Appropriation Bill, 1982 [ Certified Money Bill ]: Second and Subsequent Stages.

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

The first purpose of the Appropriation Bill, which, as the House is aware, is an annual Bill, is to give statutory effect to the individual 1982 Estimates for the supply services, both non-capital and capital. It appropriates to the particular services the various sums which the Dáil has voted, by way of original and Supplementary Estimates, over the past year.

It is necessary that the Bill be enacted before the end of the year so that I can calculate the amounts to be made available in 1983, on an interim basis, for departmental expenditures. During the period before the Dáil has the opportunity to consider and vote on the 1983 Estimates individually, the Central Fund (Permanent Provisions) Act, 1965, enables me to make advances of up to four-fifths of the total amounts appropriated in the previous year.

Section 1 of the Bill appropriates to the specific services set out in the Schedule to the Bill the sum of £5,362,896,070 comprising the original Estimate of £5,011,763,000 and Supplementary Estimates of £351,133,070. In addition, it authorises the use of certain departmental receipts as appropriations-in-aid.

This Bill traditionally provides Senators with the opportunity to debate in broad terms the expenditure and financial policies being pursued by the Government of the day. Senators will appreciate that over the weeks ahead the Government will be drawing up the 1983 budget. I am not in a position to preview here in any detail the approach to public expenditure which the Government will take in it.

Overall current expenditure in 1982 is now expected to be somewhat below the March Budget Estimate, mainly because of measures taken during the year to curtail expenditure. Nonetheless this year's expenditure on the non-capital supply services will be about 22 per cent higher than in 1981 in money terms — a volume increase of about 6 per cent.

The Irish economy just does not have the resources at the present time to sustain further such increases in the volume of current expenditure. Indeed, a reduction in the volume of public expenditure must be an essential part of the programme of economic recovery which the Government will be implementing. I do not underestimate the difficulty of achieving this at a time when the pressure of demands on expenditure programmes from a growing population and rising level of unemployment continues to build up.

Over the past year or so a consensus has emerged in the country as to the need to bring our spending back into line with our resources but, as yet, there is no clear consensus as to how it should be done.

One half of all expenditure on non-capital supply services goes on public services pay. The Exchequer pay bill covers Members of the Houses of the Oireachtas, civil servants, teachers, health area staff, the security forces, the staff of the non-commercial State bodies and many other grant-aided bodies. Because of the size of this component in the overall budgetary arithmetic, a very restrictive approach must continue to be taken to numbers employed in the public service and the approach to money income increases must be strictly realistic by reference to the capacity of the Exchequer to fund them.

Both on pay and non-pay expenditure I am certain that in the medium-term substantial savings can be made by operating schemes more efficiently and by ensuring that public service managers pursue value for money at all times. Nonetheless, the scale of budgetary problems is such that it is inevitable that some schemes and programmes will have to be modified, curtailed or even eliminated. It is one of the most important tasks of the Government to seek the least painful, the most equitable and the most constructive way of doing this.

On capital expenditure, demand from the private sector for industrial development funds has weakened seriously this year. Major public investment programmes such as the telecommunications development programme are at an advanced stage. The danger to be avoided in the coming years is that of relaxing investment criteria simply for the sake of artificially propping up the volume of public investment. In times of difficulty investment criteria must be more rather than less rigorous.

The financial and parliamentary reform programme to which this Government are committed is aimed at giving the Houses of the Oireachtas a much more constructive role in the evolution of financial policy.

Today's debate gives Members of Seanad Éireann the opportunity to make a constructive contribution at this early stage in the life of the Government. I can assure the House that I will welcome Senators' views and I will give them the most serious consideration in preparing my first budget.

Cuirim fáilte roimh an Aire agus guím rath ar an Rialtas. Éinne go bhfuil leas na tíre ina chroí aige agus go dteastaíonn uaidh go mbeidh feabhas ar chúrsaí eacnamaíochta soisialta caithfidh sé a dhea-ghuí a chur in iúl don Rialtas. Chuir gach éinne spéis sna daoine a toghadh agus a ceapadh ag an Taoiseach don Rialtas, na hAirí eagsúla. Cuir rud amháin ar a laghad diomá ormsa agus b'fhéidir nár mhiste é a luadh anseo, nach bhfuil anois againn aon Aire don Ghaeltacht. Tá Aire againn do chúrsaí éagsúla — cúrasí foraoiseachta, iascaireachta agus Gaeltachta. Dar liom, is céim síos an ceapachán seo don Ghaeltacht. Tá fhios agam go bhfuil an tAire fábhrach don tradisiún Ghaelach. B'fheidir go gcuirfidh sé in iúl don Taoiseach, muna dtuigeann an Taoiseach é, chomh tábhachtach is atá an tradisiún úd agus chomh tábhachtach is atá sé nach mbeidh aon chéim síos i gceist don Ghaeltacht féin agus do chúrsaí Gaeilge trí chéile.

I am glad to open this debate. The traditional method of approach to the Appropriation Bill gives us an opportunity for commenting on government policies and it is particularly appropriate at the outset of a new administration which at least has some prospect of stability.

As I have said previously, coupling Deputy O'Toole's responsibilities in the Gaeltacht with Forestry and Fisheries is a retrograde step for the Gaeltacht and, by extension, for the tradition of the Irish language, I know that the Minister here, whom I welcome and congratulate on his appointment, is aware of the importance of the Gaelic tradition and is aware that it is not a divisive tradition. It has erroneously been too often coupled with things like nationalism and Irish Catholicism as a divisive element. That is not so. Respectfully, I hope that the downgrading of the Gaeltacht is not an indication of the Taoiseach's attitude on these vital matters. I hope that the appointment of a former Member of this House, Deputy Ruairí Quinn, to the Department of the Environment will herald a new approach to the scandal of land rezoning, of the misuse of building land and all the abuses that stem from that.

In the Fine Gael-Labour joint programme, which can be taken as an announcement of the Government's intentions, the incoming Taoiseach and the Tánaiste agree that our continued position of neutrality is an important one and must be sustained, as they phrase it, in the EEC and in the world at large. They did not elaborate on that position. I suspect they did not elaborate on it because on the record so far there is a contradiction between what the Taoiseach understands by neutrality and what the Labour Party have understood by neutrality. At least in these last years as expressed very eloquently and forcefully by the last but one Leader of the Labour Party, Deputy Frank Cluskey, it is quite clear that the Labour Party believe in the absolute value of Irish non-alignment, absence from military alliances, a positive role for Ireland to play in the whole international field, upholding the values of neutrality. However, the record of the Taoiseach, Deputy FitzGerald, is rather like the record of the former Taoiseach up to a remarkable conversion last year in that Irish neutrality is contingent, that it is not an absolute, that the day may come when our membership of the Community may commit us to a military alliance, and on the Taoiseach's past record he has championed that view. I hope that there is no real contradiction here and that Labour's firm commitment to neutrality will work a conversion on the contingent or conditional view which heretofore has obtained in the case of Fine Gael.

I am approaching these matters not necessarily in order of importance. I note also the fact that the Fine Gael-Labour programme for Government included precisely 15 words on the national broadcasting service. I spoke at length on this topic recently in public and I do not propose to go over the ground again here, but, in view of the fact that relations between Government and broadcasting are pretty strained at the moment, I think we would be entitled to expect from the Minister concerned at an early date a comprehensive statement of Government policy in their attitude to broadcasting. In a speech I gave a few days ago I dwelt on the remarkable fact that the illegal broadcasting stations have been operating for several years with complete impunity and by flouting the law in this respect they bring the law in general into disrepute.

I also raised the delicate matter of section 31 of the Broadcasting Act, and perhaps the incoming Government will be considering this. It is really a question of strategy. Do you keep the spokesmen of terrorism and murder away from RTE on the grounds that that does more good than harm or, with a view to the amount of propaganda that they make out of their exclusion, should you consider admitting to the public broadcasting service, let us say, the duly elected local representatives of the people, perhaps in proportion to their strength? Do we have to take account, for example, when having current affairs programmes about Northern Ireland, of the fact that a substantial section of the Northern Ireland electorate have seen fit to return the representatives of Provisional Sinn Féin? Should that be a factor in our whole approach to section 31? There are arguments on both sides and I have no great dogmatic opinion about it. On balance I incline to the view that perhaps section 31 should be given a trial suspension. It has certainly been long the view of the broadcasters and journalists on the ground that their work is impeded by the constraints of section 31 and impeded in quite a ridiculous way since an increasing proportion of the viewing audience of this island can hear and see the representatives of these banned groups pontificating on British television. There is a hard line in the incoming Cabinet on this and it is something for that Cabinet to discuss. On the North in general, I am glad that the incoming Tánaiste hopes to find a consensus among all parties in Leinster House on Northern Ireland policy. It may be his youth that makes him wishfully think so, but I wish him every success in this. A former Member of this House, now a distinguished columnist inThe Irish Times— who was it who said “He used to be a pillar of the church and now he is a column of The Times”?— Dr. Conor Cruise-O'Brien, recently gave his opinion that the best thing the incoming Government should do is forget about Northern Ireland and get on with the business of reconstructing the economy and the society of the State so that, according to the wish of the late Eamon de Valera in one of his wiser moods, the prospect of a just and stable society in the South would work the conversion hitherto lacking in the case of the Northern Unionists. But of course we have not the option of ignoring Northern Ireland, even if only for the most selfish reason that the security problems raised prevent us from ignoring Northern Ireland and even if it went no further than that. I suggest to the Minister that the nub of the problem essentially facing the incoming Taoiseach — and we have had numerous definitions of it — is that which faced Michael Collins in the months before his death, that you cannot coerce the Northern Unionists into a United Ireland but equally you cannot coerce the Northern Nationalists into remaining in the United Kingdom. I propose to say no more on that point.

I notice from today's newspapers that, according to the Attorney General, the Taoiseach is to resume his constitutional crusade. I am glad of that in general and I supported him warmly here in the House when he made a major speech on constitutional reform, but there is a limit to what constitutional reform can do. Very probably the Northern Protestant who is looking south is already half converted. Certainly he or she wants to see constitutional change, but you are still left with the Northern Protestants who have said in private and in public that whatever crusading or changing you do will not matter in the slightest to them, that their commitment to the Union is absolute.

Let us be aware realistically of the limits of the effectiveness of constitutional change. Even if we got the kind of constitutional change that the Taoiseach wants, or that Thomas Davis is supposed to have wanted, or that the Editor ofThe Irish Times seems to want, would it really reflect a change in the hearts and minds of the people of the Twenty-six Counties? One of the most important questions of all to which the incoming Government must address themselves and to which I suggest no Government have yet addressed themselves is what is the mind of the people of the Twenty-six Counties on Irish unity? Each successive Government have assumed that a priority — perhaps the priority — in Ireland today is the problem of Irish unity. That certainly was the stated priority of the outgoing Government. Does this actually correspond to what the people want? Of course the Government have to address themselves to unemployment, inflation, the budget deficit, poverty and all these awesome problems but let them not be deflected from addressing themselves to other problems as well. It always seems to me to be a fallacy to suppose that because the country is in a bad state economically and socially everything else is a diversion and a deliberate political diversion. The Government must address themselves to these problems. Therefore, I suggest it is high time that the electorate here were specifically consulted on the question of the North, on the question of unity. Senator Robb has been insisting for some time that the popular will should be ascertained in the North itself and in Britain and I say it should be done also in the Republic. Unity has never been a major issue in any general election, not since the present troubles began. We simply do not know what our people want about this, about a matter in which it is presumed on their behalf that they have a particular desire and policy and aspiration.

There is no evidence in fact that they have that policy and aspiration. What we have to go on are the opinion polls. A very revealing study in this connection is the one undertaken by Richard Rose, a senior and distinguished political commentator, in conjunction with Ian McAllister and Peter Mayer —Is There a Concurring Majority About Northern Ireland— published in 1978. It suggests that during the seventies there was far from being a unanimous desire on the part of the people of this State to have a united Ireland. If that is true it may well be that the unanimity is even less two or three years afterwards. So I see no reason why the people should not be consulted — with a stable period of Government ahead — in a referendum about the most tragic problem of contemporary Ireland. It should not happen of course before an informed public debate in Parliament and in the country but they should be asked to answer questions to which they have never seriously addressed themselves, to which perhaps we have never seriously addressed ourselves. Do we regard the Northern Ireland Catholics as part of our nation? Do we long to be re-united with them? What do we think of their electoral support for Provisional Sinn Féin? Why do we want a united Ireland, if we want it? How much are we prepared to pay for it in taxation and in constitutional concessions? If there is to be a renewal of the Constitutional crusade it should take place against this kind of realistic background. Meanwhile terrorism proceeds apace and, whatever happens on the political front, terrorism must be challenged unflinchingly. Too often in this House and elsewhere when we have spoken about a particularly revolting terrorist event people have said: “Oh, but that will go on until there is a political solution.” We should keep these two things quite apart. Terrorism is something to which we should never link the idea that somehow if you do not proceed with a political solution this will go on. Terrorism must always be unflinchingly condemned for its own sake and if you stop condemning it, it will be taken as compliance.

The Taoiseach's idea about an all-Ireland court was torn out of context in the election campaign for propaganda purposes but of course it should never have been made in the first place because it was made, as became evident subsequently, only in an entirely academic, hypothetical context. Interestingly, the reaction to it was of course politically manipulated but the main use made of the Taoiseach's clanger in that respect — if you agree that it was a clanger — was to convey to the people of south Kerry and Clare and elsewhere not that he was so much being a traitor to Irish unity but, "do you want the troubles of the North down in your place?" So it is interesting that the whole celebrated gaffe should have been exploited not to appeal to people's deep aspirations about unity but people's fears that they might have a repetition of the savagery in the North in their own pastoral back yard. That speaks volumes for political attitudes, for real political attitudes to the Northern Ireland problem. There is probably a combination of measures needed to continue the fight against terrorism. In this House some months ago two or three of us introduced a motion on extradition and I said at that time that I never thought that the extradition of terrorists was an answer to the problem but it is one of a set of answers or solutions to the problem. Senator Robb, Senator Ross and I said then that we felt that the conventional resistance here extending right up to the level of constitution lawyers, was that you could not have extradition for terrorists because it would contravene our Constitution. I am still of the opinion that that was sheer pussyfooting, sheer sham, and I have been maintaining that one must make a distinction between, on the one hand, respecting political dissent and extending the civilised shelter of the State to people who are being persecuted for their political opinion and, on the other hand, refusing to give any shelter whatsoever to the criminal terrorist. It is a distinction which the French Government have made in recent times in the case of Basque terrorists and I was glad to see that it seems to have been the distinction which was upheld in the Supreme Court recently on the McGlinchey case. A Government looking ahead then and seeing what further measures they can take to defend the security of this State, which is what concerns me — I do not mind about the charge of collaborating with the British; I am interested in preserving this State against terrorists — should look again at the taboo of extradition and wonder whether they could not amend the 1965 Act accordingly and, of course, everything that flows from that, and at last sign the European Convention on Terrorism.

This leads me to the broader field of Anglo-Irish relations. Again it is a matter for an incoming Government with comfortable time, if nothing else, on their hands to address themselves to the question of Anglo-Irish relations. We need to establish some distinctions here. Of course we all wish for the resumption of harmonious relations with the United Kingdom. Even if Northern Ireland never existed or if there were no problem in that regard I do not have to labour the importance of close links between the two neighbouring States. It is rumoured by the way, a Chathaoirleach, that a moment of light relief occurred once when a late President of Ireland while receiving the Ambassador of the United Kingdom, spoke about the close chains that bound our two countries together. It appears he had to be prompted by an aide to say, links, not chains.

I do not think he ever had to be prompted.

I deliberately did not identify him. It was not that President, it was a much smaller one. So the new Government have to undertake that task of rebuilding bridges which have been damaged but they must do so in the full understanding — and the outgoing Taoiseach was perfectly right in this regard — that ours is not a client State. If what the British Government mean by harmonious Anglo-Irish relations is an Irish Government who defer to their international adventures then they have another think coming and when British diplomats and politicians will tell you, "Of course, what we really objected to in the Falklands crisis was the clumsy way you went about things at the United Nations," in fact, they are really saying: "You let the side down". There is not yet a sufficient awareness in British political and literary establishment circles, even after 60 years of Irish independence, that this is an independent State. When they say that they did not like the outgoing Taoiseach and they like the incoming one they really mean that Garret FitzGerald seems to them to be the acceptable face of Irishness. I hope they have another think in that regard.

The new Taoiseach must maintain a certain emphatic independent stancevis-a-vis the United Kingdom Government if only because it became an issue in the election campaign; if only because he must demonstrate that he is not in the pocket of Whitehall. He told the former Taoiseach more than once that it is a mistake to be erratic in your dealings with the British, that you must not oscillate from deference to obstinacy and so on.

I hope the Government understand the nuances of this situation. The Taoiseach has to combat the charge of high treason of lunching with the Duke of Norfolk. There is no need to remind the Taoiseach of Charles Stuart Parnell's famous statement to his brother John, "Stand up to the English, it is the only thing they respect".

The overriding concern of the Government is the economy and related matters. We had a controversial debate here in the Seanad, for which the Seanad was specially recalled, on the economy. In the course of that debate I suggested that one of the worst areas of the economy — the Minister will have a particular interest in this in view of his former portfolio — was agriculture. I suggested that it was time for a very definite measure of State intervention in the agricultural area of the economy. Subsequently it was said that I argued for the nationalisation of the economy. I never used the word "nationalisation". Parnell was right too about another thing. He said: "Michael Davitt's trouble is that he is always defining." If you define you are lost; never define. I never used the word "nationalisation". I said that the agricultural industry was inefficient, backward and unproductive and that the employment potential of the industries which could stem from agriculture had never been realised since the foundation of the State.

That debate on the economy was on the last day of September and it was reported on the following day, 1 October, and the same issue of the newspapers carried a report from the National Board for Science and Technology on the food industry in which Mr. Tom Hardiman, the chairman of the board, and Dr. Anthony O'Sullivan, the managing director of the Irish Livestock and Meat Board, had the most scathing things to say about the food industry. They talked about the backwardness of the dairying industry, the extremely low quality of Irish vegetables and even such a bizarre fact as that because the livestock produce industry in this country is largely seasonal in its operations, a company like Bailey had to import cream from the North in winter for their Irish Cream Liquer.

Dr. O'Sullivan and Mr. Hardiman also referred in that report to the unexplored and unexploited area of branded added-value products; the failure to exploit protein sources of reasonably priced food in view of the fact that many people cannot afford the more conventional sources of meat protein; the failure of the food industry to develop such cheap sources of protein nourishment as duck, goose and rabbit; the failure to develop any research and development ideas. Even though the food industry has plenty of access to research and development facilities, its expenditure on R and D is the lowest in Europe. They also referred to the failure of the food industry to employ technically skilled workers.

My colleague in University College, Cork, Professor Tom Raftery, Professor of Agriculture, whom nobody could accuse of being a Stalinist or wanting to liquidate the kulaks, has also expressed his opinion in recent months about the appallingly low standard of Irish agricultural productivity. In the newspapers of 18 December last the respected director of ACOT, Dr. Tom Walsh, talked about the horticultural industry being one of missed opportunities time and time again. I quote from his address:

The cost of our failure to exploit the potential of horticulture amounts to £30 million in imports in the past year and the loss of 4,000 jobs which these imports represent.

There are other areas in which at least some chips could be knocked off the great block of unemployment by intelligent Government direction and control: the huge proportion of building materials and building components that are imported and the scandal of the export of live cattle and with them not alone the destruction of the national herd but the export in jobs as well. One item in this regard might be worth mentioning. People who know about European taste in food and the European demand for food tell us that in West Germany alone there is a considerable demand for chilled boned meat and there is no reason why we could not develop that in the Irish market. It would provide all kinds of employment not alone in the preparation of this meat but in ancillary industries like transport and so on. In many parts of the west the tourist trade was as good as industry. I hope the new Government will do something about restoring the tourist industry by redressing such iniquitous impositions as VAT charges in hotels and restaurants and doing something about transport costs for the average tourist, because tourism can also be a money spinner.

Having made these assorted points the real point that arises is in regard to what can be done to improve employment and productivity. Can the Government do anything about the appallingly backward state of agricultural productivity, about the scandalously low quality of vegetables and so on? If not, why not? A Government that cannot improve the agricultural economy are hopelessly, by definition, dedicated to alaissez faire economic philosophy.

There is another reason why the Government cannot do anything about these matters, why they are relatively impotent in the matter of redirecting the economy. It came up very interestingly in the matter of the "Buy Irish" campaign and the ruling of the Commission of the European Court that the Government sponsored "Buy Irish" campaign is at odds with the ideals of the Community. In this House we have had two or three special debates on the "Buy Irish" campaign, "Guaranteed Irish" and so on. In fact, if I remember correctly the motion to support the "Buy Irish" campaign has come from different sides of the House, and it was always a campaign which I was delighted to support. For one thing it accords with a very long-standing tradition in Irish politics, away back to Swift and his famous pamphlets and to Grattan's Volunteers and their non-importation Act. I said in supporting the "Buy Irish" campaign that constantly the danger is, of course, that one of these days Brussels, or whatever way you want to shorthand it, the EEC will tell us we cannot do that any more, that we cannot as a Government direct our people to buy our own products any more because our economic masters will not allow it. Any time I said that there were shouts of nonsense and extremism from some of my colleagues. Well, it has taken place.

