and was enabled at that time, fortunately, to put them into practice. A Museum of Irish industry was established in Stephen's Green. It has been converted since into Government offices. That was a remarkable museum, and I think it was probably about the first in any country to be established for the purpose of developing the national resources. Other countries did not need it, perhaps; at any rate, none of them needed it so much. Then, there were lectures there by a number of distinguished professors, and Sir Robert Kane was Director. Citizens entered to hear the lectures freely, as Parisians enter to hear the lectures at the Sorbonne, or College of France. In the galleries of that building they saw specimens of all kinds of Irish marble, of all kinds of mining tools, instruments of weaving and models of manufactures in progress. I speak of what I have seen, and of what everyone was able to see on walking through the halls of this building. That institution was certainly of use to the public and of use to Ireland.
Its erection, as I pointed out in a work published in 1869, caused a considerable sensation in Dublin amongst other institutions. It was looked upon with a certain amount of distaste, dislike, or perhaps enmity. It was sought to be absorbed into the Royal Dublin Society as an appendage, or into Trinity College as an addition, as it is now sought to be absorbed into another and more popular institution. It has a right to its own life, and that right should be guaranteed in a country which has laboured for Home Rule— for it has laboured for Home Rule, and suffered for the want of it.
It came, owing to these causes, under the active intervention of the Government, and that meant at the time under the hand or the claw of South Kensington—a new semi-scientific institution They took hold of it like the white ants which bore and burrow into beams, leaving the upper surface untouched. and converting the rest into dust. They altered the entire of the Museum of Irish Industry, and left the surface for a time. Then it became a Royal College of Science, and, as a Royal College of Science, it was under abject submission to South Kensington All our colleges rule themselves. It was under the control of South Kensington, and unable to rule itself. What was the consequence? Sir Robert Kane, or Doctor Kane, I think, he was then, had created the Museum of Irish Industry. He had, in fact, evolved a new faculty in the country, and carried it to distinction. He was reduced from his position as a Director, and allowed to remain as a Dean at a salary of a low-placed clerk, and they put a lawyer— a Mr. Sydney—at its head. That unfortunate man subsequently did not succeed.
I am very loth to interrupt the Senator, but I think the Senator is going too much into particulars.
I am almost finished with the particulars. I should regret to add anything unnecessarily, but it is about an institution which is of importance and whose history is unknown. I think that that institution should revert to its former being as devoted solely to the industrial resources of this country. That was its original purpose and that purpose is one for which it is essentially required. In France and Italy there was an attack of the cow plague. The English considered that the poison must have been sown by some Turkish or German enemy. The French called upon their College of Science and a man was sent to examine the blood, found the bacilli, produced a serum and had the animals disinfected and the disease stopped before it had spread over any area to speak of. That is one of the advantages which the College of Science could provide for us. Now that its autonomy has been established I think we should not make a ruin of it. We should rather restore it to its original beneficial and excellent purposes for which we shall require it. It would be always at the hand of the Government as a useful machine for the purpose of securing the development of the welfare of Ireland, especially in all things relating to agriculture and also to the development of the country in various other ways which have not yet been seriously attempted.
I want to deal with the two questions raised by Senators Counihan and Moore. Senator Counihan referred to our old friend, compensation for Irish cattle slaughtered at English landing places. The position is that cattle slaughtered in the Saorstát because of foot and mouth disease are paid for by the Free State Government, and all cattle slaughtered in England, except at imported animals landing places, are paid for by the British Government. That is the position since 1922. In 1922 Canadian cattle were allowed into England, and arrangements had to be made to provide quarantine stations at the landing places for the cattle, to make sure that they did not bring in pleuro-pneumonia or foot and mouth disease. The arrangements made for Canada applied to the Free State and Northern Ireland. They applied to Northern Ireland, notwithstanding that Northern Ireland has not control of its veterinary services or of the Diseases of Animals Acts. Although the Diseases of Animals Acts and the Veterinary Acts generally are administered in England for Northern Ireland, nevertheless the very same provisions apply to cattle going from Northern Ireland to England as from the Free State to England.
They are getting the very same treatment in regard to compensation as we are getting. We are not willing to admit the principle that we should pay for cattle slaughtered in England. One of the many things which I cannot understand is how the cattle trade could suggest that we ought to do that. Once we admit the principle that the Free State Government will pay for cattle slaughtered in England it might take us a very long distance. If we pay for cattle slaughtered during this ten hours' detention, why not follow the cattle outside the quarantine station and pay for them elsewhere in England during, perhaps, a very much longer period? In any event, the responsible members of the Cattle Trade Association agree that it would be fatal for us to admit the principle at all. We cannot really make war on England in order to force her to pay £3,000, which is the total cost of the Irish cattle slaughtered in England during the last outbreak. The last outbreak was, perhaps, the worse outbreak in living memory. Yet the total value of the Irish cattle slaughtered during this detention period was £3,000.
