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Seanad Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 6 Jul 1932

Vol. 15 No. 20

Public Business - Finance (Customs Duties) (No. 2) Bill, 1932 (Certified Money Bill)—Second Stage.

Question proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

Owing to pressure of business in the other House the Minister for Industry and Commerce who, properly speaking, is in charge of this Bill, has asked me to deal with it here. The Bill is a fairly comprehensive one of about 19 sections. I expect that Senators have gone through it carefully and are aware of the various tariffs that are being imposed. I will run through the Bill and if there are any proposals or recommendations that Senators wish to have conveyed to the Department I will be glad to take a note of them. The first section deals with a customs duty on cut flowers, equivalent to 9d. per lb. The reason for that duty was that in Britain a tariff was imposed on cut flowers and as a result there was a diversion of exports from Continental countries, the tendency being for these exports to arrive here and to make it impossible for flower producers to produce at a competitive price. It is felt that while there is not an enormous market for flower production here, still there is a very considerable one, and it is in keeping with the definite policy of the present Government that this, like every other industry, should be protected. Accordingly it was found necessary to impose a tax of 9d. per lb. on flowers brought into the country.

The next section deals with agricultural machinery, on which a tariff of thirty-three and a third per cent. is being imposed. I believe there are certain exceptions made in the case of machines not produced here as equitably or under the same conditions as they are produced elsewhere. It was after serious consideration these exceptions were made. In the main it is felt —in fact it is known—that we can produce all the agricultural machinery we require. We have factories in Wexford, Limerick and elsewhere and we are satisfied that this industry can be developed to the point of supplying our own requirements by our own labour. I think that is pretty generally admitted and we feel that this industry, in common with many others, must be protected so as to ensure that our own people are employed.

The tariff on potatoes is really a special tariff. It is really intended to prevent any importation of potatoes in what might be termed the luxury season for early potatoes. It has no real effect on the ordinary potato market.

With regard to boots and shoes, as Senators are aware, there was a tariff on boots and shoes which really worked out as a revenue tariff and was not, in the real sense, protective at all. Our imports of boots and shoes have been very considerable and we are satisfied that it is merely a question of giving adequate protection to ensure that our own factories will reach the point at which they will be able to supply practically all our requirements. The same remark applies to spades and shovels. There is no justifiable reason that we know of why all the spades and shovels we need should not be made within the country. As regards milk and cream, the development of the tinned milk business to such a point that we will not have to import is being deliberately aimed at.

The first part of the clothing tariff deals with men's and boys' suits and the second part with women's clothing. What I have said about the other tariffs applies to this tariff. We are in a position at present to produce, and are actually producing, about 80 per cent. of our requirements. We are producing these goods at competitive prices. When the full market is secured, I think we will be able, owing to the increased production, still further to reduce the prices or, at least, keep them at what is an economic figure within the trade. I do not think there will be any question of the desirability of that tariff. The women's clothing tariff is in a category which will cause more difficulty. Up to the imposition of the tariff, we had been in this case only producing about fifteen per cent. of our requirements. We are up against certain difficulties in that trade—the comparatively limited market, the tendency to dump here and the anxiety of manufacturers on the other side to get increased output at cost or even a little less than cost. We are satisfied that it is essential that we should get to the point when the people of the country will be clothed so far as possible by the people of the country.

As regards the hosiery industry, we are at present making all classes of hosiery with the exception of the very cheapest products. Whether these products are, in the last analysis, cheap or good value is an open question, but we hope to get a share of this trade and to protect it up to the limit. There is a good deal of dumping of cheap artificial silk and such products from Japan, where the conditions of labour are entirely different from what we have to maintain here. It is not desirable that we should encourage dumping, with cheap Eastern labour or Continental labour. With regard to brushes, we are in a position to produce all the brushes we require with the exception of toothbrushes and, at present, we are doing so. This was a by-product of the furniture trades and the trade is adequately catered for by existing manufacturers. A certain amount of protection was necessary, as in other industries, because of large manufacturers, as a result of cheap labour and different conditions, dumping their goods here.

As regards the woollen tariff, there is apparently one difficulty—that is, the cheap shoddy manufactured across the water. We are at present able to produce a cheap grade of product, as low as 2/6 per lineal yard. We all remember that, some time ago, there was a good deal of "dickering" with this tariff and the rates were changed. I know from my own experience that one manufacturer was put out of business because of that. We intend that there will be adequate protection for the Irish woollen mills. The development of the cheaper end of the trade will provide a good market for the wool produced in the country, some of which is more suitable for cheap materials than for the finer-woven cloths. We think it will result not only in increased employment in the woollen industry, but that it will serve as a considerable stimulant to the wool trade which, as everybody knows, has been in a very bad way for a considerable time. As regards maize meal, the imposition of this tariff caused a good deal of disturbance in the early stages, largely due to the fact that there were attempts made to exploit it. I may say that, at present, maize meal is cheaper here than in parts of Britain and that the fall in the price of meal since the tariff was imposed exceeds the actual fall in the case of the maize itself, so that that tariff, in our opinion, has been a complete success. We intend, in any event, to make sure that the mills are working while we need the goods.

The furniture-making tariff represents an increase in the existing tariff. We believe that it is necessary to do this in order to enable the firms here to compete with the mass production factories on the other side. The chocolate and sugar confectionery tariff represents an increase in the existing tariff, and it is designed to give adequate protection to the firms engaged in the industry. The motor body building tariff has caused us a certain amount of anxiety, but we are determined to put this tariff through and to maintain it as it has been imposed. I might explain that, at one time, this country excelled in the coach-building trade. Owing to the development of the motor-car industry and the fact that motor cars became a mass-produced commodity, it was practically impossible for the firms in this country to get any share of this business. The result was that where a number of years ago, we had, perhaps, some of the best trained and most highly skilled workmen in this industry that were to be found anywhere in the world, we have lost by emigration a very considerable number of these. One of our difficulties to-day will be to get going on account of the lapse. Those difficulties will be overcome. Already, negotiations are on foot whereby adequate body-building will be arranged. There may be some slight delay in that, but we are determined that, so far as we are concerned, the motor bodies required in the country will be built in the country.

These are the only remarks I desire to make on these tariffs. Most of them have been debated at great length in the other House. They are consistent with our entire industrial policy. The Seanad is, of course, entitled to make any recommendations it cares to make in regard to them without being in a position to turn any of them down. Any recommendations Senators choose to make I shall have brought to the notice of the proper authority and discussed by the Cabinet.

I am told by a number of market gardeners in the County of Dublin that their trade in salad has been a failure owing to the dumping of foreign salad. I should like the Government to give attention to that matter, because this is a fairly important industry around Dublin, and a number of market gardeners are affected by it. The growing of salad is an important part of their production and gives a good deal of employment. I suggest that the Government look into the matter and see that other countries are not allowed to dump their produce here to the detriment of the County Dublin market gardeners.

I am sorry that the Minister for Industry and Commerce is not able to find time to be here. I need hardly say that I mean to cast no reflection on the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs. But I know that the Minister for Industry and Commerce has been dealing with a great many of the matters which are involved in this Bill—matters which will require very considerable consideration by this House in Committee, with a view to seeing whether it will not be possible to make recommendations which will be carefully considered and, I am not without hope, accepted by the Government. In introducing the Bill, the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs gave various reasons briefly for each of the duties. He did not give the reasons— I do not blame him—why these duties were put on. This Bill covers not the duties imposed under the Finance Bill, which I think number 45, and which have not yet reached us, but the duties imposed under the Anti-Dumping Act passed towards the end of last year. The Minister did not give us any reason as to why either dumping or abnormal importation was expected in regard to these articles. I should like to point out to the House that that was the reason why each of these duties was imposed, according to the Order signed by the Minister. Be that as it may, this Bill will make them permanent so far as any Act of Parliament can make duties permanent. Under previous Orders it was possible for the Minister to alter the duties. He did so in a great many cases and in a great many details. When this Bill becomes an Act, I think I am correct in saying it will not be possible for the Minister to make alterations in the details of these duties without another Act. I think the Minister would be the first to admit that he found it necessary to make a considerable number of emendations in the original Orders. I venture to say that he will find it necessary during the next few months to make certain other changes. Frankly, I do not see how one can do what I should like to do by recommendations. But I should like to see inserted in this Bill a power enabling the Minister for Industry and Commerce, for a period of six or nine months—subject, perhaps, to laying a paper on the Table of the House—to make alterations in the details of these duties, because I am quite certain that experience will prove that it is still necessary to make some changes. I do not know whether the Minister for Industry and Commerce was correctly reported as stating that in some cases this was trial and error. At any rate, the method adopted by the Government has been to abolish the Tariff Commission, with the necessary inquiries and to substitute tariffs by Order—tariffs which were, in some cases within a week, and in other cases within a fortnight, considerably amended. The result was a considerable amount of inconvenience in the trade. And while I would say without hesitancy that officials of the Revenue Commissioners did their best to cause as little dislocation as possible, the fact remains that it was many weeks before it was known—in fact even yet one cannot say with certainly—exactly what is dutiable.

