COMMITTEE ON FINANCE. - ESTIMATES FOR PUBLIC SERVICES. VOTE 19—RELIEF SCHEMES (RESUMED).

I think that yesterday evening we got into a discussion on other matters which had not a very direct bearing on Deputy Johnson's amendment, and that we more or less lost sight of the main object of the amendment. I would like to support Deputy Johnson's contention that this Vote should be referred back for the purpose of having the grant increased. I take it from the discussion yesterday that the £115,000 now proposed to be voted is largely in the nature of a revote of money that was not expended within the last financial year. Deputy Johnson, Deputy Morrissey, and others have called attention to the position of those who are unemployed because of general slackness of work, and they drew attention to that class of people who might be called irregular labourers. The Ministry must know, and I am sure the Minister for Agriculture—who I am glad to see in his place to-day—does know that in the West of Ireland especially there is a class of men who never go on any unemployment register, a very large number of men who are, generally speaking, out of employment because they have not sufficient work to employ them on their little holdings or farms. They cannot be called labourers in the strict sense of the word; they call themselves small farmers, but anyone who knows the conditions must be aware of the fact that for the greater part of the year these men are looking for work. There was a market some years ago, especially before the war, for their labour. They went each year to England or to Scotland and did agricultural work there. To a very large extent, practically entirely, that market is now shut off from them.

A considerable portion of the money voted last year was spent in these congested areas in ordinary land improvement work, but I think that the Minister will agree that this season is a more appropriate time for engaging in that class of work, and the argument cannot be adduced that employment is more plentiful in those districts in the summer. There is not that employment such as we know of on farms in the midlands, the southern, and eastern portions of Ireland. There is no opening for these men, and it is at this time of the year, and not later on, that a good deal of work, in the way of drainage especially, could be usefully done. I suggest that instead of waiting for two, three or more months, and then asking the Dáil for a further sum, as will be the case without any doubt— anyone who knows the conditions must anticipate a need for an increase in this grant before the end of the financial year—that the grant should be increased now so that work which was attempted last winter, and was done in some of these districts, could be usefully continued now. These men have not an opportunity of working in the English harvest fields now. They are on the spot to engage in this work if the money is available, and if schemes are put up.

I think anyone familiar with the conditions under which those people exist knows there is not sufficient labour to employ them on the farms. They and their sons are anxious to get work, and the work is there to be done. There is a vast amount of improvement to be done in the congested areas. Bog roads have to be made; bogs and rivers have to be drained. That class of work can be done now in the summer time. Those three months, from now to October, are the lean months in the country, and I strongly support the amendment of Deputy Johnson. It can be more advantageously done now than later on, and I hope the Minister for Agriculture, who knows the conditions quite well in those areas, will use his influence with the Minister for Finance to have this amount increased rather than we should wait till the close of the financial year and the coming of winter. The Minister yesterday practically admitted that it would be necessary towards the end of the financial year to come to the Dáil again for an increase in this vote. People who know the conditions in the western area well, will support the suggestion that now is the time to get those works started.

I support Deputy Johnson's motion. I think the Minister for Local Government will agree that I kept this question of unemployment constantly before him for the last two years. Last year my efforts were rewarded with some degree of success, but this year, from the point of view of employment, conditions are worse than ever in County Kildare. The Board of Health and the other local authorities in Kildare sent up on the 14th February last a deputation to the Minister for Local Government. Since then they have not had any satisfactory replies from him with reference to the views put before him on that date, and they complained very bitterly of the discourtesy of the Minister. On the 22nd April I enclosed letters to the Minister for Local Government and Public Health and the Minister for Industry and Commerce from the three secretaries of our union in Athy, Newbridge and Naas. Beyond a reply from the Minister for Industry and Commerce and a grant from the motor taxation fund of £11,562, we have had nothing. The grant, when spread over the county, is very small. In that letter to the two Minister I said:

I enclose letters from the Secretaries of Athy, Droichead Nua and Rathangan branches of the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union, giving the numbers of unemployed in their branch areas—954 in Athy and about the same number in Droichead Nua.

In North Kildare all the towns and villages, including Naas, Sallins, Johnstown, Kill, Clane, Straffan, Rathcoffey, Celbridge, Maynooth, Leixlip, Kilcock, Rathangan, Allenwood, Broadford, Johnstown Bridge, Enfield, Moyvalley, and the large rural area of Carbury, have a large quota of workless men, numbering over 1,000. This brings the total number of unemployed in the county to well over 3,000. Add to this the number dependent on their labour and you have at least 10,000 people in a state of semi-starvation.

The deputation which waited on you from the local public authorities in Kildare on the 14th February last pointed out to you the condition of the county generally, and suggested several schemes to relieve the situation, viz.: road improvement, land drainage and improvement, including afforestation, the re-opening of Ballymore-Eustace Woollen Mills and the assisting of Leixlip Flock Mills in providing employment for a large number of hands by imposing a tariff on foreign fibre, also the providing of new and the subsidising of existing industries.

I have called your attention to this lamentable state of poverty on many occasions recently knowing that you feel for the unemployed in their hardship and suffering. Therefore, I would earnestly ask you to give this problem your immediate and sympathetic consideration and do all you can to have a large grant allocated to the county so that all areas may receive a share of employment. I would strongly urge on the Government the necessity of starting the sugar-beet industry in County Kildare.

South Kildare is a large tillage district. I think it has a good claim on the Minister for the starting of that industry.

On the 19th May last I wrote to the President. He said he would see what could be done in the matter. I sent him the following note:—

As I mentioned in our conversation to-day, the Ministers for Local Government and Industry and Commerce have full particulars as to the amount of unemployment and distress in Kildare in my letters to them on the 22nd ultimo.

We have fully 3,000 unemployed in the county, making with their dependents 10,000 people in a state of semi-starvation. I would appeal to you on their behalf to have a sum of at least £15,000 forwarded to the county council, so that they may be able to relieve some of the destitution that exists.

We have heard nothing since. If the Government does not start some work immediately we will have many deaths from starvation in the county. A clergyman told me yesterday morning that he was surprised at the queues waiting outside the community kitchen, begging for food. Last night a man whose business brings him in contact with most of the workers in the Newbridge area, said he could see from the pinched, drawn faces and wasting bodies of the children, that they were short of food and were slowly pining away. This is not an overdrawn picture. I know many respectable working people in the town where I live, and they are actually starving in silence. I would urge the Government to make this money for road improvement available at once. There is no use putting it off from month to month. We heard from the Minister for Agriculture last year, just before the elections, that he was introducing those schemes, and that he would have work started in fourteen days. I want to inform him that some of the work promised at that time has not been started yet. I would earnestly press upon the Government to increase this Vote so that we will have employment all over the county, and not alone on the trunk roads, because we must get into the rural areas where the people are starving in their cabins. I make this appeal, and possibly it will be the last one, because up till now such appeals have had very little success.

I, too, have a grievance as regards the County Cork. Deputy Colohan speaks of Kildare as being very hard hit. Kildare was a great British military centre and the removal of the military has left a legacy of unemployment which cannot be got over for a long time. Now, Buttevant almost owes its existence to a large barracks which formerly accommodated 1,200 or 1,400 British soldiers. When these soldiers left, the people around Buttevant set to work and they claim that they were the pioneers of the sugar beet industry in this country, which we now hear so much about. The Deputy was wasting his sweetness on the desert air when he spoke about establishing a sugar beet industry in any other district, because such a proposal was never heard of until some brainy men from Buttevant thought of it. You cannot beat the County Cork people. In Fermoy also there is a legacy of unemployment owing to the departure of the British soldiers. Thanks to the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Local Government, small grants have been made to that district lately, and I am grateful to the Ministers for them. Cobh has also been very hard hit by the departure of the British soldiers and sailors, and there are thousands of people idle there. Worse still, other labourers in the county are now going to be deprived of a lot of money that used formerly be spent on the by-roads. Some of the by-roads are very important roads, because they are the roads that are generally used by the ratepayers who pay for the upkeep of all the roads. I am told that where £60 was spent on a by-road last year only £20 will be spent this year, and that the other £40 will be spent on the main and trunk roads for the benefit of the motor lorries.

Apparently there is to be no regard for the people who have to drive to Mass on a Sunday on the by-roads, and for the people who are working on the direct labour schemes in the country districts. I should like to know if it is a fact that there is to be a reduction in the money allocated to the by-roads. If such a reduction is in contemplation, I ask that it should not be put into force this year when there is so much unemployment and distress, and that the full money should be spent on the by-roads. I ask the Minister for Local Government to allow the same amount of money that was spent previously on the by-roads to be spent on them this year. The Minister can increase the grant for the trunk roads if he likes—that would be necessary, too—but whatever he does he should not forget the by-roads. They are not by-roads in the real sense of the word. They are called by-roads perhaps because they are not the main roads running directly from Cork to Dublin or some other large centre. They run from the different towns and villages to the houses of the ratepayers and are the roads which the ratepayers use for markets and fairs. It would not be economy to reduce the amount spent on these roads, because if they are allowed to go into disrepair this year it will cost three times as much next year to put them into repair again. I ask the Dáil and the Minister to remember that there is terrible distress in County Cork owing to the causes I have enumerated.

The debate seems to be travelling into by-roads. I do not want to talk about Cork or Kildare and, to be even more original, I do not want to talk about my own constituency. I want to support Deputy O'Connell's plea for some special consideration to be given to the West. This Estimate for the relief of distress was, very possibly, adequate when it was framed. It took final shape, presumably, about the end of March. In the West of Ireland the month of February, to a certain extent, and the month of March, to a great extent, were both fine months. There was fine weather at a time when it was least needed, and conditions looked fairly hopeful for the summer. Since the beginning of April there has been practically incessant rain. I do not want to exaggerate, but a great part of the work on the land has been at a stand-still. Whether it be the labourers, the small farmers, or the large farmers, they are faced with a very serious situation unless there comes an almost immediate change in the weather. I think the Minister for Lands and Agriculture will probably bear me out in that. The situation is the more serious because for the last two or three years farmers in all parts of Ireland, but particularly farmers in the West, have been living on their accumulated resources. The profits that were made during the war are practically vanished, and the prospect of a third bad summer in the West is a prospect of a situation that will place a terrible responsibility on the shoulders of every Deputy and, in particular, on the shoulders of responsible Ministers. I think the Minister for Finance will admit that I am not an alarmist, but all I have heard from the West does frighten me profoundly. We seem to be faced with one of these cycles of bad weather and distress that come from time to time, that came in 1846, in 1879, and I think it is very questionable whether the reduced amount provided in the Estimate will be adequate to meet the distress that arises.

I should like to say a word particularly for the county Leitrim. Leitrim is, I think, almost the poorest county in Ireland, because, while it shares the bad land and the unfavourable uneconomic condition of every western county, it has none of the resources of the other counties. Tirconaill and Galway are poor, but they have fishing. Connemara has tourist traffic, and Tirconaill and Sligo have tourist traffic. In these and the other congested counties something has been done to establish cottage and rural industries, but in Leitrim very little has been done. There is only about four miles of seaboard, no fisheries, and very few rural industries. It is not one of those picturesque counties to which large numbers of tourists go and bring money. It has very little to offer in the way of sport. I think some greater provision than is allotted in the Estimate will have to be made for the congested counties as a whole, and for Co. Leitrim in particular. Therefore, I shall support Deputy Johnson's motion.

The Minister for Finance dealt with the case to some degree last night and attempted to show that there were moneys in the Estimates which would go a long way to relieve the situation in the towns. He pointed to certain increases in the Vote for Public Works over last year of about £200,000; that certain sums would be spent for drainage, some of the moneys being in respect of Bills that have not yet been introduced, the moneys that he hoped would be spent before the financial year is out—that is, some time during the winter—in respect of sugar beet proposals. He also mentioned a figure of £500,000 or £600,000, which he estimated would be spent this financial year—between now and the end of March next—in relation to the Shannon electricity proposals. We are all very glad to hear again this year that these large sums are to be spent in the employment of labour on constructive works. We hope that this year they will be spent, but there is no promise in any statement made by the Minister that work will be available for any large proportion of the men at present unemployed during the next three months. Not many men and fewer children can live without food for three months.

I want to put that to the Minister as almost the most serious problem that has to be faced. We have the numbers who are registered as unemployed, stated to be about 50,000 more or less. We cannot check the figures accurately. We have a very large number in addition who are not registered, but I am prepared to base any case I have to make on the registered unemployed and to reiterate that a large number of these have been unemployed for a very long time, and that a large number of these are the class who up to two or three years ago were in constant or fairly regular employment and who cannot be accused of being shy of work. I do not mind the figures. Figures are not of the utmost importance. I say if you have 1,000 out of 50,000 in that position, and if they are deprived of unemployment insurance by virtue of their long period of unemployment and have exhausted all benefits from Trade Unions and savings of any kind, these men are now absolutely without resources. You deny them insurance benefit, and we demand that you must provide work. It is no use talking of what is going to happen during this financial year and hoping that in the winter certain sums will be spent and that labour will be absorbed in employment. The nearer to the truth that statement is the more reason there is for reinsuring. The greater the possibilities there are of general employment the less charge there will be on any insurance fund that may be reestablished. If you refuse to re-establish an insurance fund, and if you refuse to bring these men into benefit, then there is no other alternative, if you are going to fulfil your function as a Government, but to provide something in the nature of public work, and more particularly, public work of a useful character.

