Imposition of Duties (Confirmation of Orders) (No. 2) Bill, 1935 (Certified Money Bill)—Second Stage.

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

The purpose of this Bill, A Chathaoirleach, is to confirm a number of Orders which were made during the past six months under the Emergency Imposition of Duties Act. These Orders are set out in the Schedule of the Bill and there is also an indication of the general subject matter of each. Nos. 1 and 10 both relate to cheese and the result is that a duty of 4d. per lb. is imposed on imported cheese, which corresponds to the levy on home-produced cheese. No. 2 imposes a duty upon almonds which have been subject to any process of shelling or on any preparation which, in the opinion of the Revenue Commissioners, consists mainly or wholly of almonds. A factory had been established at Dublin for the purpose of carrying out the processes of shelling, cleaning, drying, cutting and grinding almonds. It is not an important industry, but there is no reason why that work should not be done here, nor is there any increase in price of the prepared almonds in consequence of the making of the Order. No. 3 imposes a duty on enamelled hollow-ware. A factory has been constructed at Tralee and is now coming into production for the manufacture of enamelled hollow-ware. The employment which will be given in the industry is not inconsiderable and will probably prove of considerable benefit to the town of Tralee. The industry also creates prospects for development in other directions. The price of the enamelled hollow-ware produced there will be slightly, but only slightly, in excess of that charged for corresponding hollow-ware produced and sold in Great Britain.

Reference No. 4 imposes a duty on certain floor coverings and paper felt. A factory for the production of felt-base floor coverings and the printing and finishing of linoleum is being erected at Tipperary and no inconsiderable employment will be given there. The industry is one which we are glad to have established and it is being launched by a local company which has the support of a Belgian company of very high reputation. The price at which the products of the factory will be sold will be approximately the same as the price of corresponding products produced and sold in Great Britain.

Reference No. 5 effects an amendment in the existing duty on grassseed, and No. 6 increases the existing duty on cotton thread and cotton ply yarns from 40 per cent. to 100 per cent. as it was considered necessary to have the higher duty in operation because of circumstances which had arisen affecting the industry which had been established in Westport. The purpose of the higher duty is to prevent imports taking place except to the extent to which licences may be issued for that purpose.

Reference No. 7 imposes a duty on certain sports requisites. A factory for the manufacture of these sports goods is at present being constructed at Portarlington and quite considerable employment will be given therein. The factory is being built by a local company with which a British company of very high reputation in the manufacture of these goods is associated on the technical side.

Reference No. 8 imposes a minimum duty on leather. Certain classes of leather are subject to anad valorem duty but, in consequence of the completion of plans for the manufacture of all classes of leather, a minimum duty becomes necessary. Such might not be necessary on all classes of leather, but for purposes of administrative convenience it is felt desirable that the same duty should apply to all classes of leather, because sometimes it is not easy to distinguish between one class of leather and another. New tanneries have been opened and others have been planned which will, it is hoped, produce all the leather of all classes other than those excluded from the scope of this Order required here. When these tanneries have been established and are in full production the price of leather available from them will not be higher than the present price ex British factories.

No. 9 imposes a duty on springs, axles and wind screens. A factory will be established at Wexford for the production of laminated springs for use in vehicles and for axles, axle boxes, axle arms and also wind screens for vehicles. A public company has been formed for that purpose. The industry is one which gives considerable employment, and it is expected that when these articles I have mentioned are being successfully made, it will be capable of development to include other articles of a corresponding nature. Reference No. 10 I have already mentioned in connection with No. 1. It relates to cheese.

The Orders which have been confirmed by this Bill were made between the period from the beginning of September to the end of October and in accordance with the provisions of the Emergency Imposition of Duties Acts; the earlier Orders on the list are due for confirmation by the Oireachtas. If such confirmation by statute is not made, they cease to be operative. There is still a considerable period to run in respect of the later Orders, but it was considered desirable to incorporate them so that a similar measure will not be necessary until the Finance Bill, 1935, is being introduced. The Orders were all made in pursuance of the general policy of stimulating industrial production by affording reasonable protection, and the new industries created in consequence of them will be of assistance in reducing unemployment and increasing the production of industrial goods within the country. It will be noted, I am sure, with satisfaction by Senators that these new industries are being established in various parts of the country where employment will be particularly beneficial.