We cannot do a deal with the Soviet Union on butter any more because the European Community will not allow it. Is it not a fact — this is too far-reaching a suggestion for the incoming Government with their committed Europeans to consider — that in going into the EEC and in going along with its regulations we have certainly got financial awards but, putting it crudely, we have bartered control over our own economy in return for handouts? That is the hard reality behind all the talk about our partners, the Community, the European ideal.

What we want in this country is far less green flaggery of the kind we saw in the election, far less green flaggery in the political field and much more of it in the economic sphere. Economic nationalism is the only salvation for the country. If we do not pull ourselves up by our own boot straps nobody else will. Nobody outside this island really cares whether we sink or swim and that has always been the case. May I quote again Wolfe Tone in one of his lesser known maxims —"Once afloat we should be able to stay afloat or, if not, we deserve to sink"? I think among other things that the incoming Government might keep uncomfortably in the back of their minds is the fact that perhaps we should consider resuming control over our economy and so hopefully against all the bleakness of the budget deficit and unemployment perhaps by resuming the reins of control we may be able to restructure our economy.

I would like to take this opportunity of expressing my very deep thanks to everyone concerned especially the Chair for the courtesy which has been shown to me. No doubt Senator Robb will make his own remarks but I would be surprised if he were saying other than I will be saying in this matter. I would like to say a very sincere word of thanks to everyone for the courtesy and the consideration which they have given to us in what was a very new experiment and one which no doubt will continue in the future.

I would also like to take this opportunity of welcoming the Minister and wishing him success in his new post. I have no doubt that he will bring to that Ministry the same qualities which he brought to his dealings in agriculture, and not just in this part of this island. I remember some time ago the labyrinth of EEC regulations was such that it was decided, when we were having a special conference on it in Northern Ireland, that there were three people who should be consulted. The first gentleman could understand it but could not explain it; the second was reported to be able to explain it but could not understand it and the third one was Alan Dukes and I am forever indebted for his understanding and explanation. I wish the Minister all the best in his new appointment.

I also take this opportunity to take a fairly wide view of the Appropriation Bill as indeed the previous speaker has done and I would ask the Chair's indulgence on that. While I said that I will take a very wide view, I will try to focus down on to what is basically the only problem which affects this island. It is the problem from which most others stem, and that is the question of the part of this island within which I live. I was interested to hear Senator Murphy make reference almost immediately in his speech to a former Member of this House, Dr. Conor Cruise-O'Brien and his attitude towards that problem which is still with us. I think it is common knowledge that I do not agree with the views of Conor Cruise-O'Brien on that matter and I regard myself as very lucky on that because, for a number of years now, if one wanted to look for a signpost as to whether one was right or wrong in relation to that problem in the North of Ireland, one of the quickest and easiest ways of doing it was to find out what the said gentleman was saying and if one was going anywhere broadly in the opposite direction one would feel that one was more or less correct. The consistency with which he was wrong on that question and the consistency with which he has indeed done nothing but lull the British political scene and British opinion into alaissez-faire attitude towards the North of Ireland is something which is most reprehensible and the people whom I live among, of all shades of opinion, are now reaping the results of it. I would certainly like to dissociate myself in every way from that attitude.

The problem — and I have stated this quite often in this Chamber — that faces us in this island in relation to the northern part of the island is a political one. It is very tempting to search or seek for a military or a security solution to that problem. There are certain people who would like us to do that. I can think of the Provisional IRA, the INLA, the UVF, and the UDA and if they say prayers at all, which I doubt, I would imagine that the last thing they do every night and the first thing they do every morning is say a few prayers that people would indeed be lulled into believing that in some way there is a military-security solution to our problems, because if that were the case then the climate would be exactly right for the continuation of what they intend to do and are doing. Sometimes it appals me when I cross the Border at Carrickarnon that the discussion in the south of Ireland centres around security, that the subject is then refined down in such a way as basically to suggest that if we could only catch these terrible people by some means — call it extradition, call it what you like — put them behind bars and wash our hands of the whole problem, then you in the North could get on with your business.

That is one of the attitudes which I think I would like to refer to. Senator Murphy gave me the opportunity when he said we should find out the mind of the people of the Twenty-six Counties. That would be a very interesting experiment and would be very well worthwhile, because I think in political terms almost at the top of the tree in those attitudes would be the totally fallacious view that somehow if you can get a solution to the security problem you solve the problem of Northern Ireland. This of course is assuming that it is a problem of violence, of subversion, a problem of repression and reaction.

These, I suggest, are symptoms of the disease and not the disease itself. They are very nasty symptoms of a very nasty disease. We should be trying to get to the root of the problem and to cure the disease rather than dealing with the symptoms. There are those who will say that that is an extremely cynical point of view. No doubt there will be subsequent speakers who will point out the amount of violence which has occurred in the North of Ireland. I thank them in advance for what they may say.

In my immediate locality since 20 October we have buried 18 victims of violence. The violence and repression which we have seen in the past 14 years is nothing new. We have seen it in every single decade since the State was formed and it is a matter of regret that people treat it as if it sprung up over a certain period of time. It has been with us since 1921 and since an approach was taken in this part of this island that it would be left there. So if we talk about the mind of the people in the Twenty-six Counties, for God's sake spare us the crocodile tears about violence when the people of the Twenty-six Counties are inclined to forget about the causes of that violence.

There is another sentiment which I find very common in this part of this island and it is: "You are doing a great job up there lads, keep it up." I hear Senator Robb saying: "Yes, you are right." Every time I hear that I look at people and I say: "My God, that is the most partitionist type of attitude imaginable." It is almost as bad as what Senator Murphy said earlier when he referred to importing cream from the North.

I should like to refer to the way in which Northern Ireland hens were labelled as being less Irish than hens that laid eggs on this side of the Border. The eggs were stamped with the number eight and eaten as Irish eggs under the buy Irish scheme. I would have to include cows in that as well because of the great crime of producing milk north of the Border, in the north of what we term `this island'. I did not mean to raise that point but when we talk about partitionism it is something we should look at. It is ludicrous when we say that the cream coming from one part of this island to the other is imported and when we say that the hens which happen to lay beyond what is termed the Border are less patriotic than those which lay south of it.

Senator Murphy made reference to the "Buy Irish" campaign. There is no such thing. There is a buy Southern Irish campaign. That is what it is. We have discussed many Bills in this House and I had great pleasure in discussing and debating them. There is no such thing as a National Heritage Bill. There is a Twenty-six County heritage Bill because all the provisions of that Bill stop when you get to Carna, Carrickarnon or Ballyshannon. A little dose of honesty, fewer cliches and a proper evaluation of the divisions may help us to see more clearly where we are going.

I welcome the Minister for whom I have enormous respect. In wishing him well I wish the Government well. They are presented with an enormous problem. I ask him to relay my sentiments to the Government. I ask them for God's sake to forget about dealing exclusively with the causes of the disease and get down to examining the disease and see how it can be cured. Spare us any continuation of what I can only call forms of words, or solutions, which can be nicely parcelled up in a form of words which will not entirely offend the Opposition, will not be entirely rejected by the British, which can be easily sold on 17 March in the United States and which may be admired by some elements of Unionism and might even keep the SDLP happy. That type of politics will never solve the Northern Ireland situation. We have had it for too long. We are experts at it ourselves. It is almost a fine art with us.

Let us have no more blind alleys. Every attempt which has been made to solve the problem in the North of Ireland, going back to 1921, has been based on a blind alley assumption that somehow or another the problem can be parcelled up and a line drawn around it. That did not succeed in the past. It has not succeeded through the trauma of the past 14 years and it will not succeed in the future. I ask that we be spared the cliches. We are expert at them also. We coined most of them and, as a result, we are in a position to see how they date very quickly. They are no longer relevant to a situation which is deteriorating daily.

Senators can say this is totally negative and what do I suggest? We must listen very carefully when we hear words such as those spoken last week by a senior Northern Unionist politician when he said that the two communities were mutually exclusive. The logical extension of that, which he admitted, is that there is now almost a civil war situation in the North of Ireland. I do not disagree with that. It is coming very close to that. When you live in an area like mine where people are being killed like rabbits you must ask what is the distinction between that and civil war. The danger which lies behind that statement and which was later clearly expanded on by him through the media was this: in those circumstances every single means within or without the law is legitimate. That was stated. It was also stated that the logical conclusion of that was an attempt to move towards re-partition within the North of Ireland, where the Bann becomes the Alamo and the gentleman who spoke in such terms becomes Davey Crockett. We know what the result of that would be. Those who are in the Provisional IRA, INLA, UDA or UVF, having heard that, would rub their hands and say: "Right, this is exactly what we want. We can hit from without and from within." This is how serious the situation is becoming. The gentleman who made that statement is right in another way. The two communities are almost exclusive now.

There are those down here who will say that I am completely wrong, that when they go to a rugby match they play together and mix and have a drink afterwards. There are those who tell us that it is nice to come down to Dublin for a weekend and everybody gets on well and they ask why it cannot be done up there. Of course, those people will get on very well irrespective of what happens in the North of Ireland. They have no stake in it except their own well being and that of their children. The only time it affects them is when their children come to an age where they are going to be faced with those problems.

It is the people, be they Catholic or Protestant, Nationalist, Unionist or Republican or whatever label we like to put on them, who are living in socially deprived areas in estates and in country areas who are really affected. When we are using the clichés let us remember that the Provisional IRA, the INLA, the UDA and the UVF did not build the Divis flats or Ballymurphy or the Shankill Road. The Establishment which we in our own way support built them. That social deprivation is something which is sucking away the hope of people in the North.

I would also point to the growing unemployment problem. Let us take the case of a man who has not a job, whose father and grandfather never worked. I know people, almost all from one section of the community, who for three generations have never worked and we preach to them and we throw platitudes at them. We tell them to be good boys and revise their opinions and attitudes. We talk about their stake in the future. They say "What stake?" Worst still, they say "What future?" This is what I am trying to get across. I am trying to cut through the verbiage which surrounds that problem.

The central point of that problem, the one which must be dealt with politically, is that because of inactivity and because of the refusal of the British Government and this place here to take positive political steps, there will not be any solution within a Northern Ireland context. There is no solution possible and that is a fact of life. Ten years ago within the warmth of the Sunningdale type of agreement, with people working together and two sovereign Governments making every effort to help to sustain a viable partnership administration in the North, it was just about possible. It became impossible when the British Government gave a declaration of intent which was absolutely and totally clear. It said to the community in the North of Ireland whom I live amongst and represented that when it comes to a crunch and a choice between their democratic rights and the weight of Unionist opinion, they line up on the side of Unionist opinion. That was stated very clearly when the British Government refused to back up and reinforce the position of that administration in Sunningdale.

There are those who like to think that the British Government's position is that if only they could get a decent Taoiseach in the South of Ireland with whom they could work this whole thing would be parcelled up and the problem would be over.

There are two stumbling blocks towards real unity in this country, and I am not necessarily talking about geographical unity. I am talking about the unity of people and their ability to cooperate, to work together and to share responsibility. One of them has been with us since 1949 — the Government of Ireland Act. That is the legislation which gives to the Unionist population absolute veto on any movement towards unity within this island while they wish to retain that veto. We have lived with that since 1949.

It may be a surprise to someone that the second veto on any possibility of the creation of power-sharing in the North of Ireland came into being in 1982 when the Assembly Act was passed. Despite all the misunderstandings about it, it says to the Unionists that they can have their Assembly but need not share power unless they wish. The two vetos have now been nicely parcelled and presented to us. I ask the Minister to remember that whatever else happens in the period of the next Government, whatever other approaches are tried, the basic position is that there will not be any peace or any solution unless the minority community in the North are given respect for their aspirations and for their democratic wishes and unless they are given their place in the sun.

There are those who will ask me why I keep harping about the minority community and say that it is a very one-sided point of view. I would like to tell this House the reason. We are almost at the stage within this island when unless we talk about it ourselves nobody else will talk about it. In a situation where the position of the minority community, their requirements and their rights, are being ignored south of the Border and in Britain and in the North of Ireland, I will make no apologies for concentrating my thoughts and my words on their position. They are the people in the last analysis who have had the wrong done to them. I do not want to minimise in any way the position of the Unionist population and what is being done to them now by the Government to which they avow loyalty. The 1,700 jobs which were lost two days ago was simply the tip of the iceberg.

There is a whole portfolio of injustices directed against one section of the community and the due process of the law is abused by that same Government. I do not say that lightly but I must say it because six of my constituents have been shot dead within the past six weeks by those who are supposed to uphold the law. It does not matter whether those people were members of the Provisional IRA, the INLA, the UDA or whatever. Where people who are supposed to uphold the law act outside the law then indeed we are getting into a situation where the law does not exist.

One expects terrorist organisations to do terrible things. One does not expect those who are charged with that very heavy responsibility of fulfilling and implementing the law to respond in such a way. I would hope that the next time Sir Jack Herman finds himself in Dublin in consultation with the Government it will be impressed upon him that the people of this island have seen far too much in their history of the law makers becoming the law breakers. I will leave that point there.

I would like to refer the Minister to a matter mentioned earlier, that is, the state of Anglo-Irish relations. It is remarkable how we can be fooled by the media representation from a close neigh-bouring country. It is almost an accepted fact in Ireland that the Anglo-Irish relationship — which was going so well because of the previous Taoiseach's consultations with Margaret Thatcher — broke down because of the attitude in the Republic. Memories are very short. I refer Members to Margaret Thatcher's statement about the Irish Free State which was a calculated insult to this State and to this Government, and was made long before the Falklands crisis. Subsequent to agreement between these islands, the Northern Secretary of State unilaterally, without any consultation with the Irish Government of the day, produced a set of proposals in the North where the two Governments agreed to deal with the totality of relationships and that was before the Falklands crisis.

I ask the Minister to beware in coming months, years, or however long it may take, that the British Government will be prepared to proceed with an Anglo-Irish agreement — and I agree with Senator Murphy here — but be very wary. They will agree to anything as long as it is so structured that they can pluck out of it what happens to suit them at any given time. What suits them now? One thing, that is, a change in security attitudes by the Irish Government. It would be tragic if the incoming Government switched their position from that which stated that one cannot solve security problems without solving the political problem. It is obvious that the British want this Government to try to solve the security problems before they have even tried to tackle the political problems. They will do almost anything to get the incoming Irish Government into that position. Have no doubts the press coverage will be marvellous, the members of the Government will be the greatest guys walking, but if they follow that line they will not solve these problems. They will continue to pay the price and will have been fooled by the British.

What must happen and very quickly is that the Irish people must state their position in terms of a solution to the problem of this island. One of the things which is becoming increasingly clear is that this Government do not have an economy and they will not have an economy while there is an island divided by violence, fear and the agony of the people of the North. Nor will there be a tourist industry, which Senator Murphy spoke about, industrial development or a settled security situation until the central problem is solved, and that problem cannot be solved until they understand it.

I ask all sections of this House to ensure that we get a response from those who want to see the people of this island united, to look at the implications of the proposals and to ensure that the blueprint for such unification is the result of proper consultation and understanding. That may hurt many people. It may not be nice to have to say that there is a great degree of partitionism in our approach to industry, education, industrial development and every walk of life. That may be one of the pills one has to swallow and it may not be very nice for someone like myself who will have to swallow pills if we go along that road. It will not be very nice for those people who talk about a republican solution to the Irish problem and then put on the blinkers for God knows how many years; but unless that is done, we cannot escape the conclusion which is often reached across the water that here we have people who will indulge in rhetoric about the problem, who will use it politically, who will toss it out every now and then to keep themselves and everybody else happy, but who will not tell us what they mean.

Let us find out what we mean by Irish unity. Let us find out what we mean by the alternative we will present to the union of the North of Ireland with the rest of Britain, and let us do it in an honest way. This topic will be pursued in other places and at other times. Having made this request, I ask the Minister one final favour at the beginning of what I know will be a very distinguished career; for God's sake, to try to impress upon his colleagues that the longer we continue with clichés, the more people will die, the longer people wring their hands in anguish and utter the predictable, which we all do, people will die, the longer we go down blind alleys, the less chance there will be of a solution, and the longer we ignore the root of the problem, the longer the problem will remain. It seems incredible that after 62 years with a problem which has directly affected the sovereign Government of this part of this island, any sovereign Government has not yet embarked on a clear policy line to achieve a solution.

The Irish sovereign Government not only have a responsibility but also have rights. They have a responsibility to ensure that those rights are attained. For Heaven's sake, let us stop apologising for the fact that we belong to this island, that we happen to be Irish, and that we believe, as the majority of other countries in the world believe, we have a right to live as a unified people. That is not a matter for apology to anybody. That is something we should be able to translate with pride into our political lives and deliberations. If the Government, of which the Minister is a senior member, remember that and act upon it, there is hope. If they pursue the line we started with — the attitude of Dr. Conor Cruise-O'Brien which he reiterated in his column last Sunday — they are saying to the people of Northern Ireland: "We do not really want to know you. We do not even want the cream of your cows. We do not want your eggs, and we do not want your problems".

I will not get into debate on this point because it is much too serious at this moment. If the constitutional crusade is proceeded with, this must be remembered. Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution may mean very little to the revisionist attitudes in the South, and may mean very little to those people whose pseudoliberalism now tells them that it is something that could well be done without. Let me state that it means a great deal to many people in that part of this island which is called Ireland who have nothing else to hold on to. Finally, I have made a distinct attempt to impress upon the Minister that there is more than one side to this problem, that there are also in the North of Ireland people without property and without hope. It is the Government's job, as a sovereign Government on this island, to give them hope. It is their job to give not a military solution, not a security solution, but a political solution. I hope that in their efforts to do so they will be representing a unified approach, not just from the people of part of this island but from the political parties, a unified approach which is not just looking over their shoulders in an attempt to distance themselves from this terrible problem, but in an effort to bring this problem closer so that the wellbeing which this part of this island has been able to develop for itself over the past 62 years can at last be shared with those of us who live North of the Border, irrespective of what labels may be put upon us.

A Leas-Chathaoirligh, is é an chéad dualgas atá orm ná fáilte a chur roimh an Aire. Guím fad saol dó. Is fear cumasach é. Is fear le Gaeilge é. Cuireann sé suim sa Ghaeilge. Cuireann sé suim ins na nithe a bhaineann le Gaeilge agus tá súil agam go seasóidh sé an fód nuair a bheidh gá leis, nuair a bheidh an Rialtas ag plé cúrsaí a bhaineann le náisiúntacht agus le forás agus le hathbeochaint na Gaeilge.

I am privileged and proud to have been present this afternoon to hear Senator Séamus Mallon, one of our leading apologists for Irish nationality in this island, state his case. All hearts bled for him recently on account of the humiliation which he had to suffer. We are proud of him because of the dignified way in which he took that suffering and those insults. Please God another day will come: Beidh lá eile ag an bPaorach, beidh lá eile ag Séamus agus go dtaga an lá sin sara bhfad.

It would be impertinent for me or anybody else to attempt to paraphrase or comment on his speech today. All I can say is what was said in the poem "The man from God knows where"— Amen! I agree with every word Senator Mallon has said. I go further and say this — hearing the contributions made by Senator Mallon and Senator Robb has been for me a wonderful experience. It was a very happy and patriotic act of the former Taoiseach to appoint these two men to Seanad Éireann. Would it be too much to hope that the incoming Taoiseach would do likewise in the new Seanad? These men spoke sincerely and honestly, as usual. Two Latin words come to mind that they could have used at the end of each of their speeches —"Vera loqui”. There is no substitute at any time in one's life for the truth. Above all, as far as the Six Counties' problem is concerned, we should have the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The Six Counties State was formed by treachery, covetousness, colonialisation and all those other evil things and unless we go back to the very roots and face the problem in toto, we cannot have a solution. The time has come when we will have to realise just that because a partial solution is not a solution.

In that connection I would like to refer to the crusade inaugurated by the present Taoiseach during his former period as Taoiseach. There is talk of a renewal of that crusade. Now I am not going through the arguments I already made against that crusade. I will mention just the basic one. The Taoiseach's crusade was based on false premises. Until he gets back to the drawing board and gets his premises right, that crusade will be a failure. We Irish people have nothing whatever to be ashamed of. We should not be ashamed of, or make excuses for, our separated brethren in the Six Counties. Let us get rid, once and for all, of this business of speaking of the problems in that area as the "Irish Question". It is not an "Irish Question", it is an "English Question". The British Government must take the responsibility for practically all of the existing trouble. One third of the people of the Six Counties are one with us nationally and culturally but they are simply ignored within the constitution of Britain and the Six Counties. That position must be righted.

