Transport Bill, 1949—Second Stage (Resumed).

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

Captain Orpen

We have had quite a long discussion on this Bill dealing with the work of Córas Iompair Eireann when it was formed into a company operating under a State appointed chairman. We have had a certain amount of discussion relative to the Milne Report. A curious note, despite the hours taken up discussing this Bill, most Senators have hardly referred to the Bill. As I see it, under this Bill the Minister is taking, as it were, the first step to implement one of the recommendations in the Milne Report. That is to say he is creating an authority—not possibly on as wide a basis as is adumbrated in the Milne report-charged with certain duties. The important duties are specified in Section 15 of the Bill. The Minister has been taunted with having delegated some of his powers to others. It is true to a certain extent that he has purposely freed himself from the day-to-day interference of Parliament. I think, however, he still retains a full measure of responsibility in major matters and he is not creating a board over which he has no control. It seems to me that he has retained the control of dispensing with either one or all the members of the board whenever he thinks fit with only one proviso-that he states the reason why. Therefore, he still has ultimate control.

It does not matter whether we can call this nationalisation or anything else, we are creating another of these companies or corporations in which the State now owns the share capital. We are hoping, of course, that by so doing our transport system may develop satisfactorily and not at all times be hampered by insufficient resources in the way of capital. When one looks back on the transport system of the country over the years one cannot say that it has altogether been satisfactory. There are many reasons why transport here-any sort of public transport—is exceptionally difficult. We have in the rural areas a low density of population. We have one-sixth of our population living in one town and the bulk of our industrial development centred in one town or around the seaboard. All these things making it very difficult to devise, run and maintain a satisfactory system of inland-and I emphasise the word "inland"—transport.

When we come to view in detail some of the problems of a transport system in this country, we have to have regard to the fact, as is stressed right at the beginning of the Milne Report, that this is primarily an agricultural country. In paragraph 12, Sir James Milne says:-

"While there is undoubtedly considerable scope for the development of the agricultural industry, its expansion is likely to be retarded unless adequate facilities are available not only for the conveyance of the products of the industry but also to enable workers on the widely scattered farms to have ready access to centres...."

I maintain that the requirements of industry and the requirements of agriculture in the matter of transport are slightly different. Industry, to some extent anyway, can and usually does, select its location so as to bring to a minimum the burden falling upon it in the shape of transport costs. I think that is obvious and agreed. The case of agriculture is quite different. Agriculture must, of necessity, spread over the whole country, and, while the former type of activity can, as it were, on its own initiative, do something to dodge the burden arising from the movement of goods, agriculture cannot. For that reason, we have to look at the transport problem for these two activities from different angles. In this connection one might point out that the tonnage carried by Córas Iompair Eireann in 1947 was roughly 2,700,000. The agricultural portion is pretty considerable—in the neighbourhood of 1,000,000 tons. The industrial and commercial portion ran to 700,000 tons and, roughly speaking, the best part of 1,000,000 tons for coal, minerals, and so on.

Why is it, when we as a nation depend almost for our survival on our agriculture, those of us who live in rural Ireland should find that we are to some extent hampered in regard to movement by the lay-out of our transport system? We note that of late the tendency has been to duplicate services running radially from Dublin. Not everybody lives within reach of one of these radial services, but very little attempt has been made to provide facilities in any form for those who do not live on one of these radii. Milne in his report makes a very profound remark when he says that passenger traffic is to a large extent created. By that, he means, I think, that to achieve a satisfactory development of passenger traffic, you must go after it, you must provide the facilities which the people require. Passenger traffic does not develop of itself.

I want to get back to Section 15, which defines the general duties of the board:-

"It shall be the general duty of the board so to exercise its powers under this Act as to provide or secure or promote the provision of an efficient, economical, convenient and properly integrated system of public transport...."

Let us take the word "efficient". Efficiency, as regards passenger traffic, means, in my submission, speed, convenience and-a feature which does not arise in relation to goods traffic-frequency. If you are to develop passenger traffic, you must be able to go from where you are to where you want to go at the time you want to go. In other words, there is a minimum frequency. Otherwise, passenger traffic will not develop to the extent we would wish, and people will move on to the roads. That applies only to a country like ours where distances are short. The frequency of trains does not apply to a country where distances are up to 3,000 miles; there one train a day can work satisfactorily a whole number of places, as in America. Here you will not develop a reasonable, efficient, economical and convenient passenger service unless the element of frequency comes in.

From the point of view of merchandise transport, a much more important element enters in, that is, cheapness. What are the features of cheapness? It is not merely a matter of £. s. d. There used to be a publication. I think, by the Railway Tribunal before the formation of Córas Iompair Eireann which had a very interesting set of figures showing the average charge for the average haul of any specific type of commodity. From these figures we got a picture of the pattern of movement of any particular commodity, such as potatoes, flour or grain. They showed also the average earnings from the average haul of any commodity. Unfortunately, these figures of recent years had not been made available to the public—I do not know whether they have been gone on with—but a study of the figures convinces me that when dealing with goods and seeking to get an efficient movement of goods, the charge for that movement must bear some relation to the value of the goods. You can move an expensive article quite a long way, but cannot move a cheap article the same distance. Senator J.T. O'Farrell referred to that point when he spoke of the abolition of the Railway Tribunal and the change over to a much simplified railway classification. It still, however, allowed valuable goods from which the railway could have drawn revenue to travel too cheaply and the less valuable commodities, those commodities which could less easily bear the cost of movement, were hampered because of the high charge. This seems to me to be very important from the agricultural point of view.

In this matter of the need for an efficient transport system if agriculture is to develop, we are straightway up against the problem of the long-distance road haulier skimming the cream and leaving the skimmed milk for the railway company. That, of course, is an old difficulty, and one which is increasing. Section 15 refers to an integrated system of public transport, and by "integrated" I take it the Minister has in mind the replacement by a more rational system of the ridiculous system of bus and rail running parallel and in competition. When we come to consider this integration, we have not only to integrate the movement of goods but in some way to equalise the cost of maintenance of the various sections, canal and road and rail. Everybody knows that road haulage has increased in number of vehicles and, presumably, in tons carried. Everybody knows that the cost of maintaining our roads has gone up, and is now in the neighbourhood of £4,000,000 a year. How much of that is attributable to the heavy commercial vehicle and how much to other transport the ordinary man in the street is not able to assess, but I think it will be agreed by all that the road user with the heavy vehicle is probably not bearing his share of the cost of road upkeep. A great deal of the traffic now carried by road used to be carried by rail, when there was relatively little competition. If we are to succeed in getting a public service that pays, or at least covers its cost, we cannot allow an unfair system of competition to remain. By "unfair" I mean that certain users of our roads are not contributing their fair share to their upkeep. How to assess this is a matter I do not wish to go into to-day, but I want to stress the principle that once public money is used to allow public transport to function, we must guard against any maldistribution in the use of that money. It is a difficult problem, but it must be looked into very carefully.

I said at the beginning that this Bill, as I see it, is only the first step to implementing some of the provisions adumbrated in the Milne Report. When I say "the first step" I do not want it to be thought that this is only a small step. It is a very big step and the Minister was very wise in taking it and then sitting back and waiting to see how the board, in whom he has placed very considerable powers, will function and what their idea is as to how to provide a reasonable service.

Section 15 lays down a lot of things, including "the encouragement of national economic development" in the country. The board must assist in that development. In the old days of private enterprise with private shareholders, the board of directors might think their first duty was to their shareholders. This new board has much wider responsibilities than that. It has duties of various sorts now placed on it, and even the last one stated in Section 15 (1) to

"provide for the needs of the public, agriculture, commerce and industry".

They have to "provide for the needs", to try to give us what we want. We have never had that before and I hope they will be able to give it to us now. Therefore, while this Bill is the first step it is a very big step, and we all hope that it will prove fruitful and helpful in every direction.

In listening to the debate I was rather disappointed. We had from other Senators an apoloogia in regard to the former chairman. He was not a chairman in the ordinary sense of the word. He was placed in a rather difficult position, as he was placed in control of that company with the powers of a dictator. I do not think anybody in a democratic country should be asked to shoulder such burdens and carry such responsibility without having the advantage of sharing the praise or blame with the rest of his board. It was an unfair position and I do not wish to go into it any further.

We had a long dissertation from one Senator with regard to six diesel-electric locomotives which were ordered for this country and he made great play about the diesel being still in the experimental stage. He completely misunderstood Sir James Milne. What he meant, I take it, was that in a country with short hauls of a couple of hundred miles at the most, the diesel-electric is in the experimental stage; most countries with those relatively short hauls are not yet using diesels in any quantity. As a matter of fact, throughout the report Sir James Milne is asking for diesel rail cars to act as feeders to the railway. He even reminds us that the diesel shunting locomotive is used extensively in Britain, especially in the "hump" shunting yards. It we considered seriously using these six diesel locomotives we would have to relay the entire line in order to carry these engines at the higher speed. It is obvious from that that we could not use effectively at present the modern diesel-electric locomotive.

I feel that the problem of an integrated system of road, rail and water transport is an immensely difficult one, complicated by the fact that we have two classes of goods to carry. A manufacturing and industrial country has a very much easier problem than an agricultural country where a large part of the goods has to travel at very low rates, especially so in the case of intermediate products. We have never really made an attempt to differentiate sufficiently between the two classes. This "intermediate traffic" which moves from A to B because it is efficiently grown at A and it can be efficiently utilised for further agricultural production at B, is something which must move at very low cost or it will not move at all. This being an agricultural country, we must somehow or other maintain our railway system working economically. We cannot say to ourselves that, on account of the convenience of the door to door haul, we should not develop anything but roads. In the case of road transport, the costs go up in proportion to the tons moved and the miles run; in the case of railways it is quite different, as the greater part is fixed cost irrespective of the tons hauled or the length of the haul. Therefore, from the development point of view, it seems to me that a satisfactory movement of heavy goods by rail is absolutely essential to this country.

Let me finish by drawing on my memory of 30 or 40 years ago. I live in a remote part of Ireland, even though it is in Wexford, which is usually not called a remote country. I am ten miles from a railway station, ten miles from a bus and 17 miles from a canal. In the old days, the men around me used to sell oats and send them 17 miles to Graiguenamanagh on the Grand Canal, because they could get 6d. a barrel more, year in and year out, at Graiguenamanagh than they could get ten miles away at Ennis-corthy on the railway, or 15 miles away at New Ross, at what was then a small seaport which actually did an export trade. At that period, the grain was worth about 7/6 a barrel. The presence of a slow, cheap, system of transport was able to raise the price of the produce around me by that 6d. a barrel. Lime used to come down in barge loads to Ross and was distributed by horse. Now we find everything coming by lorry—much quicker, much more convenient, but very much dearer. As far as agriculture is concerned, with most products speed is of very little importance; it is reliability and cheapness that is required for efficiency. Speed is needed more for other traffic. When we read in Section 15 the charges made to the board as to what they should do, we should be quite certain, in the case of the goods we are talking about, as to the meaning of an "efficient, convenient and properly integrated system of transport".

I am afraid I have trespassed on the Minister's marvellous patience. It is always a miracle to me how a Minister can sit and hear the same things said over and over again, and not even look bored. All I can do is that I apologise.

I think Senator Professor O'Brien and myself are the only two to put in a word for the stockholders. The Minister stated in the Dáil that the stockholders had been treated generously and fairly. I am afraid the stockholders do not look at it in that light. Yesterday they held their final meeting. I doubt if there was even one stockholder there who spoke in favour of the terms given. I can understand the position from the Minister's point of view. I can see that if the railways were allowed to go on as they have been going on for the past few years, a time would come when the stockholders would have nothing at all to get. They got not dividend on their holdings for some years past. If the railways were allowed to drift as they had been drifting, undoubtedly they would be left with a white elephant on their hands. From another point of view, the State is taking over the railway company with its assets and, as Senator O'Brien said, the break-up of those assets would be considerably more than the capitalised value of what the stockholders will get. They are guaranteed a dividend of 3 per cent., but the shares are quoted on the stock exchange at about 12/-. I think it will be a long time before the stockholders see their shares back to nominal value. They will not, until they are being redeemed by the Government at 80 per cent.

I am not very optimistic about the position of the railways. I cannot see the railways paying in future unless very drastic legislation is introduced to curtail road traffic. Naturally, the businessman, whether he is a retail or wholesale trader, sees the advantage of door-to-door transport. This is a small country and a 200-mile radius of Dublin would serve the vast majority of the traders in Ireland. A lorry can leave Dublin in the morning and can deliver the goods that evening at a place 200 miles away. There is the further advantage that the goods are safe in transit. They arrive at the customer's door, thus avoiding the handing costs which would be entailed if the goods were carried by the railway, by the goods having to be brought to the station in a lorry, unloaded from the lorry and loaded on to the train and again unloaded at the station to which they are being consigned, and loaded on to a lorry to take them to their destination. I do not see how railways, in these circumstances, can afford to compete with road traffic.

The idea of using lorries as feeders for the railways is a good idea, but there are extra handling costs involved. The man who can load his lorry in Dublin and deliver his goods to the customer's door saves all these handling costs. Then there is the inconvenience of it.

Any man who can afford a motor-car has a motor-car. I am glad to say that, with the prosperity that has been reached in the past couple of years, farmers all over the country are getting cars. People with motor-cars certainly will not use the railway. How can one bring passenger and freight traffic back to the railway? These are the problems that we have to face. I doubt if any Government could stand over suppressing road traffic so as to direct the business to the railway. There would be a revolution if you were to stop the carriage of goods by road and put such a penal tax on vehicles as would make it nearly impossible for the average man to run a motor-car. How else you can get traffic back to the rails, I do not know. That is the problem that the company now being formed will have to face in future. I hope it will be a success, but nobody here, so far, has told us how that problem can be met.

This discussion has ranged over a pretty wide field of country. I must say, at the outset, that I consider that it is a pity that at one time it ranged over a particular field of transport history. Senator Buckley definitely did a disservice to this House when he insisted on discussing on this Bill the personality and career of the ex-chairman of Córas Iompair Eireann. The ex-chairman of Córas Iompair Eireann was not mentionend in this Bill. His name had not been mentioned in this House, either by the Minister or anybody else, until Senator Buckley, in an endeavour to indulge in a little piece of political filibustering, insisted on dragging in this gentleman's name. In doing so, he did a disservice to this House and a disservice to the gentleman in question. It would have been far more charitable to have allowed this figure, who passed fleetingly and disastrously over the face of Irish national transport, to have lapsed into charitable obscurity.

That, Sir, if a Senator wishes to indulge in filibustering and wishes to drag a red herring across the trail of a discussion, may have been legitimate but I must draw the attention of the House to what I consider is definitely a slanderous attack made by Senator Professor Buckley upon the Minister guiding this Bill through this House. It has never happened in this House before, not at any rate, as long as I have been a member of this House, that a member of the House should gratuitously make a charge against a Minister in the House, a charge, as far as I can read into it, of personal dishonesty, and then produce no further evidence, just having made the charge. I refer the House to Volume 37, No. 8, column 910 of the Official Report. Senator Buckley, speaking of the Minister said:-

"The Minister, no doubt, disliked and dislikes the chairman and the board of Córas Iompair Eireann. Perhaps he has good reason for disliking the chairman, but I venture to say that this dislike of the chairman of Córas Iompair Eireann is not just because the chairman and the board of Córas Iompair Eireann have failed in their duty. However, the next step——

Mr. Morrissey: Would the Senator say what is the reason for the alleged dislike?

Liam O Buachalla: The Minister, I think, has not too bad a memory.

Mr. Morrissey: Perhaps the Senator would be so kind as to——

Liam O Buachalla: I will indicate one, the famous Great Southern Railways Shares Court of Inquiry. There may be others.

Mr. Morrissey: What have I to do with that?

Liam O Buachalla: Well, you can clear yourself, if you think you are involved, when you get your opportunity."

That, Sir, was either a direct allegation that the Minister was involved in the scandal of the buying and selling of Great Southern Railways shares at that time. At no further stage did Senator Buckley make any effort to produce any evidence. There is no evidence. There never was any question of the Minister ever being connected with that inquiry. It is an outrage and I think Senator Buckley exceeded the privileges which we enjoy in this House in making such a slanderous attack on the Minister. I do not intend to say anything further about Senator Buckley or that part of the discussion but I did feel that I was in duty bound to draw the attention of the House to the Senator's conduct on that occasion.

It is not possible to discuss this Bill on Second Reading without discussing in general terms the whole question of national transport in the past and its possibilities for the future, and, coupled with that, one has to discuss or take into consideration, willy-nilly, our possible developments in agriculture and industry. One of the reasons why I feel Senator Buckley did himself and the House such a disservice by that part of his speech is that at one part of his discourse the Senator very nearly proceeded along very intelligent lines and at one time showed signs that he was about to make quite an intelligent survey of what might be described as the decline and fall of public transport in this country. He brought our minds back to the first signs of great decline in railway traffic with the advent of motor transport and the popularisation of the motor car towards the end of the twenties. It was a pity that he did not develop that a little further, because I think there the Senator was proceeding on right lines. It is perfectly true that, round about that time the motor car became more popular and came within the reach of the pockets of more and more members of the community, the railways system began to suffer its first real setback. I think, when we examine it a bit more closely, we will also find that there were other reasons. There were other reasons besides popularity and cheapness which drove both passengers and goods from the railways on to the roads. I know that about that time also there was the first tendency to centralise both Government activities and industrial activities in Dublin, and Dublin as a capital began to grow very rapidly and to expand rapidly. That in itself had a very unfortunate result on what might be described as the railway mentality. Railway people in charge of our railway transport at that time found that there was situation which was producing a rapidly growing and expanding capital city. They planned their services and schedules to facilitate the people who were living in the capital, people who were trading from the capital. Dublin always, naturally enough, was the biggest centre of distribution for the country, but was rapidly growing and becoming bigger and bigger, and transport facilities were planned to give the greatest service that was possible to people who were engaged in distributing goods or other commodities from Dublin to the rest of the country. At that time also there were in the other centres throughout the country which were not as big as Dublin the local services where rapid distribution of goods seemed neglected, with the result that you found that people in the other large distributive areas such as Cork, Limerick, Waterford and Galway had not got the same facilities for distributing their goods into the hinterland which surrounds these cities as they would have liked. That, therefore, forced them, willy-nilly, to withdraw their goods from the railways and to either buy vans and lorries themselves or else to employ road hauliers to distribute the goods for them. That situation started the development around that time, which is still in existence to-day, and that is one of the problems that our new transport board will have to face if they are going to make public transport a success in this country and enter into serious competition with the private car owner or private haulier. In this I would like to support Senator Summerfield. I think he has made an extremely valuable suggestion when he urged that there should be some kind or consultative body set up which would inquire into the local transport problems of these various large distributing centres which exist down the country.

