Appropriation Bill, 1949 ( Certified Money Bill )— Second Stage (Resumed).

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

It will, I am sure, be admitted that he would be a very resourceful Senator who could find a new topic for discussion to-day after the exhaustive survey we had yesterday. If there be any bitter opponent of the Minister on any side of the House, he must sympathise with him in having had to listen to all the suggestions made to him during that debate. The most important topic which came up for discussion yesterday was the Border, and I do not propose to deal at any great length with that matter. I should like, however, to express my humble opinion that the question of the Border should be looked at in a commonsense, practical way.

I have always heard that the people of the North of Ireland were hardheaded, keen, intelligent, business-minded people and I believe they are so to-day. Consequently, I hold that, if we are to attract the people of the Six Counties into a united Ireland, we will have to attract them by convincing them that it would be to their own economic and social advantage to come in here. It will not be denied that, in many respects, social services and conditions are better in the Six Counties than here, and the obvious solution, therefore, is to bring our social services not alone up to the standard of those obtaining in the Six Counties but above that standard, so that it will be in the economic and social interests of the people of the Six Counties to become part of a united Ireland. The alternative would be to wait until such time as the social services in the Six Counties fell below the standard obtaining here. That is my view of the situation and I think it is a commonsense view.

The question which interested me most was the question of local rates, which was referred to by some Senators. The position with regard to rates is one which is at the moment disturbing both rural and urban Ireland. Year after year, the tendency has been to increase the burden on the ratepayers, whether urban or rural, and I honestly believe that we are arriving at the stage now when the ratepayers will no longer be able to carry that burden. Various causes have been advanced for that and various solutions have been offered. In my opinion, having been a member of a local authority for a number of years and having examined this question carefully, there are two items of local expenditure which should be discharged by the national Exchequer. It would reduce very appreciably and in a bearable way the present intolerable burden on the local rates.

These items are the maintenance of main roads and the upkeep of mental hospitals. The latter, I think, is the more serious of the two and is a question that has not been tackled in a sane way at all. I understand that about 100 years ago, roughly 1851, a capitation grant was made available to mental hospitals by the British Government. The sum was 4/- per head of the inmates and was then intended to represent 50 per cent. of the maintenance cost. That would mean that it cost 8/- per week in 1851 to maintain a patient. There is nobody who would suggest now that 8/- or 24/- a week would maintain a patient in a mental hospital. The first step is either to make mental hospitals a national charge or to increase appreciably the capitation grant from the Central Fund.

Main roads are the main arteries of the country. In times of emergency or war they are not regarded as being the property of any local authority, but as the property of the nation. I think it is correct to say that in olden days under the British Government main roads were not maintained by a local authority but by the War Office, as it was recognised that they were important militarily. If that be so, I think no further argument is required to convince any Government that the upkeep of the main roads should be made a national charge.

The question of housing also arises and I must say that I was rather amazed to hear Senator Tunney say last night that you could get here in Dublin artisans' dwellings for £1,400. Lately my council advertised for tenders to build 60 cottages and the lowest tender was £152,000 or over £2,000 per house. We had to abandon the idea of erecting them by contract and are now endeavouring to erect them by direct labour. I do not think that labour costs are really the whole problem. It may be correct, as Senator Tunney suggested, that output per man per hour is not what it should be. I am not in a position to give an opinion on that, but I am afraid that there is a tendency to make good profit while money is available and too much return is expected from investment in the erection of a house. I believe that in our county we will be able to erect at slightly over £1,000 houses for which over £2,000 has been asked and we are paying the current rate of wages to tradesmen and labourers.

I should like to refer to what Senator Quirke said with regard to the horse-breeding industry. That is a matter, I think, which could not be over-stressed. It would be sad to think that the action taken by any Government, any Minister or even by the Irish people themselves would lead to the ultimate disappearance of the horse here. I do not think we are so far removed from the last war as to forget what might have been the condition of things here were we entirely dependent on tractors for the sowing of our crops.

If in 1941, 1942 or 1943, those terrible years, we were entirely dependent on tractors to plough our land, what would be the position? We would be entirely dependent for propulsion power on an outside country and I think that would be a very undesirable state of affairs. Of course, it could be argued that it would be to the advantage of the people across the Channel to supply our petrol and oil requisites for tractors, but if they did they would make definite concrete proposals by which we would have to abide and that is a position in which I would not like to see this country. It would be a bad day for this country if man deserted the horse to go over to mechanical aid. There is not alone the question of the danger it would involve in war time, but you must remember the various types of employment the horse gives —the farrier in his forge, the carpenter in his shop and the saddler in his workshop. All these people are maintained because of the fact that we possess horses. Are they going to be thrown out of employment while we go over to a new idea and every penny for purchase and upkeep of the machines leaves the country? I hope that no sane man will ever encourage that, and strangely enough I do not agree with Senator Quirke that that is likely to take place on the larger farms first. In my view it would happen first on the smaller farms because the larger farm can afford to feed a horse or two while it would be a strain on a small farm to keep a horse and the small farmer might tend to rely on private contractors who would have a tractor and plough and sell his horse. It is surprising the speed at which that tendency might spread and the horse might disappear.

I think that any fair-minded man must admit that the present Government is making a fair effort to make this country progressive, and while good sound constructive criticism is the best thing a Government can have, I believe that it should be well intended. Looking at things in an entirely impartial way—I have no bitter Party politics —I think we have in this country a Parliament which should be the finest in the world because in the Government of this country you have representatives of every section of the community no matter who they may be. In opposition you have intelligent front bench ex-Ministers with 16 years' experience of administrative power. If they give of their best and if the Government give of their best I think that this should be the good, healthy, prosperous country which every one of us would like to see it.

I should like to preface my remarks by congratulating the Minister upon his efforts to keep expenditure down. It is true that actually the expenditure is still very high, but it is a good deal lower than it would have been if certain events had not taken place during the last 18 months. The Minister deserves congratulations for having abandoned certain wasteful, unproductive projects and for having sold certain white elephants— although, if I may mix the metaphor, possibly a bear market is not the best time to sell elephants, white or otherwise.

The expenditure in the Appropriation Bill represents something in the nature of a switch from wasteful to productive purposes. That is why, in a general way, it is deserving of the congratulations of the Seanad. However, I do not think it is injudicious for a detached person to refer to the fact that public expenditure of the central and local authorities is rather disquientingly high. That is the case stated by the Minister himself in his Budget statement in the Dáil and I do not think he can reasonably object if attention is called to it in a critical and constructive way in this Chamber. At the present time, as far as we know in the absence of any authoritative figures on national income and expenditure, central and local expenditure to-day represents about 25 per cent. of the estimated national income. That is generally accepted by public authorities on finance in other countries as the maximum safe percentage of the public expenditure to national income in peace time. It is very important, in the event of a country being threatened with war or other emergency, that there should be some margin. If public expenditure is more than about 25 per cent., the margin is not there. It is estimated that at present in Great Britain about 44 per cent. of the national income is reflected in public expenditure and it is recognised by detached observers that that is dangerously high, allowing for no expansion in war time, except by means of dangerous inflationary devices. Therefore, the Minister will admit that the public expenditure in this country has reached almost the danger point.

In a debate where everything from Partition to housing and industrial schools has been dealt with, I noticed that the one Senator who was called to order and forbidden to proceed was the Senator who mentioned taxation. Looking at it in a detached way, it seemed to me that taxation was at least as relevant to this debate as some of the matters which were so interestingly discussed. At the same time, I see the distinction between expenditure and taxation, but I crave the leave of the House to make one observation and I think it will be admitted when it is made that it is relevant. I admit that to discuss particular taxes on this motion would be completely disorderly, but, to use a term now being used by economists, I would like to take a macrocosmic view rather than a microcosmic view of the matter. I think that when discussing expenditure as a whole, we are entitled to make some reference to taxation as a whole. If one objects to high expenditure, it is not because of the high expenditure, but because of the sacrifices that have to be made by the community for it. High expenditure by Government authorities involves two things, or perhaps a little bit of each —either high taxation, which may be oppressive, or borrowing, which may be inflationary. My suggestion is that taxation in this country has reached a point where it is discouraging to saving and to enterprise, and that some of the public borrowing—indeed, private borrowing, too, for that matter—has got a somewhat inflationary effect. These are matters to which I would like to direct the attention of the Minister, hoping he may deal with some of them in his reply.

I realise that taxes are not quite relevant in this discussion, except to the degree I have already suggested; but perhaps I may be allowed to refer in passing to the reduction in the standard rate of income-tax which took place in the current financial year. Because the Irish rate is 2/6 less than the English rate, we are asked more or less to felicitate ourselves on our comparative immunity from direct taxation. I suggest that to compare the two rates is fallacious. In the first place, the English rate is, by any ordinary criterion, inordinately high. It represents food subsidies, which have brought a completely artificial price structure into the English economic system, which most people agree are very unsound and should be reduced. In the second place, it represents egalitarianism and socialism in action. Therefore, if taxation is 2/6 less here than the standard rate in Britain, it does not necessarily follow that it is at a sufficiently low level to suit our requirements, as we are comparing it with something which is inflated too highly. Secondly, Irish gross incomes on which the taxes are levied are, on the whole, lower than British. Professional and business incomes are lower.

I suggest that the rate of income-tax in this country which is necessary to support this rather high expenditure has had a bad effect on personal savings. I am not aware that any statistics have been published of the personal savings of our people, as distinct from the enforced savings caused by high taxation, by insurance savings and by the ploughing back of profits into company reserves. I would ask the Minister to publish some figures of that kind, if possible. In England, personal savings of a voluntary kind were reduced last year to something like £6,000,000 a year. In relation to English income, that is a paltry figure. Another change of the same kind, but not on the same scale, was taking place here.

It is necessary to make some positive contribution in this debate and I ask the Minister to assure the Seanad as to whether the cost of administration of the public services is not capable of further economy. I cannot help feeling, merely as an onlooker and observer, that it takes a lot of people to govern this small country. I am informed that if you are around the Merrion Street neighbourhood at 9.30 any weekday morning you will see large numbers of people hastening into Government offices. I often ask what these people do. Do we need all these people to govern this small State, and are we as lawless as all that? I cannot help feeling that, if there were something in the nature of a detailed inquiry into what goes on in every Government office, there would be room for further saving.

The Minister referred to this sympathetically in his Budget speech. I remind him of what he said then. I cannot help feeling that, not owing to the dereliction of any individual person—certainly it is not the fault of the Government nor of the heads of Departments nor of the Civil Service Commissioners nor of civil servants themselves—but owing to a certain tradition of red tape, the ordinary public servant does not get through as much work in the day as the employee of a corporation or of a private company. I suggest that in that respect there might be room for certain economies in the administration of the country.

I quite see that the Minister for Finance is burdened with certain obligations which, in the nature of things, in regard to social services and so forth, he cannot cut down. Therefore, the room at his disposal for economies is circumscribed and limited. Everybody will admit that. However, he still has it in his power not to go forward too fast. Therefore, I hope that the plea which was made by Senator Finan—that in order to bring the North in we should raise our social services to a much higher level than they are—will not tempt us to do so unless we can afford it. I believe that we should be able to get Partition solved without bribing the people of the North to come in with us. If the people of Northern Ireland think it worth their while to come in, they should come in and, if necessary, be prepared to be worse off rather than better off. I would not be inclined to hold out bribes to the people in Northern Ireland. They are holding out bribes to our people to stay out. I would not be tempted to outbid for the favours and suffrages of the people in Northern Ireland.

I hope that the Minister, in regard to the further extension of social services, will try to ensure that such further extension will keep pace with the national income. I hope that we shall not be induced, by the hope of electoral popularity or by any consideration of that kind, to push social services further than the national income will stand. I hope that, in the extension of social services, the Minister will, as far as possible, distinguish between what I might call the productive social services and what I might call the eleemosynary social services. I hope that the Minister will distinguish between them in order to build something up and not merely give relief to suffering. It is far easier to justify services for the benefit of the young than of the old. Health services and housing services, looked at from this particular point of view, have a particular justification.

While I am dealing with the question of services for the young, I should like to draw attention to the necessity in the agricultural programme for increased agricultural education. The Minister for Agriculture has outlined in this House very far-reaching and constructive schemes for the improvement of Irish land—for the reclamation of farms, for the increase in farm land and the increase in the fertility of the farm land of the country. I am sorry, in view of the rebuke which I received from the Minister for Agriculture the other day, to refer to Sir Horace Plunkett, but, in spite of that rebuke, I shall continue to do so. In spite of having been rapped on the knuckles for having spoken of this pioneer who founded the system of co-operation in this country, which the present Minister for Agriculture so warmly praised in this House within the last few weeks, I make no apology for quoting Sir Horace Plunkett in the Seanad, of which he was once a very distinguished member. I remember that on one occasion Sir Horace told me that when he came back to Ireland he found that the Land Commission scheme of land purchase was creating farms and that he felt that there was no use in having farms without having farmers. He founded the Department of Agriculture and the co-operative movement to improve the agricultural skill of people in this country. Side by side with the building up of agricultural productivity, there should be increased technical education of Irish farmers. That is a social service which not only has a social justification but a productive justification as well.

I do not wish to be accused of having a King Charles' head. Therefore, I am not going to harp on a question to which I referred before. At the same time, I am going to refer to it. I hope the Minister, in the course of the year, will attempt to be a little more generous with universities in this country than Governments have been in the past. University expenditure has the justification that it builds up science and technique. I do not think any country can really have modern progress where higher education is treated as the Cinderella of the public services. I do not wish to say more about that. I know the Minister is sympathetic. Therefore, all I wish to do is to remind him of it and I hope I am not saying too much when I describe it as his obligation towards the universities of this country.

I should like to endorse the remarks made by Senator McGuire regarding the enlightened attitude of the Government revealed recently by increased expenditure on general objects of culture. I welcome, both on public and private grounds, the invitation to Professor Bodkin, one of our most distinguished men, to give us the benefit of his experience and advice on the improvement of galleries and museums and so forth. I also welcome the signs that the Government realise the importance of welding art and industry.

What I said about science and technique in relation to universities is equally true regarding art. Most of the small countries in Europe have built up export trades in products which have been characterised either by great expert technique or by the more artistic elements to which Senator McGuire referred. In particular, I should like to endorse what he said regarding the desirability of trying to bring about some sort of architectural value and quality in our new housing schemes. I cannot see why small houses should be ugly. I cannot see why, when we are planning for the housing of the poor, we cannot have at least as much architectural beauty as we had in this country when we were planning the houses for the rich in the 18th century. The idea that planning is modern is wrong. Look at the Pembroke estate. Look at the Fitzwilliam estate. Look at the Longford and the De Vesci estates in Dun Laoghaire. They are all excellently planned; they are all excellent examples. They were planned for the rich and by the rich rather than for the poor and the poor's representatives. One of the great lessons which democracy has to learn is how a democratic community with a more or less egalitarian system of wealth can learn to live with the same sort of aesthetic satisfaction with which the richer people lived in the 18th century. I think the secret of the good planning of Dublin—the Wide Streets Commissioners and so forth—was, first of all, that large areas were planned as a single whole, and secondly, that the people who planned them had recourse to experts, to architects of quality and so forth—that they were not afraid to take expert advice and to spend a certain amount of money. The result is that Ireland now is, in many ways, a very beautiful country. It would be a great pity, now that we have achieved independence in this part of the country and that the balance of power has swung from the small privileged class to the people, that the people should not house themselves with a certain amount of taste as well as comfort. I simply wish to add my word to what Senator McGuire has said.

I should like now to refer to something which has been mentioned already. I would point out that high public expenditure, in so far as it does not lead to high public taxation, involves borrowing, and borrowing may be inflationary. If there is inflation in borrowing, the symptoms begin to appear very soon in the balance of payments. It is pretty generally agreed that the weakest point in our structure in this country is the balance of payments. The balance of payments is improving—we all agree about that— largely owing to the efforts of the Minister and of his colleagues. However, although it is improving, it still gives rise to a certain amount of disquiet amongst people who study these things. The large volume of imports could be regarded with more equanimity if it contained a larger proportion of capital goods—if it still represented restocking after the war. But I do not think it is. The import list seems to consist very largely of consumer goods and, to some extent, of luxury goods. The exports on the other side contain certain dangerous elements. Tourist expenditure is, in its very nature, ephemeral and is not to be relied on too long. Another element which one must regard with a certain amount of doubt is the income derived from Irish sweepstakes. The Royal Commission on Betting in England, which is sitting at present, may recommend that English law should be altered in such a way that there will not be the same temptation or inducement for English people to buy tickets in the sweepstake. These are two sources of external revenue on which it would not be quite safe to rely too much in future.

When a country finds itself with a disequilibrium in its balance of payments, whatever euphemisms may be found to describe that disagreeable state of facts, the only remedy for the situation is deflation. To call it disinflation does not make it less deflation than to refer to inflation, a very unpopular word, as reflation, makes it any less inflation. That is simply a method of using new words to describe old things. In the old days, deflation was imposed by the central banking system but for various reasons which I need not go into, that is not fashionable to-day and even if it were fashionable, it would not be very effective in this country. In modern times, deflation is usually regarded as the duty of the Department of Finance. Deflation is imposed by the Budget. The report of the Central Bank has drawn attention to the fact that a good deal of the capital expenditure in this country both by private investors and by the Government is of an inflationary kind. As regards private investors, an undue proportion of expenditure is incurred building cinemas and things of that kind. As regards public authorities, an undue proportion is incurred in housing and things of that kind which, however desirable, do nothing to help in some degree the balance of payments. As Senator Finan pointed out, even the expansion of transport had its effect on the balance of payments.

I think it is very interesting to look back on the way in which, in the last 200 years, the transport system of this country, instead of providing a great market for farmers' produce has proved a great burden to the country. With the gradual disappearance of the horse and the old type of road vehicle, instead of the transport system of the country providing a great market for farmers, it has become a serious burden on the balance of payments which farmers, in the long run, have to make good by producing more. I do not wish to go into that matter too deeply. I simply want to point out that many of the investments which the Government are sponsoring have a depressing effect on the balance of payments. Even the land reclamation scheme to which I referred with commendation a short time ago, while, no doubt, it will eventually add to the wealth of the country, will, while it is going forward and while the work is being done, also have an inflationary effect. The purchase of bulldozers and other types of machinery which it is proposed to utilise in operating that scheme, must have a depressing effect on the balance of payments. Therefore, I should like to end this statement by asking the Minister, if he can, to reassure the Seanad that the high expenditure shown in these accounts is not producing effects on the taxation side by having adverse effects on savings, and effects on the borrowing side which are having an adverse effect on the balance of payments. Having drawn attention to these possible dangers, I should like to end by congratulating the Minister on a very fine performance.

I should like at the outset to criticise the Minister's action in reducing the grants to organisations which have for their object the restoration of the language and also for his action in reducing the grants to certain Gaeltacht areas. I believe that at the moment the language is in a parlous condition. We have had much agitation about Partition. We have had speech-making and all sorts of propaganda and suggestions that Partition can be ended, but I suggest to the Minister and to the Government that the question of the language is more urgent. I would hate to think that the members of this Government as a body are opposed to the restoration of the language. I do not believe they are, but the position, as I see it, is that unless something is done, and done quickly, the native speaker will have disappeared in practically 50 years' time, and when the native speaker disappears the language will disappear. We have spent a large amount of money for the past 25 years in an endeavour to make Irish the spoken language of the country. Admittedly, many young boys and girls have learned the language, but they have not learned to speak it. I am suggesting to the Minister that the restoration of the language as the spoken language of the country is the most urgent matter we have in the national programme to-day. Partition, as I say, can wait. Many of us in this House have seen more important changes taking place in the last 30 years than the mere shifting of the Border between Northern and Southern Ireland. We have seen a complete revolution in this country come about, and, as I say, the Border can wait.