I am tempted to go through various points but, if I did so, I would only spoil the effect of the extraordinary, wonderful and heartening speech of Senator Mallon. I can only hope that that speech will be published and read and treasured by every Irish man and woman in the whole of this land.

I turn from there to a sum of money in the Estimates, for Vote No. 37: Tuarastal agus Cúrsaí Roinn na Gaeltachta maidir le deontais le haghaidh tithe agus ildeontais-i-gcabhair — sé mhilliún déag, trí chéad nócha trí mhíle punt. Is beag é i gcomparáid leis an suim iomlán atá i gceist — cuig mhíle, trí chéad agus seasca is dhá mhilliún, ocht gcéad agus nócha sé mhíle agus seachtó punt. Taispeánann sé sin an neamh-shuim atá ag daoine in Údarás na Gaeltachta agus in athbeochan na Gaeilge. Chuir sé an-díomá ar fad orm an neamh-shuim sa Ghaeltacht agus san athbheochaint atá ag na daoine a bhfuil an cumhacht acu san Ghaeltacht agus san athbheochaint. Mar a dúirt an Seanadóir Ó Murchú, tá cúramaí eile ar Aire na Gaeltachta seachas an Ghaeltacht féin, agus sílim gur céim síos é sin i stadas na Gaeilge agus na Gaeltachta, agus is olc an scéal é sin. Os rud é gur fear le Gaeilge an tAire atá i láthair inniu, bail ó Dhia air, tá súil agam go mbeidh sé aireach i gcónaí ar eagla go leanfadh an chéim síos sin. Ar eagla go mbeádh aon mi-thuiscint ag éinne faoi céard tá á rá agam. I will continue in English.

For many of us for whom Irish is our first language, the language of our homes, even though we live in the Galltacht, there is constant worry that an attempt is being made to withdraw from what is so dear to us and which was the basic reason for our fight for freedom and our partial success in that fight, that is, the language revival movement. Is there to be a withdrawal from the promotion of the language? It is notorious that in our educational system the standard of the language in children coming from school has been deteriorating for some time. That is public knowledge. There are cases of splendid students coming from schools and colleges, but overall the standard is not what it was.

Then we come to our national television and radio service. The paucity of programmes in our own language is nothing short of a national disgrace. We compare most unfavourably with our brothers in Wales who have an excellent television service in the Welsh language. We are down to practically nothing. I looked recently at a list of the programmes to be broadcast during Christmas and discovered that we have nearly nothing at all as far as Irish programmes are concerned, particularly for adults. One would think the least we would have every day would be a programme for adults and one for children entirely in our own language.

Further to prove my point, there seems to be a lot of carelessness when it comes to giving place names in the Irish language, or names of songs, tunes or book titles in the Irish language. The mispronunciation is frightening. I notice that those who make those glaring errors in pronunciation will pronounce perfectly place names in French, Italian, German or any other Continental language. It amazes me. One morning lately I was very annoyed when somebody referred to a version of that famous song, one of our most famous, which is still sung and enjoyed and will be for thousands of years to come, "Seán Ó Duibhir a' Ghleanna". Perhaps the gentleman did not know any better, but a man who is supposed to be giving the names of songs should know the proper names, and pronounce them properly. It sounded like "Seán Ó Deer" from him. That kind of thing only lowers the status of the language. It discourages people from learning it. Our language has beautiful sounds. You cannot speak Irish any more than you can speak French or German with the sounds of English.

We want many more Irish programmes in our television and radio programmes in order to provide for the needs of both those who speak the language and those who want to hear the language. People are surely entitled to something more than hearing the news in our own language. We want entire programmes in our own language, and I hope the Minister, being an Irish speaker, will get that point across at the highest possible level. It is most important.

I cannot let this opportunity pass without complimenting the RTE Authority and their Chairman and Director General for the stand they took recently in regard to undesirable programmes on television. I refer to the protests in connection recently with certain programmes on the "Late Late Show". People have been putting up with this sort of thing for far too long. The same could be said about some of the plays and films we have had to put up with on our own television for a long time.

I was one of the people who agitated strongly to ensure that our second television channel would be designed and presented by our own station and not imported from BBC. We should have control over our own programmes. We do not seem to have very much control at all, and I wonder why. Is it because some people are anxious to see that our cultural and national standards will be watered down? Is it because they are anxious to see that our moral and cultural standards should be debased, that we should apologise for being Christians or, should I dare to say, for being Catholics? We are often subjected to sneers in some of these programmes. That should not happen to anybody irrespective of the religion anyone professes.

I compliment the RTE Authority on their recent action. I hope they will continue the good work. There are many programmes that are undesirable. People do not want fornication or pornography coming into their parlours. If there are people who want such things let them go elsewhere for them. They should not be brought into our homes and at our own expense, to make it worse. I hope the Minister will take note of these points and use his good judgment as to how best to deal with these things as they arise.

As with all Governments, the incoming Government will have serious problems to face and as I always say on the Appropriation Bill, no matter how well Governments perform there will always be problems and it is up to all of us here, as responsible men and women, to do our utmost to improve standards, cultural, national, economic and moral in the interests of the country we all love.

Before commenting on the Appropriation Bill I welcome the Minister to the House and wish him a successful term of office. The task he has before him is particularly onerous. Much is expected of him and I wish him well in the task that lies ahead of him.

It is traditional to comment on the economic performance of the past year when we speak on the Appropriation Bill. Given the fact that recently we have had a change of Government, the fact that the people have spoken on the Appropriation Bill in the vote in the general election, I would rather glance ahead to the new Government and their programme.

We have here a document which is the basis for this new Government, the Fine Gael-Labour Programme for Government. It is a document full of optimism and hope. There is much that is very good and worth while in this programme. I see in the coming together of Fine Gael and Labour something of vigour — if you like hybrid vigour — bringing together the strains and strengths of two political philosophies, two ways of approach. In the past we made a monolithic approach to Government, monolithic attitudes to the economy. I am very optimistic and hopeful that, in regard to the problems which this country faces and the enormous economic decisions which must be made, the coming together of the Fine Gael and Labour Parties in Government will bring about solutions which will be effective and which will have a lasting impact on this country and on our very young population.

There is a twin challenge lying ahead. Primarily the challenges are those of phasing out the current budget deficit and grasping the economy very firmly by the scruff of the neck.

In addition we must deal with unemployment, which has become the enormous social scourge of this country. It concerns me very much that we tend to speak of unemployment in statistical terms, dry terms, leaving out the human dimension, leaving out the suffering, the humiliation, the sense of despair and defeat of the people who are coping with this problem on a day-to-day basis. This is the most fundamental job the new Government must deal with. I hope they will be able to do so. If we do not cope with unemployment, if we cannot give our young population hope — and we have the youngest population in Europe — then we run the risk of political and social anarchy, and none of us wants to see that obtain in this State.

Looking through this document there are many things of enormous worth. Obviously the emphasis is on planning for economic recovery and on dealing with the unemployment in our midst. The broad basis for the economic recovery is one of planning, of strategy, one of inviting people to co-operate with the Government to bring about this economic recovery. One of the hallmarks of this new Government will be a consultative approach, that we are going to ask people to bring their views forward, we are going to enter into consultation with them, we are going to seek consensus. In saying that I do not feel that we are going to be soft-centred. We are going to be firm. We are not going to shirk from decisions which need to be made. But we will bring people along with us in these decisions, recognising that this is the only way in which we will get the co-operation necessary to achieve the results we have set out to achieve. In the past we have not seen this type of consultation. Consequently we have not seen the necessary co-operation. But by now I would say that the Irish people as a whole have been alerted to the fact that the economy is in dire straits. They are ready to take the medicine and I think they are ready to take it from this Government because their understanding and awareness has been engendered by this Government and the Taoiseach.

Again in this document I see that in facing up to the problems there is emphasis laid on reforms of our institutions. Those of us who are Members of Seanad Éireann, and who are now involved in seeking once more to become Members of Seanad Éireann, will no doubt be interested to see that one of the institutions which is going to be reformed is the Seanad, its method of election and its working, in order to ensure a fuller and more effective role in future for this House of the Oireachtas. Those of us who are Members of it wish it to be a vigorous body, which it to operate effectively. There has been a motion for some time on our Order Paper examining the method of election to the Seanad and seeking reform in this area. I am sure I speak for all Members of this House who are seeking election under the panel system, and I know I speak with feeling when I say that those of us who have faced into this election for the third time in 18 months, who are doing the grand tour of Ireland, who are eating up the miles on what are now particularly bad roads in very bad weather conditions, wish that the method of election was different, was more rational, was perhaps based on a regional basis and that it would not necessarily be a test of stamina and one of endurance. It strikes me as being somewhat anti-democratic that, given its present mode of operation, someone who is disabled, handicapped or in any way lacking in the necessary physical stamina could not involve himself in this election to the Seanad. To have to travel 8,000 or so miles around the country would be just too arduous a feat for such a person to undertake. This is a matter for some regret. A system of election in a democratic State which by its very nature rules out the participation of those who are disabled and handicapped — and remember of the nominating bodies to Seanad Éireann elections are bodies representing the disabled and handicapped — is to be regretted. This method of election needs to be looked at very closely and carefully. Such people, if they so desire, should be Members of Seanad Éireann, should be able to participate in the election and travel and do the necessary things to become elected.

Another interesting point is this joint document under the heading of "Institutional Reforms" states that the present use of State cars will be reviewed with a view to reducing the cost to a fraction of the present figure of £2,500,000 a year. I am somebody who has canvassed publicly in a general election. I know that this paragraph would be very much welcomed by the general public because the public who are alerted to economic stringency, to the necessity for reform, will point the finger in the direction of those who are legislators and ask them to set an example. This is one very potent and powerful way in which Members of the Legislature can indicate very responsibly and coherently that they are willing themselves to accept economic stringency. Obviously, I concede the point that in the area of Cabinet Ministry the duties involved are particularly onerous and that it is necessary to have the services of a State car. Perhaps, from what I know of the echelon of the Ministers of State at the various Departments it might be possible to operate from a car pool, thereby minimising the cost to the Exchequer and setting an example to the general public whom we are asking to co-operate with us in this matter of economic stringency.

Two things which pleased me enormously in the area of appointments are the appointment of the first woman Cabinet Minister to the Ministry of Education and the appointment of a Minister of State with responsibility for women's affairs. I am enormously heartened by this. It is very significant to see that women in Irish society who do not necessarily have a family involvement in politics can become involved, can on their merits and ability rise to the office of full Cabinet Ministry. I wish this Minister well in her work. Obviously also I am particularly gladdened by the appointment of a Minister of State at the Department of the Taoiseach with special responsibility for women's affairs. This is an historic breakthrough. It is something of enormous importance. There are many twilight areas that need to be looked into and much reform is called for. I know the vigour and energy of the person concerned will bring about change in this area.

I look forward also to the establishment of committees to look at marriage breakdown and to look at marriage in the context of the eighties. It has been a feature of political life in the last 18 months that all-party committees on a variety of topics never really got off the ground. They have had one or two preliminary meetings, perhaps three, but they have not been able, as far as I know, to issue reports or really to come to grips with the problems they were asked to address. I look forward to the committee system as being part of this reform.

In the last Seanad it was my responsibility to speak on development co-operation and I am pleased to see in the joint document that a commitment has been given in the area of development aid. The Government will adhere to the commitment to increase development aid by .05 per cent of GNP each year until the UN target of .07 per cent is reached. Indeed, as though to underline this commitment the Government have appointed a Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs with specific responsibility in the area of development aid. I am heartened to see this and I know that those people concerned about Third World affairs and who see this as one of the major international problems are also heartened by this appointment which was absent during the last administration.

Some speakers have referred to the use of Irish and the emphasis the Government will place on the Irish language. They are anxious that there will not be a diminution of involvement in the language. I do not feel they have any grounds for concern in this area. The commitment of the Minister for Finance, who is present, is no secret. Not all of us are able to speak the language as fluently as we might like. We have all been through a school system which has meant that we have studied it for many years but the fact that we do not speak it as fluently as we speak English is not so much a reflection on our individual capacity as on, perhaps, the method or system of language teaching which is employed in our schools. The joint document states that support will be given for the establishment of more all-Irish schools at primary and post-primary levels. If the language is to survive and flourish such schools are the way in which this will be done. As far as I know the Minister attended such a school which is, perhaps, the reason for his fluency in Irish. Like many of my friends who do not speak Irish so fluently I was not so fortunate. This is the key to ensuring that our language survives and that it is spoken by our people.

Another feature, under the heading of education, in the joint document is that the Government will ensure the maximum possible integration of handicapped and other children within the educational system. This is very significant and to my knowledge I have not seen such a commitment before in a Government programme. For too long handicapped children, both physical and mental, have been hived off into schools of special education. While this may be necessary to some degree at some stage in their lives it also has very adverse effects. The handicapped, both physical and mental, are full citizens and it is important for our able-bodied children to be able to relate to handicapped children not on the basis of feeling sorry for them, or wanting to be sympathetic, or in superior-inferior fashion but as equal, as other children who happen to be disadvantaged but are children nonetheless.

The joint document of the Fine Gael and Labour parties lays stress on poverty. Poverty has become a feature of our society. It is not a feature that is spoken about too often because we do not like to hear about it. It is not pleasant, it is disagreeable. We would prefer to ignore it. According to the joint document an anti-poverty plan will be drawn up and implemented within the context of national economic and social planning concentrating on a more just distribution of wealth, income and power. The structure of the combat poverty organisation will be re-established with local involvement and the development of constructive community action against poverty, as recommended in the 1980 Combat Poverty Report. The National Community Development Agency Act, 1982 will be repealed and the National Social Services Board will be restored to their former status. I hope that on that board we will find a place for Sister Stanislaus of Kilkenny, one of the foremost campaigners in the area of anti-poverty. She is a formidable woman of great capacity and I would like to see her reinstated in an area in which she can give a full and strong commitment.

I welcome the Bill. I am very optimistic. I know the tasks ahead are onerous and that we face a great deal of self-doubt and questioning. We have enormous problems to deal with but we do not lack the will or the resolution. Our Government will face up to the tasks that lie ahead. It is a very young and vibrant Cabinet with enormous talent led by a person of integrity and ability and will not shirk the North of Ireland question which has been so sensitively and so affectingly spoken of here this afternoon by Senator Séamus Mallon. I look forward to the years ahead with optimism.

The Minister of State and I are well acquainted and I want to welcome him. We are practically from the same parish, almost next door neighbours from a long time ago. I want to welcome him to the House in a non-partisan way. We are friends for many years and long before I had any aspirations for politics. I knew him when he was building a political base around my home town. There has been considerable media comment on the relative youth of the new Government. In that regard I should like to repeat a quotation by T.S. Eliot:

Do not talk to me about the wisdom of old men because the wisdom of old men is their fear.

The only real wisdom is the wisdom of youth. The only real hope is the hope of young people. The only real new ideas are the ideas of young people. The old people who have good ideas are the old people who have young ideas. The old people who offer hope are the people who offer the hope of the young generation. The only people who can offer us a future are the people who understand the dreams of the young generation. There is nothing wrong with having young people in positions of power. Young people have a habit, perhaps, of making more mistakes and our media have a habit of identifying people's mistakes in great numbers. I remember being told about a great Irishman now no longer involved in the productive sector, Lieutenant General M.J. Costello, that his major stricture when he was in charge of the Sugar Company was against those who took no risks and, therefore, made no mistakes, rather than against those who took risks and made mistakes.

The single greatest area of expenditure in the Bill is in the area of health and welfare. What other speakers have said is true that we have to be concerned about the poor. I doubt if there is a single, solitary person who would not admit and insist that he was concerned about the poor. Nobody is against the poor.

The first question which arises is: how many are there? There we have a major area of dissent. The second question is: how do we deal with the problem? I want to talk first of all about the way we do not deal with the problem. We do not deal with the problem by using artificial devices to pretend the problem is smaller than it is, or is less expensive than it is, or can be dealt with by reducing expenditure in certain areas. A recent correspondence into which I entered inThe Irish Times I regret to say was initiated by a speech by the present Taoiseach, a man for whom I have often stated my high regard because of his strong social concern. In that speech he distorted and misquoted figures from an important Economic and Social Research Institute report on short-term welfare and short-term disability payments. Figures were used out of context and in a way which led to an entirely incorrect conclusion.

The history of the correspondence is that I wrote a long letter toThe Irish Times. The Federated Union of Employers attempted to reply to my letter. I replied again and the author of the report, who surely must be the ultimate expert on it, was then moved to write and point out that my interpretation of his figures was the correct one and that others had been attempting to distort them. Those are the facts in an area in which there has been an unprecedented level of media campaigning, the area of short-term disability benefit. There were allegations of widespread dossing. Terms like the dossers' charter were used. Selective facts were quoted and thrown at people. The fact of the matter is that there is no evidence of widespread abuse of short-term disability. There is no evidence that people are on the doss on a massive scale. There is not one scrap of evidence to support that, beyond the popular prejudice carefully being fostered by the media, by sections of the media. In particular I would name Independent Newspapers who have carried out a most scurrilous campaign against those who are least able to defend themselves. I would expect more from those who would hope to lead our country in difficult times than that they would latch on to a popular prejudice against those on welfare and particularly on those on disability.

There is no such evidence. I repeat the challenge I made on many occasions before: if we have a problem about welfare, and I doubt it, let us first of all find out what the problem is. In any normal logical individual's mentality and approach, the normal place to start is to define the problem and, once you have defined the problem, then you can deal with it. Nobody wants to find out how much abuse there is, where it is, or whether it exists at all. Limitless numbers of people in politics, in the media, in business and in industry are dedicated and determined to deal with a problem they have never actually managed to identify and quantify.

If we are to deal with the problem of welfare abuse, it is surely self-evident that the first thing we must do is identify the problem. I would have thought that would have been the natural, logical approach to any problem. Perhaps because I am an engineer that is the way I would look at a problem. First of all you find out what the problem is and then you propose the solution, rather than the other way around which is to propose the solution and then find out how big the problem is. That is the first thing I should like to say to this Government.

Now, there is one area in which abuse has been identified, that is in the area of the building industry. The former Taoiseach's Department engaged a firm of consultants, whom I would not trust entirely, to investigate the building industry and they came up with some startling conclusions. Those startling conclusions indicated that——

The Senator cannot make such remarks about what was done outside of this House.

I withdraw the remark and apologise. I do not understand how I am supposed to quibble about figures if I cannot make disparaging remarks. I would find their conclusions difficult to accept. In fact, they identified some abuse in the building industry. The extraordinary fact is that the immediate response from the trade union movement was to call for legislation to deal with the abuse by way of abolishing what is known as the lump system whereby sub-contractors get away with enormous amounts of fiddling of various things. The silence from both Government and industry in the face of that demand was eloquent in itself. So perhaps somebody else is doing better out of this abuse than those who are usually blamed for it, that is, the employees and those at the bottom of the heap.

The realities of welfare should be spelled out yet again, because there is a considerable preoccupation with the high levels of welfare, with people recently unemployed who have a substantial amount of social insurance behind them and who qualify for the maximum level of pay-related social insurance. A man with two children, recently unemployed and with full social insurance can claim about £120 per week on his initial unemployment benefit. What is not so well known is that in the case of a married man with two children, when his social insurance runs out and his pay-related runs out — as run out it will in the sort of environment we are promised of long standing high levels of unemployment — we expect him to support his family on £57 per week. I find that, when the anomolies in social welfare are identified, it is the minority who are doing very well in the short-term we hear about, as distinct from the majority who are doing very badly in the long-term and who are entirely ignored. If there are to be adjustments within welfare perhaps there is a case for a scaled level of increases, so that those at the bottom will do better, and those at the top will do less well, and that is the only sort of adjustment in welfare I would countenance.

We have the other extraordinary consequence of a Bill that went through this House about six or eight months ago, that is, the private rented dwellings legislation. We have had recent court findings which have raised rents from £1.80 a week to £59 a week. We have agreed in this House that people who are subject to those sorts of rent increases will get substantial subsidies from the State but, of course, the tenants will not get them; the landlords will get them. What we are doing is giving a substantial hand-out to a landlord in order to enable a tenant to live in private rented accommodation. The shocking contrast is that, in the area of supplementary welfare, on which large numbers of young unemployed people are dependent, the maximum rent allowance payable under the supplementary welfare code is the same as it was seven years ago when the Bill was introduced. It is £5 per week. The maximum when the Bill was introduced was £5 per week, when an average rent of an average flat would have been about £4, £5 or £6 per week. The average rent for a single bed-sitter in any big city or town is now of the order of £15 to £20 per week, and we still give people a maximum rent allowance of £5 per week.

I wonder is it that when we have a constitutional provision to protect private property we must legislate accordingly and transfer a substantial and generous subsidy to the owners of that private property. When we do not have a constitutional provision to protect those who are really at the bottom of the heap — and in this area I am talking about the single unemployed — we leave them with what was a pittance when it was introduced and which is even more pitiful now. The extraordinary excuse which is sometimes given when people talk about welfare abuse is that there is widespread public concern about the problem and, therefore, we must be seen to be doing something about it.