We cannot confine this question entirely to transport. We will have to consider it as a question of national development in general. To my mind, there is very little doubt that the tendency for Dublin to enlarge itself is still there. The capital is still expanding; the population is still growing to the detriment of other parts of the country. I think that will ultimately lead to disaster. There are several other possible distributing centres in this country which are also sizable ports, and which ought to be given every encouragement by the Government to develop. In fact, I would go so far as to say this that, much as I dislike Government interference in any form of private enterprise, I think that eventually, if things continue as they are, this or any other Government will at some stage be compelled to take to itself certain powers of direction of industry. It is a step I do not like to advocate, but it may become necessary in the future as the only possible means of coping with the problem of the ever-growing tendency to site new large industries in the vicinity of an already too large capital.

That is a problem which can be discussed in greater detail, I think, on another Bill which will be before us shortly, but I am quite convinced that if our public transport system is to be a success-the success we all hope it will be—it will have to be planned in such a manner that it will give every facility for the efficient, reasonably cheap and fairly rapid distribution of goods and commodities from the other centres of distribution, particularly those centres of distribution which are maritime centres, and have harbours, such as Cork, Waterford, Limerick and Galway. By that means they should be able to build up for themselves a volume of transport which would make the transport company a paying concern, which would be an added industrial inducement to our present and future industrialists to site their industries away from the capital city, and in general, by what might be described as national development, along co-ordinated and national lines. I welcome this Bill, and, like other members of the House, while I am not convinced by any means that it will be the final word on Irish transport, I think it is a step in the right direction, and I wish it every success.

I feel that this Bill is necessary and would have been necessary whether there was a change of Government or not. There is no political significance in it-it was forced on the Government and on the country by economic circumstances. It is quite clear that the railways have not been paying, and will not be paying propositions as far ahead as we are able to see. This Bill is not going to solve any of the more important and pressing problems of the railways, and it will not solve our transport problems. The Minister says that this is a form of State control of the transport system, but it is a very limited form of State control. I am not enamoured of State control at all if it can be avoided. But some form of State control was essential. I am afraid that this is so limited that there will be another and another attempt by legislation to improve the transport system of the country and prevent the complete closing down of the railways. There was a time when the railways of the country were able to pay their way, but they paid their way because they had not the competition they have now. They were designed when a monopoly of the traffic was held by the railway, when there was no alternative to them. In my lifetime, however, you have seen road transport developed and you are seeing air transport develop now. It is absolutely impossible for the railways to continue to compete with road transport services and it will be impossible for the Government to make them economic as long as there is unrestricted road transport. I do not suggest that the Government should take complete control of all vehicular traffic of all sorts, but to say that this is giving the Government complete control of the transport system is to say something which is not accurate. It is giving a limited form of control over one or two sections of the transport system and you will still be up against the competition of the roads. At the time when the railways were economic they were getting subsidies from the staffs. The staffs were paying subsidies to the people who used the railways because the wages and salaries they got were ridiculously small. Wages went up, traffic went down and the State has to subsidise the railways by putting £7,000,000 or £8,000,000 into Córas Iompair Eireann. It is no criticism of Mr. Reynolds or any member of the board that this Bill had to be brought in. I do not care who was on the previous board of Córas Iompair Eireann, it would have been impossible to make the railways pay with the competition they are up against. There is a feeling in some places that this Bill was not necessary and that its purpose was to shift Mr. Reynolds and his colleagues from the board. I do not think that could be argued with any show of reasonableness. It may be necessary to shift them and to put in a new board with new powers and instructions, but obviously they could not have carried on. By the reports they made to the Minister and the working of the railways, that was obvious and it will be impossible for the new board to make the railways pay unless they are prepared to do what every business man does, that is, charge rates and fares that will cover all expenditure and if they do that they will probably drive much more traffic on to the roads. They are on the horns of a dilemma: they cannot make it pay without raising fares and charges; if they raise fares and charges they will divert the traffic somewhere else. Therefore there will have to be further legislation and I do not know what form it will take. Had the railway problem been tackled years ago it might be easier to deal with it than it is now.

Certain suggestions were made in the Vocational Commission's Report which were not acted upon and which were never openly accepted since, but which by degrees, as far as transport is concerned, have been adapted and adopted in some form or other. The Vocational Commission suggested that there should be a national transport council and that there was also to be a railway transport board. They outlined what the functions of each of these boards and councils might be, and to a great extent these are the lines which are being followed to-day and which were followed in the legislation which set up Córas Iompair Eireann. But the Vocational Commission also suggested that there should be a federal conference of transport workers and that all the trade unions in the transport services should have representation on that conference, and that while the individual unions could continue to cater for individual members, each dealing with its own section of the workers, the conference should have an overriding power on national matters such as a general strike. There could not be a sectional strike unless it was approved by the conference of the transport workers. If some plan of that sort had been adopted it would have saved a lot of trouble since, but the railway was in a difficulty. The Railways Act, 1933, specifically declared that rates of pay, hours of duty and other conditions of service in the road transport business of the counrty were to be regulated in accordance with agreements made or to be made from time to time between the trade unions and the company. I would be the last person in this House to say that you should not have trade unions or that trade unions should not negotiate with employers, but it is a peculiar thing that the Railways Act specifically declared that the railways must negotiate all these questions of working conditions and wages with the trade unions and yet it was not compulsory that the agreements be kept. I do not think that in any other legislation which ever was passed by our Government was anybody forced by law to regulate wages and conditions with the trade unions. I do not know why the railways were picked out for that. It has hampered the railways and has not benefited the trade unions. The fact that they were forced to deal with trade unions, with any and every trade union that was set up, led to complications and difficulties which we are experiencing to-day; but I am not going to go into that. Had some such plan as was recommended by the Vocational Commission been adopted and had we had a federal conference of transport workers' unions, we might by now have come to an understanding between the unions and there would not be this hold-up in transport to-day.

There is no political significance in this Bill and yet I fear that an attempt has been made to discuss it from the political rather than any other angle. Listening to the discussion, I was thinking of a rhyme I read once:—

"Yesterday upon the stair

I saw a man who was not there,

He was not there again to-day,

I wish to God he'd go away."

There is a feeling that there is something hidden and mysterious in the Bill which everybody is looking for, but he is not there and there is no use in looking for him.

My namesake, Senator J.T. O'Farrell, dealt fairly fully with the working of the railways under the last manager. Somebody disputed one of his statements that special trains were run for races. Special trains were run for races and there is no use in saying they were not. Departments were closed down and vacancies were left in very important jobs which should have been filled. I do not know why, but I have my own suspicions. It may have been that Mr. Reynolds felt that in order to do the job as he hoped to do it and intened to do it he should have full control, and the fewer departments and heads of departments he had to deal with the better chance there was of getting things done according to his own plan. It may have been the old feeling that he would not tolerate any rival near the throne. Whatever it was, it was a bad system as it worked out. I do not blame the man—the man undertook more than any one man could have been expected to do.

Senator J.T. O'Farrell has practical experience of the working of railways. He has practical experience of the administrative side of railways and I have had practical experience of the other end. I have assembled trains, shunted trains and worked signals, and yet the two O'Farrells, with all their ability, undoubted as it is, could not run the railways to-day, let alone any one man. He in the office and I on the permanent way could not have done it between us.

Perhaps that explains the difficulties of the railways.

Mr. O'Farrell

The difficulties of the railways date from the time the two O'Farrells left them. When we were working on the railways, the railways were able to pay. It may be mere coincidence or it may be cause and effect, but as soon as the O'Farrells left the railways, they started going down.

Senator O'Reilly talked about the different sorts of traffic and about how much more profitable it was to carry cattle than human beings.

I did not say any such thing.

The Senator said that human beings loaded and unloaded themselves. The trouble with some of the human beings was that they came loaded to the railway stations, and it was much more difficult to handle them in the carriages than to handle the cattle in the wagons. I had experience of both. I have loaded cattle into wagons with far less difficulty than I have got excursion parties in and out of trains. Senator Baxter talked about his churn of milk and about the reluctance of some of the trains to leave the stations. He was concerned about his milk going sour, but does he realise that trains cannot just dash in and dash out of stations? Nobody holds up at train at a station for the sake of looking at it or of looking at the stationmaster's garden. Does he realise all that has to be done to make a train run on the tracks and prevent it running into some other train? There may be a thousand and one good reasons why a train does not hurry out of a station and the people who complain about the seeming delay ought to be very thankful that sometimes the driver, guard and stationmaster did wait until the road was clear before sending the train out, or some of them would not be here to-day to complain about the delay in carrying their churns of milk.

When I was working on the railway, I said I was subsidising the railway. I worked 12 hours a day and at a great many country stations. I got 14/- a week. You may have a very poor opinion of me, but at the worst of times I was worth more than 14/- a week, but, as wages went up, traffic went down and the wage bill had to be met. It had to be met out of declining receipts and will have to be met again out of still further declining receipts in the future, unless something is done with road transport, not merely bus traffic, but every form of transport. There is no use in calling this a form of nationalisation of transport. It is not. It is merely State control of the railways, rendered essential by the fact that the railways were no longer able to pay their own way under the old system. If we are to have nationalisation of transport, it will involve the nationalisation of every competitive form of transport. I am not in favour of that and I am sure that some of the people who said they want nationalisation of transport do not realise that you must nationalise the whole of the transport, if you are going to nationalise it at all. You may find that the private motor car is nationalised in the long run, if it proves a rival to the public railway carriage. One must look ahead before one goes too far with nationalisation.

I have referred to the Act of 1933 which forced the railways to negotiate with any and every trade union and in one of the Schedules to this Bill, there is a section which repeals some earlier enactments. I wish the Minister had included the repeal of that particular enactment, because it is still a difficulty. It might help to overcome the trouble which has originated recently in Dublin. I am not pleading for any union against any other; I am prepared to allow any man to belong to any union he likes, but I think the unions themselves should have some arrangement by which inter-union disputes could be settled without resort to a strike, and without dragging the public into the dispute. We have national control of the railways now, in so far as the State, from now on, becomes responsible for any debts the railways may incur in their running, but the Government have no control over the running of the railways, if the men on the railways decline to run the trains or buses. I am not asking that compulsory powers be taken against them, but I am pointing out that there are transport problems and problems linked with transport still facing us which will have to be tackled some time or other, and the sooner they are tackled the better.

A railway transport board was recommended by the Vocational Commission and a national transport council was recommended by the commission, in addition to the conference of transport workers. We have not got a national transport council yet. We have a board being set up to run the railway and we have another body being appointed by the Minister to decide whether branch lines will remain open or be closed. I believe, however, that it would help to solve the problem of the railways and the transport problem generally, if we had some form of national transport council to advise on the allocation of traffic between the different types of transport on an economic basis and with primary regard for the nation's needs and resources. The nation's needs and resources are the primary consideration, but they are the things that are always lost sight of and left out of calculation in the control of transport.

The canal company is now coming under this central control and management. I wonder will anything be done to develop our canals? Our canals still have a useful purpose to serve in the carrying of heavy and bulky commodities which do not require to be rushed and which will not spoil because of delay of an hour or two. They can carry grain, coal, beet, timber—innumerable things. Could they also carry human beings? Originally, the canals were used by pleasure parties and I do not see why similar use could not be made of the canals now, if they were cleaned up and their banks improved. They could be made available for excursions or for those who wished to bring their own boats along them, on payment of a small fee for the opening of locks, and it might bring in some money to the canal company. It would help to keep the canals open and would be an amenity for the people generally.

We are not making enough use of our waterways. If we no longer use or need them for their original purpose, surely we could use them for the purposes I suggest. I hear people singing about taking slow boats to China. Why not take a slow boat to the Shannon as a pleasure trip? Other countries have their canals and pleasure parties. I have never seen them, but I have read about them and seen pictures of them. Places like Venice can use their canals and waterways for pleasure purposes, and it would be much better if our canals and waterways were similarly used rather than that they should merely be closed by the dumping into them of rubbish as was done in the case of the section up at the Broadstone.

I think the speech made by Senator Séamus O'Farrell is about the most reasonable one we heard in this debate so far. In his speech he has managed to say anything he had to say without accusing anybody of anything, accepting it as a fact that when people spoke, particularly, I would say, from this side of the House, they spoke with the best of intentions. It was a great surprise to me yesterday evening, after Professor O Buachalla sat down, that the Leader of the House should spend a quarter of an hour, the whole quarter of an hour in which he spoke, making a very vicious attack on a very honourable member of this House who sits before me here. He used adjectives describing Senator Ó Buachalla, and Senator Ó Buachalla's motives, that I do not think should be used by any person of education or commonsense. I think when Professor Hayes reads his speech he will realise that his action from the front bench, and as Leader of the House, was one which he will regret; and I must say also that his speech set a headline for those who followed him. He condemned Professor Ó Buachalla for the length of his speech. The Chair never once during the three hours while Senator Ó Buachalla spoke decided he was irrelevant or decided that he had repeated himself. I think the speech of Senator Ó Buachalla was most interesting, and if Senator Hayes did not like his speech I can assure him that there was quite a number of people here who fully appreciated the value of the speech he made. We may not have given the same amount of study to the situation that Senator Ó Buachalla did, but when we heard his speech we realised that he had put a great amount of study into it. I think the speech he made is most valuable, and it is well that everything he said is one the records of the House. He was attacked because he mentioned names; first of all because of his defence of the late chairman of Córas Iompair Eireann. I think that defence was very necessary and I think the defence was well made. I think, in view of some of the speeches made since his speech, it had a good effect. He was condemned because he mentioned the name of Professor Purcell. One would think that in mentioning Professor Purcell's name he had committed a grievous sin. Professor Purcell wrote a letter over his own name. Therefore, I conclude that he was not particular that it should be kept private, and when Senator Ó Buachalla used a paragraph of that letter, I believe that he was fully entitled to do it. Certainly, no accusation or charge can be made against the Senator because he used that. Therefore, I think Senator Hayes, who told us yesterday, in part of his speech, that he was Leader of the House, and accused us of being the Opposition, which is rather a new name, I understand, for the people who sit on this side of the House—however, I do not mind being the Opposition—but, as Leader of the House, I think he set a very bad headline, and one of which I, for one, disapprove.

He was followed by Professor O'Brien, who had some things to say in defence of the present board and much condemnation of the old board. One of the reasons why Senator Ó Buachalla was condemned was because he did not refer to the Bill. I was expecting that when Professor O'Brien spoke that he would deal very carefully with the Bill but, so far as I could see, he did not refer to the Bill hardly at all. He spoke about the board, and then he spoke about the shareholders. He told us, in fact, that if the property of Córas Iompair Eireann were sold to the public that it would realise more than they were getting under this Bill. While I have great sympathy with certain of the shareholders—those who took original holdings in the company—we know that during the long years of its existence these shares changed hands many times. Every few succeeding years they had a change in value. We know that, at one time, they reached a very low level, indeed. We know that, at that time, quite a number of people made very great sums of money on speculations in these shares, and if I could see that these people, who held on to the old shares or bought them at the old price were being deprived of their interest, I would then think that they should be compensated at a very high rate.

I rather think, notwithstanding Professor O'Brien's statement, that if the assets of Córas Iompair Eireann were sold to the public they would hardly realise £3,000,000, which is about the value that the Minister in this Bill is going to confer on the shareholders. The professor spoke about the new board and made certain recommendations in connection with it. As he spoke, I had the feeling that he was going to recommend Senator J.T. O'Farrell as one of the new members, but later, when he was talking about Store Street and the buildings that were built in the 18th century, I began to wonder if we could not go to some of the artistic societies to get some person with an artistic mind who might be very useful on this Transport Board. The new bus station at Store Street offends his artistic taste. Why, I do not know. The bridge, of course, is a kind of obstruction to the view all right, but even the bridge was not as bad as Store Street. Store Street had some kind of ugly appearance, maybe a smell, but in my opinion, and I come from the country—I lived in Dublin off and on for the past 40 years, and I know something of the topography of Dublin City—I think myself personally that Store Street is the best site in this city as a centre for the establishment of a bus station. Now, taking the new suggestion; if I were to come from the south, to go to Smithfield, I would have to go down exactly to almost where Store Street is if I want to get into it. People from the north, west, east and south can easily go to Store Street. It suits Harcourt Street, Westland Row, Amiens Street, and Tara Street, and it is just as suitable a centre for Kings-bridge as Smithfield, and the buses, at any rate, when they are leaving the place will have to pass through the main city centre, O'Connell Street. Apart altogether from that, I think it is a great pity that the people have been held up for two years, standing under the miserable shelters which are there for them, simply because the Government decided that the Store Street premises were too big for the company, that the site was not a suitable one and, I suppose, because the artistic feelings of some of the people were not pleased with the way it, and the gasometer, and the railway bridge, were beside the 18th century building, the Custom House.

The people have not been held up for two years. The building would not have been ready even yet.

A very big portion would be ready. I think it would be possible. I think it would be possible to have the buses come in there at this time.

No, not with what would be going on overhead.

Very well. Senator T.J. O'Farrell followed Senator Professor O'Brien. We were told by Senator Hayes that no attack was made on anyone, on this Bill. I never heard a more virulent attack on a man than that made by this little mass of venom, Senator T.J. O'Farrell, yesterday on Mr. Reynolds.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Is not that expression, Senator, rather strong?

Well, I withdraw that expression.

Those are not my initials, either.

I apologise for that also. It should be J.T. O'Farrell. Even others than Mr. Reynolds did not escape his tongue by innuendo. Senator Séamus O'Farrell made a slight mistake when he said Mr. Reynolds did actually run special trains to races. In actual fact, what Senator O'Farrell said was that he used the best coal for running certain trains for certain purposes.

That is perfectly true.

That is one side of the story. I am perfectly certain it was not true. This little lamb went to see Mr. Reynolds and Mr. Reynolds did not ask him to sit down and did not receive him as he should receive a gentle lamb. This lamb came, later on, with representatives of the trade unions and he did not ask them to sit down. He was that kind of a bad tyrant, this werewolf who came along to cow all these representatives of trade unions. We had such an attack on Mr. Reynolds, who was not here to defend himself, yet we had it from the Leader of the House that no attack was made on anyone.

Senator Summerfield received a guarantee from the Minister that there would be no interference with private motor cars, hackney cars, licensed hauliers or private hauliers. Senator Summerfield said he went with representatives of the chamber of commerce and with the motor traders' union.

I think what the Senator said was that he was informed that there was nothing of that kind in the Bill.

I understand Senator Summerfield said he was satisfied that the Minister does not intend to interfere with motor traffic on the roads as it is at the present time.

I cannot speak for him.

Was the Senator here when he was speaking?

Yes, and I understood him to say that he had an assurance that there was nothing in this Bill that gave the board such powers. I cannot speak for the Minister or for the Senator, but I believe he said that he had an offical assurance. I think it is important that what he said should be made clear.

The record will show that.

