Air Navigation and Transport (No. 2) Bill, 1959—Second Stage.

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

The principal object of the Bill is to authorise Aer Rianta to raise additional share capital to meet the current and future needs of the air transport companies. Aer Rianta's present authorised share capital of £2 million has been fully issued and paid up by the Minister for Finance. Aer Lingus and Aerlinte are subsidiaries of the parent company, Aer Rianta, the capital of which is used mainly for investment in them. The existing capital has been used by Aer Rianta for investment as to £571,194 in Aer Lingus and £1,425,000 in Aerlinte.

The main requirement of capital for which it is intended to make provision by means of the present Bill is an amount estimated at £5,868,000 (net) to finance the development of the Aerlinte transatlantic service, including the cost of acquiring jet aircraft.

Aer Rianta will require for its own purposes over the next few years a sum of £1,454,000, made up of £655,500 to repay moneys due to British European Airways as a result of the reduction of that Company's financial interest in Aer Lingus and of £798,500 to repay moneys borrowed from Aerlinte for the purpose of investment in Aer Lingus.

The Bill proposes to meet this situation by increasing Aer Rianta's share capital from £2 million to £10 million. Aer Rianta, as I shall explain, will also under the Bill have access to £1.5 million additional guaranteed loan capital. The total of the additional capital to be made available is, therefore, £9.5 million. The immediate requirements of Aer Rianta itself and of Aerlinte Éireann amount to £7,322,000. There is, therefore, a balance of £2,178,000 to provide for contingencies. The contingencies will probably include further capital for Aer Lingus, whose precise requirements have not yet been determined.

Section 75 of the Air Navigation and Transport Act, 1936, empowers the Minister for Finance to guarantee such debentures as may be issued by Aer Rianta to secure borrowings. Already, the Minister for Finance has guaranteed debentures issued by Aer Rianta in respect of commercial loans totalling £3.5 million. The present Bill proposes to limit the amount of borrowings which may thus be guaranteed and Section 3 of the Bill accordingly provides that the aggregate amount of such debentures which the Minister for Finance may guarantee will not, at any time, exceed £5 million.

The Aerlinte transatlantic service commenced operations on 28th April, 1958. The operating results and provisional financial returns, for the first eleven months of the service which ended on 31st March last, are well up to expectations. With the exception of freight traffic, the Company's forecasts, including their estimates of passenger revenue, have been generally realised.

Aerlinte originally estimated that development expenditure in the first three years of the service, to be charged to capital account, would amount to about £1 million, made up of a deficit of £800,000 in the first year of the service and of £200,000 in the second year. In the third year they expected to break even. These estimates are likely to prove correct for the first two years, but the prospects for the third year are not so clear. In that year, 1960/61, Aerlinte will be faced with intense competition from operators using jet aircraft, while their own jets will not be available until the early months of 1961. Nevertheless, the Aerlinte management is not unduly perturbed by the outlook for 1960, as they have found that the introduction of jet aircraft on the North Atlantic route has tended to generate a substantial increase in total air traffic, thus enabling the operators still using piston-engine aircraft to hold their own even in the face of competition from the pure jet services.

It has been estimated that air traffic on the North Atlantic will expand considerably over the next few years and that by 1965 the number of air travellers will have reached 2.4 million. Assuming that the present Irish share of 5½% of that traffic is maintained, some 132,000 passengers will be brought to and from this country by all operators. Aerlinte hope to obtain about 40% of that traffic, and, if that expectation is realised, there need be no doubts about the commercial success of the venture.

For future years Aerlinte estimate that their operations will earn them an annual financial surplus, ranging from £46,000 in 1961/62 to £287,000 in 1965/66, and will enable them to pay off their development expenditure in due course. It must be borne in mind that there are a number of factors, such as the degree of intensity of competition from other operators, the growth in the total volume of transatlantic traffic and the Aerlinte share of that traffic, that cannot be forecast with any measure of certainty.

The House will have gathered from my remarks that the future profit making ability of the service is dependent on a number of unknown factors, which, however, if they are resolved to our satisfaction, will place the service in a sound financial position within a few years. Notwithstanding this uncertainty, the Government are convinced that the potential advantages to the country of the Aerlinte service far outweigh the purely financial considerations of profit or loss.

First and foremost is the undoubted benefit to be derived by the Irish tourist industry. Over the past eight years, the number of North American visitors embarking and disembarking at Shannon Airport has increased five fold. A principal reason for that increase was the availability of regular air services between Shannon and North America.