I and, I am sure, other Senators were glad to hear from the Minister's statement that these new industries are being distributed throughout the country. I was very glad to see that a new industry for hollow-ware was being established in Tralee, and also that industries are being established in Tipperary, Roscrea, Westport and other towns. I would suggest to the Minister that in this industrial development, which is so necessary for this country, the Minister should keep before him in his office a map of the Free State and that he should put marks upon that map for every place in which he has a factory. In that way, he would see certain areas which are blank. One of these areas is the county of Clare. If he did as I suggest, it would constantly bring before his mind the fact that in that county we are bearing the burden—a burden which I do not say is an undue burden having regard to the advantages—of this new industrial development. I think the Minister would see, if he looked at that map that there would be a great white patch there, and I suggest that he should fill it in and put a mark on the county of Clare for a factory or two.

I should like to ask the Minister about the imposition of a duty on almonds. I understand that there was a duty of £40 to the ton on ground almonds and, in addition to that, a further £18 per ton added. If the £40 were added for a protection, the people producing within the country ought to be able to produce them with that £40 protection without adding a further £18. I want to know if my information is correct because, if it is correct, the Minister should not permit that £18 to be put on.

I am interested in Reference No. 6. When Reference No. 6 was being discussed in the Dáil, the Minister stated that the only complaint he had in regard to the increase in the price of thread was from me. He suggested that my complaint was based upon a misunderstanding and that my statements were incorrect. I should like to know from the Minister what was the misunderstanding and in what way my statements were incorrect. The Minister also stated that I had heard from his Department—I presume communicating the result of the Minister's investigation into the prices which I stated were being charged by the Westport firm. I have never heard from either the Department or the Minister since in reference to the matter. In fact, I did not even receive back the letter containing the quotations which I handed to the Minister here in the Seanad. I was not aware that my statements were either based upon a misunderstanding or were incorrect until I read it in the Official Report of the proceedings in the Dáil. Since I learned that my statements as to the price were challenged, I took the trouble of checking them and making some inquiries myself, and I find there is no misunderstanding whatever. The prices quoted by me were quite correct both in regard to prices charged by the Westport factory and the prices charged to manufacturers in Derry by other firms making thread.

On the last occasion, I stated that the Westport factory was charging 67/- per gross for cops of 2,000 yards. No. 50—three cord; and 147/- per gross for No. 40—six cord. These were the prices quoted in July last and these are the prices quoted to-day. No. 50 three cord thread, for which Westport want 67/-, is being sold to-day to Derry manufacturers, who are our competitors in the British market, at from 46/- to 48/- per gross. I have here a letter from one of the largest factories in Derry, in reply to my inquiries as to what they were paying for their thread. They say:—

"Dear Sir,

In reply to yours of the 9th instant re price of thread, we are at present paying for 50/3/2,000, 45/- per gross; and for 40/6/2,000, 106/- per gross. We only use the best thread, and we find it cheaper in the end having no waste through breakage, etc."

I got three other similar replies.

Is that a statement already made? Is it a quotation?

It can be investigated by anybody else.

It is not a quotation. Had they anything to support it?

It is a quotation. It is what they are paying for their thread.

That is what they say, but it is not documentary evidence of the fact.

I do not know what better documentary evidence you want than the statement of a reputable firm as to what they are paying. I have no intention to deceive the Senator. He can find the facts out for himself. I challenge investigation from the Minister's own Department in this matter. There are many factories in Derry and it can easily be ascertained that what I am saying is correct. I do not know what the explanation is. The Minister says he has received no complaints from manufacturers: that the only complaint he has received was from myself. I can quite understand the Minister receiving no complaints from other manufacturers, because manufacturers do not want to complain — especially manufacturers making exclusively for the home market. They have the remedy in their own hands and can pass the increased price of thread on to their customers; but it is a serious handicap for manufacturers who have an export trade to have to pay 67/- and 147/- as against 45/- and 106/- paid by their competitors.

