I want to deal with sub-head A, "Administrative Staff." I see there is an agricultural director with a salary of £750 to £950 who is at present drawing his maximum. The director was not on the staff last year. I would like to know what the functions of the director are.
ESTIMATES FOR PUBLIC SERVICE. - VOTE 52—OFFICE OF THE MINISTER FOR LANDS AND AGRICULTURE—(DEBATE RESUMED).
The agricultural director is a technical officer and also an administrative officer. He ranks next to the assistant secretary.
I presume he was an existing officer of the Department?
I wish to deal with E 3 and E 4 under sub-head E. Under E 3 there is down a sum of £600. Last year it was £380. It is with regard to "other organisations" to which the Minister has subscribed or intends to subscribe in the course of this year. We all know the importance of the first item, but we would like to have some information from the Minister as to what are the other organisations to which he has subscribed this year and for which the Vote is increased from last year. With regard to sub-head E 4, I notice there is still down on the Estimates a charge for tobacco experimenters. I am glad to see that this charge is still retained. I do not suppose this is the proper time to raise a discussion on the question of tobacco-growing. I understand an amendment will be proposed to the Finance Bill in the course of a week or two on which we will be able to discuss the report of the Tobacco Committee. I am glad to see that the Minister has not completely stamped out all idea of helping tobacco, and that there is still retained in the Estimates a small sum, much the same as last year, in connection with experiments, although I see a foot-note that this matter may be reviewed. There is one item of £333 for grants to experimenters in the production of tobacco. Could the Minister give us any information as to what exactly that stands for? It is a matter of amazement to me that on this day, the one day of the year when the great agricultural estimates are being discussed in the Dáil, there is an extraordinary absence of the members of the Farmers' Party, including the whole Front Bench.
It is a great compliment to the Minister.
I think these outstanding grants to experimenters of £333 speak for themselves. These are grants in respect to the acreage grown. Certain regulations had to be complied with. It sometimes takes a year to see whether the regulations are complied with. It is, as the Deputy says, only a small sum. The general question with regard to tobacco will come up on another Vote and we will have a debate on it then. The Institutes to which we are subscribing include the International Institute of Agriculture, the International Seed Testing Institute, the International Meteorological Conference and others. I will give the Deputy a list of them.
Will the Minister say if we are increasing our subscriptions?
No, but we are increasing the number to which we are subscribing.
With regard to the International Institute of Agriculture, perhaps the Minister would give us a longer statement on the advantages derived by the Department from membership of this Institute, or the advantages which we gain from it. I know, of course, we get a certain number of publications—international information with regard to crops and matters of that kind—but I would like to have a fuller justification for the expenditure. I also want to know what the Minister proposes to do with regard to sending delegations. Is there to be an international conference this year? If so, is there to be a delegation, and if so how is that delegation to be composed? I think it was already stated in regard to this matter of sending representatives to the conferences of this Institute that we do not consider the Department's officials are the proper delegates to send to such conferences.
For the same reason that you do not send officials from the Department of Industry and Commerce to the Labour Conferences in Geneva.
Oh, yes, they do.
Yes, but they would want to send other representatives in this case. The only representatives sent are the Department's officials. I think you would want to get men outside the Department, men with a wider knowledge of agriculture than officials might have whose views are apt to be narrowed down to their particular Department.
The International Institute of Agriculture is, of course, the most important body of its kind. Not only have you the advantage of its publications but you have no other way of getting international statistics in connection with agriculture, and, as the Deputy will agree, that is invaluable. I put forward no justification for subscribing to it apart from that. With regard to the other point that you should send to the Conferences not only officers of the Department but farmers, we are not tied to any particular delegation. We would always, of course, send officers of the Department, but possibly an outsider might be sent, a non-civil servant occasionally. There is no reason why that should not be done, but I want to protest against the use of the adjective "wider" in that connection. Deputy Heffernan should get out of the habit of contrasting officers and civil servants with other people, and saying that other people as a rule have a "wider" outlook. I do not know why other people should have wider knowledge. It would depend on the farmer and on the officer. I could get a farmer with a narrow outlook and an officer with a narrow outlook. You cannot generalise about it. The International Conference is over, and there was a Dairy Congress at Paris last year at which a technical officer of the Department dealing with that particular section was present.