The first thing you do when there is widespread public concern is to attempt to allay public concern, and one way of doing that is by indicating to people that the problem does not exist. There is equally widespread public concern that large sections of our society do not pay their taxes and that large sections of our society get away with murder. Those who quite happily latch on to the anti-welfare prejudice would be the first to announce in the same breath that all those other people are not getting away with tax evasion, even though they would insist to us that they know, because everybody knows, there is welfare abuse, but everybody who knows about welfare abuse apparently does not know about tax evasion and is wrong there. The same political leaders will courageously lead us to understand that there are no untapped sources of taxation, public opinion to the contrary notwithstanding but, at the same time, will quite happily indulge in widespread prejudice and hostility to the poor and to poverty in terms of the criticism of welfare abuse. It is wrong, it is unjust, and in many cases it is unworthy of those who often articulate those views.

There are real anomalies in the welfare system which are not talked about. There is widespread discrimination against women, and particularly against married women, which we quietly and casually ignore and when we are finally dragged screaming into the late twentieth century by the European Commission we will then all of us, predominantly male, stand up and take credit for our progressive views on the area of women and social welfare. That needs to be tackled. It is not an anomaly that business, industry or prominant politicians of the major parties ever get around to talking about.

There is the extraordinarily low basic rates which nobody ever talks about. People identify the high-flown maximum rates. The low rates of the unmarried mother's allowance, of the deserted wife's allowance, of widow's allowance — the areas where most of us talk eloquently about the sanctity of family life are the areas in which we are least willing to make any attack and where we, happily and quite apparently without much concern for the sufferings of the people involved, indulge in prejudice about the level of welfare payments involved.

If you are homeless — and my concern and commitment to homelessness is fairly well known — you do not qualify. You must have an address and if you have an address you are not homeless: therefore we do not have any homeless claiming social welfare. If we do not have any homeless claiming social welfare, then we can say there is no problem. I do not know what the thinking behind this is, but I have met people in the streets of Cork who asked me if I would say they were staying in the Simon Community night shelter because they had been told they would not get their social welfare if they could not say where they were staying. I said yes and I happily admit on the altar of Parliament that I have deceived the social welfare system on more than one occasion by giving the address of the Simon Community for people who were not staying there because I was not going to have their penury and their total starvation on my conscience for the rest of the weekend. I make no apologies for it. It is a totally ridiculous, pointless bureaucratic regulation which is based on the assumption of the old poor law system that people who are homeless are locked up because they are guilty of a crime, because it is a crime to be homeless and to be wandering abroad without visible means of support and therefore you do not give them welfare because you might encourage them to be homeless.

There is the complicated, irrational, inconsistent rigmarole of means testing where to qualify for various benefits people have to undergo various means tests, and this seems unfair. The articulate middle classes, who are now more and more screaming for means tests with their lobbies from industry and from the major banking organisations supporting them in considerable numbers, would not like to be subjected to the means tests which are imposed on some people. We have demands for more means tests. It is not right. It is cruel and unfair and does not reflect well on our prospects for holding a cohesive society together under the stresses that we will endure in the next four or five years.

The social welfare appeals system is in a dreadful state of disarray. It has been for years. One of the most trenchant comments and criticism I heard against the last Coalition Government was that when they had a problem of short-term social welfare abuse they proposed to tax short-term social welfare but when they had a problem about social welfare appeals which everybody had codified they set up a commission to investigate. That, as far as I am concerned, defines the relative priorities of the two areas. The social welfare appeals system humiliates the appellant and gives enormous and unfair discretion to those who are responsible for taking those appeals.

With regard to unemployment assistance and unemployment benefit there is the extraordinary provision that the recipient must be available for work. It is work that is not available, not the people who should be working. The unemployed should begin to reverse this and say that they will subject themselves to all these humiliations, controls and repressions when work is available and that until such time as work becomes available they expect to be treated properly. Our young people, to whom everyone gives such allegiance and about whom they indulge in such craw-thumping, are entitled to expect better than the insistence that they must sign on once or twice a week and that if they are involved in educational schemes, in voluntary work or anything else, they are liable, depending on the willingness of the local social welfare managers to turn a blind eye, to have their unemployment assistance withdrawn because they are not available for work.

Apparently the fact that work is not available does not make you unavailable for work; the fact that there is no work is irrelevant to the thinking that if you do not sign on there might be work and you are not available. Could we not wait until somebody turns down a job before we determine him to be unavailable for work? I would go much further. I would suggest that any young person unemployed for more than three months should be sent his unemployment assistance cheque through the post and told to keep that and to do what he can for the rest of the week because he will do a heck of a lot better on his own than being subjected to a means test and our attempts to pretend that we have work when we know bloody well we do not.

A previous speaker mentioned that all sorts of interests would be consulted. Has anybody yet devised a means by which unemployed will be consulted about unemployment or the old will be consulted about what it is like to be old on an average income of £43 a week, or all the other groups be consulted? We will end up consulting the experts who claim to know what these people are thinking, not the people. We need a drastic fundamental review of how we approach the problem of social deprivation. The first and fundamental platform of that must be that everything will be aimed towards allowing those who are most in need to say what they need rather than have it said for them by well-intentioned people, myself included, who have never really been poor and do not understand what it is like to be poor or to face the prospect of long-term unemployment.

I am glad that Senator Bulbulia mentioned the fact that we have always talked about unemployment as a problem in an abstract sense. Unemployment is 170,000 individual people suffering humiliation consistently through the insensitive remarks of politicians and through the insensitive coverage of the media. There are very few people who are unemployed who do not want to work. There are many people unemployed who want to work and there are very few jobs going around. As Kieran Kennedy of the Economic and Social Research Institute said on one occasion, there is no point in any of us latching on to the fear of the present generation and starting to blame unemployment on the unemployed. It will not work. They will not go away and you will simply create yet another layer of alienation and apathy in our society.

Since we are talking on the Appropriation Bill I must make reference to our national broadcasting service. Senator Ross and I are the only two politicians in either House who have put our names on the record and said that we believe that Radio Telefís Éireann is entitled to a substantial licence fee increase. That motion has been on the Order Paper in this House for the past six months. I put my name to that motion because I believe in public service broadcasting, because I believe public service broadcasting is the least susceptible to blackmail from interest groups and from lobbyists and pressure groups and that you can expect a cohesive and intelligent reportage of problems. It is, therefore, aggravating and infuriating to listen to the biased, one-sided and loaded news reporting of RTE in the area of unemployment, welfare and alleged welfare abuse. Every single report from an industrialist, from the Confederation of Irish Industry, from the Federated Union of Employers or from any other group has been reported in detail and faithfully by RTE, which is their duty. They would be derogating their duty if they did not do it but every attempt that I am aware of, my own and others, to restore the balance to proper order has been ignored by RTE. If you were to listen to RTE's news coverage on the area of poverty and social deprivation you would think the only problem was the problem of an excessively generous welfare State being abused by a bunch of scroungers. There is another side and RTE have failed miserably in their national duty to represent that other side, which is the interest of one million people in this country. It shows a serious lack of judgment on the part of RTE which is probably reflected in the fact that they have no special correspondents in these areas, apparently because of their own impoverishment. Indeed, the only poverty that you can rely on RTE to report diligently and in detail is their own poverty. Whenever somebody in RTE makes a speech about their impoverished circumstances you can rest assured, although all of us know already their position, that that will be reported in great detail and in technicolour if possible.

I want to talk very briefly about education. A painful contrast which struck me as I was conducting the canvass in the election probably is the cause of all the long speeches we are hearing today in this House. As I move from the university sector to the technological sector, both of which we are told have a major and equal contribution to make to future industrial development, the contrast in physical conditions, working environment, maintenance and support is painful and hurtful, particularly to somebody like myself who works in the technological sector. There is no comparison between the relative luxury of either Trinity College or University College and the appalling conditions of the Bolton Street College of Technology here. There is no comparison in my own city of Cork between the conditions in some of the newer parts of the university and the equally new RTC. A gross and inequitable definition of what has been an acceptable minimum standard gives much higher minimum standards to the university sector than to the other third level sectors. That is not just or right and it is not the way to persuade young people that they will have equal opportunities in the future by going to the technological sector. They are entitled to the same standards, the same environment and the same quality of service, but these do not exist for them. The quality of teaching is excellent, but the physical environment in our non-university third level sector is in many cases nothing short of appalling and standards are accepted there that would not be tolerated anywhere else.

On going through the Appropriation Bill I was struck by the escalating cost of our prison service. It is well up into the £40 million figure now. I do not know what we hope to do with our prisons. Nobody knows, because we have no philosophy. We have no studies. We do not even allow researchers into our prisons. Apparently we have decided that not only are the Provisional IRA, the INLA and so on subversives but anybody who takes a passionate and concerned interest in the welfare of criminals is also a subversive, so much so that even at a time of stringency in public funds we can still afford to have a car full of Special Branch men permanently stationed outside the headquarters of the Prisoners' Rights Organisation in Buckingham Street, Dublin, to make sure that nobody goes in there who has not been in before without being identified, photographed and added into the records. That is a fact, although that organisation has no connection with violence or subversion; but people in certain Government Departments do not like them and certain Ministers at various stages have questioned them and, therefore, it is necessary to keep a watchful eye on them. Therefore we have police officers employed fulltime every night of the week sitting outside there, stopping people going in if they do not know them and stopping them coming out to ask them, "Do you realise that you are involving yourself with that —"so-called"— subversive organisation?" That organisation, far from being subversive, are a courageous organ for social reform, committing themselves to the welfare and support of a group whom alone among all the marginal groups in our society the Pope identified to the Irish Hierarchy as being in need of succour and support. Our response to the community regarding the attempt of that organisation to campaign for reform of prison conditions is to set a certain section of the police force on to them. In passing while talking about that I would like to make reference to my friends in the Friends of the Earth in Cork and in the CND who have also had polite but occasional visits from the intelligence and security section of the Garda Síochána. If we have so many surplus people occasional pieces of information of interest to the State are to be got from those organisations, but I doubt very much if we can afford such a level of surveillance on harmless organisations such as those when the public finances are in a mess.

The most painful contrast is that we spend somewhere around £50 million on prisons and about £4 million on special schools. I know the special schools are not concerned with criminal reform but with mental handicap, but the figures for various levels and types of priorities of expenditure contrast painfully. In the area of prisons, apart from suggesting that the Government call off their eternal surveillance over the Prisoners' Rights Organisation and devote it to drug pushers, bank robbers or people who threaten seriously the security of the State in similar ways, I suggest that somebody should now make a fundamental appraisal of (a) what our prisons are supposed to do, (b) whether they do it properly and (c) proposals about what we will do in the future. This is not to minimise the problem of crime, but it is dishonest of politicians to pretend that if we build more prisons or recruit more gardaí or a bigger Army we will stop the crime problem. The crime problem is a phenomenon of every western society. Crime has grown in every western society. I am not sure that we have a simple solution to it other than to restore some of the values which the growth in our society has threatened.

The Appropriation Bill contains some extraordinary things. I did not realise that the cost of rates relief for agricultural land was almost £90 million. That is an astonishingly large figure, another subsidy yet to an area of our productive environment which has, to say the least, not performed as well as it should. We have heard much eloquence here today about agriculture. Some people from farming backgrounds will take great exception to those of us from the cities talking about farming, but I regard farming and agriculture as a fundamental industry on which the future prosperity of all of us depends. Therefore, if the farming community had it easy in the past in terms of what city people said about them, it will not be so in the future because the future of each of us depends on how agriculture is organised. In all these areas of supports, grants and subsidies to agriculture somebody will have to ask if there is a return on that investment or whether it is a fact that if somebody else was working the same land as well as the person who is doing it now such person could (a) pay taxes, (b) maintain the present level of rates. Every other form of productive capacity pays rates and I do not see why agricultural land should be an exception. Could such a person run it in such a way as to be able to pay a fair share of taxation and still produce more than is currently being produced? The evidence now seems to be overwhelmingly on one side.

Our defence expenditure continues to shoot up. We spend roughly 1.5 per cent of our GNP — in fact almost 2 per cent — on defence, an amount of £204 million. I would like to know how that figure is arrived at and how somebody decided that we need 14,000 full-time soldiers plus an alleged 20,000 part-time soldiers to protect us from bank robbers and other violent elements. On what basis? Is it a tug-o'-war between the Department of Finance on the one hand and the senior brass in the Army on the other hand when finally tension reaches a certain point and we agree on a figure? Has an audit of the effectiveness of the security forces, of the form of their expenditure and so on ever been carried out? I know that the Minister of State will not say too much regarding this area because he has too many members of the Defence Forces in his constituency to agree with me. It is up to all of us to look at this. Japan spends in proportionate terms about one-third of what we spend on defence. Why do we need it? Can we get away from the glamorisation of armies? There are people in our society who take far greater risks to defend the community and who get far less of the glamour and notice. One instance are the Garda who protect us constantly and daily without arms from all sorts of threats, yet they have not the same glamorous role as the Army have. When the Garda become involved in major training exercises we do not have the full ranks of the media, cameras and all, there to identify who won the toy soldiers competition.

Our fire services take risks on our behalf and are rarely noticed. When the Army get involved in man-sized war games in one or other of their training grounds, we have cameras, photographers, journalists and the whole paraphernalia of toy soldiers yet again. Are the Army there to reassure male politicians that they really are in charge or are they there to do a job? If the job is there to be done will somebody (a) tell me what the job is and (b) tell us why it costs that much. I do not understand why it costs three times as much to defend this country as it does to defend Japan, a large industrialised and highly complex society.

I said here when we discussed the Joint Committee on Co-operation with Developing Countries that that was a catch-all, an easy out and a number of other things. I was misinterpreted at the time. Of course, it is right that we should be concerned about developing countries. Of course it is right to be concerned about their welfare and that we should have a committee to discuss it.

A committee to discuss co-operation with developing countries is incorrectly named, when the facts are that developing countries far from developing are in fact going backwards and that the gap is getting bigger. Whatever about our recession their recession is a million times worse. They are the poor countries, deprived countries and, at the end of it all, they are oppressed countries. Of course it is right that we should increase our development aid. It should be increased irrespective of the state of the recession at home because we are immeasurably more prosperous than they are.

Unless we tackle other problems like the fact that we are living in many cases off cheap raw materials based upon unfair and unjust terms of trade between ourselves and the poor countries, unless we are prepared to face up to the fact that in certain areas some of our traditional industries will never again be able to compete with Third World countries, unless we are facing up to those sort of problems which will cost us a vastly greater sum of money than the £35 million or £40 million that we ought to be giving if we are to meet our development target, unless we face up to those problems, we are not really sincere. We are standing in the rich man's club looking out at the poor man's club and saying, "Yes, we think it is terrible. We hope you will be able to climb up here but we are not throwing you down the ladder.".

Ultimately, as everybody has said here, the problem that the country faces is twofold, the problem of public finances and the problem of economic growth of a form, in a fashion and under such a structure that it will generate employment. All of those caveats must be entered into. In regard to the first matter, the problem of public finance, I have already said that I believe we can achieve substantial savings in the area of defence, far beyond what, so far, has been articulated from either Government or alternative Government.

I have to make the rather pained remark that whenever I hear people talking about the necessity to take courageous decisions what they mean are decisions that will crucify the poor. They are the courageous decisions that people talk about. Taking courage seems to me more and more to mean having the ability and the willingness to face up to the fact that we can do nothing more for the poor for the next five years. That is not the sort of courageous decision making that I have in mind.

I believe we could save substantially. I believe that any further concessions in agricultural rates should be forgotten about and, indeed, agricultural rates should be installed. Industrialists have a great habit of demanding that people who can afford to pay for a service should expect to pay for it. Since industrialists are the major beneficiaries of most of what the Industrial Training Authority do I suggest that a substantial levy on industry would pay for that particular body and save about £40 million.

We charge far less than the economic charge for installing a telephone. I suggest, again, that we could forget about that particular subsidy which is a subsidy to those who are relatively well off. First of all, you must have a home before you have a phone and that is a reasonable start in life. Secondly, if you cannot afford to pay it then you can wait till you can and you will not suffer that much, particularly if we develop a reasonably comprehensive public telephone service. I gather that would save between £40 million and £60 million a year.

They are a few suggestions. I do not think they are the ones that will happen, but they are areas, which, if we are really to talk about a comprehensive review of public expenditure and, by comprehensive, I mean every area we could look at. As well as that, I hope there will be a commitment to real legislative reform which will tackle real, difficult problems and not just easy targets. I am thinking, for instance, about criminal law and the proposals to revise criminal law.

I am very nervous about the highly politicised campaign by the Garda Síochána in favour of changes in criminal law. I do not like it and I find it distasteful, but they are citizens of a free society and I would be the last to prevent them from engaging in this campaign. I wish their judgment was better, that they did not get involved in it and that they relied on their own capacity to influence Governments in this direction through the Department of Justice. They are there and they are talking about it. Our Governments would want to look very carefully at Northern Ireland and look at the most recent consequences in the Northern election, of what happens when you impose an unacceptable security force with an enormous amount of power on a community that do not trust them and do not accept them.

It is only in the last three or four weeks that an Assistant Garda Commissioner said that in substantial areas of our large cities the Garda are no longer acceptable agents of law enforcement. I said it a long time ago but nobody would particularly believe me. The Assistant Commissioner of the Garda Síochána has now said it. If that is the case and we are to persist and give the Garda further powers I do not know where those powers will be used because in most of the areas of criminal activity at present, for instance in the whole area of drug abuse and all the drug peddling and all the other horrible sick manifestations of our slightly sick society, the Garda have ample powers to search people, to arrest people on suspicion and so forth.

In the whole area of subversive crime we have the all-embracing and terrifying Offences Against the State Act. I am worried that these extra powers will not be used against organised crime or subversive crime but will be used against the restless, apathetic, unemployed and alienated young people in the communities which the Garda themselves have stated do not accept the Garda. That is a major step down the road to what has happened in Northern Ireland where one-third of the Catholic population voted for a party which publicly and unashamedly espouse the use of terrorist violence to achieve political ends. I am warning people here — I have warned them before — that this simplistic attitude to the criminal law revision will not produce the result. It will not minimise our crime rate. In my view it will do exactly the opposite, it will make our crime rate worse.

In this area of the future and what we are going to do politicians who quibble with the welfare state and talk about the disincentive to work will want to take another look at the contrast between the western European social democracies and the United States. We have developed welfare services and welfare states in all of these countries. We have a lower crime rate than the United States. We have a higher level of community involvement in politics, higher levels of participation in politics.

It may make life a bit uncomfortable for politicians but it preserves the cohesion, the unity and the common purpose of a society. In the United States in the last mid-term election about three months ago less than 40 per cent of the population voted. In Western Germany a couple of days ago in state elections for one state, Hamburg, 84 per cent of the population voted. That to my mind, contrasts the sort of participation, involvement and concern in the running of the country between one country, which is a comprehensive, supportive and cohesive welfare state, which leaves very few people outside of the sense of community and another country which relies largely on individual enterprise and individual effort.

We should tread very carefully if we begin to dismantle the welfare state however difficult the financial circumstances. The consequences for our society could be dangerous in the extreme in terms of the collapse of any sense of social cohesion, I warn our politicians about that, myself included. As well, somebody has to face up to the future problem of production in this country or in any country in the western democracies. If there ever is a return to growth in the western economies then there seems to be an almost naive faith, if not a slightly religious hope that somehow or other when this happens massive numbers of new jobs will be created. The evidence is entirely in the opposite direction. If there is an increase in demand for the products of manufacturing industry the investment will not be in labour, it will be in new technology. It will be a micro-technology and it will create enormous automated industrial sectors producing all the goods we want but with minimal increases in the labour force.

That is the reality of the future. Therefore there will not be employment within manufacturing industry and if we try to insist on employment within manufacturing industry what we will get is inefficient industry, uncompetitive industry and industry which will not prosper in a world of new technology. That poses a number of problems, the first of which is that if industry employs very few people then the real worth of industry is in the creation of wealth. It is what you do with the wealth so created that will determine the future of our society. That is where the whole reliance on foreign investment based on minimal tax rates will have to be reappraised because if these tax concessions do not generate employment and if they create enormous amounts of wealth which are exported out of the country, then what good are they to us? They are giving us nothing if they are not generating employment.

There was an argument for foreign investment when it generated good secure employment. If the future is to be that of large industries on the scale of some of the big multinationals that will probably not employ more than ten or 20 people, then is that really the way to use our limited resources of capital and labour incentives as well? The plan produced by the previous GovernmentThe Way Forward was not as bad a document as many people said it was. Both Governments have contributed something to the sense of reality and almost gloom which now prevails in our society but neither of them have faced up to the fact that the present structure in manufacturing industry and the tendency of manufacturing industry will be to shed labour and not to increase the labour force when the day of the new era of growth finally dawns. Instead, investment will be in micro-technology to replace not just one or ten but often hundreds of people almost overnight. The pace of change in this area is frightening. Old-fashioned ideas based on nineteenth-century models of economic growth just will not work.