The £115,000 in this Estimate has been allocated. It is mainly the residue of works that were contemplated or begun last year. The Minister can rightly say that he does not want to have voted a large sum of money for relief schemes without any schemes. It is not our fault that there are no schemes. There are schemes. Minister after Minister has submitted schemes. They have not been brought to the Dáil. We know that Departments have submitted schemes and that what is required is money. I say unless we are going to see that something is done for the unemployed men during these months the chances of making any big hole in the number of unemployed in the winter are not anything like so great as the Minister would suggest. It is not usual to find public works begun in the winter in preference to the summer. It is very unusual. Miracles happen, and it may be that the Ministry will go as far as they can to the performance of a miracle next winter.

I press with the utmost earnestness upon the Ministry that they are bound to enlarge this Vote and to provide moneys for public works of such a nature as would absorb large numbers of the unemployed during the summer. If that is not done, then I say the Ministry are failing utterly in their responsibilities and I will not continue to be responsible for even maintaining silence or to act as a check upon agitation in the country, which may assume any proportions and any form which I know not of. It is pitiable to get the letters and communications that one gets daily in respect of men who never knew what hunger or semi-hunger was.

I am sure the Minister for Finance and other members of the Ministry have had some experience—if they have not actually seen it at close quarters— of the state that a workman gets into when there is long continued unemployment. They have had experience I am sure, of how his whole life becomes miserable. His wife and children become ill from half-feeding; the family belongings begin to leave him, and he is utterly depressed and utterly useless in the world. He feels himself useless and in fact he becomes useless, whereas hitherto he was a self-supporting, capable citizen. Are you really going to make large numbers of men utterly depressed and useless as citizens or are you going to give them an opportunity of retaining their self-respect and becoming better citizens? This proposition has not been met as seriously by the Government as it ought to have been. Each different Ministry has had its own problems, but as far as I can see there has been no attempt made to meet this problem as a whole. It has not been said: "Here are large numbers of men we will have to find work for, and how best are we to do it?"

There has been no attempt at coordinating Departmental responsibilities, and facing the necessities of the situation. I maintain it is the bounden duty of the Government to take this matter up without further delay, and to set in operation the works of which they have the plans. Each Department has one or several plans of public work, and the obstacle lies in the unwillingness to find the finance. If we do not find finance for this work it will have to be found for something else which will not be of much credit to the country.

We have heard this plea of unemployment. We are all agreed regarding the problem of unemployment, but we have only heard up to the present one side of the question. Only one part of the picture has been described. We have been told by Deputy Johnson that if the Government do not find some solution immediately all kinds of horrible things are going to happen. The threat is at once put forward in regard to horrible things, organised meetings, and so on. Deputy Johnson has perfectly fairly pleaded the cause of unemployment, but I think it is up to him to show what his side is going to do provided the money is produced by the Government. The plea that has been put forward is a perfectly fair and honourable plea, and it was put extremely carefully and well by Deputy Johnson. At the same time, I think the State requires a little more than the statement that people are starving.

The State ought to demand from the leader of the Labour Party a clear understanding as to what is going to be the attitude of the labourers whom he pleads for, and whom he says ought to be given some work to keep them from a state of starvation. The pressure in that respect from his side is all right, and his demand is a proper one; but there are always two sides to every account, as far as I understand bookkeeping methods, and we cannot put on one side an extra £100,000 without having it balanced in the matter of value from the point of view of work received. In certain circumstances it is perfectly reasonable that £100,000 should be spent in order to alleviate starvation in the country. We ought to demand, however, on behalf of the State, that in return for the £100,000 we should get good value, fair and honourable value. The money ought not to be voted by the Dáil without having some obligation on the part of those towards whom it is voted. We are bound in the interests of the State to ask Deputy Johnson, the leader of the Labour Party, to let us know concisely what value we are going to get if this money is voted. That is only a reasonable demand. It means, in other words, that we are seeking a proper day's work for a proper day's pay.

Will the Deputy say precisely what he is driving at?

Exactly. I will tell you what I am driving at. I never conceal my thoughts from anybody.

More profits you want.

I do not conceal my thoughts from anybody, even Deputy Johnson. What I am driving at is that when employment is given, the work is not done satisfactorily. I am asking now, in absolutely clear language, that there must be some guarantee that if a day's labour has to be paid for, a good day's work ought to be given in return. I hope that is as clear as possible.

Can the Deputy produce any proofs of where that has not been carried out?

I beg your pardon?

Where has that not been done?

I may tell you that where work has been done it has not always been sufficiently done. We just ask that it should be.

More profits.

All we ask from Deputy Johnson, as the Labour leader, is to give some guarantee that we will get full value in the matter of work for whatever is paid.

The capitalistic brewer is speaking now.

Big profits for all time on the beer.

Is Deputy Beamish insinuating anything?

No, I am not insinuating.

What is the Deputy's argument?

The capitalistic brewer's argument.

We do not want that. That is stupid argument. I will bring forward my point despite any interruptions from the opposite Benches. A fair discussion is all I ask for. What we want, and what I am asking for, is a thing that has been, and is, in the mind of every employer in Ireland. That is, that the work given now is not a satisfactory day's work. The Labour Party well know that that has been the complaint, and there is no use in hiding it.

The brewers want more profits.

We have heard the argument from the Labour Benches. We consider, on our side, that a certain amount of money should be spent upon legitimate labour in order to keep labourers from starvation. That is a perfectly correct argument.

Is the Deputy insinuating anything, or accusing us of anything?

I am not insinuating anything at all. I am merely stating the facts.

Is the Deputy—let him candidly and straightforwardly say so —insinuating that the Labour Party, or the leader of the Labour Party, stands for a go-slow policy?

What I am saying is that the average employer in this country demands rather better efficiency in the matter of work. I am not accusing the Labour leader, Deputy Johnson, of anything. I am only asking him to assume a position in which he will state, if this money is passed, that we will get full value for it. There have been complaints. Everybody knows about them, and all the members of the Labour Party know that, too. Do not let us humbug ourselves by flinging words across at each other. We do not want to do that. I hope we are all friends. We want a definite and a clear understanding that if extra money is spent for the alleviation of starvation—and it is a perfectly reasonable thing that that should be done—a certain amount of value ought to be attached to it. That is not an unfair demand for the Dáil to make. It is not an unfair question to ask of Labour. We want value for any money that is spent. I can quite understand the temptations that exist. Where there are great numbers of unemployed, the men who are employed are naturally anxious to get the unemployed at work. That is perfectly clear and I can quite understand it. My attitude, however, is that where we are asked for an additional sum in order to alleviate the troubles of the Labour Party, Deputy Johnson should state that if the increase is granted by the Minister for Finance there will be a fair return by way of work; at all events we must have some guarantee that we will get an average day's work. In spite of members of the Labour Party jumping up, I do not think they are against that principle themselves; I do not think they would be against anything like that. If they want to give a good day's work they will agree.

We do not want you to pat us on the back.

I do not pat you on the back, my friend; I think you are too far away for that. All I can tell you is this: there is a feeling in the country— and feelings other than the feelings of the Labour Party are going to be expressed in this Dáil, and no one man is going to stop anybody else from expressing his views — particularly amongst employers of labour, that they do not get full value.

The exploiters!

The employers feel that they do not always get a full day's work. If you want an extra grant of any kind, let it be given with the idea that we are going to get a full day's work for it. Then the State and the members of the Dáil will not be compromised when they vote for the amount asked for.

Why did you not make that statement at the elections when you were canvassing the workers for their votes?

I did not quite hear the Deputy. I suppose there is nothing in the remark. I suppose it is only a charming remark from some gentleman who did not mean what he said. If I heard it, I would answer him.

I am not like some of the Deputies; I know what I state and I have my conscience about me.

I desire to support the amendment put forward by Deputy Johnson. I want to say that I consider that the speech delivered by the last Deputy is an enigma, so far as I am concerned. I really do not know what it means. He alleges, or he uses, words which would permit of anybody inferring that this party, representing the workers directly here, are advocating a ca' canny policy. I think it has been stated from these benches time after time that we have always advocated, and will continue to advocate, that there should be a fair day's work for a fair day's pay. I take it now, as I have made that statement, that Deputy Beamish will stay in this House and vote with us on this amendment, because in essence that is what he says— that if we declared our policy, in so far as he was concerned, he would vote for the amendment. He has gone further and advocated that every Deputy in the Dáil should do so. A few weeks ago I asked a certain question in connection with unemployment benefit, and I was given certain figures. Last week Deputy Johnson put down a question something on similar terms, and received the same answer. I want to state here now that, so far as I know, these figures are absolutely inaccurate. I do not mean to say that either the President or the Minister for Industry and Commerce has consciously given inaccurate figures. They were the only figures at the Minister's disposal. He gave the figures as he found them in the Unemployment Exchanges.

There are hundreds and thousands of people walking the streets of our towns and the roads of our villages day after day who have never been registered in an Unemployment Exchange, and who are slowly starving to death. I would ask Deputy Beamish if he makes any endeavour when he goes home to his constituency at the week-ends to get into touch with these unfortunate people, or has he a better environment to live in than they have? In our constituencies we have to listen to the same pitiful tale of woe. There is no necessity for us to listen to it, because we see in the faces of the unfortunate men, women and children in the country week after week when we go home that they are slowly starving to death. I say it is the duty of the Government, even if there was only one thousand unemployed in the State, to do something to relieve distress. So far as the dole is concerned, we have never advocated it as such, but so long as work is not provided it is the duty of any Government to provide for the unemployed. We heard before we got a Government of our own that the unemployed and the workers were to be the first charge on the State, but we are sorry to say that such is not the fact. In England and the North of Ireland the dole system in its entirety is continued. Uncovenanted benefit prevails in these two areas, and one would expect that in a country with such a written democratic constitution as we have the workless and the unemployed generally would be better looked after.

Deputy Beamish has talked a lot about the inefficiency of the workers, and says that it is generally admitted that there is a slacking policy prevalent all over the country, so far as the workers are concerned. I do not think that is the case. There may be places where some workers pull a little now and again. I suppose that is only human nature. I do not countenance, nor, I am sure, does anybody on these Benches countenance, such a policy. Deputy Beamish told us nothing at all about the inefficiency of some of the employers in this State, although he professes to speak perfectly fairly as far as everybody is concerned.

Deputy Beamish, the next time he goes to Cork, should go amongst the people and find out the actual conditions, how they are living, try to help them, and come back here to the Dáil and give a true reflection of the actual conditions. That is the duty of every member of the House, no matter what party he belongs to. I ask the Government do they seriously try to realise the situation that prevails in this country? I ask the Ministers to go down to their constituencies this week-end and endeavour to find out what conditions the people are living under. Possibly if they do that they will come back to the House, to urge unhesitatingly upon the Ministry to put up a large sum of money, not as a dole, but to reconstruct the roads of the country. That is badly needed.

I do not think we are asking too much. We are merely asking that the workingmen should be given the right to work and live in their own country. I resent the silence, and I am rather sorry for the silence that prevailed up to this amongst the members of the Government Party. I do think they should make themselves felt in their own Party ranks with a view to bringing pressure to bear on the Government in order to relieve the destitution that prevails at present. A sum of £115,000 is down here for the relief of unemployment. Most of it is allocated, which is tantamount to saying that it is already spent, or almost spent. Last year we had the Unemployment Insurance Act in operation. Various people were drawing relief, and on top of that there was a sum of £500,000 voted for distress. This year the Unemployment Insurance Act, to all intents and purposes, for the great majority of the people, has been discontinued, and we have only £115,000 voted for relief of distress, some of which has been either allocated or spent already. I would appeal to the Government to tackle this thing seriously. At the present moment the unemployed are the greatest menace to the State. They are susceptible to the influences of people who are trying to undermine the State and are being used with that object by these people. In the interest of the stability of the State itself, it is absolutely essential that the Government should get into touch with the situation and tackle it fearlessly.

I wish to support the amendment, and in doing so I want to call attention to a matter which I reported to the Minister for Lands and Agriculture in January last. It is with reference to the flooding out of their homes of 40 families from Portumna to Shannon Bridge on the Galway side of the Shannon. The Minister promised to send down an inspector to inspect and report on the conditions then existing. He did so, and as far as I understand, that inspector promised to make a report in favour of the making of a road in a place called Reisk. Since then nothing has been done to relieve the people in their distress. I will now read a letter which I received this morning with reference to the sad state of affairs existing there at present:—

"Reisk, Eyrescourt, Co. Galway,

1/6/'25.