Much dissatisfaction has been expressed at the fact that the British Government have attempted to stereotype the position in Northern Ireland. Anyone who was reared in the Sinn Féin movement will recollect that we were always told that the Englishman, whether he be Tory, Liberal or Labour, is an Imperialist at heart. He will keep the Border in being until it suits him to remove it. As I have said, we have seen greater revolutionary changes than the removal of the Border in the last 30 years. The Border can wait, but the restoration of the language cannot wait, and I want to voice my objection against any attempt to halt the work which is being done to try to restore the language.

I should like also to criticise the position of the broadcasting service. I think that none of us is satisfied with that service and I am going to suggest the reason why we have such a comparatively poor service is that the Government are not prepared to pay the people who have to maintain that service. You have actors getting seven guineas a week and musicians who are getting little more, and I think that most of us who listen to Radio Eireann, when we realise the type of programme we are getting, are satisfied that there is something wrong. I suggest that is where the trouble lies, that we are not prepared to offer our artists proper fees and we are not getting the proper type of artist.

I should like to mention a matter in regard to the Industrial Development Authority. The setting up of this authority is a very fine thing. If it helps to develop the industry of the country, I think we will be all agreed that it is something we should support but I should like to offer some criticism of the way in which that authority was set up and of the personnel—not the individuals. Some of you may have noticed that Senator Summerfield has been under fire for alleged statements he made in connection with the question of the joint management of industry as between workers and employers. I heard him say that he was in favour of such a system by which the employer and the worker could get together and help to manage an industry, that he believed that would be essential, and I agree with him. But, in the setting up of this authority, no attempt was made to select any one from the organised trade union movement. So far as I know, two representatives of employers' associations were put on the authority, but no representation of any kind was put on this authority that could be claimed as representing the organised trade union movement. I suggest to the Minister and the Government that, if they think they are going to make a success of such an authority without the co-operation of the trade union movement, they are making a very great mistake.

What I said with regard to the salaries being paid in Radio Eireann would also apply to the salaries of certain of the engineering staff of the Electricity Supply Board. There are civil engineers employed by the Electricity Supply Board being paid as low a salary as seven guineas per week, plus 16/- cost-of-living bonus. These are professional men and they are not beginners. Some of them have eight, nine or ten years' professional experience, not necessarily with the Electricity Supply Board. I suggest that, if the Government and the public at large want people to put their backs into their jobs and give a greater output, they ought to be prepared to pay for that.

Senator O'Brien mentioned the question of income-tax. I am going to relate that to the question of housing. It was suggested to me very forcibly that the cause of the low output in housing so far as the worker is concerned—it is alleged that there is a low output and, possibly, those who are in a position to know will agree that there is—was that workers will not work overtime because much of the money earned at it goes back to the income-tax collector. The system at present is that the worker works for some months or, possibly, a year and then gets a bill for income-tax which he is not able to meet. I have a suggestion to make to the Minister which he might consider favourably and might be able to carry out, and that is the stopping of income-tax at its source— that the income-tax of a worker should be stopped as he earns the money and not be waiting for six or 12 months when he may get a bill for £25 or £30 and not be able to meet it.

You were not responsible for making that suggestion in Belfast, I hope.

I made it in Cork.

It led to a strike there.

That suggestion was put up at a meeting of the Congress of Irish Unions—that if we have to pay income-tax, and none of us likes to pay income-tax, it is easier to stop it at the source rather than to be sending a bill for a huge amount subsequently.

I am going to mention a matter which I referred to last year, because I believe that if you talk about a thing sufficiently often something may eventually be done about it. I refer to the conditions obtaining in sub-post offices, which is something that the Minister and the Government as a body ought to attend to. These sub-post offices are relics of the British régime when the work of the post office was not anything like it is now. In cities, particularly, you will find these sub-post offices carried on in shops hardly big enough for their ordinary business and it is not very easy for the public to transact their business in them. Over the years, as a result of legislation passed by the Oireachtas, the work of these sub-post offices has been greatly increased. The present system is altogether wrong. There ought to be an independent building housing a post office and a post office only, and not have this makeshift business which, as I say, is a relic of the British régime when the work of the post office was not anything like it is to-day. What I said with regard to salaries also applies to these sub-post offices. I understand that the maximum salary of a postmistress after a long number of years is £3 10s. per week. For the varied work which she has to do, a postmistress is deserving of a better salary.

Captain Orpen

This Appropriation Bill gives us an opportunity of talking in detail and I am glad that we can use this opportunity to ask for a review of the general economy of the country. I want to bring certain aspects of the economy of the country into prominence. I noticed recently that the Government have made a very fundamental alteration by extending and enlarging the Department of Statistics into a separate Statistics Office. I take it that that is in the hope that the statistician will no longer merely rest content with being a historian and telling us where we were born and, possibly, even where we are. I hope that, with an augmented staff and a wider vision, the statistician of to-day will tell us where we are going. Until he can do that, he is only doing half the job that a Statistics Department, headed by good statisticians, ought to be able to do. In this country the economy is comparatively simple. The chief source from which we draw our wealth is, obviously, agriculture and, though it suffers seriously from seasonal changes, the profound economic changes are slow. Therefore, in a simple economy, it should be possible to make reasonably good forecasts of where we are going and what the future holds for us. Therefore, I welcome this new departure in the central Statistics Office.

I also note that it proposed to set up an advisory council in this connection. That also is a good thing. Now that we have the Minister for Finance here, I should like if he could enlarge on capital expenditure in this country when replying. Speaking in this House on a motion dealing with credits, Senator O'Brien—the reference is Volume 36, No. 5, column 565, of the Seanad Debates—said:—

"I think that investment in the improvement of Irish agriculture is the most productive type of investment which the Government could encourage, and I think that debt of that kind, which may be deadweight debt in the sense that in the first few years the taxpayer may have to find the interest on it, in the long run will yield abundant return."

I quote that because Senator O'Brien, when he was speaking a few moments ago, rather hinted that this land reclamation project, which has just gone through the House, will be of an inflationary character in its infancy. Of course, it will. There is no help for that, but one hopes that the inflationary character of such a project will diminish as soon as it becomes effective in increasing the productivity of the country. I like to look on this land rehabilitation project as nationally good husbandry whereby some of the assets of the nation are being ploughed back into the land. That seems to me to be a type of State expenditure which can be justified even if, as it appears, this expenditure is coming from borrowed money.

One of our problems, when we try to view the economy of this State as a whole, is that of labour. In the past it has been the habit of the Government to provide employment as an end in itself. The Taoiseach, when introducing the Estimate for his Department—the reference is Volume 117, No. 10, column 1367 of the Dáil debates—said:

"We have had in this country for a long time the attitude that work, or the provision of work for our people is an end in itself. That is not the policy that we have adopted or that we hope to bring to fruition."

Now, of course, in periods of acute unemployment it is often necessary to have to resort to unproductive types of employment, but the real difficulty that seems to face such a project as the land rehabilitation scheme is that where the potential work is forthcoming there is insufficient labour to meet it. It is the non-fluidity of labour to-day that makes it so difficult to ensure that, at all times, when there is work available there is labour to meet it. In the old days—50 years ago or so— labour was more fluid than it is to-day.

When, to-day, the Government says it is aiming at productive employment that, obviously, is a very desirable aim, but it is not so easy of achievement because many of the facilities for expansion in employment in this country are, unfortunately, lacking, and that is especially so in agriculture. We find that when we want certain new tools— I suppose one might use that phrase when we are now trying to rehabilitate the land, and, further, I suppose we might say that this is the moment when we ought to be retooling agriculture— we cannot get them. When I speak of the tools that agriculture requires, I do not mean merely machinery but all the things that agriculture requires. When we look to our animals we find that the breeding of animals does not always mean that animals have been bred in the interests of agricultural production. We find the same thing when we look for seeds—that the seed has been produced very often and for very many years in the interests of the seedsmen rather than in the interests of the person who uses that product. Hence, as I say, when we look for the tools that agriculture requires we find that we cannot get what we want. Therefore, we require, as I say, an almost over-all retooling of our agriculture if we are to get that rapid expansion that we all hope for.

I wonder, when the Minister is replying, if he could give us any information on the rise in farm incomes. I noticed that when he was speaking on his Budget—the reference is Volume 115, No. 4, column 494 of the Dáil Debates —he said in the course of an economic review which is available at the end of his Budget speech:—

"It is clear that the position of farmers has markedly improved as compared with pre-war, both absolutely and in relation to wage and salary earners. This adjustment was a necessary correction of their previously depressed conditions, but with world prices for wheat and other commodities falling further below the guaranteed domestic price, it would be unrealistic for farmers to expect a continued increase in agricultural prices. Improvement in incomes must be sought in increased output and lower costs of production."

Now, I imagine that all people who think on economic problems will agree with the Minister on that, even in the last sentence wherein he stresses that the improved position of our farmers depends on increased production and on lower costs. Unfortunately we find that a great percentage of farm costs are outside the control of the producer.

Some of these costs that have to be borne by the farmers are determined by others; some of these costs, one can almost say, can be attributed to the Minister for Finance. To a large extent, the cost of agricultural production is determined by labour, small sundries like seeds and fertilisers, machinery and transport. Our transport costs have been forced up by definite efforts on the part of the previous Administration to bolster up a monopoly that could not earn a dividend. That is a cost that has been forced on agriculture, whose output has to face world competition with its exports. Freight is a first charge on the gross income of farmers, quite irrespective of any profit. Such things as transport costs, the system of allotting plates to hauliers, the creation of a monopoly, all bear heavily on a scattered rural community that obviously requires the services of a good transport system.

I am only pointing out to the Minister that it may be inevitable, but there is a feeling that, while the farmer should do everything he possibly can to reduce costs and to increase output, other sections of the community are quite prepared to saddle him with extra charges, growing charges, charges that bear no relation to his ability to pay. I suggest, in this period we are going through, that if we are going to meet growing competition, we must realise the period of scarcity prices is over, and that competition is going to increase. As regards world events and world markets, it is hoped to some extent to stabilise them by having a wheat agreement which will bring the price of wheat progressively diminishing with the years. That may have a stabilising effect on other prices. The trend of prices is going to be downwards. I would like to see the downward trend of some of these non-agricultural costs that are foisted on the farmer. Perhaps when the Minister is replying and making a review of our economic situation, he will advert to that aspect of our agricultural difficulty.

I believe that this Government have failed as regards the serious problems that confront the country, such as emigration, unemployment and Partition. Each of the Parties comprising the present Government went to the country saying they had a cure for these problems. What is the result? The result is that in the the present year more people have emigrated from our shores than in any one year since the years of the Famine.

Rubbish, complete rubbish!

It is not rubbish.

Complete and entire rubbish.

It is no such thing. According to the last figures I have seen, that is the position. Not since the Famine years have so many gone away. Unemployment has in this year increased by up to 20,000 over 1947. I find it very hard to understand the Labour Party standing for so many reductions. It amazed me to find that Party opposing a motion against reductions amounting to £2,000,000 in the rural grants. A special meeting of the General Council of County Councils, of which I am a member, was called to protest against that action, and a resolution was unanimously passed calling on the Government to restore those grants.

Deputy Seán Dunne, who poses as the representative of the rural workers of Ireland, told those people who spoke on behalf of the persons who were thrown out of employment that they were hypocrites to talk on behalf of labourers. I have been connected with public life for many years. Coming from a labouring part of the country, I always championed the cause of the labourer. I have done whatever was possible for them anywhere I went, irrespective of the consequences. Deputy Dunne told us there would be unemployment in this country until the whole social fabric of the State would be changed. I would like to hear him explaining how that could be done.

The people were told that they would get alternative employment: those who were thrown out of work when the hand-won turf scheme ceased were told they would have alternative employment. That was one-and-a-half years ago, but no alternative employment has been given to them. There has been a reduction of £2,000,000 in the rural grants. The road grants gave employment to small farmers living on uneconomic holdings; they gave employment to cottiers with long families, and alternative work was promised to these men. The only alternative they have is the emigrant ship. When they do undertake alternative work they are far away from our shores.

I want to refer to the official black market, against which the Labour Party has not protested. The small wage earner and poor people generally have to live on rations, while the rich and the people with big salaries can buy food anywhere they like. The wage earner has to be content with such vital commodities as tea, sugar and bread, including Mr. Dillon's white loaf. All these things can be bought, in any quantities that are required, by the rich and the well-to-do. We have the one-time Leader of the Labour Party, now the Minister for Social Welfare, going around on circuit telling the people what he has done for social services, how he has increased old age pensions and widows' and orphans' pensions. But he never tells the people that part of the cost of his scheme has to come from the poor, the small wage earners and the labourers. He does not tell them that there is a decrease of 6d. in the £ in income-tax in order to help the people with large salaries and big incomes.

I pass on now to the Department of Agriculture. I think the greatest disaster that ever overwhelmed the farming industry in this country was the appointment of the present Minister for Agriculture. What has he done in the past year for the small uneconomic holders, the majority of Irish farmers, living on the mountainsides in isolated districts? Every scheme brought in by the last Government to help these farmers has been thrown out by the present Minister. He has done away with the subsidy on farmers' butter. Many of the small farmers were dependent upon the subsidy paid on this butter in order to eke out a living. The farm improvements scheme has gone by the board. This was of definite benefit to the small farmer living on an uneconomic holding in a congested area. The Minister's whole endeavour seems to be to turn the country into grass land to raise live stock to feed mother England.

Yesterday I heard Senator Douglas suggest that conferences should be arranged with the Government of the Six Counties and other Governments in order to find a solution for the problem of Partition. He suggested that the Minister for Agriculture should find a place at that conference. I think the majority of the people would not agree to that selection. I think very few would hold that he should have anything to do with the solution of that problem. I understand that he is about to appoint Deputy Flanagan as his Parliamentary Secretary. The most honest contribution that ever came from Deputy Flanagan in the Dáil was the statement that he made asking the then Government to put Deputy Dillon behind bars after he had been fired out of the Defence Committee set up during the emergency. I suppose that was the only sensible remark I ever heard Deputy Flanagan make.

It may have been his best remark, but it was dead wrong.

It may have been. I presume that when Senator Douglas suggested him, he knew well that the Minister for Agriculture was the most complaisant choice that could be made in order to continue Partition. Deputy Dillon has never contested any constituency other than one in which he can be assured of a degree of support from a Conservative element. That is true of both Donegal and Monaghan.

I had great respect at one time for the present Minister for Health. Unfortunately, he is now trying to cash in for political advantage on our sick and infirm people. Because of that I have nothing but contempt for him. He has compelled us in Roscommon to place a further burden on the already over-burdened ratepayers because he insists that a county clinic must be provided. I think that clinic will, to some extent, interfere with the work already done by our very competent county surgeon and his staff. There is a county hospital in Boyle. Boyle, as everyone knows, was an old garrison town and, like all other garrison towns, there are quite a few poor and diseased people in it. There is a district hospital there in part of the old workhouse. It is really not a fit place in which to treat animals, let alone human beings. Prior to 1939 we had several deputations to the Minister for Local Government. In 1939 we had revised plans ready. We met the Parliamentary Secretary then and he assured us that our hospital would be the first to receive attention after the emergency, when materials were again available. We have had some deputations since the new Minister took office. He did not have the courtesy to meet us, but he sent some of his officials. They told us that the hospital will have to remain as it is because the Hospitals' Trust will be barely able to meet its commitments even for improvements over the next ten years. I take it that the people in that congested area must continue to avail of the terrible institution there at the moment.

I come now to the man of destiny, Mr. Seán MacBride, Minister for External Affairs. He was the man who had a solution for the problem of Partition when he went to the people. What has happened since? Because of all his blundering, Partition has become even more permanent than it was at any time since 1920. He is busy flying about the world getting prestige for himself. He now wants a news agency to advertise himself still further. It seemingly does not matter where the money comes from or where it goes. For once, I agree with Deputy Captain Cowan. I think a younger generation of Irishmen must take up where we have failed in this respect. Sooner or later that will happen. I hope that the day is not too far distant when the Irish people will be asked again for their decision and we shall be given a chance of bringing back as our leader the man who steered the ship of State successfully through the troubled waters of the emergency years.

Senators on the other side of the House, in particular Senator Lynch, have expressed grave disquiet and dissatisfaction with what they have quite wrongfully described as the Government black market. Each Senator has based his or her objection to this alleged black market on the grounds of the unfair situation that it creates for the poor person of this country. One of two things is the position. Either the Senators on the other side of the House who have made reference to this alleged black market do not fully understand the position as to why this state of affairs was brought into existence or else their arguments about it are thoroughly dishonest. What they describe as a black market in white flour was deliberately created in the interests of the poorer people of this country. It was created in order that the wealthy people, if they so desire, could eat white bread or consume white flour and thereby help to subsidise the rationed commodity for the ordinary man in the street. To talk about a black market is the greatest nonsense. I am sorry Senator Lynch has left the Chamber. One might describe the Minister for whom he appears to have such great admiration, the Minister for Agriculture, as the Robin Hood of this country, who has been robbing the rich to help the poor.

I would like to add my congratulations to those of other Senators to the Minister on his achievements for the year and to add to that particularly my congratulations to himself and to his colleague, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, on the industrial progress that has been made and the industrial peace that has been maintained during the last 12 months.

From time to time we hear from the other side of the House various criticisms of the régime. Senator Hawkins was very perturbed about the fate of the Tourist Board and the tourist hotels. Senator Summerfield was at pains to explain that there was no such thing in this country as luxury hotels by American or continental standards. Personally I congratulate the Minister for seeing that the Tourist Board hotels were sold. They should never have been bought or started. If Senator Hawkins is worried about the price that was received for these hotels, I can only suggest to him that in the first instance the board as it existed under the late Government paid too much for the properties they acquired and that when they were subsequently sold they were sold at what was probably their market value at the particular time.

I agree with Senator Summerfield that, probably, according to American standards, there is no such thing as a luxury hotel in this country and to call the Tourist Board hotels luxury hotels was probably a misnomer in every respect except one, that is, that the prices that were charged were certainly luxury prices but the service they gave was not of a luxury standard.

Senator Hawkins argued that an official of the European Recovery Programme has expressed the opinion that if this country was to assist in European recovery it was absolutely necessary that its hotels should be brought to American standards. I would suggest to Senator Hawkins that the talking of balderdash is not entirely the privilege of Senators and that even an American European Recovery official can occasionally talk balderdash.

The same as Holmes did.

If I visit France on my holidays I make it a point to stay in a French hotel, a hotel that will have all the characteristics of the country. Our Irish hotels may have faults. There may be room for improvement, but our best Irish hotels have certain features that are characteristic of the country and its way of life. I would suggest that foreign tourists, be they from America or the Continent of Europe or the neighbouring island, like to stay in hotels in this country that are characteristic of Ireland and that have an Irish atmosphere. What holiday is it for a visitor from New York if when he arrives in this country which he has read about and heard about as having certain characteristics that are different from the characteristics of his own country to find an Americanised hotel with shoe-shine parlours, soda fountains and all the other alleged amenities of western civilisation?

I would like to say one word about shipping. I must express my disappointment and astonishment at the fact that Irish Shipping, which has now been running quite successfully over a number of years, which did a very useful service to this country during the war and in carrying out that service must have learned certain facts, and has built some very fine ships, has neglected one very important thing to which I would like to draw the attention of the Minister and the House. They have not yet built or acquired a sea-going oil tanker. I would have thought, from the experience that this country met during the war, that one of the first things Irish Shipping would do would be either to build or acquire at least two large ocean-going oil tankers. They would be an insurance against a future war period. They would ensure the supply of petrol and fuel oil to this country in times of peace and when not actually engaged in carrying fuel oil and petrol to this country could be chartered at a profit to other countries and other companies. If they want any example as to how effectively that system works, they need only study the Norwegian mercantile marine's shipping success.