The Minister gave an assurance here that once the Westport factory got into production its prices would not be higher than the British price. In fact he said:

"This is not a matter of promise; it is the matter of our undertaking that it will be imposed on this firm as a condition of its licence. If they do not comply with these conditions they will find themselves subject to a penalty which may amount to £50 a day, and also to the revocation of their licence."

Of course, if Westport are not in production, the Minister cannot enforce these penalties, and I do not think they are producing the thread they are offering to-day. What I suspect they are doing is importing thread under licence and charging manufacturers 40 per cent. profit on it. This is most unfair and inequitable, and contrary to what the Minister said here on the last occasion — that if Westport were not in a position to supply, licences would be given to manufacturers to import free of duty. My experience of how that assurance of the Minister worked out was this: About three weeks afterwards, my firm applied for licence to import thread for a special machine — thread which we explained was not being made at Westport — and also for a licence to import ordinary thread. Our application was refused for both threads. We then sent the following letter to the Department:

"Dear Sirs,

With reference to yours of 23rd inst. refusing our application to import

(a) 6 gross 2000/50 thread.

(b) 2 gross 10,000 special left-hand twist for Feldlock machines,

and referring us for supplies to the Irish Sewing Cotton Company, Westport, we beg to point out that the company referred to do not manufacture the special thread required for the Feldlock machine and that their price for 2000/50 thread is 67/-, as against 54/-, the price which we at present pay for similar thread."

I may say that while English firms, not in the combine, were selling thread to manufacturers in Derry at 45/-, the central agency were charging 54/-. The letter goes on:—

"If we cannot obtain the special thread required for the Feldlock machine we shall have to scrap the machine, which cost us close on £100. And if we cannot buy thread at a similar price to our Derry competitors it will have the inevitable result of losing the portion of our export trade which we have retained with very great difficulty. We are very much surprised that our application for licence should be refused, especially as the Minister stated in the Seanad on the 25th July ‘that the hold-up in licences is in respect to persons engaged in the sale of thread.' On the same occasion the Minister also stated that where the Westport factory was not in a position to supply thread of a particular class ‘manufacturers will be allowed to import free of duty' and that good care would be taken 'that clothing and similar factories where thread was used as raw material would not be adversely affected to any extent which would interfere with their development.' In view of these statements we would respectfully request the reconsideration of our application."

Well, our application was reconsidered, and about ten days afterwards we had an answer refusing a licence for ordinary thread but giving us a licence for the special thread. Senators will note that that occurred only three weeks after the Minister stated here that Westport was producing for stock and not for sale, and that licences were to be given to manufacturers to import free of duty. But, although we were refused a licence to import £13 or £14 worth of thread, I am aware that about a fortnight afterwards another firm obtained a licence to import £136 worth of thread. It is but fair to state that the other firm was able to put up the case to the Department that they had ordered thread from Westport nine weeks previously and had not been able to get any delivery. But this should have been known to the Department at the time that I applied for the licence— that Westport was not in the position to produce — and I do not think it was fair to refuse my application.

Licences were refused to my firm as far back as November, 1934. As I told the Minister in the Seanad on the last occasion, when we applied for a licence to import thread we were referred to the Irish Linen Thread Company, Thomas Street, Dublin. The Minister said that was a mistake on the part of his officials. No doubt it was, but what remedy have manufacturers for these officials' mistakes? Manufacturers are hampered and hindered by this system of licences and by this policy of giving monopolies to firms for the manufacture of commodities which are essential raw materials. I may say that I am not one bit concerned whether the monopolists are Messrs. Coats or the British Thread Mill of Leicester. All that I am concerned with is to get thread promptly and at a price which will not handicap me with other competitors. I feel that in this matter of thread, with its infinite varieties, manufacturers should not be left at the mercy of any one firm, nor should they be left at the mercy of an official who may refuse a licence without any investigation whatever, and without any regard to the effect that his refusal may have on the business of an applicant.