"Dear Sir,—We have again to bring to your notice the condition of this place at present. It is just the same as you saw it last January, all flooded to the doors. Rents and rates had to be fully paid, and all crops were lost last year. This year seems to be the worst of all. Our grazing and meadow will be useless this year. We now appeal to you to speak to the Minister for Lands and Agriculture and see if it is his intention to do anything to relieve the distress existing in this place. We were told by Mr. Gamble and Fr. Leahy that a new line of road was to be made through Reisk and Carty. If that was done it would relieve the present distress. Let me know by return what is to be done, as it is the intention of the people to leave the place altogether if something is not done. I can assure you there are a few families in the place in a very bad state, and they cannot exist much longer if something is not done. I am asked by the people to demand an immediate reply from you, if you can do anything.

"Yours respectfully,

"JAMES NEVIN."

I hope the Minister for Lands and Agriculture will do something to remedy this matter.

I think I am called upon to corroborate the statement which Deputy Colohan has made as to the position in County Kildare. I do not believe that he has exaggerated the conditions in the least. When it is considered that in the centre of that county there were three or four very large military establishments, which often accommodated from 20,000 to 25,000 men, we can readily understand how within a pretty wide radius of these military establishments there grew up a large population composed mainly of skilled and unskilled workers, who earned their living either directly or indirectly from these establishments. That, however, is nearly all gone now, though, of course, there is a small military establishment at the Curragh, but it is nothing compared with the former establishment. These people have been very hard hit. They were not agricultural labourers to any extent, and they have been deprived of their employment, with the result that some have gone on the dole and others have received home help. The amount of home help dispensed in County Kildare has assumed alarming proportions. It is a matter of great importance to have work given to these people, and I am sure that they would much rather earn a day's pay for reproductive work than to have recourse to the dole or home help. I regard it as a great pity that the drainage of the Barrow has not been set on foot, as it would give a large amount of work, or, if not the Barrow, then some other schemes which are equally badly needed, and which would give great employment. I am sure the Minister realises that £115,000 would not meet the situation. I think it would be well if he reconsidered the position, and, in view of the statements, perfectly genuine and honest statements, made here, he might perhaps see his way to increase the Vote.

I do not want to put too much stress on a narrow technical point, but I do not think it is a procedure which can be adopted, namely, to have estimates which are put forward in the normal way referred back, or refused to be passed, by the Dáil simply because they may not seem to meet the circumstances of the particular moment when they come up for consideration. All these estimates have to be prepared in February or March, and, as a matter of fact, if we were actually up to time in their preparation, they would be prepared in January. It would not be proper to send them back, because there had been changes since the time of their preparation. Where it turns out that there is an estimate in excess of the amount required, the sum in excess is surrendered, but attempts should be made to make it no more than is necessary. If the amount turns out to be less than that required, there is the method of supplementary estimates. We have had many supplementary estimates during our period of office and we never hesitated to come forward when money was actually wanted. This particular sum was provided really to enable works, either undertaken or sanctioned, to be carried out. The idea was not to provide money at large for relief schemes, but to give employment as far as possible by other means. I indicated those other means last night. There is a considerable sum down in the estimates which will be spent by the Board of Works on buildings. We will, for instance, have a considerable number employed before long in Dublin on the reconstruction of the Post Office and certain reconstruction works in the Four Courts, and we will have in nearly every county men at work on the rebuilding of Civic Guard barracks. There will be a very considerable sum spent on the Shannon scheme. There is a sum of something like £200,000 in the Land Commission Vote for improvement works which will be spent in giving employment in various counties, especially in the poorer districts where land will be taken and divided up. There is a very big sum to be spent out of the resources of the Road Fund, mainly on trunk roads. That sum amounts at least to £750,000, if not more. There is, at least, £100,000 available for the improvement loans to farmers, and that will result in employment. Improvement loans are now being taken for drainage schemes under the Drainage Maintenance Act, the work on which will begin immediately. In the case of Owenmore, there is a sum of about £12,000 available. There will be housing grants all over the country. There will be money spent on a sugar factory.

Although a certain amount of time must elapse before the benefits from the protective duties show results, they certainly will begin to give some increase of employment before the lapse of any considerable time. We have given notice to the Dáil also of the introduction of an estimate for the purpose of giving advances to credit societies as a means of relieving distress caused by fluke. As the Minister for Lands and Agriculture said to me, it might be necessary to meet that in at least one other way. It is very difficult to find a method of dealing with such a thing so that the State can properly enter on it, but, as has been said, the one way that distress can be met without the State being involved in transactions which might lead to results both in expenditure and on public opinion that might not be good, would be to do something by way of suitable works in certain districts. We might have to do that. If this season were to be like last season, the sum passed last year would not suffice. It would be necessary, in my view, to pass, not alone this sum of £115,000 or £100,000, but very much greater sums, if the weather this year were to correspond to that of last year. It seems to me the only possible way to deal with it would be by a supplementary estimate. It is possible to find money for schemes, other than those which have been sanctioned, for this £115,000 will not be spent for a considerable time. Some of the works on which it is designed to expend money are works which will extend over a considerable time, and the last of these will not be required for some considerable time. It is possible, so far as the money is concerned, actually to do the works at once where there is an extreme need for them, and where the actual details of the works are ready. What I would suggest to the Dáil on the question of this Estimate is that the proper way to meet the situation is not by refusing to entertain this Vote now, and by referring it back for consideration, but for the matter to be taken up with a view to seeing whether a supplementary Vote is required before the Dáil adjourns, and if it is required, what amount it is going to be, because if the weather conditions were to be good, for instance, it would certainly be very much less than what would be required if the weather conditions were like those of last year. It seems to me that a good deal of the discussion here was based on the idea that we should have a big distress vote, no matter what provision was made elsewhere for giving employment by way of relief work. I do not think we should get into the position of stereotyping a big Vote for relief work. I would rather have a small Vote for that purpose, or no Vote if possible. It often happens that money spent on relief works has not the best results.

Instead of relief work call it development work or reconstruction.

We are trying to provide for that. We have development work, such, for instance, as the Shannon scheme, and we are trying to get ahead with the Barrow scheme. We have sums running into £37,500 for actual drainage works under the Drainage Maintenance Acts, and on particular drainage schemes we have £100,000, or so, down for drainage by loans under the Land Improvement Act. There are considerable sums down that are calculated actually to give employment during this year, and in certain cases to give employment immediately, as in the case of the Shannon. Undoubtedly there is an element of delay, and there will be some time in which no employment will be given. It seems to me that it comes down to the question at the moment of the gap that must exist before some of these things can be got going—before building operations are started under the provisions in the Board of Works Vote, before the Shannon scheme is started, and before the scheme in connection with the trunk roads is settled, and the money is being sent out by the Local Government Department. If, on further examination, it seems to be necessary that there should be a supplementary Vote the Dáil has something like a month still to go before the adjournment, and there is ample time for the introduction of a supplementary Estimate, when we can have in view all the facts that we can gather in regard to the situation. Even a lapse of three weeks might have a considerable effect on the view that has to be taken, and the amount required. Three weeks of steadily-bad weather would cause an entirely different view of the necessities of the case to what would be taken if we had three weeks of excellent weather. We will have some idea within that time of the employment that is going to be given immediately as the result of Budget changes, but if we are going to refer back Estimates in the light of developments that occur from week to week after the publication of the Estimates, it becomes somewhat farcical to publish Estimates at all, for nearly every one of them can, in a greater or lesser degree, be shown now to be capable of modification. At the appropriate time of the year we simply must make the best calculation we can as to the sum required, and we must issue our Estimates and bring them forward, and have a discussion on them. If it is found that amendments of these Estimates are required by way of increase, that can be done by way of supplementary Estimates.

The Minister has said nothing as to the prospects of the Barrow drainage.

We hope to do some work on the Barrow this year, but the Parliamentary Secretary has explained that there is not a detailed scheme for the Barrow. When we got our engineers at work we found that there is still a considerable amount of work to be done before we are in a position to have the Barrow scheme as advanced as the Shannon scheme. The big work of the drainage cannot be undertaken this year. The most that will be undertaken is the preliminary work, and we have available in the vote of the Board of Works a sum of about £50,000 for doing that work on the Barrow.

This vote is for a contribution towards the relief of unemployment and distress, and it refers to miscellaneous schemes. We are not asked for a vote for any special scheme. This is to vote a lump sum for miscellaneous schemes which might be brought forward at any time. The Minister has played a good deal with the terms relief schemes and relief work. There is no other way, so far as I know, of expressing the views of the Dáil as to the necessity for immediately putting these schemes into operation, and not waiting until the autumn, than by referring this vote back with a view to increase. I say that with this proviso, that if the Minister will tell the Dáil now that he does not confirm the position taken up by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce that there can be no replenishment of the Unemployment Insurance Fund that would put a different complexion on the matter. I am taking this line, because of the statement made by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, that there will be no replenishment of unemployment insurance funds to meet the necessities of the situation and the needs of those out of benefit. As a consequence, there must be something in the way of work, and if the ordinary schemes are not going to be made operative for several weeks, perhaps months, even perhaps years, then other schemes are required, schemes which have been submitted to the Minister for Finance and which only require money. The plans for these are available. I ask the House to send this Vote back, understanding that it is for miscellaneous schemes which the Ministry have in hand, and for which money can be found if the Ministry of Finance will agree.

Amendment put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 19; Níl, 37.

  • Pádraig Baxter.
  • Seán Buitléir.
  • John J. Cole.
  • John Conlan.
  • Bryan R. Cooper.
  • Séamus Eabhróid.
  • Connor Hogan.
  • Séamus Mac Cosgair.
  • Tomás Mac Eoin.
  • Risteárd Mac Fheorais.
  • Pádraig Mac Fhlannchadha.
  • Patrick J. Mulvany.
  • Ailfrid O Broin.
  • Criostóir O Broin.
  • Tomás O Conaill.
  • Aodh O Cúlacháin.
  • Liam O Daimhín.
  • Seán O Duinnín.
  • Domhnall O Mocháin.

Níl

  • Richard H. Beamish.
  • Earnán de Blaghd.
  • Thomas Bolger.
  • Séamus Breathnach.
  • Seoirse de Bhulbh.
  • Séamus de Búrca.
  • Louis J. D'Alton.
  • Máighréad Ní Choileáin Bean
  • Uí Dhrisceóil.
  • Patrick J. Egan.
  • Thomas Hennessy.
  • John Hennigan.
  • Seosamh Mac a' Bhrighde.
  • Liam Mac Cosgair.
  • Mailmhuire Mac Eochadha.
  • Pádraig Mac Fadáin.
  • Seoirse Mac Niocaill.
  • Liam Mac Sioghaird.
  • Liam Mag Aonghusa.
  • John T. Nolan.
  • Peadar O hAodha.
  • Mícheál O hAonghusa.
  • Seán O Bruadair.
  • Risteárd O Conaill.
  • Parthalán O Conchubhair.
  • Máirtín O Conalláin.
  • Séamus O Cruadhlaoich.
  • Séamus O Dóláin.
  • Peadar O Dubhghaill.
  • Aindriú O Láimhín.
  • Séamus O Leadáin.
  • Fionán O Loingsigh.
  • Séamus O Murchadha.
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (Gaillimh).
  • Máirtín O Rodaigh.
  • Seán O Súilleabháin.
  • Mícheál O Tighearnaigh.
  • Liam Thrift.
Tellers.—Tá: Deputies Corish and T.J. O'Connell. Níl: Deputies Dolan and Peadar Doyle.
Amendment declared lost.

I have not finished with this. I want to move, at this stage, that this Vote be now reduced by £100. I am not going to cover the ground I covered last night. I am going to see if I can give a few more reasons as to why I am asking for this reduction. My main point is because of what I may call the mal-administration of these moneys during the last financial year. I have here the Official Debates of the 5th December, when this estimate was under discussion. I had not at that time anticipated anything like what afterwards occurred. I did feel, perhaps, that there was a possibility of districts not getting fair play, apart from political considerations altogether. I did not honestly think that political considerations would weigh, but I did fear that districts would not get fair play according to the distress that existed and the number of unemployed. I suggested then to the Minister for Lands and Agriculture that there was a danger that the best would not be got out of these moneys. I said:

"I do not know whether it is proposed to spend the money through the county councils or what the method will be, but this is a point of view that should be kept in mind, and if it were possible it would be right to go as far as trying to ascertain through the present clerks of district councils or some other way how many people there are in town and country who are prepared to work, and who want work, before any scheme would be devised for the relief of distress in any district. If you have a thousand men who want work in one district it would not be fair to spend the same amount in that district as where there are only 200 men."

That was the view I put forward. The Minister, in his reply, said:

"I want Deputies to remember also that the Land Commission could not guarantee to find work in every district where there are unemployed. Deputy Baxter suggested that we should get a census of the number unemployed and give work to them in strict proportion. Deputy Cooper made a suggestion that we should go in for drainage work like that at the Owenmore, but any farmer will tell you that you cannot work on a drainage scheme in winter, and especially in this month (December). On the other hand, you have Deputy Cooper's suggestion that we should concentrate large sums of money in one particular district, and, on the other, Deputy Baxter's, that there should be an exact census taken of the unemployed, and that the money should be divided accordingly. We can do neither. The Land Commission can only spend money where they have work. They will take into consideration as far as they can that a certain area is poor, and that, consequently, money should be spent there, if we have work there. But they cannot do it in that entirely accurate and scientific way that Deputy Baxter suggests. Neither do they propose to do it by concentrating all the money in one little area."