With the advent of jet aircraft, the operators are now in a position to fly non-stop to and from Europe and to overfly Shannon at will. We are faced then with the possible loss of much of the lucrative American tourist traffic which has been so carefully built up over the years. If we are to retain this traffic and ensure its necessary expansion in the future, we must be prepared ourselves to provide an attractive transatlantic air service. By doing so, we will guarantee the availability of a service with satisfactory frequency for passenger traffic between Ireland and North America. At the same time, the competition which this service will generate will, we believe, require the airlines of other countries to route services into Shannon and make greater use of that Airport than would otherwise be the case.

A further consideration of importance is the likely consequence of the Aerlinte service on the operations of Aer Lingus. Aer Lingus has long felt itself cut off from its greatest traffic potential by the absence of a direct Irish transatlantic service to cities in the United States and Canada. The operation of the service gives Aer Lingus direct access to the greatest air traffic generating market in the world and already this development has borne fruit in an increase in the numbers of transatlantic passengers proceeding on to Britain and the Continent on Aer Lingus aircraft.

I think this is the first occasion on which the Minister for Transport and Power has appeared in this House. I am sure that we all wish him every success in the new Department which he has taken over. The Department itself is a new creation and as a new Minister, he probably will take some time to find his feel there. For that reason, I am sure all members of the House will wish him every success in the responsibility which he has undertaken.

In introducing this Bill, the Minister has been somewhat more optimistic than was the Taoiseach on the Second Stage in the Dáil. On the Second Stage in the Dáil, the Taoiseach did not seem to take the same rosy view of the figures which were supplied to him in the operation of Aerlinte for the first eleven months, as the Minister has taken here today. The Taoiseach said, as reported at column 1267, Volume 176 of the Dáil Debates:

The Aerlinte service has now been in operation for over a year and I have seen traffic statements and provisional financial results for the first 11 months, ending March 31st, 1959. In general, it can be said that the estimates of passenger and cargo traffic and of revenue and expenditure which Aerlinte prepared during the early months of the service, have been substantially realised. There were some exceptions, as, for example, in the case of freight, the revenue from which amounted to less than the estimated figure.

I gather from what the Minister had to say that the first part—which the Taoiseach described in a cautious way as having been substantially realised— the Minister characterised as being well up to expectations. Except as regards the freight traffic—which apparently was less than the estimated figure—the Minister has informed the House that the estimates were generally realised. That seems to mean that the Minister is starting off, as Minister for Transport and Power, on a somewhat more optimistic footing in regard to this service, than the Taoiseach, who was formerly Minister for Industry and Commerce.

This Bill is intended to increase the share capital of Aer Rianta. For the purpose of an air service, the Seanad is being asked to vote millions of pounds more money. Senator Lenihan, on the Industrial Credit Bill, seemed to give the impression—it was so taken by me and Senator Hayes who spoke after him—that as long as the Government were giving the impression that they were spending lots and lots of money and that there was no lack of capital for various projects, all would be well. This Bill seems to be in line with the philosophy which Senator Lenihan adumbrated this evening. We are now asked to spend another seven or eight million pounds on the transatlantic air service and I should be interested to hear from the Minister— he did not tell us in his opening speech —if this venture is a commercial success, what will it profit this nation? Could he indicate in round figures what income it will bring in the next five or ten years when the aircraft have to be replaced?

It may well be that we shall be rejoicing at the end of five years that the Aer Rianta venture has not proved a disastrous failure and that we are not being asked to vote another £5 millions to make up for the losses it has incurred in trading and that in those circumstances Aer Rianta will be a commercial success. I should like to hear from the Minister at what stage, after the investment of this money, does he expect any real return to the country for that money? I should like to have an assurance as to whether or not the money that is being exported because of this service would not have brought a better return to the country if it had been devoted to a more worthwhile project. The next question I would ask the Minister is: what interest and what benefit is this to the 80,000 people who are unemployed?

I do not see what we want with a transatlantic air service, whether it be a commercial success in the sense I have mentioned or not. In what way does this benefit the people who are this evening on their way to England? That is the question the people would like to have answered. How will it benefit the unemployed and those who have but a meagre existence——

The by-elections are over.