He said he was grateful to the Minister for having invited representatives of the body, of which he is a member, and of the chamber of commerce. Senator Douglas has it one way and I have it another; my recollection is that he said that motor hauliers—he mentioned hauliers, certainly—and those other classes of transport I have mentioned will be entitled to the same privilege as they at present enjoy. If that is correct, even when giving power to Córas Iompair Éireann, it is still possible—and I may say there are rumours in the air of it—that in conjunction with this Bill certain impositions may be made which would make it impossible for liceused hauliers, private lorry owners and motor owners and hackney men to continue in competition with Córas Iompair Éireann. I may be completely wrong in that, but I would like to hear the Minister give some assurance on that point when he is replying to this debate.

I have the feeling—expressed by Senator Colgan and referred to, to some extent, by the Leas-Chathaoirleach—that rails are not by any means in a secure position in this country. In other countries with more dense population than ours they cannot stay, and I cannot see rails meeting modern competition. Senator Colgan mentioned that in 1939 there were 75,000 vehicles on the road here, while to-day there are 150,000. If that is not a clear indication of the trend of opinion regarding transport, I do not know what is. I personally believe that Biancont coaches went out because they were superseded by the rails and I can see the time when the rails will go also. Any wise group having charge of transport should be thinking, even now, of the time when rails will be obsolete and they should be preparing against that time so that there will be no undue hardship on any of the people concerned.

Some people talk of the rails and even of the shareholders as if no concessions were made to the railways. When they were given the right to control practically all public passenger transport in the country and were almost given the right to prescribe who should have a licensed haulier's lorry, a tremendous concession was granted to Córas Iompair Éireann, including the old Great Southern Railways, and that is something that should be taken into consideration. I believe that one of the purposes of that concession was that the rails might make provision against the date when rails would no longer be necessary. One of the reasons why we should foster rail traffic, for the present and as long as we can, is that we can supply fuel to some extent for rails. We have up to the present to import fuel for motor transport, so I believe we should do all we can to keep the rail traffic going but the writing is on the wall for railways, in my opinion.

Senator Baxter was very vehement during Senator Ó Buachalla's speech and insisted he was talking too long and not talking about the Bill. That was the main substance of the Senator's speech, though he spoke for half an hour. I would ask him to read the report some time for curiosity and he will find that he himself spoke only for the last three minutes about the Bill itself. His speech was mainly an attack an Senator O Buachalla.

The speech I referred to in the beginning, Senator Séamus O'Farrell's, was one that should commend itself to those addressing themselves to the measure. Even if we have such high authorities on decorum as Senator Crosbie, if they just listen to people like Senator O'Farrell they will eventually find that they would get further by keeping to the kind of speech he made.

Would it not be well to practise what you preach?

In my view, one of the great advantages of some form of nationalisation of Córas Iompair Eireann is that we could then run the transport system for the benefit of the nation as a whole without having to pay attention to the claims of individual shareholders. When a concern like this is nationalised we can pay attention to the needs of the workers in the concern, and also the needs of the whole community. In the case of a private concern the profits of the shareholders are considered. I believe that nationalisation is for the good of the whole nation. In the case of a monopoly such as Córas Iompair Eireann, nationalisation will mean that you do not have to provide dividends for individual shareholders. Therefore, you can look at things from a national point of view and consider primarily the efficiency of the concern for the welfare of the whole community.

I refer to both rail and bus transport. For efficiency we should try to utilise the rail services to the fullest possible extent and not place them in competition with the bus services In explanation, may I give an example. On the farm on which I work we have two horses and a tractor. Some people may wonder what is the connection. I think this is a good example. No matter what happens the horses have to be fed and maintained. The tractor, on the other hand, does not cost anything when it is not in use. Therefore, on the farm we utilise the horses to the full, and if there is any surplus work to be done over and above that we use the tractor. The comparison is this: If trains have to be run and railways have to be maintained, it is for the good of the community as a whole that we should utilise them as far as possible, and utilise road transport only to do what cannot be efficiently and economically done by rail. In that connection it is desirable that we should encourage people to use the railways as much as possible rather than the roads. There are times, of course, when it is much more economical and more convenient to use the roads, but there are quite a number of occasions on which it is almost"50-50" with a trader or individual whether he sends goods or travels by rail or by road. In such a case it would be more patriotic to use the railways, because their maintenance is an expense to the nation whether they are used or not. In some cases it might appear to cost a little more to use the railway. It might cost £1 to send certain goods by rail while they could be sent by road for 18/-, on the face of it. The trader should, however, consider this point, in his own interest—and we should consider it in the interest of the nation—that even if it does cost 2/- more in immediate cash outlay to send by rail, it might be more economical in the long run to use the railway, because if more traffic is diverted to rail the subsidies needed to keep the railways going would be less. If a person saves a few shillings now by sending goods by road, he may find in a period of years that he has paid far more than that in additional taxation in order to subsidise the railways.

Most people agree that, for a considerable number of years, it will be essential, in the national interest, to maintain the railways. If they are to be maintained, they have to be paid for either by receipts from goods and passenger traffic or by subsidy. I do not think it is likely that we will get money to maintain them from other sources.

It has already been sufficiently emphasised by members of the Seanad that, in the case of the railways, they cannot increase their charges to a very high level without doing more harm than good. Therefore, we fall back in the last resort to subsidies to keep them going. That applies especially to branch lines, but it also applies in general to the railways.

Is it worth while? I think that is the point we have to consider. It is unreasonable for a person to say we should pay for the railways by subsidies, and then for the same person to complain when additional taxation is required. If we as a body advocate subsidies, then, logically, we should be prepared to pay these subsidies. We should be prepared to pay the necessary taxation willingly for the good of the community as a whole.

We should also seriously consider what other means there are of trying to encourage more rail transport. Various suggestions have been made. It is only right that they should be ventilated. I am not suggesting that any hasty decision should be reached with regard to them. One suggestion is a higher tax on heavy road vehicles. I am not advocating that a higher tax on road vehicles should be imposed immediately, but the matter should receive careful consideration, because these heavy vehicles are cutting up the roads, and that, indirectly, increases the rates, and the ratepayers suffer. Would it not be better to send more heavy goods by rail? One way of getting that done would be to impose a higher tax on heavy road vehicles.

Another suggestion which deserves very serious consideration is a higher tax on petrol. That, again, I believe, would encourage more people to travel by rail. On some previous occasions, when certain persons advocated a higher tax on petrol, somebody else replied: "Perhaps So-and-So does not keep a car." I keep a car, and I am quite willing and would be only too glad to pay a higher tax on petrol if I were satisfied that it was good for the nation. I feel it to be my duty to go by rail whenever possible. I travel to and from Dublin by rail. The only time I use a car is for going to places which cannot be conveniently reached by rail. If we could persuade even 10,000 people, for patriotic reasons, to go by rail rather than by road whenever they reasonably can, it would help to maintain the railways, and would be more economical for the nation. Therefore, a higher tax on heavy road vehicles and on petrol are suggestions which are at least worthy of consideration.

A third suggestion is a higher tax on large, luxury private cars. I believe that the people who own these big, luxury private cars could well afford to pay a higher tax. They are mostly wealthy people. Some of the money raised in those ways could be used for the upkeep of roads, and some of it to help to subsidise railways and branch lines. I am not suggesting that these are the only ways. There may be objections that other Senators may raise to these suggestions.

Another alternative method of raising funds to subsidise the railways would be higher supertax and surtax, and higher death duties on large estates. That is a very reasonable form of tax, because it would not hurt the poorer sections of the community to any extent. It would fall on the wealthier people. Personally, if I were satisfied that it was for the good of the community, I would be only glad to pay additional income-tax. We should not advocate any form of taxation unless we are willing to pay it ourselves. I do not think it is right for anybody to preach or advocate something unless he is willing to put it into practice. If it is for the common good, and the good of the nation, to maintain the railways, and I believe it is, we should face facts and be willing and prepared to pay the cost of doing so.

Keeping up the railways has not a very sentimental appeal, but for practical people it is a very important consideration. It would be easier to appeal to people to pay higher taxation for the sake of the old age pensioners, widows and orphans and the blind than it would be for the upkeep of railways, but we have to realise that the upkeep of the railways is also for the good of the whole community.

While I have advocated the desirability of keeping up the railways, I am not suggesting for one moment that there should be any extravagance. In any nationalised concern it is the duty of the whole community to do what it can to prevent extravagance, and to run it as efficiently and economically as possible. In a nationalised railway system everyone of us should feel that the railways are our own concern. Since they are a nationalised concern, every citizen should be interested in their welfare and efficiency.

In that connection, there is one very deplorable thing which is found in this and in many other countries. There are people who, although they would not dream of stealing from a private individual, would not hesitate to help themselves to some property belonging to the State, or to a large nationalised corporation. Personally, I think it every bit as dishonest to injure public property as it is to injure private property. I think the people should respect public property, and by doing so in this case, they will help to secure that the nationalised transport system is as economical and efficient as possible.

The question of salaries has been referred to in this debate. I would like to make it quite clear that I am not making an attack on the former chairman, Mr. Reynolds. I do not know him personally, and it is not my function to say anything for or against him, but I do say that in existing circumstances in Ireland, £5,000 or £6,000 a year is too much to pay any man. I do not think any individual should expect the community to pay him £5,000 or £6,000 a year. At the same time, I recognise that if you want to get a very capable man, and if a private business concern also wants to get him, he may be tempted by a higher offer from private business. I think that nationalised concerns should make every endeavour to get people of ability, and in order to do this they often have to pay high salaries. But there is a remedy for that. The remedy is not to allow those gigantic salaries to be paid by any company—in other words, to bring about a more equitable distribution of wealth, and to encourage people with ability to give their services to the community gladly, without expecting such gigantic rewards as they have got in days gone by. We should not allow people in any walk of life to receive such enormous incomes. In justice, we should also strive to bring up the wages of the lower paid workers in Córas Iompair Eireann and elsewhere to a reasonable level. I do not propose to spend time in criticising what has been done in the past. I am here to try to make constructive suggestions with regard to the future. I would appeal to people of all Parties and all shades of opinion, to try to help our new nationalised Córas Iompair Eireann to serve the community well and efficiently, at the same time paying fair rates of wages and giving fair conditions to its employees.

I think we should all be agreed that this Bill means the nationalisation of the railways and their subsidiary undertakings such as trams and buses. I do not know why some of us say that it is not nationalisation when it is proposed to buy out the ownership of the undertaking for the State. When that is done the State will be the real owners, no matter whether the undertaking is being run like the Post Office Department, with a Minister, or by a board such as we have here. I quite agree that the only remedy was to nationalise railways—there was no other way out. I was glad to hear from my old friend Senator Counihan that several inquiries held far back have recommended something like this, but I am rather doubtful if we recognise fully the responsibilities of nationalisation. The railways were set up as private companies, but, in reality, they were corporations with nothing of private ownership about them, especially in the present circumstances. Therefore, we must realise now that this is a nationalised undertaking and more or less of a social or public service. A private company seeks, first of all, profits for its shareholders, but a nationalised undertaking must seek, first of all, to give the public service. If that undertaking can give a reasonably good public service such as the Post Office and make a profit, so much the better. I believe that the Post Office does make a profit. If its charges are not sufficient the Government, at the expense of the State, would have to come in to see that public services were maintained at the cost of the Exchequer. It is the same with the railways. I am rather doubtful if the Minister realises that responsibility, because he said here that he hoped it would be a sound financial proposition. I doubt very much if it will ever be a paying proposition.

We should consider what really happened the railways because there seems to be a lot of confusion on what is really a very simple matter. At one time the railways were profitable, but very far back their profits declined. One of the reasons was the small and scattered population of the country, as distinct from other countries such as England. Another was probably the decline of countryside tillage. We have been told that cattle travel once in their lifetime on the railways, but tillage provided goods for the railways to carry. The situation began to affect the railways as far back as 1920, but later a new disease began to appear in the competition of motor transport. That grew with the years, and when the Fianna Fáil Government came into office it was faced with a situation that road transport competition was paralysing the railways, and clearly destroying the possibility of their existence. The then Government made several efforts to cope with that situation, and there was a great deal expected of handing over transport undertakings to the railways so as to give them a new lease of life and enable them to continue, but at a later stage, before that had time to be tried, the war came along. The war was a major catastrophe for the railways, but no sooner was it over than the old disease reappeared in a form more virulent than before. Motor transport has increased to a terrific extent in the last four years, and that was the reason why the railways did not pay. I do not know anything about mismanagement, but I do know that with the greatest management in the world it would have been impossible for railways to compete with motor transport. Their best passengers travelled in big cars, and their best traffic went to the lorries. The last Government made every effort to put the railways on their feet, but it was an impossible task, and to-day it is more impossible than ever.

Any Government would be faced with this question of rail versus road transport. The figures which were given last night in this debate have shown clearly that this problem is not confined to this country—it can be found in every other country. The people here have expressed their view fairly emphatically on the question, and it is that road transport must go on. The figures we heard here may be taken as a plebiscite on it, and I think it would be wrong for any Government to attempt to put back the hand of progress, just as if they were to try to maintain the stage coach again. Howevery unfortunate it is, the day of the railways is fast passing, and the day arriving when motor transport will be the main form of transport in the future. We will make a great mistake if we do not recognise that. There is generally some reason for a general consensus of opinion. In this case, it is clear that our railway services run on straight lines through the country without touching to a great extent the mass of the people. It was necessary to bring goods from out-of-the-way places and in these days of high labour costs, these goods will come more and more by road, the pace being quickened as the roads are improved. The continued improvement of the roads tends to make road transport a very desirable proposition for the individual. The loading and unloading is one of the principal things. A man loads goods on a lorry, sends it away and they are unloaded at their destination; if he sends them to the railway they have to be loaded there and unloaded again from the railway before they arrive. There is a reason, therefore, behind a decision in favour of road transport. How that affects the present is that we must look at the railways from the point of view that they are declining more or less rapidly, but at the same time now and for a long period to come the railways will be very necessary for the country to convey heavy goods, agricultural produce, cattle and many other things. For that reason they should be retained as far as possible. I do not know if there is any fear that the members of the board have got into their heads that the first consideration will be to make the railways pay. By cutting essential services, services essential to the agricultural community, and by raising rates it might be possible to show a favourable balance sheet, but it would be at the expense of far greater things and it would cost the country more in the curtailment of development in agriculture, trade and industry. It might cost the country many times more than the profit realised by the railways.

From now on the railway is a national service. It must be run for the good of the community and that means that the first consideration must be to give the very best services to industry and to the people. If it is not able to do that on an economic basis the taxpayers of the country must be prepared to subsidise it. I hope that the Minister will realise that because otherwise this might lead only to disaster. I hope that the members of the board will realise that in the course of time the railways must disappear and be replaced by road transport and they should regard themselves as a sort of winding-up board. They should not curtail essential services for the sake of increasing profits and they should not seek to make profits.

Reference has been made to the canals and I think that the Government should not overlook thier possibilities. They have not been properly developed, especially the Shannon, which, I am told on good authority, is capable of being used up to Athlone for transport purposes. At the time of the Shannon scheme German motor-boats carried goods to Athlone. I do not see any reason why heavy vessels should not come to Foynes, lighter vessels to Limerick and motor-boats to Athlone to deliver goods to the midlands, and I hope that the Government will look at that aspect of the question. There was always the tendency to favour the railways and encourage their development to the exclusion of the canals and other possibilities. That would be a wrong to the country. Especially as we see the bulk of the population turning towards Dublin and the east coast every effort should be made to develop the west, particularly towns like Galway, Limerick, Sligo and Cork.

At some time in the future we will have to face the question of having motor roads such as were built in Germany. We must not maintain the railways for the sake of sentiment. They must be retained for the public benefit as long as they are necessary, but not longer.

I think that most thinking people will concede that at the present time railway transport cannot be made a profit-making service. Anyone who has given any consideration to that form of transport will admit that. That situation, as has already been pointed out, is not peculiar to this country but is common in other countries which should be in a better position to make them profitable if it could be done. I feel with other Senators that it would be a disastrous step even to toy with the idea of closing down branch lines. I accept the view that our national transport is matter that should not be trifled or toyed with. If we are prepared to pay—and the people in my opinion are prepared to pay—for transport it should be maintained on the branch lines as well as on the main lines even to the remote corners of the country.

I think that the most we can expect under the new arrangement is to cut our losses and the factors which have contributed to the losses in the past should be examined. Among them are over-staffing and overlapping. I am sure, although I have not figures before me, that the increase in the number of employees in the transport service since 1945 must be very considerable. Worse still, from my own knowledge, was the fact that higher officers of the service crossed each other at different points throughout the country and that one man could have discharged the work done by two or three. The running costs of the company were, therefore, brought to the level when the company could not reasonably be expected to pay, and it seemed that nobody cared whether the railways paid or lost. There was no real interest among those engaged in the running of the rail service in whether it was a paying proposition or not. In fact, I think that quite a number of people were anxious that the railways should show a loss because, among those operating the services, both road and rail, there were a number of people who were definitely road-minded. That may be all right to a certain extent, but we must remember at all times that this world is not going to settle down to a period of peace for ever and that the source of our fuel is an important consideration. We have proven in times of emergency that we can run a service—albeit a very inefficient service—with our native fuel. If we revert exclusively to road transport we may be completely dependent on outside power and that, I think, nobody here would like to see. I think that the fact that so many people were road-minded brought about a situation that was ludicrous and which was referred to by Senator Orpen, that is, road and rail services running side by side in the country. To cite one example, from the town of Westport to Dublin there was a rail service, and from Westport to Dublin there was also a bus service. The bus ran by the railway tracks from Westport to Castlerea, moved away from them for a short distance near Longford, and met the railway again at Mullingar and ran side by side with it to Dublin. There was a case of two sections of a company competing against each other. What could be expected to happen there?

When I speak of this matter of road transport I look at it from an angle which is worrying quite a number of the rural population. Road maintenance is one of the most disturbing matters that people are concerned with, and if more traffic is to be put on to the roads we will have a corollary to this Bill in the very near future to decide whence will come the money to maintain the roads in the condition required. I hold the view at present that a limit will have to be put on the laden weight of motor vehicles on the road, because we cannot disguise from ourselves, the fact that, particularly in the West of Ireland, the roads were never intended to carry the heavy traffic now passing over them, for the simple reason that the foundations are not there on which to build a proper highway. The result is that local authorities are endeavouring to keep the roads in passable condition and nothing more, and the burden is becoming too heavy.

If it is intended to embark on a system of road transport and to allow lorries and other motor vehicles up to 14 tons in weight to pass over our roads, somebody will have to contribute to their upkeep other than the poor ratepayer. It was only on this matter of roads that I decided to speak, because practically all the other matters have been dealt with and I do not propose to bore the Minister by repeating what has already been wisely said. I would, however, reiterate the need for maintaining every branch line in existence, even though it is uneconomic. We are now about to nationalise our transport system. The people in the remote corners of Ireland are entitled to their conveniences as well as the people in other parts of the country, and if we are prepared to maintain and subsidise these lines, we should also be prepared to maintain and subsidise the branch lines. It will be the wiser course in the long run, perhaps, even to schedule the goods which may be carried only by rail and only by road. That might help to save the railways from final disaster.