I do not think any system at all was employed as regards discovering the number who wanted work and the amount of distress existing, or anything else, in the districts where the money was to be spent. There was no discrimination between the man who had no work and the man who might be thought to be well off. There was no discrimination like that. As a matter of fact, I think I am putting it clearly when I say that there was no system followed in the allocating of these works, or any attempt to keep in mind the amount of distress that existed in a district, or whether the work was necessary or not. There was no discrimination between the people who ought to be employed and the people who ought not to be employed. At least, that was not the basis on which the money was allocated. I say, as I said last night, that the money was allocated, distributed, and spent from the political point of view.

I made a reference last night to the publication of the notice of a public meeting on the occasion of President Cosgrave's visit to Cavan. I have since been able to secure that notice, and I will put the notice to the House. I will let the House see what it contains, and I will leave the House to judge whether it does not sound more like a Government proclamation than a notice convening a meeting of a political party.

This is on the 7th of February. I want to point out that the debate on relief took place on 5th December. On the 5th December the Minister suggested that there was no possibility of taking the census that I suggested. I do not know whether the Minister will say now whether or not he was in a position between the 5th December and 7th February to have the census I suggested taken. I think sensible men will agree that it was easily possible. The notice of the meeting is headed "Cumann na nGaedheal." It says:—

President Cosgrave will visit Cavan on Sunday, 8th February, and will address the meeting, already announced to be held in the Town Hall, Cavan, at the hour of 3 p.m., in support of Dr. O'Reilly, Cumann na nGaedheal candidate for Cavan. Dr. O'Reilly, the candidate for Cavan. Mr. J. J. Walsh, Minister for Posts and Telegraphs; Mr. Hogan, Minister for Lands and Agriculture; Captain Henry Harrison, and Mr. Eamon Duggan will address the meeting.

What follows is the important part:

All deputations will be received by the President from 2 to 3 o'clock in the Farnham Hotel. The meeting will start at 3 o'clock sharp. A County Convention will be held immediately afterwards, at which the President will preside. Let each Cumann have its proper representation present, so that its area may now be attended to by Commissioners recently appointed to deal with land inspection and distribution, and also have their claims investigated for their share of money to be expended on relief works in areas where destitution exists.

Deputies on the Government Benches may smile, but I ask any Deputy if that is not more like a Government proclamation than anything else. Is it not more like a statement that would appear outside the Gárda Síochána barracks, that representatives of a Government Department would come down officially to take a census of what the conditions were? Is it not more like a statement of that kind than a publication that should appear on behalf of a political organisation.

Deputies may have in mind different standards as regards these matters. But that is my standard. It may not be the standard of some of the Government Deputies, but I take it that it was never the intention of any man standing for this State, that its affairs should be administered by, or through, a political organisation. Whether the Executive Council gave countenance at that meeting to that policy or not, I do not know. I was not there. I do not know exactly what happened. But they gave countenance to it when they appeared at a meeting of which notice was given in those terms. The policy that was afterwards pursued certainly gave definite indication that they not only countenanced that policy at that meeting, but that they assisted and facilitated the spending of thousands of pounds later. I said last night that it was only men who were members of the Government organisation who had anything to say at all to the districts in which money was to be spent. The Government organisation representatives in Cootehill district, Bailieboro' district, Cavan district, and down through West Cavan, could take an engineer by the arm, go into different districts, and allocate the moneys that were to be spent in these districts. I do not know whether the Deputies I see on the other side of the House stand for a policy like that or not. I am stating what is a fact, and if any members of the Ministry challenge me to produce any further facts, in accordance with Deputy Johnson's suggestion, I will be only pleased to do so. I say that that policy was pursued down there. The money was allocated and spent by a political organisation. In how far officials of the Minister for Lands and Agriculture, who came down there, had instructions to "work in" with that organisation or any other political organisation, I am not aware. I do not know what their instructions were. I am just stating exactly what did happen. I was requested to.

As I said last night, I sent in 40 or 50 communications from all over the county. I was requested to do so, and to ask to have the money spent in these districts. Every single communication I received I sent to the Minister for Lands and Agriculture. I left it to him, or those under his authority, to decide what should be done. In one very particular case, I was invited, with my colleague, Deputy Cole, by a representative body of men—clergymen and men of different religious persuasions —to go into a certain district, see the conditions in the district and see whether we considered it advisable to start certain works there. We went and saw. We considered that these works might be carried out.

Deputy Egan was later in the same locality. We considered works which could be carried out, and we both reported what we considered ought to be done. I can only say this, that what we reported ought to be done was not done, but what the political organiser of the Government Party later considered should be done was done in that district. The money was not spent where we thought it might be spent. It was spent, not on a river, but in draining the bog of a certain individual who was considered to have a good deal of political influence in the district. I will go a little farther with this just to prove conclusively the policy that is being pursued and in order that I may be able to hear from the other side of the House whether, in permitting this thing to continue, Deputies stand for honesty and clean administration in public affairs. I have here another report of a meeting which I propose to refer to. To a certain extent I can see that it is a little outside the scope of this Vote. Inasmuch as I expect the Minister for Lands and Agriculture will have something to say in reply to this, I quote it as another instance of the policy that is being pursued down there, and also in order to prove that the political organisation there has taken upon itself to say, and feels that it is in a position to say, what should be done.

I have here, in the Cumann na nGaedheal column of a weekly paper, the report of a certain branch meeting. I will pass the report over to the Minister if he wants to see it. The report states that a meeting was held in the hall, and that arising out of a report from the delegates who attended the public meeting addressed by Mr. Hogan, Minister for Agriculture, at Ballyconnell, Mr. So-and-so, who interviewed him on the question of land distribution, restoration of evicted tenants, and the heavy death rate of cattle and horses, with the suggestion that Government aid should be given to those who are unable to replace their losses by way of a grant or loan, received the following communication from Mr. Hogan, which was submitted to the meeting:—

"With further reference to my letter of the 20th February to you on the subject of lands in which Kildallon Cumann was interested, I have been informed by the Land Commission that the lands of Aughnacreevy have been referred to an inspector for a report, and that the lands of Dring and Drumlara, which are subject to a Poor Law annuity, are now under consideration.

The Report continues:

"Mr. Hogan also wrote that evicted tenants should forward to the Secretary of the Land Commission a brief statement of the circumstances connected with their eviction, giving the name and the areas of land, name of landlord, and stating how and by whom the lands were at present used, with the request to have their cases considered. With regard to the serious matter of fluke disease, the matter was having the most earnest care and attention. Some grievances in connection with the old age pension were discussed, and particulars of circumstances forwarded through our Organisation for further consideration. The branch unanimously decided to ask"—this is the point I want to call attention to—"Mr. O'Rourke, county Secretary, to either attend the next meeting, or call in the meantime and make out a scheme of distribution of Dring farm similar to that made on Aughnacreevy farm."

What do you think about that? That is the sort of thing that is going on. I am finding no fault with the Minister's communication. It was straight and candid, and what I would expect the Minister to send out. The point I want to make is this: that here are lands that apparently there is no intention of taking over. A decision is arrived at, and a certain individual is put down as doing what the Land Commission forsooth are expected to do when they get the authority to do it. There is no appearance, even from the Minister's point of view, that the Land Commission will very soon have authority to do that. That is the sort of thing that is going on all over.

Is O'Rourke a commissioner?

No, he is not, but he happens to be an employee of another Minister here, and he is one of those who allocated the moneys that were to be spent in each particular district. The Minister for Finance last night suggested that I was not to be taken seriously: that I was magnifying things and exaggerating. That was not a fair statement for the Minister to make. If the Minister thinks that I am exaggerating let his case and my case be submitted to a committee of the House. I would even accept a majority from his own party. Let both of us have an opportunity of submitting our cases to that committee, and if it is proved that I have exaggerated, it will then be quite time enough for him to charge me with exaggeration. I maintain that I have not exaggerated in the slightest, nor have I given one-third of the facts that I could give. I am taking particular pains not to go into all the byways that I might bring to the notice of the Dáil. If the Minister suggests that I am not to be taken seriously, or that any other Deputy who stands up and charges the Government Party or any of the Ministries with, apparently, collaborating with their political organisation down the country in running this country's affairs regardless of and irrespective to what Deputies on the other side of the House think— if that is not to be taken seriously, then I say that the Minister has not heard the last word of this. The Dáil is the only means that the people of the country have of giving vent to their opinions and of seeing that every section of the people will get fair play. If the Minister thinks that I should not avail of an opportunity like this, but that I should allow things like this to go on under my own eyes and under the eyes of others and not take notice of them, then he misunderstands me and my point of view. If the Minister asks those people down the country even to repudiate what I charge them with, they will not do it, nor have they any intention of doing so. In fact, they claim credit for doing it. They take particular pains to make everyone believe that they can accomplish these things. They make the point, not simply that they intend to be able to do these things, but that they can do them, and that takes some answering. I would have to hear from the Minister responsible that the instructions issued to their inspectors have been carried out, and that if the inspectors acted differently they have not carried out the instructions given them by the Ministry.

As I said last night, if this country's local affairs are to be run through political organisations then this Dáil can serve no purpose, and it is better to dissolve it. I have here another indication of what is in the minds of these people. This Vote that we are asked to pass includes, I take it, a considerable sum of money that will be required to complete some works that are still unfinished. The Minister told us that last night. Some of this money is wanted then in order to fulfil promises that have already been given.

I would just like to make a correction. Perhaps the point is a minor one, but this money is not to fulfil promises that have been given so far as Land Commission works are concerned, but to complete works in actual progress—works that have been begun.

I think it comes to the one thing. Promises were given to do certain work, and the work was stopped. I take it that the promise is only fulfilled when the work is completed. The peculiar point about this is that the local government elections are coming on now, and that very considerable capital is being made out of the fact that more works are going to be done—works that were partly done. These men say: "We are going to get them completed for you." Although we had this debate on the 5th December last, the greater number of the works in my county were only started in or about the 1st March last. In a few districts they were started somewhat earlier—about January last. The 11th March was the date of the election. About the 1st March a very considerable number of works started, and I ask, because I do not know myself, if there was any significance in that? The Minister argued on the 5th December that it was not possible to get a census taken of the number of the unemployed. I do not know how long it would take to get a census of the unemployed, but I think a greater effort should have been made and more knowledge secured between the 5th December and the 11th March if there was a desire to allocate money according to the districts where there was unemployment. That was not done. I do not know what was the standard set by which men were to judge whether there was a necessity for works or not. I do not know what the desire of the Ministry to have the money distributed impartially was. Whatever the desire was I say again it was a political test, pure and simple, whether works would be started in a district or not, as the starting of the works was entirely dependent upon the effect that it was going to create. I want to say further it was not always a consideration whether the man who got a position in the works was rich or poor. It very often happened that a man who had at least enough got the position because his influence was going to be considerably greater than that of a man who was poor. We had men at the start of the work who were responsible organisers of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party at the same time going about in the capacity of superintendent gangers and going round in motor cars from one district to another paying the men on the work. Deputies can judge what impression this created on crowds in the districts where there were a number of unemployed and a number of other people, seeing these men, with money in their hands, going round paying for the work done. What sort of an impression is that going to create? What spirit are you going to breed in the country if you create a band of political mendicants, as the Minister for Finance said last night? You can only blame the policy and the methods you are pursuing yourself.

I think one thing emerges clearly from this discussion, as a result of the remarks of Deputy Baxter, and that is that he is still rather sore at the result of the Cavan election.

Not a bit.

Mr. EGAN

I am afraid he is disappointed that his generalship did not work so successfully as he thought it should have done.

I had not enough money.

Mr. EGAN

Deputy Baxter mentioned my name in connection with the extraordinary accusations he was making against all and sundry connected with the Government. I did happen to go to Cavan on two different occasions in connection with the late election. I was present at meetings, and I heard the Minister for Finance speak. I utterly repudiate the suggestion made by Deputy Baxter as to the Government Party, or any of those attached to the Government Party, being responsible for the state of affairs which he suggests existed. As I said, I can only attribute his extraordinary accusations to a somewhat overheated imagination and to disappointment over the election. But, of course, it is obviously very difficult for anybody to refute general charges, and although I listened to Deputy Baxter for the best part of an hour yesterday, and for a considerable time to-day, on this topic, he did not give one single concrete case.

Was the Deputy in the House when Deputy Baxter read the advertisement?

Mr. EGAN

I was.

Do you repudiate that?

Mr. EGAN

I think there was nothing whatever wrong about that advertisement. Anybody can pick anything out of a newspaper.

What has the Government to do with that advertisement?

I imagine if the Government had a right conception of their duties they would repudiate any responsibility for anything that suggested that the President was coming down to receive a deputation as to the allocation of land, or the distribution of the relief grants, or anything of that kind, at a time of an election. I say, on the face of it, it smacks very much like bribery and corruption.

