SHANNON ELECTRICITY BILL, 1925.—FIFTH STAGE.

Question proposed—"That the Bill do now pass."

I can assure the House that I am not going to detain them to the length I did on the Second Reading of this Bill. I only wish to deal with the general principles and finally wish to make a suggestion as to a possible way out of the difficulty that faces the Government if they persist in their present policy. For the purpose of my remarks I will begin with a summary of the defects which I reached at the conclusion of the Second Reading debate. These were: that there was no proper consideration of alternative schemes; no proper reference to experts; no power of revising estimates and that estimates were not binding; that plans and specifications were withheld for no good reason; that examination of the scheme was insufficient; that navigation was prejudiced; that the distribution market for power was ignored, that such prices to consumers as has been attempted will not stand analysis; that consumption was much over-estimated and that the flat rate price was at least half the probable cost; that the financial commitment for the distribution of £7,000,000 was disregarded and that the cost of installation, which I venture to put at £9,000,000, was not appreciated.

The only items amongst those that I have mentioned that the Minister seriously challenged was the one in connection with navigation and the other in connection with the Mallow figures. Now, with regard to navigation the Minister said—and I will give his exact remarks, because they are not very illuminating—that the Senator, meaning me:—

"Made a statement at that Commission, and we get the case made that the experts' figures are wrong, because he estimated the cost as from £48,000 to £60,000. Because the experts passed a sum of £13,000 for other works, not necessarily the same, and obviously not for the same stretch of river, the Senator seeks to make out that the figures are not reliable."

Then the Minister goes on:—

"No figures are included, and could not be included south of the lake. Were Sir Philip Hanson's estimates for anything south of the lake? The two things are not comparable. Let me take the Commission's report in this matter. The Allport Commission was quoted here, and it was not contradicted by those who sat in the Canal Commission. They considered that the lowering of a seven feet depth by two feet would not injure navigation appreciably. Afterwards, Sir Philip Hanson estimated for the works £12,523."

I examined the report of the Canal and Waterways Commission, and I find no reference to £12,000 made by Sir Philip Hanson. We have here a considerable amount of evidence presented to us in regard to the navigation of the Shannon, and we have here a reference made to a proposal for an inquiry to lower Lough Derg, and we have the statement of these proposals and estimates, details of which, we are told, will be found in Appendix 5. Appendix 5 was never published, and I was unable to get a copy of it. It totals £162,000. The Minister may have a good explanation, but an ordinary person like myself can only depend on the documents available. There is reference to £160,000 expenditure for the lowering of the Lough two feet. Well, where are we? The whole of my argument was only put up to justify further inquiry into the whole matter, and I say further inquiry is desirable.

With regard to the Mallow figures, the House heard the Minister's explanation. He said, "assuming that the Senator's arithmetic is correct, which is rather a big assumption," does anyone imagine if my arithmetic was wrong that his officials would not have challenged me in every detail. They would have been only too glad to pounce on mistakes in it. He proceeded to say that was only one of my many alternative schemes. I say when they are making their case they should make a better one than the one they did present because the one they did present did not make a good alternative. It leaves the figure at 2/1 for light on that selected case.

I pass from that to one matter not dealt with on the Second Reading and that is the question of the chemico-electric load. I have seen it stated, and the Minister will correct me if I am wrong, that Messrs. Siemens are willing to take surplus current at .35 of a penny. Whether Messrs. Siemens are willing to take it or not——

Does the Senator say that that is stated anywhere by us?

No, I said I have seen it stated, and I said I would ask the Minister to correct me if it was wrong.

I already denied that in the Dáil. I denied that there was any contract to give Messrs. Siemens a large block of power at that rate.

I am not suggesting that you ever made the statement.

But that was the suggestion made—a suggestion of a stranglehold on Irish industry through giving a German firm a grip over the country.

I am not suggesting that there is any contract. I was only asking are Messrs. Siemens willing to take, and if the Government are willing to give, surplus current at .35 of a penny which was mentioned. I think we ought to have the policy of the Government on this matter. My view is that the Government will be driven to get rid of their surplus current by some hydro-electric work, that they will not be able to finance this scheme at the ordinary rate of lighting and power in this country, and that they will be driven for the sake of the finance of their scheme to get a good industrial load through chemico-electric industry. And that being so, we are in the position of financing by State subsidy hydro-electric works. If any measure of that kind is contemplated, I at least hope we may have an assurance from the Government that the Oireachtas is going to be taken fully into their confidence, and that we are going to know what are the plans of the Government for securing that the matter should be put up to open tender, that it should not become one of the contracts the Government has taken power to make under this Bill.

I now come to the general question which I dealt with fully on the last occasion, and will only deal very briefly with now: that of the fatal and continuing tendency on the part of the Government towards nationalisation. With regard to the question of land, I cannot call their policy nationalisation there. I have been searching for a name for their land policy, and I can see no name but Hoganisation, which is worse than nationalisation. In nationalisation there is finality. In this there is none. I hope to have an opportunity of dealing with this question later, on the Land Commission Vote, but the Government are beginning to realise what a monster they have reared up in this question of land if one can read anything into the recent remarks made in the Dáil. The land is nationalised up to the hilt. We are now having electricity nationalised. The nationalisation of the railways I do not think is far off. I think we ought to be on our guard. On this question of nationalisation I should like to read the remark made by an elder statesman of immense experience. I do not think anyone will deny that he has a right to speak on a big question of this kind. He says:—

"Let me sum up in a sentence or two what the effect of the entire nationalisation of industry would really be so far as I can forsee. It would sap the free-flowing lifeblood of British industry. It would enthrone the rule of the bureaucrats. It would tend to stereotype processes, to stand in the way of new inventions, to arrest mechanical and managerial improvements. It would paralyse individual initiative and enterprise, and sooner or later, and sooner than later, it would, in my judgment, impoverish the community. Therefore, I will give a very plain answer to that question put to me whether I am in favour of the nationalisation of industry. The answer is in the negative."

That is from a speech of Mr. Asquith, delivered at Paisley on 29th June, 1920. Some people may laugh at that, but if they ask me my opinion I would say I would rather take the opinion on broad and big questions of statesmanship of Mr. Asquith, than the opinions of our Ministers, young and enthusiastic as they are.

I am going to suggest a way of escape from those disasters which threaten the Government in this scheme. I do not ask them to go back on their policy. I ask them to consider their financial difficulties, and here I hope the Minister will not suggest that I am actuated by any unworthy motive, but that I am simply doing my duty to the State when I say clearly that there is not a single person I have met who is in the position to finance this scheme who is not opposed to it.

The Government may have the intention of submitting it to people who are in a position to finance it. If they have any difficulty or doubt about the difficulty of financing this scheme in the country, let them consider more than once what a danger it would be for them to go out and ask money, and fail to get it. That will be the real danger threatening the credit of the State, and it is a risk no Government should lightly take if they value our national credit. The Minister stated that Messrs. Siemens-Schuckert are prepared to finance this scheme. Let them do so. We are not a rich country. I do not believe for a moment that the Government will find it easy to raise a loan, despite what the Minister may think. Siemens-Schuckert are coming here for a big contract. Let them come also with their money. I argue that that would be a security for efficient performance. It would be a safeguard to our national credit, and would certainly be a safeguard to the political prestige of our Government, and, moreover, save the State from the poisonous virus of nationalisation.

I am not going to follow Senator Sir John Keane into the spider's web of disaster that he has woven. I will leave the Minister to reply in detail to the points the Senator has raised for about the third time. Since the Oireachtas was established a tremendous amount of legislation has been enacted, some of it of a fairly useful character, some of it quite the reverse, and some of it inevitable, in order to give effect to the new order. Of the useful measures which have been passed I would venture to suggest that the Bill now before the Seanad is by a long way the best. It is a Bill most likely to have permanent and beneficial effects on the social and economic life of the nation. Perhaps it is because of that that it has invited such a torrent of criticism from interested parties outside the Oireachtas, the steady determined opposition of a small section within, and also created world-wide interest.

People who hardly knew the meaning of kilowatt have constituted themselves experts or handymen for the purpose of denouncing the scheme. We have had criticisms ranging from the experts who solemnly warned us of the danger of some evilly-disposed person making a hole with a spade through a 45-foot wide embankment, letting out the water and drowning Limerick and its citizens, and the enthusiast who actually suggested that a motor road should be made around the top of the embankment as a sort of aid to the tourist traffic. These are indications of the wild type of criticism of the scheme we have experienced since the Bill was first introduced. I venture to suggest that one result, at all events, has been to create a good deal of heat, but very little light. The critics have in the main short circuited themselves through excessive heat and insufficient knowledge. I had no idea we had such a large and plentiful supply of electrical engineering experts, but one could hope that they had announced their existence in some other way rather than try to torpedo the first real measure that tends to make this country an economic entity, to develop and encourage its resources and industries, by providing cheap power, helping to adjust our trade balance, brighten and improve country life, and generally speaking, to improve the outlook of the people socially and economically.

One is tempted to believe that if other people were entrusted with the survey, if an English firm had got the contract, a great deal of the opposition would evaporate. Part of Senator Sir John Keane's opposition to the Bill has been based on the preconceived idea that the Irish farmer whose views he professes to express in the Seanad— and very ably expresses—is such a retrograde individual, so lacking in initiative and so hopeless from the point of view of social or economic development that it will not in any circumstances be possible to induce him to purchase electricity no matter how cheap, either for lighting his home or utilising it in the agricultural industry. There may be some grounds for that estimate.

When you attempt to put those words into my mouth I must intervene and say that I never used such words. I said you would not be able to finance the scheme at a price that the farmer could afford to pay.