I move to reduce sub-head F (1) by £16,108; that is the cost as shown on the Estimate of the Agricultural Stations at Athenry and Ballyhaise. I referred to this matter on the Vote on Account, but I had not an opportunity then of moving an amendment. I am convinced that in this matter of agricultural education we are travelling in an old rut, and the sooner we get out of that rut the better. The old rut is running stations, which not only do not pay their way, but involve a substantial charge on the taxpayer, and these two stations at Athenry and Ballyhaise are the most striking instances of that situation. In 1925, according to the Estimate, £352 was taken as fees in these stations. Deducting that from the cost shown on the Estimate, they cost £18,063 to run. For that £18,063, nineteen pupils were educated.
Surely the Deputy knows that that £18,000 is not entirely for education and that, therefore, putting the whole cost of the institutes against education is a mistake.
I did not know whether these institutes were entirely educational or not, but when the matter was last raised, the Minister told us that experimental work was being done at Glasnevin and Clonakilty.
And also in these institutes.
He specified Glasnevin and Clonakilty and ignored these two.
I also explained that livestock were bred there and distributed through the country under the market price.
Anyway, the average cost in these institutions was £950 per head; at Glasnevin it was £219, and Clonakilty £323 per head. As a matter of fact, I saw where a Deputy of the Farmers' Party who, I believe, lives at Clonakilty, and who might know something about it, advocated the abolition of the Clonakilty Station. I do not go as far as that, but I ask the Deputies to contrast that cost of £950 per head at Athenry and Ballyhaise to train a farmer or an agricultural official—which is what these agricultural stations do, very much more than they train farmers—with the cost of training members of highly technical professions elsewhere. A British Naval officer has to be a highly skilled officer.
Would the Deputy give me the figures showing a cost of £950 per head?
I will give the figures. For 1925 the cost was £18,633. Divide that by 19.
Athenry and Ballyhaise.
What is the £18,000?
The cost on the 1925 Estimates.
Less £252 for pupils' fees. The figures were all given to me by the Minister. I may be wrong, but anyway the cost is over £900. A British naval officer costs £300 a year. An officer in the British Air Force costs £500. But it costs £950 to train a farmer in Cavan or Galway. I do not know if the Minister considers that he is getting value for the money. When I raised this matter two months ago the Minister put forward two pleas. The first was that he was breeding high-class animals that were sold at half-price to deserving farmers. That was his interruption just now. The second was that experimental work was carried on. There is one thing that is certain about experimental work, and that is, that it ought to be co-ordinated; it ought to be carried on under a single head and the results chronicled in a single sentence.
Experimental work in Glasnevin is invaluable. It is very valuable because it can be co-ordinated with the Plant Breeding Section and the various sections still working in the College of Science. I do not want to touch one penny of the cost of Glasnevin. The Minister says that experimental work is going on at Clonakilty. I am not proposing to touch Clonakilty, particularly because I respect the powers of self-defence of County Cork and because I do not want to curtail work of an experimental character. But you should not mix up experiments and education. I believe seriously that it is an enormous mistake. Your courses are not university courses; they are short courses of one or two years at the maximum. You get boys coming there with no marked provision of education. I think it must be very difficult to teach them to discriminate between the experiments and what they are supposed to learn.
The Minister told us about two months ago about an experiment at Glasnevin where he saw some cattle in magnificent condition, and he said to the official responsible for the experiment: "These cattle are very good. You will get such a price for them." He said: "I would if I sold them now, but for the purposes of the experiment I have got to keep them two months longer and I do not think I will get such a price then." No doubt there was advantage in that experiment, but to the average student it will produce one of two results. A very stupid man would say, as a result of the experiment: "We always kept these cattle for ten months at the College and I am going to keep my cattle for ten months." The more intelligent pupil would say: "These cattle are not now as good as they were two months ago and the teaching here is all rot."
Unless you have pupils who have gone through an elaborate course of education and have learned to discriminate, it is a very dangerous thing to introduce experiments. I remember when I was learning chemistry my belief in the science of chemistry was shattered when the experiment by which the instructor tried to illustrate the theories he was laying down failed altogether. You should keep the two things in Departments. I think Sir James Craig will agree that medical students are only taught along approved lines and that they are not allowed to indulge in any new avenues of experiment.