I have given reasons why we cannot pay. We do not profess to control the British Government. We need not go into their reasons for not paying. I would be sorry if, for the sake of £3,000, we took some step which would land us and the whole cattle trade into some peculiar liabilities later on. If it is a fact, as, of course, it is, that there are certain small farmers in the South of Ireland suffering severely because their cattle have been slaughtered at these landing places, then it is a very poor compliment to the cattle trade as a whole. Our cattle trade is worth about £20,000,000 per annum. There are half a dozen Cattle Trade Associations. It certainly ought not to be difficult for these Associations, which control a trade amounting to about £20,000,000 per annum, to make some arrangements by which, at least, the unfortunate farmers, whose cattle to the value of £3,000 have been slaughtered, will be temporarily compensated, until perhaps an arrangement could be made between the Free State Government, the Northern Government, and the British Government which would not land us into larger liabilities.
With regard to the question of the treatment of cattle in transit, I agree with Senator Counihan that the railways are not giving ideal facilities for the transit of cattle. This question was discussed in the Seanad before, and it was stated that freights were high. It ought to be equally obvious that you cannot lower rates on the lines of going to the railway companies and saying: "You are charging too much for cattle. Charge less for cattle. If business is to be done with the railway companies, it must be done on a different basis. You have to attack the problem as a whole, and now that the Railways Bill is passed, and that a tribunal is to be set up immediately, the problem can be tackled and dealt with.
With regard to the treatment that cattle get going to fairs, at sidings, at the North Wall, and generally, the Senator wants to know what we are going to do. What are the cattle trade associations going to do? It is extraordinary for Senator Counihan to come and say to the Government, "Our drovers are beating and maltreating cattle. What are you going to do?" All we can do is to communicate with the police. We have done that, and have circularised the Civic Guards asking them in the various places to put the Acts dealing with cruelty to animals into operation, and see that at the stations and ports drovers who ill-treat cattle are made to suffer. The police will do their duty as far as they can, but until they get the co-operation of the cattle trade they cannot do much. It has been suggested that if we could force drovers perhaps to adopt something instead of an ashplant less maltreatment would occur. That may be, but experts differ. I agree with Senator Counihan that the way Irish cattle, and animals generally, are treated is a disgrace. When the Senator asks me what I am going to do, I do not know what he expects. If the cattle-trade associations put up specific suggestions as to how we can make Irish drovers and people generally dealing with cattle use a little more sense, a little more discretion, and a little more mercy, we will go half way to meet them. In the meantime I suggest that the owners can deal with the drovers and do a lot with such people.
I do not think so. What I suggested to the Minister was a conference between the cattle trade and the Department of Agriculture, in order to bring the pressure of the law to bear on people who maltreat cattle, and devise means to prevent such a practice. You will then have the cooperation of the cattle trade.
A conference is like a commission. By it you pretend you are doing something, and you obviate the necessity of doing anything. As the Senator knows, we had conferences half a dozen times. When he speaks of putting the operations of the law in force, what law does he mean? There are Acts relating to cruelty to animals, and we have circularised the police, asking them to see that cattle are not maltreated. The police will see to that so far as they can, but drovers and others dealing with cattle can maltreat them unless there is some sort of co-operation, and unless owners see that such people are not allowed to do so. These are matters which according to Senator Counihan are keeping the whole cattle trade of Ireland in a state of nervous anxiety.
With regard to Friesian cattle, they are not allowed into the country, I assure Senator Moore, for the same reasons that apply to other cattle. We could not take the risks at the moment of bringing foot-and-mouth disease into Ireland. It is not considered wise, especially at present, while this plague is in England, to establish quarantine stations in Ireland. There would be obvious advantages for people bringing over pedigree-stock to have quarantine stations, but there are obvious disadvantages. If foot-and-mouth disease broke out at a quarantine station it might hold up the flow of cattle between this country and England for a week and that would more than counterbalance any possible advantage there would be from establishing quarantine stations here. That question will have to be considered again when foot-and-mouth disease has entirely abated in England. The advantages of allowing in Friesian cattle are not great enough to counterbalance the possible and probable losses that would ensue if we allowed our regulations to become less stringent. The important thing for the agriculture of the country is to see that this trade which represents twenty millions in value is properly safeguarded, to see that we have, as far as we can, a clean bill of health in Ireland.
Is there not a quarantine station in the North of Ireland?