The Minister said in general terms that we did know what these duties are, but I tell him quite sincerely I do not yet know. Only yesterday I was asked with regard to the details of a small item. I will give you an illustration. I have here a small button. I was at a factory which I am connected with and which makes up certain kinds of underwear and overalls. These buttons are required for those garments. They were always imported free of duty. They are not manufactured in the Free State. They have attached to them a small metal connection, one portion of which is said by some Customs officials to be brass, and by other officials not to be brass. The firm are unable to say definitely whether they are or are not brass, and although these are required for manufacturing purposes here, they are obliged to pay a duty on the whole thing. I do not place much importance on that, but I want to give an illustration of the extreme difficulty that you have when you go in for general tariffs, without any previous inquiry. The Tariff Commission might have been, and probably was, far too slow, but I do think that the Government ought to try speeding up that Commission or some other Commission, so that there would be some inquiry before duties are imposed, and so that people who are likely to be interested would have an opportunity of putting their case—so that manufacturers and others who are obliged to import goods that are absolutely necessary for their products would be able to give details. I have little doubt that neither this Government nor the late Government would put duties on goods not manufactured here which are required for other manufacture in this country.

The general method has been to put tariffs on almost all goods in the hope that they would be manufactured here. The Minister, in introducing the Bill, admitted that in the case of boots and shoes the estimates were that generally only a very small percentage of the needs of this country are manufactured here. But he said he hoped that the time would come when almost all the needs of this country could be supplied inside the Free State. The method adopted was to put almost as high as 30 per cent. all-round on goods which were being made here and the goods which are not being made here —including in the latter goods which are not likely to be made, and including those which are being made only in small quantities. That method must inevitably hit the consumer very hard. I am not speaking on behalf of the distributor, because frankly it does not hit the distributor. The people have to pay the price. If they cannot get the goods here they must pay the duty. The distributor is affected by dislocation through certain duties, but not substantially by the imposition of duties. If the Government were wise they would utilise the Commission; or if not, then by inquiry of the Minister himself, would see that the distributors or people with knowledge of distribution were asked their opinion in regard to the proposed duties. They could tell what the Irish manufacturer can and cannot supply. They understand the difficulties of supply. I give you a case of my own knowledge. A comparatively small manufacturer was asked as to certain goods which could be manufactured here. He said: "Certainly, they could all be manufactured." When pressed he admitted he could not do it, but he knew that another firm could. When the other firm were asked they quite frankly said: "Yes, we can make them, but the quantity is so small that we would have to do it at a prohibitive price, and that we do not want to do. It would not be worth our while." The distributor could have told that immediately. I say definitely that whereas there may have been great disadvantages under the Tariff Commission method, more particularly in regard to time, that there was publicity, and the interest of such as the distributor or the consumer or the manufacturer was considered. And the reason why there was a considerable number of modifications of tariff proposals, and the reason why there may be many more even under this Bill is because the duties were not in full detail gone into.

With regard to details I hope to put down one or two recommendations in Committee but those I need not go into now. I will refer to one or two of the remarks made by Senator Connolly. He referred to the increased duty on boots and shoes. There is no doubt that a very large proportion of the requirements of men's and boys boots and shoes can be made here. I think also a considerable and greatly increased proportion of women's and possibly children's may be made here. But the fact remains that at the present moment the factories which are operating can only produce approximately one-sixth of the demand. I suggest to the Government that if they wished to increase the manufacture of boots and shoes in the country and at the same time to hit the consumer as little as they can, they ought to have gone carefully into the whole matter to see what exemptions could have been made from the increased duty if only for a period. The duty was put wholesale on all articles. The Minister, to do him justice, soon recognised that this was going to be unfair, particularly in the case of children's shoes, and in some little time a reduction was made back to the old 15 per cent. on children's shoes from size 7 to size 1, and exemption altogether was made in the case of very small kiddies' shoes, sizes 4 to 6. I would like to recommend that for a period of one or two years that the Government should exempt women's and girls' shoes costing below say 6/-. They cannot be obtained here and as far as I can find out there is no likelihood of their being obtained here at a very early date. That will not prevent a considerable increase in the work in existing factories, but it will ease the situation very much indeed as far as working-class girls are concerned who are undoubtedly hit by the fact that the cheapest shoes here are something like 7/9 cost price, not retail price.

Then again, Senator Connolly is doubtful as to whether some of the cheap hosiery is worth while importing. As far as Japanese products are concerned, I agree that they are exceedingly cheap and no matter what the price is I think they are a bad purchase. I do not mean that all Japanese products are so, but the very cheap socks and stockings are. But it is quite wrong to take from this that there are not good articles in considerable quantities from abroad which are got by the working-class here at considerably lower prices than can be made here. It may be, as I think was attributed to a friend of mine in the other Party, who said that his grandmother did not wear silk stockings and there was no reason why working-class girls should wear them. But they will wear them and buy them as cheaply as they can. For a considerable time they will not be able to obtain a cheap cotton or artificial silk stocking of a kind that can be imported from 12/- to 15/- per dozen cost price. I am sorry I am talking in trade terms. You cannot get anything at all under 18/11 per dozen manufactured here at present, and they are made in much less quantities than are required.

These are matters on which modification could be made for a period. That will not prevent the Minister, if he is satisfied with the machinery equipment and capacity for the making of these goods here, from putting on a duty to protect this industry when the goods are made. And it will be a certain amount of check on the Irish manufacturers who will still have a big demand to satisfy. Everybody is not satisfied with hosiery at that price and there is no reason why in the better class goods the Irish goods should not have a substantial preference, but a considerable quantity in the better class will have to be imported because there is not the quantity made here. In the lower-priced article the Government ought to make some concession for twelve months. It can be revised later on.

Then again you have very cheap-knitted underwear which is worn here. It can be bought at the wholesale price of 12/6 to 15/- per dozen. It is very considerably in demand by the working-class and there is no likelihood of its being substituted here. That line has no hope of being invoiced here at 1/6. The buyer may be satisfied if it is Irish, but if his wages are limited I don't think he will be satisfied, with one at 2/6. The increased duty of 30 per cent. will be at the expense of the poor person.

There is still a considerable quantity of children's socks and hosiery made from cotton and cashmere, and there is nothing like the capacity here to supply the demand. I think something should be made here in the way of a concession for children's hosiery. Between this and next week I shall do my best to put these recommendations in a form that I hope will be acceptable. I have confined myself to the trade of which I know something, and have said nothing about other trades on which other Senators are more competent to speak. But now I will speak on motor bodies. The section in the Bill which imposes duties on motor bodies was very fully discussed in the other House and at very considerable length and I do not propose to make a long speech on the subject. I have good reason to believe that the Minister knows a great deal more about the difficulties than he knew when the Order was first made. And I further believe, and I am satisfied, that he is very anxious indeed to meet these difficulties if he possibly can. He has shown a certain amount of readiness at any rate to recognise that even if bodies are to be made here, that even if they are, a very considerable transition period must take place and he has to some extent met the trade in regard to that. I think that something further will have to be done, and I intend to put down one or two recommendations which I can go into on the Committee Stage. I should like to point out, however—and I do not think that this will be disputed seriously by any section—that if motor car bodies are to be made here they can only be made either in small quantities for each make of car at prohibitive prices or be restricted to one or two makes in which there will be a somewhat larger consumption. If the latter is achieved—and I think we are a considerable distance yet from its achievement—it will mean simply a monopoly for one or two firms at the outside, who will be able to fix their own prices for cars, and it will mean the going out of existence of a considerable number of distributors of cars and a very considerable increase in unemployment. I am satisfied that it will be inevitable if you confine the consumption to cars of, say, one or two makes, and I cannot see how it will be possible to manufacture bodies at a reasonable price for more than two makes—possibly, only one.

I do not know, but possibly the Minister for Industry and Commerce will regard the closing down of these firms of distributors as amongst the inevitable casualties necessary to the policy of the Government, and to which he once referred in the other House, but he should not blame those who are interested in the distribution field if they do their best to put before him proposals and methods which may lead to their being able to continue in business. I would like to ask Senator Connolly here if he really believes that it would be a good thing for this country to have a monopoly of the supply of motor cars in the hands of one or two firms at the outside and if he believes that this country would really gain a benefit by it. I do not know anything definitely about it but it has been rumoured pretty widely and persistently that Messrs. Ford are likely to bring over and set up a body making plant, both passenger and commercial, in Cork. If they decide to do so, it may have a rather curious effect and one possibly that I do not think has been fully thought out by the Government. At the present time, the coach-building firms in existence get a very large proportion, and they ought to get a very large percentage, of the commercial bodies which are required for the Free State. If Messrs. Ford do come into Cork you may take it that it will only be worth their while to bring over plant if they manufacture both commercial and passenger car bodies. If they make a large production the result will be that it will be practically impossible for a trader to buy anything but a Ford can for commercial purposes and the present coach-builders, whom you intended to benefit, may suffer a serious loss of the trade which they have at the present time, namely, the manufacture of commercial bodies. I suggest that that aspect should be carefully considered and that it should be borne in mind that that is quite a possibility.