I have not got the information which Senator S. O'Farrell and Senator J.T. O'Farrell have, but I think that one of the biggest sources of revenue the railways had was the carriage of live stock and the manner in which the railways handled that side of their business so disgusted their customers that they lost it. It was a common thing for a man to rail his cattle at 10 o'clock in the morning for Dublin and to find in some cases that they did not arrive until 2 o'clock the following morning in very poor condition for the market. If the railways give the service, they will get the business; if they do not give the service, they will not get the business, and that applies to every other commercial concern as well. I was rather attracted by the suggestion made by Senator S. O'Farrell about show-boats on our canals.

The matter might be worth considering. It has occurred to me that it has always been customary here to run excursion trains to Dublin. Why to Dublin? Why not out of Dublin? There are quite a number of beauty spots throughout the country and it would do the Dublin people good to come out and get a breath of fresh country air now and again and it might help to attract the people away from the city rather than to it.

I am inclined to agree with Senator Finan when he says that if the railways give the service they will be sure to get the traffic. Unfortunately, however, once people become accustomed to transport vehicles calling at their doors, so to speak, it is not so easy to get them back to the railroad. I do not want to be misunderstood. I am all in favour of rail transport and I think it is regrettable that this Bill should be made the opportunity for a squabble about Party politics. There is no necessity at all for anything of the kind. I heard somebody say that a certain Senator had attacked the Minister. I do not believe he did so. I have never heard the same Senator attack anybody and I do not believe there is any reason why he should attack the Minister. I believe that we should adopt the attitude in relation to this Bill that it is a Bill for the development and perfecting of the transport system of the country, and if we can help to make the measure as perfect as possible, to make it better than it appears to be when it first comes before us, it is our duty to do so. I fail to see, however, why this House should be used for personal attacks not so much against people in the House as people outside the House who are in no position to defend themselves. I listened to several speeches and I should like at the outset to say that Mr. A.P. Reynolds is no personal friend of mine. I say, however, that it is a disgrace that he or any other man in such a position should be accused as he has been accused and should be denounced as he has been denounced by the members of this House in his absence. I hope the same thing will not happen in the future. I hope that another group of men in this House will not say the same things and will not attack in the same way the man who has now been appointed chairman. If they do, and I happen to be a member of the House, I will again protest.

Perhaps somebody will say that I have good reason to protect people from attack. Perhaps it will be suggested that my sympathies are aroused because I had to suffer, and suffer very considerably, from unjustifiable attacks made upon me in the other House by members of the other House. Senators will remember the Locke Tribunal. They will remember the evidence given before that tribunal as a result of statements made in a House of the Oireachtas. I say without fear of contradiction that if some of the people who now form the Government Party had any consciences or any shame, they would advise their followers to refrain from such unjustified attacks in either House. Anything can be said about a man in this or the other House and he has no way of defending himself. The result may be disastrous for that man or for his business. So far as I am concerned, I was whitewashed by the three judges as much as anybody could be and I, therefore, have no grievance, except in the matter of expenses, and the fact that these expenses were not paid is, in my opinion, a disgrace.

Senator Baxter, in his contribution to the debate, referred to the fact that in Mr. Reynolds's office the drawers were full of cheques which could not be cashed. The office was full of cheques written by Mr. Reynolds which could not be met if the cheques were presented for payment. These are only a couple of the charges made against Mr. Reynolds. As I say, he is no personal friend of mine, and I am not here to defend him as an individual, but I am here to defend him, because he happens to be one of the general public, who cannot defend himself, and to try to create the precedent whereby people will be more conservative in their statements in this House. If Mr. Reynolds was guilty of half the things he has been accused of, more in this House, I would say, than in the other House, I ask the question, why was he not arrested? I do not believe he is guilty of any of these things. I challenge Senator Baxter to say, even now, at this hour of the day, that the railway company was in such a condition that the cheques sanctioned by the board would not be met by the bank. It is said there was no money in the bank. That may, possibly, be correct, but if the business of this country was to be run without overdrafts I venture to think that the shutters would be up on a lot of businesses before long.

I think it is a general practice in the country that people have, what they call, a running account. On one day it may be in credit X number of pounds. The next day it may be in debt the same number of pounds or, perhaps, more. To say such a thing is, in my opinion, a reflection on this big national transport system in the country. In the same way, we have Senator Crosbie. Senator Crosbie left nothing undone to sling mud at Mr. A.P. Reynolds. He finished up and, as far as I could understand him, his words were as follows: that we should endeavour to forget this figure, this individual, forget Mr. Reynolds, and not be annoyed with him. If that is not what he said, I should like to be corrected. All I would say is this, that it may be easy for Senator Crosbie to forget Mr. Reynolds, but it would be a very difficult job to get the people of this country to forget the service rendered to the plain people of Ireland by Mr. Percy Reynolds during the years of the emergency. I would like to couple with him, and I think it is only right that we should pay a tribute now not alone to the directors and the chairman, but to the rank and file of the workers on the railways for the unswerving and loyal service they gave during those difficult years. I do not know if many of the people here travelled by train at that time. Some of them did, because I met them on the night mail. I travelled on the night mail many times down to Tipperary. I went down one night and back the next night, arriving at 6 o'clock in the morning. I make no secret of the fact that I saw that train being fired in County Tipperary with the aid of orange boxes borrowed from local houses. Notwithstanding that the firemen had to contend with wet turf, bad coal, and green timber the lines were kept going. In order to say something new about Mr. Reynolds let us make some genuine charge against him: that a better man could make a better job of it. All I can say is, that Mr. Percy Reynolds with his 1916 badge on his coat will be remembered in this country when a lot of his accusers will be forgotten. Again, I say, he is no personal friend of mine.

Senator J.T. O'Farrell took it on himself to refer to the specials which were sent to the Curragh Races during the war. I do not know whether Senator O'Farrell goes to very many race meetings or not. I do not know if he has very much interest in the various industries of this country, so that it might be necessary to remind him that one of the reasons why the horse-breeding industry, which I represent in this House, is in the condition it is in, to-day, is because of the facilities rendered by Córas Iompair Éireann during those very difficult years. It has been suggested, of course—I do not think the name was mentioned—but it has been suggested, and I think it is a miserable suggestion, that the special train was run to the Curragh to accommodate one individual. It is not necessary for me to point out who that one individual suggested is, but I have no hesitation whatever in mentioning the name. The miserable innuendo is that the special train was run to the Curragh to accommodate Seán Lemass.

I made no such suggestion.

Of course the Senator made no such suggestion. Did he mean the Attorney-General? Did he mean me or did he mean Senator Counihan? I say, here and now, that the suggestion was that it was run for Seán Lemass. I also say that Seán Lemass was driving in rain on an outside car when his accusers were sitting comfortably in cars and were driving on black-market petrol. Let them deny it.

You are a good judge.

If the Senator has anything to say I am here to answer it. You thought you knew a lot more about black-market petrol, like a lot more of your compatriots here. You thought so, until it came to the stage when you had to produce proof. We hear a lot of talk about bribery and corruption. It is time to cut it out.

It was time to cut it out.

It was time. Does Senator Baxter want to stand up to justify the Locke Tribunal?

Eindiguer and the rest.

Eindiguer and the rest, Baxter and the rest; yes, Oliver Flanagan and the rest. You got enough in the Locke Tribunal. If you want to hear any more of it, put down a motion.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

What has this to do with the Bill?

Mr. Hayes

Surely, we ought to get back to the Bill. Senator Quirke should not whip himself up into a state about something which has nothing to do with the Transport Bill. It is not fair to say, that people who accuse a person, if there was an accusation, are black-marketeers. I am not enthusiastic about the use of very nice language, but I think the Senator should get back to the Bill.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

We will mention no names in this debate.

I am a bit deaf in one ear. I heard what Senator Hayes said. I did not hear what Senator O'Farrell had to say. If Senator O'Farrell has an intimate knowledge of the railway system in this country which I believe he has—I hand that to him—I say, that now that he has joined the ranks of those whose slogan was "break the connection with England" that he should concentrate on breaking the connection with the British based unions. There would be a lot less trouble on the Irish railways if he did.

You cannot change an old dog off his trot.

It is not easy, I know, to break a dog off his trot, but I am an optimist.

He will go on in the same way.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

I think we had better come back to the Transport Bill.

In connection with the railways, suggestions have been made that the railways will follow the same course as the stage coaches. I entirely disagree with that idea. I believe the railway system of this country should be kept going at any cost, and while I would not be prepared to go as far as Senator O'Dwyer, I would say that we should look on the railway system of this country as a sort of national insurance. During the last emergency, if there is any lesson to be learned at all from it, some people do not seem to have learned anything—they did not learn from the Locke Tribunal—if there is any lesson to be learned from the emergency, it is that it is a wise policy for any Government to concentrate on ensuring that the transport system, as far as it is possible to do so, should be kept as efficient as possible. The suggestion has been made that we should get some of the new Diesel electric engines—that is not a bad idea; I am all for trying anything —and if they are a success, using these engines on a partial basis.

I did not hear all of Senator Burke's speech, but I caught a part of it where he said that on a farm in his district a mixed method of transportation was used, that is, tractors for some work and horses for other work. We should adopt the same lines here. While we may, and I hope we will, develop a system far more efficient than the present one, we should not discard the system which we can fall back on in any future emergency. We should concentrate on developing a firebox which could handle turf more efficiently than the present one.

The Senator will be glad to hear we are dealing with that.

I am delighted to hear it, as I have been pressing that point for years. I am glad it was not thrown into the wastepaper basket, like a lot more of our schemes.

The present Minister is responsible for the suggestion and for the execution of it.

I would like to go a little further. I made the suggestion, on a deputation many years ago, that we should try to develop a firebox capable of using anthracite coal. We had a discussion here on mines in the last week or two and it transpired that we had a considerable amount of anthracite coal. Even if we had not, perhaps we could mine sufficient for a reserve over a long period. With the addition of machine-won turf to our supplies of anthracite coal, it might be possible, even in a very serious emergency, to keep the transport system going in some fashion. If we were to go over wholesale to oil or petrol-driven transport, we would find the necessary fuel unavailable if a war should start again. The Minister may enlighten us about oil. If this oil well proves to be a success in the county the Minister and myself both come from, we could then consider the possibility of going over to petrol or oil transport, but unless and until we can produce an oil well it is dangerous to allow transport to be dependent absolutely on outside supplies.

On transport for race meetings, I have dealt with that already, more or less; but in case anyone may underestimate the importance of the horse breeding industry, they need only read the papers for the last couple of months, and they will find that practically every day, or at least every week, horses are being exported to hard currency countries. One horse alone sold by Joe McGrath to America brought in $360,000. Others were sold by Bertie Kerr to Brazil and others by various agents to other countries. Rather than criticise these men for having been able to get the service they got, at the suggestion of the Turf Club and the Bloodstock Breeders' Association, to attend their business in the Curragh in the emergency, they should be complimented on the work they were and are doing. It should be realised by all that the horse breeding industry, which was second only to the cattle trade, is gradually pushing up and it is quite on the cards that in the near future the value of the horse breeding industry of this country will far exceed any other industry in the export trade.

In all sincerity, I appeal to the members of the House to cease the personal attacks on people outside the House. To use people outside the House to make personal attacks on political Parties is not playing the game. We should realise we are all Christians, as far as I know, in this House, and it is our duty to consider seriously what we say before we make outlandish attacks on people who have no means of defending themselves.

It would be a good thing to study that yourself.

I believe in private enterprise and represent private enterprise, but at certain times and in certain circumstances, I think it is necessary to resort to State control and nationalisation. In this particular case, of transport in its present plight, nationalisation is the only step. Therefore, I support the general purpose of this Bill for the taking over of transport by the State. I approve, in nearly all respects, of the way it is done, with perhaps minor reservations which I shall make later on. It is a good idea to have a board like the Electricity Supply Board instead of an overriding chairman. It is a good thing that the company should have a right to fix its own rates and charges as distinct from the tribunal system. In other words, I think the State is trying to give the company a chance to work as nearly as possible in accordance with the rules followed by ordinary profit-earning companies.

All the particular items in the Bill have been dealt with and all the ground has been pretty well covered. It seems reasonable now to discuss some more general points which arise directly out of the Bill. This Bill is only a step and it is agreed by all, including the Minister, that it does not represent a final solution. Much hard thinking still remains to be done. Rail transport, as has been agreed, is on the downgrade and road transport is taking its place—not only that, it is propping it up. Perhaps that is what must be considered in the future. Railways are necessary, if only to maintain transport in a war emergency where we could not get the fuel to drive road transport. In an ordinary business with departments of various kinds, certain departments have to be carried, as a necessity, by the general undertaking and I feel that somewhat the same principle would have to be applied here.

We should not talk about rail transport and road transport as such. We must look upon the problem as a whole, in which the essential parts must be kept of the existing railways, which must be helped along by the road transport. Transport should be looked upon as one whole problem, one single enterprise, in which one section dovetails into the other. If we look upon railways separately, there will be inevitable losses there which, in my view, cannot be counteracted.

There was a reference—which was not deeply dealt with—implying that the plight of the railways here is due to the failure of private enterprise. My remarks at this stage may be only academic, but I feel it desirable that they should be on record. The action proposed in this Bill is the logical conclusion of a trend of events which began nearly 35 years ago, that is, during the 1914-18 war. The British Government took complete control of the Irish railways from 1916 to 1921. That was the first heavy hand of Government controls of all kinds that was put on the railways. The trend of events thus begun in 1916 has continued and has brought the railways to their present plight. In other words, there has been outside interference with the workings of the railways ever since, in one way or another.

Senator Colgan, when talking here last night, gave us a rather one-sided historical survey of the railways, from which, I gathered, the idea was to show that they were always a failure. Like a lot of histories, it was written from one point of view and to express one point of view and, therefore, rather skimmed over some very important facts, the main fact, of course, being that in 1914 and previous to that, as we all know, railway shares were quoted as gilt-edged securities, the safest trustee stock in which the most conservative investors or trustees were justified in investing hard-earned money and money that was intended to endow people with safety and security for the rest of their lives. Now I do not think anybody will claim that a company which was quoted as giltedge security could be called a company in a bad way.

It is fashionable nowadays to advocate State control and ownership in all spheres of the national life. To-day, we have the State burdened with a whole lot of activities and occupations for which it really has no special competence. It has been said here that the State must take over certain things which private enterprise is not capable of carrying out. I have agreed with that. I have already said that. But, then, we see to-day lots of things being taken over by the State for which the State has no competence and of which the State has no chance of making a success. We are witnessing to-day in many countries the assumption by the State of control of, and responsibility for, the nation's entire economic life. I am glad to see that most of us agree that we should be very slow to follow that example, the example of extending unnecessarily the activities of the State in the realm of industry and commerce.

Socialists advocate nationalisation in order to carry out their doctrine of concentrating all power in the State. This is done under a variety of arguments—that there is a monopoly or that there is inefficiency—for all sorts of reasons. It is because of the dangers of concentrating too much power in the State that nationalisation should be avoided, if possible. As we all know, the more that is handed over to the State, the more our individual rights are ultimately at stake. Each step in nationalisation also increases the danger of the whole system being framed from a political and not from an economic point of view. Nationalisation and a free economy are incompatible because, when you have nationalisation, especially on a big scale, of course, a free economy no longer exists because it creates monopoly from which it cuts out all competition. It also cuts out eventually even the rights of workers. Everything becomes arbitrary and even the rights of the workers to collective bargaining, and so on, are ultimately done away with. It is only a totalitarian State, really, can make a financial success of nationalisation because they are able, first of all, to inflict upon the workers any wages they want, by force; strikes are forbidden; they have a monopoly and there is no competition in prices. They are, on the one hand, able to depress wages, if they like, and raise prices without any chance of redress on the part of the community. The individual must obey. He has no alternative.

I quote from a book called Christian Social Re-organisation, which is a recognised book on the subject, by Father Clune:—

"It is a basic Christian principle that society of any sort exists to help the individual to do what he cannot, if left to himself, do, or do sufficiently well, and no higher society may intervene and take over from a lower society functions which this latter is able to discharge with at least reasonable efficiency."

What has failed in the case of the railways is not private enterprise. The railways have failed because of the very fact that the railways were not left to themselves but were subjected to outside interference on an increasing scale in the last 35 years. That is what happened. In other words, we had an impossible mixture of controls of all kinds with private enterprise. The oil of private enterprise when mixed with the water of outside interference could not possibly drive the machine.

Private enterprise is driven by the profit motive and railways were started, in the first instance, by people who had money saved and money to invest. They saw this new invention as the coming means of transport for the future. They saw in it a chance of profitable investment and they put their money into it. They started the railways and thus you had, from the shareholders' point of view, a profitable investment; secondly, the consumer and the public were getting transport and, thirdly the workers and citizens were getting employment. The order was: investment, transport and employment—with a profit motive, of course.

The collective bargaining of trade unions, which grew up with the strength of the trade union movement, then came along. I am not saying it was wrong, but it was a fact. The trade union demands made it necessary to set up tribunals. I think Senator Séamus O'Farrell referred to these tribunals. There were tribunals set up to fix rates and charges on the railways. The railways were not allowed to fix their own charges. They were all governed by tribunals. The result was, between tribunals, the Government and Acts that were forced on the company, they had to act more and more in an unbusinesslike fashion and very often in violation of elementary economic laws. The shareholders and directors have been pushed into an increasingly unhappy and impossible position in these 35 years. Gradually there was a change from the position where the profit motive drove the machine until the profit motive became last on the list, and to-day we have the position created where the first consideration is employment, the second is transport and, of course, in a bad last, are the shareholders.

In this unhappy situation, the directors came in for criticism but it must be remembered that they could not act as ordinary directors. In fact, I suppose the biggest attack on the board of directors was made in the 1944 Act, where the chairman was given over-all powers. Since then, the directors have been doing just ordinary sort of clerical work, signing cheques and quite a lot of hard work, I understand, but they have no power. In other words, they were surrendering their real rights as directors merely to take up the menial, outward appearance of directors.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

I think that Senator Hayes has an announcement to make.

I would like to mention two things. First, with regard to the Second Stage of the Bill, I take it that the House would agree that the Minister should get at least an hour to conclude, and that it should sit late to-night to conclude the Second Stage of this Bill rather than sit to-morrow. With regard to the other Bill, the Exported Live Stock (Insurance) Bill mentioned to-day, it has been decided that no amendments will be moved in Committee and it is thought that for that reason the Bill would be put through all its stages this evening and I would suggest that at 10 o'clock, the Minister for Agriculture might be able to take that particular Bill. I hope earlier perhaps, if the Minister for Industry and Commerce has got an opportunity to conclude earlier than that. I think that that may meet with the approval of the House, that we should sit late to conclude this Bill and at 10 o'clock we will take the remaining stages of the Exported Live Stock (Insurance) Bill.