I should like to congratulate the Minister for Industry and Commerce on the setting up of the Industrial Development Authority. I think it is a step in the right direction, and I personally hope that this authority will, from its many terms of reference, concentrate primarily on the starting, and the encouragement of the starting, of new industries, and preferably industries that are not centralised in Dublin, because there is a very dangerous tendency for too many of these industries to grow up around the capital city, with the result that the capital city is extending unduly and likely to become unwieldy in proportion to the size of the country and the population. I also hope that, in considering the encouragement and starting of new industries, this authority will give every thought and effort to finding industries which will be indigenous to the soil and to the district and which will, so far as possible, depend not only upon local labour but on local raw materials for their purposes—such industries as the processing of agricultural products, the canning of fish and so on—because I am firmly convinced that it is on a great increase in that type of industry that our future all-round balance of industrial prosperity will rest.

As the next item on the authority's programme, I trust that they will give serious study to tariffs, both existing and future tariffs, and particularly the repercussions of one tariff upon another tariff, and investigate whether each individual tariff achieves what it was originally intended to achieve and whether it might not in certain cases be wiser to abandon a tariff and replace it with a quota, or, if necessary, an embargo, because tariffs, as we know from experience, do not always achieve exactly the protection which they were designed to achieve and sometimes have repercussions which they were not intended to have.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

I am afraid that tariffs are more suitable on the Finance Bill than on the Appropriation Bill.

Very well, Sir; I will get away from tariffs and merely say that it has been known that a tariff imposed to protect one industry has unwittingly created unemployment in another.

The third item to which I trust this authority will devote its attention is the encouragement of Irish manufactures, both existing and future, to leave no stone unturned to find an export market for their products. In a recent debate here, Senator Summerfield who is usually to be found in this House defending the interests of the Irish industrialists and manufacturers—not that I would attack either body—took Senator Baxter to task for criticising Irish industry and Irish industrialists. I think that was rather a pity because Senator Baxter is a representative of the principal industry and surely one industrialist is entitled to offer criticism of another. In the course of his remarks to Senator Baxter, he complained rather bitterly that we should remember that there was only a very limited market of 3,000,000 people for the manufactured goods produced in this country.

I said that the domestic market was that size.

The domestic market— that is perfectly true. I think the Senator put his finger on the possible weak spot in the future of Irish industry when he drew attention to that. If Irish industry is to become really prosperous, it must find an export market for its consumer goods. That should not be outside the bounds of possibility. Other countries have done it. We claim that we can produce certain types of goods which are equalled by none and it surely is only a question of concentration of effort on the export market rather than on the home market to bring this about.

Senator Colgan found fault with the personnel of the Industrial Development Authority and stated that it was representative of the employers, but not of the trade unions. So far as I know, the authority consists of an economist or statistician, the secretary of an employers' organisation and the secretary of a labour organisation.

No, a political Party— not a labour organisation.

If I were to criticise the personnel, I would say that it is a pity that there is not on it a man who earns his living by manufacturing something.

Having listened to Tone's lament from the opposite benches, we will get on to something more refreshing. The only thing I have to say with regard to the Senator's reference to the Labour Party is that there is no use in his putting on a January fly to fish in July, because we are not biting, we are not rising. What I am concerned with here is housing, and I was astounded at the last meeting of the Seanad when a Senator, whose name I do not know but who, I presume, comes from Kerry, because he mentioned Kerry, said that the lowest contract price they could obtain for a labourer's cottage was in the region of £2,000.

It was Senator Meighan from Roscommon who said it.

Senator Finan mentioned it to-day.

A similar statement was made here to-day. Mr. Davin, T.D. for Laoighis, told me during the week that the lowest tender his council could obtain was £1,450 and a somewhat similar statement was made by Senator Tunney last night after having left a meeting of the Dublin County Council Housing Committee. I am astounded by these statements, but I think I can give the Seanad some very useful information in this connection. I can show how houses can be built at much less than £1,000 and at much less than £700 possibly. The Wicklow County Council since the passing of the Local Government Act built houses by contract down to the year of our Lord 1934 but the then board of health switched over to direct labour; they are being built since by direct labour and we will continue to build in future. Even during the war period, with the plant and the system we had established, we built a scheme of 400 houses meeting all the difficulties of supply and labour at a cost of £644 per house. To-day we have a scheme of 450 houses sanctioned by the Local Government Department and a further scheme of 350 ready for presentation to the Local Government Department, making a total of about 800. We have been working on 100 of the 450 houses since last March and they are in a very forward state of construction. Thirteen of these houses have been completed at Ballywaltron, Bray. These houses are already occupied and their tenants have taken possession. Sewerage and water has been laid on and sanitary fittings of the most modern design have been fitted. They are four-roomed houses and are wired and lighted from the public lighting supply and the cost was only £764 per cottage. Ballywaltron is only 1/- bus drive from Dublin and is beside the urban area of Bray. Anybody who is interested can visit and inspect the houses which have been completed within the past month. Ninety per cent. of labourers' cottages are not, of course, in a position to have these amenities and the price without them would have been £650.

With a view to expediting the building of houses the county council recently decided to put up a third of the 450 houses for contract. The tenders received were from something under £800 to £1,100 and some pounds. The council at its following meeting decided to seal down the contract price to £800 and tenders for 34 houses have been accepted at £800 and under. Even at that money I opposed it and so did some other members of the council because we were expending £4,000 over and above the direct labour price. If we took the 800 houses even at £800 per house we would be spending something like £80,000 over and above the direct labour price. If we take Dublin or Laoighis, where the prices are the lowest we have heard of under the contract system, the amount of money involved would be about £750,000 over and above the direct labour price. That is a statement I am prepared to stand over and any Senator who is a member of a local authority is welcome to come to Wicklow and get all the information and details he inquires from the engineering staff and he can inspect the houses which have been erected and those which are in course of erection. They are possibly second to no labourers' cottages in Ireland. They are well planned and the best of materials were used. I want to assure the Seanad that no cheap-john methods were employed. Every tradesman did his own job and was paid the trade union rates of wages. Every worker, no matter what his job, was paid the trade union rates of wages and yet we are building at something under £700 per house. There must be something wrong in Denmark when we hear the contract prices put before us here. This is not confined to the rural areas. Wicklow urban area has a scheme of 83 houses and the lowest tender was £1,750 per house which was rejected. They built a group as a test under our own council engineers and the houses were built for something less than £900. These are hard facts. Some Senators have asked me about this scheme and I got the county council people to give them details and I will be very happy to give the same data to anyone who wishes to inquire.

I want to get back to the roads. Twenty-one years ago, owing to the shocking condition of the county roads, we switched to a system of direct labour on both main and county roads. Main roads were being done under direct labour. Any of you who have visited Wicklow from time to time will agree that the roads are equal to, or better than, any in this country. I am safe, I think, in making that statement. I am not one who believes that our clothes should be cleaned and pressed from the Central Fund. I know that when the Minister puts his hand into his pocket and takes it out he is going to get back a similar amount or perhaps a little more, but there is no doubt that we have reached a stage, as far as rates are concerned, when we cannot move much further. The popular idea is the Central Fund as far as roads and mental hospitals are concerned, but I will get out of the mental hospitals and off the roads as quickly as I can. We in Wicklow have a case to make regarding the question of whether the main roads should be maintained out of the Central Fund or otherwise and I think we are entitled to some consideration. Killarney may be our show window but Wicklow is still the Garden of Ireland. We lie beside a city of 500,000 people and our doors are open to the 32 Counties and to foreign visitors. The Córas Iompair Eireann buses parade our roads night and day and a survey is being made at the moment to ascertain how many cars pass our roads in one day or one week. If our roads are to be maintained at their present high level some consideration must be given either from State funds or other funds.

I hope that the Government will take steps in connection with our harbours and particularly the harbours on the east coast that are actually being silted up by the south-east wind. In County Wicklow there are four. Two are not of any great importance and I do not believe the people take very much interest in them and one of them may be in a dilapidated condition. They are Bray and Greystones. Wicklow harbour is reasonably good and dredging has been carried out on a very large scale during the past 12 months. I would say that the conditions there are fair and I believe that other works of improvement are in hand. The commission takes a lively interest in the harbour. Fishing interests are limited and it is mostly coastal and cross-Channel trade that Wicklow is concerned with.

I am interested principally in Arklow, as I happen to be a commissioner an Arklow. Representing the local authority and attending their meetings is a continuous headache. The bar is in a dangerous condition, silted up, and in the past 20 years we have spent something like £60,000 on dredging alone. That has been without result. After six weeks' work, the dredger ran aground at Wicklow Head on the way back to Dublin, and the south-east winds create currents and we are back to where we started. In spite of that, we have one of the finest fishing fleets in the country and also one of the finest coastal fleets. These people going in and out to sea are in danger from the time they leave the docks until they get out into the harbour, and when they are out they can never tell when they can come back again. I have gone into the whole matter very carefully. There are two potteries depending on the harbour and when they are working there is a total of some 1,100 people, that is, more than half the population of Arklow, depending on the harbour. Arklow people are seaminded, and whether it is the business man or the professional man he will "talk harbour" with you. Arklow sailors will be found in mercantile fleets on all the seas the world over, where you will find Arklow names cropping up from time to time. The port is important also for imports and exports for people in South Wicklow, North Wexford and the adjoining counties of Carlow and Kildare.

I mention the matter here now because recently we have bidden goodbye to dredging, if we can, and we have had an expert from the Continent, a Dutch engineer who, with our own engineer, has made a thorough survey of the harbour. The report and plans have been submitted to the harbour commissioners. They will be completed and submitted to the proper Departments within the next few weeks and I hope that the Minister for Finance will put his hand to his heart when we approach his Department. The idea is that the piers which were built for some mining company should be extended a couple of yards further and this is the suggestion agreed on with the Dutch expert. We hope to get the work under way and to make a success of it, as there has been a public waste of £60,000 in dredging over the past 20 years.

Some remarks have been passed from the opposite benches about black market tea and sugar. I have been in business all my life and was during the emergency, and I can assure the Minister or whoever is responsible that there is not the slightest objection to the arrangements regarding tea, sugar and flour. The ration supplied is sufficient for any family and they can get all they want. They can come in now with their heads up, if they have a function on, whether it is a marriage or a funeral, threshing or hay making, and get a half a pound of tea or extra sugar. They look upon it as a very pleasant change from the time when the Irish Jew and the Fianna Fáil Jew were going around the country selling tea at 38/- a lb. and sugar at 25/- a bag. Supplies are plentiful now. Bacon is available, too, and as was said in the other House, there is no necessity to-day to salute a pig. They are rolling into the bacon factories and to the markets in increasing numbers and bacon is available now for everybody. I think the Minister would be very wise to consider even exporting bacon in the near future. I will not go further into those matters raised on the other side—I do not wish to raise them at all, but when people look for something they have to get it.

I would ask the Minister to give us, when replying, his views on the devaluation of the £ and also on our external assets, as these matters are being discussed all over the country. I would like to verify what Senator McCrea has said about building costs in County Wicklow. I am on the North Cork Board of Health and we have had the same experience. We find that local cottages can be built for £750 or £800, either by contract or by direct labour. There was some hesitation on the part of the usual contractors to take up this, but smaller contractors are now taking up the work and it is being done at around the figure the Senator mentioned.

The rates are the burden about which everyone is grumbling, as they have gone up to an alarming extent. We in North Cork have applications for water supplies from every hamlet and village and they appear to be as entitled to a water supply as any other section of the community; but if the burden falls on the board of health it will cost an enormous sum of money and will break the backs of the unfortunate ratepayers. I am wondering whether any scheme could be devised to give the people water in the same way as they get electric light. The Electricity Supply Board is providing rural Ireland with light at fairly reasonable cost. In my opinion, water is more necessary, and I wonder if any scheme could be devised to provide water in the same way as light is provided and let the people pay for it. I suggested, on a previous occasion, that grants should be given under the farm improvements scheme for the provision of water in local areas. That suggestion fell on deaf ears. I now make the suggestion that water be provided in the same way as electric light is provided in rural Ireland. The people demand it, the people will have it, and no one can say they are not entitled to it. I do not know if it is the same in other parts of the country, but in North Cork it is a very serious and pressing problem and at every meeting of the board delegations are heard from one district or another. The whole countryside is demanding a supply of water and, in my opinion, they are entitled to make that demand.

I do not know whether the Minister is aware that there is a possibility that some of our bacon factories may close down in the near future. I understand that some Members of this House and of the other House have been briefed in connection with the matter. I have not been briefed in any way but certain things have come before me which I feel I ought to bring to the attention of this House. I understand that a number of pig producers are getting very jumpy for fear some of the bacon factories may close down. In that event they would be left with the pigs on their hands and they would be put in the position of suffering serious losses which they are not able to bear. Four interests are involved in this matter—the pig producer, the bacon curer, the retailer and the consumer. These four interests have to be considered. The bacon curers state that they are losing £1 on every pig they are curing at the moment. One bacon factory states that it has lost £100,000 in the last six years in the curing of pigs alone. It is taking in from 800 to 1,000 pigs per week at present and, on that basis, they stand to lose £52,000 this year. I suggest, and I think it is obvious to everybody, that that state of affairs cannot continue, that it will not continue and that that factory will definitely close down in the near future. If that happens, it will be a very serious matter for the people of this country.

As I say, I have not been briefed. I have not all the data connected with the matter but it would appear that the bacon curer has to pay 190/- to the pig producer—and anybody producing pigs will need to get 190/-each for them. Then, I understand, the curer has to sell the pig to the retailer at 210/-. It is stated that the retailer has a profit of £2 per side on every side of bacon which he retails. I do not know whether that is so or not but that is the statement that is made. I think that the matter ought to be looked into by the Government and looked into very soon. If it is not looked into a situation will arise which will prove to be a very serious set-back to pig production in the country. If the control —there is a control which provides that the bacon curer must sell at 210/—-were removed it might meet the case. I do not know whether it would or not. I do not know whether it would be a hardship on the retailer or the distributor. However, something ought to be done and must be done. A bacon factory that has lost £100,000 in the last six years in the curing of pigs, and which is likely to lose £52,000 in the coming year, will not indefinitely continue to function.

Do you believe that about the losses?

It is a positive fact.

In six years.

Why are they in business?

Because they have another side to their business.

I wonder how many hundred thousand were they making on that.

They have been able to keep floating it at any rate. However, there are a lot of bacon factories which have not another side to their business.

Are they all losing at the same rate?

No, because many of them have their own retail shops.

That means, then that they should cut out the wholesalers? The remedy would appear to be to cut out the intermediary?

I am not advocating that. I am giving you the little bit of information I have in connection with the matter. I am not saying that it is all correct, but if anybody will tell me that I am wrong at any point I shall be glad to be corrected.

I was only wondering if the Senator could provide the solution. I was wondering whether the suggestion was to reduce the price paid for the pig or to put up the price paid for bacon.

I would never suggest reducing a price paid for the pig because that would cut the ground from under the pig producer.

You could pay a subsidy.

Does the Senator suggest that we should increase the price of bacon?

A very small increase might meet the case. That might be so. I suggest that the Government ought to look into the matter. The position is very serious.

I shall deal now with the question of flooding. I live in the valley of the Blackwater and the flooding there is very serious. Three towns are very badly affected—Kanturk, Mallow and Fermoy. The people who farm near the banks of the river are also very seriously affected. Flooding has become far more intensive in the last few years than it was previously. The second last flooding was 12 inches higher than any flood which occurred there within the memory of any person in the district. The last flood that took place there swept away bridges all over the county. The cutting down of all the trees in the locality during the war crisis and the draining of the bogs was probably responsible for creating the intense floods we have been having. I should like to know from the Minister what is being done or will be done or when anything will be done. The two last floods, which were very serious and bad floods, took place in the day-time. If they had taken place at night there would have been serious loss of life. I want to put what I say on the records of the House. The matter needs to be looked into as urgently as possible.

Forestry is closely bound up with flooding. I believe that if the countryside were adequately planted there would be less flooding. Experts say that tillage land holds twice as much water as grassland and that woodland holds three times as much water as grassland. In that way one type of land will delay the progress of water to the river and minimise flooding considerably. I think that forestry ought to be speeded up. I have seen the statements which were made by the Minister in the other House of the intention to plant 25,000 acres of land within a period of about three years from now. That is a very laudable programme and I give the Minister full credit for his intentions. However, I should like to feel that that programme will be carried out. For that reason I should like to know if the Minister has some reasonable quantity of land on hands or if there is some prospect of acquiring the land on which these trees can be planted.

Whilst I am dealing with forestry, there is another aspect of the matter to which I should like to refer. Two types of timber are used in this country—native timber and foreign timber. Native timber costs about half the price of foreign timber. There is a controlled price and native timber costs about half the price of foreign timber.

A great many people, a great many experts, would prefer native timber, properly seasoned, to foreign timber. I am not saying that all the native timber is of that high standard but I am saying that a considerable quantity of it is of a good standard and I think that the controlled price should be removed. The sale of native timber at half the price of foreign timber is no encouragement whatsoever to forestry. People who are engaged in poultry production find that if they build a poultry house of native timber they will not get the subsidy for it. The subsidy will not be given unless the poultry houses are built with foreign timber. That is not right.

This astonishes me. Where does that Order come from?

The Department of Agriculture.

The Department of Agriculture.

Is that correct?

Have you the Order?

I have not, but the Minister may take my word for it.

Is there a reason for it?

There must be.

I have never heard of the question of foreign timber.

Is it not a matter for the local officer who is on the spot in the county?

Senator O'Callaghan's statements are being challenged.

My statement will stand any challenge that is made. My statement is correct.

But is it not a matter for the local officer who is on the spot?

In accordance with the specification drawn up by the Department of Agriculture.

And I am sure he has his regulations.

Did Senator O'Reilly ever hear of this before?

May I intervene to say that, while I am not aware that there is a definite Order to that effect, I had the feeling that it was considered desirable that poultry houses should be made of imported timber? I know something about this matter, but I am not aware that there is a definite ruling to that effect.

I am referring to poultry houses which are being built under the hatchery scheme. I am not referring to houses which are being built under the county committees of agriculture. There is very little more I have to say and I am grateful to the Minister for listening so patiently to me. Many Senators have referred to the big increase in local rates. That is a matter which calls for urgent attention. Other speakers have advocated that the maintenance of mental hospitals and roads should be put on the Central Fund. Something will have to be done because the ratepayers are getting very uneasy and very unhappy about the huge increase in rates.

There is just one other matter to which I should like to refer. I think if turf can be produced at an economic price, we should be prepared to advocate its use in all our public institutions. It is a native product and it would give considerable employment. I think our public institutions should set a headline in that regard.

Are you a member of a local authority?

I am most certainly.

Will you see that it is done then?

I shall do my best.

Because it is done in Government institutions.

But is not used by all local authorities.

I have nothing to do with that.

Your help would be of great assistance.

We are doing it in institutions under the charge of the Government.

In conclusion, I merely wish to repeat that I hope the Minister will make some statement as to the position of our external assets.

While I am sure Senator O'Callaghan made the statements to which we have just listened in all good faith, it is very hard to understand how a bacon factory could lose £100,000 in six years during which there were practically no pigs in the country. Now that pigs have become plentiful again, and that everybody is going in for the production of pigs, we are told that this same factory is going to give up business because they would lose £50,000 in the coming year. It is a remarkable fact that at the same time the Waterford Meat Factory is buying up another bacon factory. I accept what the Senator has said as being put forward in all good faith, but I am at least somewhat sceptical as to the authenticity of his information. My opinion in regard to bacon and pigs is that during the last eight or nine months we have been doing ten times better than ever we did before and everybody is satisfied.