Very soon after this prohibitive duty of 75 per cent. on motor bodies was imposed, a meeting was held under the chairmanship of an official of the Ministry for Industry and Commerce, which was attended by all the leading representatives of motor distributors in the Free State and representatives of firms who had stated that they were in a position to undertake the manufacture of motor bodies. At this conference the motor trade representatives suggested that the coach-builders should make sample bodies for two of the most popular makes of cars in use in the Free State, and the distributors of these cars offered to supply the chassis. The coach-builders claimed that it was not reasonable to ask them to provide samples; that they must have orders in advance for a substantial number of bodies before they could make any. They also declined to quote any prices in advance. The representatives of the motor trade replied that it was impossible for them to anticipate the number of bodies required, and that at any rate they would want to see whether the specimens would suit the trade and the chassis for which they were required. I may say that there are very few indeed of the motor distributors who would be in a financial position at the present time to buy a large number of motors even if they thought it wise to do so without seeing one sample body. The position, as I understand it, is that the motor trade have asked, through their representatives, for sample bodies for two of the most popular cars, and that the coach building trade have declined to supply these or to take any step even to arrange for plant or to make the bodies. I do not know if that is the exact position. I am not in touch with any of the coach builders, but that is my information as supplied from representatives of the motor trade, and I would be very glad if, either at this stage or the next stage, Senator Connolly would be able to tell us whether he knows of any coach-building firm who have got in plant necessary for making the bodies suitable for the modern car, or has purchased a chassis for the purpose of experimenting. This being the position, I would urge very strongly on the Government—there is no use urging on them, as Senator Connolly has stated, that they should recognise that this thing is not workable —but, assuming that they mean to go on with it and force, at any cost, the manufacture of passenger motor bodies in this country, I would strongly urge on them that they should extend the period of this kind of interregnum later than August 7th. I would suggest that that date of August 7th should be altered and that instead of it he should put in the words "until the appointed day." That would also necessitate alterations in the Finance Bill, as this particular duty is covered by the two Bills. If that were done the Minister for Industry and Commerce would be in a position to fix the date himself, and if he is going to use pressure on the motor distributors he should also use pressure on the coach-builders in order to show that they are prepared to do their part and spend some little money in getting this benefit. If he had the power to fix the day, instead of as it is done here, the Minister would be in a position to find out the facts and to satisfy himself that if he goes on with this duty and decides to continue the prohibitive duty on motor bodies, at any rate the coach-building trade are being forced to take reasonable steps to provide samples and make bodies. I am perfectly certain that neither the Minister for Industry and Commerce nor Senator Connolly himself would buy a large quantity of goods of any kind in advance without seeking a sample, and it is not reasonable to suggest to motor car distributors here that they should give orders in advance without any sample or without any guarantee that it would suit the trade or without even an approximate price in advance. That is the position as I am informed, and I suggest to the Minister that he should enquire for himself, and if, on enquiry, he finds that that is the position, then it is the duty of the Government to extend the period at any rate by which cars may be imported. With a reasonable date, I think he would be able to get the two sides together and satisfy himself as to what the true position is and how it can be met.

I welcome this measure so far as anything of the kind can be welcomed as an opportunity to deal on rather broad lines with the whole of our fiscal system. I know, unfortunately, there is a mandate for it and that the issue was decided in principle at the last general election, but I also regard it as by far the gravest issue arising out of the whole of our election mandates. It is even more important than the question of the meeting of our national liabilities, because in my opinion it will rivet on to this country for all time a thoroughly unsound fiscal system from which there will be no escape and for which you have ample warning in the experience of European, and indeed all, countries generally in the last few years. For that reason it seems unfortunate with the experience of others to guide us, that we are flying wantonly in the face of that experience and going ourselves into the unfortunate morass that has upset the countries that have followed this policy. Examining for a moment this question, not even the most zealous tariff reformer who studies the question at all will deny that it is a question to be approached with care and circumspection. The late Government in their early days fully appreciated and accepted that point of view and appointed what, in my opinion, is the only competent body of people to examine this matter. I venture to say that you cannot rely upon the advice of any of this sort of people, such as the hard-boiled nationalist who applies this sort of feature of isolation—this idea of self-supporting nationalisation —to everything else. Neither can you trust the manufacturer, because he is human, and where he sees an opportunity to make a profit he is going to avail of it to the fullest extent. Neither I think can you trust a limited section of labour who see an opportunity of getting behind the shelter of walls and thereby imposing what they call fair wage conditions. It is very hard also to mobilise the consumer and make him articulate. But you can be guided by the people who have made a study of this thing for a long time, who know the history of these things, and are students of economics. The late Government appointed two or three of these people—people of world-wide fame—and they practically stated that the whole of this principle was unsound and that in any case it ought to be proceeded with with great caution. In due course, the late Government started cautiously. I felt even then that they were on dangerous ground. Finally they realised how dangerous it was and they appointed a Tariff Commission, and, as you know, it had to receive and consider applications, make rejections, weigh evidence, report on a number of cases and sift the whole thing. Then we came along with a mandate for all this fullblooded spirit of isolation and we had these duties pouring in. Then we got the high package tax—a great brain-wave which created a state of confusion which everyone knows is beyond description. We will have an opportunity of considering that, I hope, at a later stage. But there it is. Having rejected the advice of people qualified to give advice, and thrown aside the machinery of deliberation, you have hot-foot a tariff on the principle that nothing that can be made at home should be admitted without a tariff, irrespective of the cost or the burden thrown upon the consumers. As far as I can see the only advantage you get from this policy is that you are to keep the business at home at any cost. You do employ, up to a point, local labour making a limited quantity of local articles but against that you have a whole series of disadvantages. You provide a monopoly such as a small market provides leading on to another morass and that is the Bill to control prices. One leads on to another until eventually in the complexity you have the danger of graft. Everyone knows that behind these tariff walls graft abounds. I do not mean individual graft but graft that contributes to Party funds. Buying honours is another form of such graft.

Then you have to consider the inflexibility of the system. Once you establish this you set up vested interests. If there are inefficient manufacturers they cannot be destroyed. People have gone into the business, labour has been employed; conditions may be altered, but no Government relying upon political support will ever have the courage to remove duties, to pull down any such concerns however inadequately they may serve the public. Then you have the question that Senator Douglas dealt with—the finance of duties. Do people know why the range of these duties is so very limited? They are so limited because of finance, because on account of these duties more finance is required. The distributors have not got the resources to supply the special range of the necessities the shopping public will require. Then you have the sheltered conditions under which the Trade Unions have to maintain labour up to any point you like. You add further to the powers of the strike, and you have this feeling of insecurity. I do not know how the average person feels it. He feels in a country of high duties that he does not get value. Prices do not come down and you see that there is something wrong somewhere. All along the consumer is feeling that he is in the hands of the manufacturer, that he is not getting value. He has not the zest to stand up against it which he would have in an atmosphere of free competition.

Then again you have the more fortunate people—I am not suggesting illegalities—who have the inducement to take their holidays outside the country and who go out as it were in rags and come back much better dressed. You may call that smuggling, but I defy any customs authority to check a practice of that kind. They go abroad; they wear their new clothes for three weeks or a month and they come back with a certain proportion of their wardrobe on their backs and ignore the existence of the manufacturers of this country. That is a privilege for the minority who can afford to take their holidays outside this country. It is no use playing the ostrich, hiding our heads in the sand. These things are going on, and they will go on, and they cannot be stopped however vigilant the customs authorities may be, or however much money you spend upon your security service. You lose the money spent by these people who leave this country and take their holidays abroad. Upon the far higher and more general economic outlook you have this most important factor, the elasticity of consumption. The argument is that so much of what is made abroad could be made here at home. That is the argument of the obvious which is so little to the purpose in real life. It is usually the wrong method of analysis in any problem. What happens, I venture to suggest, is that when you get behind the system of tariff barriers and high prices you dam down the purchasing power. There is not as much to be got in the restricted market of high prices or tariffs as the consumer could buy in the much wider region of free competition.

What is required in the national economics of any country is an increase in the wealth of goods, an increase in the volume of production, and this tariff policy militates directly against that. Wherever you go high prices increase the cost of living. Last November the cost of living was 20 points higher in this country than in Great Britain. They dam down the purchasing power of the whole country and that reacts upon the primary producers who do not save so much and cannot spend so much. You are stereotyping the whole of your economic system, and creating frozen stagnation in the whole country under your tariff policy. I ask the House is this an economic policy at all? I suggest it is not. I suggest the whole of it is political. It is political whether at the beginning or at the end. Why take an arbitrary order of boundary? I do not know why Cork should not ask for, and have, an octroi for itself, or whether the Gaeltacht or any other little area should not ask for some sort of shelter. The smaller the area undoubtedly the greater the danger and I suggest that this country is far too small an area to allow these monopolies to take place.