I am not concerned with the by-elections. They are over and, as far as this side of the House is concerned, we are reasonably satisfied with the result. I think the Minister has given the real reason why it is intended to introduce these jet aircraft. He has, so to speak, overflown the reason. He told us that jet aircraft which are being introduced on the transatlantic service are now overflying Shannon on their way to the Continent and I believe it is now being realised by the Government that Shannon Airport is becoming a white elephant.


According to Deputy Dillon, it was supposed to be a white elephant years ago. He had the rabbits running round the runways.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach


Now that the Senators have finished interrupting, I shall continue.

The Senator is a good hand at it himself.

The Minister touched lightly on why jet aircraft are now overflying Shannon. It seems to me—the first time it occurred to me was when the Minister said that—that if this is the case, Shannon Airport will go off the map and will be used for nothing if not for the jet aircraft that will land there and that it will be known among air companies that there are such facilities at Shannon.

I do not know whether those jet aircraft will be permitted to land in Dublin but the point has been made to me that when an Irishman wants to go to Italy, he does not want to be landed 180 miles from Rome; he wants to get as near as possible to the capital. When people such as American tourists come to this country normally they do not want to be landed down at Shannon and would much prefer to be brought somewhere near the centre of the community, as it were, where they can see the capital, Dublin.

I did not understand the reference of the Minister to the fact that as a result of this measure and the introduction of jet aircraft, Aer Lingus will now have an opportunity they have not had up to this of entering into the transatlantic market. I presume that what the Minister has in mind is the people in England and on the Continent who, flying from Holland, Spain, France or England in Aer Lingus planes, will connect with Aer Rianta at Shannon. If that be so, it would seem to me that consideration should be given to permitting transatlantic aircraft to continue flights from America to Dublin so that people coming from England or the Continent and put down in Dublin can just cross an air strip, so to speak, and connect up with the jet aircraft service. If it is intended they should fly into Dublin and from there on to Shannon, it does not seem that the hope the Minister has in mind will be realised.

There does not seem to be much more to be said on this Bill, except that the arguments which I put forward in relation to the provision of money for agriculture on the Industrial Credit Bill apply equally to this measure. I adopt these arguments and apply them equally to this Bill.

I did not intend to intervene in this debate and would not have done so, were it not for the extraordinary speech just made by Senator O'Quigley. There is a class of people whom rural folk in certain parts of this country describe as the "but-men". "Everything is grand but—"; "he is a nice fellow but—"; "it is a good company but—". The "but-men" are the people who attempt to have their cake and eat it. They attempt to curry favour with the people who believe in something, and, at the same time, do their utmost to stick a stiletto into the backs of those people. That is typical of the Fine Gael mentality in regard to many of the projects which were initiated here and carried out, in spite of their determined and bitter opposition.

I could not help thinking when Senator O'Quigley was speaking that he was an excellent example of the "but-men", an example which, in my opinion, is to be deplored because of the mentality which, while offering faint praise of something, does everything it can to ensure that uneasiness will be created in the public mind and that the idea will be germinated that the matter under discussion cannot be a success.

I am merely reflecting the uneasiness.

I was astonished by the lines which Senator O'Quigley took. It was typical of the "but-men" and the "if-men". "If this transatlantic air service is a commercial success, what will it profit this nation?" Senator O'Quigley is a young man and he has a lot to learn. I hope he improves his range of reading so that he will learn from a man about whom he often speaks and whom his Party regard as the father of their gospel, Arthur Griffith. I hope he will realise what Griffith meant when he spoke of the paper wall which surrounded this country in the early days of the revolutionary movement.

It was not merely the paper wall of newspapers and news services to which he was referring; it was also the fact that we were isolated from the world, that we had no shipping service, that we had no direct access to the outside world and that the outside world had no direct access to us except through the transport provided by the occupying power here. If Senator O'Quigley has no pride in this nation or its future, there are others who have. There are others who believe that the profit to this nation does not lie merely in the profit which the transatlantic airline will certainly make, but it lies in the link which Aerlinte will forge between this country and the furthermost parts of the earth.

We heard such statements as: "If this is a commercial success..." and, "It may be that in four or five years' time we shall be rejoicing because it is not a disastrous failure" and, "The money would have produced more for the country if spent on worthwhile projects." It is quite obvious that the Fine Gael mentality, which killed the transatlantic service in 1948, which sold the five Constellations to our competitors, which closed down the airframe factory in Shannon and the shortwave station, which could see no good in any method of communication with the outside world except through the channels provided by Britain, is very strongly entrenched today in what was described as the hope of the nation —young Fine Gael—some of whom we see across the floor from us now.