Somebody, I think it was Senator Lynch, referred to the black market in flour and other commodities. I say that we have no black market whatsoever now. The black market has been done away with, except perhaps in regard to housing. The black market finished with Fianna Fáil and the abolition of controls. Looking around me in my own county of Tipperary, I can see that people are doing a good flourishing business although there are plenty of inspectors floating around. We remember the days not so very long ago when people were charged 2/- a lb. for sugar and 1/- an ounce for tea. All that disappeared with Fianna Fáil. People on the opposite side are trying to suggest that there is a black market because poor people are getting their rations at the regular subsidised price while the rich people are made to pay extra if they want white flour or want extra sugar.

I am in thorough agreement with the statement of Senator McCrea with regard to housing. If a house can be built in rural Ireland for £800, there is no reason why the ratepayers or anybody else should be mulcted by having to pay £1,100 per house. Most of our contracts in Tipperary run to £1,100 or £1,050 per house. I am afraid that engineers of councils do not want to take any responsibility whatever in this matter. Wherever there is a chance of giving a building to a contractor, they will not have it done by direct labour. I think it is about time that the Minister for Local Government took some action in this matter because if we are losing 33 per cent. on the building of each house, in the aggregate that represents a terrible burden on the people who have to pay the piper, whether through the Central Fund or through the local rates. Nowadays many people are making money so fast that they are not anxious to see these schemes brought to completion and they want to keep them within certain circles. I think it is about time that the Government should put its foot down and say that if the cost of these houses exceeds a certain price, they will build no more houses. We have waited so many years to house these people that we can wait for another six or 12 months to ascertain if the job can be done at a more reasonable figure. The officials of local authorities should be urged to go more keenly into these matters. No matter how pressing or urgent the problem in I would not agree that we should pay £200 or £300 more per house simply in order to have these houses built in a hurry. That is part of the black market under which we have been suffering for too long.

In regard to the question of inflation and deflation, Senator Hawkins yesterday evening advised that we should not buy so much on the dollar market, that we should produce more. The inference, I take it, from Senator Hawkins' speech is that we should produce more wheat. As it is, the Government have done their best to promote the growing of wheat by increasing the price by 5/- a barrel. Does Senator Hawkins want us to go back to compulsion? I know very well he does not, nor anybody in this House or in this country. Even with the 5/- increase, the people are not inclined to grow a terrible lot of wheat. However we might like to see more wheat grown, the people must be left to themselves. I think any Party in this House who would try to go back to compulsory growing of wheat would be very foolish.

There is another matter which ought to be looked into by the Government. It is a serious matter. At present the position is most confusing. Every day we hear the cry about unemployment. I have heard Senators talking about unemployment and emigration. Notwithstanding that, in Tipperary farmers are looking for men to work for them every day and cannot get them. Officials employed by Government bodies are out every week looking for men, but the men cannot be got. Still, if you go down to the labour exchange you will find that there are a couple of hundred men registered as unemployed. That is a most extraordinary position. The Turf Development Board are looking for men and the men will not take the work. They say that they never worked at that job. They want some other kind of job, some casual labour. Yet they are registered as unemployed and are drawing some kind of benefit. The other day a man came to me wanting a job with the county council on the roads and I had to tell him that I had no say with the county council. These men will not go to work on the bogs. Any good workman can earn up to £8 a week on the bogs. He would be a very poor workman if he could not earn £5. Whatever has come over a certain section of our workmen, they will not work on the bogs. They say the work is too hard and they want to get work on the roads. That is our whole unemployment problem.

In most districts in rural Ireland farmers are looking for men but they cannot get them. Yet we are told there are large numbers unemployed. It is a problem for the Minister for Finance, the Minister for Industry and Commerce and everybody in this House to know what we are going to do with these people who are signing on at the labour exchange. Whether the labour exchange officials are wrong or whether the Government officials are wrong, or whether the people are wrong, I do not know. It is one of the matters that I should like to have inquired into because it is impossible to understand. You will find that 100 men are required for some work and, although 200 are signing on at the labour exchange, the 100 men cannot be found for the work.

As to the contracts for houses, they ought to be put a stop to until we reach some reasonable level. The time has come when people should give up the idea of becoming millionaires in six months. People should not be looking for 300 per cent. profit, and that is what is happening in connection with contracts for houses. The Government should ignore propaganda and try to get at the root of this matter. When that is done there will be nobody unemployed except the floating population which has always been unemployed. I am putting these matters before the Minister so that he may consider them when bringing in his next Budget. I do not believe that Senator Hawkins and other Senators were in earnest in regard to the matters they talked about. That is the position in the country. It is a matter for the Government and the taxpayer. Unless we all put our heads together and try to do something, the position will be worse in 12 months' time. It would be better for Senator Hawkins to try to get those people who will not work to do a decent day's work and other people to be satisfied with an ordinary profit and not be trying to become rich quickly.

This discussion has covered so many different topics that it would hardly be possible to say anything at this stage without touching on what has already been referred to by some other Senator. In the West of Ireland we say, when a conversation or a discussion on any matter has covered a very wide field, that "everything was discussed from pigs to Parliament". In this debate we can say that everything was discussed from our collection of Rembrandts in Merrion Street to the twisting of a bullock's tail in some laneway off Prussia Street. There was one feature of the debate which I am worried about. Senator Counihan stated that he had nothing to complain about.

Senator Counihan, like myself, was elected on the agricultural panel. I have yet to learn whether he represents the live-stock trade or the farming community. At any rate, when a farmer or a representative of the farming community ceases to have something to complain about, I feel there is something terribly wrong, because it was always the right of the agricultural industry to have something to complain about. That was borne out by Senator Fearon who so ably described the right of free people to complain, particularly when they do not suffer, just as in totalitarian countries they suffer but do not complain. When I hear Senator Counihan say that he has nothing to complain about, I think we are not progressing. It may even have this effect—that we shall miss that feature from the Seanad Order Paper—a motion in the name of Senator Counihan.

One matter which I should like to refer to, as it has been spoken of so often, is the question of rating and rates. It would be very hard for serious thinking people to devise a system that would be more equitable within a county, that would collect the same amount of money for the local authority, and that would not create greater hardship than the present system. It would be very hard for people to think out a better system which would create fewer hardships. I suppose there will be hardships and inequalities under any system of taxation. But I do argue that except for these hardships which you will have under any system, the present system is equitable, generally speaking, in a county as between the different occupiers of property in that county. I am prepared to state, however, that it is not equitable as between counties because of the varying taxable capacity in different counties. I should like the Minister, if he is giving any study to this matter, to give serious consideration to the fact that rating as it exists at present is not equitable as between counties. By reason of that, you have this position in the poorer counties where the land is somewhat more uneconomic than it is in the richer counties, that the local authorities are compelled to levy very high rates on property in those counties. But even where high taxation is levied in a poor county, the local authority there is not in as good a position to provide services up to the standard of those given in richer counties where the rates are much lower.

I am sure the Minister is aware of that. I would suggest to him, as an alternative to the present system, that a change should be made to have something like a basic rate that would operate over the whole country. Let us suppose that it would be X shillings in the £. The figure would be decided upon by the Departments of Finance and Local Government together with the representatives of the local authorities, and, following on that, grants should be made available from the State after a proper survey had been made. I think the alternative I suggest would be more equitable in so far as it would provide for the payment of the same rate by the occupiers of property in the different counties. It would also enable the local authorities to give equality of service. Surely, we are all agreed that the people in the whole nation should have equal treatment. We are all agreed, I am sure, that people who live in counties like Donegal, Leitrim, the western parts of Mayo and parts of Galway are as much entitled to decent conditions of life as the people living in areas of the country where the land is much better and more valuable and where conditions generally are more prosperous. I suggest that there will have to be a levelling up in that matter. Take the position in my own County of Leitrim. A rate of 1d. in the £ there produces something like £600. We could not hope even with a much higher rate than we are paying at present, to provide services equal to those which can be provided in a wealthy county like Meath where my friend here, Senator Fitzsimons, comes from.

Your idea is to tax him to pay you.

That is what the State does.

That is what you want done so far as rating is concerned.

I think that something such as I suggest should be done if we are to treat all the people of the country alike. I think it is the duty of the State to do that.

We are not, of course. There is no such principle.

From the taxation point of view, there should be equality of treatment.

There is not.

There should be, as far as the expenditure of money or the giving of services is concerned.

The man with a couple of thousand pounds a year pays far more than the man with £200.

In income-tax, yes.

I seriously suggest to the Minister that there is a need for a levelling up in the direction that I speak of. Even if there was a much higher rate than there is in the County Leitrim, the local authority there could never hope to maintain the same high standard of services that, say, would be possible in the richer counties. I am sure the Minister is well aware of another tendency that has been observable for some time. It is this, that as a result of quite a number of the new Acts that are passed through the Oireachtas added burdens are placed on local authorities. Each one, so to speak, puts another straw on the camel's back. I am not suggesting that it was during the period of office of the present Government that this tendency was introduced. One may put it this way, that it has been a tendency with the State, when it proposes to do something, to shift part of the cost and the responsibility on to the back of the local authorities. Quite a number of those measures may be very desirable in themselves, but there is that tendency there.

When the Local Authorities (Works) Bill, which was passed recently, becomes an Act, it will have the effect of placing an added burden on the local authorities in so far as that any compensation that has to be paid under it will have to be borne by them. I agree that the Minister could make a case why that should be so. He would probably argue that local authorities would not undertake the execution of works without having regard to the risks which might be involved. The Nurses Bill is another measure that will add on a little bit to the backs of local authorities. The same happened in the case of the Arterial Drainage Act which was passed by the previous Government in 1945.

As a ratepayer you are not paying anything for the Nurses Bill?

When that Bill becomes an Act the local authority will be responsible for paying. It may be recouped what it pays.

It will be recouped. That is the scandal of it.

Is there not some reason why the same responsibility is being placed on the shoulders of local authorities under the Health Act? That is my point.

Not merely the responsibility, but the cost ought to be.

I understand it is a well-known technique with lawyers never to show the trump card up your cuff until it is demanded. I was aware that, under the Health Act, local authorities would be indemnified up to a point.

Surely you are not near that point.

It is arguable as to how soon the point will be reached when counties which are backward in the matter of health services will be called upon to provide a standard of health services equal to that which could be provided, say, in Meath. I have heard an official in my county say that the point will be reached in ten years' time. I hope that is not so.

I hope it will be in two years.

The Minister must remember that in Leitrim we have a rate of over 26/- in the £. That is why I am arguing that something will have to be done because saturation point is being reached in counties which may be described as uneconomic. I do not want to create any wrong impression by saying that. What I mean is that there are areas in the country where the conditions are wholly uneconomic. The average poor law valuation in the County Leitrim is between £9 and £10. It is because I fear that the tendency of which I have been speaking is going to keep on increasing that I suggest there should be an examination of the whole position so as to try and have a more equitable distribution in the matter of rating between the counties. While I agree that it would be hard to find a better system than the present one within a county—that is allowing for an odd hardship—I do hold that it is not equitable as between counties. It would be much better to do what I suggest than to be giving relief under one heading or another. I could argue, for example, that local authorities should be indemnified to a greater extent than they are in the matter of the cost of mental treatment. I feel that some system of a basic rate with grants, after a proper survey had been made, would be a much better approach to these matters than what we have at present.

There has been a lot said about housing. I would like to know from the Minister whether, in the light of the experience that has been gained since the Act was passed, he thinks that the cottage-tenant purchase scheme needs amendment. I agree that that Act was an attempt to reconcile two principles. There were two principles involved. It was considered a desirable thing that the tenant of a county council house should ultimately become the owner, and there was an effort made to ensure that the house would be maintained for the type of person for whom it was originally built as a subsidised house. An attempt was made to reconcile those principles. It is not so easy to do so and, in the light of experience, I wonder whether that Act would need amendment at the present time.

If a position should arise whereby these houses, which were subsidised by the local authority and the taxpayers, should pass out of the hands of the people for whom they were intended, it would not be a desirable thing. I am not suggesting that the cottage tenants should not become the owners of their houses, but if once a cottage tenant became vested, or acquired a very slight interest by reason of some payments of the purchase annuity, and sold that house to the highest bidder, and exploited a possible scarcity of housing in the area and also exploited his fellow worker who might be looking for that type of house, that also would not be desirable. If there was a tendency in that direction it should be promptly stopped.

I agree it is a knotty problem to reconcile the two principles. An attempt was made to reconcile them in the original Act. I think the matter should be examined in order to prevent any abuse and to ensure that when local authorities build houses, even though they are subject to a purchase scheme, they do not pass out of the hands of the people they were originally built for. If that were to happen, one result would be that the local authorities would have to continue building, because the cottages would pass from the people for whom they were built, and more and more houses would have to be erected under the Housing of the Working Classes Act.

The erection of houses is a very serious drain on the finances of a local authority. I am not too clear as to what the position is in regard to capital works such as house construction, sewerage and water supplies. So far as County Leitrim is concerned, I would like some clarification of the position, especially with reference to grants from the Transition Fund. It would appear that that is decided by the Minister of Finance, or by the Minister for Local Government, or by both. I will say that members of local authorities—and I would like to feel that the same applied in the Seanad—irrespective of their political views, try to tackle a job with all sincerity and they realise the difficulties and the responsibilities they have to face. Political issues do not occupy any great position in the affairs of local authorities, and I think that is a good thing.

As regards Government grants, particularly from the Transition Fund, I am aware that the Leitrim County Council have been notified that there will be a substantial reduction in the amount to be received in respect of housing and there will also be reductions in the amounts given by way of State grants towards any schemes that may be carried out. This will make such a difference in a county like Leitrim that it is doubtful if the council could continue to play the part they would like to play in providing more houses and sewerage and water supplies and the other amenities that the people of Leitrim are entitled to just as much as the people of any other county, even though it might have a higher taxable capacity.

The Minister may say he is not responsible for the running of the Local Government Department, but I am sure he is responsible for the financial commitments of that Department. That is one reason why there are so many different matters to be discussed here. What is really the purpose of all this discussion? Perhaps it would be vain to hope that the various Ministers would go to the trouble of reading this debate. It might be too much to expect that the Minister would bring the different matters raised here to the notice of the Departments concerned. If that were the practice, there would be some point in talking on the various aspects of Government policy that have been mentioned here. It is only natural that Senators should feel they are entitled to discuss varied matters at this time, since it is one of the few opportunities they get of doing so.

With regard to the rents of houses that are let by local authorities, Senators are aware that in some cases houses are let at the full economic rent while other dwellings erected under the same scheme may be let at a subsidised rent. I have been wondering recently how far that is equitable. You will have a man of the middle income group, such as a teacher or a Garda, and if he is recommended for a house by the medical officer, who plays a big part in the letting of houses by local authorities, he is charged the full economic rent—17/6, 18/6 or £1 per week. A man with smaller family commitments, who may be in relatively well paid employment, say as a carpenter or a tradesman of some sort, earning a good wage, may succeed in getting a house at the subsidised rent, which may be 4/-, 5/- or 6/- a week. There should be some levelling up there. There should be some direction from the Government that the houses ought to be let, having regard to the ability of the person to pay. I suggest that hardships can be created under the existing system.

I hope more generous grants will be given to local authorities in counties like Leitrim, where the people are not able to bear the expense of carrying out housing, sewerage and water supply schemes.

Reference has been made to drainage. At all times when a county council election is near, candidates will tell the people that certain drainage works will be undertaken. That is one of the things held out at a local or Parliamentary election. Drainage has long been exploited. Since I first took part in public life I have always heard candidates at elections talk about drainage, but as a rule very little work of that type is carried out. I wonder how soon it will be when arterial drainage will be carried out on the upper reaches of the Shannon? I do not know if any survey has been made or if there has been any progress. I argue that if other types of drainage work, such as rural improvement schemes, minor employment schemes and works executed under the Local Authorities (Works) Act are carried out, serious flooding will result if the catchment area is not in a condition to carry off the increased flow of water. I move the adjournment of the debate.

Business suspended at 6 p.m. and resumed at 7 p.m.

At the interval I was suggesting that there is a possibility that drainage works of a minor character carried out under the Local Authority (Works) Act and the rural improvement schemes and minor employment schemes will have the effect of concentrating the flow of water into arterial drainage systems which have not been reconstructed and will, therefore, cause greater flooding because of the more concentrated outfall. That brings me to the point of inquiring how soon the Government hope to complete the reconstruction of our arterial drainage system. Drainage was one of the subjects that particularly interested me when I first took any small part in public affairs. It has always been the practice at elections, both local and general, for candidates to advocate arterial drainage. It is a pet subject at election time. No great progress has so far been made and I would like some indication as to how soon the Government hope to be in a position to carry out arterial drainage and complete the reconstruction of our present drainage system. I am particularly interested in the upper reaches of the Shannon and in the Erne.

Unless a very careful survey is made expenditure on arterial drainage may be quite useless. I want to bring the Minister's attention to a particular matter affecting a particular area. I refer to the Ballinamore-Ballyconnell canal. I could talk for a long time on that matter but I shall be as brief as possible by saying that in the Counties Cavan and Leitrim and in a small portion of Roscommon a monstrosity exists. Special legislative provision had to be made in the 1945 Arterial Drainage Act to ensure that the drainage districts which are partly within and partly outside that canal would not be handed over to the county councils for maintenance. It was decided that the Ballinamore-Ballyconnell drainage board would continue in existence and that that board would levy any rate they liked on the riparian owners and the ratepayers would subsequently be indemnified by the local authorities concerned. The result is that the county councils of Cavan, Leitrim and, to a small degree, Roscommon are compelled to pay back to the drainage ratepayers the amount collected by the drainage board or, alternatively, credit them with that amount in their ordinary rates. I raised this matter, as did also Senator Baxter, when the Arterial Drainage Act was going through. Apparently no agreement was reached on the matter but I daresay agreement can be reached on matters affecting the trans-Border hydro-electric scheme. It would appear that agreement could not be reached on a plan that would make it more workable.

The rivers in that drainage district have an outfall into the Ballinamore-Ballyconnell canal. The canal is governed by a board known as the Ballinamore - Ballyconnell Navigation Board. That board was set up by a British Act of 1854. Under that Act the grand juries, who were the precursors of the county councils, have power to levy a maintenance charge on the Counties of Cavan, Leitrim, Roscommon and Fermanagh. There is a case of an authority outside the State levying taxes within the State. It has been suggested that taxation without representation is tyranny. If that is not tyranny, it is a position that should be attended to, even though the tax may be small and whatever steps can be taken in the matter should be taken.

The board is appointed solely and absolutely by the Fermanagh County Council and the Act of 1854 provided that its members should be possessed of property of an annual value of not less than £100. It is quite obvious the type of person appointed. The original trustees were appointed and named under the Act and their successors were to be appointed by the grand juries of the Counties Fermanagh, Leitrim, Cavan and Roscommon. That position still obtains. Actually the work was a famine relief scheme and had no value as a navigation scheme. It is on record that one boat went up the canal and got stuck and had to wait for a rainfall to get out. A commission sat about 1880 and decided that the canal had no commercial value as a navigation work but suggested that it should be maintained as a drainage work. The Leitrim County Council, before I became a member, fought a very costly law action.

How does it affect the Bill before the House?

I am suggesting, respectfully, that it is possible to discuss on this measure anything affecting Government policy or anything which should be drawn to the attention of the Minister.

The Senator could do that by way of motion, if the matter is so important. It is doubtful if it comes in on the Appropriation Bill. It is an area over which the Minister has no authority.

The Government, I suggest, have responsibility to introduce proposals for legislation to remedy the existing position.

It cannot be done under the Appropriation Bill. Legislation cannot be advocated on the Appropriation Bill.

I accept your ruling, Sir. I understood that discussion on this Bill would give members of the House an opportunity to raise the many and varied matters we would like to raise, just as members of the Dáil have an opportunity to raise various matters on the Estimates.

On expenditure.