Mr. EGAN

It would be utterly impossible to refute everything put on paper. Paper never refuses ink. I want to say this in connection with the whole matter: If Deputy Baxter is so serious as he would have us believe, and if he believes these allegations, and that he has a strong case, then he has been guilty of very serious dereliction of duty when he has not gone into this matter before now. The Cavan election was held many months ago, and a great deal of water has passed under the bridges since then, yet he has waited many months and allowed this extraordinary state of corruption to exist, and has done nothing. He has not been true to his constituency, and he has not acted with a sense of public duty and with a proper sense of the duty that he owes to the Dáil in this matter. He should have taken steps to bring this matter before the Dáil on a previous occasion and have it thrashed out thoroughly. Even now, when he does bring it forward, he gives no concrete instance of any corruption. It was quite within his power to have raised this any night on the motion for the adjournment of the House.

What good would that have been? I would have had merely a half an hour, and that is just exactly what I did not want to do.

Mr. EGAN

Surely there are other ways?

Come to the facts of the case and leave the other ways alone.

Where are the facts?

You were not here. You do not know anything about them.

I read about them.

Mr. EGAN

If Deputy Gorey wants to know the other ways, does he not know that there is such a thing as a Corrupt Practices Act? And could not these things have been taken up by Deputy Baxter and his friends and thrashed out in a court of law? Surely, when Deputy Baxter and his friends lost the election, if they allege that malpractices have taken place, they should have taken action in the courts, and dragged the whole thing into the light of day. They have not had the courage to do that; they waited many months after, and then they come in here and make these vague, general allegations when they know that the people whom they attack cannot take any action against them. Deputy Baxter makes use of the privileges of this House to make these charges. If he has the courage of his convictions let him and his friends go outside. Let them bring the malefactors into court, and prove their charges against them, instead of coming in this fashion and taking refuge in this House, and making allegations under privileged conditions against people who cannot answer them here because they are only hinted at.

Did Deputy Egan not hear me tell Deputy Sears last night that I made this charge in his presence at a public meeting in a town in my own county, and Deputy Sears did not make any attempt to refute it?

Mr. EGAN

Why did not the Deputy take stronger action if he had any weight to support his case?

I am taking strong action now.

Mr. EGAN

Why did not the Deputy take advantage of the Corrupt Practices Act, and have the whole thing thrashed out in the court, where these men could meet him and defend themselves?

I say that if there is any truth at all in the accusations which Deputy Baxter is making against the Government, he himself is very gravely to blame for having allowed such a state of affairs to continue so long before he did anything about it. I want to say, if it is necessary for me to repeat it for Deputy Baxter's edification, that I utterly repudiate such accusations as he has made. To begin with, apart from any consideration of fairness or of public morality, it would be utterly stupid for any Government Party to utilise money in such a fashion as this. It would be bound, as Deputy Baxter himself admitted, to react on themselves. This practice would not be resorted to by any commonsense people or people of decent morality, and for my part I can only say I consider that it is rather a pity that Deputy Baxter did not take the defeat in Cavan in a little more sporting spirit.

I was in Cavan once during the election, not on the occasion that Deputy Baxter mentioned. I met at least half-a-dozen deputations representing Cumann na nGaedheal branches, and the burden of the complaint of every one of them was that no one except members of the Farmers' Party could get work. When I went down I found a fight raging, the Farmers' Party being by far the most vocal, as to who was responsible for the relief grants, and the supporters of the Government candidate seemed to be very excited, indeed, because Deputy Baxter had got in first. The first thing I was told on my arrival was that Deputy Baxter rushed down immediately after the adjournment of the Dáil, held a meeting in a hall, and announced that he was responsible for securing a certain sum of money for relief work. That was bruited all over the place.

The Minister says that I called a meeting, and adds he was told this. The Minister was told it. Did he accept it as true?

It was common knowledge; we all heard it.

Mr. HOGAN

There is not the slightest occasion to get excited over this matter. When I went down I found the combat raging between the two parties as to who was responsible for securing the relief grant. The burden of the complaints of the supporters of the Government candidate was that the Farmers' Party had got away with it. I was told that they were saying: "Join the Farmers' Party and you will get work. See what we have done for you already." I know, and Deputy Baxter knows, that that was being said by both sides all over the place.

It was not.

Mr. HOGAN

I was only in Cavan on one occasion. I was not there on the particular occasion referred to in the advertisement which the Deputy read out, but anyone who was in Cavan, anyone who looked through the files of the "Anglo-Celt" would know that that is the sort of thing that passed muster all through the election.

Who owns it?

Mr. HOGAN

The "Anglo-Celt" belongs to the defeated candidate. Of course, it is quite natural; there is no use in Deputy Baxter coming to the House and posing as a sort of white-robed innocent. We all know that political parties do that sort of thing. I admit that political parties take credit for all the good that is going, but we do not take it seriously afterwards. I am now dealing distinctly with specific points, with statements made on political platforms by politicians on both sides. We know that both sides claim that they have done everything for everybody, and I will pay a compliment to the Farmers' Party, by saying that as far as my experience down there went they were not behindhand. They were out to do everything for everybody, and everything that had been done for the last three years was done by the Farmers' Party, and more power to them. The thing was a complete farce down there, and I told all parties that it was a complete farce.

A month ago Deputy Baxter informed me in this House that he intended to raise this matter. I said: "If you have any charges whatever"—I am sure he will bear me out in this —"you should say so, but I think in fairness to me if you have any concrete charges you should let me have them. I am the Minister responsible; I am responsible for what the Land Commission does, or what the Land Commission fails to do, and if you have any concrete charges, any instances, any examples of any malpractices by any officials of the Department of Agriculture I think in all fairness to me and in the interests of truth you should let me have them, so that I would have an opportunity of examining them and dealing with officials concerned." Deputy Baxter informed me that he had not any concrete cases that he could give me.

I did not tell the Minister anything of the kind. I told the Minister I would, but I have not seen him since.

Give them to the House now.

Mr. HOGAN

I leave it at that. Then there must be some misunderstanding. It would have been easy to send these concrete examples to my office. I would have to inquire into them. I asked for them, and I have not got them. Apparently they are to be given now, but no names are forthcoming. After a considerable amount of travail by the mountain the mouse is born at last, and we have three examples after two hours of speeches. What are they? First, that an organiser of the Cumann na nGaedheal went round and paid men. I invite Deputy Baxter to give his name, and to state when this occurred.

The man that I made allusion to is the man who presided at the meeting of the Minister for Finance. The man's name is O'Reilly, the man who said at the meeting—when the Minister said that he was making a grant of £20,000—"if you give us £40,000 we will win the election." The day before the Minister came down to address his meeting in Swanlinbar I met that man in his motor car, and he told me that he was going to pay the men.

Who informed the Deputy that we had an organiser named O'Reilly?

Mr. HOGAN

I understand that the Deputy has now stated specifically that a man called O'Reilly, whom I do not know, and who, he said, is an organiser, paid the men employed by the Land Commission.

Oh, no, what the Deputy, as I understood him, said was that he met a Mr. O'Reilly in Swanlinbar, that he was in his motor car, and that he told Deputy Baxter that he was now going to pay the men. I think it was after dinner that that statement was made.

Mr. HOGAN

All I have to say is this: that, apparently, Mr. O'Reilly knows Deputy Baxter as well as I do. You have on the one side the leading supporter of the other candidate, and on the other the organiser of the Cumann na nGaedheal. They met on the road. He pulled up and said, "I am going to pay the men who are employed by the Government"——

The Minister can treat it that way if he likes. Let him face the point.

Mr. HOGAN

I say this deliberately, and every Deputy, including Deputy Johnson, must agree that if funds got into the hands of any third party who had no right to them to pay men employed by the Land Commission, and that any Deputy knew that, it was his duty to inform me at once. I had a conversation with the Deputy on this matter. The Deputy never gave me an inkling of that. We now hear it for the first time. Deputy Baxter is a little innocent in ways, but he is not quite so innocent as all that. I daresay it could happen in the history of Cavan that things would go wrong. Things go wrong every day. But you can only keep things right in one way, that is by getting after them immediately they go wrong and by making the person responsible suffer. But here, according to Deputy Baxter, is a case where funds got into the hands of a third party who had no right to them and who was allowed to pay Government employees with them. Now we hear for the first time actually what the charge is. The man met him on the road——

He met me in the town.

Mr. HOGAN

Why, if he believed that statement, did he not send it in to me? I invited him to do so.

It is public property. Everybody in my county knows it.

Mr. HOGAN

That will not do. This is the first I have heard of it, and I venture to say this is the first that any Deputy in this House has heard of it. I am perfectly certain of that, and the Deputy knows it. I discussed this specific question with the Deputy. I invited him to give me a concrete case. Here is a glaring example. He comes along here now after three months and in the interests of pure government he comes out with this story. He gives me no chance whatever of dealing with it. I invited him to do so. I invited him to give me concrete cases. I did not get them. If there was any other Deputy on the Labour benches, or on any other benches, who knew of anything like this he could write to me, and if I did not give him satisfaction he could bring it up here, but notwithstanding the fact that I asked the Deputy to do so he now comes forward like an innocent with a cock-and-bull story.

I told the Minister I would give him those facts and I have not seen him since. I did not expect him here to-day.

Mr. HOGAN

That is a little bit too thin. The Deputy recommended that a river should be drained and lo! a bog was drained instead. That is more corruption. Let us have the name of the bog we should not have drained. We have drained a great many bogs and the Deputy has discovered one bog that we should not have drained. He cannot have it both ways. I should like to have the name of the bog and good reasons why it should not have been drained. I think the Deputy should take himself seriously. When he makes serious charges of this sort he should at least give the circumstances. The only charge we have heard is that a bog has been drained which should not have been drained. We should have the name of the bog and the facts concerning it.

The charge I make is not that the bog was drained but that the political henchmen of the Government Party were in a position to go out to a district and get this thing done.

Mr. HOGAN

That is not good enough. It is not fair to the Land Commission officials, to me, and if I may say so, to the Deputy himself. Give me the circumstances of the case. There is nothing so easy to say as that it is the political henchmen who got this, that, or the other thing done. Let me have the name of the political henchman of this party who got that bog drained, which the Deputy said was drained. Let me have his name, the name of the bog and all the circumstances connected with it. But Deputy Baxter, no matter what any other Deputy may think, need not expect me to take him seriously if he comes along with general charges of that nature and does not give any particulars. Every Deputy knows that in the administration of the Relief Vote, which only employs 5,000 men out of a total of 50,000, there is bound to be disappointment. One man is left out and another is brought in. If the Twelve Apostles even administered it, a good deal of disappointment would be bound to arise. The same thing applies to the division of land. For every farm divided there would be about three farmers disappointed, and each of those would see corrupt reasons for having been left out. My hair would become grey if I took all those into consideration. If anyone in the Dáil has any example of anything other than impersonal administration from the Land Commission, I would be extremely glad to have it and I guarantee it will not occur again. I have the utmost confidence in the Land Commission. I have been in touch with the administration of those relief works not only in Cavan but in every other county in which they took place, and I have nothing but admiration for the way the Land Commission administered those moneys from start to finish. I say those relief works were well done and that we got particularly good value for the money. That is the experience of every Deputy and I am not confining this remark to Cumann na nGaedheal Deputies. I would like to hear what Deputies from Cork have to say about the administration there, or what Deputy O'Connell has to say about the administration in Connemara, and whether there was any political influence at work.

Will the Minister say how many men he had representing the Land Commission in Cavan, and what area they had in Cavan? Would he say how many works they were supposed to supervise and start, and the money they were provided with?

Mr. HOGAN

I could not say anything of the kind. There were from two to three men from the Land Commission off and on. There were the same in Sligo and in Cavan for a while. There were some going from one place to another, and an overseeing inspector coming in as well.

With regard to the advertisement which Deputy Johnson takes so seriously, and which he says the Government should repudiate, my standard may be low, but if that advertisement, or one fifteen thousand times as bad, appeared in a morning paper in this county once a week, I would not wet a pen to contradict it. If the Government or Ministers have to go about correcting everything that is said even by their political party, they would have their hands full. We do not take ourselves so seriously, and do not take what our political supporters say so seriously. I suggest that if Deputy Johnson is so thin-skinned in those matters he ought not to read the "Voice of Labour." If I put it up to him to contradict hundreds of things written in favour of the Labour Party and against the Government Party, I am sure he would not.

I would like to know whether it is seriously stated from the Government benches that the Cumann na nGaedheal is repudiated when it makes a statement to this effect:—The President will be present, also the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, the Minister for Lands and Agriculture, and Mr. Eamon Duggan. I will repeat what Deputy Baxter read:

"All deputations will be received by the President from 2 to 3 o'clock in the Farnham Hotel. Meeting will start at 3 o'clock sharp. A county convention will be held immediately afterwards, at which the President will preside. Let each Cumann have its proper representation present" (present at a meeting at which the President will preside) "so that its area may now be attended to by the Commissioners recently appointed to deal with land inspection and distribution."

The inference is that if the Cumann had not its representatives present the representations to the Land Commission would not be attended to.

"And also have their claims investigated for their share of money to be expended on relief works in areas where destitution exists."