Take the case of the manufacture of furniture. There seem to be people in this country who would like to have high-priced furniture, but there is not a big enough market for that here. People are prepared to pay high prices. If anyone is in the position to buy, and wants to buy at high prices, he will pay the high price. High-priced furniture is not manufactured here, and the whole policy is against people coming to live in this country who want to enjoy the full amenities of life. It is a discouragement to the rich man who wants to enjoy life and is prepared to pay for it. This Bill takes us back to the Middle Ages. It encourages the sumptuary laws. I was surprised that Senator Douglas should range him self amongst those who say that because certain articles are cheap we should not be allowed to buy them. People are not to be allowed to see for themselves, but surely it is for the customer to decide whether they are value or not? I heard the Minister for Industry and Commerce the other day in the Dáil say that if a man wanted to get a heliotrope suit of clothes or a suit in some such colour he cannot get it in the Saorstát, but he can get a good, sound suit of Irish tweed. I protest that is against the whole spirit and practice of life. If a man wants a heliotrope suit, why should he not have it? If a man wants a suit of Irish tweed, why should he not have it? But why force him by a tariff to buy an Irish suit if he does not want to do so? It is against the whole progress of civilisation or of tolerance in a people. We want to take advantage of the good things the world has to offer—mass production, cheaper living, cheaper travel, everything by which we may enjoy life to the full and not to be bound up and not to be compelled to live upon such rations as the politicians may think are for our good. That is why on the far larger moral ground, on the question of what are we to do in this world, almost on the spiritual ground, that I protest that this whole policy is wrong. But we have to grin and bear it. There are certain people who can avoid and counter it, and who will continue to do so. In the long run this policy will not be found to be for the benefit of any interest in this country.

I am somewhat amazed at the line of argument taken up by Senator Sir John Keane. He knows that almost all the tariff items in this Bill were put on by the previous Government. What has happened? There is an increase of duty on most of these tariffs, because the Government think the previous tariffs were not sufficient to bring about the results sought to be achieved when the tariffs were first introduced. Senator Sir John Keane talked about high-class furniture, and said that the tariffs here are preventing high-class furniture being manufactured here. It is a well-known fact that some of the best furniture ever made was made by Dublin cabinet-makers, and that in the auction rooms in Great Britain and Ireland Dublin-made furniture always brought the biggest prices. This tariff is to preserve the art of good furniture-making. Owing to the introduction of it, stuff made out of packing-cases and things like that which were being dumped into Dublin as furniture have been stopped. It is only right to say that the furniture manufacturers here are turning out stuff equal to that of any country in the world at the present time, so that the argument about the tariff killing the furniture trade here is, I think, lopsided. Another extraordinary statement made by the Senator was that national wealth was acquired by increased production. As a matter of fact, if we had not production we would have no national wealth. It is in order to increase production in this country that this Bill has been introduced. If we do not protect our industries, then people not of the same standard of living as our people can dump any article manufactured under inhuman conditions in here. If these people are manufacturing under inhuman conditions they should not be allowed to dump their manufactures to the detriment of people who are getting a livelihood out of them here. The Senator talked about the right of the individual to purchase where he likes. The individual has rights and has also obligations towards the rest of the community. The individual is a member of the family, and he owes a duty to the other members of the family in the State so that they will get the same livelihood as he is getting. Take the case of a civil servant or an employee of a local authority. The ordinary working-class person and every other person contributes taxes and rates in order to provide a decent livelihood for such officials, and surely it is not too much to expect a person in a privileged position to do his duty to his fellowman by enabling others to earn their livelihood? As I understand the national family, I think that every individual in the State has an obligation to every other individual.

Of course the Senator talked about the consumers, and said that they must be protected. The great mistake the consumers make is that they do not protect themselves. If consumers were wise enough there would be no question of putting up tariff walls, because consumers would be both consumers and distributors, and in that way would solve all the tariff problems. If they would only adopt that attitude they would bring about the co-operative commonwealth which we hope to see established in this country, and for which some of our people gave their lives. That would solve the tariff problem. Senator Sir John Keane also referred to the trade unions, stating that they were in a privileged position, and could enforce decent wages. The principal complaint I have against this measure is that it proposes to put increased duties on imported articles, but leaves the employers free to manufacture under sweated conditions, if they are able to get sweated labour to do so. There is no provision in the Bill whereby a manufacturer who may benefit under it will be compelled, at least, to observe decent conditions of employment. I hope trade unions will continue to be strong enough to enforce decent conditions of employment, whether in tariffed industries or not. The Senator spoke of the danger of tariffs, and said that we might lose the money that people who went on holidays spent. I think the working class people cannot be blamed in that respect, because if they are able to scrape up enough to pay their fare across the Channel they are not able to have a new wardrobe coming back. If there are any offenders in that respect, they are amongst the people the Senator represents. No doubt a good deal of that goes on. I suppose the temptation is too great for the ladies when they go to Paris and London, and they bring back Paris and London fashions. If I had my way I would compel them all to wear Irish manufactured goods. I think it is a tragedy and a shame that there should be a necessity to introduce such a Bill in this country. There should be sufficient patriotism amongst the men and women of Ireland to wear articles of Irish manufacture, and to be proud of doing so. As far as clothing is concerned we are able to turn out some of the best materials in the world. Nothing looks so well on a man or woman as Irish homespun. These manufactures are a credit to the country, and I think it is a tragedy that any Government should have to introduce such a measure as this, to compel people to do what they should do of their own free will.

I have considerable sympathy with the point of view put forward by Senator Douglas. I am prepared to tax everything that we can manufacture, and to compel people to pay taxes in order to make them use goods that can be produced efficiently here. However, I think it is unfair, and that there is a hardship imposed on poor people by the taxes on children's shoes, children's boots, children's hosiery and other types of cheap underwear. It is unfortunate that these articles are not produced here, and that there is no immediate prospect that they will be. If tariffs are put on they merely mean an additional tax on poor people who have to purchase these articles. I agree with the suggestion made by Senator Douglas in this respect, and I think that the date should be left open for the enforcement of a tariff, so that if a time does arrive in the immediate future when these articles can be produced here, the Minister may by order bring the tariff into effect. On the Committee Stage, if Senator Douglas brings forward a recommendation, I hope that it will be favourably considered by the Government.

I was not surprised by Senator Sir John Keane's speech. It was what those who know his views expected. There is never any philosophic doubt or reservation about the Senator's views, or in the manner in which they are expressed. He is the hot gospeller of free imports at whatever the cost, and in his view this country is too small to produce the varieties of things that every section of the community needs. In one breath and in two successive sentences, he outlined that the country was too small for the production of high-class furniture, but in the next sentence he said that this country should not be deprived of the advantages, amongst other things, of mass production.

I did not say that.

There is no doubt about it. We heard it. I wonder does Senator Sir John Keane in that burst of enthusiasm for statistics, which is another of his characteristics, ever look at the economic history of this country since the introduction of what is called free trade? Synchronising with the introduction of that policy, and successively right down to the last few years, the population of this country diminished, until we have arrived at the point that there is the same problem of which the Senator spoke, that for certain classes of articles we are not an economic entity and that there must be protection to sustain them. I wonder did Senator Sir John Keane in consideration of that aspect of the problem bear in mind the cost of the rearing, the upbringing, the education, and the clothing of these human animals which were exported carriage paid to America, to industrial districts in England and also to Australia? All that cost was a levy on the producer in this country, whether agricultural or industrial, and inasmuch as it was a levy, and increased the cost of production, it was an additional restriction which was progressive and it diminished the market to be served. The result of free imports has been depopulation, continuing progressively, and the lowest standard of living in Europe. It has also had another result, a great deal of chronic idleness. Those who either not being physically fit for emigration—because they would not be admitted—or who could not scrape up the amount of money to get to America had to be supported. That was an additional cost on the producer, because anything that went to their support, must, of necessity, come from the cost of production. I have had sufficient experience of life to know that it is far better to adopt an expedient, even though it may not be the best expedient, to enable people to work, and to do something, rather than give them anything for doing nothing. Senator Sir John Keane might look across the water and see what has been the result on men's psychology of what is known as "the dole." The remedies outlined in this Bill would have to be very much worse in their effects than they could possibly be, to make me look with any degree of favour on substitutes for idleness, which must of necessity be at the expense of those who produce. I know very well that in adopting the series of duties to which Senator Farren referred, such points will arise. They can always be remedied, but this country had come to such a condition, as everybody moving about amongst the people knows, that a drastic and a speedy remedy, such as is outlined in this Bill, was the only chance of dealing with the situation. Mistakes have been made but they can be remedied. I welcome this Bill, and I hope that it is only the first step towards providing employment for the people.

I wish to make a formal protest on behalf of the farming community against this Bill. No section of the community will suffer so greatly as the farming class, and no section is less able to bear the burden which the tariff policy of the Government is going to impose upon them. On the ensuing stages we hope to do something which will prevent the wholesale destruction of the farmers' business. That is what the present policy will amount to, if nothing is done to hinder the reckless progress of the Government in their tariffs and economic policy. Otherwise farmers must go into bankruptcy very soon.

I wish to express disagreement in a general way with the provisions in this Bill. The increased cost of production has been already dealt with, but there is one aspect that has not been adverted to, and that is the effect a general system of tariffs would have in limiting our market outside this country, especially for agricultural products. We are told by experts and by theorists that, as a result of the tariffs that were imposed by the last Government and by this Government, markets outside must necessarily be restricted. Without going to experts or to theorists, we have the actual experience that our markets have been restricted within the last two or three years. The matter has reached a crisis within the last month. Our markets across the water are limited, because of the natural reactions of tariffs, and the natural reactions of restrictions. I would like to hear some opinion expressed by the Minister as to whether there has been any advertence to the restrictions on markets across the water. It is a very serious matter for farmers, between now and the fall of the year, and will amount to a crisis. For that reason, I wish to say that I am in entire disagreement with this measure.