Yes. That is why so many and so varied matters are being raised on this particular measure. It is unfortunate, and it is unusual in this House, that references were made that would seem to carry high political venom. I do not regard myself as the guardian of Parliamentary procedure but I have always protested against that sort of thing. I listened to that sort of thing again to-day. I made particular note of a statement made by Senator Jerry Ryan. He said that black-marketing ended with Fianna Fáil. I do not think that the level of discussion in the House is aided by statements of that sort. If that were to be taken seriously, it would mean that the former Government——

The Chair is not responsible for that statement.

I have said that Senator Ryan made the statement that black-marketing ended with Fianna Fáil.

If Senator Ryan made a mistake, I assume Senator O'Reilly will not follow. We are dealing with administration and expenditure.

I understand that all matters affecting Government policy are debatable on this measure.

Surely a reference made by another Senator may not be debated at length.

I do not propose to debate it at length, but I say that I want to repudiate that statement, because I think it is an unwarranted statement. There are people who are better able to safeguard the interests of Fianna Fáil than I, but I take exception to that sort of statement, and I say that it is hardly fair, nor is it in the best interest of debate in this House, that such statements should be made. We must all agree, if we are honest, that the former Minister for Industry and Commerce took every possible step to ensure that there would be a proper rationing system, and, when there was a danger of that system breaking down, the most severe penalties were inflicted. Were it not for the ability with which that Minister administered the Department of Supplies, it is doubtful if our rationing system would not have broken down, and, if it had, this country would have been in chaos.

The Senator may not proceed further along that line, because rationing does not arise on this Bill.

If rationing ended with the change of Government, it was because there had been a return to normal conditions and because the flow of goods was such as to ensure that vital commodities like tea——

I remind the Senator again that we are not discussing the rationing system on this Bill.

I accept your ruling, Sir. Senator O'Callaghan asked for a statement from the Minister with regard to sterling assets. That is ground on which I do not like to enter, but, in view of the fact that Senator O'Brien indicated by statistics that the balance of payments would not appear to be in our favour, I should like to hear the Minister make some reference in his reply to how far the dollar crisis will affect us. I do not think our people regard it as being as serious as the people across the Channel appear to regard it, judging by the storm which has been raised there. Either the people do not take it seriously, or the Government do not take it seriously. Perhaps it is a matter of vital importance, but our people do not seem to think it is. Only to-day my attention was drawn to a statement in the morning papers—it was done in a sneeringly jocose manner because I was a member of the Oireachtas—to the fact that the State was acquiring a number of American motor cars for the use of Ministers.

Men in the position of Ministers are entitled to a type of vehicle which will bring them from place to place at a reasonably fast speed, and I would be the last person to make capital out of it, because, if I sought to do so, I should merely be following the sort of suggestions which have been made; but it was put to me in a sneeringly jocose manner: "How do you account for that? Ministers are getting American motor-cars and what about the people who cannot get dollars to buy machinery?" I do not know if that is so or not, but, if it is so, I am quite sure there is a good explanation for it, because it would appear from that that the dollar scarcity is not regarded here as seriously as it is across the Channel.

On the occasion of the debate on the Appropriation Bill last year, the Minister promised to introduce a savings campaign. He has done so, and he deserves the thanks of the House for it. We see posters on the hoardings and announcements in the papers—they might be better designed, but they are good posters—encouraging the country to save. I hope the Minister will keep up the pressure in that campaign. I noticed only to-day that posters have appeared urging hard work, both for the sake of Ireland and for the sake of European recovery. These two qualities, thrift and hard work—simple terms; you may think I am a simpleton to use them, but I propose to be a simpleton for a moment or two if the House will forgive me—are the only solution of our economic and industrial problems. At the risk of being regarded as a simpleton for using such simple terms, I should like to emphasise one rather neglected aspect of our national hard work and our national slackness. What I want to emphasise is that it is not merely an economic and financial problem. It is also a psychological problem. Our hard work and slackness do not depend only on the rise and fall of wages; they depend quite as much on our attitude of mind towards work, its honour and dishonour, its contribution to our happiness and our unhappiness. It is a complete error, as every employer and every worker knows—and I do not mean to imply that employers are not workers—to think that higher wages always secure harder and better work. In fact, the reverse is very often true— higher wages often produce slacker work. Senator Hearne, during the debate last year, told us that in the building trade they were paying twice the wages paid 20 years ago and getting about half the return in terms of work. That is, we are getting one-quarter of the value of work in terms of money. I insist that the problem lies not merely in the purses of the employers and workers but also in their minds and the Minister will have to face this, if he is to get really to the root of our problem.

The House, I know, would not thank me at this eleventh hour of a hardworking session—I emphasise the phrase—if I tried to discuss psychological incentives to work. Such organisations as Muintir na Tíre, the Royal Dublin Society and the local agricultural societies, deserve the highest praise for the great work they are doing in encouraging industry and pride in work, but I should like for a moment or so to speak briefly of certain psychological disincentives to work, certain insidious disincentives to work, that are very current in our country at present. I suggest that thoughtful and patriotic men should give more attention to these insidious disincentives to work. They come to us freely and fully and powerfully in many potent propaganda forms. Take, for example—it is the only example I will take—certain kinds of extravagant and ambitious advertisements. What feelings do these appeal to in their efforts to make us spend instead of save? Take, for example, the advertisements of the Irish Hospital Sweepstakes. What are the implications of these advertisements which are plastered over the whole country? The implications, I suggest, of these are: "Get rich quick without working for it. Idleness and extravagant living may be ours if Lady Luck wills it." Lady Luck! They imply that work is bad and that wealth is possible and desirable without it. We wonder then in the face of this propaganda that one woman speaking from Radio Éireann some years ago said that she had spent her children's allowance on buying sweepstake tickets and had been successful in winning a good deal of money. The implication was that the women of Ireland should spend their children's allowance on buying sweepstake tickets. How does that fit in with the Minister's campaign for wiser saving and harder work? I suggest that it does not fit in at all. Let me illustrate by simply pointing to any hoarding in the country. One of the posters will be the Minister's excellent design and slogan saying: "Work and save"; the next to it will be the sweepstake advertisement saying: "Spend and win idleness"; and the next to it perhaps the Minister for Health's advertisement saying: "You cannot afford to gamble with tuberculosis". What kind of mental confusion does that cause? Spend, save, gamble, do not gamble. Take another example. The prominent brewer Mr. X produces a most ingenious and persuasive set of advertisements and persuades the country to take an extra glass of beer or possibly stout, three times a day. He finds in a few months that the standard of work in his factory has gone down deplorably and he says that Irish workmen are slack and inefficient. Gentlemen, I suggest that it is due to the mental confusion caused by telling people to work and not to work.

We have a very active censorship board to check on one of the seven deadly sins, one of them, gentlemen, but there has been no political attempt to curb the other six deadly sins, greed, sloth, envy, gluttony, pride and anger. They are being deliberately fostered by advertisements and by many films too which the film censor does not stop. They encourage us to indulge in the six deadly sins. You may ask where does anger come in—if you have been counting the sins very carefully and I doubt if you have—to these advertisements. It does not in a sense, gentlemen, out it does come in somewhere else. I speak seriously and I say that every angry politician and every of anger-provoking politics are seriously destructive of the energy and peace of mind needed for steady hard work in this country. I would appeal to politicians in general to remember that the more they make us angry, you and me, the less steady industry they will get out of the country. The patriotism we need to-day is not that of anger or provocation to anger, to my mind, but it is the patriotism of making two blades of grass—perhaps the gentlemen on the other side would prefer two blades of wheat—grow where one grew before, in other words hard work and thrift. I am not going to suggest any cure for these insidious disincentives to work, these incentives to underwork and ever-spending which are all round us in the newspapers, on the hoardings, the wireless and the films, but I do think it is something—and I think the Minister will admit it—to recognise some of the causes of our economic ills, that they are psychological, even theological, as well as economic. I do not mean to disparage the expert advice of financiers and economists. I would not trouble to say all this if I thought that the Minister would just shrug his shoulders and say: "I am only Minister for Finance. What you want is a Minister for industrial psychology." I know both from what the Minister has said and from what he has done that he is anxious to attack this problem in all its roots and will not be deterred from trying to eradicate them by the fact that some cannot be assessed in terms of pounds, shillings and pence. He has begun his savings campaign well and we hope he will undertake the far more complex task of a campaign for better work. If he succeeds in the harder undertaking he will, in my opinion, do more for a prosperous and united Ireland than all the flag wavers and to his great credit it will be said that he was reasserting what was best in the old Cumann na nGaedheal policy—I speak as a non-Party man in this matter—of sober, industrious reconstruction in a distracted and divided country. I emphasise that that kind of policy is needed as much now in the 1940's as it was in the 1920's.

I want to say one more thing. I hope that the Minister will explain to us why this book embargo—the matter already raised by Senator Mrs. Concannon— has been allowed to continue.

As usual, I find myself faced with such a variety of topics that I cannot promise that I will deal with them all. If I appear to be inadequate in my comments on some of the points raised by Senators I expect that Senators will excuse me, realising the amount of ground that has been covered. I have been asked to deal with what has been called "a grave situation". That phrase apparently comes from a mis-reading of the speech. I made in Donegal over the week-end when I said that certain things might happen that would upset our plans. I am not going to anticipate disaster. I know that there may be difficulties ahead and I feel that those difficulties would be increased if I made a statement which was ahead of time and therefore a mere matter of speculation. I might easily cause confusion, and if my political opponents got to work in mischievous ways on the things I did say, it might be alleged that I had caused panic and something in the nature of disaster. On the other hand, I realise that if I want public co-operation in the dangerous times that may lie ahead a statement has to be made at the appropriate time. If I do not make any statement now it is because I think that the time is not opportune for it, but I do want the House to know that I am not unaware of my obligations to the public and that if I want public co-operation in these matters the public must be advised in good time ahead. The speaker raised the matter of the "grave situation" because we are alleged to be purchasing with borrowed moneys goods that could be secured at home. I do not want general statements. I would like precise information if a charge is to be made. A statement has been made which was rather precise in connection with wheat. This country is, I think, producing—certainly last year produced —for the millers of this country more wheat than it produced for many years. That is done, not under the stress of compulsion but because the price is guaranteed for a period of five years, and was so guaranteed by the present Minister for Agriculture since the present Government came to control things. It was only natural that, once the price incentive was there, a better yield might be obtained from the land of this country. It is clear that when the element of compulsion enters in, the compulsion has to be applied on a percentage basis to almost all equally. Consequently, many who would not grow wheat in the ordinary way at any price were forced to do so and when marginal land was brought into production, for a rather specialised type of crop, the average yield per acre over the years went down and down. Last year, under the incentive of price, everybody went into wheat who had land suitable for growing wheat; and although the acreage might have fallen, the yield has been probably the best there has been in the history of this country.

Consequent on that type of phrase, the other criticism followed here that, on account of the decision to allow people to use whiter flour, more money was being spent for the purchase of wheat in the dollar countries. That, of course, is not the case. There are fewer dollars being spent on what than ever before. That is partly due to the fact that, under the International Wheat Agreement, the price of wheat is going down; but it is also due to the fact that there is nothing like the same type of improvident purchasing being done as characterised the early part of 1948. If whiter flour is being used and whiter bread is being eaten by some people, at a price which they think fit to pay for it, that does not mean that more wheat is being brought into this country or even that more wheat is being used. As far as I am concerned, the only value in the change over to white flour is when the white flour is taken, not as an addition to the ration but in substitution for it—and that is happening, and happening despite the deliberate antagonism of bakers and some millers on this matter, at an increasing rate; and the saving to the State through subsidy, and the saving then to the taxpayer, will, I hope, be considerable.

I have been asked about the two railway companies. As far as the Great Northern Railway is concerned, the public are pretty nearly in possession of as much of the facts as I am and the public will, one of these days, be asked to pass judgment on what has brought about this bad condition in the fortunes of the Great Northern Railway. I personally would hate to see the day when the Great Northern Railway had to be nationalised. It was an excellent concern. It was the last remnant we had in this country of transport under private enterprise and while it lasted it was something of a stimulus, and should have been an example to Córas Iompair Éireann. It has been brought to its present position mainly because of the increased demands made upon it in a failing situation; and if those demands are persisted in, it means that, while the same amount of money may be spent on labour, fewer employees will get the money that has to be spent on them—but that will be a matter on which the employees concerned, through their unions, will be able to make up their own minds.

With regard to Córas Iompair Éireann, the complaint is that, while the policy of nationalisation in connection with it was announced some time ago, all that has happened since is that the First Reading of a Bill has been taken. To those who complain of delay, I would say that it is not an easy matter to deal with the main transport concern of any country and it is particularly difficult in connection with Córas Iompair Éireann, when one does not enter on a clear situation but on a situation that has been confused and complicated by the errors and mistakes of the past. It will be no easy matter to extricate the new transport concern from all these difficulties and to start it on a new line, with some hope that, in the end, we may get an efficient transport service here—which we have not had for many years—and that the public will get that transport at a moderate rate.

In that connection, I have been asked about my views on nationalisation and that query has been put in the framework of "a change of mind on my part". I do not suppose it has very much importance what I think about nationalisation, but since the matter has been made a point of controversy here, I would say I do not think I have at any point said that nationalisation is in itself bad. Certainly, I will never be brought to say that nationalisation is in itself good. I take my stand on this on particular teachings I have derived from my own Church. There is a certain moral law which governs all this question of nationalisation; it is to be derived partly from St. Thomas and partly from various social Encyclicals. The principle that guides most people who are of the Christian Faith is fairly clear, that is, that indiscriminate nationalisation is condemned and selective nationalisation is approved. When it comes to the selection, there are quite definite rules and standards laid down. For instance, it is quite clear that nationalisation is allowed and permitted and even has a benediction given to it, where, whatever the concern may be, those in charge of it lack the vision, or the will, or the capital, that is necessary to bring about a good situation where a bad one exists. I think it is also regarded as sound that nationalisation might take place where some commodity vital to the country has drifted under the control of a ring or of a cartel, or of some group that goes in for monopoly control and for the huge profits that could easily be gained from monopolies. In addition to that, there are certain things like armaments and such matters that are of vital importance to the public; or, even though there may not be price fixing or anything like that, where it is still regarded as a good thing that they should be under public control, that is, under Governmental control.

Those are the tests I would apply to any scheme of nationalisation. At the same time, I would like to state—and this is possibly what is in the mind of the Senator who misunderstood my remarks—another position, that is, as between nationalisation and other forms of ownership, I will give a preference to widely diffused private ownership, particularly on a co-operative or corporative basis; and I think that is the objective of most of the schemes that one finds praised from time to time. There is also a point to be recognised—and here, I suppose, there is more controversy than anywhere else—that under private capitalis both producers and consumers have more personal independence, more freedom, more responsibility and everything else, than they would have under nationalised concerns. If there is, so to speak, a borderline case, my option all the time would be for the operation of private enterprise; and I think that on that I have a good deal of Church authority. May I add that I do not think it can be put against me that I have any academic view against nationalisation? I was happy to be associated with the biggest scheme of nationalisation this country ever had, the Shannon scheme. It was very definitely condemned by people who thought it was a mad scheme from the financial angle and that the whole credit of the country was being seriously mortgaged by what was described as "a hare-brained scheme". The people who described it in that way have at least learned to know better even if they do not say anything different.

I have been asked also about social security schemes. I welcome every opportunity in this House or any House or at any public meeting to get a point of view displayed with regard to social security. At the moment there is a certain amount of propaganda that a White Paper on social security was promised and that there has been delay in producing it. The more seriously that whole scheme is considered the greater is the likelihood of delay.

When this matter was first mooted in the Dáil it was as late as the month of March, 1947. The Minister who was then in charge of the matter, Dr. Ryan, spoke in the following terms in Dáil Éireann on the 27th March, 1947. I quote from the Official Report, Volume 105, column 441 and onwards of that debate:—

"I should like to remind Deputies that there is no readymade solution available from any other country that could be applied here, because we find that our conditions are not exactly the same as they are in any other country. The problem here is more difficult, for one reason or another, because of the general upset with regard to distribution of population, distribution of employment and so on, and, in common with other countries, we have the aftermath of the war to deal with, so that I am not, therefore, in a position to make any detailed statement on future policy with regard to social services unless to say, as I said before, that I should like to see a unified scheme under which we could insure a person against sickness, unemployment, old age, widowhood of his wife and, perhaps, against a large family; I should like to see as many of these as possible being brought into one unified scheme which will be dealt with by one card and one stamp for each period of a week or whatever it might be, and dealt with by one official or agent at the field end and centrally through the one fund, and through the one system of filing, and so on."

That is the aim which he said then they had in view. That was a mere unification of services. There is no question there of any vast extension of social services—just a mere unification. The object was not so much to bring in the whole mass of the population under social security schemes as to save the expense in administration in having separate schemes operating under different Departments. Dr. Ryan then went on to say that he was personally very much in favour of a contributory scheme for all these various items but that it would be a difficult problem to draw up a contributory scheme for the greater part of the population because a big part of the population are not working for wages. He added that it is not easy to devise a contributory scheme where people are not wage earners because it is not so easy to collect the contributions that would be due from week to week. All that was in March, 1947.

All the last Government had in mind then was, as I say, a unification of existing services—together with the phrase I have read: "Insure against a large family". That was the Fianna Fáil objective in social security. They now complain because the whole country is not brought under what some people call a "welfare system". Other people have condemned a welfare system as being a good step towards and not very far removed from a servile system. There is a good deal to be said for that point of view. It is one I uphold and will uphold hereafter. That does not mean that I am to be regarded individually, or representing the group for which I speak, as against the amalgamation of the services or even speaking or even thinking against an extension of such services. But if the services are to be extended to the point where we are all to be paying for benefits which some of us may not require, well, a good deal of thought has to be given to that matter. During a Dáil debate recently a Fianna Fáil Deputy who comes from a Border county said that he would like to have a good deal of consideration given to this matter before it was brought into legislative form. He said he derives his doubts from conversations he has had with people across the Border who were living under the social security scheme which was there. He gave as an example the case of a small farmer in County Fermanagh who had calculated that his contributions to the social security scheme in the North amounted to £16 a year. His return, so far, had been something which previously had cost him £2, free false teeth which he did not require and free spectacles which he did not need. He paid £16 for £2 worth of medicine and, of course, an enormous number of people would have to pay £16 for £2 worth of medicine if all the people were to get the free spectacles, dental treatment and so forth, that the enthusiasts of social security schemes want. Social security has been worked out very deliberately and with great attention to detail and the scheme will be produced when we as a Government feel that we have a scheme we can stand over. The pace will not be accelerated in the slightest by any niggling questions that are going on as to when the White Paper will make its appearance. It will not appear until after great thought and consideration has been given to it.

I have been told that, as a result of action by the present Government, unemployment has increased in the Gaeltacht areas and in that connection the matter of hand-won turf has again been brought into the picture. I have so many quotations about hand-won turf, and about what was intended, that I despair of getting a simple one to bring before the minds of Senators what was intended by the last Government. Possibly, at least, this will show the mentality there was around the middle of 1947. Deputy Lemass is reported in theIrish Times of the 22nd July, 1947, as saying, in the course of a speech: “This year the bulk of their production would be hand-won. It was, however, the last year of hand-won turf for industrial purposes and retail sale in eastern areas. At least, so they hoped.” That is borne out by other documentation. That is borne out by all the matter disclosed on the files. Hand-won turf was coming to an end except in areas where there was always hand-won turf and where it should have been—where, by tradition, the people cut it and used it and where, now and again, the people sold a bit of it. That situation ought to develop again and we ought to get back to normal. A suggestion has been made here—it was put in a more, precise way here than I ever heard it before — that one should prevent the importation of coal of any type into Connacht. I should like to have a little bit of a tour through the area of Connacht to see how well that suggestion would be received among certain of the people who make a livelihood out of hand-won turf. It might go down all right, but amongst the people who would have to use and be compelled to use hand-won turf and nothing else there might not be exactly the same enthusiasm as is alleged here about it.