That is why I think the left in our society are often very naîve. They are very good at propounding new ideas for production, most of which I agree with, but they are not nearly as good at identifying where we will sell the products we produce. Therefore I think there is a need for an aggressive State marketing organisation, not just engaging in the sort of work that Córas Tráchtála do, but identifying new markets and being substantially funded to research new markets and new products. The reason why I say "State-funded" is that I believe the future will have to see a partnership of State and private enterprise in which the wealth created by productive manufacturing industry will be redistributed in the community to guarantee the sort of social cohesion we need.

Because there is so much at stake, so much that we need to do and so much more that we have to hope for, and because we have so much tension, leadership is what will count. But we must have leadership which is not based on responding to popular prejudice or suggesting that there are simple solutions and that really we can get everybody to work if we abolish the so-called disincentives to work, which are now part of the mythology, unfortunately, of both our major parties — the mythology of competiveness based on the assumption that wage costs alone are causing the problem in selling Irish produce when we know that many of the multinational companies in this country are still experiencing high levels of growth while paying Irish levels of wages, particularly in the electronic area. Irish wages are not by any means the major problem or the exclusive problem. A large part of the problem is the ineptitude, inadequacy and mismanagement of the native private sector. That is the problem that has to be tackled and it will not be tackled by giving them more money to do the same. It will be tackled by giving them money to learn to operate in the late twentieth century in a western democracy in a highly technological society and not hankering back to the day when everything was easy and simple and when there were controlled markets which were easy to deal with.

At the end of it all it will be leadership that will determine how this country will develop. That leadership will have to be based, not on simplistic analyses of society but on the reality that manufacturing industry will not in the future generate massive numbers of jobs, though it may hopefully generate massive amounts of wealth. Therefore, it is almost a contradiction to talk about manufacturing industry in those terms in the future. The reality is that we will have huge dependency ratios in our society for the foreseeable future because of the demographic structure of our society. We will have large numbers of old people who cannot work and large numbers of young people who cannot work and those of us who are in a position to work somewhere or other are going to bear that burden for at least another generation. That is going to mean taxation for everybody, not just for some of us, that is, if we believe in what we claim to believe in, the sanctity of our old people and the family and the right of everybody in our society to a decent living. There is no way we can do that without taking taxes from those of us who pay them and giving them to those who are not in a position to pay taxes. That will require leadership and it will not come from a tax on those at the bottom of the pile, those who are deprived, but it will come from a leadership based on visions of the future and on the visions of our young people. At the end of it all, our young people are the driving force in our society.

It was people less than 30 years of age who produced the impetus which freed this country in the first place. If we had waited for people of the age of wisdom to liberate us from foreign control, we would still be waiting. It takes the dream and the vision and the angry idealism of young people to bring about change. That is the sort of idealism that should be articulated by political leadership if we are to survive for the next four to five years.

I, too, should like to extend my warm welcome to the Minister of State, wishing him well in his work in the coming years, and also, to extend through him, good wishes to the Minister for Finance who was here earlier in the debate.

This annual debate on the Appropriation Bill inevitably becomes a somewhat unreal exercise for Members of the Seanad. It takes place at the end of the year and often during Christmas week. Sometimes we have opted for the tactic of formally passing the Bill and then holding a two- or three-day debate in the month of January when Members of the House can make more detailed contributions. This year the debate is more unwieldy and unmanageable than ever because the Appropriation Bill spans the term of office of the previous administration and yet the Ministers coming into this House are members of the incoming Government.

The debate highlights the need for reform of this House. I would agree with Senator Bulbulia that reform of our institutions is an urgent component in addressing the pressing economic and social problems facing us. We cannot do it properly under the existing procedures in the Dáil and Seanad. We simply have not the basis on which to inform ourselves and then address ourselves to the dimensions of economic, social and indeed political problems facing us. Therefore, I welcome the commitment to reform of both Houses of the Oireachtas. This is not an academic exercise. It is not something that can be left to be lost in the particular body or system that has evolved for examining it. It is an urgent priority of the incoming Government.

Like other Senators, I should like to identify and focus on just a few areas which I would regard as being of priority and I would like to press for urgent attention. This is the only way in which it is possible to make a reasonable and, hopefully, helpful contribution in this debate.

I should like to begin with what I believe for the Labour Party and the labour movement is the key issue facing the incoming Government. That is the problem of unemployment. This problem must be central to the budget and to the whole approach of the new administration. I agree with much of the analysis of Senator Ryan. I think we are still adopting an outdated approach to the problem, still hoping that economic recovery may be somewhere around the corner but not having analysed yet the nature of that likely recovery in the industrial and manufacturing sectors, if and when it comes, and what the implications will be. Therefore, I do not believe we can postpone really coping with and seeking a reduction in the present unemployment until this so-called "light" may appear towards the end of next year or into 1984. We must change our approach to the problem and the way in which we are going to tackle it. The first requirement in that approach must be a commitment to holding and then reducing the present level of unemployment, a commitment in the face of the economic difficulties facing the Government and a commitment which is fully thought through and understood by the people and which requires of us a very substantial change in the whole direction of Government. We have to do this because we face an unprecedented pressure of a young, growing population which cannot, as previous generations did, leave this country and hope to secure employment elsewhere. We must do it because it is fundamental to the social fabric and, indeed, to the security — in the broader sense — of this State itself. It is fundamental to the kind of society to which we are busy contributing and which we hope will be a place where our children can grow up to a relatively happy and secure future.

Now if we make a commitment this means a change in the estimates in relation to unemployment for the coming year. Since the Minister has invited us to make specific contributions to his preparations for the budget I hope that in his reply he will deal with this question of the Government's approach to budgeting for the possible level of unemployment; how this is being estimated at the moment and whether it will be the intention to change course on that. This is not something which is beyond the capacity and resources of the administration. It does require very different policy considerations and even basic values. It requires an approach to the securing and promoting of employment which we still have not seen fully identified or articulated and it requires a commitment from the Government down and from the social partners up to achieving that objective.

Therefore, the Government who have now taken office will have a major task not just of bringing in a difficult budget which will have various further measures of taxation for all of the population and hopefully a fairer structure of taxation: it will be a budget which will have to communicate the necessity to change direction, the necessity to cope in Irish society with the pressures of a completely different demographic structure and which will offer the prospect of a better employment opportunity for the work force at the moment and for the labour force coming on the market in future years. The requirement is going to be one of identifying the implications of that commitment, of having, first of all, the belief in it as the fundamental priority of the Government and then of communicating to all of us in this society what these implications are, all of us who are employed, all of those who have become unemployed, who are seeking work who are dependent on the services of the State and the generations who are looking in dismay at the present situation and at the appearance of acquiescence in that situation. There is a feeling among young people that the Government and indeed the political parties have acquiesced in accepting that the unemployment situation must inevitably get worse, and that it will get worse until the world economy has somehow improved.

I believe that is an acquiescence that we simply cannot make; that Ireland, above all countries in Europe at the moment, must give a lead in taking a stand on this issue of unemployment. We must be prepared to make the necessary change in policy and in direction and cost it. That will require a great deal of sacrifice on the part of those who are in employment, on the part of those who are in a position to bear a greater share of the burden that that will impose on all of us. It has to be a sharing community approach on this fundamental issue and the leadership for that must come from this Government. Unless that is realised and, once realised, unless we set in motion an extremely broad debate in which we use every organ of the media, in which we use the existing forums such as this House and the Dáil, in which we use the bodies at local and regional and indeed parish level to understand and to accept this change in approach and the significance of it, then most of the problems that are bothering us at the moment — problems of social discontent, of vandalism, of student marches and demonstrations — will become very substantially worse over the coming years and there will be a challenge to the acceptance of Government itself, to the legitimacy of Government because of a failure to address that fundamental issue.

It is only when the value is identified or a commitment to containing and reducing the present level of 170,000 unemployed, to not accepting and acquiescing that this is going to get worse next year and facing the implications of that, facing what that is going to demand of us as a society, that I believe we are going to begin to see what the future holds, not just over the next two or three years but indeed in the decades to come because of the changed nature of industrial development, the changed potential for job creation in the old sense and the need for the resources of this State to be harnessed very directly and rigorously for this growing young population.

I hope that before perhaps we even have a budget we may have another opportunity in this House to have a major debate on the employment situation and the Government's approach to it. This will help to change and direct attitudes towards that fundamental issue. It is without any doubt the major value issue on which this Government will have to be judged and on which we who have an elected representative capacity will also have to be judged on the way in which we have tried to highlight it and tried to focus attention on it.

Another area that I would like to speak about briefly is the area of law reform because despite the urgency and dimension and, indeed, daunting nature of the economic problem it is important to highlight and argue for advance on a whole range of issues of law reform and reform in the area of social legislation. I have to confess that I was concerned, and I remain concerned, at the absence of the appointment of a Minister for State for Law Reform. That was a position held by the Present Tánaiste in the previous Coalition Government and I think in his brief term as Minister of State he was able to signal the likelihood of reforms in a range of important issues. I hope that these reforms will be brought forward rapidly and as part of an overall and well-thought through programme.

I can mention some areas which are in crucial need of reform, for example, the removal of the status of illegitimacy, the legal discrimination of that status and the implementation of the reforms proposed in a recent report of the Law Reform Commission. That is an issue on which the homework has been fully done and because of its nature demands urgent priority. All those involved are agreed that we very badly need a Bill dealing with children. We should be ashamed of ourselves for not having a Bill before the Oireachtas changing and updating the old Children's Act, 1908, and providing a proper basis for the law relating to children based on modern advances in the educational, psychological and all the other child-related fields.

We need changes in our adoption law. We need reform of our court system and the introduction of family courts. This is an area where the initial response might be that we cannot afford this at present. There is a tendency for members of the Government — I heard it on a couple of radio broadcasts in the last week or so — to say: "That is very desirable but, of course, in the present economic circumstances, it would not be feasible." That was said in relation to reform of the social welfare system. The basis of the assertion is not clear but there seems to be a feeling that because it demands some new institutional approach it will inevitably be more costly than the existing system. That is not true of a whole range of areas where we require a legal social reform. We would benefit from such reform because the present system suffers from problems which are directly created by a lack of proper remedies or structures. This is certainly true in the area of family law.

It is fair to say that an additional burden is created for the medical services, the psychiatric services and general social welfare services by the absence of accessible court forums where the emphasis initially is on the use of law in a preventive capacity, the way in which the law can be helpful and supportive of a couple or family and afterwards give them a decent and accessible forum in which their problems can be resolved in a way that is meaningful and useful. The present situation is heartbreaking, insulting, costly and full of difficulties. Many of us who are concerned about what happens in the courts at present are aware that very often the court does not understand the nature of the real problems of the family and is merely adjudicating upon the adversarial approach adopted by the lawyers on both sides or the parties themselves if they are not represented by lawyers. Very often, the real needs and rights of the children are neglected. We must realise the importance of making progress in these areas, notwithstanding the difficulties involved in future financing, as a way of ensuring that our structures and administrations are efficient and address the problems which are in need of attention and reform.

There are other areas which should be mentioned in the context of law reform or prison reform which Senator Ryan emphasised and with which I agree. In the area of marriage law and the family, there has been a commitment to establish a committee on marriage law and that will give us an opportunity to look at the terms of reference and scope of that committee. If a committee will help to bring home to Members of both Houses the urgency of the problem then the way to make progress at the moment is through a committee.

It will be necessary for that committee to be willing to understand how oppressive much of our law and constitutional provisions are in relation to the family. This is because they confine the full benefit of family rights under the Constitution to the family based on a valid subsisting marriage. They do not take account of the present significant incidence of marital breakdown and the importance of safeguarding, upholding and recognising one parent families in our society and couples who have children and are a family but are not based on a valid subsisting marriage. That would be an essential component of reform in that area apart from what I have long believed to be a matter of great social urgency — the necessity to remove from the Constitution the prohibition on divorce. We must address ourselves to the kind of legislative structure which would allow for the introduction of divorce in Ireland.

We must not confine it to committees of the House where each member could express again what had already been said in the House. We must reach out into the community and listen to the views of the individuals affected and to those who have expertise in particular areas. We must ensure that the information is made available to the members of the committees who are examining particular areas such as that of marriage law reform. In the area of law reform, which I am highlighting because of my personal commitment to it, I am a little worried at what appears to be an approach by the present administration to hive it off to the Attorney General and experts under him instead of trying to implement it either through a Minister of State or by a substantial commitment at Government level. I am concerned about that.

On account of their background, education and social standing, lawyers tend to be on the conservative side. That is putting it kindly. They tend to come from upper middle-class backgrounds and tend to operate in a professional milieu which is very middle class and conservative both about itself and its approach to society. Therefore, any committee drawn from lawyers, whether they are practitioners or lecture in the law schools, would be too narrow a base on which to make progress in these areas of social and legal reform. It would be passing the buck away from Deputies and Senators. We have a tendency when we want to make progress to take it away from the elected representatives and set up some specialist body or committee.

The challenge which stems from the urgency of the need for social and legal reform is that we must do it through reformed democratic institutions involving the elected representatives in a very open dialogue with the community at large and with those who have specialist knowledge and expertise in the community. I would be very much in favour of the elected representatives being able and willing to avail of the expertise in the Bar Council or The Incorporated Law Society or in the law schools and faculties in the universities and third level institutions. This would be very welcome. It happens in anad hoc and sporadic way at the moment. It would be an excellent development if it were to happen in a more structured way.

The political decision-making and responsibility must rest with those who are ultimately accountable in the two Houses, accountable on the record and accountable to the people in an election. We must operate within and by strengthening that system and not by hiving off that area and other areas that have been mentioned, for example, the whole question of making progress and reform for travellers. Because the problem is a difficult one and because local representatives are concerned about a backlash in their constituencies from taking a stand on that issue, we are considering hiving it off and seeking to take it out of the representative democratic system. I am very concerned about that, although I recognise the difficulties there have been. What is needed is more political leadership and direction from the centre. The responsibility should be taken by politicians and the implementation of the report of the committee — which I understand is about to be published — should be regarded as an urgent priority by the Government.

The question of the taxation system will clearly be at the centre of the political stage over the coming years. I welcome a much clearer commitment to reform of the taxation system than had been present in the previous Government. I believe that this will be part of the credibility and acceptance of Government at various levels over the coming years. It will be necessary to ensure that the system is fairer and if it is to be fairer then there are substantial sectors of the community who will have to pay more tax.

I am concerned about the level and amount of reaction which has already been voiced to the specific proposal for a tax on owners of residences over £65,000 who have an income of £20,000 a year or more. It is worrying to see the extent to which that section of the population can command an immediate and broad-based media criticism. Perhaps those commenting in the media feel themselves likely to be affected by such a tax. It is worrying because we are talking about a sector which by any reasonable criteria is much better off and which must be prepared to bear a fairer share and an increasing share of the burden which will face us all if we move to a much stronger commitment to holding and then reducing the level of unemployment.

The task of the Government is to close off rapidly the kind of speculation that has arisen about the possible loopholes in that taxation proposal. It is necessary not to wait and pretend that this is a detail of the incoming budget, but to be very clear as of now on the question of this taxation proposal. I hope the Minister in his reply will take the opportunity to state very clearly what he intends to do about closing off some of the possible loopholes that have been discussed and that he will stand over this measure as being a very reasonable measure of taxation of those on much higher incomes than the average and who are in a better position to bear the burden. If we begin to see a watering down of and a running away from that specific measure of taxation — there are not many specific measures of taxation — then it will raise a broad concern that there is an unwillingness to tackle some of the other fundamental inequities in the system.

We come back again to the problem of acceptance of proposals. Senator Bulbulia mentioned that there is a fairly broad awareness in the community of the need for stringency and all of us are feeling in some way or other a certain reduction in standards of living, that the measures already taken have affected the disposable income of families. I believe that there will be a preparedness to accept the inevitable hard times over the next few years if the Government themselves have carved out their own authority and legitimacy in the field by taking a very firm stand despite strong lobbying from particular sectors and also in their own conduct and approach. It is the small things which often matter and I would support Senator Bulbulia on the question of State cars. There is a commitment there and once again there appears to have been some tendency to postpone implementation of that commitment.

An opening up of communication about our problems will probably be the single most important requirement of the Government if we are to get a willingness from the community at large to accept the disciplines of coping with our economic and social problems over the coming years. Therefore, it would appear that this budget in the early part of 1983 will need to be very different from previous budget communications. Perhaps it should be prefaced by a period of very open discussion of our problems, of much more dialogue and thinking and reflecting in every public forum that is available to the Government and to those who wish to comment on what members of the Government may say in order that we understand what the challenges ahead of us are and in order that we have a broad acceptance of the values and priorities within that.

Some of the harsh economic measures will be more acceptable when they are accompanied by a commitment to substantial progress in the area of legal and social reform, by evidence that the Government are working hard in areas which a broad range of people feel have been either neglected or downgraded over the last few years. This has contributed in some measure to the criticism of politicians and of political parties. The criticism stems at least in part from a frustration at the lack of progress, frustration at the lack of a programme of necessary social reforms which would change fairly substantially the approach of a number of people to the central and local authorities with which they come into contact.

We have learned too late of the great social problems which we created for ourselves and we must now, in seeking to redress some of them, also prevent any further mistakes being made. To some extent the sheer economic disciplines which will be imposed upon us may make us more thoughtful and more reflective in deciding on which direction we are going to move.

I would not find myself sharing some of the optimism expressed by Senator Bulbulia. However, I have greater confidence in the administration who have taken office, confidence in their identification of the problems and in their willingness to begin to tackle them. The major indicator of that commitment will be, and must be, the stand which has been taken on the unemployment problem. It is not acceptable that we would acquiesce in a further rise in unemployment in the hope or prayer that there would be a broad upturn in the world economy some time in the next two or three years which might help us to reduce that. That analysis does not stand up to examination. We have a young, growing population which cannot be failed in this way. This is our greatest problem and it is one around which all the other issues which we have to face must be grouped and gathered in order that we have a coherent programme over the next four or five years.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Before I call the next speaker, I would like to ask the Leader of the House to indicate if there is any change in the order of the day.

I feel it would be the wish of all Members that if possible the business ordered should be finished this evening rather than carry over until tomorrow. Accordingly, I propose that we do not take the customary break at this time and that at 8.30 p.m. if the business is not concluded — but there is a reasonable hope of concluding this evening — that we continue beyond 8.30 p.m.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

I wish to welcome Senator Wall and his colleagues to the House. I wish you well.

I am very honoured to be a Member of the Seanad. I would like to thank you, the Cathaoirleach and all the Members for the warm welcome extended to me today. I would like to join in congratulating the Minister of State on his appointment and the Minister for Finance who was here earlier. The task they have is difficult and the Finance portfolio is a thankless one.

The Minister for Finance is to be complimented, but only to a certain extent, for his honesty, particularly when he said he is not in a position today to preview in any detail the approach to public expenditure which the Government will take in their budget. That is hardly surprising, because in the recent election the Minister's party failed totally to state what their economic and budgetary policies and, indeed, policies generally, were. Their campaign tended to focus more on personalities which, as a journalist who is now enjoying her honeymoon, said, "Garret FitzGerald is not a policy". It was a pity that parties ran away from every challenge to state their policies. We were left with the conclusion then, as now, that policies are still rather scarce. However, despite the skimpy documents that were issued then and the additional skimpy document the Coalition cobbled together in the interest of taking power, we are still no wiser as to the policies likely to be pursued by the incoming Government.

Never before has the country seen a Government emerge after an election with such a lack of policy. We have to wait to see what can be done. It is well known that our problems are serious. Unemployment is rising. Inflation is coming down, and the outgoing Government must take credit for this. If the new Government maintain the policies that were initiated and were being implemented, we will shortly see annual inflation in single figures. Because of the lack of policies of the incoming administration, I recommend that they consider seriously the document prepared by the previous Government —The Way Forward. This was a very comprehensive document and the conclusions contained in it are perfectly valid today. It was drawn up not as a party political document but with the sound advice of independent experts from many sectors, both national and international.

Taking that document together with the public sector pay agreement concluded by the previous Government, and with the Estimates which were unprecedentedly published some time ago, the incoming Government start with a relatively easy task in drafting their first budget. The information is there. The difficulties to be faced are known and documented. The real job facing the Government is to reach decisions and they should face this task honestly. Far too often in the past we have seen Coalitions produce documents promising all kinds of fancy policies. We have seen the Coalition Parties produce elaborate documents all of which were thrown into wastepaper bins when they took office. They must take a realistic view of the situation facing us and they will find inThe Way Forward, together with the public sector pay agreement and the Estimates as published, a firm basis on which to take realistic and pragmatic decisions. I hope they will avoid such gimmicks as the £9.60 for housewives, VAT on clothes, on children's shoes and such failures as they produced before.

In time we will see what their house tax proposals mean. At present we are faced with a rather confused situation — one spokesperson says one thing another says something else. It is not surprising that one is a Labour Party man and the other a Fine Gael man. Nevertheless, they have a duty to the country and to the people to state their policies clearly, unambiguously and unequivocally. There should be one voice and one issue and so avoid the confusion that has been the hallmark of so many Coalitions in the past.

