Imposition of Duties (Confirmation of Orders) (No. 2) Bill, 1955—Second and Subsequent Stages.

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

The purpose of the Bill, as set out in the explanatory memorandum which I have circulated to Senators, is to confirm 13 Orders made by the Government under the Emergency Imposition of Duties Act, 1932. The commodities covered by the Orders are as follows:—

(1) fabric gloves, (2) slashers or slash hooks, (3) artificial silk fabrics, (4) underfelt, (5) flexible mirror glass, (6) knitted woollen gloves, (7) artificial textile and union fabrics, (8) display shapes and stands, (9) storage water heaters, (10) angle iron fencing posts, (11) milk cans, (12) iron and steel bolts, (13) margarine.

The Orders dealing with fabric gloves and knitted woollen gloves arose out of a threat to the glovemaking industry from low priced gloves manufactured in the Far East. The existingad valorem customs duties were inadequate to protect the industry against imports of such gloves and it was necessary to impose specific duties at rates sufficient to ensure the continuance of production and employment. A feature of the knitted woollen glove industry is that it is located almost exclusively in County Donegal.

The danger of substantial imports of low priced fabrics from the Far East was also an important factor which led to the making of the Orders dealing with artificial silk fabrics and with artificial textile and union fabrics. A position had arisen where the output of the firms engaged in the production of bag making cloth, linings, lingerie cloth and dress cloth was being seriously threatened by imports from the Far East and elsewhere at low prices which bore no comparison to normal costs of production.

The duty on slashers or slash hooks was reduced from 25 per cent. to 20 per cent.ad valorem in respect of imports of United Kingdom or Canadian origin. The British Board of Trade asked for a review of this duty in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Anglo-Irish Trade Agreement of 1938. The review was carried out by the Industrial Development Authority who recommended that the duty should be reduced from 25 per cent. to 20 per cent. ad valorem.

The manufacture of underfelt was commenced within the past year or so and the duty was imposed in order to afford a measure of protection for the industry. Underfelt is a textile material primarily used as an underlay for carpets. It is also used as trimming and flooring in motor cars.

The manufacture of flexible mirror glass is a small but interesting development in the glass trade and it was decided to afford it a measure of protection. Flexible mirror glass consists of ordinary mirror glass cut into small rectangles and fixed to a textile backing which can be formed into various shapes and used for shop window dressing and display purposes.

The Orders dealing with display shapes and stands and with angle iron fencing posts revoked the duties hitherto chargeable on these goods. The duties were originally intended to be protective duties but the manufacture of the goods in question did not develop satisfactorily and no useful purpose was being served by allowing the duties to remain in operation.

The manufacture of copper boilers and cylinders for use in hot water systems has been carried on satisfactorily here for many years and has been protected by customs duty. This protection did not extend to what are known as indirect cylinders and calorifiers which are ordinary cylinders with hot water or steam carrying coils inside them. Indirect cylinders are used mainly in central heating units and calorifiers are similarly used in large premises where steam is generated. The Irish firms are equipped to meet the full demand. It was accordingly decided to extend protection to the manufacture of indirect cylinders and calorifiers.

Early in 1954 a customs duty of 15 per cent. (full rate), 10 per cent. (preferential rate)ad valorem was imposed on milk cans up to 12 gallons capacity as a measure of protection for the manufacture of these goods which had recommenced after a lapse of some years. The industry producing the milk cans is equipped to turn out the full requirements of the country in cans up to 12 gallons capacity. Although the home-produced cans were competitive in price with the normal or list prices of similar imported cans there was evidence that exporters in other countries were manipulating prices to bring them down to or below Irish prices notwithstanding the duty payable. It was considered necessary therefore to increase the rate of duty to 37½ per cent. (full) 25 per cent. (preferential) to afford the home industry adequate protection.

There was a customs duty on certain iron and steel bolts not less than ? inches in diameter. Bolts which were only fractionally less than ? inches in diameter were being imported free of the duty to the serious detriment of the firms who manufacture bolts here. It was, accordingly, necessary to close this loophole in the duty.

Since 1927 there has been a customs duty of 3d. per lb. on margarine. When this duty was originally imposed it was equivalent to anad valorem rate of 50 per cent., and under this protection the industry developed to the point where the full requirements of the market were being supplied by the Irish manufacturers. During 1954 importation of continental margarine commenced and developed to a point where it was necessary to bring the specific duty of 3d. per lb. imposed in 1927 into line with current money values to keep the industry adequately protected. It was decided to convert the specific duty into an ad valorem duty at the rate of 50 per cent. (full), 33? per cent. (United Kingdom and Canada).

Tuigimidne ar an dtaobh seo den Tigh gur gá cosaint áirithe a thabhairt do na hearraí a déantar sa tír seo, chun ná tabharfar rudaí isteach anseo ó thíortha eile, tíortha inar féidir leis an lucht rialuithe daoine d'fháil chun iad a dhéanamh faoi choinníollacha agus ar théarmaí áirithe ná beadh aon ghlacadh leo sa tír seo. Bhí sé de chuspóir ag an Rialtas a bhí againn an chosaint ba ghá a thabhairt don Aire a bhí ann an uair sin. Aon iarracht atá a dhéanamh ag an Aire nó ag an Rúnaí Parlaiminte chun leanúint de sin, agus aon leasuithe a bheidh riachtanach le himeacht aimsire, is mian liom cabhrú leis chun iad a dhéanamh.

This Bill is a small measure but, sometimes, of course, we find that in these small measures there can be provisions of a far-reaching character. I do not say that that is altogether the case on this occasion. There is a variegated assortment of articles mentioned as coming within the scope of the Bill and I dare say that the Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary, after having surveyed the industrial field, deem it necessary to make these adjustments.

Unfortunately, sometimes when we are presented with measures of this kind, we have not the full opportunity of going into these matters in detail and oftentimes we have to be satisfied that the Minister himself and his Department have done that for us. It is only right that we should afford whatever protection is necessary to keep our own industries here in existence.

There are, I know, of course, people in this country who believe that we are affording too much protection to our own industrialists. These people have been rather vocal at times but we here at any rate believe that it should be the policy of the Government and of the Oireachtas to support all worthwhile industries in this country and to give whatever protection is necessary. That was always the policy of the Fianna Fáil Government and we are glad the present Government have accepted that policy. In bygone days some people were not too enthusiastic about giving the necessary support to our industries. We were told at one time by one Minister that some industrialists were making inordinate profits—and he referred to a certain type of punishment that should be meted out to them-but no details were forthcoming to justify the statement, so we are doubtful if there was any foundation at all for the statement.

Later on we will be discussing a motion on the decentralisation of industry and that will give us wider scope for debate. Item No. 6 here seems relevant to the manufacture of woollen gloves. I understand the manufacture takes place in Donegal—I take it that it is the Donegal Gaeltacht, though the Parliamentary Secretary did not mention "Gaeltacht". We all agree it is desirable to see such an industry, for which the raw material can be obtained here at home, being given the necessary protection, being encouraged by this or any other Government. We should see to what extent it can be developed or extended to other parts of the Gaeltacht and the extent to which export markets can be found for these products. The House should have no hesitation in giving protection to such industries. There are many items on this list which we have not had very much time to study. Three amendments were handed to us this morning, involving very important items of public policy. I submit that it is hardly treating the members of the House properly to present them with amendments of this nature at such short notice. It is due to us that we should get ample notice of these matters.

I, like everybody else on this side of the House, am in full agreement with the reasonable protection of home industry. I was sorry to hear a reference made by Senator Kissane a minute ago to the allegation that the Fianna Fáil Party were the first really to get going about Irish industry and the protection of Irish industry.

That is not what I said.

You implied that nothing had been done.

What I said was that they were not prepared to give it the encouragement that was necessary. They gave it a certain amount.

The policy of Cumann na nGaedheal before 1932 was a policy, in connection with protection, of selective protection. That is to say, before industries were given a full measure of protection there was proper inquiry made to see whether all the factors concerning these industries were properly considered before protection was applied. There are many factors to be taken into consideration. I grant that when Fianna Fáil came into power in 1932 they started an industrial drive, but it was a helter-skelter one and I think it has been shown over the passage of the years that it was not a well-advised policy in the long run, because many people went into industries and lost a lot of money and a lot of industries were created which are showing themselves now to be uneconomic. It is a very moot point as to whether it was worth the candle, all the fuss and hurry made. I still think, in the light of experience, that the policy of Fine Gael—or Cumann na nGaedheal, as it was then—of selective protection would have given us industries which would be established in the home market now and in a much better position to deal with exports.

A lot of people have fallen by the wayside. I agree that there were attacks on industrialists, saying that they made a lot of money and that they were profiteers. I think the few people who did well, and deservedly did well, should have been credited with success. It is very often forgotten that large numbers of them did not make any money in Irish industry but lost money, in investing it here and creating employment. In a small way I suffered a bit myself in that way and I know other people who did. I think those who suffered in that way suffered from the rushed policy of the Fianna Fáil Party, in rushing all sorts of industries without proper inquiry as to whether they were going to give good value to the public, to provide a decent article, to give proper employment and give a proper return to the people who put money into them. I am sure that if you inquire you will find that a large number suffered in that way. It is unfortunate at this stage that people should go on talking about what Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael did for Irish industry.