I am prompted to rise owing to one remark made by Senator Dillon when he referred to the natural reactions of tariffs and restrictions on trade and commerce between Britain and this State. He seeemed to suggest that the present state of agricultural prices in the Free State was due to the tariff policy of the Government and to restrictions on imports. I do not want to pretend that I have examined this question very thoroughly, but I have pursued the inquiry so far as to find out that what is complained about in the Free State is equally the subject of complaint in Northern Ireland where the restrictions that are alleged to be the cause of the depression in the Free State do not exist. Therefore, I am forced to the conclusion that there must be another cause for the present depression in prices of agricultural produce in the Free State. That is obviously not the cause which Senator Dillon has suggested. Senators must look in some other direction to find the actual cause of this depression. Senator Dowdall spoke of the general loss that this country has sustained by the gradual destruction over many years and the more speedy destruction in recent years of manufacturing industry, and he said that a drastic and speedy remedy was necessary. I am one of those who think, and who have thought for some years, that even at the cost of a tariff policy it was necessary that drastic and speedy measures should be taken to deal with this position. I think that that should be done with a view to remedying the existing depression and threatened collapse of manufacturing industry. This country as a national unit could not long survive if it allowed its dependence upon an agricultural or pastoral economy to continue. I am more convinced now than I was before of the necessity for drastic and speedy measures with a view to remedying that situation. Because I believe that the tariff method is, perhaps, the most easily adopted, and the most readily acceptable method which will supply a remedy—if only a temporary remedy— I favour the adoption of a tariff policy.

I join with Senator Farren in regretting that the Government, when introducing this great variety of tariffs on imports, has not shown itself aware of the necessity for concentrating on certain more important industries and organising and planning the development of these industries. The duties on boots and shoes, personal clothing and wearing apparel and certain woven tissues have been increased. They were originally imposed by the late Government, and there is a general recognition that they were not effective in promoting the bigger output necessary to the development of the industry in these particular commodities. This Bill provides for an increase of the duty in the confident belief that manufacturers will now be able to develop their output in these particular commodities. So far as I can gather, Ministers are counting on an increase in the number of persons employed proportionate to the money value of the increased output. I think that is fallacious. I think it will be found that if this duty is sufficiently high, and pressure of other kinds is sufficiently effective as to produce a very great increase in the output of boots and shoes, the machinery that will be set up to produce that increased output will be of a more labour-saving type than that hitherto in operation. While there will be an output of greatly increased value, the amount available for spending within this country by the workers of this country will not be at all proportionate. Then I ask myself: "Is this high tariff on boots and shoes essential and inevitable before the production will be sufficiently increased to say that this country is fairly self-supporting in the matter of boot manufacture?" I answer: "I do not think it is." What I am afraid of is that in this whole scheme, or absence of scheme, for development of industry by means of tariffs we shall have developed large numbers of very small, uneconomic, inadequately financed and inadequately equipped establishments all over the country, producing articles not of the highest quality, not even of the high craftsmanship that Senator Farren spoke of, but of rather crude, unsatisfactory quality if compared with what can be got under other systems. The tendency will be towards a demand for still higher tariffs to enable these crude manufacturers to compete with the more highly efficient manufacturers abroad. That is very likely what will happen.

Very likely.

The remedy is not that which Senator Sir John Keane proposes. The remedy, in my view, is to ensure that the manufactories shall be well equipped and that they shall be given a monopoly of the market in this State for certain standardised qualities of boots the demand for which may be said to be easily calculable and easily ascertainable in respect of three-fourths of the population. If that industry is thoroughly organised and rationalised and if there is strict supervision of the costings and prices, the rate of duty need not be half what is proposed in this Bill. The remedy it is not laisser faire: it is not to let every manufacturer do what he chooses following the pursuit of profit but to organise the industry and give those organised industries a secure market within the country. I think that is a sound policy in respect to such articles as boots and shoes, in respect to many articles of clothing and in respect to all woollen cloths. It is not difficult to make an estimate within a small margin of error of the requirements of two and a half million of the three million people in this country, in respect to boots and shoes, wearing apparel and woollen cloths. It would not be difficult under State auspices—not under State ownership and not even under State direction—to organise the manufacture of such commodities and secure that these manufacturers should supply at the lowest possible price the requirements of the people of this country. I think it is a practical and a reasonable policy for the State to promote the development on organised lines of these industries not by means of a tariff simply to encourage Tom or Harry to start a little business in this town or that town and trust to his luck or to still higher tariffs to get a market for his products, but by taking account of what is happening in other countries. We must take into account the stage of development in other countries, the necessity for highly equipped and highly organised factories and we must use the inventive genius of man for the benefit of the people of this country. I think that policy is not practicable in regard to many items on this list where the consumers' requirements are not easily calculable and where there is not a highly developed or a traditional industry in respect of those commodities. But in regard to those articles of common or almost universal use it is possible for the Irish manufacturers to supply the whole of the market and to supply it at prices comparable, or very nearly comparable, to the prices of similar goods produced under highly organised conditions in other countries. I am not arguing that it is necessary in this country to have as high a scale of production or of skill as, say, in England, Czecho-Slovakia or America, but I think it is inevitable if these industries are to survive that they should be well equipped and well organised—that there should be a recognition that factory production is necessary and that these factories, spread throughout the country, may be more economic from the purely material point of view for a country of this size than the larger factories in bigger countries are.

I was late in coming in but I heard Senator Sir John Keane speak of the necessity, from the aesthetic or spiritual point of view, of allowing consumers to have freedom of choice, to exert their personal taste and, in fact, impress their personality upon the things they buy and use.

To enjoy life.

Yes. I think that is an excellent argument and I would agree entirely with it if what I consider to be the corollary to that argument had already been attained—that we had something like an equality of income and some security for the individual being able to comport himself in the way he wished. Then such an ideal as the Senator propounds would be perfectly acceptable. But though he and I and most of us here might be able to do something in the way of exercising that freedom of choice without damage to our fellow citizens, unfortunately in the economy within which we are living and which the Senator himself is very anxious to preserve, there is a distinct line, a distinct barrier, between those who are able to exercise their individual choice because of the fact that they are assured of a certain income, and that very large section of the community which has no income or no opportunity for earning an income unless somebody employs them in producing the class of goods that we are now concerned with. The trouble is we are trying to deal with a situation that exists, with a state of society which is clearly marked as between the owning classes and those who have no property of any kind and must depend for a livelihood upon what they can earn by the sale of labour; and that unfortunately is the predominating feature of the civilisation in which we are living. It is because of the evils arising out of this cleavage that this kind of unsatisfactory remedy is proposed. If we were dealing with an idealistic condition it would be different, but this kind of remedy is made necessary. I would agree with the Senator fully if we were living under conditions which allowed the liberty which the Senator would voice without depriving our fellow-citizens of a means of livelihood. But what has happened is that owing to the free play of the individual's choice in his economic life there has been for several generations a steady export of humanity. A very, very large proportion of that which remains is unable to earn a decent livelihood, and a very large proportion indeed of these who are not depending upon the sale of their labour, but we still nominally occupied in agriculture, are really redundant in that occupation. I made a calculation some time ago that the number which is reported in the census returns as occupied in agriculture could be reduced by at least one-third without affecting one pound's worth in the output of agriculture. In fact, a large proportion of the nominal agriculturists are really unemployed persons. That is the state of things that has arisen in this country owing to the very, influences which Senator Sir John Keane would postulate as the ideal to strive after. While I approve of this method in present circumstances, I do not think it is an effective method of removing present evils. I approve of it as a stop-gap, but unless it is accompanied by proposals for organisation of the industries I don't think it will succeed. I think that by virtue of the reactions it will create it will be found to fail, and probably the last stage will be worse than the first unless steps are taken in the meantime towards the proper organisation of these industries and the direction of them on a qualitative basis.

There is, again, the objection that Senator Farren raised that in this scheme of tariffs which the Government has, up to now, put forward, nothing has been done yet to ensure that the people engaged in the industries are going to secure some of the benefits that might accrue to the industries. We know that it very often happens under a tariff system that money is borrowed to equip an industry with machinery of a much more highly specialised and productive kind —not to increase the number of employees at all in some cases, but by increased output to get a very great increase in the reward of capital. And while the industry and the owners of capital, or the exploiters of capital, are benefiting by the tariff and by the proposals put forward, there is nothing to ensure that the employees that remain in these industries or the employees that come into the industries are going to get anything like a fair wage and fair conditions, or any of the benefits that are supposed to accrue from the tariffs. That is a fault in this scheme, which I hope before long will be remedied, but I warn the Government that unless they do show some signs of directing their minds to that aspect of the problem they are not going to get consistent support in regard to the levying of tariffs from the consuming workers of the country—from the workers who are producers on the one hand and consumers on the other. The workers generally, if I can interpret their minds, are quite prepared to accept something, in the way of increased prices if they can see that there is going to be the probability of increased employment—more general and steady employment and fair wages assured. But unless these things are going to be evident in the working out of these tariffs, then there will be a strong reaction, and the tariff policy will be broken, and nothing will have taken its place. I therefore impress upon the Ministry the desirability and the urgent necessity of giving attention to this side of the policy which, in my mind, ought to have accompanied the tariff proposals that have been put before the two Houses.