We hear a lot about attempts to sabotage newly-established Irish industries, but nothing about the old-established Irish industries which are being sabotaged by Governmental regulations and restrictions, especially by the imposition of duties on raw materials essential for production — materials that are not being made in this country at all.

I apologise to Senators for thrusting my own business affairs on the notice of the Seanad. I should have much preferred to discuss the matter with the Minister privately. I attempted to do that through the good offices of one of the Fianna Fáil T. Ds. for Donegal, but as the Minister was engaged at the time with the Insurance Bill I could not see him, and I am obliged, therefore, to take this opportunity of bringing the matter before the House.

I want to give the Minister an instance of how my business is hampered, especially my export trade. About two months ago, a Glasgow firm sent us a fairly large order for shirts which had to be made from material called white repp. The material required for that order is not made in the Saorstát, and being over 4½ ounces to the square yard is dutiable. The firm's order was sent to the Minister's Department with an explanation that the repp was not procurable here and that we would require a licence to import, free of duty, the material necessary in order to fulfil this export order. We had to write twice before we got an answer, and, finally, we got an answer refusing our application. We then had to write, three or four weeks afterwards, to our customer in Glasgow explaining that we could not fulfil the order. That is not a very nice way of encouraging an export trade. We lost that order. The same is happening in regard to webbing for collars. There is a certain class of shirts made of high-class poplin and the customer requires the collars to be lined with webbing. We have had to refuse English orders because we could not get the webbing required for the collars of this particular class of shirt. There are no mills in this country making this webbing. When you speak to any of the managers they tell you that they have no intention whatever of making this material which is, in fact, made by very few mills in Lancashire. Yet, a duty is put on it though it cannot be to protect Irish industry. It looks to me as if it was just to get revenue, and to hamper our export trade.

It is the same in regard to interlining for dress shirts. There is a duty put on that also. The result is that as the duties that have to be paid on the raw materials are almost as heavy as the duties on the finished article, dress shirts and white collars are now being imported with consequent loss of orders and loss of employment to the workers with firms which could engage in the manufacture of these articles. It may be that the number of firms engaged in the export trade, or in the manufacture of dress shirts and white collars is too small for the Minister's Department to be seriously concerned about it. But, one would think that firms that have been giving employment in this country for generations should, at least, have the same consideration from the Minister's Department as newly-established firms. I do not want to be offensive, but I certainly think that native firms should have the same consideration as British-controlled firms.

I would like to know if we could have an assurance from the Minister that the quality of the grass-seeds produced in the Saorstát will be quite as good and available at as reasonable a price as those which we have been accustomed to get. Will he say if the amount produced in the Saorstát will be sufficient to meet the needs of the farmers of the country? The grass-seeds are to be produced in the Ulster counties and, of course, farmers in other parts of Ireland would be only too willing to help that industry amongst their fellow-farmers in another part of the country if they could get an assurance that both quality and price will be satisfactory, and that a sufficient quantity will be produced to meet our needs in the Saorstát.

I should like to make a remark about what the Minister said about industries in general. We all agree with him that it is very desirable indeed to have industrial development. We would all like to help in that development. We have never done otherwise. No one has ever hampered in any way the development of industries. However, I must say this, that if the Minister was to put a new industry into every village it will not cure unemployment. We know from the figures that industrial development is not curing unemployment; that unemployment is increasing to an alarming extent. There is only one way in which unemployment can be cured, and the country put into a prosperous condition and that is by the Government removing the terrible restrictions that have been placed on the agricultural industry. Until that is done the Minister's hope of curing unemployment is vain and futile. Until the agricultural industry is put on its feet there will be an increase in unemployment.