If we are to have successful industries they should be run on economic lines mainly. The Government must help and protect them, but only reasonably so and not in a political way, not claiming what this Party or that Party did for industry. Any industry which has to be propped up by political pressure or support like that is not going to last or be of lasting value to the economy of the country. This, in my opinion, applies not only to industry but to agriculture as well. The sooner agriculture and industry can be taken out of the political sphere, out of the heat of political argument, the better.

In regard to this particular Order to-day, I would like to think that the Department—and the Minister, when he is making these Orders—is fully cognisant of all the factors concerned and I would like to think that these things are properly gone into before tariffs are put on or tariffs are reduced. One of the most important factors in connection with tariffs is the price factor. After all, an industry should not be set up merely to give employment. That is a very laudable object, but industry should be set up with all sorts of objects. One is to give employment, but secondly, it has to produce articles for our own consumers at the right price. That is a very important factor which very often is forgotten. I am very much in favour, fully in favour, of protecting the home market here, but I think it should not be protected against fair competition from outside. At present some industries here are protected against all competition. I think any of the manufacturers' associations will agree that that is not desirable, but that they should be protected against unfair competition or dumping from other countries. We are all in favour of that. If the Department is fully aware of that and takes that into consideration on every occasion, I am always in favour of any impositions they may make to protect good Irish industries here at home.

It does not always follow that there should be heavy protection in the form of tariffs or in the form of completely debarring goods from coming in or allowing them in only under licence. I think that is a shortsighted policy, because the assumption is that by closing off the market to the Irish manufacturer, by closing out competition from outside, the Irish manufacturer is then going to have a strong market to himself. That may happen in some cases but I know from my own business experience that very often it only creates a shrinkage of the home market, because in order to stimulate purchases by the customer or by the consumer a certain amount of variety is necessary. Where there is a sameness in goods in a case like this, where the market is small, the number of manufacturers is small and they cannot afford to produce a large variety of goods and consequently the palate of the consumer and of the customer is not stimulated enough to make them interested. I have in the course of my business experience seen cases of a heavy tariff wall put up, the market for the goods shrinking and loss of demand. When there is a reasonable amount of goods coming in from other countries to make the market give a variety and make it interesting for the consumer to buy, that should be taken into consideration.

I was glad to see in the Bill to-day that there are some tariffs and duties being removed altogether because those goods are no longer manufactured in this country. That is important. Unfortunately, in the past tariffs have been retained when there was no excuse for their retention because the industries they were originally set up to protect had disappeared for some reason or another. I am glad to see that this Government is showing that they are not going to retain duties merely for revenue purposes.

There is one Order being confirmed on which I would like to comment. It is No. 348. As one interested in textiles I would say that there are two kinds of felt, ordinary woven felt—with which we are not concerned—and fibre felt. By the confirmation of this Order we are going to put a duty on imported non-woven felt to the extent of 37½ per cent. full rate or 25 per cent. preference. The number of ways in which this fibre felt can be used is enormous. The text just specifies an underlay for floor covers. I can think of a dozen other ways in which it is used. It is used as a surround, in the manufacture of hats, in the manufacture of slippers, as an insulator in gramophone turntables. Of all the articles being subjected to duty on importation, felt is certainly number one on this list. I would like to feel assured that the Department is convinced that our new firm, our newly established industry, can meet the demand for a variety of supplies without increasing the price. Felt is used also in piano keys. This means that some things will go up in price during the interregnum. Another thing follows from what Senator McGuire has said. Here is a new industry, we wish it well and we are going to protect it in the early stages, but we have to be sure that the effect of that protection will not mean that the quality of our felt will be lessened in view of the fact that there is no competition. Many of these imported felts have been made by manufacturers for a century or more. For particular purposes, I ask can we really produce something equal in these materials? We ought when providing an umbrella to protect a young industry at the same time let the young industry know that we expect it to grow under that umbrella and that we look forward to the day when that umbrella can be removed.

Those are the things I want to say. First, we must realise the widespread implications of the duty. Woven felt is an impregnated felt. That leaves an enormous number of other felts and if we give this concession to a new industry we are going to expect it to justify our confidence.

Aontaím leis an Seanadóir Ó Ciosáin gur ceart dúinn bheith sásta go bhfuil an Bille seo ós ár gcomhair. Ní féidir liom a rá go bhfuil mé sásta le gach mír de ach mar sin féin is maith liom gur fianaise é an Bille go bhfuil faoin Aire agus faoin Rúnaí Parlaiminte leanúint do pholasaí na caomhainte. Aontaím gur ceart a bheith an-chúramach i dtaobh na ngnóthaí a dtabharfar caomhaint dóibh agus aontaím freisin gur ceart a bheith an-chúramach faoi leibhéal nó méid na caomhainte a cuirfear ar fáil i gcás ar bith. Creidim go bhfuil scrúdú déanta go cúramach, tríd is tríd, i gcás na ndleacht atá i gceist sa mBille seo agus molaim é dá réir.

Ba chóir dom a rá freisin go gcreidim go bhfuil an ceart ag an Seanadóir Ó Ciosáin sa gcasaoid a rinne sé faoi na moltaí a thabhairt isteach agus gan achar réasúnta a thabhairt dúinn lena scrúdú. Tá mé cinnte go raibh deacrachta áirithe i gceist sa gcás seo ach, ó thaobh prionsabail de, ní ceart gan fuagra réasúnta a thabhairt don Seanad i dtaobh leasuithe nó moltaí a tabharfaí isteach sa Teach.

I should say that Senator Kissane has expressed my views with regard to this Bill. Firstly, we are glad that the Minister has brought in this Bill, and we are glad of the evidence that has been given that the Minister and his Department are going to be very careful with regard to the whole question of tariffs. I think it is unfair for the last Senator to say that the policy of the Fianna Fáil Government was one of granting indiscriminate authority for the setting up of industries, that they were not careful with regard to the industries to which they would grant protection. I think anybody moving through the country and meeting people interested in industrial development will find that there was a great deal of dissatisfaction that they were not given protection when they asked for it so that they might set up industries which they thought would eventually prove economic and would prove of national value. I would like Senator McGuire to remember, and anybody else who may be critical of the policy of protection, the whole circumstances under which that drive for industrial development took place, the conditions that existed and exist almost to the present day with regard to industrial development in this country. If we have regard to these conditions, I think, instead of criticising as they do, in the carping manner in which they do, they will find there is more an occasion for throwing a bouquet at what has been achieved rather than for speaking as they did.

In the first place, I do not intend to argue whether the policy has been a success or not. I think the men and women in employment and the results accruing to capital are sufficient evidence that the movement has been a success. Whether it has been the success we would like it to be is another matter but it has been a success. I would like Senator McGuire and other Senators to remember the conditions of industrial tradition in this country in the early 30's, when, because of Government policy over more than a century before that, practically every industrial tradition worth while was destroyed. One of the biggest tasks we had to face in this country was the establishment of an industrial tradition. Our technical schools were not equipped to assist as one would have liked them to have been equipped in order to help in this work. We ought to remember that practically the whole period since the 30's has been an abnormal one. From, say, 1930, to the advent of the war, the world all over had been suffering from serious industrial depressions. Many countries were trying to dump their goods wherever they could and they saw this country as a suitable place in which to dump them. It is true that people could have got goods cheaply if we had been prepared to allow dumped goods in but the nation would have paid dearly for it in after years if we had given in to the clamour that went on all the time for the stoppage of the industrial drive and the admission of these cheap, dumped goods.

Again, we ought to take note of the fact that the war period was one that militated heavily against the proper and efficient development of industry in the country. Scarcities of raw materials and the unfortunate dismissal of trained men and their going away to Britain-these were very serious obstacles to the development of industry here. These were a considerable brake on industry here reaching the level of efficiency we would desire within the time we would think would be a reasonable time. War conditions were bad but I think most people will agree that post-war conditions were equally bad, that for, perhaps, three or four years they were worse even than the conditions that obtained during the war. We had the difficulty of getting suitable raw materials and the difficulty of replacing machinery. Then we have had difficulties of this kind: the attitude of so many people towards the earning of profits by capital. In fact, industrialists would be ashamed almost to say that capital had reaped any reward at all.

We had the position where showing a profit was to draw an attack on the industry concerned. Our policy of taxation was one that militated heavily against the development of industry here and one that prevented it reaching efficiency within the time that we would like. These things have got to be taken into account and if they are taken into account then I say that Senator McGuire has no case against the policy that has been carried out here rather intensively since, say, 1933 on.

Senator McGuire has referred to industries which he does not like. What industries are they? I am not asking him now specifically to name them. He might not like to do so and perhaps it would not be fair to name them, but in the proper place perhaps the Senator and people like him would take the opportunity——

You are completely misrepresenting what I said.

——to indicate the industries which are unsuitable and which should never have been given a chance to get going in the country. I have no doubt there will be isolated instances where an industry has failed because capital and labour did not realise their responsibilities to the Government and to the public, but I think on the whole that, instead of expressing dissatisfaction, the occasion is one for expressing satisfaction with what has been achieved.

In regard to the quality of the goods, there have been many opinions as to what the right quality is but I think if we allow for this, that variety is not such as we would like, I think it is still true that by and large quality in Ireland can stand up against any test from any country.

Hear, hear!