The unemployment situation is clearly the biggest task facing the Government today. Young people leaving school are unable to find jobs and the boat to a foreign land is no longer the answer. We must find a solution and the Government bear the primary responsibility for tackling this problem. It is quite clear that the Opposition are more than prepared to back any positive, realistic proposals put before the Houses of the Oireachtas. When such policies come through, any type of "ism" should be avoided, whether it be socialism or capitalism. The task is to find jobs for the young people and, indeed, the not-so-young who are losing their jobs in greater numbers.

Also, we should not forget agriculture, particularly in terms of taxation policy. Farmers have been attacked, particularly by members of the Labour Party. Agriculture is an area which traditionally comes in for disincentive taxation measures. Farmers fully accept that they will pay their fair share of tax, but in imposing such taxation, the incentive to produce more and of better quality and to improve agriculture as an industry must not be inhibited. Agriculture has gone through a difficult period and agriculture incomes have been depressed. EEC prices have not been fantastic, although everybody must agree that in the last year the former Minister for Agriculture brought home a realistic package from Brussels.

The proposals being bandied about at the moment are not as promising. The Government have a serious responsibility to secure for Irish agriculture as good a package as in former years. In this respect, the influence now being exerted by the United States on international agricultural policy must be resisted. We are a member, with the other European States, of the EEC. We must pursue our own agricultural policy, bearing in mind that, as an agricultural country, Ireland has a very special interest in this area. The United States have pursued their own food policy, nationally and internationally, for many years and, indeed, any food exporter can tell you that it is very difficult to get into their lucrative market. Even when you do succeed, the regulations are extremely strict and your market can be closed off very quickly. While we must seek a positive solution, we must state clearly to the United States that the EEC's agricultural policy is primarily the responsibility of the EEC and that American interests must come second to ours as an EEC member.

Loans to agriculture have caused many problems in recent years. The resurgence in agricultural output and income, together with the rescue packages that have been implemented and are now coming into being have helped that situation. But we must ensure that agriculture is not given another death blow when it is just beginning to recover. I would ask the Government to bear that in mind when drafting their budgetary proposals.

Taxation is a crucial issue at present. The Government require substantial funds to run the State. We have even fewer people working and in a position to contribute through income tax. The diminishing PAYE sector cannot be forced to carry an increasing burden of taxation. The Government must agree with the outgoing administration's policy of cutbacks in public expenditure, rather than increased taxation of the workers. It is important, too, that the incentive to work be restored and that in drafting the budget this be taken into account. It is unpalatable that cutbacks in public expenditure have to take place but unless the Government are prepared to impose excessive and penal taxation on workers and consumers for necessary goods there is no choice but to cut back public expenditure so as to get the public finances into order over a reasonable period.

Recently we heard much criticism of the health cuts introduced by the previous Government. Those health cuts were reasonable but were not accepted. The incoming Government have promised to review them but I hope that they do not review them along the lines that they proposed almost a year ago in their abortive budget. That budget proposed massive cuts in health expenditure which would have closed down many hospitals and restricted services to the needy and the sick. Those cuts were pruned substantially by the Fianna Fáil Government. I sincerely hope that the present Government will take a pragmatic and realistic look at the health sector and at what the State can afford in relation to it. I do not propose to say anything further as there are many Members here who are standing for the coming election. My stay in this Seanad was inevitably short, but I am thankful for the co-operation I received in that short time. I wish all the candidates seeking re-election the very best in the coming weeks. Finally, I ask the Minister of State to recommend very honestly and sincerely that each of his colleagues, particularly those in the Cabinet, study in detailThe Way Forward over Christmas.

First of all, I would like to join with my co-Senator, Séamus Mallon, in thanking the House for the courtesy shown to both of us, for the welcome given to us and the opportunities of speaking which I have had since I became a Member of Seanad Éireann.

Looking at the Appropriation Bill and its implications, I agree with speakers, in particular Senator Mallon, that the outstanding matter in this island at the moment is the resolution of the bitter conflict which is at present in progress in Northern Ireland. I also agree with him, unlike some commentators in the southern part of the island, that it is much closer to the feared civil war situation than it has ever been before. I would go further than that and couple that with the comment that Ireland has probably not been in a more rotten state, both South and North, since the year 1801, with the exception of the years of the Famine.

As I approach the topic of this Bill, I see it from two angles. Is it necessary to restructure society to cope with the outstanding social and economic issues and how can we go forward — both in the short, intermediate and long term — in relation to the resolution of the vexed question in Northern Ireland? I would not agree with Senator Cranitch that it is entirely a British problem. It is a problem of these islands: it is a problem to be resolved between the establishments in London and Dublin; it is also a problem which we have to address ourselves to in Northern Ireland.

However, before I go on I would like to emphasise that it is no good expecting the people of Northern Ireland to solve this problem for themselves. We are the symptom of something much deeper, much longer, much older, which goes back into the archaic conscienceness, the conscienceness, as I have said before in this House, of 1641-1649. We are a symptom of that unresolved conflict between London and Dublin, the one which failed resolution in the 1920s.

Therefore, I will start with the social issues. I will deal with what I see as immediate in relation to Northern Ireland, and perhaps outline something which the new Government might grasp in an attempt to grapple sincerely and forthrightly with this terrible problem. At the moment, particularly in the Counties of Fermanagh, Tyrone and Armagh, there probably has never been such intense bitterness, bordering on hatred, as one can feel there at this time. Fortunately, I live in County Antrim where the two communities are not yet, nor have they ever been, mutually exclusive of each other. That statement was made last week, and I should like to reassure the Seanad that there is still hope because although it applies to parts of Northern Ireland it certainly does not apply to Northern Ireland in its totality.

When we look at the great issues of today, we hear about employment, but we have not teased out any new philosophy in relation to employment; we have not distinguished between employment on somebody else's production line for somebody else's profit and work which is an expression of one's own self-development. Although I was not here, I am sure Senator Robinson must have mentioned the impact of super-technology and how we cope with potential ecological disaster if we relate that super-technology to full employment in the old sense. We have the blasphemy of nuclear weaponry, we have the social violence on this island which compounds the political violence and we have the sense of alienation which so many of our citizens feel, that they are isolated from the mainstream of political decision-making and are not welcomed as equal participants in the society in which they wish to belong.

So I would ask the new Government to consider one basic principle. Are they prepared to trust the people or are they not? We have seen throughout western Europe in the last 30 years an increasing reliance on central bureaucratic control, which implies to my mind a basic lack of trust. If we had a system in which we began to trust the people, particularly in their own communities, to run their own things themselves certainly 10 to 15 per cent of that trust would be misplaced, but at present we seem to have evolved a system which is based increasingly on the assumption that you cannot trust people and therefore you must regulate them; and you must have laws, you must have red tape, you must restrict them and you must be certain you know what they are doing, how they should do it, why they should do it and have rules and regulations to eat into practically every corner of their existence.

If we are to trust people we must ask ourselves why, and dare we — because those of us who are privileged will have to give up a considerable amount if those who are not privileged are to have a fair share. When we talk of fair shares we talk a lot, and quite rightly so, about poverty in Ireland but remember it is relevant to poverty in other parts of the world.

Where our problem is particularly vexatious is that poverty has become compounded by the frustration of expectation. We kindled tremendous expectations in the last three decades through more mobility of people, through the media, through better education, and we are now facing a frustration of expectation in relation to the sort of production-line education which we have evolved and which at the end of the production line sees no future. I want briefly to deal with these challenges. I have outlined a ten-point programme but I intend only to enumerate them here because I have developed them elsewhere, and I would hope that some of the ideas might commend themselves to the new Government.

First and foremost, the Irish people at one time had great faith in co-operation, in the movement for the co-operatives, and that co-operation was not just a political and social thing. It also was a spiritual thing. It is something in which one put one's faith in one's neighbours to come together to try to deal as effectively as possible with local problems, to make things in a co-operative manner and to share the profits and the products of that co-operation. When we talk about co-operation today — I think it was briefly alluded to in one of the contributions — we must see on the one hand the institutions of the State; we must consider the operatives and we must also consider the consumers. So I would propose first and foremost that we consider the need to bring in principle as far as it is possible and gradually evolve more and more along the lines of a co-operative tri-partite committee system in all of our enterprises, attempting where possible to see those three pillars represented — the consumer, the institution and the operative.

Second, I would suggest that every house in Ireland should be put into a small tenants' association and that these tenants' associations should elect annually representatives to a local community council. The reason why I say that is that the representation coming forward from such associations would be less likely to be influenced by centrally controlled party political machines and more likely to respond to local community demand, differing from community to community, from tenant area to tenant area.

The third point I should like to make, and I have seen this in practice in my own town, is that there is a great need to reestablish the concept of a guild system in which we would have guilds for the different areas which would be important to the citizen experience, such as health, education, ecology, work, employment, use of resources and so on. These guilds would be composed of the voluntary and statutory agencies, all of them in special areas, for example, health, in one's own community and would be obliged to meet two or three times annually in order to share the experience, to expose what each of them has to contribute for the welfare of the whole, and to make other members of the society aware of the existence of such supporting agencies. Far too often in Ireland this great good will is not tapped because there is great ignorance of where it exists and what it is proposing to do.

Fourth, I would suggest that local community councils should become much more aware of the hidden political power that is held within the central institutions of the State. Too often I believe they address themselves to the political implications of what they are doing with regard to the central party, political Government of the State and not to the institutions such as the Royal College of Surgeons — if I may speak about my own profession — and the effect of their thinking on local community health issues, for example, Royal Colleges of Nursing, General Medical Nursing Councils and so on. I am quite certain it would be possible to focus on similar institutions in agriculture, education and so on. But very often the local community council do not attack or question the right target. Rather they question the easy target. In our own case in Northern Ireland, when we were fighting the campaign for the small hospital and local community everybody wanted to fight either the area board or the Department of Health when they should have been taking on the validating bodies such as I have mentioned already, the royal colleges, the medical nursing councils and the universities — how they relate to under-graduate teaching, how they relate to post-graduate training and the vast amount of their powerful patronage in relation to dispersal and job creation.

Fifth, I put forward the idea that, throughout Ireland, we should have a vigorous citizens' advice bureau in every community. These should be backed up by a library service on the one hand and by a library cassette service on the other. I say that deliberately and emphasise its importance. It strikes me that the citizen is entitled to anything the law allows him or her to have and should not be entitled to what the law does not allow him or her to have. It seems to me that a lot of political energy, particularly of the central party politicians, is at present utilised in what could be called clienteleism where there is a tremendous amount of energy involved in competition not only between parties locally but between individual members of parties locally. Perhaps there is insufficient time, thought reflection, for debate in Chambers suc as this and for thinking of the more philosophical dimensions of our problems, endeavouring to deal with ideas which would cope in a more constructive fashion with the needs being defined by people in their local communities and towns.

Sixth, it is time we broke down the stratification and barriers that exist in the educational process. I have said in this House before that I would not be in favour of imposing a centralised, comprehensive system of education on all the children of Ireland such as was attempted in England. Certainly I would not be for importing the English system into Ireland. We should address ourselves to a philosophy of cross-community comprehensive education in which we seek to break down gradually those barriers which have been created by class, talent and, dare I say it, religion between the children of Ireland. This would mean that the children of Ireland might grow in community, ensuring that when they become mature members of the State discrimination on religious grounds is much less prone to appear because the mature citizen would no longer feel alienated from his Christian fellow citizen or fellow Irishman by the process of education where, at primary school level, a determined effort has been made to keep them apart; where, at secondary school level, everything possible has been done to keep them apart and where, at third level education, tears are wept that they should be seen to mix. Certainly there have been examples of that recently in Northern Ireland.

Seventh, there is need for a system of national social service. I am quite certain that if we deal with the new philosophy needed to cope with new conceptualisation of what we mean by employment and work, we should make space in our programme of citizen development for national social service where the period of time would be obligatory, where the options would be up to the individual emerging citizen to choose. In this way rural children would have urban experience. People could have experience of the handicapped. They could work in institutions, they could work with the police, they could work in the courts. There are 101 experiences available to them, all of them an enriching experience of labour on somebody else's behalf.

The eighth idea I would advance is that of developing a community forum to meet at least once or twice a year, with some suitable incentives for attendance, at which important issues would be discussed at local community level, at which we might begin to challenge some of the assumptions which are thwarting the citizen and keeping him silent in his frustration. We are not a free society. We pretend we are a free society. On the surface we appear to be free but there is insufficient encouragement for the ordinary person to get up and challenge the imperial assumptions with which this society North and South is riddled.

I would go on to suggest again that it is all very well talking about the redistribution of power and interest away from the centre towards the periphery. But unless one does something with the tax system, unless it is given some economic thrust, it will mean nothing; it will continue to be only something we talk and theorise about. I would suggest that the new Government might look at a possible way of decentralising Ireland, or making the communities more autonomous, if you wish, that is by suggesting that a certain percentage of taxes must be collected locally, another percentage regionally and a much smaller percentage centrally. But there should still be 25 to 30 per cent for redistribution so that the poor, more deprived, marginal communities are afforded an opportunity to be brought up in standard, given more social space in relation to the better-off, better-heeled and wealthier communities. We might ask: why will all of this be necessary? Because we are bound to have fewer man and woman hours of employment. And, if we have that, we shall have more man and woman hours in community. And, if we do not want more frustration and more violence, we must create the social space and share that social space. Therefore, on the one hand, we must try to inculcate the idea of sharing the employment that is available, perhaps striving to go towards the ideal, which would be right of access to an equal share of available employment, the idea of sharing the profits and the products of the employment of these new machines and, on the other hand, sharing social space for creative work and for sharing the country in which we live.

I might mention land because it has been mentioned here. I do not believe in nationalisation of the land because that puts a barrier between the people who are on it, those who are working it and the land itself. But I do believe in a sharing of land. One cannot live in a high-rise flat without a blade of grass in which to grow anything, without any workshop in which to do anything and behave oneself; there is no way that will happen. We must devise some way by which the Irish people will have a right to a share of the land on which they live. I suggested at a meeting of a co-operative society some weeks ago that, on the death of anybody owning more than 50 acres of land, two to three acres could be left to the State for tithing, in trust for life to those who have none. I suggested that those who owned more than 100 acres should be relieved of 10 per cent for the same reason. This would mean that everybody in Ireland, perhaps at the time of their marriage, might have half an acre of Irish land they can call their own and do something with.

Then there is the question of the second house and I am as guilty as anybody else in that respect — I have one in Donegal. If I sell that house tomorrow and make a huge profit on it what will the local community profit — nothing. That is a disgrace. A great share of any profit made on the sale of a second house should be ploughed back into the local community in which that house exists. There is then the question of non-nationals owning large tracts of land in Ireland — I know there are not many — but this is something which should be investigated. There is the question also of speculation in land about which we have heard a lot in recent months. As I have said before in this House, there are four currencies in Ireland — the punt, the pound, the acre and the square foot and, when the acre and the square foot go up, the value of the punt and the pound go down.

I might move on to the question of our problem in Northern Ireland. There is a vicious circle out of which we must break some day, and the sooner the better. The Protestants will not budge because they say there is no change in the Republic. I believe they do not want to see change in the Republic because it might undermine the stance they have in relation to the Republic. Until recently they have felt very comfortable under the British umbrella, and see no reason for changing. They feel threatened by the ethos of Ireland which they have not until recently studied or understood, no knowledge of Irish history and no involvement with Irish folk culture until recently. They had the feeling that the protection they needed in relation to their survival in Ireland would be best achieved under the British umbrella.

The people of the Republic will, I believe, have difficulty in shifting before the legacy of Irish history unless there is movement from Britain simultaneously or in advance of any fundamental movement. I question — here I am sure I am in total disagreement with the Government — the value or the wisdom of believing that there will be far-reaching fundamental change coming out of a crusade involving Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution in isolation from any prospect of change coming from London.

In relation to the split created by the Civil War in the Republic I wonder how impressive the vote in favour of such change would be if there was a referendum on it in the Republic. Certainly if there was only a marginal vote in favour of withdrawing Articles 2 and 3 from the Constitution I could see it creating a lot of bad feeling in the Republic and also a lot of worried people among the minority community in Northern Ireland, as Senator Mallon said. On the other hand, if it failed to yield the result which had been hoped for it would retrench Loyalist opinion, that in fact, the people are out to get them at all costs. This thinking has tremendous validity if one could be assured that there would be movement from London. In fact, I go further and say that it is vital that the people of the Republic are poised and ready to respond immediately if there is any fundamental movement from London. If they are not, rest assured that at the first sign of an indication of withdrawal of the people of Britain from Northern Ireland, if there is no response coming from here and the claim still exists, that is a recipe certainly for civil disaster in the North.

What are the possibilities? The people of Britain may wish to stay and the people of the Republic pursue their claim. That, to my mind, equals renegotiation of the Treaty because it would imply that the Treaty has definitely failed. Number two, the people of Britain may wish to stay but the people of the Republic, against what I believe they would be prepared to do, may relinquish their claim. That surely would imply that power-sharing would be mandatory in Northern Ireland if the Northern minority were to have any assurance of a future. Number three — I believe the most dangerous scenario — is if the people of Britain indicated that they wished to go and the people of the Republic pursued their claim stridently. That is the most dangerous possibility. What I believe is that we should face the truth. The truth to my mind — and I think a lot of people are beginning to see it — is that the people of Britain would be glad if a formula could be found to enable them to go in such a way that they would not be seen to be denying fundamental democratic rights to the people of Northern Ireland, either Catholic or Protestant, that they would not be seen to be capitulating before paramilitary terror and that there would be a significant and historical response from Dublin.

I believe that the people of the Republic, and particularly the younger generation, could be persuaded that, should the people of Britain express a preference for withdrawal, they are ready to respond to that in a magnanimous and historical manner which would involve a reassessment of the Articles in the Constitution which Northern Unionists find so offensive. We would then be facing a situation in which the debate in Northern Ireland for the first time would be in a climate of reality rather than uncertainty in a knowledge that the people of Britain preferred to go and also without duress from the people of the Republic. We would then be facing a debate about where we would plan to go. I am giving a lecture in Dublin tomorrow and I will be dealing with the way in which one might bring all this about but, briefly, I see four main options: negotiated independence, repartition, which we have heard about this week, the new Ireland option or remaining in the United Kingdom. These four, if there was consensus, that means a majority of the Catholic community as well as a majority of the Protestant community, are perfectly valid options if one is a democrat. Democracy, as I said at the beginning, is about taking the people into partnership. Where there is partnership the majority vote is the most important part of the democratic process but where there is no feeling of partnership the majority vote becomes majority rule which may not be democratic. We, therefore, have to say at that point that at certain stages where there is no consensus a sizeable minority may wish to secede as Ireland did from the United Kingdom in 1918, as Northern Ireland did in the aftermath of the Treaty in 1922 and as some say will happen if there is repartition in the future. The essence of democracy is the creation of consensus, not the creation of a majority to rule over a minority, whether it is a Catholic majority to rule over a Protestant minority in Ireland or whether it is a Northern Protestant majority to rule over a Northern Catholic minority. It is about the creation of consensus. We must address our minds as to how we can create consensus to get goodwill into a situation which is absolutely rotten with bad will at the moment.

One has to face the immediate future in Northern Ireland and I can assure Members that it is anything but pleasant with murder daily, killing daily, with funerals daily, and with the threat of bomb, blackmail and with people being kidnapped — we do not hear the half of it. I was speaking to two journalists last night and if I was to reveal what I was told in this House Members would be considerably more alarmed than many of us are. Let us look at what is on offer: the Anglo-Irish tier to the Anglo-Irish Council, the Northern Ireland Assembly, the proposals for a new Ireland council by the SDLP, the possibility of dialogue with Sinn Féin, the need, surely, to politicise paramilitaries if we can possibly do it, and we have the scenario which was given to us some years ago by the new Ulster Political Research Group, a political wing of the UDA. That was not talking about a fossilised form of independence but was attempting to move in a political direction people who had been involved in paramilitary activity. It is chastening to remind ourselves what happened to that document and what happened to those people. They have been pushed aside because none of us was prepared to engage them seriously enough to deal with their proposals, and so it is that the politically minded people have been pushed aside and paramilitary retrenchment has taken place. Are we to do the same thing now that Sinn Féin has 10 per cent of the Northern vote? I wish Senator Mallon was here because I am well aware of the bitter experience he had in County Armagh recently where he was unseated after the electorate had made their voice clear. From the point of view of getting through the next months I must ask: can we not address ourselves to what might make a new Ireland council possible not only for those who want the new Ireland but a council to which we could bring at least some people of the Unionist, Loyalist tradition?

First and foremost I would suggest to the SDLP that it must be firmly located in Northern Ireland, in either Derry or Armagh. Secondly, it must not appear to be controlled either economically or politically from Dublin. Thirdly, in relation to the implications for the new Ireland of the future, in relation to the need to invite before that council submissions from the South as well as from the North as to what is on offer, what needs to be negotiated, and what would still be left over which could not be accommodated, we must also provide a platform for Loyalists and Unionists to tell us why they do not want a new Ireland, or why they do not want an Irish solution and, in the event of one occurring, what they would like in it.