It is also said that the road grants are a great source of complaint in regard to the Gaeltacht and other areas. It will take, I suppose, many repetitions to get this matter clear but I suppose I am entitled to say this for at least the third time. There was never any promise, in fact the whole of the statements went to the contrary, that road grants would be continued on anything like the scale on which they were given in 1946-7 and 1947-8. The late Minister for Local Government went into great detail in connection with this matter in Dáil Éireann on the 23rd February, 1949, when there was a motion in that House with regard to these road grants. The situation as he outlined it is easy to understand. For a quarter of a century the roads in this country have been financed out of the Road Fund. That is the only source out of which finances came. In fact, from time to time, the moneys in the Road Fund were raided by Governments. I raided it last year and again this year. I am following a precedent Fianna Fáil had and they can say they were following a precedent which Mr. Cosgrave's Government gave. However, the Road Fund was sufficient to supply all the finances that the making and the keeping of roads here required and to provide a little bit for the State when the Central Fund was in need.

During the war, first of all the same amount of money was not coming into the Road Fund because the same number of motor vehicles were not travelling the roads. The roads did not require the same amount of maintenance and they did not get it. Again, there was a lack of materials for rebuilding, constructing and maintaining the roads. Therefore the same amount was not spent as had been spent in pre-war years. Even though the fund was depleted to some extent, still it mounted up until towards the end of the war there was a fair amount of money left in it.

It was recognised that a good deal of damage had been done to the roads during the war years on account of turf lorries and other unusual traffic. It was also calculated that if there was not heavy expenditure on the restoration of the roads for a yearly period after the war, the roads would have to be reconstructed later at a very heavy cost. It was therefore decided to carry out a reconstruction and maintenance programme on a sort of capital costs basis and that it should be done by moneys contributed from the Road Fund. It was definitely started for a year only and when the point was first taken up by the then Minister for Local Government his colleague, the then Minister for Finance, Deputy Aiken, expressed his dislike of the idea of making any grants for county roads and his sanction for road restoration grants for either main or county roads was given on the strict understanding that the revised basis of allocation as between the Road Fund and the rates would apply for one financial year only. When an effort was made to have a similar grant operated for a second year, it was strenously resisted by the then Minister for Finance to such an extent that the programme was very considerably delayed and local authorities were faced with great difficulties because of the delay that Deputy Aiken, the Minister for Finance, had imposed on the whole programme.

After two years, the approach was to the critical period early in 1948. A political situation that I need not go into had developed at that time. The late Government were anxious to appear in a good light before the local authorities, so a new proposal was made to have a third year's "go" by way of extra grants for the roads. The Minister for Finance, however, in his office was not a politician and he expressed astonishment at the new proposal. He wrote a rather brusque letter reminding the then Minister for Local Government that the special grants had only been reluctantly agreed to for the year then current and that that was an extension of the original programme. However, a few days before the last Government left office they came to the conclusion that they should make an arrangement about the roads. They decided to make a grant, but the one thing that follows a Government decision, namely, the provivision of the money, did not follow. That was left over to a later date.

If the last Government had been reelected they would have made their plans and they would presumably have duly informed local authorities eventually but they took the unusual procedure of telling them by telegram that the programme should go ahead. That was about a week before they left office. The Minister for Finance, however, left behind him in his office a letter to the Minister for Local Government, from which I should like to give the following quotation:—

"The position should be faced that grants on the existing scale cannot be continued and that the rate at which new commitments in respect of road maintenance can be undertaken must be accommodated to the resources of the Road Fund and of the local authority."

Perhaps the Minister would give the reference.

I am quoting from Volume 114 of the Dáil Debates, columns 381-2. That again is the situation. There is no question of continuing these grants. It is somewhat similar to the turf situation. Nobody could reasonably consider the piling up of more fuel, the piling up of dust in the Park, in the way it was being accumulated, and nobody could consider the handing out of millions indefinitely from the Road Fund for this road restoration work. In any event, we decided that the period of reconstruction was very nearly over and that the Road Fund should again be the source of the moneys that were to be expended on road maintenance and on road restoration and on nothing else. We thought of an exchange for that. We thought of a better plan by which we would provide money for doing work that had been regarded as more productive than merely the maintenance of roads. We therefore went ahead with the land reclamation project and the project that is enshrined in the Local Authorities (Works) Bill which we consider will give as much employment as used to be given on the roads. The employment on the roads could never have lasted more than a certain limited time. We think we have got another way of giving employment, employment that can last over the years and that will be of use.

Certain Senators have referred to the question of the Gaeltacht Services and the sale of tweeds. If Senators will look at the Estimates they will see that the Estimate for the Gaeltacht Services is down a little bit. Incidentally the Gaeltacht Services was one Department that I thought should disappear from the Book of Estimates very soon, that it should be a self-contained sort of business and should be able to make its own expenses. The Government, of course, would provide buildings and give it certain office facilities, but the Gaeltacht Services Vote is not a Vote that I think should be there as a permanency. Senators will have observed that the provision under the various sub-heads is somewhat reduced, but if Senators will go through the details they will find that the reduction occurs in nearly all the different sub-heads under the heading of materials. In other words, not as much materials are being purchased this year as last year and the reason for that is that there was so much in the way of made-up materials left that we were faced with a similar situation as that in connection with the turf dumps in the Park. We had a substantial amount of material which we could not get rid of. There does not seem to be any value in piling up stuff merely to put it on the shelves. Therefore it was decided to provide only whatever they could usefully make up in materials for sale this year. That explains why there is a reduction in the Vote.

There is another explanation that has to be borne in mind, and that is, that the Appropriations-in-Aid this year are down considerably. The reason is that the stocks which were left there are being cleared. They are being cleared more rapidly by us than ever they were by Fianna Fáil. The Appropriations-in-Aid will not be as big as last year because the Gaeltacht Services got rid of a big amount of the stuff left there. There is a certain amount of the material which it is not easy to sell. That has certainly nothing to do with the trade agreement made with Britain.

Senator Hawkins raised the point last year about there being some mistake made in the trade agreement with England and that something had turned out unfortunately for us. He changed his thought on that afterwards and said the same mistake was made in connection with the trade agreement with France. Neither of the agreements referred to the Gaeltacht tweeds. What happened was that the purchasers both in France and England wanted tweeds of a certain width and they were not manufactured to that width. The mistake lay with those who allowed to be manufactured tweeds that were not in common sale. We shall get over that difficulty in time, but nobody can say when those tweeds which are left will be finally cleared.

There is no prohibition in England with regard to the sale of those tweeds. Senator Hawkins referred to the loss this country suffered through the absence of the sale of these materials through the parcels post. It was not that they were prohibited. That was always illegal. When we were in negotiation with the British Government in 1948, they drew our attention to this. They pointed out that it was a cause of a great deal of friction and jealousy in England. People came here and, if they purchased material here, they avoided the payment of a heavy purchase tax in England. If they took these things back with them and their baggage was opened and they were discovered, they were made to pay the same tax as any ordinary citizen buying through the shops in England. But there was an evasion which the British Government knew was going on by sending these goods through the medium of the parcels post. They warned us that they were going to take measures to stop that, and they have taken these measures. But the whole practice was illegal according to their law. To ask them to abandon that would be asking them to give a sort of privilege to people who were well enough off to visit this country and buy tweeds and bring them back. We did not think it was a good demand to make. In any event, we felt it was a useless demand to make. If that traffic has been stopped, it was decided to stop it because it was decided to prevent illegality occurring.

I need not make any further comment with regard to the Commission on Emigration which was discussed very often. I have given the quotations and the volumes and the statements that are on record from the files. The last Government, seeing themselves faced with the withdrawal of certain regulations with regard to permits, decided that the best way out of their difficulty was to establish a commission on emigration.

Senator Hawkins quoted me with regard to the Tourist Board when I said it was lingering last year and that I should like to get an opportunity of deciding when it would be put out of action, so to speak, or have a chance of looking forward to the future. It has had a chance of looking forward to the future. We reconstructed that board, and I think we have a better board now as a result of the better personnel that we have on the board. We are also taking away from that board anything to do with hotels, asking them to get rid of hotels, and we are even getting rid of them at a loss. We thought it better to suffer a loss in capital recoupment than to have a continuing loss, as that was what we were threatened with so long as the board, or a subordinate body of that board, Failte Teo., ran these hotels. The objective of any tourist board ought to be to inspect hotels, to grade them and to indulge in a certain amount of publicity with regard to the benefit that people would get here if they liked to visit us. We have the present board setting itself to these three tasks.

Personally, I should like to see the board abolished. If there was ever an occasion upon which a vocational organisation should take control and look after the grading and inspection of hotels and indulge in a certain amount of publicity, which, in the main, brings grist to the hotel keepers, it is surely one for the hotel industry. I cannot see why a strong group, a fairly well-to-do group like those who are in the hotel and restaurant business in this country should not be able to do this work for themselves. For the time being, however, we are letting the board carry on and giving them a fair amount of money. We are directing their attention to the three main duties of inspecting hotels, grading them as a result of inspection, and then getting publicity with regard to what is being done. We will certainly dispose of the hotels no matter what clamour is made about them and it will be a very happy day when we have got rid of the whole of them.

Take Ballinahinch. Somebody said it cost £35,000. It cost the best part of £70,000. We have sold it at a considerable loss and it was a great day when we decided to get rid of it. As to the method adopted, it was done by public auction. Advertisements were put widely through the Press here in Ireland and the auction date was postponed for a period in order to enable publicity to be given in America to the sale of the Ballinahinch properties— there are three of them. The public auction was abortive. The amount of money offered at the public auction was certainly not attractive. After the method of public auction had been tried, those who were around the public auction, or their representatives, knew that a date was fixed and that offers would be received by letter, that they would be opened on a particular date, and that then we would decide whether we would sell to the highest bidder or else hold these Ballinahinch properties in the hope that we might get more money for them. The offer, although not a very good one, was an improvement on what could have been secured at the public auction. The decision was taken to sell and I am, personally, very glad to have these properties sold, and I hope the day will soon come when we will be able to say that we have sold the last of the hotel property which the Tourist Board was foolish enough to take on hands.

Contrast will have to be made between the price we got and the price paid for the property, plus the moneys put into the reconstruction, furnishing and adaptation of them. There was a scandalous waste of money both with regard to the purchasing and the equipment, reconstruction and adaptation of them. How any group could ever have promised that these hotels were going to be profit-making concerns passes all comprehension. Yet, solemnly, on every occasion when any of these hotels came forward for purchase, the Tourist Board was always found signing on the dotted line its assurance that these concerns would be profit-making. Experience showed that under the particular company that ran them they were not profit-making. At a time when every boarding-house keeper found it possible to make a good profit, when tourists were coming in here flush with money and anxious to get the good things that this money could buy, the Tourist Board were able to give an example and show that it was possible to lose money on running hotels at that very extraordinarily flush period.

Senator Hawkins was the first to raise the comment which has been repeated by so many others, that the burden of local rates has now got to an oppressive point, that burdens are being passed from the central funds to the rates, and that this is all having an aggravated effect on the country generally and on business in the country. I have a very simple answer to that. There are tables circulated in connection with the Budget and I ask Senators to read them. If they look at Table 4 attached to the Budget of this year, these figures leap to the eye. The aid given by Government grants to local authorities in 1946-7 was £7,040,000; in 1947-8, it was £9,096,000; in 1948-9, it was £9,773,000, and this year it is £12,290,000. We have increased the amount by £2,000,000 on last year when it was up by almost £700,000 on the year before. If you take the comparison with 1946-7, the increase is of the order of £5,250,000 by way of subventions to local rates. How, in the face of these figures, can anybody tell me that the State is passing on a burden to the local authorities? If anybody tells me that, I will await his explanation of the figures.

Senator Hawkins congratulated me on my conversion to the short-wave station. He should hold his breath for a little bit. My conversion may not be found to be either very complete or very lasting. I should like Senators to understand what has happened with regard to the short-wave station. Last year I decided to spend the amount of money in the Estimate on completing the mast rather than sending out a whole lot of material. At that time we had no wavelength. The whole air was cluttered by people trying to broadcast on short-wave stations, and all short-wave wireless was full of interference. In addition, we had been advised that the people whom we wanted to reach in America were installing sets that did not allow them to tune in to short-wave radiation. A conference took place in Mexico towards the end of last year. We sent delegates there to see if it were possible to get short-wave frequencies. What we have got out of the Mexico City conference is a share of short-wave frequencies under a basic plan. That basic plan has to be technically developed and will not come into operation until the middle of 1951. In the meantime, there is to be an attempt to use the frequencies that this country registered some years ago for experimental purposes. The experiment on the short-wave transmission from Athlone was found to be so bad that it was cut out after some months.

There is the possibility that we may be able to achieve a temporary sharing arrangement with the United States of America. We have a sort of understanding with that country and we may be able to make it a real understanding. The best that has been achieved up to date is that we have hopes that by 1951 we will be able to have a sharing of certain short-wave frequencies. That does not get over other difficulties. Short-wave transmissions are far from perfect anywhere and congestion on the waveband is so very severe that no guarantee can be given by anybody or to anybody as regards reception free from interference. That is leaving out altogether the question whether the sets in America will be so tuned as to be able to receive what we send out. These are technical difficulties that were found to be there by the Department of Posts and Telegraphs round about the year 1945. All the other difficulties are still there. There is no international agreement that you can get free a particular wavelength. Any wavelength that you may decide to share appears to be subject to those difficulties. Any country that has a defined band under which it does a short-wave transmission, generally uses two or three wavelengths. Each wavelength means a new station and means in the end competition of one kind or another. Therefore, you have to build not one station but two or three stations in order to get yourself into a really strong position from the point of view of transmission. That is all set out in the memorandum of 1945.

One high power transmitter would appear to be ludicrous. That was set out in 1945 by the then Minister for Posts and Telegraphs and so I suppose the same technical advice would be given now, so that while we are going to have a certain amount of experimentation, let no one think that a short-wave station has a bright career ahead of it. It may have a very brief career and it may be a very costly sort of experiment that we are having, but there are so many people who feel that it was an easy matter to arrange and get transmission that we have decided, even, I think, at an extravagant cost, to make the experiment.

Senator Miss Pearse questioned my attitude towards the Irish language. She said that "economy means wise spending", a definition with which I thoroughly agree of course. The Senator questioned my cutting of subventions to certain papers published in the Irish language. A saving of £17,000 has been mentioned. I have looked through the Estimates to see whether there was, in fact, such a saving, but I cannot find it.

I gave the figures.

I am prepared to guarantee that, by the end of the year, there will have been spent just as much as last year on anything that has to do with Irish. There are economies here and there. When I was before the House with the Finance Bill and when a case was made with regard to the subventions to these papers I said I thought it was right that something should be done in order to bring these people to a better sense of business, and that I would have another look at the matter. With the assistance of the Minister for Education, I did have another look at the matter, and I have agreed to give them subventions as before. There is an extra £5,000 for what, I am instructed, is almost the best way in which Irish can be aided, and that is through the Folklore Commission which is operating in University College, Dublin. I do not find any economies amounting to £17,000—not as far as I can make out from the Book of Estimates. There were economies of a couple of thousand pounds on the Estimates, but I have given that back since. I spoke on this matter before, but possibly it would be interesting if I were to deal with it again. There are three papers, mainly, to which subventions are given.

They areIndiu, Comhar and Feasta. The normal subsidy given to these for years was £1,000 between them. In the year 1948-49 they were given what was expressed to be a very special subsidy to enable them to get their feet under them and so that they could carry on. The full tot of the subsidy in 1948-49 was £7,230, which was expressed to be a very special grant. The circulation of these three papers—and this is only an estimate—is 5,772 copies. That estimate is got by taking the figure for their best week and multiplying it out over the year. We are taking the estimate given to us. There is no accurate calculation because we do not get any figure for returns. If one takes it that all the copies sent out to the country for sale are sold, one would run to 1,700 copies and the others to 1,500 copies.

In no case, in regard to these three papers, did the sales pay even for the printing expenditure. In connection with one of them,Indiu, the receipts were £874, while the printing expenditure alone was £2,000. The full expenditure was £4,295. The sales do not meet the printing expenditure in that case or anything like it. With regard to Comhar, the full sales, advertising, etc., amounted to £253, and the full expenditure to £660, of which the printing accounted for £389. In the case of Feasta, the advertisements and sales amounted to £511, the printing to £657, and the total expenditure to £1,517. The subsidy in the case of Indiu amounts to 1/- a copy. The sale price was 2d. a copy. The subsidy in the case of Comhar is 1/9 a copy, and of Feasta ? a copy.

The Minister did not refer toAr Aghaidh.

There is a smaller amount for it. It got something in the neighbourhood of £8 a month. There are others,An tUltach and Our Boys, but I have been dealing with the three main ones. I interrupted Senator Mrs. Concannon, when she was speaking, to say that a circulation of 5,000 would get them in the clear. In that I was wrong. The calculation has been made that one would require a circulation of 7,000 copies for its revival.

A calculation was also made with regard to these three Irish papers. There are some people who buy two of them and some people who buy all three. The circulation for the whole lot does not go above 4,000 people; at any rate, the people who buy them, who pay for them, are not more than 4,000 in number. It is a question whether it is worth while keeping on these subventions when there are only 4,000 persons sufficiently interested in the Irish language to buy those papers, which are cheap enough, and as Senator Mrs. Concannon says, are very well produced. The format is excellent and the material in them, I am advised, is very good. The illustrations, and those are the things I understand, are certainly attractive. That is the situation with regard to these Irish publications.

On the opposite side, one has to consider that it is hoped in sufficient time there will be a sufficient number of people interested in Irish who would like to buy these papers in order to get something more than what is in the ordinary textbooks. If these papers were to disappear, there will be nothing but the school textbooks. These publications give an outlet for writers in Irish who may not get an opportunity to circulate their thoughts if these papers were to disappear. It has been explained to me that through these three papers one gets a better flexibility brought about in the Irish language; through them Irish has been adapted to modern needs and a certain literary use has been achieved.

Has any attempt been made to have them used in the schools? If they were circulated in the schools it would be very helpful.

It would be for Comhdháil Náisiúnta to take that up. It was the view in the end which the Minister for Education explained to me, that if we dropped these papers now those people who learn Irish are simply left to the school textbooks and nothing else. It is necessary, therefore, to continue this subvention for some time in order to see if a little more enthusiasm could not be worked up about it. I thought it was necessary that we should bring it home to the people who are enthusiastic about the language that they ought to back up their enthusiasm with a few pence more if they want these papers kept alive. I do not think that State help should be so completely out of proportion to the assistance given by these people, whose enthusiasm about Irish ought to be more marked in relation to these papers. That is the special point so far as those papers are concerned. I will ask the Seanad to accept my assurance that when the end of the financial year comes it will be found that there has not been any saving so far as those Irish papers are concerned. Certain moneys go to to the Foclóir Commission. There is no saving there. The taxpayer has not gained anything because of any attack on the Irish language or on any of the institutions for the encouragement of Irish or that depend on Irish.

Senator Miss Pearse referred to the Government black market. I am very proud of what was done in that connection. So far as subsidised flour and bread are concerned, there is a generous ration and, according to medical authorities, the subsidised flour is the best, and the bread that is made from it is equally the best that one can take. There are people who like white flour, whether it is because of their palates or through some sort of snobbery. The fact remains that there are people who want to buy it and it is lucky for me that they are demanding the production of white flour more and more. It saves a good deal by way of subvention if people want to pay more for that article than for an article that the medical profession will tell you is better. If those people wish to pay more, I think that is an attitude of mind on their part that we should favour and acclaim and we should not annoy them by saying they are going into the black market. They are quite entitled to buy it if they want to, just as any person is entitled to buy a very highly priced motor car while others are obliged to purchase a cheap one.