When I read this Bill I had not the slightest notion that it would initiate a debate on the question of general tariffs—protection on one side and free trade on the other. We have had some very interesting speeches here to-day and the first speech of great interest was one containing a lot of information delivered by Senator Douglas. I wish to say that by way of introduction to a criticism I now intend to make on the subject. The Senator said that there would be a necessity as time went on to vary the tariffs set out in this measure, and then he made a suggestion that the Minister should be authorised to increase or diminish these tariffs by Order, as he thought proper. Now, that was a remarkable statement coming from a man of the learning and experience of Senator Douglas. It is a suggestion which, if adopted, would go to the very foundation of the authority of Parliament; and certainly it is a suggestion which I for one would never consent to. Either to diminish tariff imposts or increase imposts—I would not allow a Minister to have that authority for one moment. And when the Senator makes the suggestion, a very definite suggestion, that this is a matter that might be considered by the Minister, I feel it is my duty to say this, that that suggestion would meet with the strongest opposition from me and indeed from every Senator in this House once its meaning, its significance and what its results might be, become apparent. I do think that Senator Douglas could not have considered the full significance of the suggestion he made.

I now come to deal with the speech of Senator Sir John Keane. His speech would be perfectly sound, perfectly reasonable and perfectly logical provided this was not a separate country, with a separate people, with separate expenses of Government. If Ireland and England were all one it would be different, but they are not one. History has shown that. We are of a different race from the English, we are a different nation. Senator Sir John Keane ought to have known that out of the experience of his own life, that we can never be one and that Ireland must remain a distinct, separate and independent nation, with all the resources necessary to keep alive a separate and independent nation. Now no nation can live on grass alone. We must have industries as well. I am supporting this measure because of the particular tariffs that are here mentioned and are comprised in thirteen sections of this Finance (Customs Duties) (No. 2) Bill. These tariffs are tariffs suitable to an agricultural country. Every one of them is in that category—the tariff on flour, on machinery, the tariff on boots and shoes, spades and shovels, etc. It is absolutely necessary that we should have the manufacture of all our required agricultural implements in this country and therefore that particular tariff is desirable for our purposes. Then there is the milk and cream duty, the duty on clothing, the duty on certain woven tissues—perfectly reasonable duties to impose in an agricultural country where you must develop industries that are subsidiary to agriculture and useful to agriculture. The same applies to the duty on maize. Now I think that with our soil and our climate we ought to be able to produce food for cattle as cheaply as in any other country in the world. I think that the duty on maize is defensible on the ground that we ought to have more tillage here. My answer to Senator Sir John Keane is this: you must have these industries subsidiary to agriculture because we have 30,000 people growing up every year. They are not emigrating from this country as they used to. Employment must be found for them within the country. Of course the main source of employment, I have always said—and everybody who understands this country will say so—is the soil and the cultivation of the soil of Ireland, and in the development of those industries which are suitable to an agricultural country and subsidiary to agriculture.

This Bill which is before you passes every test that can be imposed upon it from every point of view and that is the reason I rise to support it. Mind you, it is not the measure for general tariffs that will come before you later. It is a special measure, imposing certain duties which are suitable to an agricultural country.

There was, of course, an observation made by Senator Johnson at the conclusion of his speech which gives this debate great significance. He said that we shall not have the general support of the workers except on the condition that such arrangements are made as will give the workers a fair reward for their labour. Stated in that general way, I think that nobody can object to the proposition that labour should get a fair reward. Nobody can object to that proposition, but the conditions of this country at the moment—and I would invite Senator Johnson to consider it, and to consider it very closely and very carefully—the conditions of this country at the moment are very peculiar. As a race, we have in the past sent swarm after swarm of our people to foreign lands every year. The pressure, if you like, was relieved by that method, but the country gradually grew weaker and less populous. A revolution has happened. The revolution is this: that the young people who up to this present time emigrated freely are not emigrating now. They did not emigrate last year. This year they have not emigrated. What is going to happen? Employment must be found for these young people or there will be a burst somewhere. Employment must be found for them in agriculture if possible, and I certainly would prefer to see the greater part of them absorbed in agriculture, absorbed in the more intensive cultivation of the soil. Others of them, however, owing to the natural increase in the small villages and cities, must be absorbed in industry, and whatever Senator Sir John Keane might say about having your manufactures in one corner, of the world and your food growing in another corner of the world, and then flying off to the Riviera or some place else to live in the winter—whatever he may say, the problem is the problem before you— that of finding employment for your young people. You must have industries here. The ten or twelve tariffs mentioned here can be commended from every point of view, because they are tariffs on industries suitable to this country, and as such I think they ought to have the support of every Senator, whether he has been trained in the school of free trade or trained in the school of protection. While I am on this question of the general argument of free trade and protection. I may say that there is nothing I deprecate more than general statements or general essays and speeches-on free trade or protection, because they are all humbug from start to finish. You have to consider the problems that face you in the country from day to day and from year to year.

Now, I did not intend to speak and I think I have stated in a few words the problem before you in this country, whether you were brought up as a free trader or a protectionist, and that is a problem that will have to be solved. I think it is soluble. I believe that the administration is adopting a wise, a prudent, a safe and a reasonable method of solving the question, and for that reason I do support this measure and I support the principle underlying this measure.

On a point of explanation. I understand that the Senator says that I thought the Minister should be given powers either to increase or to modify the tax. That is not so. My point was that he should have power to modify. I think that under the dumping Act they have powers to increase, but it is clear to me that there would be no power to either modify or adjust.

I did not say that. My objection was to a diminution as well as to an increase—to any power given to any Minister of any Government to modify a tax, either by raising it or by lowering it, without the full and free consent of Parliament.

That will be used in evidence against yourself.

I do not mind.

I really had not intended to say much, but the course of the debate makes it rather interesting to say something about what one thinks about it, especially after listening to Senator Sir John Keane, when one finds a remarkable agreement between him and Senator Johnson. With Senator Johnson casting his mind into the future and saying that possibly the conclusions of Senator Keane are correct, it is evident that he agrees with him, and he warns the Government that if Labour finds out that they are not getting the good treatment which they expected from these tariffs they cannot expect to get Labour always supporting tariffs. That is a commonsense view. Senator Comyn seems to think that he can answer for the whole agricultural industry as being satisfied that these tariffs are being applied to them and that they are suitable and good and necessary for the establishment of industry in this country. I can see a farmer, however, thinking twice before he is going to pay double the amount for his boots and shoes and clothing and agricultural machinery and everything else he buys, merely to give extra employment in some town that may be 100 miles away from him. It is a question, and I doubt very much whether all the people who are going to submit to this taxation, of which this is only a small sample, in this Bill, will be all satisfied that it is for their benefit. That is really the great point of difference between us.

Senator Dowdall thinks that the problem of emigration requires a drastic and speedy remedy. Just for the moment, we all know that no matter whether or not we have young people wanting to emigrate, there is practically no place on the face of this earth where they would like to go or where they would probably be taken in if they went. So that we have ample time to consider what measures we will take for the employment of the junior population without considering that they will have to emigrate if we do not do something. When you have a whole lot of people who cannot emigrate and who must live here, it is obvious that something drastic must be done to get employment for them. There is nobody in this House, I am sure, who does not admit that. But, supposing that this great drastic remedy, this tariff business, this dose which is being given to this country, is not the right one? Supposing that we find just as much unemployment in certain industries as there is employment in others, and that every human being living in the Free State is paying far more for his fool and clothes, and everything else which he has to buy to exist, than anybody in another country has to pay, then, surely, that cannot tend to the prosperity of the Free State? There is no question whatever but that it must hamper every industry that we have in the country, and hamper every chance of introducing new industries. No new industry, unless it enjoys some special favour under the tariff principles, will come into a country where the living conditions are very high and where, besides that, all sorts of conditions are being imposed on the freedom of industry. Senator Johnson clearly foresaw that. He practically suggested that the Government would have to come in and so control industries that were being established in this country as to make it certain that they introduced the best of machinery and introduced all the latest improvements for great production. Of course, he could also see—no doubt all Labour sees—that the machinery which is used in these other countries which are sending in their cheap products to us at the present time is the machinery which causes the cheapness of the products, and that if we introduce that sort of machinery into this country, with the small market which we have got, Labour will be out of employment instead of in employment. Apparently, the Government seems to know that perfectly well. I read a speech the other day—I forget who made it—in which it was said that the intention of the Government was that every small mill in the country should be working at full speed. It cannot work now. Why? Because they cannot produce at the cost of the material coming in and being used by the people now. If they are all working, prices must go up. In that way, in the milling industry, with the proper machinery one huge mill could supply the whole country, but if you employ every mill at full work, it is the people of the country who must pay the piper. There is not a vestige of doubt about that. They will pay more for what comes from these mills than for what comes out of the huge mill where there is very little labour and enormous machinery.