I would like to endorse the views expressed by Senator Kissane with regard to the presentation of amendments within a few hours of the sitting of the House. I think they are important amendments, amendments that we might have got due notice of so that we might think them over and make up our minds in a proper way as to what we should do about them. Our views on them we shall express when the time comes, but I join in that protest against the House being treated as it has been in this particular matter.

I support this Bill. I think it is proper that it should come before the House and I think the Seanad will do well by the State and by the people in giving its support to it.

I might perhaps, as the proposer of the three amendments, before I talk on the general principles of the Bill, just say something——

Better leave that until we reach the Committee Stage.

Just the point made by the two Senators about the time of presentation of the amendments. However, I will leave it till later on.

In speaking on the Second Stage I should like to say that I agree with all the speakers so far that in general principle we welcome this Bill, and I welcome the principle underlying it of giving a measure of protection to home industries. Nevertheless, I regard it as our duty here in the Seanad, as it is the duty of members of the Dáil, to examine and scrutinise just precisely what degree of protection is being given in various instances. It is for us, I think, not necessarily to be so familiar with all the details as to be able to give a final decision, but it is for us to ask the Minister or his representative to justify in some detail particular items arising out of the general principles which this Bill represents.

I think we all welcome, as has been said, a reduction of duty in certain cases, as has been proposed by this Bill, or even an abolition of some protective duties. It is quite clear we welcome it. However, in some cases new duties are being introduced here which will more than double the import price. Cotton gloves that are coming in at 54/- will apparently have a duty of 60/- put upon them. It may be that that almost punitive duty has a justification. However, I should like to hear it because that measure of protection seems to me to be very high.

I agree with Senator Kissane that we must give "whatever protection is necessary", and I emphatically agree with Senator McGuire that when we give protection it must only be reasonably protective. It is up to us to ask pointed questions, if necessary, as to what justification there is for the higher duties here suggested. The general principle of protection is one we accept. I can say, without having any Party political axe to grind, that it does not matter to me which Party would like to get the loudest applause for this kind of protection. As Senator McGuire said, the justification for protection lies really in the industry itself —its flourishing state, its finished product and its value to the consumer. I would add that it lies also in the capacity of the industry increasingly to do without protection, or, at any rate, to reduce its need for protection.

As I see it, the protection of our home industry has three main advantages. They are obvious ones. I do not intend to dwell upon them. The first is home employment: Irish workers employed in Ireland. Secondly, home control or, at any rate, a measure of home control by ourselves of the product, its presentation, its marketing, its price, and so forth. I say: a measure of home control of the product. Thirdly, there is the Government guarantee of continuity of production—a continuity of supply of a particular product, even under emergency or wartime conditions. One thinks of sugar in that context. One thinks of the availability of sugar during the last war as opposed to its great scarcity during the 1914-18 war arising from the fact that in 1914-18 we had not got a home sugar industry, whereas in the last war we had. Home employment, home control of the product—a measure of control—and a home guarantee of continuity of supply, even under difficult wartime conditions. For these advantages, we, as a community, as consumers, are ready to pay a little more for the product itself in the retail market, and to our own manufacturers, than it would be necessary, without protective barriers, to pay to an outside manufacturer; and we may be compelled, as we have been in certain cases, to raise protective barriers.

I was interested, nevertheless, to read in this morning's paper—and I read it with entire approval—a reference, at the F.A.O. Conference in Rome, by the Minister for Agriculture to his hope that the countries of the world would see the folly of raising more and more barriers against trade, and would see the advantages of dropping as many as possible of these barriers, in order to allow a free interchange of goods, of supplies, of raw materials and of manpower. In contrast to that, I think anybody who follows the debates in the Council of Europe will recognise that the Irish policy in regard to protection and tariffs—when it comes to a European suggestion that there should be a general lowering of tariffs—is very, very strongly protectionist. We do not appear to be prepared to accept the principle that, with general agreement, we might gradually—imperceptibly—lower these tariffs. As a consequence, when I find a Bill before us to increase certain tariffs or to impose new tariffs, I put the question as to whether it is really necessary to impose all of these, and, if so, whether it is really necessary to raise them as high as all that.

How soft and how deep is it necessary to make the cushions with which our industries, our manufacturers, are to be cushioned? We have a number of metaphors in relation to these new industries of ours. Senator Fearon referred to the umbrella that was given to the infant, I think he said, but the hope was that the infant growing up would be able more and more to dispense with the umbrella. I do not care much what metaphor is used. My hope would be that we would see and have demonstrated in our legislation the logic of the proposition that an infant industry requires more protection than a thriving concern. Yet we seem through this Bill to be saying to thriving adult industries that they require as much protection as or even more protection than an infant industry. If we are to imagine an industry being started in this country to produce, say, product X, it is quite clear that the expenditure, time, thought, imagination—all of these things—will necessarily be at a higher level in the beginning than they will be later on. In putting up buildings, the capital expenditure, equipment, machines, and so forth, will be costly. In other words, the getting going of an industry will be a more costly process than the keeping going of an industry. I would say, furthermore, that those who run any industry worthy of respect will find they are learning monthly, yearly, more and more about production itself, about marketing, and so forth. They will find they are acquiring an increasing body of skill in relation to the production, marketing, advertising, and so forth, of their product. I suggest that that increasing body of knowledge ought so to increase their efficiency as a productive unit as to enable them to do at any rate with slightly less protection than they had to have when they were in the difficult early years. That proposition seems to me to be logically so obvious that I do not intend to labour it further.

Who shall say that a new manufacturer who ceases to be new and has been in the business for five or ten years has, during that period, learned nothing to improve the techniques of his trade and the manufacturing and distributing processes, and consequently requires absolutely to the last per cent. the same measure of protection as he did in the early years? In other words, if we do not find in our new industries—I use the word "new" to cover those that have sprung up, under protection, in the last 15 years or so—increasing efficiency, are we not entitled, when we are asking for new protective barriers, increasing tariffs and so forth, to ask why has there been no increasing efficiency? Are we not entitled to ask: "Are you not any better at all now than when you started, than when you went into business?" The answer to that question by many Irish industries will undoubtedly be: "Yes, we are more efficient. We can produce more efficiently." However, there is—I suppose it is a human reaction—a reluctance to see the logical outcome of that, which is that they could, in fact, do with a shade less protection and sometimes considerably less protection. That is why I welcome one particular item here in relation to which the Minister has gone to the trouble to find out—admittedly at the request of an outside body—the particular efficiency of a particular industry and to reach the conclusion, under the I.D.A., that this industry has been doing so well that they can reduce the protective barrier of 25 per cent., which it used to be, to 20 per cent. That is one example, implemented by the Minister, which I very much welcome, one example of the sort of general pattern I should like to see, that is, a descending sliding scale of duties and protective barriers for industries as, more and more, they prove their efficiency by requiring less and less protection from the State-because this is protection from the State, from all of us here as legislators; and which is, in fact, paid for by the consumer and is, in effect, an indirect subsidising of the manufacturer by the consuming public.

Frequently we are told that subsidies are uneconomic, and that an article must stand on its own feet, that a product must be allowed to "find its own economic price level," and so forth. In actual fact, when we raise a protective barrier, and force the consumer consequently to pay more for a competitive article—for an article that would be more sharply competitive if we had not the duty—I suggest that what we are doing in implementing a Bill of this kind is recognising the principle of asking consumers to pay an indirect subsidy to the manufacturer. I am not saying that that may not be a good principle, but what I am arguing is this: are the manufacturers always aware of this principle and, if so, are they always suitably grateful to the consumer and to the State for this hidden subsidy of their own private enterprise? I am prompted to put that question because I am afraid a number of our industrialists and employers tend to talk more and more —to use a new coined word—about Statism, whenever the State does something which they think interferes with them. However, they have no objection to the State's providing them with a crutch, a bath-chair, a cushion, an umbrella—whatever metaphor you like to use—in order to protect their industry. Statism, as they see it, is merely any suggestion that the State might have a look at how they are running their business, at their efficiency, their prices, their "arrangements" with other manufacturers, and so forth: such community vigilance is called "Statism." We have had the word used in relation to agriculture, to the marketing of onions, the marketing of fish, and so forth, over and over in the past year. Yet it is a generally recognised principle in this country that certain things are the province of the State. We are told that it is the province of the State to decide what books we may read and what books we may not read. The State——

The Senator has wandered somewhat. Statism is not an issue in this Bill and neither is censorship. Will the Senator please remember that?

It is only what books we may not read. It is not what books we may read.

I fail to see the distinction.

Why make the two?

Both are understandable.

It is suggested, I say, by people who are going to be protected by this kind of duty that this kind of protective State intervention is all right, but that any corollary right which the State might take, arising from these protective duties granted by the State to certain industries, to have a look at these industries, is called "unwarranted State intervention". I should like to put this question to the Seanad through the Cathaoirleach. At whose service ultimately do we want to put our community strength, as represented and symbolised by our power to legislate, to give protective duties, to protect? I would expect that we are all agreed that it should be used not simply for private interests but, as far as we can ensure it, for the public good. And, so, if we find a particular industry sheltered behind a protective duty on their products coming in from abroad of 50 per cent.—as is the case in some of these—organising itself, and if there is a small number of manufacturers who insist that the gross profit taken by retailers in relation to that product shall be 50 per cent., and refuse supplies to any retailer who is prepared to take less than a gross profit of 50 per cent., we have got to put the question to ourselves whether this protective duty is being abused; and, if so, should it be modified, and, if so, again, was it, perhaps, too high in the first place?