Agreed.

Business suspended at 6.5 p.m. and resumed at 7 p.m.

When the House adjourned, I was dealing with the impossible position of the directors in this company as created by the 1944 Act and as a result of that position, which I believe to be impossible, neither the chairman nor the directors were to blame for subsequent happenings in the work of the company, because in one case you had total power in the hands of the chairman and all the responsibility and the other directors had no power and therefore, I will not say no responsibility, but certainly they had not power. In every ordinary company, there is a distinct difference between the function of a director and the function of a managing director. They are very distinct, although a managing director may be a director. The duty of the board of directors is to watch over the capital invested in the business and to deal with the broad problems of its policy and that, even in any ordinary sized company can be a whole-time job in itself, and certainly would be in a company of this magnitude.

On the other hand, the managing director has to deal with the day to day running and working of the company. In any company that also is a whole-time job, but in this particular case you had the chairman and managing director all in one person, and I think the man was given an absolutely impossible task for an individual. I do not think there should be any blame whatsoever attached to him, but as regards the other directors, I do feel that they could have safeguarded their personal position and they could also have safeguarded the principle of private enterprise by first of all insisting on a record of their views being kept about any particular actions that were taken and as well as that, I feel that in this impossible position they had the obvious alternative of resigning and saying: "It is an impossible position for directors because we have no power and we are merely helplessly looking on in that situation." The shareholders over the period in this 35 years had a very unhappy experience indeed. In 1933, their total stock was reduced from £52,000,000 to £11,500,000, and in 1944 the ordinary shareholdings were reduced from 100 to ten. Debentures were reduced by 10 per cent. although really debentures were a loan, and while all this was happening to that company which had no freedom of action, they had to look helplessly on. When the railways were started originally they were given a loan from the Board of Works of the time, which was the State. That loan was fully repaid by the issue of stock and debenture shares to the public. We have many persons on all sides very quick to criticise the rewards which are given shareholders in private companies in which employment is exemplary and conditions of work are exemplary and where prices to the consumer are satisfactory, but I have not seen the same people showing any solicitude for shareholders when the company is made to fail and the capital is lost through no fault of their own. The point has been made by, I think, some members who represent the Opposition Party in the House—that if there were redundant workers and that Party was still in power alternative employment or adequate compensation would have been provided or paid. But the members there have very little to say about compensating the shareholders whose original investment of £25,000,000 in now down to £2,000,000. They are helpless. If that is so, you may say, why has not this Government done justice for the past?

I think that whether this Government wished to or not, the position is such nowadays that they would neither get the support of the Oireachtas nor of public opinion to do any better than they have done in the matter, because the process of dispossessing the shareholders was so gradual over such a long period that the public memory is not long enough to recall what the situation has been. I think that the Minister was right when he said in Dáil Éireann—I quote from Volume 119, No. 9, column 1397:—

"Having regard to the position in which we found this company and to what was likely to happen to the stockholders and their stock, if there is one section of the community who ought to be extremely thankful that the company is being taken over... it is the stockholders."

Although I feel sorry for the shareholders, the Minister was only speaking the plain truth in this particular instance. Nevertheless, before leaving this point I should like to say that looking over the whole situation for the past 35 years I feel that the shareholders could have been better treated over the whole period. A genuine and good attempt was made in 1944 to make Córas Iompair Eireann a commercially successful company but the result was what the Minister described as a mixture of State control and private enterprise which was satisfactory to neither. It was a case of mixing oil and water and oil and water do not mix.

To-day, therefore, the railways are run at a loss in order to give employment irrespective of cost and under Government Orders so there is no longer any place in that set-up for private enterprise. The fact that they were an economic loss is the main reason for the present Bill for nationalisation. If private enterprise had been given a reasonable chance to function or if intervention in its problems had been governed by economic consideration rather than by public expediency one could assume that private competitive enterprise would still be giving the country transport services with the best and most desirable form of control for the citizens, that is, competition. Examples of successful transport services which we had before our eyes during the past ten years were the Dublin United Tramways Company, which was turned over to buses and run as a successful enterprise by the State, and also the Grand Canal Company. Surely, if the Grand Canal Company could have carried on under private enterprise against all the competition, the railways could have carried on if they were run in the same businesslike way.

There is one other point I should like to make in connection with State and semi-State companies. Supported, as they must ultimately be, by the taxpayer, they are thus relieved of the absolute necessity of being run economically. In an ordinary business you can only pay out and spend on wages and other things as much as you take in and no taxpayer or anybody else will come to your rescue if you have not the money to pay you expenses. Therefore it is very important that State and semi-State industries should not establish headlines which would be uneconomic for private enterprise which has to function alongside them. Economic running may be sacrificed to political expediency and other pressure to which State control is naturally subject and therefore you very often find that, because something is owned by the State, an uneconomic thing is agreed to for fear that there might be political repercussions. It may be a question of wages; in this case it is a question of redundancy. To give the trade unions their due, I never heard of trade unions insisting on private enterprise, at least on a big scale, accepting redundancy. They have always realised that ordinary commercial companies can only, as I say, pay out what they take in, but that is not the case here. Redundancy could not be borne by a private company for long without disaster. The question of State companies setting uneconomic standards to industry might be scrutinised when the inquiry into State and semi-State companies, which was referred to by the Minister for Finance, takes place.

To conclude the case I have been making I should like to say that, when given a reasonable change to work economically by the State and the trade unions, private enterprise shows itself capable of giving good service to the consumer, good wages to the workers, good dividends to the shareholder, good taxes to the State and individual self-reliance to the citizens engaged in it. I agree with the Minister's statement that private ownership and semi-State control has proved satisfactory to neither party in this case and therefore I think that nationalisation is the only step left in these circumstances. We are nationalising the transport industry, especially the railways because they are not a paying concern, because some railway system is necessary and because it given large employment. In short, nationalisation is necessary to provide uneconomic transport and employment. I am not saying that that is a bad thing. It is a national necessity, but that is the cold fact and the cold reason why we have to do it. Naturally, if we can we should make it as paying as possible but most people agree that it will not be possible to do it.

Finally, I hate to support nationalisation but I am reasured by the Taoiseach's own statement which he made at the Fine Gael Ard-Fheis this year in which he pointed out that nationalisation and State control would only be taken on where it was obviously necessary in the national good and it was not laid down as a doctrinaire step and that there was a firm principle of the value of private enterprise and individual dignity.

I want to say that I feel that no blame attaches to this Government from private enterprise. The step they have taken in this Bill is in the interests of the good name of private enterprise because the name of private enterprise has been wrongly associated with transport and private enterprise was not working in the transport industry, I maintain, for the past 35 years.

Underlying the Transport Bill, 1949, as every Transport Bill that ever came into the Oireachtas, is the realisation that railways are a vital and indispensable element in our economic national existence and that if it is necessary to subsidise them to keep them going the community must be asked to make sacrifices to do so. I think that is clearly written across this Bill. Reasons have been advanced by several Senators and one very cogent reason was advanced by Senator Quirke when he said that in the event of another war which would cut off our petrol supplies we would have to fall back on the railways. We can remember when as Senator Quirke said, the Tipperary train was fired with the aid of orange boxes. I hope that a far-seeing Minister will make better provision for the railways than that we should have to fall back on wet turf, sticks or orange boxes.

We were very glad to hear his interjection concerning the remodelling of fireboxes in order to make anthracite a suitable fuel. This would be a great thing to help the railways.

Another way in which we Senators and Deputies could help the railways is by using them. I often think as I pass through the yard of Leinster House of Queen Victoria who was not amused on a certain famous occasion. If she were there now and tried to count the innumerable cars belonging to Deputies and Senators and the various cars of Ministers in the front of the building, even she would be amused, particularly if her spirit could come in here and hear us making pro-railway speeches. I travel by rail—I have to, because I have not got a car—every week when I come to the Seanad and a Deputy or Senator on that train is as rare as, we were told, the red indian was on the shores of Manhattan or as the cat was supposed to be when they were finished at Kilkenny. You will see no Senator but Senator Burke, Senator Hawkins and myself on that train, and Deputy Mongan. These are the only representatives of the Oireachtas you will ever see on it. I do not suppose that Ministers either travel by train, but if those of us who live near stations made it our duty, as Senator Burke impressed on us we should do, to use the trains, we would be doing good work for the country in helping to keep the railways in existence. I feel very proud when my 52/6 voucher is handed in to the railway station in Galway on Tuesday evening. I feel that I have done my good deed for that day.

It may be asked why Deputies and Senators and Ministers do not use the railways. The answer is that it is much more convenient to use cars and that is what the railways are up against—the cars and buses which compete with the railways on terms very advantageous to themselves. The railways could not possibly compete with that element of convenience. I was reared in the school that was taught by Arthur Griffith and we used to read in the United Irishman about how the railways were planned, as he said, to transport troops. I do not know whether that is so or not, but, when the railways were laid out, they took no cognisance of the convenience of the people. Some of the big towns in the West are miles from a railway and, naturally, when other forms of transport come along which give them a convenient service, they grasp it.

It is, however, necessary to keep the railways going and I should like to say how much I appreciate the railways. People say to me: "You must be tired travelling that long journey to Dublin every week", but I confess that I enjoy it. The trains are most comfortable and the train from Galway is always up to time. We arrive at the minute scheduled, and, so far as the courtesy of the officials is concerned, no praise of mine could be too high. I have been 17 years coming here and I know them all well. Perhaps I have a very attractive personality, but they are all my friends and they do everything to make my journey comfortable. I should like to pay that tribute to the railwaymen. I remeber also what the railwaymen did when we were fighting the Black-and-Tans here, although it meant inconvenience to us when they would not transport troops in their trains and we were dumped somewhere along the road and had to continue our journeys by car. It was grand the way they stood with us. They have always been a grand body of men —I know many of them intimately— and we ought to appreciate the type of men they are, the type of families they rear and the type of Irishmen they have proved themselves to be.

With regard to the common stockholders, I should like to say that the case for them has been very well made by my colleague in the representation of National University, Senator O'Brien, and I imagine the Minister will have been impressed by the arguments he put forward, and also by Senator Goulding. I want to make perhaps an ad misericordiam appeal to the Minister. A great many of the common stockholders are people like widows and spinsters to whom small legacies were left which were invested in common stock. In addition, a great many convents have invested in railway stock, and it looks bad when one sees in the Schedule that, while others are treated reasonably well, these stockholders are the only ones singled out to get £80 for every £100 of stock. I imagine that it would have been better if the Minister had left them the £100, even giving the 2½ per cent. because it would not have cost more than a few thousands and would have avoided the sort of grievance which it has given rise to amongst these people. I am one of those who believe that when we pass Bills we should pass them in such a form as to avoid any sense of grievance and I should like this Bill to do good for the country and to do all the things the Minister hopes it will do.

I regret very much the tone of the discussion and the form which it took. I think it was most unfortunate—and I am blaming both sides in this—that it centred so much around personalities. I believe that was very regrettable and I suggest that we could have spent our time much more profitably in learning about the Bill, in seeing in what way it could be improved and in harnessing the wisdom and accumulated knowledge and experience of Senators to making suggestions for its improvement. At the same time, I think the Minister is to blame. I am going to be very frank about this. I think there need not have been this discussion in the Seanad, which is a most unsuitable place, about this person and I feel that it is particularly regrettable that Sir James Milne and his colleagues before drawing up their report did not have an opportunity of talking things over with the ex-chairman and his colleagues on the board. That is the main complaint I have to make. I wish the Bill every success. I agree with those people who have said that it is not going to solve our transport problem fully. The task of giving us a satisfactory transport service is terrific and the Minister will need all the help he can get. The Seanad ought to be proud to give that help and we ought to make up our minds not to approach a matter like this in any wrangling Party spirit but with the one object of doing our best for our country.

I support this Bill, although it is a mild form of nationalisation, and I am very definitely opposed to any form of nationalisation. Still, in the conditions which exist, I feel that there is nothing left but for the Government to take over control of the transport service. Otherwise, there will be a complete breakdown of transport. The railway management, most people must agree, was very lax. There was no co-ordination in buses and trains, and, in most cases, buses and trains were scheduled to leave the different towns about the same hour.

During the emergency I used to go down to a town near Nenagh which the Minister may know. When we were finished we would say, that if we had not the bus, we would have the train, but the bus and train left within five minutes of each other. To hear the comments of some of the cattlemen when they were held up for five or six hours, in a situation which could be rectified, was not very pleasing. The blame for the breakdown of the transport system is not altogether due to bad management. I think the employees on the railways and buses were responsible for a good deal of it. There was no discipline amongst the workers on the railways, and none could be enforced, and unless some means is found to enforce discipline amongst the employees, I am afraid there is no hope for the good working of the transport system under present conditions.

The railways are essential for the trade of the country. Lorries will never be able to take the place of the railways, as far as the cattle trade is concerned. I would like to ask the Minister to accept an amendment, by which there would be no branch lines closed, that they should be kept open for the transport of live stock, coal and agricultural produce. Whatever was done, I think that the buses could manage passenger traffic all right. The cattle fairs are a great source of revenue to all the towns, and unless we have railway transport for live stock, fairs will not be held in the small towns. The farmers will bring their cattle to the bigger centres, where they will have railway transport, and in that way they will spend their money there, and the small towns will go into decay. I hope the Minister will accept an amendment to that effect. There is another point I want to ask about. I suppose it will be inevitable that some branch lines will be closed, because whenever a board is set up everybody is out for economy. If they are closed, I would ask the Minister not to sell the railway lines to the farmers of the district, but to hand them over to the Department of Forestry. If they were handed over to the Department of Forestry they would make very nice shelter belts; that is, provided they are going to be closed. They would make very nice shelter belts, and I think it would be a better proposition than handing them over to the farmers, to whom they would not be of much use as an agricultural proposition. I am no great advocate of forestry nor do I believe any land should be taken where it can be used for farming, but I think in this case it could be very usefully done.

The other point I want to make is about the directors. When the board is being formed I would like a representative of the live-stock trade to be on that board; if possible, a nominee of the national executive. Even if that is not done, I think there should be a farmer, with a knowledge of live stock, and who would get advice from the national executive as to what proposals should be put up. In the previous Transport Bill, I tried very hard to get a nominee of the national executive on the consultative board. We were turned down. I hope the Minister will be more considerate for the cattle traders at the present time and give us a representative on this board. On that point, I also intend to put down an amendment, and I am sure it will get consideration from the Minister.

I do not know whether the Minister is to be congratulated or is to be sympathised with in the job he has undertaken. He is standing up to it very well, anyhow. Personally, I have a measure of sympathy for him. I believe that the job he has courageously undertaken would deter most men. The Minister, however, has accepted the task of trying to preserve what we call public transport in this country. I think we have to accept the proposition that public transport is essential in this country for a long time ahead, anyhow. One cannot say that the present mode of transport will be necessary for ever. As Senator Summerfield said the other day, one can even envisage a day when there will be another competitor. Air services may be a possible competitor. Some of us are old enough to remember three or four changes in the transport system during the last 25 years. I remember the first motor car. I think other Senators probably do, also. There was a further development later on in traffic. The air services came on very quickly. They are only in their infancy, and we do not know what will happen in 25 or 30 years from now. The Minister accepted the responsibility of preserving the present public service of transport, and I think that he set about it in the right way. He got in an expert to examine it. I think he was right in going outside the country for an expert, so that nobody could cavil at the result, if the man was an expert, as he was.

The Milne Report is an excellent document and I think the Minister was right in accepting, mainly, the principles set out in that report. The first thing that emerges from the report was that there was a great deal of proposed expenditure, which was uncalled for in the condition of the railways, amounting to millions, and there were other proposals of the existing board that were likely to be changed. Having accepted the report advocating such changes, it was only right that the Minister should not place the onus of carrying the new programme into effect on the people who proposed to incur expenditure which the report said should not be expended. It was inevitable that the names of individuals should be mentioned—I did not mention any and do not intend to—but there was nothing derogatory in that. If a man is engaged in a financial policy I do not accept and I have the opportunity to appoint an alternative I will take it. That does not mean I am vilifying anyone or holding anyone up to public opprobrium. There was no such attempt by the Minister. He is engaged in a new task for rail transport and if there was to be any hope of success it was inevitable that he should place the operation of the policy in new hands. That is the whole essence of the controversy. Personalities were raised by the people who are accusing us of raising them. I do not think the name of the gentleman was mentioned in this debate until it was raised by the people who stated they were trying to defend him. A change was inevitable and that was the first operation of the Minister.

Then he had to find a method of dealing with the existing shareholders, setting a capital value on the railways. That value, a few years ago, was very low and if it had been a private enterprise, without Government assistance, it would have died, in the natural course of events, like other investments that came on evil days. The railways originally supplanted the stage coaches of Bianconi and the rest and when they died out the railways did not cry bitter tears over them. The motor car developed later as an opponent of the railways, but it has wiped out another private enterprise of which we have heard not one word in this debate, the people who entered largely into transport, the jarveys. If you wanted to get anywhere, you got a jarvey. They have been wiped out and got no public sympathy or compensation, nor was there any suggestion that they should. I do not say that they folded their tents and silently glided away. A few of them still exist, in a very precarious manner. There was no expression of sympathy with the poor unfortunate jarvey, yet we are asked to weep salt tears over the owners of railway stock. I was one of them myself, unfortunately. For a great number of years we drew dividends, but, not unlike holders of other stock, we came on evil days. I invested a little money in an Irish company some years ago. The company disappeared in a year or two, and I never got even the satisfaction of a notice of the winding-up. I do not know what became of the capital or stock eventually, but my money was gone. The Minister is treating the present stockholders in a much more generous fashion. I would like to see every shareholder getting a better price. I hold some stock for other people and I would like them to get a little more, but this is as generous as the circumstances can afford.

Senator O'Brien referred to the difficulty of assessing the true value of the capital. If the company were left to run as a private concern, the capital in a few years would be only scrap, only the value of the lands and buildings being left. The Minister accepted the responsibility of treating the debenture holders and stockholders as fairly as he could and I think the present terms are as generous as could be expected, in all the circumstances.

One of the chief difficulties the Minister had was the proposed capital expenditure. No fair-minded man will cavil at the recommendation in the Milne Report that the proposed capital expenditure should not be undertaken. Any average man, knowing anything about railways and being honest, would say that there should not be such lavish expenditure on new buildings, stores and hotels, but that the preservation of the existing capital assets was more necessary for the success of the railway. The existing assets had been most woefully neglected, in the last decade. Anyone travelling could see the stations, some not painted for years, in a dilapidated way. Walk into any station and you find that the ordinary amenities are neglected. The Minister set about it in a proper way, by trying to preserve the capital assets rather than by encouraging new capital expenditure which was really unneccessary. I do not believe the modern class of traffic can be carried economically on the railways in the future. All the odds are against success. I hope I am wrong and that a new policy will produce successful transport in this country.