That even at the price laid down in the Bill, which seems ridiculously cheap, the farmer could not be got to purchase electricity.

Would the Senator say what prices are laid down in the Bill that the farmer will get current at?

There have been certain rough estimates quoted regarding the price, and the idea has been ridiculed that because farmers in Germany, Norway and Denmark do certain things, Irish farmers are not going to do them. The Senator argued and gave as one reason why that would not happen in Ireland was because of the backward state of education. There may be something in that, but it is surprising that the Senator almost consistently opposed every measure brought in with a view to educating the farmer in the development of his industry. He was very indignant in regard to certain measures, such as the Live Stock Breeding Bill which, he said, interfered with individual freedom, and did not allow the farmer to have any sort of rag tag bull he liked.

I do not wish it to be put on record that such are my views. They are not. I never opposed that Bill, but I proposed certain amendments. If the Senator is going to challenge my attitude on that I shall ask for the right to reply. I think that is fair.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

We will now get back to electricity.

I do not like to remind the Senator of things he would like to forget, but I think I am not doing him an injustice. I would suggest before he condemns the Irish farmers as being a hopeless section of the community, that they should get some chance. What chance have they ever got? For generations they have been little better than Russian serfs. They have been the slaves of landlords, agents and bailiffs, and instead of being encouraged to improve their lands and beautify their homes, they have been actually intimidated from doing so. Every time they put in an extra window or an extra chimney, or improved their land, the landlord came along and increased the rent. The Irish farmer was not encouraged to try and become a self-supporting individual. Generally, he was encouraged to rear up his family under piteous conditions for export to a foreign country. He then allowed the exiles to help him to pay the rent and to maintain the remnant of the family at home. The long period of years during which that state of affairs obtained tended to develop a very undesirable and slavish mentality. You cannot remove that in a few years. You will never remove it unless you take some large comprehensive measures calculated to capture the hearts and the imaginations of the people.

That is one reason why I welcome the measure, because it has an element, as Senator Barrington, I think, ironically termed it, of the dramatic about it. There is something in it that appeals to the imagination. We are too much used to the parish pump ideas, and that is due to historic reasons. We are so used to discussing questions like: "Should there be two handles or one on the parish pump," that to make a proposal involving the spending of five million pounds seems something like the end of the earth. The total charge in regard to the money required for this scheme for sinking fund, working expenses and interest amounts to less than £500,000 a year for the whole country. That is going to get us into bankruptcy and ruin according to the opponents of the Bill. I welcome this opportunity of enabling the countryside to be improved and brightened, made a place more fit to live in, and to enjoy the social amenities of life. If the Bill only does the very minimum that it proposes to do it will have more than justified itself, and I believe if it does the maximum that it may reasonably be expected to do towards improving the general social and economic conditions of the country, that it will be a lasting boon and blessing to the countryside as a whole, that it will tend to concentrate the minds of our people more on their own country, rather than to have their hearts and minds set on other lands. Our principal industry has been the rearing of young men and women at big expense, and when they are of any use to the country, exporting them to a foreign market, and their stamina and brains go to build up other States. We could remedy that, I take it, to a great extent by developing to the full the resources of our own country. This, I think, is the first real step towards that development. Apart from any pernickity objections that can be raised to the Bill, I think that it is a good one, that it deserves the support of the Oireachtas, the co-operation of the whole people, and that the Minister deserves the congratulations of the House for the exceedingly able way in which he has piloted it through.

We have listened to a good deal of carefully prepared, earnest and masterful raimeis from Senator Sir John Keane, which might have been more convincing had he not revealed one little defect, and that is, he was uncertain about the length of a kilometre as compared with a mile. He thought that it was a little longer than a mile and, therefore, the attitude of his criticism as regards the rest——

Would the Senator say when I said that? I do not think I said that, and if I did, I said what I never intended to say.

The Senator challenged the Minister with regard to the length of the banks at Lough Derg, over the statement that they were seven and a-half miles long, whereas the Senator said they were ten kilometres long.

Will you refer to the report where I said that?

I am referring to my memory, which is just as accurate as a report. I think I am not exaggerating in the matter. The Minister was making a reference to the length of the banks, and Senator Sir John Keane said that instead of the length being seven and a half miles, it was ten kilometres. I do not think he will contradict that.

I refuse to accept that. The Senator suggests that I do not know the difference between a mile and a kilometre. He is entitled to do that, but when he says I said what he has mentioned, I am entitled to ask him to quote from the Official Report.

The Senator used the argument that the Minister was limited at Lough Derg——

It was not a question of Lough Derg. It was a question of the embankments between Killaloe to about O'Brien's Bridge.

Very well. We will not go into the distance either in kilometres or miles, but I think he used the argument of comparison of ten kilometres as if that was longer than seven and a half miles.

One point no one seems to have urged in this scheme for developing the Shannon, and to my mind it is an important one, is the assurance that a constant supply of energy will be there for every form of industry in this country, an assurance that we will be able to keep our industries going in the event of rival nations getting into trouble on the Continent. Creameries were interrupted, and factories dependent upon coal as an energiser were greatly curtailed and interrupted by the fact that external circumstances made the price of coal to rise without any control on our part. I think, internally, a constant cheap source of energy is one of the best forms of insurance that we could possess: that no matter what happens in Europe this country will be able to produce without interruption.

As regards other arguments against the scheme, they have an historical interest, for Stephenson may have listened to arguments of somewhat the same kind when he was urging people to adopt the steam-engine. Had he been influenced by these arguments there might be no work for Scotchmen as engineers on the Great Northern Railway in England, or even on the Great Northern Railway running to Belfast. Electricity is only in its infancy in Ireland, and it is not fair to compare the demand for electricity on the Continent with the demand in this country, because the Continent is so highly electrified that only a growth of population could increase the demand for electricity, or a growth of overseas trade. We have no overseas trade. We have a population more or less static, and only a small portion of that population are enjoying the advantages of electricity. I know of no more civilising factors than electricity and cheap timber. In Germany there is electricity in all the small holdings, and national afforestation which makes timber plentiful and cheap, and houses are large and roomy, and can be furnished cheaply with elaborate furniture of an artistic kind. We have to consider that attitude of mind which betrays an appeal to and reliance on an external direction and external finance, the old —what we used to call—"ascendancy mind." The very fact of this country being able to set aside for the time, and allocate its own funds for its own purposes is not to be thought of, merely because it is our own money.

The fall of the Shannon is 100 feet. If we had five steps with 23 feet, irrespective of the fact that the Shannon would rise 25 feet and shut off the outflow, we could satisfy these five great works. If we had, and if the first sod were turned by some noble lord after lunch at the Kildare Street Club, then the Shannon scheme would be five times better than this one, particularly if it was dependent on a vote in the British Parliament. As regards the educative side of electricity, I am, perhaps, begging to some extent the question that electricity will be put in in spite of the reasons urged against it. It is said that wherever there is a bulb there is a book. Hitherto, the classes in this country who could not afford education, were backward on account of the short daylight. The houses themselves have been narrow and dirty because they could not bear the light of the bulb. I think in this regard we can hardly estimate the immense advantage and future promise there are in improving the national intelligence by giving everybody longer hours for study, or, even, for amusement, or social intercourse of any sort in the houses that at present are dirty because they are dark.

We have had very little support from the newspapers of this country while this fight was being made for the Shannon Scheme. Everybody has heard of the two classes who can use the personal pronoun in its plural form "we." That has been restricted to editors and men with tapeworms. Irish editors have gone a little further, and instead of saying "we," the will of the people is the opinion of the leader-writers of the two newspapers in the Free State. The newspapers go topically down to different places in the country, and it seems to be the editors' opinion that it is to the interest of the people to have a panicky effect created and to suggest that the whole country is behind the editor, whereas, in fact, it is only one man who has an opinion and no will. In spite of the fact that the will of the people was dictated to the people by the two editors of the two newspapers in the Free State, the intelligence of the people has survived, and there is a mighty volume of instinct behind the Shannon scheme which is quite prepared to risk the loss which the Post Office sustains in the interchange of letters, because, no matter how much the Post Office loses, business would lose much more if the Post Office were cut off. We might lose a million a year in the Shannon scheme and yet the country will gain inestimably by the mere fact that the current and the power are there. These are things which cannot be brought down to kilometres or kilowatts.

If you make a survey of Europe you will find that there is no country there which has not electrical power, and what is good for Europe should be good for us. As regards the educational effect, I have to speak with much accuracy, because a phrase will undo me, but I think Senator Sir John Keane said that where education was on a high plane electricity was possible, whereas the high standard of his education has no hope at all for electricity in Ireland. I do not think that that is a very heavy argument against the institution of this very great scheme. We were told that the dams were to be composed only of gravel, sand, and rock. Well, a river can go along on those very well without leaking, and why gravel, sand, and rock should be useless here is a contention I cannot accept, except perhaps for the fact that this scheme was not organised with a flourish and under appropriate patronage. Holland has been getting on very well with sand and gravel and rock, and the scheme there is being extended to the Zuider Zee, where there is to be a dam. I think we have sufficient men who can put their fingers into the weak places to prevent leakages.

There is one other suggestion which I would make without keeping the House any longer, because it is not necessary to urge an already convinced assembly. This is what I would like to dwell upon. I give anyone who opposes this scheme credit for public honesty and public spirit, and I make a present to them of being intensely sincere men, whose integrity and honesty are unquestionable. One of these was the man who intended afterwards to make one of the Liffey schemes a present to the nation. Therefore, when I said that criticism against the Shannon scheme was criticism altogether interested, I must withdraw that in his case. What I meant to say was that it was professional criticism directed by Irish engineers, who had been more or less sleeping partners in the great profession of engineering all over the world.