Senator O'Quigley does not see why we should want a transatlantic air service. He does not see that Shannon Airport has any hope of avoiding becoming a white elephant. If that is typical of the confidence of the young people in Fine Gael in the future of the country, then the electorate in this part of the country were obviously intelligent in 1957 when they gave an emphatic majority to those who believe in the future of the country, commercially, economically, and politically.

I hope Senator O'Quigley will give some thought to the disastrous effect which pessimistic statements and references of the type we heard this evening —not alone on this Bill but also on the Industrial Credit Bill—and the muck raking by some members of the Fine Gael Party can have and that he will come to the same conclusion any intelligent person would come to. That is: if we are to make any progress in this country, it will be through projects of such vision, courage and confidence as the transatlantic air service.

I wish to support Senator O'Quigley in welcoming the Minister for Transport and Power to the Seanad. I hope the creation of his Department will mark a new drive in power output and in the consolidation of the gains we have already made in that direction. The fact that we are asked to sanction more money for air services is an indication of the business acumen of both Aer Lingus and Aerlínte. The arguments put forward that Shannon is now obsolete do not hold.

The fact that jet aircraft will operate in increasing numbers in the future does not, of itself, support the argument that Shannon is obsolete, or anything like it. Propeller aircraft is as popular to-day as it was 20 years ago. Senator L'Estrange may sneer as much as he likes, but that statement still remains a fact; propeller aircraft is just as popular to-day with some passengers travelling on certain air routes as it was 20 years ago.

The Minister stated that Aerlínte hoped to gain increasing traffic on the North Atlantic route. We hope it will. We have a fund of goodwill built up in the United States and, from that point of view, one can visualise increasing traffic and Aerlínte eventually getting a monopoly of that traffic. We hope we shall see that day. We, on this side of the House, support the Bill. We welcome it. We wish it every success.

Like Senator O'Quigley I welcome the Minister to this House. This is the first time he has appeared as Minister in charge of this new Department. I am sure that he will be as successful in that Department as he proved to be in the Department he has just left. I am sorry that Senators on the Fianna Fáil side of this House do not appear to have heard the advice tendered by the Taoiseach relative to avoiding as far as possible personal invective.

Turn the other cheek.

We have had two unfortunate examples of personal invective here this evening. I think that is a pity. I shall not exchange words with Senator Ó Maoláin and I hope that in the future Senators will respect the advice of the Taoiseach.

Where was the personal invective?

Senator O'Quigley is quite entitled to his viewpoint and, like every knowledgeable young man, he is always prepared to state what his viewpoint is. I welcome this Bill. I have no objection to money being made available to Aer Rianta. I think the project is well worthwhile. I realise, however, that this money is being made available to a semi-State undertaking under the control of the Minister.

Senator Lenihan knows—at least he should know—that the Labour Party does not object to money being made available to semi-State organisations. My objection to a previous Bill was because money was being made available to private individuals not under Ministerial control. That is entirely different. This money is being made available to a semi-State undertaking. I appreciate there can be no certainly about this project but, having weighed the evidence, the Government are entitled to take a risk and to ask for the support of Parliament in taking that risk if, on the weight of the evidence before them, they think it a reasonable risk. There can be no guarantee about this. There can be no guarantee that a transatlantic air service will operate on a profitable basis. I hope Aer Rianta's estimates will prove well-founded. I hope the desired results will be achieved. I hope they will make money and that Shannon will not prove a white elephant. I support the Bill and I wish the Minister every success in his new Department.

I, too, should like to join with Senator Murphy and Senator O'Quigley in welcoming the Minister on his first appearance here as head of this new Department. We all wish him every success and we shall all be prepared to co-operate with him to the best of our ability. Before coming to the actual measure before the House, I would appeal to Government Senators to desist from personal attacks. These attacks have been worse to-day than at any stage of the Constitution (Amendment) Bill. Perhaps the most objectionable was Senator Ó Maoláin's attack on Senator O'Quigley.

Does the Senator call argument attack?

It would be much better to play the ball and advance the case in support of one's proposition rather than resort to the legalistic device in which Senator Lenihan is prone to indulge—when you have a bad case, abuse the opposing attorney.

