That may be nonsense, but if it is, then the Acting-Minister for Lands and Fisheries was talking nonsense when he said that "it is generally agreed that a man's title to his land is the use that he makes of it." I said on the Second Reading that that statement of the Minister, and the principle it enunciates, simply meant this: that the payment by a man of his purchase annuity—the buying out of his holding—counts for nothing under this as a guarantee of security of his tenure of that holding. In my opinion this destruction of what we have hitherto conceived to be security of tenure is fundamental to this Bill and must have been embodied in it for a definite specific purpose. If I can read aright such indications of that underlying and specific purpose as the Minister has disclosed, it is the definite and deliberate purpose to create in this State a condition of insecurity and instability which will be a fertile ground for that species of activity which Ministers are so keen to disavow. It will certainly secure a considerable advance of their conception of the social State if the policy enunciated by the Minister is allowed free and unfettered expression. Now one thing that has been conspicuous in this debate, that has been emphasised and reiterated by the Minister, was the question of food production. Food production is, if not the basis, at least, as the Minister would have us believe, the guiding idea of this Bill. When one comes to consider the basic factor of land in national economics, when one weighs it in connection with the thesis of the Minister as regards food production, when one takes into account the strange things that have been said and done in recent times, one must ask what is really the objective of this production which the Minister has so much insisted upon? Is it to be confined to the purpose of home consumption or is it to take in the question of an export trade? If the latter is the case, one would like to have from the Minister in charge of this Bill some explanation of the statement made by the President of the Executive Council last Sunday at Limerick, when he said:
"What the farmers are losing,"
he was referring to the British market,
"is, in my opinion, something that they would have lost in any case, because the market our opponents are crying about losing and asking us to restore is a market which no human agency could restore."
This is very pertinent to the Bill in view of the insistence of the Minister upon the theory that the title to land is based upon the production of food. For whom is that food to be produced? I should like to see this pronouncement of the President of the Executive Council broadcast to the four quarters of the State, if possible—the statement that the British market had gone and that no human agency could restore it. I should like to recall a statement of the same speaker on 23rd January, 1932. He said:
"There was no fear of falling out with England because Ireland was a better customer of England than England was of Ireland. The ordinary trade relations would go on because trade does not take account of politics."
"The ordinary trade relations would go on." We can see how they have gone on, and we can see where they are likely to lead us in the near future. I shall quote one other statement—I am not introducing this for any extraneous purpose, but because I think these statements are more pertinent to this discussion. The statement I shall now quote was made by the Minister for Industry and Commerce on 13th December, 1931:—
"There could be no doubt that for a very long time to come trade with Great Britain would be of enormous importance to this country. At present, 80 per cent. of the goods we export go to the British market. No matter how we may seek to revise the economic system in operation here, the British trade will always play an important part in it, and it would be a very serious thing for the people of this country if whatever advantages can be secured from it were lost to us."