Even if the Minister does not succeed, he will not be to blame, as even the most optimistic supporter can say it is only a question of touch and go. In my own mind, it is a question of go. The railways are up against the extension of modern alternative traffic. It is idle to say that we have our bogs and our anthracite coal. We might as well try burning the tide as try to stop the march of modern development. The modern transport on the road is there and will develop. The air service will probably develop in the next 25 or 30 years, or perhaps earlier. I did not know anything about the motor car 30 years ago and did not expect that the motor lorry and bus would develop as they did. I may be optimistic in saying that air services might develop in a similar fashion. If they did, it might be of very great service to a country like this. The Minister can only jump the fences as he meets them.

The railways are up against the development of modern alternative transport. How are we to make the railways economic? There are two or three ways. First, the raising of fares. The Minister, when he set about nationalising the railways, rightly made it as little distasteful to the opponents of nationalisation as he could. In fact, he is trying to preserve all the advantages of private enterprise. Those who are keenly against nationalisation and who genuinely believe in private enterprise need not be alarmed by the Minister's Bill. It is no reflection on private enterprise that the railways failed. In the last 15 to 20 years the railways could not be described as a private enterprise. We cannot say that, under the new system, they will not fail again unless money is voted to them every year. Everything is against the railways being economic.

The Minister has rightly left administration in the hands of the board. A lot of people are afraid that, in order to make the railways economic, there will be a large increase in fares. I do not think that fear is justified. In the first place, if there was an attempt to increase fares, it would cut the railways' own throat. I do not think any board would increase fares to any great extent if it had to compete with alternative transport. They would err rather in the direction of cheapening fares so as to prolong their own life. I believe the tendency will be to maintain existing fares or, if possible, to decrease them or to give better service.

It is in the matter of better service that the railways must compete with alternative transport, in providing comfort for passengers and stock. It is on these matters that the success or failure of the railway system will depend.

Rolling stock was in a deplorable condition until recently, when there was an attempt made to improve the condition of carriages. Many carriages in the local service were not fit for passengers. Expenditure of capital on rolling stock was required rather than the extravagant expenditure proposed by the old board. The comfort of the travelling public and the comfort of the stock carried by the railway are two essential considerations.

A Senator referred to delay in the transit of stock on the railway in past years. It is useless to say that that is not the case. I put cattle on the railway at Knocklong station in the evening and was lucky if they got to Dublin the following evening. The cattle were 28 hours in a train. Canadian cattle were coming over here in about four days and were fresh when they arrived here. Mine landed in Dublin nearly dead.

These are problems that face the new board. I hope the new board will handle them more successfully than the old board. I do not think that anybody need have any great fear that there will be a great extension of fares under the new body. A Senator proposed that there should be restriction of alternative transport. I hope there will not. I hope that restriction of private transport or any alternative transport that exists at the moment is one thing that will not enter the minds of the new board. It might be temporarily successful if the Government lent their aid to it but you might as well try to stop the tide as try to stem motor transport in the present age. It has developed in every country in the world and will develop here. It is idle to try to stem it by legislation, regulation or anything else. If the railways are to be successful against the alternative motor transport it will be by the service they give, by cheapening their service, if possible, to the level of the alternative transport, and by speeding the delivery of passengers and goods to the level of their competitors. These are matters that the new board must face.

The Minister has set about nationalisation of the railways in as good a manner as could be expected. Personally I do not cavil at very many of the sections in the Bill. The speeches that were made against it were directed mainly to the changing of the board and the compensation to be given to the stockholders and shareholders. On those two questions the Minister could not have taken action other than he has taken. Having accepted the change of policy in the railways, he could not have done otherwise than change the management and the board. In the circumstances of taking over the capital of the shareholders, I do not think he could have treated them any more generously than he has done.

I wish the Minister every success in his endeavours and I hope the new company will give the lie to those who believe that a transport system, even if it has to be uneconomic, is not necessary to the life of this country. It is necessary. Many Senators referred to the possibility of a war situation. In that event, a public transport service, conducted on proper lines, would be essential. In existing circumstances, the railway transport service is most essential until it is supplanted, as it may be, by some other service. As long as existing circumstances continue, the continuation and development of a railway transport service is essential for the nation.

When one comes to consider rail transport, one glances at a map of the railways and concludes that the railways were not planned at the outset to serve the country as a whole. More difficulties have arisen from that cause than from any misdirection that might have taken place. During the course of this debate there has been much criticism of the services given by the railways but there has been very little reference to what exactly is in the Bill.

When we examine what is being done by this measure, we find, I think, that we can put it under three headings. The Bill proposes to set up a transport board. That board will consist of a number of persons appointed by the Minister himself. There is provision made then for a tribunal, and I am not too sure whether it will be a tribunal that will be the board, because it seems to me that there is very little the board can do without the approval and direction of the tribunal. We have the board and the tribunal and the Minister taking the responsibility of finding a certain sum of money to meet any losses that may be in fault. That is all the Bill does.

The Minister has the responsibility of finding the money while he has little or no control, and when I say the Minister, I mean Parliament, has no control over the activities of the board. Some Senators may say that it is because of the control or the direction that naturally enough a Government must take in such a concern as a railway that has brought the railways into not a little of their difficulties. We had a position, where after encountering difficulties, a demand was made that in order to meet the running expenses it would be necessary to do certain things and one was that fares should be increased. The Minister thought fit at the time to refuse that request and to compel the company to continue working at a loss while having to maintain full employment and maintain the services. When the Minister introduced the Bill in this House and in the other House, he gave no indication as to what policy he would wish this board to follow. We have a report presented to us by what was termed an expert. The Minister has not informed us as to whether the Government have accepted the whole or part of that report. I think that the main recommendation of that report was that there would be a highway authority set up, that transport as a whole—road and rail—should be controlled, and that there should be certain increases in the form of taxation on road traffic, the revenue from which would go to subsidise the other services. I think it would be well before the Bill leaves this House that the Minister would give to Parliament, and through Parliament, the members of the board a statement as to what policy the present Government wishes this board to pursue. Is it just merely a stay-as-you-are policy? We have heard very much during the whole debate about the great assets of the railways and the great national loss it would be if through any set of circumstances they were closed down. But how are we going to keep them going except in the one way that many Senators have suggested, that we must look now on the rail service more or less as a social service and must be prepared to subsidise it and increase that subsidy year after year? That is the only claim that can be made for what some people term nationalisation of the railways.

If that is the approach, I do not see very much future for the railways except that there is going to be a big drain on the Central Fund. When the 1944 Act was passed there was at that time a hope that with the war conditions passing away, a reorganisation of the railways could be carried out and as a result of improvement in the position generally the position of the railways would improve. Certain steps were taken in that direction in order to make the railways more independent of outside sources of supply both of materials and of vehicles, and it is strange to think that while steps have been taken to undertake projects of that kind it is there that the axe is falling, and we have had the Minister telling us that particularly in relation to the suggestion that the railway company would engage in the manufacture and assembly of lorries and other articles necessary for the continuation of their work. We were told that these decisions were taken as a result of recommendations made by Sir James Milne, but if we take one or two items and examine the reasons put forward by Sir James Milne we will find they are not so very sound. We have, particularly in relation to the spring factory and the chassis factory, a statement from him giving as one reason that labour here is much higher in cost than in England and because of that he would not recommend that the project should go ahead. The same is true of quite a number of recommendations he has made. Then we have the Minister, both here and in the other House, drawing particular attention to the proposed bus station at Store Street and suggesting that this was an expenditure that should not be undertaken by the board. If we bring our minds back to some few years ago we will recall that there was a tremendous agitation carried on here in the city with protests of every kind as to the facilities, or lack of facilities, made available for members of the travelling public, and we all remember, particularly during the difficult times when the railways were closed down and when the people were compelled to avail of bus services, the great hardships members of the public had to undergo, lining up at Aston's Quay. Some small attempt was made later to provide some facilities.

When the board undertook the erection of the Store Street depot, for some reason that has not been made clear, a decision was made to stop the work despite the fact that the site was approved by Dublin Corporation, the city planner, the police and Córas Iompair Éireann themselves. Sir James Milne says:—

"Considerable progress has been made with the erection of the buildings and it is anticipated that the work will be completed towards the end of next year."

That is this year.

"The centralisation of headquarters should facilitate the general administration of the company's business and enable staff economies to be effected, but some sections of the administrative work could be equally well carried out elsewhere. It is also desirable to provide a terminus for long-distance omnibus services and if, in carrying out the scheme, there is surplus accommodation available, the additional revenue to be derived from the provision of a refreshment bar, cinema and shops may reasonably be expected to justify the additional expenditure involved in making use of the available space."

That is what the expert pointed out. We know then that the Government decided to abandon Store Street and turn the premises into offices for the Department of Social Welfare. It has now been suggested that an alternative site can be got in Smithfield. Will the Minister be able to tell us whether the new site will involve the company in additional expenditure and involve Dublin Corporation in expense—later on even if not immediately?

Another very important aspect of the railway services is the branch line. We know very well that during the emergency a number of services were closed. A promise was given by the then Minister that when the emergency had passed the services would be restored. In the original 1944 Act provision was made whereby no services could be suspended except as a result of an inquiry and an Order by the Minister. The new position, as a result of this Bill, is that the power to decide the closing of any service is being handed over to the tribunal. I would suggest to the Minister that as far as possible he should keep final control in relation to the closing of branch lines in his own hands.

While it might be a good thing to have a tribunal of experts to examine any proposals which are put forward, before effect is given to their recommendation the Minister should be compelled by Order either to approve, amend or refuse it. As representative of the people who will be called upon to provide the money the Minister should remember that if we hold the railway services to be important each line is as important as another and if for any good cause the tribunal recommends the closing down of a line that recommendation should not be given effect to until it is finally approved by the Minister.

In introducing the Bill the Minister referred to the company going into the production of springs and chassis and body building. While there is provision in the Bill to enable the company to undertake works of that nature, I notice that it confines its activities to "construction, manufacture, purchase, hire, let, maintain and repair anything for the purpose of carrying merchandise by road, rail, sea, inland waterway or otherwise for the transport undertaking". I think that Senator Ó Buachalla drew the Minister's attention to the fact that during the war when it was impossible to get machinery, particularly the machinery so essential for our turf production policy, Córas Iompair Éireann undertook the manufacture of a number of machines for Bord na Móna. That is a type of work which we should encourage and develop and I think that it is bad policy to discourage a company of this kind from engaging in the manufacture of heavy machinery.

There is nothing in this Bill to prevent them.

There is nothing in the Bill, I put it to the Minister, to prevent them from carrying on the manufacture of such articles for their own use, but the point I want to make is that if the position arose again which existed during the war they would be prevented from carrying out these works——

They would not.

If the Minister is satisfied on that then I am quite satisfied, but from my reading of the section I would take that meaning.

It would be well for us and for the board also if we had some idea from the Minister of what the future policy will be. It has been mentioned that this is the first Bill, that others are to follow. We all know perfectly well that if the railways are to be saved other Bills must follow. Some suggestions which have already been made by previous speakers will have to be taken but the first and most essential thing, I think, is to put the railway in the position to give the service the people require. How can that be done?

We all agree that we must have better, faster and more comfortable services. The service must be efficient and must be fast. The limit of capital expenditure is set in the Bill at £7,000,000. What is it proposed to do with that sum? Are we going to use it to modernise the rolling stock which is referred to by Sir James Milne as being in such a bad state? He makes reference to the fact that the great majority of the engines and carriages in Córas Iompair Éireann possession are 50 or 60 years old and will have to be replaced. If the Government's policy is to cut down on capital expenditure, as has been put forward, the railways cannot be put in the position to give a service which will attract the business back to them.

Some Senators complained of the running of buses side by side with trains. Any time I hear a complaint of that kind, I always say that the person making it has not given a moment's thought to the problem. It is true that a bus leaves Galway at or about the same time as the train. I have often travelled on that bus and I always found that I was about the only passenger who travelled the whole way to Dublin, so that it is not true to say that it is running in opposition to the train, because that bus is availed of to a greater extent by, and is of greater benefit to, people in the small towns on the way than the railway. I should not like to see it going from this House as a recommendation to the board that they should consider a curtailment of this service. I was one of a deputation which went to Mr. Reynolds when it was proposed at one time to take off the bus from Galway to Dublin. The strange thing about it was that the taking off of that bus would have meant the closing down of one of the best secondary schools in the country so that, again, it is not true to say that it was running in opposition to the train service.

Another complaint made against the board is that they were about to embark on this very heavy capital expenditure and were about to purchase diesel engines. In this connection, again, Sir James Milne recognises that we should have a fast service and that these diesel engines are worth a test. We had some two years ago one of the Parties who are now in the Government advocating that the railway system should be scrapped and that the lines should be electrified. If it was good policy two years ago to put a scheme of that kind before the people, a scheme involving considerable capital expenditure, we must agree that the proposal of the company to engage in the experiment of purchasing and running diesel engines should be recommended, as also should their undertaking the manufacture of heavy machinery.

The complaint was also made that all these proposals were very fine, but that the company was not in such a financial position as to warrant the going into these businesses. We have heard much about the company being bankrupt and about the cheques in the drawers which could not be sent out because there was no money to meet them, but Sir James Milne recommends the raising of £10,500,000 and puts forward the view that at least £3,500,000 of this amount could be found by Córas Iompair Éireann itself. If the company were such a bankrupt concern as has been suggested, it would not have been so easy to find it, and I am sure that Sir James Milne would not have suggested that it would be possible for a bankrupt concern to find £3,500,000 for capital expenditure.

When we come to consider the question of transport and the position of the railways, it would be well if we cast our minds back to the difficulties which existed when the company first found itself in its present financial position. We all know that when the 1944 Act was put into operation and the new board appointed, the difficulties existed then. They were nothing new, and the fact is that they did set to and succeed to a great extent in face of the most severe difficulties. They had to face the problem of bad coal, and of no coal for part of the time; they had to face a railway strike, a bus strike, and at one time a position in which there was no train service, good, bad or indifferent, because of lack of fuel. There was also the fact that it was necessary to convert some of the engines so as to enable them to run on oil. All these were costly experiments, but a service of some kind was kept going and I think we should give the credit that is due to these people who carried on during these years.

Apart altogether from the persons concerned, I think it is a bad principle that, when the Government appoint men to a public board to do public work, these men should be the objects of attack in this or the other House, because, if that is to continue, the time will come when it will not be possible to get men, except those who do not care how their names are bandied about in this or the other House, to accept membership of any State board. Such a position would be most undesirable. We had then the difficulty with regard to fuel and the difficulty created by demands on the company for increased wages, but when we examine the position we find that this great loss which has been referred to relates to one year and we see by to-day's paper that, even under the new management, the losses continue.

It has been suggested that Mr. Reynolds had no rail experience. Well, he had experience of road service, and it is suggested, that because of that, he was more anxious to develop the road service than the railway. We have it stated by all persons who are looked upon as authorities, that the rail service of itself will not pay, and it is suggested by Mr. Milne, and all other persons who have examined the problem, that the only way it can be done is by amalgamating the road and rail services. It is suggested that Córas Iompair Éireann had a monopoly. Córas Iompair Éireann has something like 700 lorries under its control, while there are something like 20,000 private hauliers on the road so that, to say that Córas Iompair Éireann has a monopoly of road services, is not in accordance with the facts at all.

The position the railways now find themselves in is, that it would, to my mind, require the expenditure of a very large amount of money, to reorganise and to bring the service to that point that it will hold the trade it has and, if possible, get back some of the trade it has lost. This Bill really does not do anything for the railways. The railways will be in the same position, except for the guarantees to the shareholders, and the guarantees to those workers who may lose their jobs that they will be compensated. It sets up a board, and it takes responsibility from the Minister of making a decision that no Minister would like to make of closing down the branch lines. That is all the Bill does. It is not doing anything to put in new life, new capital—it provides, of course, for a sum of £7,000,000 —but £7,000,000 will not do for the railways, what will be required to be done for the railways, if they are going to be saved, to my mind.

First of all, I must say, that there is not the same unanimity of opinion among the Senator Burkes, as there is amongst the Senator O'Farrells.

I would like to say that I disagree with nearly all my namesake said this afternoon with regard to transport, and with his general philosophy on this transport problem, which certainly is not mine. We had a very interesting experience in this country in transport. I believe that we had every type of invasion that it was possible to have. First of all, transport was owned by the Board of Works. Then it was given to private companies, and then regulations grew up during the years, under which it was a private company, subject to regulations, and rates were fixed by a railway tribunal. Later, we had this scheme where there was a State imposed chairman, and now the company will become the property of the State. If this new company, the property of the State, can help in benefiting the community or in making economies it will be a success. If it does not, it will be, to some extent, a change of name and ownership without any real value to the community.

I believe that for the handling of products, such as cattle, manures and beet, and many of these things—coal and fuel—that are handled in bulk, it is expedient that we should have a rail transport system. It is the cheapest way of handling these commodities in bulk. It is quite possible that many of the small wayside stations that are encumbered with regulations will be removed, and they will be turned into halts, and that some of the personnel that is making the rates of freight too high can be given a type of employment in this country that would be more suitable to present needs. We cannot put all the private motor vehicles, both freight and passenger, off the roads. That is turning back the clock in a way in which none of us believe it is possible to do, but the Minister deserves to be complimented on getting Sir James Milne to make his report. It is not Sir James Milne's own report. It is a report of six men that have, in the hard school of private enterprise in England, been able to make an outstanding success of their own contribution to transport. They have been engineers, permanent-way inspectors, and managers of road transport. They have covered the whole ambit of transport in every respect. This brains trust, if you like to call them that, have reported on what is best for our country, and the Minister has brought in this Bill. We will have another Bill later on, probably more comprehensive in scope, to give some help towards carrying out the suggestions that have been made in the Milne Report. Much has been said about those who lost their capital in the railway. I have lost some, and I do not feel any particular sorrow about it. I know I would be very foolish, and the State would be very foolish, if any of us started to cry over spilt milk. It has been said in the past, that if the directors and the shareholders in the railways were not getting so much out of it, that it would be a much better railway company. We have seen that that was not the only flaw in our national transport service and, to-day, we have what is potentially a very valuable asset handed over practically for the benefit of those who work in that service.

If all those people, the people who will direct the new railway, and those who will work it, are able to get together unhampered by unnecessary regulation and control, in such a way that we will get efficient transport, that is what will benefit us in the long run. If we are going to have efficient production in this country, agriculturally and industrially, with low standard costs, transport is going to help that as much as anything else. We have got an opportunity, as I said when I first spoke, of taking over a form of transport service. It is possible, with that very wide experience, and that valuable report in the hands of the Minister, to ensure that the new board that is envisaged in the present Bill would be a considerable advance in providing us with a more efficient and more economical transport system than we have had. I wish the Minister every success in his new venture.