I have tried to review this issue as objectively and as impartially as possible. I have read the debates in the other House. I spent a morning around Shannon. The first and obvious criticism that comes to my mind as a result of that is that I am appalled when I read in the Dáil Debates that the Taoiseach stated there he had taken the word of the company concerned, the semi-State body, Aerlínte itself. He accepted their facts and figures without feeling himself called upon to investigate. That is a very dangerous precedent to establish in relation to semi-State bodies.

We give great powers to semi-State bodies and, in view of that, we should ensure an impartial investigation and a periodic check-up. All of us have had experience of being on semi-State boards and we all know the kind of lighthearted response there is on such boards: only the best is good enough and, anyway, it does not come out of your own pocket. I have no wish to denigrate semi-State bodies but, while we respect them, we should at the same time ensure that, where major undertakings are concerned, advice should be sought from outside consultants.

In dealing with the Universities twelve months ago the estimate of the Universities as to what new buildings they required was not accepted, and quite rightly so. A commission was set up and that commission reported. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander; we should adopt the same attitude towards semi-State bodies and get away from the idolatry of semi-State bodies so prevalent to-day.

As I pointed out in a previous speech, their success is the success story of youth. They are all young bodies, manned by young men with all the fire, enthusiasm and ambition of youth to succeed. Many of them are growing old now and, when they get old, they will be no better than any other type of body set up. Every one of them is a monopoly. It is very difficult to judge the efficiency, or otherwise, of a monopoly but one can be quite certain that, when a monopoly is laying down what it requires, it will demand the best. Consequently, I think this is a very serious precedent but, at the same time, I hope that precedent will prevail in future when we are dealing with some other semi-State bodies.

The second point with which I want to deal is the lighthearted way in which we are spending millions. We have gone through £20,000,000 in an afternoon's work—£20,000,000 to be raised in capital issues and £15,000,000 guaranteed. The Minister for Finance will take up most, if not all, of the £9,500,000 to be floated by Aer Rianta. I would be quite happy about this if I felt there was ample money available, but it is only a year or 18 months ago when everybody was crying out that there was no money available for anything. We know the way agriculture has been treated over the past year or over the past 18 months; no money was available for agriculture. We see the stupid effort made to penalise the farmers for their increased production as against investing in them and getting them to step up production still further to ensure that the State can in the future afford all the trappings that seem to be regarded as essential, including the transatlantic air service. All this money must come out of the ground. It must be dug up out of our agriculture, and it is, therefore, in agriculture that investment is needed. I do not carp at the present investment provided that there will be a parallel, or an even greater, investment in agriculture. So far we see no sign of that. All we see is this investment in the T.B. scheme, a scheme imposed on us from outside and not something being done at the behest of our own farmers.

Could we get the Senator back to the Bill?

I am dealing with the Bill. I am giving my reason why I view with alarm the taking up by the Minister for Finance of £9,500,000 worth of shares in this company without any proper investigation.

And the figures are given in the Dáil Debates as to the profits this company are likely to make.

They did not take into account the fact that fares on the Atlantic route will tumble, and tumble drastically, within the next year or two because fares on the Atlantic route per mile are twice the internal fares in the United States. Why should it cost twice as much to go from New York to London as it does to go from New York to San Francisco in a jet plane? That is what we shall be up against. We shall be up against the biggest and wealthiest combines in the air.

Senator Ó Maoláin talked about the 1948 Super-Constellations. The idea seemed to be fairly prevalent in the other House that had we retained those five planes they would be flying the Atlantic to-day as gaily as a 1948 Ford runs out the Stillorgan straight.

They would have started the service ten years ago.

The Super-Constellations we bought in 1948 had an air speed of 260 m.p.h. and a weight of 48 tons, or 108,000 lbs. Their range was Shannon to Gander. That was the outside limit of their range. There is not a single aircraft of that type flying regularly across the Atlantic to-day.

They would have started the air service ten years ago.

Had we gone into the service in 1948, we would have had to provide new aircraft four years ago.

We would have had ten years' experience by now.

The original investment would have had to be written off in five years. The aircraft flying today are called Super-Constellations but they have a speed 30 to 35 miles an hour more than the 1948 Constellations; they have a speed of 300 miles an hour as against 260 for the 1948 Constellations; there is a 50 per cent. increase in pay load —160,000 lbs. as against 108,000 lbs.; they have a range from Paris to New York as compared with from London or Shannon to Gander. Therefore, we should realise what we are going into and the way this business is changing. There is one certainly that emerges. If we had the service from 1948 up to date, we might have got more tourist traffic—I do not know—but the certainty is that if the airlines had been able to break even and to leave us the capital cost of the Constellations, we should be mighty lucky.