Senator Johnson sees that if the Government tried to establish new industries it is doubtful whether the people in those industries would put in first class machinery. They cannot, as a matter of fact, because the market they have got for the produce of their machinery will be only that of the Free State. As our policy goes at present, I do not know what is going to happen with what we are producing, but as far as the amount of production by new industries which will be sold outside the Free State is concerned, I have not heard anybody on the Government side quoting that we are going to have an export trade. I have not heard anybody saying what large export trade is going to come from the industries that are going to be established in the Free State. If you do not get large exports, you cannot have first class manufacture for nearly all of the things which are being quoted under this duty.

Really what is happening is that this great experiment is being tried at the general expense. Who is going to pay for the adequate protection which the Minister says will be applied to any industry if it is found that the duties put on are not sufficient to put it in a healthy condition? Adequate protection will be applied. What does adequate protection mean? The price of the work produced will rise for the consumer. The whole of this protection policy is to be at the expense of the consumer and producer in the Irish Free State. How much they will stand I do not know. The great difficulty about these measures is to know how many people are hit. There was talk about combines and the making of a co-operative commonwealth. We know the ordinary consumer can only express himself when he wants to hit the Government. He has no room like this to come to and to talk, and we hear very little about him. But if this policy is persisted in, and all things tariffed rise in price for the ordinary consumer in the Free State, then the consumer is going to be affected by the whole experiment.

I am half inclined to think that it is not a bad thing that we should get this dose of tariffs in such huge quantities. There is going to be a tariff on drink, clothes, food, everything else. We will have to pay more for everything than we did in the past. We shall see whether that is going to give more employment, and whether this great, drastic and speedy remedy is going to do all it professes to do. If it succeeds, if we are able in our own market to establish these wonderful industries, and to be able to pay higher prices than our neighbours for flour, clothes, shoes, boots and everything else, and if we are to be able to go over and compete with them—if that kind of thing is possible, it will be proved that the whole has been a magnificent and successful experiment in the Irish Free State. But every book that most of us who study these economic questions have read proves that all these experiments are in the teeth of the learning applied to such questions. Every little country in Europe that tries to practise this has gone bankrupt. The measures that have then to be taken to support such countries are those of Russia. Senator Johnson was right. If we are to follow out this policy to the end we must have a Government that will attempt to show business people, working people and everybody else, how to do it. That policy might be a success, but it is not a success in Russia. It might be a success here, but whether the Irish people will submit to it or not I do not know. They might, but heretofore these methods have not suited our people at all.

We all like to work, and the best of our work is produced when we work freely, not when a Government says, "You must not walk across there, or you must not do this or you must not do that." We meet competitors everywhere, and if we are to live we must be as free as they are. The more restrictions put in the way of the Irish manufacturers the worse our trade will be, the more difficulties are tied round us, the more our industries will go out of being. I am merely stating these views because they are the ones I have held for years, and are the result of study and of trying to find out what is the best thing to be done for the country. Senator Comyn is satisfied, so is Senator Dowdall, that this is the best policy, and will yield the results that the Government wish for. I am not at all sure whether a year or two of this terrible tariff policy will not prove the contrary. If I am right we will have learned a bitter lesson of what it is to break the laws of economics, in economic production, and we will be a sadder and a wiser people. If the Government are right they will have established, in face of the best brains applied to economics, that you can make a country prosperous and successful within her existing boundary, without any trade with outside, and only supplying its own nationals. We will have to eat a lot, and to drink a lot, and to clothe ourselves a lot, and to do a great many things we are not in the habit of doing, if such a policy is to be successful. I believe there is no better way of testing this than the present Government's method, and I believe the thing will smash or else something will happen that never happened in the world before.

I should like first of all to explain the reason for the absence of the Minister for Industry and Commerce. As most people know, the Minister has to leave on Friday for Ottawa; he has a good deal of business to do in the other House, and he regrets in the circumstances not being able to be present. I also regret his not being here. Senator Foran raised a few points with regard to the protection afforded to cut flowers. He regretted that it did not apply to salad. I presume he meant to tomatoes and lettuce. I do not know what the Dublin definition of salad is, or whether these come into the one category. It was found on investigation by the Department of Agriculture that they could not feel satisfied that there would be adequate supplies at home, and, therefore, it was deemed inadvisable to impose any protection. We do not want to tax any commodities of which we have not an adequate supply at home.

Senator Douglas raised a great number of interesting points. I do not know whether I am sufficiently well informed to deal with these. After all the Minister in charge knows a good many of these things and has all the details. The Senator referred, I think, to the Tariff Commission. There is no desire on my part to criticise the Tariff Commission that we had in existence, but one may be pardoned for quoting some experience one had with them. The people in one industry, with which Senator Douglas dealt, namely, the motor body building industry and of which he and I had considerable experience in a rather unpleasant way perhaps, applied to the Tariff Commission. The matter dragged on for at least five or six years, and, at the end of that period, the proposals put up to the Tariff Commission, and which in my own opinion were in the main justifiable, were turned down. They kept practically the entire industry in a state of suspense waiting on that decision. That was a fairly general experience with the Tariff Commission as such. While I would be critical about tariffs, and anxious to insure that the various aspects of the problem should be examined, certain things have to be done in this country to encourage people to start industries. It is a question of which you are going to do first: Are you going to get people to embark upon an industry, on the chance of a tariff being imposed, and on the chance that the Government is left long enough in power to both impose and maintain a tariff? This whole problem is a burning one throughout the world. Nobody of any economic experience or any intelligence who reads economics believes for a moment that tariffs, alone, are going to solve either economic problems or social problems.

There are now conditions existing in this country, as well as in other countries in the world, forced upon the people because of the tariff policy indulged in by other countries. In other words, my philosophy is that you cannot live as a free trade unit in an entirely protected world. Anybody who thinks that an industry can be maintained and conducted even for your own home market under such conditions is living in a fool's paradise.

Senator Douglas mentioned amongst the tariffs those on boots and shoes. It is to be remembered that there has been a tariff on boots and shoes and that on children's wear, from size 0 to 6, I believe, no duty is imposed. I think I am correct in saying that. It is also to be remembered with regard to a very big volume of the imports, namely, ladies' shoes, that shoes and boots must be mainly of leather to come under the tariff, and that, I presume, excludes quite a number of women's fancy shoes which come into the country.

Perhaps I might help the Minister. The position is this: that shoes now imported of leather remain at 15 per cent.; that children's shoes from sizes 7 to 1 remain at 15 per cent., whether made of leather or not; that sizes 3 to 6—not 0 to 6, because they would be very small, something like doll's shoes—are now allowed in free whether made of leather or not. My point was the possibility of retaining ladies' shoes below 6/- at 15 per cent.

That was in essence what I tried to convey. Senator Douglas made a certain point with regard to buttons he was importing, and apparently bases on that a certain amount of attack on the tariff policy and on tariffs generally. We know how difficult tariffs are, even in countries highly skilled and with generations of tariffs operating. I had considerable experience in the United States of America in bringing in goods, and I know that restrictions and the reading of regulations on tariffs have been to a considerable extent a hindrance to the import of commodities to the United States.

On a point of explanation. My point with regard to buttons was that the Minister should have power to make modifications. I mentioned something that a firm discovered yesterday, and I gave that as a reason why the Minister should have further power to make modifications.

If I remember it was not a very important matter, but it was given as an example of the careful examination that should have preceded the imposition of tariffs. I think that was the point the Senator made. We find on examination of prices that in men's clothing they are decidedly competitive. We have not yet reached the point—and it will be a considerable time before we do reach it—when the price of women's clothing will be competitive with what might be called British imports. I have already explained the position with regard to maize meal. I quoted to illustrate our care and our attempt to ensure that the results of tariffs will not mean increased prices for consumers. While on the point I would like to raise a general question as to what a price means. Senator Sir John Keane has dealt with a number of things which I will come to afterwards. Price is a very relative thing. It is true that if you are in a position to import Japanese children's hosiery at 2/- a dozen, which is 2d. per pair, made under the worst possible conditions of labour perhaps, and dumped here for the creation, perhaps, of Japanese credit in the Bank of England in London, and if you can get sufficient means to purchase these in international exchanges, I want to ask the Seanad what is the advantage of cheap prices if you have no consuming power? If you have people living in a community and not earning any money, what is the use of having a commodity for sale at 4d. instead of 5d. or at 5/- instead of 7/-? That opens up an aspect which does not arise under this Bill, but so many economic factors have been mentioned—and I may say in some cases with a total ignorance of what is going on now in the economic market since the Victorian era—that one has to point out that there are economic factors working to-day which did not exist 25 years ago, and the sooner folks interested in economics, in free trade and in protection realise that, the better for everybody.