With regard to sugar, manufacturers get sugar at the economic price. There is a practice of allowing sugar at certain periods of the year in connection with honey-making. If it goes beyond using sugar for honey-making, and if people want to buy quantities of sugar over and above the ration, well and good; as long as they pay me the higher price for it, I will be in a position to use that to cover the rationing of sugar at the cheaper price. As regards tea, it ought to be regarded as another progressive movement instead of being condemned as a black market device.

I would like to answer Senator Buckley but I think I will leave it over to another occasion. Senator Summer-field has spoken critically of the application of the phrase "luxury hotels". I feel when that phrase is used it is used deliberately to criticise expenditure by the State on hotels of the type beyond the reach of the means of most of the population. We are catering for the luxury type and even there they miss their aim. They are the type of people who do not want to go to the type of hotel that they can get in abundance in their own countries; they want something more racy of the soil. I think I agree that there could be an improvement.

Senator Honan was the first Senator to raise this matter of valuation. May I say comprehensively that there is not a word of truth in what was alleged here with regard to a secret and confidential circular to put the valuation officers on the track of premises? There has been no movement on the part of any official of my Department to get a revaluation. Senator Honan and Senator Fitzsimons spoke about it and Senator O'Reilly made a little reference to it—Senator O'Reilly spoke more mildly. If the truth were known, Senator Honan and Senator Fitzsimons should be rail-roaded out of their respective towns, because it is the local authorities to which they belong that start the whole thing. I said that by way of interruption, and it is perfectly sound. The secretary of the local authority writes and asks to have a valuation officer sent down to look after certain buildings. That is how it starts.

The Valuation Office do not take the initiative. They may take the initiative with regard to a new licensed premises that was an ordinary dwelling house and that obtained a licence and, in consequence, has assumed a new character, or where a building is extended —where a person purchases it and puts on an extension and parades it possibly as a hotel. They will take the initiative where some spectacular thing attracts the attention of the valuation people, but in the main—I am speaking as I am advised—there was no circular, confidential or otherwise, no whispering, no hinting. Nothing has gone from the officials of the Department of Finance or the Revenue Commissioners endeavouring to encourage the local authorities to get busy about revaluation. Wherever that takes place, it is the local authority that is responsible.

Is not the local secretary liable to severe penalties if he does not take the initiative?

I never heard of that. Does the Senator discriminate between new buildings or a place like a new licensed house?

I will look into that because I must have an amazing amount of heavy penalties to collect from secretaries of local authorities.

Suppose the local authority give no direction by way of resolution to their secretary to make a request for the revaluation of any properties within the jurisdiction of the local authority, what view would the Minister take then? He has put one side of it.

I would certainly be very annoyed, but whether or not I could do anything about it I do not know. That, however, is getting away from the original point. The allegation here is that the local authority does not do it. I do not do it. I have nothing to do with it.

The official has his eye on the Customs House rather than on the local authority that pays him.

It is not for me to advise the local authority to get into bad ways. I am merely saying what the facts are. It was also alleged that these increased valuations had resulted in very, heavy extra payments to the Electricity Supply Board. I tried to get some advice from the Electricity Supply Board about that last night, but I was not able to make contact with anyone in the Electricity Supply Board, and I do not know what exactly the situation is. I did, however, hear this matter discussed some time ago and I was told by a member of the board that increased money from revaluation of premises is inconsiderable. With regard to the public-houses, I quoted here last night in an interruption the relevant figures for the last six years. In six years the receipts from the duties paid on licensed premises had only increased by £3,000, that was the increase in the total revenue collected from licensed premises over that period. In that period the number of retailers, and the total number is something less than 15,000 people in the entire community, had increased by something short of 200. On the figures I have here the average valuation works out at about £9. If you take the new off-licensed or fully licensed premises and multiply that by eight it makes up practically the whole of the extra £3,000. In that six years, therefore, nothing certainly accrued to revenue through licensed premises having been brought under the sway of the Revenue Commissioners.

I am sorry that Senator Honan is not here because I would like to talk to him about the property tax. I refer to the famous five-fourths. Property is now valued at one-quarter over its real valuation for certain taxation purposes. I would have liked to remind both Senator Honan and Senator Fitzsimons that they were for many years associated with the Minister who put on that extra one-fourth and they encouraged him to do that. They were also behind that Minister when he previously withdrew the allowance on house property for repairs. That meant in the end that, not merely had he increased the property notionally for tax purposes by one-fourth, but he had also increased it by 50 per cent. I do not know whether Senators will remember, but those who were members of the Dáil will remember, the great flourish with which the then Minister introduced that tax. He talked of it being like the little grain of mustard seed which "will grow into a mighty tree, beneath whose foliage luckier Ministers for Finance than I will sit at ease to catch the glittering prizes as they fall". If I am getting the glittering prizes I must put it to the glittering credit of Deputy MacEntee, who put on that tax.

Senator Fearon raised the matter of the civil list. That has been considered here over and over again. In the end the decision of many Ministers in many Governments has been against it. It would not be of very much help. The subvention given in the English civil list at the moment on a budget of £3,500,000,000 is in the neighbourhood of £32,000. If we reduce that down to our modest budget here it would mean that we would give something in the neighbourhood of £700 by way of civil list. There would be too many applicants for it and one would find it quite impossible to give anything really valuable. On the whole, it has been decided that there is no case for a civil list here. Possibly another view will prevail hereafter.

Senator Fearon also raised the subject of the tax on musical instruments. I know that it is not a sufficient answer to tell him that those instruments have been taxed for many years. That tax is part of the old "McKenna Duties" taken over in 1922. They have lasted ever since. I do not know if anybody has ever drawn attention to them before as being detrimental to culture. We will look into that matter before this time next year.

He also spoke about emigration in a rather persuasive way. He said that there was an attraction overseas and that that attraction was the pull. He said that we must try to equalise that pull. I cannot agree that we shall ever do that. As far as material considerations are concerned we cannot offer anything in the region of the scale that America holds out. Senator Fearon said that we were exploiting the love of home and country. I can reply to that by saying that all countries do that; otherwise, there would be a complete intellectual and cultural flight to the United States or to South America, where material conditions are undoubtedly far better than either impoverished Europe or this country can provide. We are trying to equalise that by improving amenities at home and giving incentives to people to remain here and work here.

With regard to Senator Quirke's contribution I want to say that I feel no great shame in having helped to get rid of the cavalry escort. Senator Quirke and other Senators may like to know that it was not any antagonism to horses that caused that escort to be dispensed with. I was in Government when the escort was first established. I found to my amazement and horror that some of the uniforms that the first cavalry escort were dressed in were still in existence. It was a question of uniforms having to be remade. It was a question whether it was wise in these days to start to bring out these "Blue Hussars" again, as they were called, or whether we would not become more modern and go in for the motor-cyclist and his peculiar uniform. The change was made. I think it is a good change. I do not think that those who come to buy horses will be annoyed because we escort a diplomat through the streets of Dublin with a fleet of motor-cycles instead of horses. We have plenty of use for our horses in other ways and we show them to great purpose in other ways.

Senator O'Farrell referred to juvenile delinquents. I must ask him to excuse me from going into that subject at the moment. It is a very technical matter. I am sure the Senator knows that my colleague, the Minister for Agriculture, has spoken on this subject on many occasions both before he became a Minister and since. The Senator must wait and see what improvements are made. I agree with what is said with regard to the segregation he would like to have as between the ordinary delinquent and the person who is steeped in crime. That is something we would like to have but, as will be appreciated, there are difficulties in the way.

With regard to Senator Mrs. Concannon's plea for teachers' pensions and the way in which they will be paid, I understand that the Department will pay the lowest group first. That will merely be in accordance with charity. I am also informed by the Department that the payment of these new pensions will cause a good deal of administrative difficulty and there may be some delay. To use a trite phrase, there will be no avoidable delay. The Department is concerned to make the payments. At the moment it is in touch with my Department, in an effort to evolve a more simplified procedure to enable pensions to be paid more rapidly.

With regard to the harbours, I would draw the Senator's attention to the fact that the provision for harbours this year is up by £43,000. Whether Galway is specially provided for in that I cannot say. I rather think it is not. If it is not included, it is because the Department mainly concerned is interested in certain other harbours. I think that Arklow is included in the provision that has been made.

Senator Burke also spoke on the question of the ratepayers and the heavy burden that is placed on them. He went to the point of indicating reliefs that could be given, reliefs which could be secured by taking more from, so to speak, the people of large incomes. People with large incomes are fairly heavily taxed at the moment. Some of these days I will get a table made out to show how taxation impacts upon the people of £2,000 income and over. From that I except businesses. It may be that certain businesses making profits of, say, something in the supertax area could afford to pay more although I doubt if any of them would be willing to pay much more, but I can keep that as a programme in mind for the future.

Senator McCartan spoke of the musicians. I asked for some advice on that and have been told—and I am speaking entirely on the advice I have got—that it is incorrect for the Senator to say that none of the foreign musicians brought in here recently has an international reputation. The present conductor, undoubtedly, is a man of good international repute. He was engaged by the Department on the advice of an expert committee. They wanted a person, not so much from the point of view of what he would do in connection with the orchestra, but of being able to train.

I did not mean to say that there was none of them. What I meant was the majority.

That would be in agreement with what I have been told. The phrase used was that none was of international reputation.

Maybe I said that but I do not think I did.

The Minister for Posts and Telegraphs advises me that he is very anxious to use native talent to the fullest but that he, on the advice of people whom he regards as entitled to advise him in this matter, feels it is better to proceed along the lines he is going, that is, to bring in certain foreign players to train some of the others and also conductors to conduct and also to train. The Department wants it to be understood that it is the intention to promote all facilities possible for the training of native talent and the hope is that they will be able to provide their own conductors and players as required and to do that in a very short space of time.

I think I may remark to the Senator that the Department of Posts and Telegraphs are only doing what was done in other concerns that were founded here. When the Shannon scheme was first inaugurated there was a good deal of controversy over the fact that certain German engineers were brought on to the job. The same explanation was given then and was not accepted then. The purpose of bringing in those German engineers, who were very, very expert in certain types of work, was to train the young Irish engineers so that they could replace them. The argument was that once you let them into the country you would not be able to get rid of them. The situation as it developed was that during the war years, so far as the power-house at Ardnacrusha was concerned, all the machinery that was there, and which was very much overworked, all the sets of turbines, were put out of commission during the dry season—the period that is operating now—and were in turn taken to bits, overhauled, repaired and put back again in full condition with such good results that there was not a solitary hour lost during the whole period of the war through failure in machinery. The fact that that machinery was kept up to trim in the way it was was entirely due to the work of the Irish technicians who had been trained by the Germans. The suggestion was that we brought the Germans here to train when we could have sent our people abroad to get trained. We took the line of bringing the Germans here and the Department of Posts and Telegraphs, possibly because they were sending this to me, give that as an example of precedent with regard to the foreign musicians.

The Minister has a sympathetic audience here to-night. I find, perhaps in my old age, that I cannot hear as well as I could. Might I appeal to the Minister to raise his voice slightly, without causing any distress to himself? One of the few speeches I am prepared to read in the Official Debates is the speech of the Minister for Finance.

I am sorry. If I had only known, I would have talked much more loudly, even with less effect. Senator Fitzsimons was mainly on the question of the valuations. That I have dealt with. On this matter about the grants for the reconstruction of houses—a point that I had not known anything about—I have been instructed since that the reason why the grant is not given to farmers of £35 valuation and over is because a farmer of that type is supposed to be in such comfortable circumstances that he can, so to speak, fend for himself. The £35 is the limit now. It had been £25 up to a couple of years ago.

I will leave Senator O'Brien over for the moment, because he dealt with general tax and finance and the general set up of the country and I would like to end on that.

Senator Colgan complained of the Industrial Development Authority on the ground that there is no representative of the trade union movement. I would point out to him, in contrast to what he has said, that there is no representative of the employers' side either. There are people who are chosen, so to speak, as being from the two sides but they are not chosen to represent and there was no association with, say, the Employers' Federation or the Federation of Irish Manufacturers when the two people whom he referred to as employers' representatives were put on.

It worked that way. They are two employers. There are no trade union people.

The build up is that way. The individual was chosen. I can understand the Senator's criticism of him. He was chosen as a person who stood for employees.

He never did stand for employees.

Well, now!

He was Secretary of the Labour Party. He has not been connected with the trade union movement as such for the last 20 years.

He has been, as long as I have known him, which is a fair while, associated with workers and I think he would have their viewpoint and that is why he was put on to represent. Senators asked me about stopping the income-tax at the source in the case of various workers, that is to say, the low income groups. I can give that some consideration but, in opposition to it, there is the fact that a strike broke out in Belfast over the application of that particular system and, secondly, the experience of "pay as you earn" in England has been none too happy. I have seen many comments—they may be prejudiced comments of people with particular viewpoints—that that system has led to a good deal of absenteeism and slackness, that people work up to a certain point and then find that something is being cut off their wages and they stop at that point. There is also the other point and it is one that affects me more as a consideration. I have heard it said that in England it developed to this point, that people looked at what they got in their pay packet, that is to say, the amount less income-tax, and said "that is my wages" and then asked for more. I would rather give them more and take a little back from them. At least, then, there can be no doubt as to what they are getting as wages. I do not want to have that psychological element working against us.

It is like the juggler— there would be no deception whatever.

There is no deception, and it also makes them a little more careful about calling for increases in income-tax because it is going to hit themselves.

Senator Lynch I found hard to follow. His statements about emigration were just too ludicrous to be believed. I would like to be referred to any statement made by members of the present Government that they had an immediate remedy or even an early remedy for such things as emigration, unemployment or Partition. They said they thought there were better approaches to these problems—I have said it myself—than what had been previously and I think we have a better approach at the moment. When the Senator spoke of the reduction in the subventions for fertilisers, and the moneys for farm building schemes, I despaired of him. The fertiliser subvention was to bring fertilisers down to a certain point. Fertilisers are now down to that point. Is it demanded that we should continue to subsidise fertilisers even to the point where we would be giving a man some money back with fertilisers? I think when you have got it down below the point to which the subsidy would bring it, enough has been done.

As to the farm buildings scheme, it has been debated over and over again. The farm buildings scheme as projected was a sham. The Minister for Industry and Commerce wrote to the Minister for Agriculture and said: "You may talk all you like about the farm buildings scheme and write any amount of money into the Estimate, but, if it means cement, you will not get a bag". In fact, he got no cement. There were no farm buildings schemes stopped for the sake of money. It was a scheme that never could be operated because there was not enough cement in the country. We are getting enough cement now and the scheme will be operated.

Senator McCrea complained of rates being too high, but he also gave a good deal of information which I will have brought to the notice of some of my colleagues in regard to these building costs. With regard to the harbours on the east coast, attention is being paid to these, but they have to be taken in a certain order of priority. The Senator certainly cannot claim that Arklow has not got enough dredging apparatus at particular times. There are certain critical periods when I am always being called to the phone because a new silting has occurred in Arklow and a dredger has to be diverted from Waterford or some other port and ordered to go to Arklow. I feel that the dredger has a home from home in Arklow.

I am perfectly satisfied that too much money has been spent on dredging in Arklow, without any result.

Maybe there is too much patching and possibly we will have to do a thorough scheme of reconstruction. I am glad to get the Senator's approval and that of certain other Senators of the scheme in regard to the prices of flour, sugar and all the other things that were condemned.

Senator O'Callaghan asked me about devaluation of the £ and spoke about our sterling assets.

External assets.

I do not know what he wants me to say about it. Does he want me to say whether the £ is going to be devalued or not? I do not think anybody could say at the moment. In that connection, what does he ask me to say about sterling assets?

Our external assets.

They are sterling assets. I find in a paper which I got to-night a comment which the Senator might ponder over. It is an excerpt from a lecture delivered on October 15th, 1948, in University College, Dublin, under the auspices of the Institute of Bankers, its title being: "The Future of the Sterling Area." The lecture was given by Mr. Paul Bareau, Assistant City Editor of theNews Chronicle, and this is an extract from it, in reference to the circumstances surrounding our currency:

"As a result, sterling balances leaped up. The mechanism did a job for which it was never intended. How would you in Ireland have reacted in 1939 to a suggestion that you should lend Britain £200,000,000 for an indefinite period and at around ½ per cent.? Why, the people to whom such a proposition was put would never have recovered from the impudence and apparent impracticability of that proposal. Yet that is exactly what you have done—imperceptibly, unconsciously, merely by going on using traditional methods, by trusting to the old banking mechanism..."

—and this is where I bring the Senator more or less to my reply to him:—

"...and, by doing so, you have forged new links between yourselves and the sterling area, more than 200,000,000 of them, which you will find it more difficult to sever than their counterpart in the political field."

Would the Senator consider that an answer, because all that was done in the face of opposition which the then Deputy Mulcahy, myself and others raised against the Central Bank Bill when it was going through Dáil Éireann?

The Senator has asked about removing control from, I suppose, pigs and bacon. I personally wish that we could get rid of the Pigs and Bacon Board and I hope we will have the Senator's support when the happy day arrives when we shall be moving towards that. As was explained long ago, a scheme was set on foot of having what was called a hypothetical price for pigs. The Senator will remember what the other phrase was— I forget it at the moment—but somebody said that it resulted not in the price becoming hypothetical but in the pig becoming hypothetical, and there is no doubt that the Pigs and Bacon Board caused havoc in the whole pig and bacon industry. It is a sign of the times to see Senator O'Callaghan sitting where he sits and encouraging the removal of control. When I look at the grounds on which he asks that control be removed, however, I begin to be doubtful, because I am not credulous enough to take in the story of the bacon curer who continued in business losing £100,000 in five years and who is going to continue in business this year at a loss of £50,000.

During the emergency, I served on many wages tribunals and we dealt on more than one occasion with the bacon curing industry and certainly the figures given to us of the losses of these people were colossal. I have no interest in saying that beyond my wish to bear out the statement of Senator O'Callaghan. They were losing money in twenties of thousands of pounds yearly. They were losing money for a long period and we did not believe the statements made by them until they produced the figures.

If these people are going to continue in business in that way——

My concern is with the pig producer.

I want to give the Senator an example. I know one person who recently set out to buy a bacon factory. He was paying a big price for it and I think the deal has gone through by this time. A man is not going to go down to buy a curer's concern if the whole business is as bad as the Senator makes out. The other matter of fact of which he spoke—at least, he spoke of it as a matter of fact—was this point, that, if you build a poultry house with foreign timber, you get a subsidy, but you get no subsidy if it is built of native timber. Senator Hawkins spoke of that, too—he knew it. There is not a word of truth in it.

I am glad to hear that.

Why say it?

Because I have been refused a subsidy in respect of a poultry house made of native timber.

Was it because it was made of native timber? The statement made was that there was a system under which no subsidy was paid in respect of a poultry house, if native timber was used. I have had inquiries made in the Department of Agriculture in the meantime and there is not a word of truth in it.

There is a difference between a poultry house and a hatchery to which the Senator referred.

There is not a particle of truth, either, in the suggestion with regard to hatcheries. Is there a mistake about this? In the case of egg boxes——

I am not referring to egg boxes.

I need not bother about it, then. There is not a scintilla of truth in the suggestion that there is a subsidy for poultry houses built of foreign timber, and——

I have no documents with me to prove it.

You could not prove it.

Will the Senator be paid the grant now?

No, because the grant is given on the basis of what is called suitable timber. There might be unsuitable native timber and unsuitable foreign timber, but there is no distinction between native and foreign timber. So I am assured, and I cannot do any more than give the Senator what I have been told by the Department concerned. I have too many of these statements flung at me here which, on investigation, prove to be as completely wrong as this.