I do not like to give a silent vote on this measure. This is the most important question that has come before us. It is quite the most important matter from the national standpoint that the legislature of this country has had to deal with since its inception. I think it is only right that everybody should say where he is and give reasons for the faith that is in him. I am, and have been, in favour of this scheme on general grounds. I do not propose to go into detail, as the Senate must have had quite enough of detail, and the public also must have had enough of detail in all conscience. I am in favour of this proposal on broad national principles. This is the first real attempt that has been made, or that we ever had a chance of making, to develop the resources of our country in our time. Some of us can look back over many years of Irish controversy and of Irish endeavour, and we can remember how everybody constantly talked about developing the resources of the country. One of the main items in the litany of development that we intended to promote was always the question of the harnessing of the Shannon and other Irish rivers.

We have talked about this for generations, and this is the first moment that any attempt has been made to do anything. I think the Government deserve every credit for the courage and faith that possessed them to take the first chance they have, once the country has settled down to normal conditions, to go ahead with this great and important scheme. I congratulate them upon it. My sympathy and admiration are always for people who do things, and not for people who talk about them. I think the Government deserves great credit for tackling this question, and I wish them every success.

I would like to make some remarks about what Senator Sir John Keane has said, but I do not propose to do so beyond this, that we must all give him credit for the industry which he has devoted to the investigation of this scheme and for the extremely able and lucid way in which he has put his information before us. I do not quite agree with him in his prophecies. I think his figures and his calculations are beyond impeachment, but I disagree with him in his prophecies. I can only hope that as time goes on, he will find a happier awakening than the one he anticipates. This question is in the nature of a great experiment. Some critics have objected to it because it is an experiment. Well, we are, to all intents and purposes, a new country, and may I ask the Seanad what would they think would have become of other countries if they did not experiment? Where would America have been if she had not experimented? Where would South Africa have been? Where would Canada have been? And where would even England herself have been if she had not experimented? I say we should experiment. We are right in experimenting. It may be that the Irish experiments may not be an entire success, or that it may not be an immediate success. But there is no doubt at all about it that our experiment will eventually succeed. It cannot but succeed in the end.

The Government have been criticised because they did not give sufficient investigation and sufficient study to this scheme. I have read considerably of the literature on both sides. I have not read it all. Nobody, except, perhaps, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, would possibly have the energy and the vitality to read it all. I have read a good deal of the literature on both sides. My honest conviction is that the Government have fairly and fully made their case. I cannot imagine what more they could do than to get the best expert advice they could. They certainly have done that. I do not know what more they could do. We do not pretend to be engineers. Very few of us have any claim to being scientific. We did not go into these details of decimals and kilowatts and kilometres. But seeing that the Government have consulted, as they undoubtedly have, the best engineering experts available, seeing that they have probed this matter to its depths, and seeing the amount of industry and investigation they have devoted to it, I say they have gone as far as they reasonably could be expected to have gone. They have gone as far as possible to ensure the success of their scheme. I have on these grounds no complaint to make of their proceedings generally in the matter in the way in which they have conducted the scheme.

Then we are told that the country cannot afford it. We are told that this country may find itself at a loss of five millions sterling if the scheme does not succeed. I am one of those who believe even if it did not succeed that it will not break the country. I do not attach an enormous amount of importance even to the relatively large sum of five millions sterling. I hold to-day, as I have always held, that five millions sterling is a flea-bite to this country. This country is, in my considered opinion, for its size, one of the richest countries in the world. To tell me that we are not to experiment with five millions for the purpose of regenerating the face of the island is to me and to persons of my views no argument at all. We are told that there will be difficulties about finance. I do not believe a word of it. Probably the Government have taken precautions, and they have made quite sure that the scheme will be financed.

After all, did we not a year ago, under very difficult conditions and in the very gloomiest circumstances, make our Finance Minister a present of ten millions sterling? And we will do it again, and we can give him more than that if he wants it, and, in my opinion, there will be no trouble about it. Now, I say that supposing the scheme fails, it will not affect the country very much, but I do not believe it will fail. I am perfectly satisfied that this scheme is going to be a success. I do not say that it is going to be an immediate success. After all, we cannot dam all these lakes, and start the works and make them pay from the outset. You cannot do that. Nobody expects that you can. The scheme is going to pay in the end. Of course it is. They tell me nobody will use our power when we produce it. You will have consumers for the power as soon as you produce it. You cannot use power until you have it. Once you have power you will find plenty of people to use it —when it comes it will be used.

We talk about the development of the country. Why, take one item, say, transport. Suppose you get sufficient electric power in this country, can you not electrify your railways? Of course you can. Switzerland is doing it. Italy is doing it, with nothing like the advantages we have, and even England is talking about doing it. You may not be able to electrify your railways at the outset, but, eventually, you are going to electrify them to a considerable extent, and in that way help to solve your transport problem. I was particularly struck with what was said by our Labour colleagues here, and also by Senator Gogarty on this electric scheme. This scheme is going to do an immensity of good for the moral upliftment of the nation. You are going to bring light into the homes of the people. You are going to improve the sanitation of the country. You are going to improve the housing of the country. Most important of all, you are going to make it worth while for the rising generation of Ireland to live in their own homes. Now we hear a great deal about proposals to cheer up the lot of the dwellers in our countrysides. What is there at the moment for young people to do? What amusements are there for the rising generation of the country? None whatever. When you have your electricity about the country you will have your wireless arrangement, you will have music, you will occasionally have oratory, perhaps the Seanad will be tacked on. You will at all events have music, oratory, and pictures. You will have many things in which the young people take an interest. We know perfectly well, those of us who live in the country, that one of the main reasons for emigration from the country places is that young people have no proper way of enjoying themselves. That will be changed when this Bill is passed, and when the Shannon is developed.

When you have had experience of the working of electricity you will realise what this measure means. We hear about the hard work of the Irish housekeepers. If the women who run our homes could realise all the things that electricity is going to do for them, they would appreciate what this scheme means for the country. They will then find out the labour it will save them. By its means they can wash, they can cook, they can iron, and they can do ever so many things that at present are done at the expense of a very considerable amount of hard labour. All these things will be changed if this Bill is a success, and there are many other things it will do. It will bring light to the home. It will make the lot of the young people happier. It must inevitably be the means of starting many local industries. It will support and encourage and promote all sorts of local industries, and it will give constantly increasing permanent employment in the country. There is no doubt about that. It will help the farmer. It will help the farmer in the country who will be served by this scheme, and the farmer who will be helped by this scheme should be the most enthusiastic about it. The farmer will get power for threshing and churning and ever so many things for which he has not power at the present moment. I thoroughly support this measure. It is a good measure. I congratulate the Government on their courage, and I can assure them that, as they go ahead, they will be watched with sympathy and be cheered and encouraged by every section of the community that has really the future and success of the country at heart.

I have just an explanation to make. I find I made a mistake about my reference to Senator Sir John Keane's statement. His reference was ten to three and a half, not seven.

I have refrained from taking part in any discussion on this Bill up to the present, because the matter was highly technical, and some of us here felt something like "Alice in Wonderland." I do not know anything about chemical electrical loads, nor do I know the distance from O'Brien's Bridge to Killaloe, nor the difference between a mile and a kilometre. For that reason, I do not feel qualified to pontificate on the Shannon scheme. But like the other Senators who have spoken, I do not like to give a silent vote, and I wish to give the Seanad my views as a plain man. I do that especially as it has been asserted that the entire business interests of this country are against this measure. I saw in an evening paper a few weeks ago that this measure was being rushed through against the entire wish of the people. Now, I have gone about the country a good deal, and I have not found that the people are against this scheme. In no part of the country have I found the people against it. On the contrary, in spite of very clever and very unscrupulous propaganda against it, I find the ordinary business men of the country in favour of the scheme.

The working people were enthusiastically in favour of it, and as I sometimes have sharp differences of opinion with our friends on the Labour Benches, I take this opportunity of saying how I have admired the wholehearted support which they have given to this Bill from the start, and how they have refused to be taken in by the specious arguments, put up to excite their class stupidity. There was an argument that the money spent on this scheme could be better employed in providing houses for working people. I think it is highly creditable to the Labour Party that they did not fall for that. I congratulate them for all this.

While I congratulate the Labour Party on their attitude I am sorry I cannot include, in my congratulations, the representatives of what is called the premier industry of this country— the industry of agriculture, that eventually stands to gain most from this scheme. No doubt, in the Dáil their opposition only took the form of a plea for delay—a plea that the scheme should be re-examined before a Committee as in the case of Private Bills. It is only fair to remember that towards the end of the discussion in the Dáil the attitude of the Farmers' Party was somewhat modified, and they seemed to be converted to the idea of the immediate necessity for this Bill. Apparently, their conversion does not seem to have extended to some of their spokesmen in the Seanad, as Senator Sir John Keane remains an unrepentant diehard as far as this scheme is concerned. I have been surprised at Sir John Keane's attitude, because I have always understood him to be an advocate of up-to-date and advanced methods being applied to agriculture.

Yes, but by private enterprise, not by means of nationalisation.