I cannot say. There was a question of having a quarantine station, but I am not sure that we are bound to follow the North of Ireland slavishly. Two questions were raised by Senator Bennett. He referred to the fact that the amount spent on agricultural education and research this year is £30,570. I want to say that that sub-heading, "agricultural education and research," is a misnomer. That money has not been spent on agricultural research. It was given to the County Committees, who got £20,000 for their schemes. Universities got £2,000 and £8,570 was spent on agricultural instructors. That makes £30,570. In view of these items I think it is correct to say that that subhead, which has appeared for years in the Estimates dealing with agricultural research, is not properly described. For that reason we are likely to have a question raised, when there is a decrease in the Vote, that we are not spending enough money on agricultural education and research. We propose to deal with agricultural education and research where it should be dealt with, in the Universities. I am not going into that question now, as it will be discussed with the question of the College of Science. When we have, as we hope to have, by the beginning of the academic year, established two first-class Faculties of Agriculture in two Universities we will be doing something for agricultural education and research. With regard to the £30,570, the amount last year was £36,500, so that there is a difference of £6,000. It is not a real difference, because immediately the £36,500 was put in the Estimates last year it was found the amount required was £30,000.
This extra £6,000 was not spent on these county committees and these instructors. You are spending exactly the same this year as was, in fact, spent last year. The Vote for seed-testing is reduced because the chemical division is going to the Ministry of Finance to be joined up with a State laboratory and services of that sort. The service of the chemical division and the cost of that service has been taken out of that Vote and transferred to some Vote in connection with the Ministry of Finance. As regards forestry, Senator O'Farrell asks what we are doing with this £21,000. The best answer I can give to him is to tell him that we planted considerably more trees last year than the figure he mentioned.. The figure he mentioned was 40,000. We planted two-and-a-quarter million trees, and if you consider the amount of clearing that had to be done, as well as the actual work of planting, you could hardly, I think, get the planting of two-and-a-quarter million trees done for less than £20,000 or £30,000. We propose to plant at least as much this year. Forestry operations can only be carried on on a small scale in Ireland, for the reason that there is not money to spare for the purpose. We all admit, of course, that there is no country in Europe so denuded of trees as Ireland. Forestry is something that brings you in no return for about thirty years. When you are unable to balance your budget you do not make provision to spend more money than is necessary upon a service which is not likely to yield you any return for about thirty years. Everyone realises that this country is more denuded of trees than any country in Europe, and it is necessary, from the point of view of climate to bring forestry up to a point where these deficiencies can be made up.
There are just a few points I wish to refer to. The position of our representatives abroad requires careful consideration. I do not think that a detailed discussion in the Seanad would to any extent help the matter, but I hope that when the Executive Council has more leisure it will carefully consider the whole position. In regard to the criticisms on the action of our representatives abroad to which Senator O'Farrell refers, I should say that we cannot expect too much in the way of attention to Ireland from a representative if you can only pay him £600 or £700 a year. You cannot expect him to keep up a very high standard in a foreign capital on that figure. I do not think that too much criticism of our representatives abroad should take place yet, due to the fact that we all know that the position of our representatives abroad has been, in many cases, a difficult and delicate one. Now that their position is becoming more and more recognised and regularised, I hope we will be able to get better service from them, and I hope that if there is any re-arrangement made the policy will be, if necessary, rather to reduce the number than to have those who are abroad underpaid. Where we have a representative abroad, our standard should be as good as any of the other smaller nations. If we do not do that, I would prefer that we had not a representative abroad at all.
There is another matter I wish to refer to, but I do not know whether this is the proper time to do so or not. I hope that the Executive Council will take their courage in their hands and that between this and the time of the next Appropriation Bill they will bring in some kind of a proposal to deal with the question of pensions for Ministers. As no member of this House can be a member of the Executive Council, we are not likely, in mentioning a matter of this kind, to be accused of apparently looking after something which may affect ourselves. I think it will be increasingly difficult in the future to get the best type of man as Minister if you have to ask a man, as you do now, to give up all other business occupations. You place him in a responsible position which, through political exigencies, he may lose in three months or in three years, and then you make no provision of any kind for him. It is a difficult matter to deal with, and it is one which requires careful consideration. I hope, however, that although it may seem to affect themselves, that the members of the Executive Council will consider this carefully before the next Appropriation Bill is brought in. I do not want to be taken as prophesying that we are now to expect the disappearance of all the Ministers and that we are immediately to make provision for them.