Senator Douglas raised the question of motor body building. The Minister is fully aware of all the difficulties in connection with this particularly difficult trade. Senator Douglas mentioned that he thought there was a possibility that the Ministry would consider having one manufacturer making Ford bodies and Ford cars here. I am not in a position to say that there is, but that tax would worry me least from the national economic point of view of any of these taxes, and for a very obvious reason. The motor trade is one continuous drain of capital out of this country, for which there is no practical work given, except in the partly distributive trade. Social conditions in the country's life being what they are I have no particular animus against distributors. I agree that in a properly organised society they should be considerably reduced. We have certainly too many distributors in this country but that is beside the point now. With regard to motor body building we realise that by neglect we are up against mass production in industry, catering for an enormous market both in Britain, in America, on the Continent of Europe and all over the world. We are a people of 3¼ millions in the Free State or 4½ millions in the whole country and we are not in a position to compete with mass producing plants. What are we to do? Are we to go on buying motor bodies, even if we cannot create any money to buy them? Where is it to end? Is the whole population here to sit down and look on? Remember that fundamentally there is not one commodity we can produce in manufacture on a strictly cold-blooded basis that could not be produced in other countries. That is the reality. Senator Sir John Keane would like us to accept that position. What does he want? Is it coolie labour? Is it birth control? Or is it an attempt to face up to our problems and to realise that we must do something to keep our people? There are different ways of doing it. There is extermination on the Cromwellian lines or there is birth control. Remember that emigration cannot take place now. Let us face realities.

Are we going to try to provide employment in the things we are using within our community or are we not? The position with regard to the motor trade and the motor body builders is under constant review. There is, I know, a positive lack of interest in Irish manufacture by distributors of motor cars. I also know that motor body builders have been reduced practically to a state of bankruptcy, hanging on during the last four to six years in the hope of something being done by a Tariff Commission which did nothing for them. That is the position. I do not yet know what is going to be the solution. I know that we are determined that we are going to build bodies in this country. The question of whether there is to be an extension of the period beyond August 7th is one the Minister and ultimately the Executive Council will have to decide, but I want to warn Senator Douglas, and those people on whose behalf he may have been speaking, that there is no indication that this period will be extended. I now hold out no hope and I would suggest that they should not build on any hope of the period being extended. The reasons will be pretty obvious. The country will not go out of control and will not go out of work or out of commission if motor cars are not made. There are a great many motor cars in the country at present, but we are determined that we will have this industry developed here.

I have already referred to certain remarks of Senator Sir John Keane. The Senator discussed various elements including hard-boiled nationalists, hard-boiled manufacturers, and hard-boiled trade unionists. I believe there are such things as hard-boiled free traders, and hard-boiled unionists, in another sense. He complained that there cannot be any mobilisation of consumers. I do not agree. I consider that the first solution of social problems will be when consumers organise and when they co-operate. The Senator referred to regulations and to the impossibility of Governments standing up to vested interests, including subscribers to Party funds. I do not know what he has in mind. Possibly he knows more about subscriptions to Party funds than we do. I want to assure the Senator that our Party funds come from the poor people. He also preached the gospel of enjoying life and of people doing what they liked. It was interesting to find Senator Jameson and Senator Sir John Keane to-day urging claims for full freedom. I think it is the first time I heard them espouse in this House the cause of freedom. They also want to enjoy life and they complain that there is complete freedom. We all owe certain things to the people we live amongst, and complete enjoyment of life and complete freedom sounds like something that belongs to the pagan philosophy of life, which is not necessary and which will not find much approval in this country. The Senator referred to the possibility of Labour demanding its pound of flesh; to the possibility of strikes and to the possibility of monopolies. I would like to make my point of view clear. I do not believe that tariffs alone are going to remedy all our social evils, any more than they have been a remedy for the economic situation in America or elsewhere, but I say that this is a very necessary step to conserve our own market as far as we possibly can and to keep within our own shores the resources of the country. After all we import goods value for something like £46,000,000 per annum. We have a certain amount of unemployment and we want to try to solve that problem by retaining within our own country the employment that will be afforded in lieu of the imports of these commodities. Questions of labour, the possibility of strikes and monopolies are all very important, but we will face all our problems, and let us hope solve them when we come to them. Before we come to them by anticipation by pursuing the fundamental view-point that this Government has got, we will alleviate social conditions sufficiently, and show that we are not interested in enjoying life and in getting that full freedom to enjoy life that seems to constitute the ideals that Senator Sir John Keane has in mind. We hope to pursue our work in such a way that we will realise to the fullest extent not for employers, not for bankers, not for landlords, but for the plain people, a worth-while standard of life. Any Government that cannot at least attempt to do that is not worthy of the name of Government.

Senator Dillon and Senator Miss Browne condemned these tariffs and spoke of hardships on the agricultural community. They overlooked the fact that in no sense is our tariff policy to be confined to the industrial world. Senator Dillon is, I believe, heavily interested in agriculture, and so, I believe, is Senator Miss Browne. Are they satisfied with the conditions afforded them at present in the markets in England for their produce?

We are not going to have them very much longer.

That is another question. I ask Senators interested in agriculture if they are satisfied with the state of affairs that has prevailed in the last two years with regard to beef cattle, mutton, pork and every agricultural commodity that is exported?

The farmers are never satisfied.

Let us take costings. I am sufficiently interested in the country to do what few farmers do, to try to get the costs of production as against the prices of commodities on the other side of the Channel. I am satisfied that the agricultural industry, in view of what has happened, has been doomed and damned for twelve months. There is a market at your own door, yet three millions of people import agricultural products to the value of 17 millions yearly. We propose that that market should be got and we have taken early steps to do so. We want a reasonable balance of trade between agricultural production and industrial production. People here do not realise that the economic system has gone smash and that it is not going to be revived on the old lines. You have a conversion loan at present. What does it mean? An exchange of paper with a reduction of 1½ per cent. in the interest. That is all it is. You are not on a gold basis. Do not let us sit back and be self-satisfied, and feel that we are back in the old days when the landlord put down his foot, or when the employer put down his foot. These are the days when the people are thinking, and I claim that we are trying to face up intelligently to realities. Whether we win or lose, whether we are here or not, is a matter for the people and by the result we will be judged. As far as I am concerned, and as far as most of the Ministry are concerned, they are prepared to go down on a good sound economic national policy, which aims at working for the plain people of this country.

If we cannot win through on these lines, the sooner we are beaten the better. If you want a cattle ranch, put in cattle ranchers. If you want an employers' monopoly, put in employers. But that is our point of view, and we are going to hold to it.

Senator Farren raised points about tariffs being imposed on goods which were not at the moment being fully produced in the country. Such tariffs as have been imposed have been imposed because it is considered that they are a necessary preliminary, so that manufacturers will be induced to proceed to make the commodities in question. In most cases—in all cases, so far as I know—such a sense of security with regard to production after the tariff has been achieved. Senator Johnson has pointed out what should already have been well known— I do not know whether it was or not— to those people who are interested in agriculture. That is, in regard to the relative position of the Free State and Northern Ireland. Farmer Senators probably know better than either Senator Johnson or I know the actual comparative position, and they will understand whether the absence of tariffs in the Six Counties has meant increased prosperity there as regards exports of agricultural produce. Senator Johnson raised various other points dealing with the possibility of labour-saving devices, wages, mass production, and uneconomic factories. In this is involved the whole fundamental, economic and social problem, and it is not for me to prophesy what is going to happen. I have my own opinions, and occasionally I have expressed them here. I shall give one illustration of what happened on one occasion when I was in Detroit. I was passing through Detroit at a period when Mr. Henry Ford was changing from the old "T" model to his new model of car. I think we all agree that in manufacturing production Mr. Ford was nearly the last word in efficiency. We will also agree that his employees, taking them in the bulk, were as well paid as most employees in factories throughout the world. We will likewise agree that he had highly-skilled organisation, lacking in no detail, for the production, distribution and sale of his cars. At the time of which I speak, the factory was almost closed. There was only a skeleton staff. Practically everybody in Detroit had a house built on a plot which had been bought. The plot was probably bought on the hire-purchase or the deferred payment system, and the house was probably built on the same system. The equipment of the home was probably obtained on the same basis. To the modern industrialist it was probably an ideal community. But things stopped, and the result, as I found it, was that everybody had potential wealth—they had goods, but they could not buy bread, for everybody had the same commodity and there was no means of exchange. I mention this to show how many fallacies people who talk about mass production, efficiency and the rest, labour under, and how many fallacies people accept when they discuss this question of efficiency and all that goes with it. I hold that it is the duty of the State to ensure a reasonable standard of living for all its citizens, and, in the event of a crisis, to pull them through that crisis and make that crisis a national responsibility. When we come to the question of what is going to happen about labour-saving devices and mass production, we have got to realise that what has been wrong with mass production enterprise is that the same hours of employment have gone on with machines that produced about ten times the quantity of goods—that there has been no diminution of work and no proportionate increase in the reward of industry to the people; that the fruits of the genius of mankind, in so far as it has been applied to industry, has gone to the capitalist and to the employer. That is what is wrong with the whole system, and that is something that we definitely have in mind. So far as I am concerned, I will be in no Government when it is lost sight of.

These, I think, are the various points which were raised in the course of the general discussion. If there are recommendations to be made, they can come along on the Committee Stage. I want, however, those Senators who may be thinking of making drastic recommendations to keep in mind what is the fundamental policy embodied in this legislation, which only represents one section of the complete policy. We want work here, and we are going to get work here. We will try to ensure that the work is fairly done, and that the human factors will be the primary consideration. We do not want a race of coolies or people who are going to be exploited by capitalists. We want a decent, Christian community, which has not existed in these islands for a long time.

Question put and agreed to.
Committee Stage ordered for Wednesday, 13th July, 1932.