If you wait for private enterprise to carry out the scheme you will wait a long time. I am also surprised because he usually looks across the Channel for his ideas and ideals of how things are to be done. If he looks across the Channel to-day he will find that the farmers in England are alive to the importance of electricity in connection with farming to an extent that even excites the admiration of the Irish Times. He will find that the National Union of Farmers in England is at present busily engaged agitating and clamouring for the British Government to do for them what the Free State Government proposes to do for Irish farmers under this Bill, that is, to devise a scheme whereby electricity may be made available for agriculture. Senator Sir John Keane quoted Mr. Asquith. I propose to quote another statesman, quite as brilliant as Mr. Asquith, the statesman who is said to have won the war—Mr. Lloyd George. I will read an extract from a speech of Mr. Lloyd George in the House of Commons:

"Let them take the case of agriculture. From the point of view of the rural districts the laying of cables was vital. We were the only country where there was no systematic effort being made to bring electricity into the area of agriculture. The progress in France had been very remarkable indeed. Twenty-one millions of the population who, before the war, had not the use of electricity, had it brought within their reach by means of the efforts made, very largely by the French Government, to get interchange by cables and otherwise, and also to use such natural power as the French possessed for producing electricity. In Denmark, three-fifths of the farms had electricity brought to their doors, and they were using it not merely for lighting but for the purposes of farming. It diminished the cost and increased the produce. ‘What is the Right Hon. gentleman doing?' asked Mr. Lloyd George, our trade is bad, nobody can deny that. It has been bad for five years. Every country in the world is engaged busily in developing its electrical energy and making the best use of its coal. Agriculture is hard pressed, and all the Right Hon. gentleman can say is that he has the Committee and they have just reported."

If the Senator and the representative of the farmers had their way in this country we would still have our Committee and they would still be reporting and making further inquiries. I consider the speech of Mr. Lloyd George a most eloquent argument in favour of the Shannon Scheme, and I suggest the Senator should study it considering the fact that his speech on the Second Reading of this Bill principally consists of arguments not only against the Shannon scheme but against all schemes of electrical development, and certainly against all electrical development on large scale production.

Only when I am talking of national production financed by the State.

For instance, on the Second Reading Stage, referring to Switzerland, the Senator said that if they could get coal they would use it instead of electricity, and again he said that for distances over 100 miles it is cheaper to transport coal and generate on the spot than to transport current. I would ask the Senator to look across the Channel again.

What is the page of the report?

I have not the page, I only took a note of the excerpt.

The context is important in these things.

I am giving you the context.

It is on page 287.

For 100 miles it is cheaper to transport coal and generate on the spot than to transport current. I will refer the Senator to England. It is the greatest coal country in the world, and he will find himself in conflict with the best brains in the technical and industrial world of that country.

When I examine this I do not find the quotation. I said, "If there was independent examination I could bring evidence to show that if they could get coal they would use it instead of electricity." That is with reference to cooking. That is if there were an independent examination I could give evidence. I did not claim that the evidence was proven.

Will the Senator quote the evidence referring to cooking in column 287?

In Switzerland it was found that electricity was very wasteful. I give that as an opinion.

The Senator went on to say that "In Switzerland the plant is very small and self-contained. It is close to the market, and they educated their market as they went along." Has that reference to cooking?

It has reference to electricity.

Further, "Breakdowns in Switzerland of the electric overhead wire system, and also in the South of France, are not uncommon occurrences. I would suggest further that in Sweden the cost of coal is prohibitive." Has that reference to cooking?

That has reference to the supply of electricity.

I understand the Senator's argument to be that a huge scheme like the Shannon Scheme is not the best way to produce electricity, and also that coal would be used if it could be got cheap enough instead of electricity. I refer him to England, which is the best coal country in the world. There the idea is gaining strength that the age of coal is giving way to electricity, and all over England to-day there is a movement for converting the resources of the country into electrical energy. I have come across a pamphlet, entitled "Coal and Power," in which this is urged. The setting up of generating plants on the coal fields is advocated. It is pointed out that the development of electricity lay more and more in the direction of providing few super-power stations and the elimination of small and scattered stations. We can judge of the importance of this movement and the public backing it is receiving in England, when we find King George brought to open the first section of the great Barking Power Station — a scheme costing 12 millions, which the Co. London Electric Supply Co. are building to supply by means of a modern plant, more abundant power and light to the home counties, and which, when completed, will be of 750,000 horse-power.

Would the Senator say if this company is financed by private enterprise or by the State?

No doubt it is financed by private enterprise. My argument is that it is not the only way nor is it the best and most economical way. May I quote the King, with whose statement I am sure Senator Sir John Keane will agree? In his speech at the opening the King alluded to the local distress which had been ameliorated by the employment thus created and he looked forward to the improvement of conditions in factories by the use of electricity and to the increasing part it is destined to play in transport, in rural life and in the home. He hoped that such electrical development, its cost diminishing as it increased, would spread throughout the country.

Hear, hear.

The Senator says "hear, hear." If he were in England, I have no doubt he would be found as a man of progress and a loyal citizen backing up the King in his encouragement of electrical development, but here in this country, where we have no coal, where unemployment is rife, where our young men are fleeing from the country in search of work, where our Government is spending hundreds of thousands on unemployment relief, and grants to prevent starvation, when they come forward with a scheme which will employ 3,000 men for three years, and which will for years to come give employment to a corps of trained and untrained workers——

The Senator chooses to call them officials, but whatever they are they will get work. The scheme is denounced as profligate by the Senator, who has attacked it with the strength of a Goliath, although I venture to say he has met a David in the person of the Minister. I will not go into all the various other items of the indictment the Senator has urged against the Shannon scheme. To him the scheme has not a redeeming feature. As Senator Gogarty said about the steam-engine, if Stephenson had as exacting a critic as the Shannon scheme has in Senator Sir John Keane, there would never have been a steam-engine. For the one "coo" Stephenson's farmer had on the road, the Senator has put about fifty. It is very curious to find that almost all opposition to this Bill is coming from the quarters that have always held that politics have been the bane of this country.

We used to be lectured in the past on the evils of politics, and told that there was no hope for the country until we abandoned politics and took to work. Yet they now object to this Bill which will effectively take the country's mind off politics, which will make the country think electrically instead of politically. There is no doubt that the country, both North and South, is thinking electrically to-day. As a proof of that, with your permission, A Chathoirligh, I will read this short extract written by a Belfast Unionist correspondent to a technical journal:—

"It is stated, on the authority of the Town Clerk of Belfast, that ‘proposals are on foot with a view to reviving the Bann Electricity Supply Scheme.' The usual supply of cold water from the same old taps is sure to be forthcoming for this scheme, but it is to be hoped that on this occasion, profound experience in engineering affairs will carry more weight than a prolonged acquaintance with turnips. Already the Weir-Forres-and-Lever Report to the Ministry of Transport, to the effect that coal is cheaper than water for the generation of electricity, is being sprayed on the project in the Press. But when the South sets the Shannon on fire, it will not be long until the Bann is ablaze. It will be a case of ‘Noblesse Oblige.'"

There you have the North prepared to follow the lead of the South.

Would the Senator say whether the Government is contemplating this as a State scheme or as a scheme by private enterprise?

The Government has been asked to contemplate it as a State scheme. Of course the cold water in the case of the Shannon is being largely mixed with tears of sympathy for the hardpressed taxpayer. The "Irish Times" has wept so copiously for the hardpressed taxpayer and over the economic disasters which will overtake this country if the Shannon scheme is persisted in, that it has not now a tear left for Senator Yeats and the victims of our cruel divorce laws. It is lecturing the Government and the Minister and telling them that they are embarking on a gamble. They are lectured for their recklessness and their impetuosity. What is the gamble? The gamble consists in banking that the average annual consumption of electrical energy of 16 units per head of population, as now supplied from 91 power stations—certainly not up to date—will be increased in five years' time to 36 units per head when the 91 areas, and twice as many more, are supplied from one modern power station, which will be the last word in hydro-electrical development at a price of at least half what it costs to-day. If that is a gamble, it is a very good gamble, in fact it is what is known in sporting parlance as a "good thing." It is an odds-on chance. For putting their money in this they are called reckless. Their recklessness consists in proposing to invest in this scheme, over a period of three years, a sum not much in excess of what is paid by the country in one year for its coal bill, and the interest on which is little more than half of what is paid out yearly for doles and relief grants. Their impetuosity consists in making an effort to reduce the handicap of this country in giving it a chance to get on a level with the other countries of the world that have been quicker and cleverer to realise the importance of electricity.

One would think that such a scheme on the part of the Government would be welcomed most of all in our high commercial and financial circles by our great captains of industry, and our men of progress, who should be the first to encourage and stimulate the Government in a scheme which would put the country in a line with other countries of the world. However, instead of stimulating and encouraging this scheme to put the country on its feet, they are doing all in their power to thwart and belittle it, and the very men who would be the first to applaud and commend electrical development in other countries, condemn and deride it here. There are many people who believe that the hostility is not due to a patriotic fear that the scheme will result in a financial failure, but that it is due to what has been expressed by the Minister on Second Reading—to the secret fear that is lingering in the recesses of the minds of some people, that the Free State will succeed too well, and that we will become too independent of our neighbours across the water.

That, and the bogey that the work is being done by Germans, are the cardinal objections to this scheme in the eyes of most of its critics. I have no preference for the Germans. I quite realise the importance of cultivating and maintaining good trade relations with the people across the Channel, and I agree with Senator Sir John Keane that, all things being equal, a British firm as belonging to our best customer, should have the preference, but all things are not equal. The people who object to the Germans getting this work to do should remember the fact that, for years, the Shannon lay there to be electrified by either British or Irish engineers, but not one of them could do it. Then, when the Germans come along and produce their scheme, a scheme which is approved of by four of the greatest international experts in the world—by men whose findings we must believe, unless we regard them as either incompetent or corrupt—and when the Government approve of it, the cry is raised that the Germans are getting the work, and that the contract should be let out to the very people who, for years, have been saying that the electrification of the Shannon was impossible and impracticable. I say that the Government were quite right in giving the contract as they did. No man can make a hat like a hatter, and there is no one who could carry out this highly technical scheme like the men whose brains conceived it.