The President has more or less mournfully told us that in addition to being President he acts as Deputy Minister for two others, and perhaps that may be taken into consideration. Senator Sir John Keane was, I understand, anxious to deal with the problem of what is known in England as "Treasury Control" and the method of accountancy there. I do not want to go into any detail on this matter, but there is one account in which I have been, because of circumstances, a good deal interested. That account is the Post Office vote. I hope that in future some kind of what in business is known as a trading account will be shown in the estimates for the Post Office, a trading account showing in simple form the expenditure and income and also making allowances for the services which the Post Office renders to other Departments. I am glad to see that there is some kind of an estimate in the appendix showing what the loss on the Post Office really is. I think that would be an encouragement to the staff and would make it much easier to deal with, perhaps, the claims they are making, if the whole matter were shown on a definite business basis rather than have the estimate submitted as the estimates for other departments are. There is one other matter I wish to refer to. I think that the Standing Orders Committee, or some other Committee ought to, before the autumn arrives, carefully consider the whole position of the Seanad with regard to Money Bills. Obviously it is not going to be a satisfactory method to have an omnibus discussion at the end of a Session when the Appropriation Bill reaches us. It is quite possible that some arrangement might be made by which the Seanad could have an opportunity of discussing the situation and making recommendations which might be agreed to beforehand and before the Appropriation Bill comes before us. We have limited powers in the matter of finance, but, nevertheless, we have some powers, and with these powers there is a certain amount of responsibility. In this matter I think we ought to be encouraged by the fate of the last recommendation on a finance matter which we sent to the Dáil.
Senator Colonel Moore and Senator Dr. Sigerson both dwelt upon two points that might be almost taken together, as they arise out of one matter, and that is a question of the College of Science. With regard to that I find practical unanimity on the main aspects of the matter. I find practical unanimity on the point that economic research and economic study should be a university concern, that it was one of the foremost duties of universities of the modern type, and that, of course, takes in the whole scope of the College of Science, as it has been existing latterly. There was also among others, who represented and spoke for agriculture in the country, a strong feeling that the universities had a duty to fulfil to the country in agricultural study and research in scientific matters. I think that feeling was universal; at all events, it was not contested, and further, I think I was able to sense what was practically the unanimous opinion, that a Government constituted for the purposes of Government generally, was not an ideal, or a proper institution for the carrying on of university education. Throughout the entire world university education is carried out by university bodies on a practically autonomous basis. Along that line I find unanimous agreement. It was not contested in any quarter that the National University of Ireland, which was devised to meet the needs of higher education for the largest body of people, was quite inadequately equipped for that purpose. And again, when an institution such as the College of Science has been carrying on work of University standard, through Professors of University standing, but on a limited scope, there was no particular reason why an institution of that kind should exist, and its work be apart from a University institution, and its work separate from university work, and it was upon that principle, to meet that particular need which, I think, is a national need of making economic study and research in the fullest sense university work, and to meet the crying needs, I might say the desperate needs of the National University, that I proposed the change I did in the Dáil.
That change was in brief that all the resources of the College of Science should be placed at the disposal of the National University. The reason why it is not possible for me to be more definite was this: that the University itself is an autonomous institution, and it was necessary that a change of that sort should be made in consultation with it, that the plans for carrying it out should be discussed on both sides before they can be propounded by me. I am glad to think that I have the corroboration of my old friend, Senator Dr. Sigerson, who knows its administration in the clearest possible way by intimate knowledge of its history that he possesses, that it is no longer an institution which it was, and that the "white ants" have been at it inside, and that while the name remains the institution is not what it originally was.
As a matter of fact, the College of Science has existed as a branch of the Civil Service—a purely bureaucratic institution—one of the kind I do not desire to be responsible for. I am most anxious to get rid of responsibility at the earliest possible moment, even for such institutions as those which are called the Model Schools. Primary schools, run apparently by a Central Government, is not a good thing. I do not believe it is the business of the Central Government to run schools— other people may differ as to that— still less do I think it is the business of the Government to run Universities.
With regard to Galway, I feel I have very great ground to be impatient if any object could be gained by being impatient, with the construction placed on my remarks, or whatever reports on my remarks have been read in that connection. I said that the future of the Galway College was a problem and I said, at the same time, that I did not wish it to be understood that my idea was that higher education should be reduced or placed on any lower plane in Galway. It would certainly be a very great travesty of what I said, or anything implied in what I said, to say that I proposed that University College, Galway, should be converted into a fishery school.
I have an idea, I may be wrong, that the subject of fisheries may prove to be quite a worthy subject for university study and research. It seems to me it is one of our great undeveloped resources, and that we ought to have great hope for, and from, its development in the future, and that if there is that development in the future, an ideal centre for a station in Ireland for its development whether as regards sea fisheries or fresh water fisheries, is the city of Galway. That does not mean by any means that I wish to reduce the higher education of Galway to research in matters of fisheries, nor do I wish to reduce it in any other way. It remains a problem, but the problem is not how to reduce or decrease higher education in Galway, but rather to provide a way of elevating it. That is the problem for me at the moment. I do not pretend anything to the contrary, and as soon as I can see my way I will tackle that problem with the greatest pleasure.
Do you propose to suspend Standing Orders?
I propose to ask the House what it proposed to do with the four Bills that have been read a second time, and I will take them in order.
No answer has been given to the question I asked, and there has been no Minister here to give an answer.