I suggest to the people who propose a new Ireland council, one, that it is located in Northern Ireland, two, that it does not appear to be economically or politically controlled from Dublin and, three, that they also recognise that there is a need in a very de-stabilised province, where the economic and social deprivations of the people get worse by the day, where industry has been ruined, to use a Northern Assembly for the purposes of dealing with the day-to-day problems of living in our very distressed corner of Ireland.

I made a statement some months ago as to why I was not prepared to stand for the Assembly. It was partly due to the fact that I was fortunate enough to have a nominated seat in the Seanad and not unrelated to the fact that I would have been very unlikely to be successful if I had stood, and I would have lost the chance to have my voice heard. I also said, and in fairness I must say it now, that it was also related to the fact that Mr. Prior came to Northern Ireland saying that the Anglo-Irish process be developed, that North and South Ireland must be looked at as one economic unit, and that there was a legitimacy in the two aspirations, but he backtracked on that in the course of the year for all sorts of reasons.

At least some attempt has been made to redress that situation, although it has gone so far that it is unlikely that the present administration could possibly effectively and convincingly redress it. Nevertheless people are dying, social deprivation continues, unemployment gets worse, and there is near anarchy in parts of Northern Ireland. We are talking about one of the most politicised parts of Western Europe with one of the most professional civil services in Europe. The civil servants are not accountable to the people through any elected representatives except through those who are now in the Assembly.

I know the bitterness the SDLP have suffered. I know they feel that any deal with Unionists will get them nowhere. I appeal to them, in spite of all they have suffered, to consider the possibility of going into the Assembly should we get a new Ireland council off the ground. Then the dual loyalty dilemma would be dealt with in a dual political manner. It is a short-term thing, but at least it allows us to debate what is on offer for the new Ireland of the future, what people want for it, what they fear about it short of any possible constitutional settlement coming out of the Assembly. I would put a veto on that because it is not the appropriate place for it. For as long as Britain is in Northern Ireland we would have an assembly where at least the matters which affect the daily lives of the people of Northern Ireland could get the attention they need.

I was delighted to hear Senator Bulbulia say that the incoming Government intend to reform this House with a view to making it more progressive and more powerful. I could not agree with her when she said that disabled people could not be elected to the Seanad because the trip around Ireland would be too much for them. I am one man who has succeeded in breaking down the barrier and I hope to be able to compete again this time and come back here for a further term. However, it was a very nice House to be involved in. It was an historic assembly, in view of the fact that we had a 32-county assembly here. I sincerely hope that, when the Taoiseach nominates his 11, he will keep that dimension in the House. It may be only a very narrow plank across a very wide gulf but, nevertheless, it is a link in the political chain to try to bridge North and South. Only through co-operation and the bringing together of politicians can we achieve the unity of this country.

Unemployment is the biggest problem facing us at present. I appeal to the Government to make a sum of money available to local authorities and local corporations to enable them to do a proper, detailed survey of the unemployed in each county and categorise them. A number of people are signing on for unemployment who are unemployable. They should be given some type of social insurance instead of wasting civil servants' time and the time of the Garda Síochána signing weekly certificates, and so on. If the Government put together all the money being made available for youth employment, local improvement schemes and bog development schemes, plus what is being spent on the dole at present they would have a fair amount of money, without any increased taxation, to create quite a lot of employment in the environmental section, the land drainage section, and on bog roads and county roads. That would create quite an amount of employment. If all the money being spent at present were pooled we would see rewarding results.

The PRSI system militates against the small employer because he is not able to do all the bookkeeping that is involved, and he opts out and employs nobody. A multiplicity of small employers, employing some three, five or seven people throughout the country could play a large role in reducing unemployment. In the days of the stamp employers had only to stamp a card. The PRSI system has made it completely impossible for the small man to do the bookkeeping. He is not capable of it. We could make a big dent in the unemployment figures if we put on VAT at wholesale levels. This would take a lot of bookkeeping out of the hands of small business people. If we did that there would be no such thing as anyone not paying VAT because it would have to be paid at wholesale level. The wholesale organisations are big enough to handle it. It would cost them nothing extra. Instead of adding 18 per cent they would add 22 per cent. The return to the Minister for Finance would be the same and it would involve less work for the small shopkeepers and small businessmen. Those options should be made available and, if they were, I have no doubt we would erode unemployment much quicker than people realise.

A group of people in our country do a very big amount of valuable work. We all visit them at this time of year. I refer to the county councillors. Something should be done to provide some free postage for those people. Postage is expensive. At least 500 pre-paid envelopes per year would not cost the Exchequer much money, but they would help the local county councillor to be a much more efficient person in his area. This is one aspect we should ask the new Government to look into. The county councils and the county councillors are a hub of activity. They have their fingers on the problems and difficulties. If they were given more power and more responsibility we would have a better country. We have gone over the top with bureaucracy. In my opinion the county councillor is the main buffer between the bureaucratic machine and the ordinary individual. If we give consideration to these matters we can do much to alleviate the unemployment problem.

I should like to wish my colleagues who are doing the 12,000-mile tour of Ireland every success. Guím chomh maith Nollaig faoi shéan agus faoi mhaise do na Comhaltaí go léir.

The Appropriation Bill gives us an opportunity to review the administration of the public services for the past year and I should like to make a few brief observations. Many sectors of the community have been affected seriously by the economic recession and by some of the poorly thought-out provisions introduced by the former Government in the past year. Let us take the example of the imposition of VAT at the point of entry. This has caused grave injustice to Irish industry. Indeed it has penalised many native manufacturing industries who are liable for a down payment of 30 per cent VAT at point of entry. There are many anomalies in the scheme. In the textile trade some fully made up items of clothing and footwear are duty-free and VAT-free but, at the same time, the Irish manufacturer has to pay 30 per cent duty at point of entry. I hope the new administration will clear up the anomalies and ensure that those who provide jobs for our people will have the help and support not only of the Government but also the Revenue Commissioners. We are all in this together. Every effort must be made to give support and help to those providing and maintaining jobs for our people.

In September there was an announcement regarding health cuts and this has been mentioned in this House. Many people considered the cuts too severe. For instance, it was considered that the £5 charge for people visiting the physiotherapy department in hospitals was too severe, particularly for those on home assistance or on low rates of pay. Nevertheless the cuts tended in a dramatic way to focus public attention on the escalating cost of the health service and it is quite clear that taxpayers are no longer able to continue to pay for this costly service. In that way the cuts have served a useful purpose. Obviously it will be increasingly difficult for people in the tax-paying net to provide the high standard of service to which we have been accustomed. If there are abuses they should be eliminated.

A point of view shared by many is that a small nominal fee should be levied on people going to their GP for prescriptions. I hope the new Government will look closely at the whole area and endeavour to provide the best and most comprehensive service for the large number of people who are not able to pay for it. I hope it will be possible to reach a fine balance. At the same time, it would be a tremendous slur on the community if there was even the suspicion that sections of society were deprived of the service because they were not in a position to pay for it.

Reference was made to Vote 21, namely, to the grant to local authorities for relief of rates. I understood a number of Senators to advocate that rates be reintroduced but I do not share that view. On the contrary, they must be abolished totally for every section. Taxation should be levied and collected only on the basis of the disposable income or profits of the person or corporation concerned.

A matter that is appropriate to discuss on this Bill is the non-implementation by local authorities and the Garda authorities of the Occasional Trading Act that went through the House in the past 12 or 15 months. Some local authorities have been slow, or have failed, to provide the licensed spaces envisaged by the measure for the occasional traders who are themselves offering unfair competition to the industrial and commercial life of towns throughout the country. I hope that the Minister for the Environment and the Minister for Justice will deal urgently with this problem. There are two Acts to deal with it but they have been completely and totally ignored. This is a shame because it means the administrators are ignoring the work of the Oireachtas. When the measures were before us we had a wide-ranging discussion on them. I thought they were adequate to deal with the problem of unfair competition and also the problem of nuisance which appears to be part and parcel of the trade.

I am turning more to the view that we are not just experiencing economic depression but that we are experiencing something that could be described as a new economic order. If this is so, we are completely unprepared to deal with it. Everyone is hoping and praying that the fog will lift, that we will wake up one morning in a better economic climate. We have a changed environment from an economic point of view and this means the Government must take a completely different view. I hope this aspect will be considered in the near future.

Throughout the country there is a growing awareness of our responsibility to the Third World. Individually and as a nation we make a considerable contribution to the economic development of the Third World. Yet, while we ask people to be more generous we hide our heads in the sand. What is affecting our economy and what people complain about is the matter of dumping, the competition from many Third World countries who could be described as low-cost producers. It leaves our development here solely in the category of the higher technology or the chip industries. Perhaps in that area we would have a greater advantage because of the higher or better educational facilities we have. It is perhaps unfortunate that the Appropriation Bill this year — although if my memory serves me correctly we always seem to discuss this legislation coming up to Christmas week — is more rushed than usual. I hope that when the next Bill comes before the House it will be taken at a more opportune time so that the Members of the House will be able to devote time to each and every one of the Votes on the Appropriation Bill. In the time allocated this evening it is quite clear that we cannot have a very in-depth debate and this perhaps is one of the reasons why commentators sometimes castigate the Houses of the Oireachtas for not dealing sufficiently with the problems of the country.

A Chathaoirligh, many thanks for the opportunity of making those few points and I hope that the Minister will bear them in mind when he comes to frame his budget for the coming year.

I would like to take this opportunity of welcoming the Minister to the House. We are very happy to have him here and we know the difficult task he has in his new responsibility but I am sure he will do an excellent job, and the very best of luck to him.

I am delighted to have this opportunity to talk on the Appropriation Bill. In fact I thought I might die of old age before I had the opportunity to say my cúpla focal. I would like to deal with the Estimate for the Department of Agriculture and in particular the allocation of that Department's funds to ACOT, the agricultural development and education authority. This is a new body who became operational only in July 1980, right in the middle of a crisis in the agricultural sector. The authority have dealt remarkably well with all the crises that have arisen since then but they have been particularly hard hit by some directives that they have received. First of all, the freezing of staff numbers under the directive of 21 July 1981 resulted in the loss to the organisation of some 88 posts, mainly professional and technical. The new directive of 23 December 1981 to fill one in every three posts has hit them hard. However, 1982 brought a little glimmer of hope with a relaxation of the restrictions when 19 extra posts were allocated to them because of their unique position. However, that is the last good news they have had recently. They have now been directed to reduce their staff numbers by 3 per cent by the end of 1983 and an overall 5 per cent by the end of 1985.

Consider then the preferential treatment of the education and training sector. AnCO's recruitment of instructors and teachers has continued unimpaired and rightly so, and between July and December 1981 a total of 2,175 teachers have been recruited at primary, secondary and third levels of education. The importance of agriculture in the economy cannot be over-emphasised and agriculture should warrant treatment just as favourable for their educational and training programmes. It is illogical that ACOT at this very crucial stage of their development should be subject to these very severe constraints.

Measures to control public expenditure should be selective and should as far as possible favour the productive sectors of the community and what sector is more productive than agriculture? The latest blow in this direction is the directive to phase out the farm home advisory service, the poultry instructors and the amenity horticultural instructors. This decision is contrary to the national interest. There are at present 27 poultry instructors each of whom services 7,000 plus farms. The cost of this service — £240,000 to service an industry of £90 million annually — is minimal when one considers ACOT's overall budget but the phasing out of the service could have major repercussions. The industry must be highly efficient to compete with the high level of imports of poultry and egg products which amounted to £27 million in 1981. The development and employment potential of worthwhile family-run farm poultry units is certainly there to be exploited but none of this can be done without the supportive advisory service.

It is extremely shortsighted of the powers that be to phase out the area of amenity horticulture. How often we have heard in this House about the need to beautify our country, and this is exactly what these horticultural instructors were doing and what thanks do they get? They are being phased out.

The last of these selective cutbacks is the phasing out of the farm home advisory service, a service close to my heart as I am a farmer's wife. This service was set up specifically to help the rural people of Ireland to raise their living standards in housing, nutrition and farm home management and to introduce a quality of life which for decades was denied to our people. The work of the farm home advisers has been directed in recent years towards changing from an exclusive farm home to a broader farm family orientation which would place increasing emphasis on advice and counselling on farm budgeting, retirement, inheritance and succession, legal title and systems of land tenure, and they are tackling partnership at the moment. They deal with education and training opportunities and occupations outside agriculture. This reorientation should be expedited, not terminated. Other countries have set up farm home advisory services in times of recession but we are going to do the opposite. We are going to terminate it in time of recession. The farm home advisory service is a critical component of the agricultural advisory service because of women's unique contribution to the development of agriculture. This is evident, firstly, in their involvement in decisions, particularly financial, concerned with the farm business and investment; secondly in their contribution to business correspondence, keeping and analysing farm records and accounts and, therefore, providing the facts for rational decision-making; thirdly in their contribution to manual farm-related tasks; and finally in their management responsibility for the home and family domain.

Who uses this service? First of all, the families at their early stages of establishment, the newly-weds, second families with growing children with increasing demands and incomes through education and so on, and thirdly, families who are about to make inheritance decisions — parents and their successors, fourth, families with financial difficulties, and there are plenty of those around at the moment.

I am referring to low income families, families in disadvantaged areas, families with the farmer in part-time employment, groups and organisations whose goals are related to personal and rural agricultural development. In fact, there is not a farm in Ireland that would not fall into one of these categories.

How do the farm home advisers carry out their work? A recent analysis of their work indicated that their main work input related to resource management, farm family development and community development. In the first area of resource management the farm and the home are interdependent, and must develop simultaneously. Because of their low level of income farm families must be able to manage their scarce resources for optimum productivity and efficiency. There is evidence that farm home advisers have helped farm families to improve their management and decision-making skills. This was achieved first through planning with them in order to curtail excessive household expenditure thereby making considerable savings; second, by increasing their farm household income by promoting their involvement in supplementary income earnings, for example, farm guesthouses and other money-making projects; third, encouraging the use of home-produced foods and subsequently providing balanced meals economically, and, fourth, providing the guidance necessary to ensure that farm families make the widest decisions in relation to housing and adopting energy conservation methods.

The second area that the farm home advisers are involved in is farm family development. The input of the farm home management adviser in this area relates to motivating farm families to avail of education and training to improve their confidence in decision-making and management, providing adult education for farm people in their local areas, highlighting the problems associated with having no inheritence arrangements or unsatisfactory ones, which are worse; encouraging farm families to discuss the inheritence position at an earlier date and to consider the different options which may be appropriate for their specific situations; making families aware of the alternatives outside of farming and of retraining or training where appropriate — this is particularly relevant in small farm situations; liaison with the appropriate agency to ensure that such farm families are provided with the best information and motivation and equipped for the future.

In the area of community development the farm advisers have been active in developing and maintaining community base groups, assisting local people to find their community needs, involving local people in planning through involvement in these functions, helping them to further their personal development and communication skills, liaison with other development adult education and rural organisations and fostering community spirit and development in self-reliant community groups, for example country markets, co-operatives, farm guesthouse groups and consumer groups. With regard to the development of community facilities and amenities the farm home advisers have been successful in organisation and maintenance of group water schemes, and many successful rural water schemes were initiated through their foresight.

In many areas advisers have used and promoted the use of community centres for the benefit of the entire community. They have also been involved in the development of supportive services for the farm family. They have been instrumental in setting up the farm home relief service the object of which is to provide trained relief personnel in farm homes during busy periods in case of accidents, sickness and relief for educational activities or holidays.

We have a fantastic group of 84 farm home advisers doing a very fine job indeed for the farming community. What thanks do they get? None. Just a phasing our of this very necessary service for the rural community.

I implore the Minister to review this decision and for the good of all to rescind it. I was delighted to hear the Minister say in the concluding paragraph of his statement that he would listen to everything that was said here today, and he would make the decisions about the forthcoming budget after that. I sincerely hope the Minister is listening to what I have to say and that he will certainly reconsider the situation as regards the Farm Home Advisory Service. It was necessary when it was conceived and it is more necessary now.

There is one other point I would like to bring up on the Estimates for the Department of Education and, in particular, the reference to the section of the scheme for the employment of development officers for rural organisations. This scheme was for an initial period of four years. This is now almost completed and I know the situation is being assessed. I ask the Minister to grant an extension to this scheme which has made such a valuable contribution to the work of the voluntary organisations.

We all know the work the voluntary organisations all round the country have been doing. Some of these organisations got some of these development officers. In my own organisation, the Irish Countrywomen's Association, we had the assistance of six of these development officers and they made a very valuable contribution indeed. We extended our educational and social activities and the success of the scheme as far as we are concerned was fantastic. Our membership rose by 4,000 during the period. I ask the Minister to take the extension of this scheme into consideration.

I wish the Minister every success in his job. I would like to take this opportunity, as I am not contesting the election for the Seanad, to thank you, a Chathaoirligh, the Leas-Chathaoirleach, the staff, the media and all the Members of the House for their courtesy and kindness to me during my time here. I enjoyed my stay in the Seanad. My only regret is that it was so short-lived. I thank everyone here.

I shall be very brief because I do not believe that I should be making what a lot of other people have been doing this evening, a swan song speech to the Seanad. I will not be going into any great depth about my philosophy about what should happen to the country.

I would like to raise two particular issues which have arisen since the Dáil went into recess and since the Seanad last met. The first one is the issue of telephone tapping. The issue of telephone tapping is one which has only arisen in about the last week. The Government have actually disappointed me in this because they have announced that they are going to set up an inquiry into this, but there is no guarantee from the Government that the inquiry will make its findings public in the end. This is very important. I raise this because the Dáil, once again, is not sitting at a time when such a thing should be subject to parliamentary scrutiny. It is very important that the rights of journalists and the rights of politicians should be protected because this is one of the most important civil liberties which could be infringed.

I would like to know very briefly from the Minister this evening if this has been happening and if it has been happening why it has been happening. I do not know whether it has been happening but there is a very large body of opinion which believes that public money is being spent by the Department of Justice or by somebody else on telephone tapping and infringing the civil liberties of journalists and other figures in political life. We must know whether it has been happening officially or whether it has been happening unofficially. I do not believe that any Government have got the right to hide behind the defence that it is a matter of national security when allegations against perfectly legitimate journalists are being made. It is no defence that the Government have the protection of the law, that they can use this in the case of subversives or criminals. I would be delighted to hear what the Government have to say about this.

I have one other thing to say which is on the issue which Senator Murphy brought up earlier, the issue of extradition, Senator Murphy quite rightly pointed out that the issue of extradition was brought up in this House and all three parties took the line on extradition that the legal problems regarding political fugitive offenders were too great and——

Not true in the case of this party.

I have read the debates and I would not agree on that. I would like to hear what the Government's attitude is in the light of what Chief Justice O'Higgins has now said about extradition, because he was giving a very clear signal — and I do not know whether it was a coincidence that there was an incoming Government — to the incoming Government that a political offence of that sort could no longer be justified and that if these cases were brought to the Supreme Court his attitude to them would not be the same as what all parties have said in the past.

I should like to correct a misapprehension. There was a reference to a previous debate in this House. If Senator Ross had read that debate carefully he would have read in my contribution the statement that I would welcome a declaration by the Supreme Court which had not yet made a declaration on the point. On that occasion it was pointed out that our constitutional provision was that we adhered to the norms of international law. It is quite clear that the norms of international law can change and, indeed, the situation which will develop in the future will depend on what is the Supreme Court interpretation of the current norms of international law.

Would the Senator agree that that has been changed?

I am honoured to address this esteemed Upper House of the Oireachtas. First, I thank the Cathaoirleach and the Leas-Chathaoirleach for their kind welcome to me as a new Member of Seanad Éireann.

As the youngest Member of the Seanad I would like to address myself particularly in the context of this Appropriation Bill to a problem that is daily assuming crisis proportions, to an issue that is pushing this country to the precipice of national social disaster, to a matter that was raised on every doorstep in the recent general election. It is an issue that is pushing this country to the brink of a social Armageddon. I refer, of course, as a young person, to the problem of unemployment and, in particular, unemployment among young people.

Youth unemployment is part of an overall problem of unemployment in general but the numbers out of work in the 17-25 age group are phenomenally larger than those of other age groups and as such must be treated as a priority. The vicious circle of no experience hence no work must be broken if we as a nation are not to render redundant an entire nation. We must be bold, creative and imaginative in our approach to this problem. The present Government have issued mere palliatives and indulge in anad hoc policy of the most reactionary kind in their piecemeal approach to this crippling problem. The demographic trends of a modern Ireland have further exacerbated this issue which is worldwide. We now have 48 per cent of our population under the age of 25, with the European average for the same age group running at 28 per cent. The complete turnabout in our pattern of emigration has placed Ireland in a position whereby we can no longer export this problem if this is what our young jobless people must be. We must now face up to it and tackle it immediately.