As regards selling live stock at half-price, I wonder are we justified in using the public funds to subsidise individuals? That is what it comes to. Are the people who are getting these cattle at half-price selected by the county committees? If so, it may easily happen that one county committee is active and another is sluggish, and one part of the country gets help out of the general taxes in opposition to another part who are paying as many taxes. I do not say that there are not advantages in these stations. There are, but are there sufficient advantages to justify us in running these stations at a loss, because that is what we are doing—at a substantial loss annually. Therefore, when the Farmers' Party say that they desire to see a model farm in every county, I say that once you have paid for the establishment and paid the capital charges the annual running ought not to be a charge on the taxpayer. If it is, it is of no value to the farmer. The farmer does not want to be taught to farm at a loss; he wants to be taught to farm at a profit, and he might well quarrel with the present system of agricultural education, as it leaves out the question of profit and of marketing altogether. Glasnevin College does not market its milk on competitive lines; it has a contract, and until you can teach the farmer marketing as well as production you will not be getting full value out of your agricultural education.
I am not going to support Deputy Cooper in this amendment. At the same time, I think an explanation is due from the Minister as to why the number of pupils at these schools has sunk to such a small number. I think it is an extraordinary thing that these schools, which have, I presume, accommodation for up to 100 students, have such a small number of students. Could the Minister tell me what the accommodation is at Ballyhaise and Athenry?
I would like if the Minister could tell us why he cannot get the pupils to attend the schools. I believe in provincial agricultural colleges. I think there are reasons which make it useful to have these provincial colleges. I think it would be the case that students would be more anxious to attend these colleges in their own immediate neighbourhood. There is one thing I would like to point out to Deputy Cooper with regard to experiments. That is that I think it is possible to carry out experiments on this basis which are more applicable to the district in which the college is situated than in Glasnevin. In Glasnevin you have one particular type of soil and one particular climate. The same climate does not prevail all over the country and in these other places you will have different conditions, different soil, different rain conditions and other matters of that kind which make it advisable to have those schools in those other places. At the same time I realised that as they stand at present they are not justifying themselves. It is not justifiable to have this expense of over £16,000 and only 19 students attending them. I presume, if the teaching part were done away with altogether, that the experiments could be carried out on these farms at a much lower cost than that which the schools are conducted at now. Officials have to be kept as well as superintendents and housekeepers and other people of that kind who would not be required if these places were simply conducted as experimental farms. Another advantage in connection with these schools—and I hope they are being used for that purpose—is that they are demonstrating places where the people of the surrounding counties are invited to go from time to time to see the work that is being done and the experiments that are being carried out.
I had the advantage a short time ago of going through the Glasnevin Agricultural School and Farm and of seeing the experiments carried out—experiments in crops, in the rearing of live stock and other things. I thought it was most instructive. I think it would be very useful if the people from different counties could be got to visit these institutions in large numbers, if arrangements could be made for delegations from each district and perhaps from farmers' associations of different kinds, and if the superintendent or officials responsible for the establishment were told off to take these people round and to give them all information as to work that is being carried on in these schools. I think it is along these lines that we must get the people to display an interest in these institutions. We must get them to take an interest in the scientific development of agriculture. We could advertise by one means or another, not necessarily in the papers, that these places were there for the people, that the people are invited and welcome to come and that they will be received—I will not say with hospitality—in a manner which shows that the officials are anxious to give them all possible information. I have seen in other places big field days at agricultural schools where the people of the whole surrounding districts, from great distances, were invited to come. Speeches were made, demonstrations were given and all kinds of educational work done, and I think these colleges should be used for the same purpose. I presume they are used to a certain extent for that purpose, but they are not used to as great an extent as I would like to see them, and some explanation is due from the Minister as to why a greater number of students do not attend.
In connection with Deputy Cooper's amendment, I would like to call the Minister's attention to a report of a meeting of the members of the Farmers' Union in Cork some time ago, when the Chairman, Mr. O'Gorman, called attention to the extraordinary expenditure in connection with the Department's school at Clonakilty. In the course of his remarks he said: "We would like to hear about the gentleman who is getting a pension of £1,200 after three years' service when he would be only entitled to £800 or £900. We would also like to get his birth certificate. The Minister might be also requested to give the names and ages of the six Dáil organisers who are getting £30 per month at the public expense." Merely for the sake of giving the Minister an opportunity of explaining why there is this apparently extraordinary extravagance that is alleged in connection with this particular institution at Clonakilty I am glad that Deputy Cooper put down this amendment. In connection with Athenry, I happen to have some experience of the agricultural station there, and I certainly do think that the experimental work carried on there is of first-rate importance.