With regard to the duties imposed on certain articles used in sport, many people consider that it is scarcely fair to discriminate between different forms of sport. Articles used in certain sports are taxed while articles used in other forms of sport are not taxed. I have heard a great deal of comment that it is unfair to discriminate. People should be allowed to buy the articles they require for sport without any discrimination being made in the way of taxation.

Senator Miss Browne talked about unemployment and about the conditions of agriculture. There is an ideal opportunity at the present time to give a tremendous amount of employment by the production of grass seed.

I only asked for information. I made no criticism.

An unlimited amount of employment could be given in the production of grass seed instead of so much time being wasted trying to create an atmosphere here of industrial inferiority. There are wonderful possibilities in that industry and tremendous profits could be made by the production of grass seed. With regard to Senator MacLoughlin's statement, I cannot presume to answer his remarks about thread. The Minister is here for that purpose. I must say that there has not been so much hulla-balloo about any factory established in this country, more slanderous statements made or more meetings held about it in the City of Dublin by the Wholesale Merchant Drapers' Association—who are anything but national— as the attempts that have been made to sabotage the Westport factory, ably assisted by Messrs. Coats, in which these people are large shareholders. Senator MacLoughlin is probably a large shareholder.

I beg your pardon?

I said you were probably a large shareholder.

I have not a single 1/- in Coats or any other British firm. Any few pounds I have were invested in Irish industry when the people whom the Senator is now associated with were changing their accounts to English banks.

What are you talking about — I never had 1/- in an English bank. You are talking to a man who has as much money invested in Irish industry as you have.

Probably more.

I wish I had.

I did not refer to you at all. I said the people you are associated with.

I am not one of the mushrooms that has grown up at all. I am talking with all the weight of experience.

Keep to the question of thread.

I was replying to the Senator.

You accused him of being a shareholder in Coats firm and he was entitled to reply.

A hullabulloo was created about this factory in Westport. It is the only factory of its kind established since the recent development of industry on the western seaboard. It is the only one there to which some little assistance and facilities were given, because the people behind it went down there to establish it. I wish Deputies in the other House and Senators who are kicking up all the hullabulloo, and who object to the facilities that were given as an inducement to have the factory started in Westport went to Lad Lane in Dublin where a store is crammed with thread. Anyone who knows anything about the thread business knows that. It has not been repudiated. Who is responsible for that? The Merchant Drapers' Association of this city ably assisted by the thread combine in England, primarily Coats. The thread combine in England paid half if not all the tariff on that thread. At least, some of us know that they paid half of it. What was all that for but to sabotage an Irish industry? Yet members of the Oireachtas got up and, assisted by propaganda, and used the privileges of the House in order to justify what was done. An Irish industry would never be started were it not for tariffs. Once it is admitted that tariffs are necessary, why should people go and assist those who try to keep outside the tariffs? A famous combine in England succeeded in doing that. The whole thing is mean, and the worst meanness was the suggestion that British thread mills were above criticism. The thread made in Westport has stood the test of competition of the British industry, but because the factory was established in Westport we have had a hullabulloo. Why did not these people have something to say about Dunlops, or rubber shares, or about the price of tyres being increased?

They are not mentioned in this Bill.

I might say that people could afford to pay more for tyres. This is the price that has to be paid for giving employment here. There could be a lot in what Senator MacLoughlin says and I have sympathy with his point of view. As a manufacturer, he is undoubtedly entitled to his licence. He has admitted that other people got any amount of licences, but obviously they got them because they were entitled to them. There must be some snag in his case or he would have got his licence too.

I thought so.

The inference the Senator is trying to draw is that it is a political snag.

There must be some snag and the Senator's "I thought so" suggested that.

On a matter of personal explanation. I do not say that it is for political reasons that I have been refused. I say that I have been refused because the official did not consider it worth while to see whether my application had any merits or not.