Is that the function of the President or of the Minister for Lands and Agriculture? Is it the function of the President during the time of a contested election to attend a Party Convention to receive representations so that the areas may now be attended to by the Commissioners recently appointed by the Land Commission for land inspection and distribution, and have their claims investigated for a share of money to be expended? Does any Minister stand over that, or may I take it that the Minister repudiates the claim of Cumann na nGaedheal in any part of the country which makes any pretence that they have any influence with the Minister in respect to the division of land, the allocation of relief grants, or the expenditure of money? Will the Minister repudiate the claims of Cumann na nGaedheal that they have any more influence than any other Party?

Deputy Johnson has had the opportunity of reading that advertisement. I had not. That advertisement, if I interpret it correctly from the reading of it this afternoon, appeared in the paper of one of the candidates in the election. If we were corrupt he ought not to have published it. I presume he was paid for it. He never drew my attention to anything to which he objected in the matter, nor did anyone else, nor have I heard of the advertisement before.

Does the President repudiate that claim?

I have not read it. Deputy Johnson paraphrased some of it, and I was not in a position to follow it clearly. I think he put in comments when he was reading it.

Perhaps the President will read it now.

The Deputy does not deny that the opposition candidate printed this.

That is a trifle.

It is a trifle to take money to compound something that is corrupt, and then to place themselves in sheets and say: "We alone are without sin."

Mr. HOGAN

Deputy Johnson is a little too innocent, and a little too fond of putting us in the same dilemma of the man who is asked: "How long is it since you stopped beating your wife?" We know that dilemma quite well. It is not alleged that the President went down and divided this money. No one has the cheek to allege that. No one has the cheek to allege any wrongful act on the part of any member of the Government. The question is, and Deputy Johnson knows well that the question is, whether we should repudiate advertisements issued by branches of the Cumann na nGaedheal in all parts of the country in all circumstances. Deputy Johnson need not ask me, and he knows well he need not ask me, whether we appreciate our position sufficiently to realise that we must administer the money that is voted impartially. He knows well that it is not necessary to wait until June, 1925, in order to give that undertaking. It is really trying to put us in the dilemma in which the man is put who is asked: "How long is it since you stopped beating your wife." He should have a little better foundation for a charge or suggestion of maladministration than a mere advertisement of some branch of the Cumann na nGaedheal down the country. I would be long sorry to hold him responsible for all the statements and all the acts of every branch of the labour organisation here, there and everywhere. We are not such children as all that. I certainly am not going to go round Cavan, Galway, or any other county, to contradict what either the Farmers' Party or the Cumann na nGaedheal says. I refuse absolutely at this stage to give any undertakings to Deputy Johnson, because they ought not to be necessary. I think he ought to know that we have sufficient appreciation of our position to administer the funds as they should be administered, and to realise that we are not the Government of any party, but the Government elected by the Dáil. He knows well that we realise that position, and it is not necessary for us now to give undertakings in the matter.

I did not ask for an undertaking; I asked for a repudiation of the claims made through the country.

Mr. HOGAN

There are no claims.

I have read it carefully to see what claims there were. There are none.

The President has read that advertisement, and he has heard Deputy Baxter's statement of what followed the advertisement. It seems to me, who knew absolutely nothing about this until Deputy Baxter spoke yesterday, that there is a prima facie case that a promise was made through organisers of the political party that funds would be distributed by the supporters of that party for the benefit of the supporters of that party, and for those who would support that party who had not hitherto been supporters of it. There is a prima facie case.

That is not in the advertisement.

Following the advertisement the acts——

Mr. HOGAN

What acts?

The acts that Deputy Baxter spoke of last night. The Minister was not present.

Mr. HOGAN

I am waiting for them yet. I read the report, and I want to know what acts.

There is nothing in the reports unless the Minister read the Official Reports.

Mr. HOGAN

Let us have the acts that I have been asking for for the last three months.

It would be better to hear Deputy Johnson. The Minister can then make any reply he thinks necessary.

No names were mentioned. That is a matter for Deputy Baxter's discretion. The statement was made that to his knowledge certain works were undertaken in respect to drainage affecting the lands of three persons who were supporters of the Government or who were expected to be supporters of the Government. The request of the fourth person, whose land was in a line with these, was refused because he was a declared opponent of the Government.

We got no names.

I am not making charges. I am reciting what Deputy Baxter explained to the Dáil.

I made the statement that the men who allocated the money to be spent in the different districts were members of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party.

Mr. HOGAN

Who were they?

Mr. EGAN

He did not say who they were.

I am speaking of the points that Deputy Baxter made. He has repeated the second point. He made a number of others, but these were two definite statements which did not give names. I take these statements in conjunction with the advertisement, and I say that there is a prima facie case that has not been answered or met—not even by an offer from the Ministry of an inquiry into those charges made by a responsible party. No suggestion has been made except to throw it off as something jocular, something arising out of a heated election campaign. I suggest to the Ministry that a mere throwing off of a story like this is not going to do them, or their party, or the country, or their reputation for clean administration, any good.

Mr. HOGAN

Is this a point of order or what is it?

If the Minister wants to stick strictly to points of order I will sit down.

Mr. HOGAN

I want to finish.

I thought the Minister had finished long ago.

The Minister is entitled to make a second speech.

Mr. HOGAN

I am not making a second speech.

The Minister was sitting down waiting for the interjection.

The Minister is in the habit of throwing out taunts and asking for replies, and I thought he had finished.

Mr. HOGAN

I am not complaining of Deputy Johnson's interruption, but it was rather a long interruption. That is why I intervened. I did sit down when he stood up in order to give him an opportunity of making the interruption. If he has anything to add, I am willing to give way.

I can only repeat that the case that Deputy Baxter has made, particularly the case following, as I say, that advertisement, gives me the impression, notwithstanding the kind of repudiation that has come from the Ministerial benches, that there was an atmosphere of public corruption in the Cavan election, and that unless some inquiry is made it will appear that the Government and the administration at the time of an election did use a political organisation to assist the candidature of their party, because of the promise of this special expenditure of funds in the interests of the party. That is the case, as it appears to me, that has to be met and is not being met, and I suggest to the Ministry that it is the kind of case that ought to be the subject of inquiry from Deputies representing the Independent Party, probably, in this House.

Mr. HOGAN

All I have to say is that Deputy Johnson is exceedingly credulous. If it impresses him in that way it does not impress me one bit. I know he is a past master of the art of making up a stage case. He loves to do it. "Something behind the scenes!""People are getting suspicious !" The Farmers' Party are also good at it. We are constantly being adjured by Deputy Johnson and Deputy Baxter, who gets up and says that he does not believe we are such rogues as people are saying, but, in our own interests, we ought to have an inquiry. We are not children. We are not to be rushed by soft talk of that sort. Deputy Johnson believes that a prima facie case is made out. These are his facts. It is three months or more since the Cavan election, as Deputy Egan has pointed out. Serious general charges are made now without any specific charges. For that three months not one single specific charge was made. I am the Minister responsible for these two Departments. I discussed this matter a month ago and asked Deputy Baxter for concrete cases. I will say that I think he told me he had no concrete cases. In any case I never got one. Remember these are very serious charges. According to Deputy Johnson they involve corruption and all sorts of unspeakable things. You have Deputy Baxter and Deputy Johnson, who do not sleep at night thinking of the reputation of the Government, doing their best to see that the Government is kept in the absolutely straight and narrow way. Yet not a single inkling of a concrete case have I got that I could get my teeth into from Deputy Baxter for the three months. After three months he comes along and the Dáil has heard what he had to say. His first statement to-day was that a certain man, whose name he gave when pressed for it, who was not an official of the Land Commission, told him on the road that he was going round to pay the men. I ignore that. I think too much of the Land Commission to listen to balderdash of that sort when simply thrown across the House by a person when forced into a corner. The next is the advertisement. I do not care what Deputy Johnson's particular political standards are. All I know is that I do not give two pence what a Cumann na nGaedheal branch here or there happens to say. I am not responsible for what they think or say. As Minister for Lands and Agriculture my responsibility is to try and keep the Land Commission and my Department impersonal and non-political. I do that. If people choose to make foolish and silly statements which anyone could see are foolish and react upon themselves I cannot be going about contradicting them. I make no apology for it. There is the third case. We have got no names. It is a case where a bog was drained and something else should be done. On that flimsy superstructure one is asked to believe that a public inquiry should be held.

Your repudiation is not lightening the burden.

Mr. HOGAN

I would not make so little of myself or my party as to repudiate them. We will repudiate them if we get them in a concrete way. There is no use in Deputy Johnson doing the innocent and saying that in the month of June, 1925, he wants me to assure him that it is the Government and not Cumann na nGaedheal organisers that run the country. I am about tired of Deputy Baxter's constant, tearful, sorrowful and long-winded orations in the Dáil to the tune of: "We believe you are perfectly honest, but the country does not believe it and we would like you to hold an inquiry."

I am not begging an inquiry: I am challenging it.

Mr. HOGAN

We were told about the Shannon scheme that people are going about wondering just what sort of corruption we are guilty of in connection with it. The Minister for Industry and Commerce was assured that there is terrible suspicion in the country about the Shannon scheme, and also that the sugar beet scheme is not above suspicion. We were assured by Deputies that that was so and that they were telling us in our own interests, that they wanted to stop the talk going on. Now it is the administration of the Land Commission. The day we begin to do things wrong we will begin to get nervous and begin to find it necessary to have fake inquiries of all sorts. We are not going to be rushed into inquiries over every flimsy charge made in a casual sort of way by Deputies. I ask the Dáil not to agree for a moment to this inquiry. There is no case for an inquiry, and I tell Deputy Baxter and Deputy Johnson that if at any time any official of the Department does anything wrong it is their duty to let the Minister know immediately and let him inquire into it. It would be fairer to the official, to the Dáil and the Minister to take that course rather than making general charges and without giving any facts or names.

As reference has been made to the Shannon scheme there was an insinuation that there was something corrupt about it. I would like to say that I never heard that. I would like to know who said that.

Mr. HOGAN

We have been told by Deputy Good that people are suspicious about the scheme. That is all we have been told. It leaves us quite cold. Anyone who likes to be suspicious can be so.

I said that the action of the Government with regard to the Shannon scheme had created suspicion when they withheld the documents.

I had occasion to visit Cavan during the last election, and I would like to give what I consider an impartial opinion on the subject that is now before the Dáil. At one place, where I understand more of the Government money was spent on relief works than in any other part of Cavan, I addressed a large hostile crowd. There were a large number of interruptions, and respectable people, as well as the organiser, told me that these interrupters who would not allow me to speak, were men engaged on relief works, receiving the money provided by the Government. I made it my business to find out if that was true. I challenged the interrupters, and asked some of them that were pointed out: "Are you receiving Government money?" None of them denied it. They said the money was their own, and that they were only getting back what they paid in rates. As far as my experience goes, I say that supporters of the Irregular party were receiving more in that locality than the supporters of any other party, and that if the Cumann na nGaedheal representative was administering the money he was doing it very badly, because all the persons he engaged were active opponents of the Government.

I did not intend to take part in this discussion only that the Minister for Lands and Agriculture drew me into it. He said that only two parties in the county got anything done—the Farmers and Cumann na nGaedhael.

Mr. HOGAN

I said that is what they were saying.

I am afraid there was not enough discrimination made in connection with relief works. A certain amount of work was done. I did not get much done. I got a little done, but I would like to have more done. At the same time, certain by-ways and roads were made that were, I might say, unnecessary. I was with Deputy Baxter, and went around these rivers, and saw lands that were flooded. The crops had not been taken out, and the hay was lying in the fields. We were very anxious that something should be attempted in these parts, but unfortunately we have not succeeded up to the present. We are hopeful that with the assistance of Deputy O'Sullivan something will be done in the near future.

This has been a very interesting discussion. It is remarkable for the fact that evidently the Government do not think they have committed themselves in any way.

I do not think they have. This was not good enough, of course, to deceive Ministers. This policy was not good enough to deceive members of the House, but it was good enough to try on the Cavan folk. The methods adopted there were certainly good enough to convince anyone that they were the people who held the purse and who were able to deliver the goods. And they did it, too. Perhaps the average elector had not the high intelligence that is to be found here in the Dáil. Possibly their intelligence was no better than the intelligence of the Deputies on those benches. There is no doubt about it, it certainly is strange when you come to think of people coming up in lorries and waiting on Ministers—deputation after deputation. Those people were introduced by the organiser there, whom I am given to understand was a school teacher. He was not attending to his duties at the school at that time; he was probably lent to the Government, to the Cumann na nGaedheal party, for the purposes of the election. He was a gentleman named O'Rourke.

He should not be in politics.

There would be nothing said in that case.

Does Deputy Johnson make that part of his indictment against the Government—that school teachers should not act as organisers?

What has that to do with Deputy Johnson?

Does he agree with that part of the indictment against the Government?

Where is the necessity for that?