Senator McGuire spoke about competition. I would agree with all he said and I think what he said is worth looking at again and worth studying. What he said is absolutely sound. He made several points. He made the point that sometimes it may even be to the good of the Irish product to get a little bit of competition from outside and that the unavailability in his experience of certain foreign goods, so far from increasing the saleability of comparable Irish articles, actually produced a slump, because the very element of choice and competition had a beneficial effect on the sale of both. That is something which should be recognised, and I am very glad it was said.

He made the distinction between fair competition and unfair competition. That distinction is often made, but Senator McGuire went further and gave a definition of what he meant. Many people in talking about that do not give a definition. Senator McGuire suggested that the only kind of unfair competition was what might be called "dumping", the bringing in of goods at a concealed subsidy price. Otherwise, he said, let us have a bit of competition, and that will, in fact, improve the Irish market, and will not hit the Irish product.

In my experience some Irish manufacturers—I would not by any means like to say all of them—have no objection at all to being sheltered, cushioned, and protected by the State at the expense of the consumer, but if the consumer is to ask for an account of their stewardship, through such bodies as the Prices Advisory Body and the Fair Trade Commission, then there is an uproar. I think one may mention those two bodies because one was set up by one Government and the other by the other. Therefore, in praising both, one distributes praise fairly evenly.

I should like to suggest that in the principle of this Bill there is, in granting this measure of protection, an implied right to ask the manufacturers what they are doing behind this tariff wall. I think the community have that right and duty. Occasionally one finds a manufacturer saying: "Let us do away with things like the Fair Trade Commission ‘for the sake of freedom'." I am quoting Mr. Dalton, retiring President of the Wireless Dealers' Association.

This reference has no relation at all to the particular Bill before the House.

I am afraid it has.

Mr. Dalton says that the freedom for which they must fight is "the freedom of manufacturers and distributors".

Could we not have a decision from the Chair?

The Chairman will rule when he regards the Senator out of order.

What is the question before the House?

I see no objection to such a request for freedom but I insist also on the freedom of the State machinery to call the manufacturer to account, if he is not serving the community. I would deny their right, behind a protective barrier, to formulate, entirely without supervision, all their own policies, price distribution and supply. I should like to quote from——

I would like to quote the Bill before the House.

Senator Hawkins is dissatisfied—I am not quite sure for what reason—with my mentioning the fact that some of our protected industrialists, although they accept State interference in so far as it erects a tariff barrier around their industry, squeal when the State asks them how they fix prices. I suggest that we have by reason of giving State protection the right to demand a measure of State supervision as to how this protection is being used.

On behalf of the community?

On behalf of the community. Senator Hawkins thinks that that is entirely irrelevant.

The Senator can be sure that Senator Hawkins will not shirk his responsibility when that question arises on the next motion before the House.

I have no capacity for predicting what Senator Hawkins may or may not do, but what I am suggesting now is that he does not like it when I suggest that we have a right, in granting State protection, to ask for a measure of State supervision.

I should like to quote another similar statement, this time by the chairman of a big company—the Sunbeam Wolsey Company. I should like to quote him for two or three reasons— first for a summary by him of precisely what all Irish manufacturers ought to be able to say behind a tarriff wall, when it exists. He says—I am quoting from their annual report which appeared in the daily Press on September 29th:—

"We have scoured the world for knowledge and information to keep our processes at a most advanced stage, and all these businesses operate efficiently, and are always competitive in prices where the economic size of the market and the wage levels are roughly the same as our own."

Would that all our manufacturers could say the same. A statement of that principle seems to me to be the sort of thing one might reasonably expect. We are not asking Irish manufacturers to compete against different wage levels and different economic levels; but where conditions are roughly the same we should like to think they are capable of competing.

The same chairman, nevertheless, finds it necessary to attack in no uncertain terms the Fair Trade Commission which he calls "an unwarranted intrusion on the rights of private enterprise". He asks for its abolition, although he says he is not in favour of the restriction of supply, and yet goes on to postulate his right to supply his goods only to "desirable traders".

I should like to say to the Senator that I have permitted the members of the House to make general remarks with regard to tariff policy. I do not feel I should deny members that opportunity but I think the Senator will appreciate the fact that he is wandering more widely than any other member of the House. I do not want to curb discussion. I want to be fair.

I bow to the ruling of the Chair, and I shall endeavour not to wander too far. The Chair says that I wandered farther than ony other member.

I permitted the Senator to do so.

I would suggest that in that field the competition is pretty intense. All I would say is that many of our Irish industries are doing pretty nicely behind a protective barrier, and when we are asked to institute a new duty I think we have the right to ask for a detailed justification not merely of the putting on of the duty but of the degree of the duty proposed.

I do not propose to say very much more on the Second Stage. As the House knows, I put down three recommendations for the Committee Stage. I should like to say that I welcome in this Bill the reduction, or the abolition, of certain duties. But I feel inclined to resist, particularly in some cases, increases of duties that appear to me to be too high, or unfairly distributed, unless a detailed and convincing case is put before us by the Minister or his Parliamentary Secretary. I shall refer to them on the three recommendations when that stage comes, but the Chair might, perhaps, permit me to say that it was for the purpose of allowing this House, if it wanted to take the Committee Stage to-day rather than put it off until next week, that I made available the recommendations, which I would have been quite entitled to hold until the Second Stage was over and which would have entailed a few days of the time of this House next week. That might have meant inconvenience for the House. It might have inconvenienced the Department and the Minister, because I understood it was the desire of the Minister to get the Committee Stage to-day if possible.

When it was suggested that my amendments might be circulated before the Second Stage was finished, I agreed. They were circulated in printed form this morning, but they were circulated yesterday in duplicated form. I should be quite happy to have this matter considered for a full week, and it is not my desire at all to rush this. If the Senators who have referred to the swift manner in which these amendments were put in feel strongly about it, I hope they will get up and ask that the Committee Stage be deferred to next week.

Like nearly every other speaker, I am favourable to the general principle of this Bill, subject to some explanations which the Parliamentary Secretary may offer. The last Senator has taken advantage of this measure to give the House the benefit of a considerable amount of philosophy on economics and on protection versus free trade. Like much academic philosophy, it would be improved if it were brought closer to realities as a result of practical experience.

I do think he was far away from the practical experience.

For example, the Senator said that while a new industry might be entitled to a measure of protection, that protection should be gradually withdrawn as the industry gains experience and efficiency. He laid that down as a definite principle.

I said not that it should be withdrawn, but that it should be in some measure reduced.

That means exactly the same thing, that it should be modified, withdrawn partially or completely. That would be quite true if conditions remained static, exactly as they were when the industry was established. We all know that in the general world of trade conditions change from year to year. A new industry might be established when conditions of competition might be reasonably fair. In five years, when that industry had become more efficient, a large-scale attempt at dumping, disguised or otherwise, might be operated by some outside interest. Another circumstance could arise, in which the workers in that industry, who in the initial stages of its development might be satisfied with a relatively low wage, might demand a substantial increase in remuneration and if the industry, though increasing in experience and efficiency, were to have its measure of protection withdrawn or curtailed it would probably be brought to a standstill or closed down. I am sure Senator Sheehy Skeffington would not welcome such a development. That is just an indication of how economic philosophy of an academic nature may not be in strict accordance with realities. In the same way, Senator Sheehy Skeffington strongly condemned representatives of this country, irrespective of what Government was in power, standing up rather resolutely for the maintenance of protection——

I do not think he was far away from the practical experience.

——in the Council of Europe and other international assemblies. Here again you are dealing with a position in which our representatives were defending a small and to a considerable extent undeveloped nation, whereas the advocates of the removal of all protective tariffs might be speaking on behalf of well-developed or over-developed industrial nations with very substantial resources. Surely some distinction ought to be drawn between a nation which is only 30 years in the enjoyment of the power to protect its own industries and nations which have had hundreds of years, perhaps, of enjoyment of self-government and the right to protect their own industries?

We know that 200 or 300 years ago Britain was very violently and very vigorously protecting her own industries, even against the subject nation of Ireland—or the nation she endeavoured to make subject—by industrial protection and we know that by intense methods of protection—perhaps that would be a mild word to use—they suppressed industrial development here for the benefit of their manufactures. Surely a small nation starting out to establish its foothold in the world economy should be allowed to protect its own citizens, its own workers and its own manufactures? In the same way, Senator Sheehy Skeffington loudly applauded a statement made by one of our Ministers in Rome in regard to "the free exchange of men, money and materials." If we had a free exchange of men, money and materials, I wonder how long our little country would survive.

We export men freely.

We did. A hundred years ago we had a very free exchange of materials as well as of men and as a result we wiped out more than half of our population. That was practically 100 years ago. Whatever about exporting men, it is true that the measures of protection that have been adopted over the past 20 years have provided employment here for 100,000 of our own people. That is a substantial achievement in 20 years, seeing that eight of those 20 years were years of emergency in which it was very difficult to secure essential supplies to keep our industries going. Nevertheless, we have made substantial progress. For that reason, I am favourable to this Bill, inasmuch as it seeks to preserve and maintain that protection which was initiated 20 years ago.