I hold no brief at all for officials, and probably the Senator is right. Officials are not infallible and my own personal opinion is that there is too much damned officialism, if you like. It cannot be got over, but instead of whining about not getting what he is entitled to, the Senator should go after it until he gets it. Officials make mistakes often, one would think, purposely, but that is the curse of the present day system. There is too much officialism in every Department and too much interference with the individual. I have always had that view, but you cannot get away from it if you are to have proper conditions in and development of your country. Consequent on that interference, there are bound to be mistakes and the Senator happens to be one of the victims. However, it is good to have arguments of this kind which give some of us an opportunity to give off what we have at the backs of our minds. I am quite satisfied that the Minister when replying will make a much better case against the Senator than the Senator made in what he said.

So far as almonds are concerned, there is not a duty of £40 per ton on almonds. There is a duty of 33? per cent.ad valorem. The price of almonds was not increased in consequence of the Order, but the price of dressed almonds has been increased recently because the price of the raw materials has been going up all over the world for various causes which it is not necessary to enter into now. There has been no increase because of the Order and these dressed almonds are available here at the same price as that at which they are available elsewhere. So far as grass seeds are concerned, the Minister for Agriculture has full control over the quality of grass seeds offered for sale by seed merchants and is particular to see that only seeds of suitable quality are in fact sold. I think there has been no complaint on the ground of the price at which the clean seed has been available, and this year, at any rate, there will be no difficulty in the matter of quantity. Therefore, on the points made by Senator Miss Browne, particularly as to quantity and quality of grass seeds, I think she will find that, circumstances will be satisfactory.

With regard to sports goods, we are not of course discriminating between forms of sport nor are we preventing people from getting any implements that are used in sport. Certain sports goods — hockey sticks, tennis rackets, cricket bats and articles of that kind — are made liable to a protective duty because they are being manufactured here, just as football covers are made liable to a protective duty because they are manufactured here, and just as possibly in the future other sports requisites will be made here and then be made liable to duty. It does not follow that people who engage in these forms of sport are in any way discriminated against. The implements necessary for the sports will be available from Irish factories, and, in this particular case, they will be manufactured by a firm that has associated with it another firm of first class technical reputation in these matters and at prices which will, I think, be found satisfactory in comparison with the prices at which the goods have been available previously.

With regard to thread, I recollect the complaint made by Senator MacLoughlin when the matter was here before which he substantiated by supplying to me certain figures representing, he purported, the prices at which certain classes of thread were procurable from Westport and procurable from outside the country. I had that complaint investigated and I came to the conclusion that the prices were not comparable because the qualities were not the same. I was under the impression that I had communicated the result of that inquiry to Senator MacLoughlin. If he states that he did not receive the letter, some mistake must have occurred. I am speaking entirely from recollection, but I will look into the matter and see if I can send him the explanation even now, although it is somewhat belated.

The position with regard to Westport is that the licence which has been issued to that company is subject to a condition that the price ex-factory at Westport of the thread produced by them will not be greater than the price charged by the British Thread Mills Ltd. for the same thread produced at Leicester. That is a condition of their licence. If they depart from that condition, the licence can be revoked, and it is therefore a matter of concern for the Department of Industry and Commerce to keep the position under review in order to enforce that condition. So far as household thread is concerned, I think there can be no question that that condition is being fulfilled. In fact, the price of Westport household thread is definitely cheaper than the British thread. So far as the manufacturers' prices are concerned, I had no complaints until recently, but, as I stated in the Dáil last week, some complaints were received recently, arising out of which a conference was held this morning in the Department between representatives of the Westport firm and of the manufacturers who made the complaints. What the result of that conference is I cannot say, because I do not know.

Is the Minister aware that letters were actually sent from Westport stating that their price was higher? I have actually seen such a letter and I can send a copy to the Minister if he wishes.