The problem of our young jobless people is both stark and awesome. In the two-and-a-half years from January 1980 to July 1982 registered unemployment has risen by 69 per cent with an overall increase for those under 25 years of 110 per cent. The estimated number of young people currently unemployed stands at approximately 65,000. These are staggering figures. Such trends must influence our employment policy for the future. There is a need now more than ever for a fully integrated co-ordinated plan of action which will admit to the problem in the first instance and to careful and enlightened planning plus the job prospects of our young population and to act accordingly on this plan of action to give it effect.

The establishment of the Youth Employment Agency is a significant step in the right direction. It is important that such a well-funded representative body with a clearly defined brief of tackling the problem of youth employment should get to work immediately. I would bring your attention to the memorandum and articles of association of the agency which empowers them to:

act under the Minister for Labour as the body having overall national responsibility for the furtherance of employment of young persons.

I would bring to the attention of the Minister the fact that it was the former Minister for Labour, Deputy Gene Fitzgerald, who included this article in the memorandum and articles of association in response to the exhortations of particular lobby groups like the National Youth Council of Ireland which was in the main responsible for the establishment of the agency.

There are a number of points that I should like to make in relation to the agency. Firstly, the moneys that are presently being collected to fund the agency will, it is estimated, realise in 1983 £100 million. It realised £41 million in 1982 which was not a full tax year for the agency. These moneys are being raised under the guise of a 1 per cent employment levy payable by all PAYE workers. These moneys were previously contributed directly from central Exchequer funds and were used to finance such organisations as CERT, National Manpower and AnCO. The fact that these moneys now come directly from the already hard-hit PAYE worker means a net gain for the Government of some £30 million. The switch by the previous Coalition Government has meant that this is a net gain for the Government. It is important that the Youth Employment Agency not only use the teeth they were given in their memorandum and articles of association for the furtherance of youth employment but that they use the funds given to them to good effect.

The agency must play a central role in the creation of employment for our young population. I note with some disquiet that a recent statement by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions on youth employment did not consider it necessary to refer to the agency. The Confederation of Irish Industry have been somewhat more forthcoming in their approach to the agency in that they have given some mention to the agency. The future thrust of the agency must be directed to the area of community enterprise and support for indigenous Irish industry. I am encouraged by the move of the former Minister for Industry and Energy, Deputy Reynolds, to appoint IDA field officers along the lines of the SFADCo business advisory officers appointed by that body. I would bring your attention to the fact that the IDA small enterprises section, to my knowledge, has only 55 or 56 people working in that area. These are divided over eight regions. This is compared with 150 SFADCo offices working in the three counties around the Shannon estuary. The SFADCo project has had dramatic success and I would urge the Minister, in consultation with the IDA, to follow the lines adopted by SFADCo.

I am somewhat perturbed by the attitude of the new Government in their near-full adoption of the recently-published Telesis Report. Fine Gael's policy for economic recovery was issued under the name of their former Minister for Finance, Deputy John Bruton, in October 1982 and was followed by the Fine Gael manifesto in the recent election. These documents accept the Telesis Report recommendations some of which are very flawed. Telesis, I would point out, is part of an overall study sponsored by Fianna Fáil and I freely admit this. Telesis were asked by the NESC to define the ideal type of industry that Ireland should attempt to develop. I would emphasise that Telesis was a first step in a three-step process. Telesis reported to the NESC. The NESC, as the second step wrote their report,Policies for Industrial Development: Conclusions and Recommendations. The NESC report which incorporated much of Telesis then went to the Government. The final step, the development of the national economic plan, was performed by the last Government and was issued under the title of The Way Forward in October 1982. This sequence of events has been misunderstood, not least by Fine Gael. Telesis, as I have already stated, was an ideal. Telesis does not discuss whether or not Ireland is competitive with other countries in wage costs. There are no job targets in Telesis. The job targets in the light of the real world situation in which we find ourselves are contained in the economic plan The Way Forward. This is a comprehensive, coherent, developed plan which has as its primary goal the development of our economy in order to provide jobs for our population and particularly for our young people. The Way Forward is an integrated plan which provides targets in Government spending and taxation and in all areas of the economy which are subject to the influence of Government policy. In all of these areas priorities are set, because that is what planning is all about.

If there were unlimited resources or if we could get the level we want without trying, there would be no need to plan. I will quote from chapter 1, "The Choice We Face":

We cannot achieve better standards of living by merely deciding that we deserve them and must have them. Nor can we achieve them by awarding ourselves more money without the backing of new wealth and production.

In the past we provided ourselves with more money incomes without earning them. The effect was to concentrate the wealth of the nation in the hands of those who have secure jobs and to destroy our competitiveness and thus the chances of employment for our young people.

The Way Forward makes it quite clear that we can protect existing jobs and provide new jobs only by being competitive in the price and the quality of our goods and services. Our ability to create sufficient jobs for our people in the coming years will depend on our ability to gain in wage costs competitiveness over our competitors in years to come.

In terms of positive policy stepsThe Way Forward takes the Telesis Report into consideration. In certain areas it agrees with Telesis, for example, in the desirability of company development plans. In other areas, however, it disagrees with Telesis. For example, The Way Forward recognises that foreign firms will continue to be necessary as a source of jobs, even though as Telesis rightly points out jobs in Irish-owned companies are much more desirable, all else being equal. The hard fact is that Irish-owned industry alone will be unable to provide the jobs needed over the next five years. No combination of the private sector and public sector will be able to provide sufficient jobs, so the IDA efforts to attract foreign-owned industry will continue to be necessary.

A very important point to note is that there are currently 20,000 people in Ireland who are employed in jobs, which are there because of the aid of AnCO, or rather the IDA and SFADCo, which did not meet the Telesis guidelines when they were first set up here. For example, Digital, Nixdorf, Analogue, El. ECCO and Westinghouse would all have been rejected under the Telesis guidelines. While these companies are all foreign, the jobs they provide in Ireland are very necessary and further jobs and companies will be essential over the next five to ten years in this country.

A major area of disagreement with Telesis is the desirability of jobs in small industry. Telesis has little regard for small industry whileThe Way Forward regards the development of small Irish-owned industry as a major area in which our young people can be provided with jobs. Our emphasis on small industry is based on our experience in Ireland and on the experience of other countries which shows that the small industry sector is by far the most dynamic in creating new opportunities. For example, in the United States in the period from 1970 to 1979 the thousand largest companies had no net change in employment when the effects of acquisition of other companies were taken into account. On the other hand, six million new jobs were created by small businesses in that period in the United States. In Ireland, experience shows that the ability of small companies in the private sector to provide large numbers of new jobs is quite limited. In recent years the rescue division of the IDA has seen far more of the large company sector of Irish-owned industry than it has of the new industry sector. In other words, for whatever reason the largely private-owned companies in Ireland are hard pressed to survive let alone expand.

The State sector provides no better hope. Despite the best efforts of all concerned, the new major developments by semi-State bodies in recent years have resulted in major losses to the taxpayer. While jobs are being provided they cannot be described in any way as self-supporting. Most of the major semi-State bodies were founded by Fianna Fáil and we in Fianna Fáil will continue to provide a considerable part of this drive to our economy. No desirable project sponsored by a semi-State body has been denied support by Fianna Fáil in recent years. However, in the light of recent experience with cost overruns there does appear to be no chance for major job developments in this sector. This is my own personal opinion.

The only bright spot in Ireland has been the small industry sector. IDA's support for small industry has increased dramatically since Fianna Fáil returned to power in 1977. In the period 1967 to 1977 the total IDA grant support to small industry was £11.5 million or just over £1 million per year. Since 1977 the average IDA grant support for a year has been £12.6 million or a total of £50.6 million over the previous four-year period. The major increase in support by the IDA to small industry after 1977 is due to the policy of the Fianna Fáil Government which was elected in that year. What the Fianna Fáil Government in 1977 corrected was a tendency to accept with little question proposals by multinationals while subjecting proposals for small industries by Irish people to rigid scrutiny. The directive from Fianna Fáil was that small industry projects should be positively supported unless the IDA could show that they were not viable. This was the reverse of previous practice. In addition, in 1977 a small industry pilot programme was established under SFADCo whereby all possible methods of encouragement of small industry were investigated and the most promising of them were tried out in practice. This was in fact research and development in the area of job creation and as an approach was unique.

Everybody recognises cancer as a disease that must, if possible, be wiped out and we all support research into methods of combating cancer. Not all the research however is successful but there is a cumulative addition to knowledge and eventually the goal of victory over cancer comes much closer — hence the argument for research and development. We regard unemployment as a social cancer and SFADCo's pilot programme was aimed at finding out how to reduce and eliminate it. Not all of the methods tried out by SFADCo worked however, but many of them did and the result of this research effort was a new, more active approach to job creation by encouraging small industry. I will again refer you to the recent action of the former Minister for Industry and Energy in his extension to the whole country of an intensive approach to small industry and its promotion which was pioneered by SFADCo in the mid-western region in the period after 1977.

I would again bring you back to the point and the general thrust of the argument of the Telesis report as accepted by the Fine Gael Party in its entirety. Telesis disagrees profoundly with this approach. Telesis says that small industry must not be aided except on a very selective basis because small companies have little chance of growing into big ones. We in Fianna Fáil disagree fundamentally with this for two reasons: first, we see nothing wrong with small companies; we see a lot right with them. The new industries which the IDA brought into Ireland have introduced many new techniques and new managerial methods. As Irish people in these companies have mastered these new skills and techniques they have in many cases departed to join Irish-owned companies and to an increasing extent they have considered setting up by themselves in their own small companies. The bulk of experience appears to be that from a practical and human point of view it has been proven much easier to extend new approaches in smaller companies of below 50 people. Because there are fewer barriers between the people in smaller companies things appear to go smoother in them and there are fewer problems and much better communication. It would also appear that in Ireland people can identify to a much greater degree with a small company environment than with a larger one. At this stage of our social development the smaller companies appear to be more suitable.

Fianna Fáil's experience in Government since 1977 also argues that any requirements that the IDA or any other giver of State aid should be selective in the sense of being a good company as opposed to a bad company as Telesis recommends. We feel that such a requirement for selectivity means that an official of the IDA or any other State body will be more inclined to avoid mistakes rather than run the risk of being creative or bold in their actions. If an official has to convince his superiors all the way to the civil service and to the Minister, that a project meets complex criteria he is much more likely to turn the project down. In our policy the IDA and SFADCo are expected to support small industry projects unless they are positively convinced that they will not work. If men and women are willing to devote their lives to starting and running a small industry they should be positively encouraged.

Our approach is, first of all, to get the overall situation right as set out in our economic planThe Way Forward. We would encourage the larger Irish-owned companies, whether private or semi-State, to survive, develop and expand. The IDA would continue to encourage suitable foreign owned operations to set up here as without them we can have little hope of meeting our employment goals. The major thrust of our policy is in the positive encouragement of small industry to start and develop because we believe that it is in small industry that the best opportunity lies for the provision of secure and expanding opportunities for our people, particularly for our young people.

Listening to the debate from which, unfortunately, I had to be absent for a while during the afternoon, I was gratified to hear that it was a debate on a wide number of policy issues and not a catalogue of the various things which Members of the House would like to see in next year's Estimates or would have liked to see in the 1982 Estimates. That is a reflection of the value of a debate of this kind.

I heard Senator McDonald remarking on some aspects of the handling of this Bill which appear to be unsatisfactory, particularly the timing of this debate. I must say that I am with him in spirit. I understand that it is the custom of the House to pass this Bill in the week before Christmas and to have a debate after Christmas. On this occasion it appears that we have made some progress in this respect in that the whole debate has taken place before the Bill has been passed. Going further along that line, it is the Government's intention, as set out in our programme, to work for the introduction of reform of the procedures of the Houses of the Oireachtas to allow both the Dáil and Seanad to have a much more constructive input to the evolution of financial policy as a whole and specifically to debate the various proposals and intentions of Government at a time when whichever House it is can have an impact on the contents of the decisions that are finally made. I am with Senator McDonald in the spirit of the remarks that he made and to that end we will be bringing forward reforms to bring about a situation in which this kind of debate will take place at a more useful and constructive time and therefore bring the two Houses of the Oireachtas more fully into the development of Government policy generally.

I hope that Senator McDonald and I will be here to participate.

I have every confidence that either one of you or both of you will be here because it will be in the not too distant future.

In introducing the Bill I said that the Irish economy does not have the resources at present to sustain further increases in the volume of current expenditure. There was a trend running through the debate this afternoon and it interested me because in the remark which I have just made I could have said the Irish people for the Irish economy. In a debate like this I find very often that it is a pity we invented the word "State" or "Government" because much of the time we talk about what the Government can do or what the State can do in order to resolve a particular problem or deal with a particular difficulty or overcome a particular injustice whereas, in fact, the State has not got any money. The State has no resources other than those which we as people choose or agree to make available. It is a pity that it is at a time of serious economic difficulty like this that we appear for the first time as a community to realise what that actually means. It is not possible for any State independently, of its own volition, to come to the aid of any sector of the community or to deal with any problem unless it has the resources to do so. The resources can only come from the community which makes up that State.

The greater the awareness of that truism we can cultivate among not only Members of the Oireachtas but members of the general public, the more likely we are to be able to confront our problem in a more rational and balanced way. If the improvement of financial procedure which we intend to bring before the Oireachtas can help in that process, then the Government will be pleased that they will have done that part of their job a little more constructively.

In recent years our population structure and the effects of a wider recession at world level have given rise to increasing demands on the public purse for measures to assist particular groups or industries. What we seem to have been slow to do is set out a scale of priorities among the various difficulties which confront us. It is part of the popular wisdom today that over the next few years we will have to make a number of sacrifices in order to allow us to overcome these problems. I wonder if we are not doing ourselves a disservice in using the word "sacrifice". Sacrifice implies something which is undergone for the sake of some higher good, whereas what we are obliged to do is to re-order our priorities for the use of the resources we have at our disposal and to direct them to those areas which we think are the most important and urgent and, therefore, consciously decide that other areas that are less important or less urgent will have to wait for some time. Rather than talking about the sacrifices we need to make in order to resolve our problems, we might create a greater degree of co-operation. Those remarks are just by way of reflection on the overall approach to our problems.

The debate centered on a number of areas which, if I may say so without appearing impertinent, appeared to have not a great deal to do with the provisions of this Bill. That I understand is the customary latitude of the House. I only wish to make that remark because there are some areas where I will not venture at any great length during the course of these concluding remarks. It is not because of any feeling that those issues are not important but, on the contrary, because those issues are so important they merit proper treatment at a greater length than we will be able to devote to them tonight. I want to make that remark apply to what Senators Murphy, Mallon and Robb had to say during the greater part of their remarks. They raised a number of issues to which we should devote a great deal more attention than would be possible during the course of this debate.

Senator Cranitch had some points to make in relation to the provision for the Gaeltacht in the Estimates for 1982. It is a compliment to the ability of Deputy O'Toole that he is now given the charge of Fisheries and Forestry as well as the Gaeltacht rather than any diminution of the importance which the Government attach to Gaeltacht affairs. The provision in the Estimates for particular policies in relation to the Gaeltacht is not by any means a reflection of the total volume of public finance that goes into operations in the Gaeltacht.

The Gaeltacht Estimate relates to certain specific areas which are handled by the Department of the Gaeltacht and does not in any way cover the substantial activities carried out in Gaeltacht areas by other Departments and by other agencies — the local authorities, the IDA and a number of other agencies. The figure in the Estimate for the operations of the Department of the Gaeltacht in not by any means a full reflection of the total amount of resources made available in the Gaeltacht areas. Our attitude to the language is at least as important as the volume of expenditure in those areas and that is something which is not capable of being written down in an Appropriation Bill and I think it might be the subject of a wider discussion. I thank Senator Cranitch for his remarks about my own interest in that area, which I can assure him I will continue and, if I have the time, increase fairly substantially. That is not a guarantee but it is a statement ofbonne fois, although that phrase may not be appropriate.

Senator Ryan dealt with the question of social welfare reform. I would refer him to the Programme for Government drawn up by The Labour Party and Fine Gael which forms the basis of the Government's approach to the main areas of economic and social policy. I would remind him that we have provided for the establishment of a commission on social welfare which will review the operation of the whole social welfare system. In the course of the examination by the commission we would hope to get a fairly wide and comprehensive view of the various anomalies which are felt to exist in the system and of the kinds of improvements which would make the social welfare system more directly relevant to the needs of our society, bearing in mind our demographic structure. It is clear, given the structure of our population, that our social welfare needs will be rather different from those of other countries whose population structure is not the same and on which our system may be too closely modelled.

Senator Bulbulia made a number of remarks about State cars and Ministerial transport. She will forgive me if I smile a little at the suggestion made lately to the effect that we should have minis for the Ministers instead of the present vehicles. It occurred to me that we would have to remove the front seat so that I could sit in the back. The committee which the previous Coalition Government set up to examine this matter has been reconvened and met yesterday and it is hoped they will report to the Government very shortly. We will then decide on the measures to be taken to reduce the cost of providing this transport, in line with the statement in the Programme for Government. I do not know what the reduction in costs will be. I am torn between my concerns as Minister for Finance and my concerns as a 6'5½" individual. I hope I will find objectively on the correct side of that argument.

Reference was made to expenditure on security matters and we must be conscious of the fact that a great deal of effort has been made and is being made to keep up with our growing security problem. The strength of the Garda was increased during 1982 and the Defence Forces are being kept as close as possible to their authorised establishment. There has been quite some difficulty in meeting the level of expenditure which appears to be necessary in the prisons. I will not discuss this matter in detail, except to say that succesive Governments have been endeavouring to keep pace with increasing demands in this area and I feel that this will be a problem facing Governments for a period to come. We will have to accept that there will be a growing demand and constant difficulty in meeting that demand. There is probably no absolute level of expenditure in this area that will do everything we would wish. It will be a matter of deciding how much of our scarce resources we can devote to this area. It is very clear that resources deployed in such a way cannot be available for more constructive uses elsewhere in the economy.

On the general question of the cost of security operations, a very large proportion of that cost is in the area of pay for the Garda, the Defence Forces and prison officers. This expenditure comes within the overall public service pay bill and this is an area to which we will have to give particular attention. The size of this component in the overall budgetary arithmetic demands a very restrictive approach to the numbers employed in the public service and a realistic approach to money income increases by reference to the capacity of the Exchequer to fund them. The more we spend on pay the less we will have to spend on other areas of public service. Conversely, the less we have to devote to pay the more will become available to provide other types of services which are needed, including services in the security area. There are no easy answers and very careful consideration must be given to the balance between pay and non-pay aspects.

Senator Eames made some remarks about the Youth Employment Agency and about the Telesis Report. He has the feeling that the setting up of the Youth Employment Agency produced a net gain of £30 million for the Government. The funds needed to finance the agency are provided not only by PAYE taxpayers but by all taxpayers by means of a special levy added to their liability. It is wrong to speak of a net gain of £30 million to the Government from the operation of the scheme because we have added to previous levels of Government expenditure in this area the proceeds of that levy and made a very substantial increase in the total amount of funding available for schemes that are designed to help to develop youth employment so that there is no question of a net gain.

As regards the Telesis Report, there is no blanket agreement or disagreement with the suggestions made in that report. There is general agreement among all parties that we need to pay more attention to the support and encouragement of indigenous industry. There is also widespread agreement on the fact that small industries, particularly given the nature of our economy, can make a very substantial contribution to the development of employment. To the extent that any report produced advocated that we would go away from those two areas, it would not get the full agreement of either the present Government or any party in the Oireachtas. There is no particular line in that area which can be represented as being a "swallowing" by the Government of a policy line that is inappropriate to the circumstances of this country. There is a great deal more to do defining the way we go about helping and stimulating industry in this country, and we will not do it by having sterile debates about who accepted what in one report or another.

Senator Hannon spoke about the difficulties that have arisen in relation to ACOT. What I am going to say is a fair reflection of opinion right through the farming community. There is a great desire to see ACOT put in the best possible position to carry out their job of improving the level of knowledge and skill among the farming community. There is equally a fairly widespread feeling that perhaps we have not got all the answers right at the moment and that there are ways in which the operations of ACOT can be improved in order to get better value for the money being spent. I hope we can approach all the operations of ACOT in that light and I know the board of ACOT are approaching their task in that light.

We are subject to fairly stringent financial limits and I do not think there is any sector of activity which can claim that they should be exempt from a fairly rigorous examination of the kind of return we get for funds expended. Equally, there is no area of activity of which it could be said that they will not be listened to if they come up with better proposals to ensure that we will get value from the funds they have been given, particularly in the context of the 1983 Estimates. If any body can come up with better ideas as to how they should use their allocation under the 1983 Estimates, I or the Minister directly concerned, will be very happy to hear the proposals put forward.

There were a number of other detailed points raised but they can be covered in discussions that will take place at a later stage, and which would be more properly covered in the debates we will be having as we bring forward the reforms of financial procedures to which I referred earlier.

Question put and agreed to.
Agreed to take remaining Stages today.
Bill put through Committee, reported without recommendation, received for final consideration and ordered to be returned to the Dáil.