While the Bill seeks to provide increased duties for a variety of products, there is provision in the Schedule for the reduction of the duty on slashers and slash hooks, which are manufactured here—very efficiently I must say—by at least one Irish firm and I think by several. I would welcome this reduction if it were dictated by the fact that the duty is no longer necessary, but if it is dictated by outside interests we should like to know how strongly, if at all, that dictation was opposed. I would like to know also if the effect of this reduction will be to reduce production at home or to reduce employment. I am quite sure some investigations have been made in regard to this particular matter.

With regard to the entire revocation of duty on display stands for business purposes, I am quite sure that that revocation was dictated by the failure of the Irish industries concerned to provide the goods. I understand that is the reason for the revocation. I would like to ask the Parliamentary Secretary if there was more than one firm engaged in this line of manufacture and, if not, if any attempts were made to promote the manufacture of those products elsewhere. It is a very small industry and a very light industry. All over the country we have development committees seeking to have industries established in the small towns and villages and anxious to know of some particular line of production which they could undertake. I would like to know if this particular industry was brought to the notice of people anxious to promote a new industry and if all possible efforts were made to have it undertaken here. We have an Industrial Development Authority and it should be one of their functions to promote industries of this kind. I would expect that they would have submitted to the Minister a report on their efforts to ensure that this particular industry would be put on a sound footing or that a new industry would be established elsewhere to take advantage of that protective tariff before it was abolished. If all efforts failed, then the Minister was quite justified in revoking the tariff. If manufacturers fail to produce the protected commodities efficiently and at a reasonable price, the tariff must go, but not until the matter has been well investigated.

I have no comment to make on angle-iron fencing. I think the conversion of angle-iron into fencing or sticks or posts could hardly be regarded as a manufacturing industry, or as providing much employment.

With regard to the substantially increased duty on milk cans, I would like the Parliamentary Secretary to tell the House how that will affect prices. I would like a clear statement as to how the prices of milk cans will be affected by this tariff. The tariff is fairly substantial, but it does not follow—and I am not one of those who hold that it follows—that the amount of the tariff would be passed on to the consumer. In this case the consumer is the producer—that is to say, the consumer of milk cans is the producer of milk, and he is finding his costs of production and his difficulties sufficiently trying at the present time. An increase in his production costs would be very unwelcome at the present moment. I am not one of those who hold that a potentially useful industry in the manufacture of milk cans should be closed down merely because there is a temporary increase in the cost of the cans. I hold that if the increase is substantial its effect on milk production should be taken into account and that any investigation that is being held into the cost of producing milk should include such an imposition, if there is an imposition. I think the dairying industry generally, being an important industry, is entitled to have a statement as to how exactly the Parliamentary Secretary anticipates that the price of cans supplied to farmers will be affected by this tariff.

No increase.

I am in general agreement with the statements made by Senator Kissane and Senator Ó Buachalla, but I should like to dissent from the Order increasing the duty on milk cans. Farmers engaged in milk production think the cost of producing milk is already too high. A commission has been dealing with the costs of production for the past three or four years but, so far, the costs have not been produced. In my view, it would be desirable that that part of this Order be deleted until such time as the costings in connection with milk production are produced.

The general body of farmers believe that milk is being produced at an uneconomic price and now they will wonder why the price of milk cans should be increased. I want to impress on the Seanad that I dissent from that Order because I believe the time is inopportune. That is my own personal belief: I am not speaking for any Party or any other body but myself when I say that I dissent from that part of the Order.

When I read the debate on this Bill in the other House I saw that it was allowed to go a little wider than the terms of the Bill but I do not propose to seek your indulgence in trying to widen the Bill here. So much has been said that I should like to suggest that, if Senators are agreeable, we put down a motion to discuss the whole question in a wider sense. A discussion on the Order here for tariffs narrows the debate and we cannot follow anything to its logical conclusion.

In any of the points that have been made—and many of them were admirable—you immediately find you have to seal them off when they show any form of development. The result is that the evolution of one's thought is stultified. Therefore, I suggest to the House that we could fruitfully put down a motion and presume that the Minister or the Parliamentary Secretary would be prepared to come here and help us and give us his opinion on these matters.

I come now to the Bill. One of the things the Minister for Industry and Commerce must have regard to is the protection of industries that are manufacturing here from native materials. For example, we have established a steel industry in Cork. Anyone using steel in this country for the manufacture of products—and particularly for the export of products—must insist that they buy steel at a competitive price from the factory manufacturing the steel and steel products in this country. If they are not put in a position to do that, then they are at a great disadvantage: I presume they would even be put in the position of asking for a further tariff to protect them. I have heard of one or two cases where local steel is higher than the imported commodity and when I get some specific information I am going to send it to the Minister.

In this Bill, there is a protection for felt. I hope the people who are manufacturing this felt will use as little of the measure of protection as is necessary because tariffs are often put on for the purpose of allowing the home market to be used. I say now that the home market ought not be abused. Manufacturers should try—and, by and large, the majority of them do—to sell considerably below the amount of the tariff. It is quite common that a person who has the benefit of a 25 per cent. tariff is selling at only 10 per cent. or 15½ per cent. over the price of the imported article if it were allowed in free of duty.

I sometimes believe it might be better if we used a low tariff and a quota because there is the question of variety in a small market such as ours. I think the shadow Minister for Industry and Commerce said in the other House that one of the difficulties with regard to this tariff on bill-hooks and slashers was that another trader in a town might like to have a different brand and a different style so that he might be able to say: "That is a better one than you will get at Messrs. X." We are up against that difficulty. I think a small tariff and a quota would suit that type of trading and anybody with any experience of trading will know that that is so. Therefore, I suggest that that is one of the things that might be considered. I believe the Department of Industry and Commerce and the Minister for Industry and Commerce and the Parliamentary Secretary would be able to see that quotas of that sort would in no way be abused —but there is that danger.

Senator Sheehy Skeffington mentioned that we should be allowed to inspect industries because we give protection. The real reason why we are giving protection here is that we have a market of only 3,000,000 people. Our neighbours across the water have a market of 50,000,000 in the United Kingdom alone and I suppose they have at least another 50,000,000 in the Empire and the dependencies: that means that they have a market of 100,000,000 persons, at least. Consider the position of our manufacturers as against British manufacturers—not to say anything about our friend, Uncle Sam. His productive capacity is so enormous that I suppose that if he worked for a day in one of these industries he would be able to supply all that we would require for a full 12 months. That is why I am suggesting for consideration a quota and a small tariff rather than a high tariff. It would be a pity if having given that protection to cushion us against these very large competitors, we should think it our right to interfere with the day-to-day workings of an industry. I doubt if civil servants, trained in that way, would have any real experience in the working of industry.

I now find myself in the difficulty that this Bill gives, namely, that I cannot develop further. With our whole system of taxation and the types of industries we have here, we must naturally have a small industry. Taxation was designed originally to suit big industry in Britain and you would have to orientate the system of taxation to suit our needs. Our industries employ from 50 to 100 persons rather than 1,000 to 10,000 persons, as if the case, say, in America in a comparable form of industry. It is obvious, therefore, that our whole set-up would have to be very different.

I thought it was wise of the Minister to remove tariffs in favour of industries that were not producing in this country certain display figures, shapes or stands. No doubt the Minister felt the best thing he could do was to remove the protection given to them. I should like the Minister to continue along that line. I am managing director of a particular firm and in our business we always want parts for various types of refrigerators. No refrigerators are manufactured in this country but, nevertheless, we have to apply for a licence when we want to import. I have found that recently the post office authorities are lenient with regard to allowing in small matters but lack of a part worth maybe a couple of pounds might impede the production of a large industry and these parts and the machines themselves are not manufactured in this country. I suggest to the Parliamentary Secretary that he continue that process of removing from the list of protected industries those industries which are no longer manufacturing or really seeking adequate protection in this country.

I shall take the opportunity of putting down a motion, with any other members who might like to be associated with it, so that when the Minister feels he has the time he can come here and discuss this all-important problem with us in its widest implications.

We all agree that our Irish industries deserve protection— necessary protection. People with whom I am associated are as keen about giving protection to Irish industries as any other people. I was somewhat amazed by remarks made here this afternoon. We heard one person say that labour and capital do not appreciate their responsibilities.

The former Minister for Industry and Commerce prepared a Bill in 1947 known as the Industrial Prices and Efficiency Bill. In that Bill, he proposed joint councils on which labour and the employers would have joint responsibility. The Irish Manufacturers' Association issued an alarming statement in which they said that, so far as they were concerned, under no circumstances would they allow the workers to have any say whatever in industry. A line could be drawn there—that labour had a greater sense of responsibility in developing Irish industries than the Irish manufacturers.

It is only fair to say, also, that the industries of this country have been bad since they got protection. I mentioned the profits here for 1938 on another occasion and the profits for 1944. It was an amazing picture. The wages and the status and the standard of living of the workers did not rise at the same rate as the rise in the industrialists' profits, and so forth.

It is unfair to say that anybody was too critical of the industrialists. If we are paying for protection—and paying dearly sometimes—and if we find that certain industrialists are not taking advantage of it but just sitting back and exploiting the home market, are we not entitled to say that the State should come in and see that the community are not exploited? I do not disagree with Senator Sheehy Skeffington about the State's having that right. Certainly the State should have that right. Some of the Senators applauded the Minister because some protection was omitted in this Bill. If the State gives protection surely it has an equal right to investigate those industries which are protected.