In this regard may I say a word with reference to my brilliant namesake, Dr. McLaughlin, whose name has been associated with this scheme. I saw where it was stated that it was only when he found it impossible to get the contract for the Liffey scheme that he suggested the Shannon scheme. Now, in the year 1922, Senator de Loughry, who was interested in getting an electric installation for Kilkenny and who thought the river Nore could be made of some use for the purpose, approached me on the matter. I communicated with Dr. McLaughlin, who was then in Berlin. I sent him the papers in connection with the proposed Kilkenny scheme, and asked his opinion on the matter. He replied telling me that he could not give an opinion until he came home and saw the river. In the meantime, he suggested that nothing should be done, and stated that at the time he was engaged scrapping small local plants in Germany and linking up the country from super power stations. His idea was that he thought the same could be done in Ireland, and that the whole country could be supplied from one central station. He came home and confirmed this view. In suggesting the Shannon scheme he was actuated, not by any desire to make money either for himself or his firm, but with the one desire to do the best he could for his country, and to do for Ireland what he saw was being done for Germany.

I think this country can thank its stars that Dr. McLaughlin succeeded, first, in getting this great German firm interested in this scheme, and then in getting the Government to take it up. We can also congratulate ourselves, I think, that in our Minister for Industry and Commerce we had a man of courage and vision who would not wait, and who was not deterred by the dismal prophecies of failure nor by the cheerful pessimists who told him that the people, when the electricity was produced, would not use it. The people of Ireland may be backward and perhaps unprogressive, but they are not so utterly stupid as to persist in using candles and oil lamps when they can get electric light at a reasonable cost, nor will they continue to pay £3 per ton for coal when they can get electric heating fairly cheap. When the uses of electricity are explained, and when, as Senator Dr. Gogarty suggested, electricity is taught in the schools to the children—even those who object to Irish being taught in the schools surely cannot object to electricity being taught in them—then I think that the demand will exceed the estimates given in connection with this scheme. As Deputy Sir Thomas Esmonde stated, the possibilities as to the uses to which electricity can be applied are infinite. He mentioned several uses to which it could be applied. May I mention another?

In Continental cities, I understand, especially in the winter time, where they have an up-to-date electric installation, they use it to heat the iron plates on which the policemen on beat duty can stand and warm their feet during the night. In this country, of course, cold feet are not unknown either; but, seriously, I think that in spite of all the dire forebodings this scheme will turn out to be a great national success. I congratulate the Minister on the firmness with which he has stood up to his critics, and on the ability he displayed in putting the scheme through. When he realised the immense possibilities for this country which the scheme opens up, I can well understand him claiming for it the enthusiasm which, as he said, we are supposed to give to great projects. When we consider the barrage of criticism that he has gone through, I can understand him saying, with Garrick, "Damn criticism, I want praise"; only, I am sure, the modesty of his native Ulster would forbid him saying that. I think he is justly entitled to all the praise we can give him, praise that will not be fleeting, but that will be permanent and that will last as long as the waters of the Shannon flow through the turbines producing that great white coal which will open a new chapter in the industrial history of this country, and make us more independent than if we had ten Republics.

At this stage I do not intend to say very much. Senator McLoughlin alleged that agriculturists in this Assembly had not supported this scheme. I desire to say that I gave the scheme my heartiest approval, and I am an agriculturist and will, I hope, remain one to the end. Senator MacLysaght, as well as some other Senators who are agriculturists also, gave the scheme their very hearty support. Nothing that we have done and nothing that the Government has done so far could, in my opinion, be more calculated to advance the economic welfare of this country than this particular scheme. Senator Sir John Keane, no doubt, criticised it with great elaboration, and continued up to the end his fight against it. He fought his rearguard action to-day. I feel sure the Minister will hardly consider it necessary to rebut that as the House has been satisfied almost ad nauseam that the whole details of the Bill have been thoroughly considered. To-day Senator Sir John Keane concerned himself solely with the question of nationalisation. He fears nationalisation, and, apparently, has more or less abandoned the economic argument which he put forward on previous occasions.

I do not think that is justified.

I think the manner in which Senators have been interrupted during the course of the debate to-day has not been wholesome. If Senator Sir John Keane has any further criticism to offer, he can do so when I am finished, but I think that his method of standing up and criticising everything that is said is not very wholesome.

Am I not allowed to make a personal explanation?

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

I think, Senator, you are really too sensitive about these statements made by other Senators in putting forward their views. That is a matter for the House to consider. Of course, if Senators were actually misrepresenting you, it would be a different matter. The House quite appreciates your position on the question of nationalisation, and there is no need for this reiteration to emphasise that. It is very awkward if every speaker is to be interrupted. The House quite realises not only your sincerity, but also your arguments in opposition to this scheme, but there is no necessity for you to reiterate them.

To-day Senator Sir John Keane almost entirely confined himself to the argument against nationalisation. On previous occasions his arguments were directed to the economic aspects of the scheme which, I think, the Minister absolutely overcame. The Minister, I think, convinced almost every member of the House that the scheme was a sound, economic one, that the consumption of electricity required would be not only reached, but in fact would be exceeded. Speaking as a farmer myself, I believe that the farmers will make use of the electricity and will help to make the scheme a success. It will give a vast amount of employment, and will help towards the establishment and development of industries in all parts of the country. If we remember the number of people we have exported to America to make the wealth of America, I think on that point alone the scheme is well worthy of consideration.

We have exported to America two or three million souls through emigration, at perhaps a value of £200 a soul, so that we have exported three hundred millions of money to America. If we could keep these people at home and establish industries in which our young men and women would be engaged through such a scheme as this, then the scheme, whether it fails financially or not, will not fail economically, because it will have built up industries in the country and provided employment for our people, and roused a spirit of enterprise here amongst us which was almost dead. I have nothing further to say except, perhaps, to again remind Senator McLoughlin that the farmers are not as retrograde on this matter as he imagines. There are farmers who try and think out these problems for themselves, and who try to educate their fellow-farmers to enter into the spirit of the advancement of the country. From my own knowledge of farmers, and I am myself a farmer, I say this scheme appeals to most farmers in Ireland, and I believe that, as they come to understand it better, they will be just as much interested and will welcome it as heartily as Senator McLoughlin.

I expressed my views on this matter at an earlier stage of the debate. The parting salvo fired by Senator Sir John Keane was, let German capital come. If German capital came in, and it was solely German capital, what would Senator Sir John Keane say? Would he say there is a country being sold, bound hand and foot, to Germany? I hope German capital will not come in. I hope the scheme will be financed largely from this country, and I believe that those who help to finance will have done good work for themselves, and will help the work which the Ministry and the Executive are putting into operation in this country. I think the Bill should be passed without further debate. I regret that the time of the Minister has been occupied by our raimeis, as Senator MacLysaght called it, but, after all, we had faith in the scheme, as the Government had faith in it.

I have not spoken at all at any Stage of Bill, and I only want to say a few words now. I do not want to make long quotations from Mr. Lloyd George. I thought he was so exploded in this country long ago that nobody believed in him, and I did not think that anybody would quote him again. However, I wish to say that although there are a great many difficulties in the way of this Bill, obstacles that are very serious which I think Senator Sir John Keane has very completely put forward and mentioned, and many of which I think we must admit, still we hope they will not turn out so. I hope the Minister will be able to accomplish the scheme as cheaply as he says. I doubt it. I doubt if he will sell his electricity as readily as he thinks. Nevertheless, although that is so, and although I do not expect he will be quite so successful as stated, I support this scheme, because I think even if it does not come to a head as quickly or as well as the Minister thinks it will, it will change the whole face of this country and revolutionise it, and put the people in the way of doing things that they were never able to do before. It will establish industries all over the country. It may not be much use for lighting, and I do not think it will, but I think it will be exceedingly useful for industries. What I would like myself is that the West, hitherto the Cinderella of Ireland, should be industrialised, and that it should become as important a part of Ireland as the East, and other portions of the country, and, therefore, for these reasons, and on the grounds of what this scheme will do for the country, I support this Bill.

Many of the Senators who have already spoken on this Bill have given Senator Sir John Keane credit for the sincerity and honesty in his very strenuous opposition to the Bill from its very inception. This evening the Senator, to my mind, has taken the most serious line he could possibly have taken towards the Bill. In the earlier stages he attacked it on the ground that all the estimates, figures and opinions of the experts were misleading. He gave quotations to show they were inaccurate, and so on. This evening his sole opposition to the Bill is on the grounds that it is a national project, and he led me at any rate to believe and to understand that if this scheme were now financed by a private enterprise, it would have his co-operation and support.

Hear, hear.

Now, that is most inconsistent on the part of Senator Sir John Keane. He opposed the Bill up to now on the ground that it would not do half the things it was alleged to do, and on various other technical grounds. He is now taking a line that the Bill, notwithstanding all the infirmities that it possessed up to now, would have his support if it was financed by private enterprise as against the national scheme that it is. In that connection I would like to appeal to Senator Sir John Keane as he may represent—I do not know whether he does or not—financial influences in this country or outside of it.

Well, the Senator might be able to influence those who control finance in this country and I would like to appeal to him now seeing that he has admitted that the scheme is sufficiently good to have his co-operation if it was a private concern—I appeal to him now to do the big thing, the big and generous thing to this country, and in that way to follow the very worthy example of another Senator in this House who spent a great deal of his own money and was very much misrepresented on a scheme that he was promoting. When he was convinced that this scheme before the Seanad was better for the nation than the one that he was fostering, he sacrificed his own money, his own opinion, and his own effort. I would like to appeal to Senator Sir John Keane to give this scheme his blessing now and to withdraw his opposition seeing that he is satisfied, even though it is promoted by German engineers, and to encourage it as a national asset. If it is good enough for private enterprise it ought to be good enough for the progress of the nation.