When I was in Cavan I heard all this about the school teacher who should have been on the active list and in his school. He was going around the county and, no doubt, he was getting good results. He was not in his school; I thought he should be there. I do not know what arrangements were made between the Minister for Education and the Director of Elections at the time, who I believe was also a Minister. I believe that this gentleman introduced several deputations, some of them to the Minister for Lands and Agriculture. To give that Minister credit, I believe, as a matter of fact, that he turned down all the representations made to him on various occasions there. I know he did.

I could have easily stated that, but I did not think it worth my while.

The Minister knew it was all balderdash and had no foundation; but how was the average elector of Cavan to know that? It was pumped into him at every cross roads, on every platform, and in every publichouse in the county.

The trouble is that we on those benches are only sucklings in this matter. We do not know how to get on.

You do not expect us to swallow that?

Now, this individual I speak of, on the Minister's admission, busied himself introducing deputation after deputation, saying that he had made promises——

—— and, to the credit of the Minister, he turned all those down. Has the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs repudiated this action?

The Minister for Posts and Telegraphs was not director of elections.

He was director of organisation.

Then I do not know what you were. We, at least, heard the Minister described as the organiser of victory, the Carnot of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party. Let those who know French pronounce the name after the French style. As Deputy Egan says, Ministers are not fools. I know that is quite right, and I know that the Ministers did not commit themselves up there. I am sure Deputy Egan did not, either. At the same time, they had those underlings going about, men who did not appear too much, men of little responsibility; but nevertheless, those men were good enough to get into touch with the electors and they were good enough to convince them. They were the men who did the work and the fellows who were not fools kept away. That is quite a good policy. It is quite what I expected and I can understand that Deputy Egan would not leave any tracks after him.

And would not cry about it afterwards.

No, he would not cry about it. Deputies here stated that there were no concrete instances put up. I think there have been many concrete instances. I was in Cavan and I could see and hear many instances. I do not know the names of people there.

You ought to have heard all I heard.

I thought when this gentleman was being referred to that he was a commissioner. I actually asked in Cavan if he was a member of the Land Commission and I heard he was not. From all I heard about him I imagined that he wielded great power and that he was actually a Land Commissioner. I think that he was mentioned as Commissioner O'Rourke, though I did not know any Commissioner O'Rourke who was employed by the Land Commission.

Perhaps he is a Secret Service man.

I could not imagine, and I cannot visualise, a more pointed appeal to the cupidity of the ordinary individual than happened in the case of Cavan. I cannot visualise such methods as were described here as being adopted in Cavan. I could not picture any methods appealing more to the cupidity and the baser passions of human nature than those that were adopted in Cavan. The whole thing was a credit to nobody. It almost reminds me of the tactics adopted by another political party in the country. They have gone around in election after election and appealed to men to vote for them. They said: "If you vote for us you will have to pay nothing; we will get you out of your debts and everything; we will get you land free, and we will get your debts wiped away; you can do what you like and you can adopt any means you like to get other people's property." That has been the practice in the country, and that is the way that elections have been fought in this country. I refer generally to the way the Irregular election propaganda has been carried out. I do not like to see the Government Party following other electioneering methods, if not to the full extent of 100 per cent., at least to the extent of 50 per cent. I know that in this country elections are not fought on a straight appeal to the electors, but on an appeal to the baser passions and to the brute nature in man. Deputies may smile at that. After all, I believe there is a brute nature in man, and the original strain is as near the head to-day, is as near the surface, as when Adam was rearing his family.

Would that be the case if the farmers got the majority?

I believe that Commissioner or Organiser O'Rourke is now back at his job and is leading a useful life. I must congratulate the Minister for Education and the Minister for Organisation.

Mr. EGAN

Probably the farmers will get him the next time.

He looks like a winner, anyhow. I do believe, from what I have been told in Cavan, that the people whom this money was intended to benefit did not get it; it did not reach the people it was intended for.

How is it that did not happen anywhere else?

Perhaps it did, but the necessity was greater there. I say that people who did not need employment were appointed as gangers. I have come in contact with one or two of them, and just to show the Minister that his people are not always right, one man happened to be a supporter of ours. By putting on a certain face he got appointed right off. He told us that if he did not do that he would not have the chance of a job.

That was hitting below the belt.

This is not altogether a matter for laughing at, when you go among the people who are in grave want and who are very much in need of assistance. At that election and in such circumstances you have a party coming, blowing the trumpet, and advertising that "the President will do this and will be anxious to receive his loyal subjects and to hear representations from them in regard to drainage, etc." The people were told that they would be received. The money bags began to jingle, and it was shouted out, "We are the people who are ready to deliver the goods and who can do it." That does not reflect very much credit on the Government or on the people responsible, and it is putting our national character at a very low par. The sooner we start on a higher and better plane the better for the nation, and the better for anybody who claims that this nation is an honourable nation.

I thought that some day three months ago the Cavan election was over. I thought, too, that the verdict of the Cavan electors was given, and that a certain man was elected there. I find now, however, that some Deputies want to traverse all the ground traversed in the course of the election, and to have all the controversies associated with it stirred up again. I would like to know from the Deputies who are bringing this matter forward, did they ever state here in the Dáil that there was no destitution in Cavan? Did they ever state that that work was not required in Cavan, especially in that portion of the county known as West Cavan? Did they ever state that West Cavan was not in a state of utter destitution or utter want during that period and for some time before it? Did they ever state on public platforms that money was not wanted?

Nobody suggested that.

They went round to brag that they got the money to give these people, and what was the meaning of the brag if not to attract the electors? Was it not to secure their votes? But, because the Party that Deputy Baxter is a member of, did not get the spending of the money, the pique is on them because they lost the election. Deputy Baxter may laugh at the moment. He admits that he went about and tried to get certain works done. Because the Inspector of the Land Commission or the engineer sent down did not fall in with the views of Deputy Baxter, or had not the works done that Deputy Baxter thought to get done for his friends in a particular place, Deputy Baxter finds fault. I have been through Cavan a good deal. Deputy Baxter made statements here last night which no man—certainly no man in Cavan— could justify. He stated that works were done up to a certain point, but because the place of some supporter of another party intervened, the works stopped at that point, and were again commenced further on. I defy Deputy Baxter to give any idea of the way the people of Cavan voted, because, as sensible men, the majority of them kept their minds to themselves until the day of the election.

Deputy Baxter said that he knew of several instances where people would not get work because they were not of a certain political faith. I challenge him to give me the number. He said he knew of one individual case. I suppose there were thousands employed, and he said he knew of one instance. These charges of corruption are made here. I say here in this House—and I think Deputy Baxter will not contradict me—that I made it a particular point when travelling through the country to inquire whether the work done was work of a nature that was going to be reproductive, and whether the money was earned or not. I inquired from the clergymen and the leading men that I met all over the county. I am sure some of the clergymen were backing the candidate that Deputy Baxter was backing, and they told me that they never saw people in their lives who worked as well, that it was work that would last, and that it would be of material advantage to the people of the county.

Tell Deputy Beamish that.

Deputy Beamish did not know that.

I have myself been on the roads, bog roads that were made, and the clergymen told me that the people in that area—it was a very large bog—could never go into the bog with anything except a donkey and creels on his back, to take the turf down some miles to the county road, and that now because of the work that has been done the people are able to get a cart up there and take the turf out in the cart. These are the classes of work done. I have seen some of the drainage works done. I have seen some of them that were finished and they were a credit to the men who carried them out. I think Deputy Baxter will not deny that. The only point in the argument is that there was not enough money given to carry out the necessary work. I told the people in Cavan myself that money would be found to finish any work that was commenced, that it would not be left in a state in which it would not be reproductive. The Minister comes along now and states that any works that were not finished will be finished. It is very good propaganda perhaps to bring this matter up here, but when a very serious charge is brought forward it should be backed by facts and no facts have been adduced here to make this charge what we are supposed to believe it is. We got a general statement from Deputy Baxter. If Deputy Baxter had told the people in Cavan during the elections that they were not going to get any money spent in Cavan, that the Government refused to give any grant to Cavan, and if Deputy Baxter says that the people in Cavan, especially in West Cavan, where the bulk of the money was spent, did not want relief, I am sure it is not the question that is raised here now we would hear. Instead, the Government would have been impeached for a lack of foresight in not providing food and work for the people in that period. If the Government had waited until something serious had happened or until relief had come from America or Russia, or some place else, then the Government would have been impeached for not doing their duty, but because the Government have done their duty, and because they have sent money, in order that people would not starve at a time which everybody admits was a period of stress, owing to the failure of the turf and the potato crop, it is sought to indict them here. If the Government had not done this they would be impeached for a lack of duty and for not carrying out their responsibilities, which were to see that the people got work and that they were not allowed to starve. I hope we have heard the last of the Cavan Election, at least until the next election comes round. Let the Party who is making this noise take their beating manfully. If they do that they will not be the worse of it; they come up here crying ——

We are not crying.

Because their candidate was defeated. They fought the election; they did their best and the Cumann na nGaedheal did their best, and the Cumann na nGaedheal candidate won.

Where is the man who won? Why is he not here? Did he ever come here since?

If the Deputy was here for the past few weeks he would have seen him here every week since he was elected.

No, sir.

I challenge the Journals of the House to show that there has been any week in which he was not here since he was elected.

He may have been in Government Buildings, but he was not here.

It can be proved from the records. I am adamant on that, because I know it is a fact. As I say, I hope we have heard the last of the Cavan election. I have been through it, and I will say this about the people of Cavan. They are a hard-working, honest people. They knew the right thing to do, and they did it on the last occasion.

We may have heard the last of the Cavan elections, but we have not heard the last of the extraordinary constitutional doctrine the Minister has just propounded. The Minister for Defence says that he went through Cavan, and promised the people that the necessary money would be forthcoming to complete any useful works that had been begun, that they would not be useful unless the work was carried through to completion. I think that is a fair summary of what the Minister said.

What I did say I repeat, and I will not go back on it. The statement was put forward that there was not enough money to carry out the work when the works were begun. There was not enough money, it was alleged, to finish them, and the Farmers' Party told the people that there was not enough money, and that they were not going to get any more, in order to get their votes. They told them furthermore to get paid, because the Government had no money—not enough to pay them. It was to controvert that I made the statement.

I want to know if the Minister for Defence will substantiate the statement that the Farmers' Organisation told the people to get paid for the work done, to get payment every day. I ask him where was that stated.

I think Deputy Hewat will not contradict me when I say that.

Give a concrete instance.

Deputy Hogan was once and once only in Cavan, and he was there only for about three hours.

I was there four or five times.

You must have been asleep there.

The Minister was probably asleep, but I was not.

I am glad that I have drawn the explanation from the Minister for Defence that he was acting under what he believed to be provocation, but he did, what seems to me, to be a very dangerous thing. I am sure the Minister for Finance is not used to being committed by his colleagues in the Ministry to find the money. As a member of the Executive Council, he may have a right to do that, but he had no right to bind an external Minister to anything. The Minister has no right to bind the Minister for Agriculture, an external Minister who is not subject to the Executive Council, and is not even subject to the Cumann na nGaedheal. He is subject to the Dáil as a whole. The Minister acted, perhaps, under provocation in the heat of the moment, but do not let that be accepted as a constitutional doctrine. Do not let the Minister go down and say: "I will see that the Minister for Lands and Agriculture, the Minister for Local Government, and the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs shall give a guarantee that this work shall be done." He has no more right to do that than Deputy Johnson has a right to do it.

I never said that I would make any Minister do anything. I have not said it here, nor did I say it there.

The Minister has stated that he would guarantee that the work would be completed. How could it be completed if the Minister for Lands and Agriculture did not complete it?

The Minister has stated to-day that it will be completed.

I have established that the Minister for Defence knew some months ago what the Minister for Lands and Agriculture would say to-day as a justification for his conduct then?

Deputy Cooper will not put words into my mouth which I did not use. I said that the Minister for Lands and Agriculture stated that he was going to finish the work that he commenced, and I say it would be criminal not to finish the work, having started it. I wonder is it Deputy Cooper's doctrine to leave work that has been started half unfinished?

I certainly never suggested that. The Minister rebukes me for putting words into his mouth, but I venture to say that if I did so, he is falling into my bad example. I wish to make the point that members of the Executive Council cannot commit external Ministers in their conduct of the work of their Department. What would the Minister for Defence say if, for instance, the Minister for Lands and Agriculture were to go down to Kerry and say, "You need more soldiers here, and I will make the Minister for Defence send them."

I would tell him to mind his own business.

I suggest that the Minister for Lands would be entitled to tell the Minister for Defence to mind his own business.

Of course he would.

Then does not the Minister for Defence think that he misled the people of Cavan to whom he was talking when he gave the guarantee? The moral of this business is that the fewer pledges Ministers make in these material matters to individuals the better. The further they keep aloof from giving undertakings the better. This, as Deputy Gorey has said, is an appeal to the worst and not to the best of an elector, saying that a man will receive material advantages because he supports one party or another. I agree that the hands of all parties are not clean in this matter. The remarks of one member of the Farmers' Party, who is not here, undoubtedly suggested material advantages. Ministers should, however, remember that they occupy peculiar positions, that they are trustees of the nation, not merely of a party, and they must remember that always and not act merely as party leaders.