I am not aware of that. The point I want to make is that the Department would be glad to get any complaints of that kind and to investigate them because it has a dutyvis-a-vis the Westport company — the duty of enforcing the condition which is in their licence and which, if departed from consistently, would necessitate revocation of the licence. There may have been, and possibly are, certain difficulties which the firm are experiencing at this stage of the development which will not arise later. As I explained before, the industry is being established in stages. One stage is being completed and the next stage, which involves the dyeing of the thread, is being undertaken now. The extension to the works is at present being made and the new buildings being constructed and possibly will be ready for operation somewhere early next year. Then there will be the third and final stage to be taken after that, on the completion of which every process of thread manufacture will be undertaken at Westport. The firm has been making very good progress. I said in the Dáil last week that they were employing 50 hands. I find that I understated the position very considerably because there are in fact over 75 hands employed at present on the first stage of the development. That number will increase considerably as the other processes of manufacture are undertaken.

So far as licences are concerned, I think Senator MacEllin was unfair to the wholesale drapers. So far as I, am aware, the wholesale drapers have given the Department every assistance in getting over the difficulties associated with the establishment of this industry. At the Drapers' Chamber of Trade it was pressed strongly that the temporary regulation of the imports of household thread should be effected by issuing one licence only, namely, to the Westport company. We adopted that arrangement as a temporary device. It is not a suitable arrangement, from our point of view, although it met the difficulties of the wholesale drapers. The Drapers' Chamber of Trade has, at all times, shown goodwill to the enterprise and a desire to co-operate with the Department in assisting it along. Difficulties have, no doubt, been occasionally experienced by manufacturers. I am anxious to avoid the possibility of these complaints arising. I cannot, of course, deal now with the circumstances of individual licences but I should like to assure Senator MacLoughlin and other members of the House that the policy of the Department is to see that licences are issued for the importation free of duty of thread where it is clear that similar thread cannot be procured from Westport within a reasonable time. These are the instructions which the officers of the Department who are dealing with the matter have received. Senator MacLoughlin went, perhaps, somewhat beyond the scope of this measure by dealing with the question of certain classes of cloths. There are difficulties — quite considerable difficulties — in administering the duties on certain classes of cotton cloths. So far as repp cloth, to which the Senator referred, is concerned, it is not possible to issue licences when that cloth is being imported for the manufacture of shirts for the home trade. I am not sure that the Department appreciated that Senator MacLoughlin, in the case he referred to, required the cloth for his export business. Where the goods produced from the cloth are to be exported, it should be possible to issue licences for its importation.

I sent the Department the original order from the Glasgow firm, so that they knew the cloth was to be used for export purposes.

I shall look into the matter. I am merely stating what the position is so far as that cloth is concerned. Although full quantities of it are not being produced yet, it is not possible to issue licences for its importation. There has been more successful evasion of that particular duty than of most duties and, at the present time, the operation of it is being examined with a view to seeing what changes may be necessary to make it effective. Where cloth of that kind is required for export, I think we shall be able to meet the firms concerned, although I say that without having first examined the administrative difficulties that may arise. On principle, I should be quite sympathetic to the idea and if possible I shall arrange to have it given effect.

These were the principal points mentioned arising out of the actual provisions of the Orders that are being confirmed by this measure. I do not think I need at this stage deal with questions of general industrial policy and their effect on employment. These matters are generally debated in another place. They have been debated for a long time and will, no doubt, be debated for a long time to come. The sole purpose of this measure is to deal with the particular matters mentioned in the Schedule. So far as they are concerned, I think a good case can be made for every one of them, irrespective of what general policy may be at any time.

I wish to thank the Minister for the promise of sympathetic consideration of applications for licences for import of material required for export orders. As regards the quality of the thread, I want to explain to him that it was tested by experts. The quality of the Westport three-cord thread was equal to that of Coats or the combine at 54/- and slightly better than the thread in Derry at 45/-. The six-cord 40 thread, for which they wanted 147/-, was much inferior to the six-cord 40 thread used in Derry. That is the truth.

Question put and agreed to.
Committee Stage fixed for Thursday, 12th December.

There will be a motion on the Order Paper to take all the stages of this Bill to-morrow.