The traffic we lost in the Holy Year alone would have paid twice over for the five of them.

As far as records can be established no company is making any worthwhile surplus on transatlantic flights. That is evidenced by the pooling taking place in Europe today. Swissair, Sabena and other companies have found that they cannot bear the cost of maintaining costly offices in New York and other places and of servicing and maintaining aircraft. They have to pool their resources. Now that we are committed to this—and it does not matter what we here do, we are committed to it— I do hope we shall very soon use our position to try to get into some European air pool and I hope we shall not be as slow in tackling that job as we have been in trying to get into the economic clubs of Europe, the six country or the seven country clubs. It should be quite possible to make some arrangement with the British overseas corporations. The arrangement between B.E.A. and Aer-Lingus has been to our mutual advantage over the years and, while we all appreciate and applaud the great work Aer Lingus is doing, I cannot believe that the success or failure of Aer Lingus depends on the relatively few passengers brought across the Atlantic. The haul from here to London in a year is greater than the haul by all the airlines crossing the Atlantic.

Then there is the question of jets. One of the most frightening things about air traffic is the international combines that are in operation and the international conventions that regulate down to the last detail the service each line will give, which prevent small airlines from operating at cut prices. I do hope that in our approach to those combines we shall be a little more courageous than we were over 15 months ago to the New Zealand threat in regard to butter dumping in England. We took fright at the fact that they objected to our subsidies, although we knew that they were far more guilty than we or any other nation in dumping products. That has all blown over. We took fright and panicked and said we must get our costs of production down so as not to displease these people.

What about the Bill?

Today, when the price on the English market went up by 60/- ——

On a point of order, what relevance has this to the Bill under discussion?

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

I agree with Senator Lenihan. I think the Senator should come back to the Bill.

I just make the point that I hope we shall be more courageous and take more chances when dealing with objections from international air combines against any subsidisation or other help that we give to our airlines than we have been in giving help to the neglected dairy farmers in their efforts.

It is strange how Senator Lenihan's opinion changes from day to day. Only last week, when it suited him, he complimented Senator Stanford and myself on our contribution when the Government benches were criticised for their rather Trappist-like silence on Bills.

It is one of the reasons given for the purchase of these aircraft that the future of Shannon depends on them. I visited Shannon. I have spoken with many of the men there. There is great uneasiness over the whole place and a feeling that the question of overflying to Dublin cannot be shelved indefinitely because it will be impossible for our own jets, when we do have them, to come down at Shannon and to go up again and come down at Dublin. That is not done with jets. The future of Shannon appears to depend upon its development as an air freight port. I should have preferred if much of this money had been put into the development of first-class air freight. There is the Shannon development in housing and air freight could be utilised in further developments. I do not see why it should be tied to Shannon Airport. The employees have to travel 15 and 20 miles to work there. Why not let them work in Limerick, Ennis, Galway and Tralee? If there were industries there that could profit from air freight, why not give them any facilities available in the Shannon zone today?

Air freight would seem to offer a means of getting our products, not only into European markets, but even to American markets in times of scarcity. Therefore, the emphasis should be much more on air freight than on passenger traffic. When we have the jets, we should make the best use we can of them. That means that we must develop means of utilising the surplus space on the jets. Calculations show that there will be at least 50 per cent. surplus space. Therefore, I hope that in future there will be an emphasis on the tourist trade, even to the extent of giving certain free tourist passes across the Atlantic in the off season. That is a type of subsidisation of the Aerlinte lines that we can very well do because it is only subsidisation of the Tourist Board through Aerlinte and it should be realised that we lose money when aircraft fly across the Atlantic with empty spaces. They are the property of the nation and surely we should be able to devise ways and means of utilising all the empty space on those planes, whether we utilise it by air freight or by some boost to the tourist industry.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Would the House like to finish this Bill before taking the motion on the adjournment?

If it is possible to dispose of the Bill by 10 o'clock. I do not know if it is.

I think it should be possible to finish.

We shall not finish by 10 o'clock.

We must sit to-morrow, in any event.

Debate adjourned.