I feel the importance of this debate and I wish to point to one statement which Deputy Baxter made. He seemed to suggest that the whole Cumann na nGaedheal Party behind the Government are ready to use certain tactics in a particular constituency in support of the Government. As one Deputy I absolutely repudiate that. In my constituency there have been numbers of people looking for land and numbers looking after drainage. I have been informed by some of them that some other Deputy will see the Minister and he will use his influence with him as I had no desire to do so. That other Deputy is not Deputy Morrissey. Anybody who has come to me in connection with the division of estates has never been questioned by me as to whether he belonged to the Cumann na nGaedheal, the old Irish Party, or the Conservatives. With me it is a question of merit. I get a list of the workers entitled to certain portions of land in their neighbourhood, the uneconomic holders, and the evicted tenants. What I am saying on my own behalf applies also, I believe, to other Deputies on this side of the House. It is not a question for them to choose in these matters between those who are and those who are not followers of Cumann na nGaedheal. I do not think there is any Deputy on this side of the House so base as to do anything in connection with buildings or land for party purposes. I do not know what occurred in Cavan. I think it is a very great loss that owing to certain circumstances we saw the departure of Deputy Seán Milroy in that Division. His has been a great loss as, if for no other reason, it would have saved us from all the unpleasant matters which have come before us this evening, matters which should not have been brought forward at this time. They should have been brought forward by Deputy Baxter at the proper time instead of now, when they interfere with the business of the House. If Deputy Baxter had a serious charge to make it should be brought to the proper quarter, and if he has a charge to make again I hope he will make it at the proper time and at once. We are all aware that certain Deputies avail of their position here to inform their constituents what they have done. They ask questions in the House and the next thing you find is that the questions they have asked are in the local Press to show what they are doing on behalf of the farmers. You never see that done by Deputy Morrissey or myself, but you see two pages, perhaps, full of matters which certain members of the Farmers' Party have done for their constituents.

Would the Deputy name them?

Deputy Heffernan. Reference has been made in regard to Cavan, but I say that we do not descend to such tactics—neither Deputy Morrissey on the Labour benches nor myself on the Government benches. Deputies apparently can only retain their position in their constituencies by spreading such things broadcast and by showing what wonderful persons they are.

A DEPUTY

You hide your light under a bushel.

Yes, their light is so small it is a very small bushel that conceals it.

On a point of order, I want to know if it is correct Parliamentary procedure for Deputy D'Alton to refer to Deputy Heffernan in the terms he has used, as hiding his light under a bushel?

I never referred to the fact that Deputy Heffernan made the smallest attempt to hide his light under a bushel.

Deputy D'Alton has not referred to Deputy Heffernan in an abusive manner.

No, but that he published all his good points and works the interests of the Farmers' Party. If you have people going to elections and doing things that should not be done those who object to those acts should at once make their protest, and not be bringing up charges three or four months after the event. If necessary they could bring legal pressure to bear to deal with corrupt offences, if they believed that the party had acted in a corrupt manner.

On a point of order, Deputy D'Alton has insinuated that Deputy Heffernan has taken steps to have questions asked here, and together with other matters relating to himself has them published in the local papers. Does the Deputy make that statement definitely? We know that newspapers publish all these questions. The insinuation is that Deputy Heffernan has all these matters published in the local papers for his own glorification.

I would remind the worthy Deputy that I have referred to the fact that Deputies use their position to have reported in the public Press what they have done in the House, so as to place themselves in a certain position of advantage with their constituents. The men in Cavan made a small effort to apply the same tactics.

The charge made by Deputy Baxter to-day was somewhat vague. I took a considerable part in the Cavan election in the interests of Deputy O'Reilly. What the Deputy has stated was not my experience at all, quite the contrary, that no undue favour was given to the supporters of the Government candidate. I found that every time I went to Cavan quite a litany of complaints was made to me, and I was besought to report to the Minister that all those who were controlling the relief work were opponents of the Government, and supporters of Deputy O'Reilly in Cavan felt they had a grievance on this account. I did not report the matter to the Minister, and I never went to Cavan during the election that complaint was not made to me from every centre in the constituency. It would cause me considerable consternation if any improper methods were used by the Party I was associated with in the election. I regret that Deputy Baxter did not take an earlier opportunity, as Deputy Egan said, of having this matter dealt with by the proper Minister. No doubt the enemies of the country will take advantage of the statements made by Deputy Baxter to blacken our reputation in the eyes of the world. As one who took part in the election, I found that not only was what Deputy Baxter said not true, but, as I have said before, and I want to emphasise it, I found the very contrary to be the case. With regard to the advertisement that shocked Deputy Baxter and Deputy Johnson, I suggest that advertisement should be read seriatim, paragraph by paragraph. I would ask those Deputies if there is anything in the paragraphs which could possibly uphold a charge of corruption against any member of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party or the Government.

I make that charge.

You may, but you could not sustain it. I agree that the advertisement was somewhat unfortunately worded, and, perhaps, undue advantage was taken of that in Cavan on account of the presence of the President there. A plain backbencher like myself, who has had the misfortune to travel in company with a Minister, or anyone familiar with an election area knows perfectly well that advantage is taken of the presence of a Minister in the constituency by anyone who has a grievance, or thinks he has a grievance. Deputations of all sorts put before the Minister, when they have the opportunity of seeing him personally, their claims. I have no doubt that the presence of the President in Cavan was taken advantage of on that day. I do not think there is anything wrong in an organisation asking delegates to come forward so that their claims might be pressed on those of their own party at the Party Convention. I challenge any Deputy to say that there is anything wrong in that. The advertisement, though perhaps unfortunately worded, could not be construed by any honest Deputy as carrying a charge of corruption against members of the Government or members of the Government Party.

I wish to refer briefly to two remarks made in the course of this debate. One was by Deputy Cooper. What he said in effect was that the hands of no party in this matter are clean. It must be quite clear to Deputy Cooper that the Labour Party had no hand, act or part in the conduct of the Cavan election. Therefore they are free from any of the corruption that has been alleged against the Government Party in this matter. The other matter with which I wish to deal is the invitation of the Minister for Defence——

On a point of order, are we debating the relief grants vote?

It is about time the learned Professor should rise to a point of order.

He attempted to speak before on matters that were relevant, but was not permitted by reason of the fact that we are discussing everything under the sun in the Vote at issue.

The discussion that has taken place on this matter would remind one more of a board of guardians' meeting than of a representative body such as we are supposed to be. I hope the like of it will never occur again, and that we will not have to listen to discussions conducted on the lines of this debate. The Minister for Defence has made a statement here, and I invite him to prove it. I asked how many times had the victor of Cavan appeared in this House since elected, and the Minister said that if the division list was produced it would show——

I venture to say that is very wide of the subject matter of the discussion.

As the Minister for Finance knows, nearly everything discussed here was very wide of the issue raised by Deputy Johnson in his motion. With regard to the debate, it struck me, and I listened to most of the charges made by Deputy Baxter, that if there is any justification for any of the charges made against the Government, the Ministers, or the Party that supports them, it is the charge that lies in the advertisement issued in their name, and to which they are committed by being present at the meeting called by this advertisement. It is not an uncommon thing in the ordinary course of events in a by-election or a general election to ask candidates if they would agree to support such and such a thing if elected. But it is a different matter for deputations to be invited to attend on Ministers, who have the power and responsibility of administration, and ask them to dole out money for such and such an area in Cavan or elsewhere. The charge has been made that that has been done by every party. Deputations could not wait on members of the Farmers' Party, or members of the Republican Party, and ask them to do things the Government could do, for a member of these parties by winning the election in Cavan would not put his party in control of the administration of the country, or get into their possession the funds at the disposal of the Government to dole out for this and that area. The charge that has been thrown back at the Farmers' benches in this particular case is wrong. If deputations find it necessary at any time, even at the time of a by-election, to see people, Ministers or otherwise, who have money at their disposal to give away, such as grants for relief work, the Minister should see them in Government Buildings, and not down in Cavan or Mayo when they are going on a party mission. I think that the charge which we have heard has only met with a qualified repudiation from any Minister who has spoken in this debate.

I would like to say a few words before the question is put. I spoke in reference to Deputy Baxter's charges last night as if it were possible that a certain degree of seriousness might be attached to them. Hearing Deputy Baxter further to-day, and hearing especially the story of the man going out to pay the men, I must say, without any intention of being unfair or offensive to Deputy Baxter, that I can only regard the whole thing as a joke—simply a joke. With reference to the advertisement, it is not the sort of advertisement I would draft if I were issuing an advertisement. But so far as I can see, it was simply an advertisement inviting people to continue further the damnable habit of deputationising Ministers. There is nothing wastes more time or causes more annoyance to Ministers than people insisting on seeing them and telling them in interviews and speeches, lasting sometimes three or four hours, what they could tell them on two sheets of notepaper. Everybody down the country believes that nothing is done right except they come and see the Minister and make a speech to him. Apparently, owing to the election being on, the Ministers who went down to this constituency were going to be forced to listen at great length to everybody who liked to come along and tell their story of what was needed in their particular district.

Did they not agree to listen?

I have not the slightest idea. I was not there. But I suppose they did. In fact, you can never refuse to listen, though I have on a few occasions refused. It is difficult, however, to do that, whether the Minister be in Government Buildings or anywhere else. In a democratic country the people can get at the Minister. They can stop you in the street and deputationise you. And you cannot help it. You are at their mercy. There was no suggestion in this case that anything could be done on a political basis. The notice simply asked the people to come and put their case for their particular district, and state the areas in which destitution existed, before the Minister who was there. It is very undesirable to have an election coinciding with the carrying out of relief works in a district. I do not see how in such circumstances we can avoid the appeals to cupidity which were made. As Deputy Gorey said, there were appeals to cupidity made and apparently they were made on both sides. I have no doubt about that. I do not see how you can avoid that. No matter what Ministers do, the people who are hot in the election will, when the election fever gets up, use every argument they can to get votes. They will use this argument and make every sort of representation. I believe that happened in the Cavan election. As to anything wrong having been done, the more I have listened to this discussion yesterday and to-day, the more I have been satisfied that there was nothing wrong done.

I think I have a right to reply in a few words. No Minister, and no Deputy behind the Ministers, has met my charge or answered my question as to who allocated the money in the different districts. I say that it was the members of the Cumann na nGaedheal organisation. No Minister and nobody behind the Ministers contradicted that or can contradict it.

It is the purest nonsense.

Deputy Baxter knows as well as I do—and I know well—that the money was allocated by the inspectors and engineers of the Land Commission. No Cumann na nGaedheal official, or any other individual in the County Cavan, could allocate one penny until the engineer went there and was satisfied as to the work that was to be done and the amount of money that was to be spent. That is how the money was allocated and Deputy Baxter knows it.

I ask that a Committee of the House be set up to deal with the matter. I am not saying anything that I am not in a position to prove. All I ask is that a Committee of the House be set up to make inquiries and let it be proven whether my statements are correct or not.

Amendment put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 14; Níl, 36.

  • Pádraig Baxter.
  • Seán Buitléir.
  • John Conlan.
  • Connor Hogan.
  • Tomás Mac Eoin.
  • Pádraig Mac Fhlannchadha.
  • Patrick J. Mulvany.
  • Tomás O Conaill.
  • Liam O Daimhín.
  • Seán O Duinnín.
  • Donnchadh O Guaire.
  • Domhnall O Mocháin.
  • Domhnall O Muirgheasa.
  • Nicholas Wall.

Níl

  • Earnán de Blaghd.
  • Thomas Bolger.
  • Séamus Breathnach.
  • Seoirse de Bhulbh.
  • Séamus de Búrca.
  • Louis J. D'Alton.
  • Máighréad Ní Choileain Bean
  • Uí Dhrisceóil.
  • Patrick J. Egan.
  • Thomas Hennessy.
  • John Hennigan.
  • Donnchadh Mac Con Uladh.
  • Liam Mac Cosgair.
  • Maolmhuire Mac Eochadha.
  • Pádraig Mac Fadáin.
  • Patrick McGilligan.
  • Seoirse Mac Niocaill.
  • Liam Mac Sioghaird.
  • Liam Mag Aonghusa.
  • John T. Nolan.
  • Peadar O hAodha.
  • Mícheál O hAonghusa.
  • Ailfrid O Broin.
  • Seán O Bruadair.
  • Risteárd O Conaill.
  • Máirtín O Conalláin.
  • Séamus O Cruadhlaoich.
  • Séamus O Dóláin.
  • Peadar O Dubhghaill.
  • Aindriú O Láimhín.
  • Séamus O Leadáin.
  • Fionán O Loingsigh.
  • Séamus O Murchadha.
  • Pádraig O hOgáin (Gaillimh).
  • Máirtín O Rodaigh.
  • Seán O Súilleabháin.
  • Patrick W. Shaw.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Gorey and Baxter. Níl, Deputies Dolan and McCullough.
Amendment declared lost.
Vote put and agreed to.
Sitting suspended at 6.45 p.m. and resumed at 7.15 p.m.,AN LEAS-CHEANN COMHAIRLE in the Chair.