I can assure the House that we are behind the Minister and the Government in affording protection to Irish industry. I could make some comments about some industries which got very strong protection. They did very well and were paying good dividends to their shareholders and giving a good many bonuses. I think we should have a fair calculation as to how industrialists and industry are protected. Reference was made to profits. Nobody suggests that people should not have something but we have not yet got back to the conception as to what industry stands for or what are the functions of industry. Something more than finding profits should be the function of industry.

Some Senators spoke about the reduction of tariffs but if there was more State intervention and investigation there would be less necessity for tariffs in certain industries and yet there could still be good industrial profits made and the productivity would not be any the less from an industrial point of view. We are prepared to stand behind this Bill and we are prepared to give industry every opportunity of development. As far as the people with whom I am associated are concerned we have made as many sacrifices and have done as much for the development and protection of industry as anybody else in the country. That is why we have a Bill like the present one before us.

Judging from the general discussion which took place, everybody seems to be agreeable to the passing of this Bill. The Bill itself shows the detailed manner in which the Minister has gone into the question of protection. It shows that in some cases increased protection has taken place whilst in others the protection has been reduced and yet in others it has been removed altogether. The Bill shows that the Minister has gone into this whole matter in a very detailed way. It does not give protection simply for the sake of protection.

Senator Kissane and others mentioned profit. Any industry in this country which is protected is also subject to control and practically all their accounts are submitted annually to the Department to have them examined with a view to seeing that reasonable profits—and only reasonable profits— are gathered from their endeavours.

Senator McGuire spoke about protection in general and indiscriminate protection. I can assure the House that before the Government or the Minister can give any protection to any industry there is a very detailed examination as to the price and quality of the goods and the ability of that industry to supply the home market in full. Before an industry gets protection that industry has to prove that a reasonably good article is produced for the Irish consumer.

Senator Fearon mentioned the matter of underfelt and so also did Senator Burke. There is a very big line of underfelt being manufactured in this country and anybody requiring supplies of underfelt which are not manufactured in this country will get duty free import licences freely. I think that covers that point.

Senator Ó Buachalla made reference to indiscriminate tariffs. I think that in general both industrialists and workers have succeeded very well. I think the only industry that ever failed in this country was an industry which failed through inefficient management. That was due, I am sure, to the lack of tradition and lack of suitable people with the knowledge of running these businesses either as managers or secretaries.

Senator Sheehy Skeffington spoke about the price of gloves. He said the price of imported gloves would be doubled as the result of this tariff. The duty on fabric gloves is intended solely to keep out low-priced Far Eastern gloves which were on offer at prices with which the Irish manufacturer could not possibly compete. The duty on gloves imported from the United Kingdom and Canada still remains as it was. There is no change there.

Senator Sheehy Skeffington also referred to the question of reduction and spoke about hidden subsidies. Protection is necessary in a small country like ours no matter how efficient our industries are. We cannot have the same long runs in industries in regard to a particular item. Our mills cannot, as they do in England and other places, specialise in the production of certain items. The mill here has to produce a large variety of items. That increases costs to a level higher than you would have in any other country. No matter how efficiently we can run our industries here, unless it is built up to have a very large production through exports, we cannot hope to reduce our costs. In other countries these industries have very large markets at their very doorsteps. The Industrial Development Authority at the request of the Minister carried out reviews as to the efficiency of protected industries over a number of years and the results of protection in those industries.

Senators Cogan and O'Callaghan raised the question of slashers and milk cans. A review was asked for by the British Board of Trade. That was held by the Industrial Development Authority. Evidence was taken from the people who wanted to have the tariff removed and also from the manufacturers here. That firm gave evidence. The tariff was reduced. The firm in question has not so far made any representations. I take it for granted that it has not increased the importation of slash-hooks.

Nor will it increase the price?

Not in the slightest.

It will decrease the price.

If anything. Senator O'Callaghan spoke about milk cans. I mentioned in my opening remarks that the industry producing the milk cans was equipped to turn out the full requirements of the country in cans up to 12 gallons capacity. Although the home produced cans were protected in price with the list prices of similarly imported cans there was evidence that exporters in other countries were manipulating prices to bring them down to or below Irish prices notwithstanding the duty payable. These people have guaranteed to the Minister that there will be no increase in the price of milk cans due to the increase in duty. I think it is most essential that this country should have that industry. If it was put out of being, I wonder would these people exporting cans to this country be manipulating prices to bring them down to what they are now? I think this firm deserves praise for being able to produce these articles at competitive world prices at the present time.

Question put and agreed to.

Before we decide to take the next stage——

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

That has been decided.

I should like to express an opinion. There seems to me to be a strong body of opinion that we do not take the Committee Stage now.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The House has decided that the next stage should be taken now.

Sections 1 and 2 agreed to.
SCHEDULE.
The following recommendations stood in the name of Dr. Sheehy Skeffington:—
1. To delete the following:—

No. 105 of 1955

Emergency Imposition of Duties (No. 350) (Gloves) (No. 2) Order, 1955.

Imposition of specific duties on certain knitted woollen gloves.

2. To delete the following:—

No. 169 of 1955.

Emergency Imposition of Duties (No. 355) (Milk Cans) Order, 1955.

Increase in duty on certain milk cans.

3. To delete the following:—

No. 173 of 1955.

Emergency Imposition of Duties (No. 357) (Margarine) Order, 1955.

Amendment of duty on margarine.

For the purpose of brevity, I might propose that these three alterations be discussed together. I think I should be in order in suggesting that, as they are all alterations connected with the Schedule. I am a little surprised that those Senators who were so anxious to have longer time for consideration should now feel that they would like after all to take the Committee Stage at once.

Not all the Senators.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Would the Senator be prepared to take the three recommendations together?

Yes. Whether or not a long time is required, I should like to give my reasons for the three recommendations, in order. The first one is to delete Order No. 105 of 1955 which relates to the duty on knitted woollen gloves. Before I give my reason for moving this particular portion of the amendment, I should like to remind the Seanad that by reason of the fact that this is a Money Bill no Senator can move an amendment which is simply a modification. I personally should have preferred to propose a modification of this Order, because my objection to it is only on the ground of one detail. I do not object to the general principle of the tariff. I recognise the utility and the necessity of protecting this industry which, as the Parliamentary Secretary told us, is centred mainly in Donegal, where the people produce these knitted woollen gloves. They probably have very few other sources of income.

My objection is that the rate of duty proposed for men's woollen gloves is equivalent to 72 per cent. and the rate proposed for women's gloves is equivalent to roughly 70 per cent., but—and this is what I object to—the rate on children's gloves is 100 per cent. That is the detail I object to. I should like to see a uniform percentage in respect of men's, women's and children's gloves. I think that parents have quite enough to do to try and cope with paying for children's clothing, which is very far from being cheap, and which has to be provided more often than adult clothing. I think it is wrong not merely to vary the sum of money of the duty, but actually the percentage duty on children's clothes which is considerably higher. I should have no objection to its being lower than for adults in order to benefit the parents, but it is actually higher than the duty on adult gloves. If it had been possible for me to propose an amendment which would simply bring that duty into line with the other two duties I should have been happy to do so, but that, under the rules of the House, is not possible. If, on the other hand, it were decided to delete this Order, the Minister—I speak subject to correction—could make another such Order to-morrow morning, enshrining a percentage which would be the same for all these gloves. That Order would have, of course, to come before the Oireachtas within a period of eight months, but there is no difficulty about that. In other words, if we delete this Order now, the Minister can to-morrow make a fresh Order along lines which would seem, I hope, more equitable to this House. Consequently, by moving the deletion of this Order I do not feel that any harm or injustice will be done, because it is well within the power of the Minister to make a fresh Order to-morrow morning. I do not think I will stress that part. That is my only objection to it—the much higher duty on children's gloves comparatively with that on adult gloves.

The second point has already been referred to by two Senators. There is a proposal to increase the duty on certain milk cans. The point has already been made, and it was Senator Cogan, I think, who made it, that the person who pays this increased price, if it means an increased price, will be the milk producer. It may ultimately be the milk consumer. I think we ought to be very hesitant indeed in proposing an increased duty on such an essential element in relation to a section of our agricultural production. It is quite possible for a person to say "I will do without a new pair of gloves this year", but if a milk producer requires a new 12-gallon can, he simply cannot do without it. Therefore, in asking him to pay more, I think you are doing something wrong. Now, the Parliamentary Secretary, in dealing with this particular item since it was objected to by one or two Senators, has said, in defence of the Order, that the local firm can meet the full requirements of the country in this respect. I wonder is that either necessary or desirable? I wonder what effect it might have upon the continuing high quality of these milk cans to have virtually no effective competition? I am wondering, along the lines of what Senator McGuire said earlier, whether it might not be a good thing to have a choice, at a comparable price, between a good Irish product and a good non-Irish product. Let the choice be more or less at a comparable price, not necessarily at the same price. I am not satisfied that we want always to fulfil all our local requirements from Irish industry. I think a little margin for competition would be extremely healthy for the quality and the durability of the article, and I think the Parliamentary Secretary might perhaps deal a little bit more with that point.

I have no knowledge at all of the relative merits of 12-gallon milk cans. I am so ignorant that I sometimes call them milk churns, but I am sure Senator Cogan will be able to tell us what constitutes a good 12-gallon can, what constitutes a middling 12-gallon can and what constitutes a not so good 12-gallon can. It seems to me that the element of durability, seeing what is done to these cans, as one sees them dealt with along the roads, is a very important factor.

