CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. ORAL ANSWERS. - THE GOVERNMENT AND THE BANKS.

Before we take up the financial business the Minister for Finance desires to make a statement.

I wish to say a couple of words with reference to newspaper comments that have been made on references by Ministers to banking in Ireland, and the alarmist rumours that have been put forth. I would just like to say that while we will encourage and endeavour to induce the banks to facilitate industry and commerce in the country, we have not and we never have had the slightest intention of putting any pressure whatever on the banks to use the money of their depositors in a way that was not in accordance with sound banking principles and the wishes of their depositors. There have been comments on a statement I made here, and a great deal of significance has been supposed to be attached to it. I think anybody who was in the Dáil will remember that Deputy Hewat came in and trailed his coat, metaphorically speaking, and I got up and trod on it, and, also metaphorically speaking, gave him a biff in the eye. With that statement, sir, I will move the financial resolution.

Is it within my province to deny the statement of the Minister for Finance that I came in here trailing my coat? I do not think it is within the recollection of Deputies that I did any such thing.

On a point of order, the eye is not blackened. The eye is all right. It is a brilliant eye.