As a layman I am not fit to criticise the constructional or engineering work of this scheme, but I am perfectly satisfied that the eminent firm of engineers who have that work in hand will execute it in a most satisfactory way. I believe that even for the sake of five millions or fifty millions they would not tarnish their great reputation in executing this work badly. There is no doubt about that. I am satisfied it will be finished in a first-class manner. Any trouble that may come afterwards is not likely to come out of the construction of this thing. Of course, looking at the country as it stands to-day, we find that nearly all our small industries are in a bad economic position. A good many of them are running without profit. Some are closed up waiting for better times, some of them have gone into liquidation. We cannot afford to stand by and do nothing. No matter whether it is a Shannon scheme or some other scheme something must be done for employment and for production. Something must be done to galvanise life into the country which industrially at the present moment is absolutely stagnant. I happen to be a manufacturer. I do not think I can make anything out of it. I may keep going as long as I can but I do not see any prospect clearly before me. However, I see some hope in this Shannon scheme. I think probably it may set an example which may be provided by the methods of this great firm and such example might do a lot of good and might be very valuable indeed to our people.

I do not believe that natural forces deprived Ireland of coal without giving something as a substitute. The late Lord Northcliffe, at a meeting of the Irish Club in London about ten years ago, said that Ireland had a substitute for coal, but whether it was peat or water was not quite clear. Probably it is partly both. A sum of £5,000,000 is a serious consideration, but as one Senator said, £5,000,000 will not bankrupt this country. I think we can afford, with some sort of safety, to risk this £5,000,000 to test this substitute for coal. The test should be decided as quickly as possible. I have made up my mind, and I am convinced largely by a paper I read by Dr. McLaughlin in which he gives an extraordinary number of examples that are most helpful to people like myself, who know nothing about the technical side of the matter. In his paper Dr. McLaughlin states that ten years' partial development of the Shannon scheme will produce 288,000,000 units in a year of average rainfall. On that basis it is equivalent to the energy of 860,000 tons of coal, with a money value of £1,290,000. These are big figures, but even if we divide them by 50 per cent. the Shannon scheme would soon be a profitable investment for this country, if it saved £430,000 in the price of coal. I have great pleasure in saying that I intend to vote for this scheme.

I do not intend to intervene for any length between the Minister and Senator Sir John Keane, but as this is probably the last opportunity we will have of saying whether we approve or disapprove of the scheme, I do not think I ought to give a silent vote. Having been connected with the industrial development of the country for almost a quarter of a century, I am at any rate aware of the fact, that what we want is a cheap source of energy and the industrial spirit. A cheap source of energy is being afforded by the Shannon scheme. I know that the Government, within the last twelve months, or some members of it, were opposed to protection in any form. This scheme has been objected to because it is a form of nationalisation. I say that is the best form nationalisation could take. The Government, by it, will have the means of providing protection in its most useful form by distributing power at a low cost, even if it does eventually come out of the tax-payer's pocket; that is to say, if they distribute current cheaper than it costs.

We have been blamed in Ireland that we are not industrially inclined. In fact some people go so far as to repeat Pharaoh's rebuke: "You are idle." You have to look back on the history of this country from the industrial point of view. Go back a few centuries and you will find that Ireland teemed with industries. What was it that did away with them? I will not speak of the Penal Laws but will come to modern times. How is it we lost our great industries of the eighteenth century? By the introduction of the power loom, of which England first got hold, she was able to rush machine made goods into our markets while we were working with the old hand loom. It was a foregone conclusion that we would be put out of the market and we were. We could not adopt protection then. We were then enjoying union with Great Britain. We are in a different position now and I say that in addition to providing a cheap source of energy you must also adopt some form of protection in order to get industries on their feet. I have heard many poets speaking of the hideous appearance that Ireland would have with tall chimneys. They would sooner have cows grazing in the fields. Thank God this scheme does not involve tall chimneys and, therefore, I say it has their blessing as it has mine.

I desire to cordially support the sentiments given expression to in support of the scheme. I also take it that the criticisms of Senator Sir John Keane have been of considerable service to the country. In listening to the debate I could not help remembering Thackeray's reference to Limerick and I thought it was no wonder that people in the neighbourhood of Limerick should be in favour of this scheme. If any part of Ireland is to benefit by this wonderful scheme it is the City of the Violated Treaty, Limerick. We in other parts of Ireland are not jealous of our friends in Limerick, because if Limerick prospers, that prosperity will spread itself throughout the length and breadth of the Saorstát. If cheap power is to be obtained, as I firmly believe it will be, from this wonderful scheme I anticipate that it will be largely availed of, not only by industrialists but by farmers. I would suggest to the Minister that, as the Government has shown such wonderful courage in the conception of this scheme, they ought also be bold enough to take another step in the near future, a step that I venture to suggest and believe would bring into this country a number of manufacturers, not only from across the Channel but from across the ocean, and that is the abolition of income tax.

We have heard very eloquent speeches and I cannot think that anyone who wished could fail to grasp all the facts without, of course, going into the technical parts of the scheme. Two Senators dealt with the industries that Ireland had in the last century. Everyone knows how Ireland suffered, but it suffered most from the fact that the people were not quick enough to grasp the application of the machinery to industry, and were consequently left behind. Ireland will be left behind now if the people do not grasp the fact that power formerly derived from coal is now derived from oil and water. Oil we have not, but we have water-power. I think Senator Foran, in the debate, disposed of the argument that Senator Sir John Keane used, and used conscientiously, against the scheme. Senator Sir John Keane relied on the fact that the scheme was not to be run on private enterprise. His only objection was that it was being nationalised. I think we all understand that this is a scheme of an exceptional kind, and if there was any scheme which the Government might be excused for nationalising, it is the one now before the Seanad.

In a short period of office, something over a year, I have been before the Seanad on many occasions, and only on one other appearance did I hear a word spoken in the Seanad that caused me greater annoyance and anguish than some words Senator Sir John Keane used to-day. I refer to his remarks when he said that the people with whom he was associated would have nothing to do with the financing of the scheme. The Senator was specially selected to represent interests here that would not otherwise than on the ordinary basis, get representation in this country, and that is his only return in the way of patriotism. It is a sufficient indication of his communal spirit, that because of arguments put forward here, but that subject to criticism would be shown to be hopeless, he is not satisfied, and that he and his associates would not have anything to do with the finances of the scheme. There was one remark more unpatriotic and more stinging made in this House, and that was by Senator Bagwell, whom Senator Sir John Keane previously alluded to as a possible colleague in opposition to this scheme. He said he would advise his friends not to put a shilling into it. There is no difference in principle, but there is a difference in degree in the lack of patriotism in these two utterances.

I would be entirely saddened by my experiences to-day were it not for Senator Sir Thomas Esmonde, who certainly is more in touch with banks and finance than Senator Sir John Keane, and whose statement here this evening in support of the scheme must be taken as an indication in some way of what this House thinks of the scheme. If all goes to the worst, if that band of associates of the Senator will have nothing to do with the scheme, then we can build ourselves on the foundation on which the whole State was brought into being, the small investor, the small man, the man who supported the National Loan to the greatest extent. I am told in one argument of the Senator that it is a weak thing to say to him that the assumption that his arithmetic is incorrect is a big assumption to make. What is the underlying assumption on which the Senator's opposition is based? It is the assumption that the firm of Siemens-Schuckert, who have an experience second to none in the matter of electrical development, and that experts whom the Government brought across, and whose reputation is unchallenged, must be assumed to be fools not to have known what they were doing when they drew up the scheme. What is the technique of the Senator's criticism? I have re-read his speech on the Second Reading. I came here to answer every statement he made. I do not think it is necessary to do so now. I think I am justified in making this statement. His technique has been this—you have given no plans, no specifications, and, what the Senator would say, no details, though the experts' report is there; we have not sufficient details to satisfy us, and that being so we can make any assumption we please, such as the Senator's assumption about Mallow, and because that is not gone into categorically and denied, that assumption holds good. The underlying assumption in all this is that the experts do not know their business, that the firm of Siemens-Schuckert know nothing about plans for electrical development, that the Dáil that passed this Bill without a division did not know what it passed, and that the majority of the Seanad have no idea of what the scheme is about. When Senator Sir John Keane challenged a division, I think he was supported by one Senator. I heard a faint "níl," and I am not sure that it was meant. There were two people at most in the Seanad opposed to the scheme, and no one voted against it in the Dáil. Experts approved of the scheme, a great firm drew it up, and yet we have a series of arguments here based on the assumption that no one understood what the scheme was about.

I am in a difficulty to-day. I came here to answer every argument Senators put up, but Senator Foran, in his speech, drew from Senator Sir John Keane the statement that with all its sins, and all the defects which he fancies are in it, if the scheme were run as a private enterprise he would welcome it. Therefore, the only argument apparently that Senator Sir John Keane has against the scheme is that it is going to be a nationalised project. I do not know where he gets the assurance that it is going to be so, or else if it is, to show arguments why it should not be so. This scheme about which Senator Sir John Keane spoke 30 columns of criticism pointing out its defects, has all its defects wiped out if only the mantle of private enterprise is cast over it. That is an entirely illogical attitude.