I am not criticising the Irish product. I do not know. I am quite prepared to be told that it is as good as, or better than, anything that can be brought in. If it is, then it can stand on that merit, because the farmer is no fool and he knows a good milk can, presumably, better than I do when he sees it.

It is a good job for himself.

I did not catch that.

It is a good job for himself he does.

It is a good job for himself, and it is obvious that the Irish farmer must be the person to decide, but if we decide that he shall have no choice, then that capacity of his to choose may become atrophied.

The Parliamentary Secretary has told us that some foreign firms have been "manipulating prices" in order to bring them down below the Irish price. I should like to hear just a little bit more about that. It is quite obvious that there might be, say, British firms whose efficiency has lately been increased. I do not know whether these cans come from Britain. Perhaps they come from Denmark, Scandinavia or France, but it might be that these foreign firms have increased their efficiency, and that the reason why there is a drop in the price of the product is that they are being more efficient at their business. If that is so I do not think it would be quite fair to call that "manipulating price". It would mean that the Irish firm is beginning to feel the wind of competition. I think that might be no harm. It may be that the Parliamentary Secretary has evidence of something that could really be called "manipulation".

There is no competition among monopolies.

No, but if we have a foreign product and a home product there must be a measure of competition. Perhaps it can be faced by Irish industry.

I should like to have an explanation of the term "manipulating prices." It is possible the Parliamentary Secretary can tell us that they are being "dumped," that they are subsidising the price. I wonder can he tell us are these foreign firms selling these cans cheaper in Ireland than in their own country? Unless he can say that, I must reject this term "manipulating prices," as not being an accurate description of the Irish firm feeling a certain amount of outside competition.

For these reasons I would move this second recommendation, in the hope that the Minister will accept it, delete this particular Order, and decide that it is not necessary to raise the tariff on these milk cans from 15 per cent. to 37½ per cent. It is quite a jump, and I believe that the farmers will not like it. I believe they may even say so, forcibly, to some representatives more closely in touch with them than I am.

My third recommendation is that the increase in the duty on margarine should be deleted. The Minister dealt with this in the Dáil, and the Parliamentary Secretary said much the same thing to us here to-day. I should like to quote what the Minister said—column 359 of Volume 153, No. 3. He says:—

"When this duty was originally imposed it was equivalent to anad valorem rate of 50 per cent. and under this protection the industry developed to the point where the full requirements of the market were being supplied by the Irish manufacturers.”

He goes on to say that since money values have altered, 3d. a lb. duty, which was the earlier customs duty, was no longer equivalent to 50 per cent. and says:—

"To keep the industry adequately protected it was decided to convert the specific duty into anad valorem duty at the rate of 50 per cent. (full).”

He goes on to say that in order to keep the industry "adequately protected" it was decided to convert the specific duty into anad valorem duty at the rate of 50 per cent. full. My amendment is not moved for the purpose of suggesting that there should be no duty, but for the purpose of suggesting that 50 per cent. is too high. It is not within my power to propose that the 50 per cent. should be 40 per cent.: I must either move the deletion, or drop my recommendation. It is possible for the Minister, however, to make a fresh Order to-morrow which will not put on such a heavy duty.

The Minister has asked for the duty to be brought into line as a percentage with what it was away back in 1927. I should like to relate that to something said earlier about the general principle of these protective barriers. Can we say that to be "adequately protected"—in his phrase—the Irish margarine industry requires as high a percentage tariff barrier as it required in 1927? There may be factors to explain that it does, but if there are, we should be told of them. I feel that we might be told that this industry is so well run—as I believe it is—that it could afford to compete favourably with imported products on a slightly smaller percentage tariff rate than was necessary in its initial years, as is indicated by the 50 per cent. duty in 1927. Consequently, I am proposing the deletion of this Order—not to suggest that there should not be any increase in the tariff from the 3d. per lb., but to suggest that to bring things back to the way they were in 1927, for an industry that has grown in efficiency I hope, is to give them a little bit too much protection, which might be bad for them.

As a person interested in manufacture, I would wish—as I am sure other manufacturers would wish—to have the same safety and protection that the Senator who has just spoken has mentioned. He speaks a great deal about manufacture and says that manufacturers who needed a tariff in 1927 should not need anything like that degree of tariff at this stage. I would remind him that food manufacturers in this country are competing against world combines that threaten their individual existence. I would draw attention to one thing, that you always have the vagaries of human behaviour with regard to advertising. These world combines have the world Press—of which we get a share here— plugging their products all the time very attractively. It has not been argued anywhere that the Irish goods are not as good as the foreign combine ones, but I repeat that the attractiveness of international advertising— which comes in in every magazine and every paper, costing vast amounts of money that no Irish manufacturer could hope to compete with—is the sort of competition that the Irish manufacturer, however efficient, is up against.

Another speaker said that you need variety of goods to keep the market pepped up to attract the customer. There is no need for that pepping up in the matter of food: we all have to eat every week. The one thing that is important in the manufacture of food is that it be consistently good. We do not want variety, if the article produced is consistently good, if the customer has not been diverted by these very attractive magazine advertisements. I am afraid most of our life nowadays is conducted on a sort of woman's journal approach to life, how it would be easier if we did this or that; and we get all our information about food, what to buy and how to cook it from these magazines. That is one of the things Irish manufacturers of food products are up against.

There is a fear in the mind of Senator Sheehy Skeffington that this protection may raise the price of the goods, but I think we can allay his fears. When these foreign goods were coming in they were never as cheap, on the same price level, as the Irish goods. The only reason for foreign goods getting in here at all is, I repeat, this advertising with which we cannot compete, no matter how efficient we may be and no matter how much money we have, since any quantity of money we have is just as petty cash to what these people could spend. Therefore, in some instances I think these amendments are without thought and without much common sense.

Senator Cogan has said that Senator Sheehy Skeffington speaks so academically. I do not profess to know business inside out, but I would repeat that it would be very happy and pleasant for manufacturers if they could be so sure of their everyday living as Senator Sheehy Skeffington must feel.

As one who lives in the village in which practically all the production of knitted gloves is done, I am fairly familiar with the conditions in that industry. Formerly, there were quantitative restrictions which prevented the dumping here of cheap gloves produced under slave labour conditions in the Far East. Some months ago these quantitative restrictions were removed and consequently the Irish market was wide open to the dumping of this particular commodity. Accordingly, it was necessary for the trade interests to have long discussions with the Department of Industry and Commerce in order to protect that Irish market. For that reason the Department agreed to the imposition of the duties set out in the Schedule hereto.

While the duty on children's gloves according to value may be somewhat higher than it is in the case of women's and men's gloves, the actual duty is less as far as the quantity is concerned. The industry concerned would not have requested that particular duty if they felt they could compete by a lesser duty than the 30/-, which is 100 per cent. duty in that particular case. As the Parliamentary Secretary has mentioned already, the duty on United Kingdom and Canadian gloves is still only 25 per cent. Consequently, gloves can be imported—children's, men's, and women's—at that particular rate. For that reason, I would ask the House to accept the imposition as set out in the Schedule.

I just wish to say a few words on these three recommendations. The House ought to welcome the fact that Senator Sheehy Skeffington put them on the Order Paper for to-day. On other occasions we have left Imposition of Orders Bills go through the House automatically or with very little discussion. Unfortunately, there seems to be an idea that to discuss tariffs and their imposition in any way is to attack Irish industry. That is not the case at all. It is surely desirable that in any Chamber such as this the tariff policy which is designed to foster Irish industry and to give good service to the public and which, therefore, should be for the general good should be discussed in the way we have discussed it to-day. We owe a debt to Senator Skeffington for putting down these recommendations. The discussion has cleared the air about many things in favour of the Irish manufacturer. When Orders were made and merely passed automatically people thought that the Irish manufacturer was getting away with murder, but when we see something that may seem unreasonable in an Order of that kind and are able to discuss it as we have done to-day, and hear an explanation from the Minister as to why these particular tariffs are imposed, we see that they are reasonable and good. I would like in connection with these three recommendations that the Minister should look into them and if, as in the case of the gloves, there seems to be some little case the matter should be left to the courts.

On the Second Stage I asked the Parliamentary Secretary if he could give an assurance that the effect of these increases in tariff on milk cans would not be to increase the price of cans. The Parliamentary Secretary has given that assurance and I accept it. There are circumstances in which it is necessary to impose a fairly substantial tariff in order to protect the Irish manufactured commodity even though it is not the intention of the Irish manufacturer to raise the price to the extent of the tariff. Such tariffs are necessary to prevent what I described as an actual or disguised dumping of imported goods. It is very easy to understand that a very large firm manufacturing a certain product and with a world-wide market could for a short time reduce the price of that product on our limited market with the sole intention of eliminating Irish competition, and having done so proceed at once to increase the price and recoup itself for any loss suffered through this process. It is in circumstances such as this that it is sometimes necessary to impose a fairly substantial tariff. I am satisfied that the Minister has consulted with his Department and the Parliamentary Secretary has full authority for the assurance he has given that there will be no substantial increase in the prices of these cans here.