Will the Minister accept that what I say is true, that I was refused a subsidy myself?

I want to be assured by the Senator that he was refused on the ground that there was a principle of giving subsidies in respect of foreign timber poultry houses and refusing a subsidy if the poultry house was built of timber of native origin. I do not think he would be able to produce any such document or statement.

Well, we will see.

For the time being, I am authorised by the Department of Agriculture to say that the statements to that effect made to-night are what James Stephens used to call "a tissue". There is not a word of truth in them.

I was glad to hear Senator Ryan come out with what has been spoken of often and often with regard to unemployment. We have an amazing situation in which we have a register which has varied between 40,000 and 60,000 people over the last 20 years and it has been explained that the hard core of that unemployment is about 20,000. While that is there still, it is less and has been reduced from time to time but the various boards such as Bord na Móna and the Electricity Supply Board have still jobs open and cannot get men to go to them. Why is that? There is no doubt about it; a habit of mind has been induced in the people here during the last Administration and they think that they are entitled to get work more or less around their own neighbourhood or homes and more or less at the rates of pay which they think fit for them to work at. That is not the unemployment assistance code. If they are willing to work and available for work they ought to take work and if not they have no right to demand public assistance.

Senator O'Reilly has in the main travelled over ground which is unfamiliar to me. Therefore I cannot reply to him. There was one point which I brought before one of my colleagues who is conversant with the matter, that is, that rating between counties is unfair and that a new system ought to be established and modifications made by a series of grants. I do not mind what happens as long as the round sum of the grant is the same or less. While Senator O'Reilly was talking he turned to Senator Fitzsimons as though he were a rich neighbour who should be bled for the needs of Leitrim.

You do that with the richer people when you collect income-tax.

I hope that Senator Fitzsimons recognises himself in the rôle of rich neighbour who must be bled in order to satisfy Senator O'Reilly's needs. I will have the matter examined, however. I do not know what difficulties are attendant on it.

The Senator went on to say that the grants in aid of the Transition Development Fund had been cut. I felt inclined to question him at the time and I want to question him now. There has been no reduction in those grants. There is money in that fund and the money has been allocated in the same way as always obtained. A rough and ready percentage which should be the subject of intricate calculation cannot work out a precise valuation of the old costs to the new costs. That is only done when there is some new element of increased costs, but certainly they have not changed downwards since I came in contact with them.

He referred, I think by way of criticism, to a statement that appeared in the papers, a statement that does naturally occur in theIrish Press, about motor cars for Ministers. There have been three new motor cars. The Irish Press would want us to believe that there were a whole fleet of new motor cars. There are three new motor cars on the road, of which one is to replace a secondhand Chevrolet which was purchased in 1945 and was used as a taxi. Since then it has done something short of 50,000 miles and there is no record of the mileage before purchase. The second was also purchased secondhand in 1945. There is no record of mileage before purchase and since it has done about 30,000 miles. The other is a very old bird which was purchased in 1945 and has done 100,000 miles.

Time to put it out on grass.

About time. TheIrish Press makes a point about radio sets. Radio sets were not asked for. There was a ruling that radio sets would not be put in Ministers' cars and it was only done when they were demanded by the last Administration. Now they are supplied because they are part of the standard equipment of these cars and you cannot get these cars without them.

Oh, no. For goodness' sake. You can buy Dodge cars without a wireless.

You cannot get these cars without it, and if the Senator wants it I will sell him one from these cars.

I will accept that offer, but it is untrue——

There has been no talk of the cost. The Senator will take it.

There speaks the Minister for Finance.

I will pass him the radio and he will pass back whatever is on the bill.

I am sure it will be a first-class set, but I want to place on record that I am in entire disagreement with the Minister when he says that cars of the type supplied to Ministers cannot be got without a radio attached.

I have information, as against that, that cars cannot be purchased without a wireless attached.

It is a difference of opinion.

A difference of accuracy and the Senator's group has not a good reputation.

Does the Minister suggest that I am telling a lie?

Not at all. I say that it is a record of misstatement—I have made that statement of many people without accusing them of lying. The Senator is badly instructed.

No, the Senator is not badly instructed. The Minister is speaking of his own knowledge, but time will tell.

Senator O'Reilly was not complaining at all——

When the attention of people down town is drawn to the fact that present members of the Oireachtas, Ministers, can buy cars, they ask what about the saving of dollars.

The answer is that these motor cars were purchased from stock and no dollars were supplied for the purchase of motor cars for members of the Government. They were in stock, in other words, the traders had got a previous allocation of dollars. There are allocations for the purchase of motor cars. Senators will realise that if all dollar motor cars were to be kept out certain firms would be thrown on the road. Therefore, very small allocations have been given. There has been an attempt to get these people to go to some other agency or assemblers.

I can state therefore that no particular allocations have been made for the purchase of these cars?

Quite definitely. Senator Professor Stanford was on the same point, I think, that Senator Professor O'Brien was on, on the general point with regard to the finances of the State. I agree that a good deal of confusion must be caused in the minds of citizens by the various appeals to save on the one hand and to have a bit of a gamble on the other. At the same time the appeals to the people to work, produce and save appear to have more effect than the others. The Senator will no doubt have learned that small savings are up, and up considerably, and certainly the record we have regarding production both in field and factory and the amount we have exported away to England and elsewhere all tend to show that the savings campaign and the campaign to work more and produce more have effect. I do not say this in any spirit of joy, but one has also seen for some time that the sweepstake is on the decline. It has taken a new turn and in the situation in which we find ourselves we ought to congratulate the board of the Hospitals' Trust that they have been able to get the decline arrested. Efforts have been made here and people are looking to get the old habits of sober industry, saving and thrift by setting aside a certain amount for their old age and insecurity of various kinds. The greatest confusion is caused, to my mind, by all the talk that goes on about trying to bribe the people in Northern Ireland to come down to us by offers of social security and schemes with higher and higher rates all the time. I do not think we are ever going to get these people in on that basis; or at least the people you would get in might not be worth while if you got them here.

If we could get a better type of life and a different standard of life, we could get a better alternative to all these matters of social services, namely, a system in which we try to get workers into good employment, to give them their footing on the managerial side of whatever the employment may be, to operate, in other words, along the lines of the Vocational Organisation Commission Report and try to raise the wages standard to the point where people would be enabled to provide for themselves. That is a far better type of life and a far more attractive and more wholesome type of life to give them than the life in which, in the end, it would come to the State taking over all that a man earns, giving him a little bit by way of pocket money and providing the medical, dental and other services for him.

Senator Stanford asked about the book embargo. I suppose he refers to the prohibition on the entry of Irish books into England. I am not saying that this is the explanation that ought to be accepted, but the explanation that has been given about it is that part of the terms of the Anglo-American Loan, the loan that came before Marshall Aid, was that there should be no discrimination. I recall a very vivid phrase that was used to me in a conference I attended—"that you know very little about religious zealotry or enthusiasm until you meet an American fired with ‘non-discrimination'—it is almost a religion". The Americans have apparently decided—at least, the United Kingdom authorities say that if they admit freely books from this country they must open the flood gates to all the American literature that would pour in. They have no objection to books coming from this country, but once they make a breach in the dykes everything else will flood in. I know that they can point to the clauses about non-discrimination attached to the American Loan, but whether that is the real case or what someone says it is, that is the explanation given.

I wonder could the Minister say whether there is the same embargo on French or Belgian books going into England; and, secondly, whether a direct effort has been made with the British Government to free us from this clause, as I do think the effort is worth making.

I know that in June, 1948, a good deal of effort was made on that point and whoever was representing the British authorities in this matter made the case to us as I have made it. It was said: "If you people can use your good influence and your authority with the Americans to get them to the point of saying that they would not regard entry of books from Ireland as contravening the non-discrimination clause, we would be prepared to let the books in."

Has that been done?

Efforts have been made with the Americans, but unsuccessfully.

I understand that the Minister for External Affairs raised it.

It has been pursued from both quarters. There is a good deal of suspicion that the whole case has not been stated, that a different case can be made.

It has been stated frequently that American did insert a "most favoured nation" clause in that agreement and it prevented anybody else from getting literature into England unless the Americans could do so as well.

There is no doubt that the clause is there and it would operate if the Americans would like to make it operate. I understand that the same situation does hold with regard to books from other countries, but on that point I am not speaking with the same background of information as I have on the other matter.

Senator O'Brien has spoken about the height of taxation. In anything he says on that, I fully agree and wish to be in association with him. The fact is that high taxes are undoubtedly a discouragement to savings and investment. It may be that one of these days the real problem which will develop will be the dearth of savings. We require a vast amount of money for the projects that are ahead of us. In another connection, I have drawn Senators' attention to the amount of money we have made available this year for capital projects—in the region of £20,000,000. We require money to finance that. There is £12,600,000 shown in "under the line" expenditure in the White Paper issued in connection with the Budget this year, but that £12,600,000 must, on the explanation given in the Budget, be reckoned as almost £16,000,000, and if one adds in the £1,500,000 under the Local Authorities (Works) Act and another £1,000,000, at least, under the land reclamation project, there is a figure of nearly £20,000,000.

Now, that sum requires a good deal of getting, and when I went to the public this year I did not get all that I asked for from them. I got as much as, with the money from public funds, gave me the amount required for the year. There are quite big sums required for capital development here, and the getting of those sums may become a very serious and difficult matter in the near future. In the end, it all goes back to whether we are spending, even on these capital projects, at a rate that has far outpaced the savings of the community. That, of course, carries its own repercussions in other ways folk do not like to talk of here, as one could collapse a good deal of the expenditure but there would be hardship caused. For the time being we have decided to look at one side of the picture, while not neglecting the other, and to try to get production up, to get exports up, and to rectify the balance of payments. Therefore, we decided we could take a certain chance on the two aspects, that we may be delving too deeply into savings and going beyond savings, and, on the other hand, we may be aggravating an inflationary tendency already present. We took that chance in the hope of getting increased production, which we have since secured.

The Senator also raised the point of certain economies in the public service and asked as to whether we had too many civil servants. I have that under definite investigation in the last year and a half. One might not merely ask about the increase in the number of civil servants there are in the State. The public generally do not know that, in addition to the increased numbers in the public service, there is quite a big amount of money paid for overtime to those who are in the service. In fact, it has been represented to me that some of the economies that were attempted, in the way of preventing recruitment of new civil servants, had an uneconomic result, as it meant that we paid in overtime more than we would have paid in getting new civil servants.

The Senator went on to ask whether civil servants did as much work as a person in an outside occupation. On that point, I think there is a good deal of popular misconception. There is often in comic papers a view presented of civil servants as people who come in very late to the office and spend the morning reading the newspapers and then go out to lunch and on coming back in the afternoon doze a bit and take things as easy as possible until it is time to sign off. These people are paraded as civil servants. It is not a correct statement with regard to any civil servant that I know of, and I doubt if amongst the vast multitude that I cannot know it applies to any but a very small fraction of people who are not anxious to work, the kind that you will find anywhere. Civil servants are being made do more work than they ought to be made do and not, in the main, made do useful work. But again, Deputies, Senators, the Comptroller and Auditor-General and the whole framework of the State are responsible for that. If I as Minister have to be in a position that I may have to answer a question on any point affecting the various sections of my Department, then at each point there must be some civil servant who has his files marked in such a way that, first of all, he is trying to prevent errors happening and again trying to secure that, whenever errors happen, the responsibility can be laid immediately at somebody's door. All that has grown up in our Civil Service.

There is no doubt that the system needs considerable overhauling and we are attempting to get it done, but only in a very slight way. In the main, it is the system Deputies and Senators and the Comptroller and Auditor-General helped to operate. That is responsible for the Civil Service doing all this meticulous work—aiming at perfect accuracy, trying to prevent the slightest mistake, and so forth. No business firm would stand that. The boss would take responsibility all the time. In his case he is his own boss and would not have to answer to the public. But you have a situation where everything has to be done with the opinion that at some time or another a bit of a public search may be cast upon some recess of the Department.

The defect is in the system, not in the individuals.

It is in the system and the people who operate the system. Firstly, Deputies and Senators then——

It is in Parliamentary Government.

I do not think that it is, but we have it in the Parliamentary Government we have here. I can assure the Senator, however, that in a very limited way I am trying to get certain things done which I hope will ease the amount of work of little or no value that a lot of civil servants have imposed upon them, and let these people of great ability occupy themselves in more useful ways. I take the Senator's remark to heart that we should not go too rapidly. I do not care if anybody pins that on social services and writes letters to the effect that I am responsible for all the great delay. Social services want a good deal of consideration and they will get it and, even when they have got it, it may be that an excellent scheme cannot be put into force immediately because the State cannot stand it just now.

The Senator came to a conclusion on the matter of university education and financial help. I have heard it said over and over again that nearly every Minister for Finance has some special bee in his bonnet. With regard to a predecessor of mine it was said that his particular bee was the Irish language. I need not mention what the others were. It was alleged against me to be university education although some of my former colleagues have said that they have not seen much signs of it yet. I hope, however, to give them some earnest of it, possibly in the near future. Senator O'Brien need not talk to me about the scandalous position of higher education in this country and most particularly in the institution to which both he and I belong, University College, Dublin. It never got a proper building grant. Even the meagre building grant it got more or less did not cover what it was intended to cover because of the outbreak of the 1914-18 war. That university system has now gone through two wars. All that happened between was not a great deal— almost nothing was added in the way of a general endowment. The college never got a chance. It never got a proper building. It was described in a certain newspaper article which caused a good deal of offence as something in the nature of a cultural slum. The building is certainly not a building one would like to show visitors around. All the staff have been kept on very definite rations for a very long time. When I find myself approached from time to time about pensions schemes for impoverished people who have given service in the different walks of life in this country, I still think of the fund University College, Dublin, has with regard to those who retire from its service. Some of the best informed, most cultured, most educated men—and good teachers and professors in their different subjects—are landed out at the end of their lives on benefactions one would hate to mention in any civilised company. It is scandalous to think of some men I know who are walking round this city on miserable pension allowances.

The Minister, in his excess of enthusiasm, may have exaggerated the position of certain pensioners of University College, Dublin. Those of us who are members of the governing body have always had that before our minds and I do not think it should be let go through this House without contradiction that the Minister for Finance should say that there are former professors of University College, Dublin, who are walking about Dublin City with miserable pensions. It is not true.

It depends on the standard of misery in relation to the talent bought at the particular rate. I still stick to my phrase. Senator O'Brien wound up with the question of the balance of payments. He said that we had improved in that respect. We have improved considerably. Counting the invisibles, the adverse balance was brought down—comparing 1948 with 1947—from a £30,000,000 gap to a £15,000,000 gap. In addition to that, the trade returns for the first five months of this year show that in comparison with the first five months of 1948 exports have risen by £5,000,000 and imports have been brought down by £10,000,000. The returns that are just out for June show that the tendencies that were marked in the first five months of this year have not merely continued but have increased and increased beneficially to us, in the month of June. All the general matters of our export trade have seen an increase in the first five months of this year and, very particularly, in this month. Therefore, the balance of payments has been brought down but, as the Senator has said, there is still a disquieting gap. It is getting as much attention as we can give it.

I have left over one matter, the question of the cost of living. The cost-of-living figure at mid-May of this year was down ten points on the cost-of-living figure of mid-May of the year before. The cost-of-living figure—I am speaking of the old figure—as at mid-May of this year was the lowest it had been since May, 1947. I am pointing to that at the end of this rather lengthy speech because I have admitted to Senator O'Brien that some of the projects we embarked on, meaning the spreading of a good deal of money through the country, might have caused inflation. It is rather a notable thing and some people may say it is a mere matter of luck but we can congratulate ourselves on the fact that, while we have stabilised at a high point wages and emoluments throughout the country and increased emoluments to civil servants, and so forth, of all types, we have still been able to reduce the cost of living by ten points.

There is another cost-of-living figure, the new cost-of-living figure. Recently the Government to which I belong was criticised in that it was alleged that we had cut certain items out of the index figure and in that way had brought about a fictitious change. We have done nothing of the sort. No instruction was issued to the Director of Statistics about how to compile the cost-of-living figure. He compiled it on the orders which he had previously got. But he got orders previously. It is rather interesting to see the growth of a particular idea and the germ of a rather bad idea, I am sorry to say, brought about here in this Seanad. Speaking in the Seanad on the 16th January, 1947, the then Minister for Industry and Commerce, now Deputy Lemass, comparing the index figure here with the figure in England, spoke of our figure as being a realistic figure and said that the English figure was a bit of a fictitious one. He said:—

"What I want to point out is that much lower allowance in the British index for clothing and sundries— sundries, including tobacco, drink, amusement and travel, the costs of which have risen enormously in Great Britain—and the much higher allowance for rent,..."

He added:—

"The British Government deliberately endeavoured to keep down the cost-of-living index, not to keep down the cost of living."

Remember, that this speech was made in the Seanad on the 16th January, 1947. He continued:—

"They imposed heavy taxation upon tobacco and drink which were weighted very lightly in their cost-of-living index, and used the revenue secured from these heavy taxes to subsidise food prices which were weighted highly."

In June, 1947, the then Minister for Finance, now Deputy Aiken, objecting to a comparison that was made in the Seanad between the various income levels and payments made in England and here, said, speaking of taxation in England:—

"All those matters have to be taken into account as well as the taxation on things like beer and whiskey which is much less here than it is in England. We have all heard of the English tobacco and cigarette prices—much too often recently—not to realise that the man who gets a few pounds in England and who wants to enjoy himself or live on any reasonable standard, has to pay a lot more money for certain articles in England than he has to pay here and if he wants to get more than what will fill the miserable corner of the little yellow basket, he will have to pay far more for the things than he would have to pay here."

That idea sprouted until October, 1947, when the Government here decided to do what Deputy Lemass had discovered the English Government had done. They endeavoured to keep down the cost-of-living index by imposing taxation on tobacco, spirits and beer "and used the revenue to subsidise food prices which were weighted highly". The Seanad will remember that in the autumn Budget of 1947 very heavy taxation was imposed on tobacco and drink but the snag in the situation was that they were weighted in the cost-of-living figure here and the Government decided to carry out the English plan by another device. So the Director of Statistics was given orders to take drink and tobacco out of the computation of the cost-of-living figure. In theTrade Journal for December, 1947, on page 146 there is an article on the Interim Cost-of-Living Index and a paragraph in the second column of the article runs in this way:—

"The Government have decided that an index number representing the trend of prices of essential items of household expenditure would be the most useful in present circumstances. By definition ‘essential' items are those in the groups food, clothing, fuel and light, and rent. Expenditure on these items is estimated to constitute, as at mid-August, 1947, about 66 per cent. of employee household expenditure."

It continues:—

"Other items, of which the principal are alcoholic beverages, tobacco, amusements and direct taxation, are not priced in the new computation."

So we had arrived at the English situation. We had taxed these things and then ordered the Director of Statistics to take them out of the cost-of-living index figure and the people who did that mischievously and dishonestly say that we ordered the same Director of Statistics to take them out.

Would the Minister say how bread and flour are priced in the cost-of-living index?

They are included in whatever way the Director of Statistics puts them in.

At the controlled price?

Would the Senator not shake his gory locks at me for the moment? There are about 147 places at which enumeration takes place. One goes to the shops and finds what a particular commodity there is sold at, and the returns are made to the Director of Statistics who weights these items in different ways. He is given no instructions about that. I would certainly hope that white flour would not be regarded as an item entering into the cost of living any more than cake would be. If a person is getting a sufficient ration of subsidised flour, it is the price of that that should be counted, but certainly, no directions have been given to the director in regard to these matters. I do not think the sale of white flour has been on such a scale that it would raise the computation in regard to the price of flour or bread as returned by the director.

Question put and agreed to.
Agreed to take the remaining stages to-day.