I would like him to give us some information in regard to canals. Many Senators have been worried about what could happen in the case of war. When coal or oil runs out, canals could be used. Their maintenance costs very much less than that of railways. I believe they ought to be run as a separate department, to make some sort of competition between rail and canal. Even in a business concern where there is more than one department, if a certain department is run efficiently it acts as an incentive to those in other departments to do better. I appeal to the Minister to see that the new directors give the canal a fair chance. As some Senators said here, the canals have been responsible for an increase in the price which could be paid in the past for agricultural produce in the areas they served. In many parts of the Continent, particularly in Holland, the canals have been developed and have proved an outstanding success. The Dutch pride themselves on the cheap water transport they are able to provide for their country. We should not let the canals die. They will be easier to keep there than to keep rails on uneconomic branch lines.

I know something must be done to save the railways, but no matter what the Minister may do he will have a very difficult task. Were it not for all the props trying to save the railways—props such as the Grand Canal Company, the lorry service and the bus services—it would be impossible, but with those props the deficit on the railways in time may not be so great.

I am one of those who believe that since the foundation of the State the railways have not got a chance. They have been in difficulties all along and after the passing of this Bill they will still be in difficulties. There was a period of economic stress and a period of civil stress. We had the period from 1921 to 1922, on to 1932, and then to the eve of the war. Then there was the war, during which an impossible task was given to a man who had made his name in road transport. The people of Dublin felt proud of that man and, irrespective of what may be said, they feel proud of him still. I never met or spoke to him, but I know that competent and intelligent people in the city and in the country had confidence in him in the years gone by and have confidence in him still. He was set an impossible task and if he did not make the railways pay in the years 1947-48 the fault could not be his. With the change of Government, he was like the person between two stools—he came to the ground. Perhaps some of the fault was that of the present Minister's predecessor, but I would say that the greater fault lay with the present Minister. When he was confronted with a problem from his managing director, setting out that for the year 1947 the railways were losing £1,000,000 approximately, irrespective of political considerations it was the Minister's duty to tackle that problem immediately. I am quite satisfied that, if it were a Fine Gael Government and a Fine Gael Government only that was dealing with it, he would have tackled the problem immediately. Perhaps because of the mixture and the difficulties in the Government, and because of its composition, they could not be unanimous on it and matters were let drift. As a result, that deficit in 1947 continued into 1948 and 1949 when the taxpayer was faced with a bill for £2,000,000.

It may not have been possible for the Minister or the previous manager or the present manager to have met that deficit in full, by increased charges on either goods or passenget traffic—I think some of it would have to be met from some other source—nevertheless I am satisfied that, if it had been tackled as it should have been, when the managing director reported to his shareholders, as represented by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, the Minister might have found some way out. He should not have waited until the latter part of 1948 or the beginning of 1949 before he asked the travelling and the commercial public to meet the increased charges. If it had been tackled in the earlier days of the present Government, the £2,000,000 liability the State must face to-day—and probably more, by now—would not be a problem of the Government and the people. The difficulty was not faced and consequently we find ourselves in this serious position. I am not very optimistic about it. I sympathise with any Government, no matter what Government it may be, and any manager, no matter who he is, in tackling the problem. He will probably be the scapegoat and target of all the politicians from time to time. If he deems it wise to close down certain branch lines, or take certain buses off certain routes, or increase the charges on certain traffic, his task as general manager of the transport concern in this country will be a difficult one.

I have been speaking to various people on the question of the Store Street bus station. Personally, I am not over-keen on either Smithfield or Store Street. It would be as well, when it is being shifted, if it went out to the Phoenix Park instead of to Smithfield. It is no harm to remind the Minister that certain commercial men took a chance and committed themselves substantially in purchasing property in the Store Street area. If there had been no change of Government, very probably the Store Street project would have been continued. However, when you get enterprising people taking a chance and investing their money— some speculating—in improving existing property, it is not good for the economy of the country that a change from a site selected formally by Córas Iompair Éireann should be made without the matter receiving all the consideration possible beforehand.

I have no personal interest in the matter, but I have talked to many business men from that area and to others in Dublin. There were certain commitments made by those people and there were certain commitments made by the Government. I think the Minister should honour the actions of the former chairman of Córas Iompair Éireann and the previous Government. He should remember those who did invest their money, believing that Store Street would be used as a central bus station. Irrespective of any consideration of £ s. d., it has gone so far that there should be no turning back. It is not good finance. It tends to instability. These considerations, apart from the cost, which has gone so high, should induce the Minister to discuss this matter again with his Cabinet or those who support the Government and to review the matter. The position is very uncertain in Dublin at the present time. Many people are dissatisfied with the change. The only people clamouring for it at the present time are those who are taking a chance and speculating, if you like, and buying or improving property in or around Smithfield. Before the people around Smithfield walk into it, by a change of mind on the part of the Minister, there should be a statement beyond yea or nay that Store Street will not be the bus headquarters. I trust that the last thing I said, in particular, will engage the attention of the Minister.

This debate has gone on for the greater part of three days. One intervening at this stage is placed in the fortunate or unfortunate position of having very little new to contribute, and need only approve or disapprove of the points already made.

I listened to the greater part of this debate and I am glad to state that, as far as I can see, the Bill has been very well received. I heard nothing by way of adverse criticism. Anything that, by a stretch of the imagination, might be called criticism of an adverse kind was more or less a pleading of the extenuating circumstances that militated against the success of the Transport Act, 1944. There is no doubt that, for quite a considerable time, public transport, especially railways, has fallen on very bad times. Different remedies were tried at different times by different people but success seemed on every occasion to elude the efforts made to try to find the solution for this very difficult problem.

When introducing the 1944 Bill, the then Minister for Industry and Commerce stated that it was the transport policy of the Government and was designed—these are his words—"to provide the cheap and efficient transport vital to national development". He was quite sincere about that and I do not wish for a moment to question his sincerity, but there happened to be a very big number of people in the country and a very big number in the Opposition in the Dáil who were not so optimistic. They certainly did not see eye to eye with any legislation that would vest the entire controlling power of Córas Iompair Éireann, the company formed as a result of that Act, in one man. A superman would not be able to carry it. Those who felt that it was wrong to entrust the administration of a system that needed such attention to one man, deprived of advice or, at least, in a position to act on his own initiative, have been proved right by subsequent events. The Minister for Finance of the present Government presented a very gloomy picture of the position of Córas Iompair Éireann when he spoke here over a year ago. We found, in the words of the Minister, that the company that had not enough money to pay those who operated the system were contemplating, as a matter of fact had authorised, capital outlay of several millions.

That was the position that faced the present Minister. The only remedy that the ex-chairman of Córas Iompair Éireann could offer was a solution so drastic that the present Government could not accept it. It would mean, as the Minister pointed out in his opening remarks on this Bill, placing over 3,000 people on the unemployment roll, closing down several branch lines as well as increasing fares over the existing system, and restricting private enterprise in road transport. That was the position then that led to the introduction of this Bill.

I am quite satisfied that the railways for a considerable time have been faced with unreasonable opposition. As the Milne Report points out, quite a number of traders in this country utilise the railway company for carrying traffic of an unprofitable kind but use their own transport for carrying goods that would bring revenue to the railways if given to them. Then there are private hauliers engaged in competition with the public transport system. I confess that, until I read the Milne Report and heard certain figures given by the Minister in the Dáil as to the relative numbers engaged in private haulage compared with the trucks operated by Córas Iompair Éireann, I was of the opinion that Córas Iompair Éireann had a monopoly of road transport. I was reinforced in that opinion by a knowledge of the number of people in my own county who were anxious to secure a haulier's licence and applied for one and gave quite a lot of trouble to their representatives in urging the applications. I know of no case where an applicant was successful.

Personally, I could never see the wisdom of a company that was responsible for operating a rail and road system carrying on a dual service on parallel lines. That is being carried on up to the present day. Buses are packed to capacity leaving centres where trains depart with very few passengers. In certain sections of the railway the same may be said of the goods service. There are parts of the country that never had a railway and never will have a railway. A properly co-ordinated system of rail and road transport should be possible by feeding the railway from these centres.

As Senator Baxter pointed out yesterday evening, and Senator Finan remarked to-day, the roads in this country were never intended for the heavy traffic they are expected to carry and the people who contribute considerable sums towards their upkeep have been practically driven off them because of the volume, the ever increasing volume, of mechanically propelled road transport on the main road system of this country threatening their safety. If it is the intention of Córas Iompair Éireann to develop road transport, something must be done to subsidise the maintenance of these roads. It is not just or equitable that the rate-paying community should be saddled with the responsibility of maintaining an all-the-year-round repair service on these roads that are at times very seriously damaged because of the weight of lorry traffic they have to carry. While personally I would not like to say anything that might be considered a disapproval of private enterprise in the matter of transport, I cannot forget—none of us can forget—that the vast majority of the people in this country belong to a class that will never be able to provide their own transport and must depend for the essentials of life and for travel facilities for themselves and the stocks and raw materials required for their farms on a publicly operated transport system. We must keep that in front of us at all times and see that the rights of any private individual must be always subordinated to those of the general public. I know that several years ago when certain sections of railways in the West of Ireland were not paying and when proposals were made to discontinue the services, an agitation opposed those proposals, and in every case those people that protested against the removal of the railways that were serving the particular area in which they lived, were assured that a substitute road service would be provided as cheap, and more efficient. That was a promise that was never carried out.

I know that many farmers in the remote west had to suffer reductions of £1 per head on their stock when prices were abnormally low because they happened to market their cattle at a centre that was deprived of its railway. They had to walk their cattle seven miles further to a railhead where the price would be £1 a head more. They had to pay for the transport that was promised to be more efficient and as cheap for them as the railway provided before removal.

Senator Hayes referred to the Bill in his remarks yesterday evening as an honest effort to provide a solution for the present rather unfortunate position of public transport in this part of Ireland. I believe that, with the co-operation of the general public and of those who operate the system in road and rail, this Bill, when it becomes law, will lay the foundation of a transport system that will, please goodness, eventually become self-sufficient.

In concluding this debate on the Second Reading of this Transport Bill I must say, Sir, that it has been the most remarkable debate that I have had to listen to since I first entered Leinster House almost 28 years ago—one side of the House discussing the Bill and the other side of the House, with a few honourable exceptions, and those mainly since the resumption after the tea interval this afternoon, discussing anything but the Bill. It was rather unfortunate that Senator Ó Buachalla should open the debate. It is still more unfortunate for me that he is not here this afternoon. I do not know why Fianna Fáil Senators, almost without exception, thought it necessary or desirable to bring in Mr. Reynolds's name and drag it out through this House for the last three days. I do not know why they thought it necessary to go to such extremes to put up such a defence for Mr. Reynolds and for the company.

I was accused by the Leader of the Fianna Fáil Party in this House of bringing in a Bill which rested on two props—one prop my "personal and undoubted dislike" of Mr. Percy Reynolds and the other what he described as the wobbly prop of the Milne Report. Well, it may be wobbly but it was his main support for the three hours he occupied the time of the House. My "personal and undoubted dislike of Mr. Reynolds"—that statement is thrown out here by a person who is supposed to be a responsible member of the Oireachtas and is supposed to be fitted to accupy a seat in this House. He went on to say, referring to the reasons which I should give for the Bill:—

"These reasons should be given and not alone should they be given and given fully and given truthfully, because not alone is the economic well-being of the State in question, but the characters of men who have tried to serve this country have been assailed because of the manner in which this Bill has been introduced and the type of speech with which it has been introduced..."

Further on in the speech, the same gentleman said:

"The Minister, no doubt, disliked and dislikes the chairman of the board of Córas Iompair Éireann. Perhaps he has good reason for disliking the chairman, but I venture to say his dislike of the chairman of Córas Iompair Éireann is not just because the chairman and the board have failed in their duty ..."

However, in the next step, having slipped in the stiletto, and made sure that the hilt of it was well poisoned, the gentleman who denies that he is anything but straight, upright and honourable and who resents any suggestion that he is a slippery eel tries to slip away. I said: "Would the Senator say what is the reason for the alleged dislike?" Senator Ó Buachalla: "The Minister, I think, has not too bad a memory," and then he goes on: "I will indicate one, the famous Great Southern Railways Shares Court of Inquiry. There may be others."

That statement has been described by other Senators as being low, mean and contemptible. It merited each one of those descriptions. I would like to add others: it was a very base, cowardly untruth without a scintilla of evidence or foundation. I never owned at any time in my life, nor do I now own, even one single share in Córas Iompair Éireann, and if Senator Ó Buachalla is interested in the Great Southern Railways shares scandal he will not have to come to my side of the House to find those who profited by it. He will not have to move very far, if at all, out of the circle in which he struts generally. That statement was made by a man who knew it was an untruth and having made it he ran away. He accused me of having sacrificed for personal prejudice, for personal dislike, the ex-chairman of Córas Iompair Éireann. I was accused of a gross injustice in connection with Mr. Reynolds.

I want to assure this House that there is not one word of truth in any of the allegations that have been made regarding the unfair or unjust treatment of Mr. Reynolds. I want to assure this House that I had no personal dislike or prejudice, good, bad or indifferent against Mr. Reynolds. I want to assure this House and I want to assure the second last speaker that in any action ever taken in connection with Córas Iompair Éireann from the first day I became a Minister I was not in any way influenced by dislike or prejudice or even by politics.

Let me say further—and I think I am entitled to say this in my own defence and to clear myself from the allegations that have been made against me—that I met Mr. Reynolds for the first time about a year before I became Minister at his father's funeral and for the second time when he came to see me when I was Minister for Industry and Commerce. Mr. Reynolds's father was a native of my own town. His late father and his nearest relatives were close friends of mine and have always been my best supporters. I have no reason whatever to have either dislike of or prejudice against Mr. Reynolds and there is no reason in the world why I should in any way try to injure Mr. Reynolds. When a member of the Oireachtas, a member of Dáil Éireann, is honoured by being made a Minister of this State he undertakes certain responsibility and he has certain duties to carry out. In the carrying out of those duties to the best of his knowledge and ability he has no right to let either prejudice or dislike influence him; on the other hand he has no right to let friendship or liking for a particular person influence him in the wrong direction or to take a wrong decision.

There is no necessity for anybody in the Fianna Fáil Party to defend Mr. Reynolds. Mr. Reynolds is quite competent to defend himself with far greater ability and skill than any of the gentlemen here who have tried to do it. Mr. Reynolds has not been sacrificed or martyred, not has he suffered any loss and I challenge any Senator in this House or any Deputy in the other House to give me one quotation from anything I have said either inside or outside Dáil Éireann which can be construed as an attack on Mr. Reynolds. I did not mention Mr. Reynolds's name or refer to him during the many occasions on which Córas Iompair Éireann was discussed in Dáil Éireann nor did I make any reference to his position, his emoluments or his compensation until the Deputy Leader or Leader, whichever he is, of the Fianna Fáil Party in Dáil Éireann thought fit to bring his name before the Dáil.

I propose to deal now with my reasons, or rather the Government's reasons on my advice, for making the changes both in the chairmanship and in the company that it was decided to make and that are being made. But before I do that let me say that we did not inflict any penalties on Mr. Reynolds. We did not deprive Mr. Reynolds of anything to which he was justly and legally entitled. We paid him to the last penny and Mr. Reynolds, I am sure, has no complaint to make unless he is making it through the mouths of certain Senators here as well as certain Deputies in Dáil Éireann.

Mr. Reynolds had nine years of actual service between the Great Southern Railways and Córas Iompair Éireann from 1936 to January, 1945. Under various agreements which Mr. Reynolds had and under the terms of the 1944 Transport Act those nine years of actual service were grossed up to no fewer than 32 years for pension purposes. I am not questioning, nor have I at any time questioned, Mr. Reynolds's capacity, but I do say that whatever work or service Mr. Reynolds gave either to the Dublin United Tramways Company, Córas Iompair Éireann or the Great Southern Railways he was well paid for it and handsomely paid for it.

Mr. Reynolds's own company was trotted out here. Let us get this clear. I hoped that when I had finished this in the Dáil I would never have to refer to it again. Mr. Reynolds was chairman and, I think, chief owner of the General Omnibus Company for six years. He sold that to the Dublin United Tramways Company for somewhere in the neighbourhood of £120,000 of which no less than £80,000 was for goodwill. He then became at a later stage managing director and chairman of the Dublin United Tramways Company at a salary of £2,500 a year, free of income-tax, which was at a later stage valued at £4,000 per year for certain purposes.

For a period of two years, he was also chairman of the Great Southern Railways at £2,500 a year. At the end of 1944, the Railways Act was passed and the Dublin United Tramways Company was absorbed into Córas Iompair Éireann. Mr. Reynolds was appointed by the then Government as chairman of the new board of Córas Iompair Éireann, but, before he left the Dublin United Tramways Company, his pension under his agreement with the Dublin United Tramways Company was assessed at a certain figure and for the purpose of commuting it and paying him in a lump sum it was assessed at a figure of £16,388. At a later stage, it was decided, notwithstanding that arrangement with the company, that it should be assessed under the terms of the 1944 Act and that assessment brought the compensation for the nine years' actual service to a sum of no less than £33,976.

The 32 years' service were got in this way. I have told the House what happened that General Omnibus Company. I have told the House the price paid for it. When they started to assess and to build up the number of years for pension purposes, the six years' service he had with his own company was added to the nine years' actual service. There was then a further seven years which had been provided for in the 1944 Act, under which a person who was supposed to have special transport knowledge who entered into the service of the company after the normal age of entry was entitled to certain added years, which, in this particular case, were assessed at seven. That made the number of years 22. There was then a further provision that anybody who had 20 years' service or over was entitled to an additional ten years, so that we get 32 years' service for pension purposes for an actual nine years' service.

That was the position up to 1944. I am very sorry that some of the gentlemen who have been talking about the ill-treatment meted out to the ex-chairman of the company are not here now. At the end of 1944, he was appointed chairman of Córas Iompair Éireann as from 1st January, 1945, at a salary of £2,500, but, as they said, in order to secure that he did not give his services to anybody else and would be exclusive to Córas Iompair Éireann, the benevolent shareholders' directors who are weeping about the shareholders decided to give him an additional personal allowance of £4,000, making it £6,500 a year. Part of the understanding, however, was that Mr. Reynolds, having drawn £16,388, would not draw the balance, £17,588, of the £33,976 in one lump sum, but there was an arrangement that, if he retired or left Córas Iompair Éireann in the first year he was there, the £17,588 would be paid but that for every year he continued as Chairman of Córas Iompair Éireann at £6,500 a year, the £17,588 would be reduced by one-tenth, so that at the end of ten years it would be wiped out. One Deputy thought that was a very handsome gesture on his part. Senators can make their own calculation but, personally, I would swop £17,500 any time for that.