I have no intention of entering into a discussion with Senator Sheehy Skeffington with regard to the relative merits of different types of cans. As far as Irish firms are concerned they are not interested in the manufacture of middle cans or inferior cans. They are only interested in the manufacture of good milk cans. If Senator Sheehy Skeffington wants to know what a good can is, it is one which will hold the milk and keep out the rain and stand up to a fair amount of rough treatment, because milk cans do undoubtedly receive rough treatment. I am not going to encourage Senator Sheehy Skeffington to dance the cancan about milk cans to-day.

There is just one point I would like to discuss. Mention was made of margarine, and I must agree thoroughly with what Senator Mrs. Dowdall said in regard to the influences on the consumer of the advertising by those outside combines. I will not follow her, however, into the rather personal remarks which I think should not be made in this House. There is one point in which I am interested in regard to the duties on margarine. I read in some British paper recently that under the Board of Trade Regulations in Britain the manufacturers of margarine are obliged to add certain vitamins to their products, and by the addition of those vitamins the nourishment value of the products would be somewhat equal to butter. We have not yet reached the stage in this country where some parents do not have to use margarine, and I would like to know whether the product produced here is up to the same level in regard to vitamin content as the products which are being rightly discriminated against by this Order. That is the only point I would like to make, and perhaps if the Parliamentary Secretary has not got the information Senator Mrs. Dowdall would like to help me in this matter?

With reference to the recommendation proposed by Senator Sheehy Skeffington I would like to point out that the Federation of Irish Manufacturers have through their group passed a resolution and had it accepted by the Minister that the duty should be fixed by them.

We have had gloves mentioned here by Senator Walsh, and leather gloves have been mentioned, made by Irish manufacturers, which are reasonable in price. But there are gloves which are offered to Irish manufacturers by Hong Kong and China at such unreasonable terms that you could not afford to pay the girls a sufficient wage to earn the price.

You must forgive me, Leas-Chathaoirleach, because my speech is affected.

Somebody mentioned milk cans here. I will vouch for this personally that the milk cans made by the Irish manufacturers not alone compete in price on the home market, but the manufacturers are exporting every one they can produce at the moment.

If you delete tariffs as some people suggest you have to think of a whole lot of serious matters—not only industrial protection but the whole future of the country.

The first recommendation is concerning knitted gloves. Senator Sheehy Skeffington asked if that could be brought down a little. The percentage is not significant as the intention was to keep out all those goods and no one is called upon to pay the duty. The difficulty arose from the difficulty in reconciling prices over a wide range. Really, we are not allowing these gloves in at all, under any circumstances. There is only a 25 per cent. duty on United Kingdom and Canadian gloves. This industry is situated in County Donegal and 100 full-time factory workers are engaged there. In addition, 1,500 home workers are engaged in seasonal employment in the same industry. I understand—and this should give great satisfaction to the Seanad—there is a very substantial export trade from Donegal in these gloves. Surely that is proof that the industry is able to stand on its own feet?

Why should children's gloves have a higher duty?

There is no difference between them because the intention is to keep these gloves out of the market. The rates of labour where they are produced are very low and no manufacturer here or in any comparable country could meet that competition.

Why have 70 per cent. in one case and 100 per cent. in another case?

I suppose the Minister was advised to do that.

But why was the price given?

There is the difficulty of calculation, and so forth. However, I do not think any would come in at all at these prices. I have already given a fairly good explanation about milk cans. Evidence was furnished to the Department that these firms were selling milk cans on the Irish market at the same price as they were selling them on their home market while, at the same time, they were paying 10 per cent. or 15 per cent. duty on these cans. That, in itself, shows there was a manipulation of prices. The firms here are well able to meet the full market for milk cans.

The margarine industry did not need any higher tariff whatever until continental firms sent margarine here at lower prices than they were getting on the home market, although they paid the tariff. There can be no question but that that is dumping. We had to protect margarine, as well as other things, against this unfair competition.

I think I have the right to reply. I shall not keep the house long, but I should like to deal with some of the points made. Senator Mrs. Dowdall mentioned very strongly the question of advertising. I think her point was sound, but I am not convinced that it warrants the imposition of so high a duty as 50 per cent. She said I spoke "academically" and used the phrase of Senator Cogan. In my opinion, no Senator speaks more academically than Senator Cogan. I listen to him with pleasure, just as if I were sitting at the feet of a professor—which, incidentally, I personally am not.

I had hoped that Senator Cogan, who likes to appear as the bluff practical man in touch with reality, might have given us a little whiff of reality in relation to milk cans and Irish products. I hoped he would give some facts, figures, costings, comparative prices, and so forth. I hoped he would give us some information as to the real durability of the respective milk cans, as to whether there is variation, and so forth. I am afraid Senator Cogan remained very lofty and produced no facts, figures or costings. In fact, he gave us no information at all on the comparative merits of the imported and the home products. I believe that such information would be very interesting. I believe that Senator Cogan has that information. I am very sorry that he did not give it to us.

I am sorry also that Senator Mrs. Dowdall did not give us facts, figures and costings, because this is the place to mention them. I should like to hear just what measure of protection is required. The Parliamentary Secretary says, and Mrs. Dowdall says, and many other people say: "We need 50 per cent. because our costs are high and because people are dumping." I should like to hear a little more of the facts and figures behind that statement. It is very easy to say: "Give us 50 per cent." It is just as easy to say: "Give us 75 per cent." I should like to hear such an appeal backed with information on costings, prices, competition, and so forth.

Senator Murphy asked a very valuable question. It was on the same point of comparative value and comparative quality. The Parliamentary Secretary did not answer that question on the vitamin content of the Irish product as compared with the other. That is a question which I think could be answered entirely in favour of the Irish product. I speak open to correction, but I think you can say that modern Irish margarine contains the same added vitamins A and D as any imported product. I think that that should be said, and that there should be a feeling among those who speak on behalf of the manufacturers that they ought to justify their points of view, and not simply lay down the law.

Senator O'Donnell—whom I am very glad to see back here again—made the point that the Federation of Irish Manufacturers wanted this tariff on gloves. With all respect to him, I am afraid he did not meet the point as to why there should be a different rate of tariff on children's gloves from that on adults' gloves. I would regard as irrelevant what he and others said about sweated labour in Hong Kong and Japan, unless you can prove that the labour is even more sweated when making children's gloves rather than when making adults' gloves. I do not think that has been proved.

I am not satisfied that it is not easy to calculate for "prices over a wide range", once you have a percentage. The Parliamentary Secretary told us moving stories of Hong Kong, but he did not tell us, when challenged, why children's gloves should have a more punitive rate than adults' gloves. Senator McHugh pressed that point——

Perhaps more children's gloves are bought.

Six shillings a dozen less.

The reply he was given was that no doubt the Minister acted on good advice. As a Senator, I feel we are entitled to a more detailed reply than that. I am sure all Ministers always act on good advice. Could we just not hear what that good advice was, and why it was impossible to put the same rate of duty on children's gloves as on adults' gloves? One Senator interjected and remarked that perhaps more children's gloves were bought. Is that seriously an answer? Are we trying to prevent a particular type of imported glove from being bought widely simply because it is for children? I would not accept that.

In dealing with the important question of what exactly was meant by monopoly prices, the Parliamentary Secretary said that, in relation to these milk cans, some firms were selling them on the Irish market—having paid the 10 per cent.—at the same price as the Irish product.

I should like to correct that statement by the Senator. I said they were selling them—having paid the 10 per cent. duty—at the same price as they were selling them on the home market in England and other places.

I see the point. They were selling them on the Irish market at the same price as was paid on the English market, although here they had to pay a 10 per cent. duty. That meant they had a smaller profit here, and had made a price concession in order to remain in the Irish market. That figure of 10 per cent. is revealing because it shows that these cans came from Britain. That 10 per cent. has now been raised to 25 per cent.

It is a very steep duty. Anad valorem duty of 25 per cent. is added to the imported British milk cans, and the non-British, the other foreign cans go up to 37½ per cent. This statement refers to the British. I am not satisfied that the farmers will be pleased to find that the competitive article has been more or less removed from the market. It is quite possible that some of those who are in close touch with the farmers will explain that they will be delighted, and, if necessary, pay the extra 25 per cent. if they want to get an English milk can but I am not satisfied that they will. Consequently, it seems to me; again, that (a) there is no justification for a different rate for children's gloves; (b) it is a most dangerous thing to put up so steeply the import tax on milk cans and (c) 50 per cent. has not been shown to be a necessary tariff for imported margarine. I believe it could be demonstrated that the industry would flourish on a smaller percentage tariff than 50 per cent.

With or without the vitamins A and D, Irish margarine is competing satisfactorily in Britain. I know Senator Murphy will be glad to hear that.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Are the recommendations being withdrawn?

I am afraid I should like to press the matter.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The question is that the recommendations in the name of Senator Sheehy Skeffington be accepted.

On a point of order. I think it would be fairer to take them separately.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

I will put the recommendations one by one.

Recommendation No. 1 put and declared lost.
Recommendation No. 2 put and declared lost.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Will Senators who desire a division please stand in their places?

Senators Sheehy Skeffington and McHugh rose in their places.

Recommendation declared lost.
Recommendation No. 3 put and declared lost.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Will Senators who desire a devision please stand in their places?

Senators Sheehy Skeffington and McHugh rose in their places.

Recommendation declared lost.
Schedule agreed to.
Bill reported without recommendation, received for final consideration and ordered to be returned to the Dáil.