If you take the increase in the cost of living generally, and the increase in the price of agricultural produce, you will find that there has been compensation given to the farmer, so far as it is possible to judge compensation, for the increase in the cost of living more than to any other section of the community.
That is a section of the community I have been talking about, manufacturers and so on, and I have not been able to examine what exactly their position is, but if you take the workers or any other producers of the same type, you will find that there probably has been greater compensation to the farmers than to any other class in the community. It was inevitable, of course, that from the fact that we produce more than we require for our own needs, generally, that we have an export surplus which, in ordinary times anyhow, regulates the price, and the farmers had to sell their produce in a market where they were up against competition from the whole world—it was inevitable, as I say, that our farmers would think that they were not getting an equal return for their labour as compared, for instance, with those working in the cities. Personally, coming from the country, I have very often had to fight for that point of view, but I must say that during the emergency period that has just passed the farmers were not, as they had been on previous occasions, in the front-line trenches, but were well behind the lines, so to speak.
I now come to the question of teachers. In connection with this matter of the control of emigration it has been suggested that teachers have been held back. I have not heard of any particular case, and this is the first time that I have heard teachers mentioned in this regard, but the general idea is that in the case of people who are in employment and who are needed in that employment, they should not be allowed to go. I mentioned the principle of the thing in the Dáil. I have not given a great deal of attention to the matter from what I might call the fundamental, philosophic point of view, but the fundamental point as regards justice and the rights of the community is first of all this: if in ordinary times an individual has been brought up and educated in the community and, in ordinary times, has got a living from the community, is it wrong in a time of crisis to say to him: "Very well. You can get some better reward for your labour, temporarily, elsewhere, but this community will have to carry on and you will be very glad to have this community receive you back when exceptional circumstances stop"? Is it very wrong to say to that individual: "You have been brought up and educated in this community; you have got advantages from it and have been provided with work in it up to the present. Now all that you want is to go somewhere else, temporarily, to get an increase in wages, and you are going to leave our community in the lurch, and we think that you should not be allowed to do so"? I do not think there is any State in the world that will say that that individual has that right as against the right of the community. It is a fundamental question, and it is very hard to draw an exact line as to where the rights of the State should not interfere with the rights of the individual. It is a very difficult question. I would say myself, and I have not any qualms of conscience about it, in regard to any person who has been in employment here in normal times and who, if there had not been a war on, would have continued working here, that if in the time of crisis the community wants him here—I would say that the community has the right to say to that man: "No. You cannot go."
I do not want to compare human rights with the more material ones, but suppose a farmer were to say: "We can get more for our butter, our milk, or other things elsewhere, because of the particular needs that exist elsewhere. We can get all these higher prices for our commodities and, in order to enrich or better ourselves, we demand the right to export all these products", is there anybody who would say that the State should not say: "No. You cannot do that. This community must exist and it has the right to safeguard itself", and say to the farmer who wants to take advantage of a peculiar situation: "No. This community has been as fair to you as it could be. You have been educated here and have been a member of this community, and you will have it to come back to; and therefore, because you had these advantages in ordinary times, in a time of crisis we want you and must get your services". If you do not admit that, you do not admit the right of a community to maintain itself in a time of crisis at all. If you do not admit that, you certainly cannot admit the right of the community to say: "We will conscript you into an army and compel you, if necessary, to lay down your life in defence of the country."
I am only thinking aloud now, so to speak, but in my opinion and from a fundamental point of view the community has a right to say to a man in such circumstances: "No. You cannot go, because we want you". At the same time, however, the community has a duty to safeguard that person from injury to the utmost extent.
Now, in regard to turf production and high wages, I think that the turf workers—those in camp and so on— were getting conditions which were beyond those which prevailed in ordinary times, and that there was a special effort in connection with the work they were doing to give them special remuneration.
I think I have touched on the points raised, in general. There is one thing I would say about this matter. I have been asked that we should have a different type of Bill, and there is a great deal to be said for that. The reason is that we have not been able in the short time at our disposal to go through this very large number of Orders, to segregate them and be able to say: "Well, this is exactly the class that we want."
We have had these general clauses which were objected to very much in the Dáil, and these are still remaining in the beginning of the Act. One would like to have these powers more definitely and specifically related to supply and distribution problems, but time did not permit of that. I told the Dáil that I would endeavour to have that examination carried out so that we can relate them more specifically, but I am afraid we will have to look forward to these problems remaining for at least a year. I do not see the matter of shortage of supplies being cleared up in one year, seeing that the war in the East is still on. I do not see the supply and distribution problem being cleared within one year, and I feel that whoever is alive next year will have to come along here this time 12 months and seek for a continuation of emergency powers. I promised the Dáil that we would examine the matter so as to have a complete Bill or one more specifically related to what appear to be our problems in the future. There is a remark that I made in the Dáil which I think it is important to bear in mind here. In fact, there were some members in the Dáil who shook their heads when I made the remark, and that was that in fact, during this emergency which has passed, our main and most dangerous problems —I am not speaking now of threats of attack upon us; these were always in the offing and we had to make the greatest efforts to deal with them—but the chief problems, in fact, that we had to deal with were supply problems, and therefore from that point of view, nothing new has happened, and the powers necessary to deal with that matter, I am afraid, will have to be maintained until the supply problem is ended and we have no longer a shortage of supplies.
I made the promise in the Dáil, and of course it holds in the Seanad also, that when this thing comes along again I shall endeavour to have a new type of Bill. The Departments have been told to get ready for it, to make all arrangements as quickly as possible to examine into it, but it must be remembered that our Departments are not over-staffed.
There is constant pressure of ordinary work from day to day. When you suddenly throw a big pile of work of this kind on a Department, you cannot without extra staff, and without upsetting its work, get it done very quickly. It seems to those who have examined it, that it would take almost until Christmas, considering the holiday period and all the rest, to have such an examination carefully made. We will then have to start to draft the necessary legislation, and to examine it carefully, and we would hardly be ready at the earliest until some time in March to bring in legislation. I would not like, therefore, to promise that we could have it before this time 12 months, and I am asking the Seanad, as I asked the Dáil, that we should be given the necessary time for the preparation of suitable legislation. It was also indicated that in the examination there should be segregation of the type of power that should be given through ordinary legislation. As the doing of all that would take time I ask the same time that we have had up to the present, that is that we should have, so to speak, another year's continuance of these powers. It may be possible to get rid of them before that, but I would not like to give any promise. Looking to the future it does not appear to me to be by any means bright. I am, therefore, asking the Seanad to be good enough to agree with the Dáil and to give these powers. I have said something in anticipation, perhaps, which may affect Senators who have put down amendments to that extension of time.