The fact of the matter is that £16,388 was paid and he had four years as chairman of Córas Iompair Éireann at £6,500 a year, and the balance of the £17,588 which was to diminish by one-tenth for each year of his service with Córas Iompair Éireann was, at the date of Mr. Reynolds's retirement from the chairmanship, £10,500. This Government, in accordance with the contracts which Mr. Reynolds had entered into with the company, paid that £10,500. Is there any ill-treatment there? Is there anything unjust or unfair in that? If there is an injustice there, I leave it to the House to decide where it is.

I am attacked because I did not allow Mr. Reynolds to carry on, because I did not allow the company to carry on. I want Senators to try to put themselves for a moment in my place and to try to see the picture as I had to see it. Mr. Reynolds came to me in the Department of Industry and Commerce within ten or 14 days of my going into that Department. He told me the company had lost £811,000 in 1947, and he told me that he estimated they would lose £1,250,000 in 1948. That, as I have already stated, was an underestimate because the actual loss was £1,400,000. I asked him what were his proposals and he told me. I had a meeting a few days later with the shareholders' directors and I discussed the matter with them. I asked them what were their proposals, what was the remedy, and I have given to the House in my speech in the Second Reading the remedies proposed. They were very drastic remedies, but, apart from the fact that they were drastic, apart from the fact that certain of the measures to be taken would lead to the disemployment of 3,500 men, the real reason I did not accept them was that I was not satisfied that, if I accepted the whole lot, they would provide a solution, and the more I have seen of the position since then, the more convinced I am that I was right.

What was the position at that time? Let us look at this company and this chairman. A railway carriage had not been built since 1937—not even one. They had calmly and colly sat down —a board of businessmen who were supposed to be competent to run the biggest and most complicated industry in this country, an industry giving employment to between 21,000 and 22,000 persons, with an annual wage and salary bill that is, to-day, almost £7,000,000. Instead of trying to provide carriages, and wagons, and other revenue-earning equipment, they spent their time planning to build a hotel in Glengarriff that was estimated to cost £1,000,000. Now, I dare say, most of us here know Glengarriff. Just imagine a hotel—Córas Iompair Éireann—a hotel costing £1,000,000. The thing is so fantastic, it is so absurd, that one could hardly credit it, if it were not for the fact that, although there never was a brick put up there, we have to pay £35,000 for that particular project. A £1,000,000 expenditure on a hotel! It would have to earn, the whole year round, a net profit of £1,000 a week to pay the interest alone on the £1,000,000. The fact that they abandoned that in 1947 is not very much to their credit. They only abandoned it when they were running up to their necks in debt. The same board, at a time when they were coming to me saying they could get no money, that the banks would not advance on debentures, at a time when I was going to the Government to allow them to raise debentures on Government guarantee, and to use these debentures for what they were never intended; namely, to meet the running costs of the railway, because it is unnecessary for me to tell experienced business men here, who know far more about this than I do, that debentures are rarely if ever to meet running expenses, that they are used, generally, for capital purposes.

At that time, I learned that they were about to start work on another £1,000,000 project. Let me be a little more accurate, £925,000 at the Broad-stone, at a time when they were put to the pin of their collar to meet the wage bill—a couple of weeks later they were not able to meet the wage bill— they were embarking on that. When I had a request conveyed, that they might defer embarking on this other £1,000,000 project, until such time as I got Sir James Milne's Report, which was due in another month or two, this board of directors calmly intimated that they could not see their way to accede to my request. Seventeen and a half million pounds was the Estimate that was prepared for capital expenditure for road and rail and, remember this, I have never yet been able to find out, and I do not know, on whose advice they were proceeding to embark on that expenditure of £17,500,000. I know that they decided, and actually we will have to suffer a big loss on it, to purchase five Diesel locomotives at a cost of £80,000 each. Then we had one of the learned Senators telling us that they had been found suitable in America, and that they were, therefore, suitable in Ireland. You might as well say that because one of Senator Summerfield's luxurious cars is suitable for the road from here to Naas, that you can also career around Dalkey Island with it, and that it would be economic to use it entirely on Dalkey Island. Remember, this huge expenditure was entered into at a time when they had no money, and was entered into by a company that never had, from the days of its foundation, a chief mechanical engineer, that was deprived for 12 months through illness of the services of the chief engineer, that had no deputy engineer, and that the assistant deputy chief engineer was only trying to perform these duties for a few months before we took over.

I am accused of being unjust and unfair to the board of directors. Were they a board of directors in anything except name? They were not. Here is a board of directors to whom an agenda even was never sent. Here is a board of directors that could not meet or discuss or arrive at a decision upon any single item affecting the whole of Córas Iompair Éireann in the absence of the chairman. Here is a board, according to a member of the board who was styled or styled himself deputy chairman, who take full ressponsibility for it, for all these major works costing £500,000 and £1,000,000 all over the place. They sanctioned and approved of these, on the mere verbal say-so of the chairman, and the general manager across the board table. They were never put to them, submitted in the ordinary way in writing. So far as many of the projects were concerned, the technical, skilled and expert advisers that were available to the company, their services were not availed of. Most members of the Seanad here are more conversant with business, and how business should be conducted, than I am. Is there any Senator could conceive himself a director of a board in those circumstances? Is there any Senator who would remain on that board, and feel that he was fulfilling his responsibilities to the shareholders who sent him there, if he was a mere cypher? They themselves are now saying that they never had any power, that they could not do anything. It is not merely I who am saying that. They say it themselves. I think, if I may say so, with respect, that Senators should not in that loose way throw out accusations, even against Ministers, in the way in which they have been bandied around here. I suppose, if it were possible to know them, I should know them by now. I confess I will never be able to understand Fianna Fáil. I have been looking at them across the House and listening to them for 25 years. There is one thing in which they are quite consistent. They are as tough as the devil when they are attacking, but they are as tender as chicken when they are being attacked.

When I heard such a mild man as Senator Loughman working himself into a high state of indignation, to-day, because of what Senator Hayes and Senator John T. O'Farrell had said, when he referred, I think, to Senator Hayes' lack of education and good taste, and to Senator O'Farrell's poisonous tongue and when he, at the same time, and in the same speech, almost in the same breath, said he agreed with every word which Senator Ó Buachalla had uttered, that he endorsed every word Senator Ó Buachalla had uttered, and that he was glad to know every word Senator Ó Buachalla had uttered was going down on record. Senator Quirke went even one better. He did not believe that Senator Ó Buachalla had attacked the Minister or would even think of attacking the Minister. Senator Quirke never heard Senator Ó Buachalla attacking anybody inside this House or outside it. Senator Quirke worked himself into a fine state of indignation and talked about the low personalities indulged in by Senators on this side of the House. It is no function of mine to defend Senators on this side. As a matter of fact, in so far as some of them are concerned, and particularly those picked out for special mention, Senator Hayes and Senator J.T. O'Farrell, as I know from very long and old association, they can give at least as good as they get and the fact that it would be more finely and subtly phrased than that of their opponents would only make it all the more deadly.

Senator Quirke did not believe the statement made about the £500,000 worth of cheques which were in the safe and dare not be issued. He said that that is a thing that everyone knows may happen any week, that most commercial people work on overdrafts. So did Córas Iompair Éireann—they worked beyond the overdraft—and that is the reason the cheques remained in the safe. They remained there until I had to go to the Government and provide more debentures. Otherwise, the Electricity Supply Board and the oil company would be cutting off the supply line. That was the position I found there. I told the ex-chairman quite frankly that, having regard to the vital importance of transport in this country, I considered the situation so serious and so chaotic that only outstanding men who had a lifetime of practical experience in transport could unravel it. The chairman told me that those men were very few and far between and that I would not be able to get a transport expert. I did.

I secured the services of a transport expert and I am very greateful to him, and so is every member of the Government, and so should this country be. I resent the cheap little jibes of people like Senator Ó Buachalla about Sir James Milne and his capacity, and the still more cheap little gibe about the Irishman who gave his service to England. Many better Irishmen than any of us here in this room gave their services abroad and carved a name for themselves more honoured, and gained a prestige for their country greater, perhaps, than did some of the gentlemen who for the moment hold Senatorial honours in this chamber. We were fortunate.

Sir James Milne does not want any commendation from me and the cheap sneers of Senator Ó Buachalla will not affect him in the slightest. He is a man of international, almost worldwide, reputation as a transport expert, a man whose services have been availed of by many Governments in many parts of the world. The Senator made a cheap sneer, asking why he did not do something for the British railways with which he was associated if he knew anything about it. He did something about it. The railway with which he was associated, and of which he became general manager and was general manager for 15 years up to the time of nationalisation, was admitted to be one of the most efficient and best railway lines in Great Britain. It payed top grade trade union wages and salaries and it paid a dividend every year. That is no bad test of a man.

He, and those associated with him, gave us a report which is of immense value and will be of value for many years to come, not merely so far as framing Bills is concerned but as a guide to the proper organisation and running of a transport system. It is only fair that I should say that Sir James Milne and the gentlemen who were associated with him in this inquiry carried out that work at my request with remarkable speed and refused to accept one shilling of a fee for carrying out that work.

There has been a lot of talk here as well as in Dáil Éireann about Store Street. There was nothing personal in my approach to it and there is nothing political in it, good, bad or indifferent. Senators and Deputies and people outside talk about the Store Street Bus Station as if it were only a bus station. Now, leaving aside altogether for a moment the question as to the suitability of location—and I think all Senators will agree that there are very divided opinions on that—Store Street consists of more than a bus station. It consists of six storeys on top of the bus station, and the basement, where there were to be a theatre, shops and hairdressing salons and all sorts of things. A bus station, as a bus station, to be used only as a bus station, could be built and can still be built for approximately £150,000. Store Street would not be finished under £1,000,000. There were at least two good reasons why Córas Iompair Éireann decided not to go on with Store Street—I suppose, like the old story, one would be sufficient to give— they could not afford it in the first place and in the second place they did not require it. Does anybody think for one moment that Córas Iompair Éireann in its financial position could embark on a project costing £1,000,000 at a time when they had not a shilling in the till and provide six storeys of offices which they did not require and leave derelict, when they filled those six storeys of offices, all the office accommodation at Kingsbridge, Westland Row and the various other places, since, situated as they are right in the middle of railway stations, they could not be let in the ordinary way as commercial offices? That is the simple truth about Store Street. We cannot afford it and we do not need it.

There is no question in anybody's mind about the necessity for a central bus station. Some of us have thought that long before now. We have had painful experience of ten, 15, 16 or 17 years of standing with our backs to the Quay wall, with our coats up around our ears, and particularly during the war years some of us had personal experience of it.

These are the simple facts about Store Street. I shall not go into the arguments here and now about the location, its suitability as against the suitability of Smithfield. I could argue it and I think I would get the vast majority—the vast majority—of the people in Dublin to agree with me, outside those who have a particular vested interest in Store Street or those who have no vested interest but to whom it would be most convenient. But, looking on it as a central bus station for the whole of this country, in my opinion, Smithfield is infinitely more suitable.

All I have to say about Store Street is this: from my own experience—and I do not presume to know the city as well as those who were born and reared in it, but I have been knocking around the city for nearly 30 years—I know that there is a great density of traffic in and around Store Street, a great density of very heavy traffic and, I think most Senators will agree, of some of the slowest moving traffic in the whole city of Dublin.

I was asked, in order to set people's minds at rest, in so far as they can be set at rest, to make a specific definite statement on the question of Store Street. So far as the company is concerned, Store Street is out. They do not need it and they cannot afford it.

I was subjected to a great deal of criticism for not agreeing to the request of the ex-chairman of the company, early in 1948, to allow him to increase fares. I have given my reason. May I remind Senators that, in 1947, when the then chairman saw that the going would be fairly tough, he went to my predecessor and asked for permission to increase fares and freights to an extent that would enable him to earn an additional £1,000,000 in 1947. He got that permission from the then Minister for Industry and Commerce to increase fares to an extent that would enable him to bring in an additional £1,000,000. Notwithstanding that fact, and notwithstanding that he did increase the fares, he lost £811,000. Increasing the fares, apparently, was not the solution.

The fact of the matter is that the railways have not been properly run for the past 30 years, perhaps longer, and that for a number of years—and this is well known—before ever there was Government interference either by the present Government or the previous Government, moneys which should have been put by the company into improving maintenance and rolling-stock were paid out in dividends. That is well known. It is well known that, since 1937, they did not build one single railway carriage.

I am not suggesting that all the blame for the present situation rests on the shoulders either of my predecessor, the ex-chairman or the members of the present board. Surely I have a right to object when the entire responsibility for everything that is wrong with Córas Iompair Éireann is sought to be placed on my shoulders and surely I am entitled to say that my predecessor had 16 years in which to attempt to put right the transport system of this country. He had made a couple of attempts at it but he did not succeed and I do not think I would be far wrong in saying that the state of the national transport company at the end of the 16 years was infinitely worse than it was at the beginning of the 16 years.

We have had a lot of talk about the chassis factory and I have been accused, of course, all over the country, at every cross-roads, of paralysing the only genuine attempt that was ever made to give us a heavy industry in this country. I could give many reasons for not going on with this chassis factory. It would be very interesting to Senators if I were to read out the agreement that was made between Córas Iompair Éireann and Leylands. There are some very interesting clauses in that. Senators, however, probably have more time than I have and they can read it for themselves. This factory was to be geared to a production of ten chassis a week. The requirements of Córas Iompair Éireann would be four chassis a week, two of which would be required for buses, and two for lorries. So that the output of the factory would be two bus chassis per week and eight lorry chassis and for every two lorry chassis which Córas Iompair Éireann would be building for themselves they would be building six for their competitors.

I do not want to delay the Seanad unduly. I would like to deal very briefly with a number of points that were raised and any points that I miss can be dealt with, and perhaps more fully, on Committee Stage. One of the points raised, and in connection with which quite a number of Senators spoke, was the compensation for the common stockholders. It is unnecessary for me to assure the Seanad that the Government in this matter had no desire other than to be fair and just and to do justice, so to speak, between the stockholders and the community. I consider, and I think the House will agree from the picture I have given just now, that the stockholders' chances of getting any dividends from Córas Iompair Éireann or of ever being able to redeem their stock at any time, if the Government had not stepped in and if we had not introduced this Bill, were very poor. I would not give much for their chances or the value of the stock.

This proposal gives them a guaranteed dividend of approximately 2½ per cent. with a definite assurance that they can redeem their stock when the end of the period comes around. I notice that at the meeting yesterday, one gentleman, an ex-member of this House who has been very vocal on behalf of the shareholders, accused the Government of sharp practice in this matter and told us what a difference it made to the stockholders that the appointed day was not the 1st January. I would like to know what a difference it would have made if the Bill was never introduced. Another gentleman said he was the victim, that the Government acted out of spite and in order to have a comeback on him for the valiant fight he had made to save the stockholders. I want to say this, that if there had never been a stockholders' meeting here for the last two years, and if there never had been a speech made at a stockholders' meeting either by the directors of Córas Iompair Éireann or by any of the leaders of the stockholders, if letters had never been written to the papers, the stockholders would have got the terms of compensation which are laid down in this Bill. Let me say this: when we were determining the basis on which they would be compensated, in order to be more than fair to them, we took the three best years from the stockholders' point of view. If I had taken 1946, 1947 and 1948 or 1947, 1948 and 1949 instead of 1945, 1946 and 1947 they would be getting much less than they are getting to-day. As I say, the Government decided deliberately, so as to be absolutely fair or more than fair to the stockholders, to base the terms of compensation on the three best years. I think I made a statement in introducing the Second Reading of this Bill that the provisions which had been made for the protection of the workers were entirely exceptional and such as had never been made before in a Bill. I think I can take it that that has been accepted by the House. Not even our friend Senator Colgan could find a word to criticise in the Bill so far as the workers were concerned.

One Senator, I think it was Senator Finan, said that if Córas Iompair Éireann gave the service, they would get the goods. I agree entirely with that and it will be the object of the new board to provide the best service that it is possible to provide for the people and to the best of their ability to run those services economically and to improve the equipment of their organisation and improve and extend the services and speed them up. I should say in that respect that there has been a very considerable improvement in the last couple of years—I am not saying the couple of years since the change in the company or the change in Minister but, simply, because materials, equipment, buses and coal became more freely available.

On the point mentioned by Senator Quirke regarding the desirability, if not the fact of its being essential, to endeavour to have designed a locomotive or boiler fire box which would enable us to use our own native fuel, that, I am glad to say, is in the hands of a gentleman who, I think, is admitted to be one of the best locomotive designers in these islands, and I am glad to say that while I do not want to be over-optimistic and say that all the snags have been got over—he has made considerable progress and I am hopeful that as a result of his labours we will succeed in producing a special type of locomotive that will enable us to use our own fuel. Everything that can be done to tighten up the organisation and to eliminate waste and to make the best possible use of the men and material in the company is being done.

I would like to say I have never at any period suggested that this is an easy task. I have never suggested it was at any time an easy task. I have never suggested at any time that this is a problem that is going to be solved in a short time and let me say to Senators who talked about this Bill not going far enough that I made it perfectly clear that this Bill did not even purport to be a final Bill or to provide a full solution for the transport problem. It is just what it sets out to be —a machinery Bill and an enabling Bill, and it is not the final piece of legislation dealing with transport in this country. I believe a railway service is essential to the national economy and the national well-being of this country. I believe that that service must be maintained at all costs. I believe we can maintain it and I am not so sure that it cannot be run on a fully economic basis provided we have in our service, and particularly at the top, really first-class men, first-class professional and technical men and we get what we are entitled to ask for— the full and loyal co-operation of every one of the 22,000 employees of the company. They are to-day enjoying a security that very few workers in any part of the world enjoy. They are enjoying good wages and working conditions which, in my opinion, are unequalled. All we ask in return—it is the least we should ask on behalf of the Oireachtas and on behalf of the people who are called upon to pay and pay heavily—that in return for providing them with secure employment, good wages and decent conditions they will give in labour a decent return. I believe that we can confidently ask that from those who are employed in the national transport concern, and I believe and hope that we will get it.

I must apologise to the Seanad for inflicting such a long speech on them and, I am afraid, for copying the bad example set to me by some Senators of not devoting as much time to the Bill itself as I should have. However, there will be another occasion and on the Committee Stage we can go into all the points.

I would ask in conclusion, if I may, for the help and co-operation of all Senators in trying to make this Bill the best Bill we can make it. The attitude I adopted towards it in the Dáil was that I wanted it to emerge from Dáil Éireann not so much a Government measure as a Dáil measure. I got very considerable help and consideration from all sides of the House and I tried to meet as far as I possibly could any reasonable suggestion or amendment put before me. I hope that on the Committee Stage in this House we will be able to approach it in the same spirit and that the spirit which unfortunately animated a good deal of the discussion on the Second Stage will be entirely absent when we are discussing it again.

Question put and agreed to.
Ordered: That the Committee Stage be taken on April 19th.

It is intended to take the Central Fund Bill next week and then to adjourn until the 19th of April to take the Committee Stage of this Bill.