I certainly support the scheme, but not the finance of the scheme. Whether I disapprove of its economics or not, I would support it, not with my own money, but with my moral support. Naturally you would not expect me to invest in an enterprise of which I did not approve. The whole basis of my argument was if private people are prepared to come in and invest their money in a wild-cat scheme, I would not object, but I strongly object to risking Government money and wasting it on a scheme not economically sound.

The Government are risking the money, and Senator Sir John Keane says that he and his associates are not going to subscribe to it.

This is represented as a vote in favour of the scheme. We get the peculiar statement—I simply put it for what it is worth—that this is a profligate scheme, yet the Senator gives his moral support to profligacy, because that is what it comes to.

Yes, if profligacy is the act of private enterprise. Moreover, when the Minister takes this rather personal aspect regarding the statement about our money, I submit that whether it is our money or not, if the Government finances it, it will be our money in the end, as if there is any loss it will have to be made good by the taxpayer.

The Senator says that the basis of his argument was his opposition to nationalisation. I have alluded to thirty columns of criticism, and I have taken care to count what he said about nationalisation, and I find that it runs to two columns. Can anyone suggest, therefore, that the basis of his opposition was in regard to nationalisation? That is the supposed basis. Yet when the Senator sums up what he calls the defects of the scheme, nationalisation is not revealed in his summary. I think, therefore, that we are faced with the simple fact that the Senator has been forced some way in the interim to orientate himself against the scheme, and he seeks to justify himself on this matter of nationalisation, which, as I say, occupies this amount of his total contribution to the debate, and which he did not mention in his summary. I will deal with nationalisation in a brief way, but I want to deal with two other items. On Second Reading the Senator stated that he claimed to have a lot of new matter in connection with this in some detail. In column 274 he states:—"I now come to the question of navigation, and I ask the indulgence of the House to deal with it at some length." Nowhere else have I been able to trace that the Senator definitely gave the title of new matter except to this item of navigation. He goes on to say, "the points that I propose to bring forward may, I think, be claimed to be entirely new matter in these discussions."

I submit the item of seven millions estimated for distribution was a new matter, the reduction for Mallow was a new matter, and the estimate for individual installations was a new matter.

The question of Mallow and the prices had been raised in the Dáil and discussed twice. It was the only item of the series to which he gave the label of new matter. If it is anywhere else in the columns of his speech let him point it out to me. We have the question of navigation claimed as a new matter. The Senator puts his arguments in this way, as the arguments of a man who had gone deeply into the scheme, and who had studied the report of the experts and found certain defects in the scheme or report, and navigation is elevated at least as one of the new points to which he devoted the most searching inquiry. Let me take this question of navigation. A quotation was given from Mr. Challoner Smith in which he said: "In my opinion the reduction of the level by 2 feet all over the Shannon would simply destroy the present navigation." The Senator then proceeds to say of Mr. Challoner Smith: "He then goes on to deal with the remedial measures involved by lowering the lake by 2 feet, and he says, further, ‘any lowering of the existing navigation level by even 6 inches would affect the traffic through the Limerick canal.'" Then follows this passage: "If 2 feet were taken off Loch Derg the works involved would be, lowering the Killaloe guard lock, under-pinning the lock bridge, lowering and deepening one and a-quarter miles of the canal head level, lowering the upper scheme which he would have to develop sills of Moy's lock concrete retaining walls, etc., in the canal above. In the lake itself, and the upper end of the lock, you have to deepen the chamber of Victoria lock, and the same would have to be done with Hamilton lock. Heavy dredging would have to be done at White's Ford. Heavy dredging on pile shoal at head of Loch Derg. Deepening Scariff navigation, under-pinning quays and dock walls. Extend Williamstown pier, etc." Then the Senator breaks in to say, "I have no doubt that many Senators know these places well." The suggestion is, that the Senator knows these places well. The Senator does not.

No. I have been on the lower level of Lough Derg, but I have not examined the whole ground.

I am not speaking of having any personal acquaintances with these places, but that he knows the locality. He knows where Killaloe guard lock is, and where Moy's lock is. Otherwise he is putting forward evidence without having judged it but he does not know the value of it, and he is putting it forward to strengthen his argument. I shall deal with that further in a moment. Now, we come to the question of costs. The whole argument, I submit, is one in regard to costs, and we get a quotation from Sir Philip Hanson of an estimate of £12,000, in which the latter says: "‘I would multiply that by four or five now.' That means to say that he would bring it up to anything between £48,000 and £65,000. For this work the experts, on page 81, on the summary of costs allowed a sum of £13,000." This, I submit, is where the argument reaches its climax. The Senator proceeds:—"I admit that where you are dealing with millions a sum of £30,000 or £40,000 one way or the other is not a very important matter, but I put that forward as showing the need for further examination and of throwing very grave doubts on the thoroughness of the investigation up to the present stage." Let me summarise: The Senator wishes to throw doubt on the whole costs of the scheme —they are wrong in the proportion of £12,000 to £48,000.

That argument is based on this. Certain works were estimated at a certain period to cost £68,000. The only thing I would say in regard to that is that, in column 274, in regard to the Killaloe guard lock and the other works mentioned, because somebody estimated for a series of works a sum of £48,000, and because the experts have only put down £13,000, therefore the Senator says that the investigation must be prejudiced, and we must see that it is not done. Now, let me proceed to prejudice the Senator's thoroughness in regard to this. If there is any one thing known about this scheme more than another, I suppose it is this question that there is going to be a canal excavated. That is the biggest point in the scheme. The second point, magnified owing to the writings of certain Irish engineers who seemed to be afraid of the embankments, is that the stretch of river between Killaloe and O'Brien's Bridge is to be embanked, that there are to be huge embankments, that pretty well the whole stretch of river is to be embanked, and that there is to be a depth of water which is contemplated as escaping and flowing down to Limerick. Though all the details in connection with the embanking of the river between Killaloe and O'Brien's Bridge and the works involved, such as the lowering of the Killaloe guard lock, are given, these, as a matter of fact, disappear under the new scheme. There will be no lock and no under-pinning. Then there is also the lowering of the head level. The navigation will go between embankments which have been characterised as extending from the lake to O'Brien's Bridge. It is in fact made to appear as a new stretch of river embankment.

In other words, apparently, the Senator had no idea of what was to be done on the river with regard to embankments, and he had no idea that all that was to be helpful to the navigation on that stretch between Killaloe and O'Brien's Bridge would be done by banking that stretch and that the said canal would simply disappear and that it would be no longer used for navigation purposes. It would be used only as a drain. I say that the question of embanking the river between Killaloe and O'Brien's Bridge must have been the second biggest item in the mind of the public. It must have struck any conscientious Senator who read the scheme. In spite of that, Senator Sir John Keane says there is no item of money set down for those works I have quoted, such as the Killaloe guard lock and so forth—matters which will be entirely done away with under the scheme. So that these new matters which he brings forward are new matters which could only be brought forward by someone who has no knowledge of the scheme. Let me give two other items: "Heavy dredging on pile shoal at head of Lough Derg. Deepening Scariff navigation, underpinning quays and dock walls. Extend Williamstown pier, etc." I have already quoted from the Canal Commission's report with regard to the works necessary to safeguard the navigation if the level of the lock were lowered. These are estimated at £13,000.

Would the Minister say what he is quoting from, for I do not recollect it?

It is from the report. You quoted it yourself to-day. So that where the Canal Commission had estimated a sum of money, we found that there is a certain sum of money and it is £12,500, as against £13,000, and because these items are not set down under the heading which the Senator thinks they should be set down under, the Senator says the scheme is absurd. There are other items that have been spoken of under the storage head of three millions, and these contain the items with regard to the question of navigation as between Athlone and Killaloe, and as between Killaloe and O'Brien's Bridge. Now, there is no necessity to incur expense in the lowering of the Killaloe guard lock, for that particular canal is not going to be used, and there is no necessity for using it and the necessity for using it is gone. That is one of the foundations of the Senator's arguments in the new matter which he has advanced. Then he went on to say: "I might remark that the Minister said nothing on the matter of navigation." That only shows that the Senator did not read the reports of the Shannon scheme debate in the Dáil.

I read them all.

Does the Senator still deny that I said nothing with regard to navigation?

Not about the Minister's remarks about navigation in the Dáil. My remarks must have been referring to what he said in this House.

I am referring to column 273——

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

In fairness, I do not think Senator Sir John Keane was referring to the Minister's previous statement. I think he was dealing with the Minister's statement that had been made in the Seanad.

It would be completely accurate on that matter, because I had already dealt with navigation, and the only statement I made in the Seanad on Second Reading was that I believed I had cleared away the question of navigation in my speech in the Dáil. I made only a somewhat passing reference to the question of navigation then. Now let me take one other point. Lest the Senator might feel that I did not give full weight to the argument that he put forward on the Second Reading, I asked the Senators here if there was any desire on the part of the Seanad to hear any reply to his objections and I got definitely a decision from the Seanad that they felt that the matter had been dealt with previously. It was not out of any disrespect to the Seanad, but it was definitely for the reason that I have stated, that the Seanad did not feel that it was worth going into these matters again.

I quite accept what the Minister has stated.

I was making that explanation because I would have to behave in the same way now. He has himself stated in answer to Senator O'Farrell that it was hardly necessary to go into these details. But I do want to go into another matter. In column 285 Senator Sir John Keane was dealing with the matter of price, and he got on to another matter. "The consumption," he says, "and here is the joke of the piece but I am putting it at the outside figure—is 1,000 units per kilowatt."

That was corrected subsequently. The word should have been "joker." It is referred to as an analogy to a card that you can use of any value.

I shall ask the Senator to show how it fits in with what I have to say. I think I have the "joker" in my hand at the moment. Then he went on to say that the "consumption is 1,000 units." Two thousand, I presume. He says, "I know Messrs. Siemens have taken two, but it is a matter on which the expert, as far as I can see, speaking with the same disinterested purpose, has never been subject to cross-examination." Further on he says, "I take it to be at 1,000 kw. as the outside figure." The Senator has quite a lot of justificating to do. The Experts' Report in page 61 gives a series of figures from the supplement to the Electrical Times of the 3rd July, 1924. It is on the 3rd and 4th columns, and the 2nd and 3rd columns of the figures show (1) the maximum load kw., and (2) energy sold in thousand k.w.h. or one thousand units. The Senator can make a comparison of these—Aberdeen, 11,200 maximum load, energy sold 22,000,000; Belfast, 17,000, energy 31,000,000, and so on, down the column. There are 13 different cities given. There is only one place in it in which you cannot multiply by 2,000, and that place is Dublin. That is the only place. So that if the Senator is going to justify the outside figure of 1,000, he will have to show that what he states as a fact is contradicted by the actual experience of Belfast, Aberdeen, Birmingham, Bolton, Bristol, Coventry, Derby, Dundee, Halifax, Hull, Leicester and Oldham. That is one of the arguments which the Senator put forward here to justify the postponement of this scheme. The outside figure which he is prepared to justify in matters taken from the Electrical Times definitely contradicts him.

Does the Minister say that the towns I have taken are wrong? I have only mentioned these towns.

The Senator is at the wrong point. I am speaking of column 285, where he says at the opening of the first paragraph, "I take it at 1,000 k.w. as the outside figure."

I am not prepared to justify that figure for such a highly-industrialised population as we have in Leeds and in some of the other towns, but for a country like Ireland I would. I proceeded to compare Islington and Cheltenham with Dublin. I would rather the Minister would deal with the illustration that I gave him.

The Senator is prepared to justify something in Ireland, and he takes examples from England. And he holds that I am wrong when I take page 64 of the Experts' Report and show——

I would not justify the figure of 1,000 for a highly-industrialised city. I took the borough of Islington and I took Dublin. Dublin only sells 1,100 units per k.w. I was surprised at that.

The Senator asked to be shown if he was wrong. I gave him these towns taken at random by the experts, and of thirteen, the only one that justified this figure is Dublin.

And, by the way, the City of Dublin sold 1,100 units and it is even outside his figure. Does anybody think that Dublin is to be taken as an example of what can be done electrically even with Dublin conditions? I say the Senator has now added an item which appears to weaken my argument. He has definitely stated, and he put it to this House, and he has said it was the "joker" of the piece. He has now explained that. I do not know what the new connotation means. Let him turn to page 62 and take similar cities and find out how often the 2,000 proportion runs instead of 1,000. May I just refer to nationalisation and the Senator's summary of the figures.

I should like the Minister to examine the smaller cities. I have not done so.

Aberdare maximum load, kw. 983; energy sold in thousand kwh. 1,820. That is a multiplication by 2,000 or nearly so. Accrington, 5,300 and energy sold, 9,770. Ayr maximum load, kw. 1,810 as opposed to 3,200,000. Barnsley maximum load, 2,200 as opposed to 4,000,000. That is very nearly 2,000 again. Would the Senator point out any town in that not near the 2,000?

I have got Lancaster here. It is only about 1,000. Barnsley is a highly industrialised centre.

Burton, where the maximum load kw. is 4,300 as opposed to 12,000,000 is beyond what the Senator said. That is to say in two pages, three towns support what he has stated and the remaining twenty-three are against him. With regard to the Senator's summary of difficulties, summing up he said the same thing to-day, so I take it he is not convinced of this. "There is no proper consideration of alternatives." I quoted to him excerpts from the experts' report which showed there had been consideration, on pages 115 and 116. He said "there was no proper terms of reference." Before saying that he admitted he did not know what the terms of reference to the experts were. It seemed to me at any rate that when he heard it was the White Paper and the matters connected with the White Paper that he was satisfied. "There is no power to revise Messrs. Siemens' prices, which are illusory." I put an argument to that which I thought was unnecessary to-day. "The estimates are not binding." If words mean anything no estimate could be made more binding with the exception of the ten per cent.

Or the variation of quantities.

That is the 10 per cent.

Do Messrs. Siemens bind themselves to accept the limit of 10 per cent. in quantities?

No contractor would. Senator Sir John Keane could not get anyone to accept a contract for his Waterford factory if there were such reservations about it. Why does he think Messrs. Siemens would do what no contractor would do? He says that the plans and specifications are withheld for insufficient reasons. I do not say anything of that because I thought it was clear to anybody. We regard Messrs. Siemens' scheme as a patent, and their plans and specifications are secret, and ought to be preserved with the same secrecy as patents should be. He states that the examination was insufficient. The two points on which the Senator spoke —the navigation and this other question which I thought was alluded to as the "joker" of the piece—have been definitely examined, and the two tables have been put in. He says that the navigation is prejudiced. That is based on the statement I quoted here, and which I believe I have refuted here to-day. He says that the distribution of marketing and power has been, to a great extent, ignored by Messrs. Siemens-Schuckert and the experts.

Then the Senator has not read the Report.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

You are trying to rise him again. I think we must assume the Senator has read the Report.

This is an important matter. Where do the experts say that?

It is on page 102.

"It would carry us too far to consider the figure of the cost of distribution to the individual consumer." That is the experts' own statement.

"It would take us too far to consider the figure of the cost of distribution to the individual consumer in the towns and in the country." On that the Senator makes a statement that the distribution and the marketing of power has been ignored.

Does the one of those mean the other? Because the experts say, "it would carry us too far to consider the figures of the cost of distribution to the individual consumer." Does that give ground for the assertion that the marketing and distribution have been ignored?

That seems to me to carry it too far. They were bound by the terms of the White Paper to examine the marketing of power and to see how the distribution could be arranged, and they have done so definitely. They have gone into the question of prices to individual consumers, and they make definite statements with regard to that. The prices to the consumer, as admitted in one case, will not stand analysis. The Senator puts up one alternative out of a thousand, whereas by fixing the prices and costs he magnifies the prices. He made this calculation of 20 lamps to an ordinary farmer's house in this country of £200 connection per mile, and £5 for a connection. You get all these things open to challenge and on being definitely challenged the Senator states the prices to the consumer will not stand analysis. They will not stand his analysis, but his analysis will not stand further analysis either. Again, he states that the consumption is very much over-estimated. I believed that this was one of the points on which we would have a good deal of controversy, but as I went along with the Bill in the Dáil and the Seanad I found that there was less necessity to refer to the point of consumption. It is one of the points on which people have become convinced that the experts' estimates for the figures as to the year 1929 are much too conservative. The next point is that the flat rate prices are half its probable cost. I believe what the Senator means is that the cost will be twice the flat rate that is stated was likely to be charged. These are matters that have not been put to the experts. The figures were to a very small extent modified in a very conservative way, and they stand there for examination, and it is not for anybody to say, as the Senator said, with regard to navigation, that somebody told him that barges of a certain weight would not pass between certain points. It is not fair that a scheme of this kind should be held up on a prima facie case of that kind.

He said that the ultimate financial demands have not been seriously regarded, and that the cost of installation to the consumer, suggested at 9 millions, has not been appreciated. At 9 millions it certainly has not, but it has been appreciated as a factor, and it has been set off against the cost of supplying everything else that is a substitute for electricity, for either lighting or heating at present.

That is the end of the Senator's summary. That contains no reference to nationalisation. The Senator did not include nationalisation in his summary of the defects of the scheme. He speaks now of nationalisation. I am not going to deal with that question at any great length. In the first place, does he know that it has been decided upon, that nationalisation has been decided upon, and that the scheme is going to be built up under Government control? Does the Senator know what will happen the plant when it is erected? Has he any idea of how the Oireachtas will decide that will be handled?

None whatever. Let us consider the alternative to nationalisation. One of the first objections to the Siemens-Schuckert scheme put forward by an anonymous contributor to the English Sunday Press was that this country was going to be put into the hands of the Germans. The Germans were going to run this scheme and finance it, and he said that there would be a stranglehold on Irish industry for all future time. Is that the alternative the Senator puts forward? Let us leave the Germans out of it, and let us take some big financial interest, Irish or English. It is suggested that this scheme should be handed over to some big private interest, and that that interest should have a stranglehold on Irish comfort and Irish industrial life?

Certainly not.

What is the alternative?

To license it under private enterprise. Let them agree on rates like a public utility company. They can hold it for thirty years, and you can buy them out after a certain number of years.

I wonder would it interest the Senator to hear that with regard to finances that I have at least five offers, four from America—from New York and Berlin.

Is that for financing?

With regard to finances, it is always the question of control that is insisted on. The financing of the scheme would not be undertaken by any private interest in any other country if it were not bound up with the question of control. No interest whatever would deal with it if there was not included in it the question of control and a stranglehold in industry. Is that what the Senator desires?

There would be certain maximum rates and conditions agreed to, to form the hydro-electrical legislation of the country.

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

I would suggest to the Minister to make his own statement and not to be appealing by way of challenge to the Senator, because the debate is resolving itself into an interchange of views between him and the Senator. The Minister knows what the Senator has stated, and he has got an opportunity of combating his views. But when the Minister asks him to stand on the tail of his coat, that gives him an opportunity naturally of responding.

I will add very little further. The Senator talks about nationalisation, and says that he does not know what the method of control is going to be. Neither do I. It is not a matter for the Government. It is a matter for the two Houses of the Oireachtas and the country to decide, and it will come before the two Houses and the country later.

Question—"That the Bill be received for Final consideration and do now pass"—put and agreed to.