After all, if these stations are to carry on experimental work of this kind, and impart information to the farmers, it is impossible, to my mind, for the farms in connection with these stations to be run at a profit. Just take one thing. I remember being a member of a delegation that visited that station three or four years ago. At that time some very interesting experiments in pig feeding with dry foods were carried on. As Deputies know, at that time the practice was to feed pigs on boiled food, and they were not fed very economically on that.
As a result of the experiments carried out in Athenry it was demonstrated that it was possible to feed pigs on dry food more economically than on boiled foods—potatoes, meal, etc.— with the result that a large number of farmers, as a commercial proposition, have adopted dry feeding, and they have found that they are able to feed pigs more economically than by boiling food for them, as was done in the old days. That is one illustration of the advantages to be derived from the experimental work carried on in these stations. Many county committees organised deputations to visit these stations annually, and the instructors explained to the various deputations the nature of the experiments they had been carrying on during the year, the results of experiments in cattle rearing, sheep rearing, and pig breeding, and the growing of different varieties of corn, potatoes, etc. The result is that the farmers take an intelligent interest in these experiments. The farmers are prepared to take advantage of what they have seen in these institutions, and when they carry out these experiments on their own farms they find that the experiments inevitably mean a saving in their own spheres. While I would be anxious that the Minister should run these stations on the most economical lines, I fail to see how it is possible to carry out educational work on the same scale as at present, and at the same time run these places at a profit. There must inevitably be a loss, and my only regret is that the farmers generally and the farmers' sons particularly, do not take proper advantage of these institutions.
I will not congratulate Deputy Cooper on his speech. I certainly say it is most ingenious. He did mix it with a vengeance. He gave us some interesting figures, but I did not think he was quite so naïve. I know he can read estimates and examine them pretty closely. He first of all mixed up in a most beautiful fashion—I do not put it down to stupidity— the work of the farmer, not only this educational work but this experimental work and all this work in connection with the breeding of live stock. These farms are fulfilling three functions. They are educational, they are experimental not only for the benefit of the students but for the purposes of the Departmental leaflets, for the purposes of the instructors, to enable them to give up-to-date advice to farmers throughout the country, and in addition they have a third function, the breeding of live stock for resale at a loss. The Deputy bulked the three together and found that the cost of these two farms last year was £18,000. The Deputy had not sufficient curiosity, even after bulking the three in order to swell the bill, to turn to the Appropriations-in-Aid and make necessary deductions. I suspect that Deputy Cooper knows there are such things as Appropriations-in-Aid at the end of each year's Estimates. Possibly it may be that the procedure of putting the Appropriations-in-Aid at the end of the Estimates has escaped Deputy Cooper's notice up to the present.
Well, something has occurred. If the Deputy did turn to the Appropriations-in-Aid he would find that he could take £8,000 from £18,000 and that would leave him £10,000.
£8,500 is the figure.
I think that is right. Anyhow, roughly speaking, £10,000 would be left. The Deputy after that could explain that this represented the cost to the State of education, experiments and the production of live stock —high-class breeding stock—for the purpose of resale, very often at a loss. The Deputy has indulged in figures and I think he has shown that figures can be made extremely illusory. Perhaps he will allow me to give him a few more figures?
The Deputy stated expressly that the cost of education per pupil is £950. That is the sort of thing that people can remember. I can hear the changes rung on that figure, regardless of any correction, for the next three months. Everyone with a bee in his bonnet, everyone who wants to have a shot at the Department of Agriculture in season and out of season, will shout that the cost of education is £950 per pupil; but there will not be a word of explanation that that is the cost of education, plus the cost of all the experimental work done on the farms, plus the cost of raising high-class breeding stock for resale at a loss. One may be sure these facts will not be added.
What is the cost of education? I am sure the Deputy will allow me to examine the Estimates on the same lines as he has done. I suggest the Deputy ought to put in the housemaster in each case, £200; housekeeper, £50; domestic staff, £82, and a teacher of poultry-keeping, £60, against the educational side. I know these farms very well, and all these officers are required. They have their hands well filled with experimental work and live stock breeding. If the Deputy adds all the figures he will get a total of £6,000 for the two instead of £18,000, and the figure for each pupil will work out at £20.
It would be at least £30.
About £30 a pupil would be more like it. A moment's consideration will show that it is perfectly incorrect to say it costs £650 to educate a pupil at one of these colleges. It is not a fair statement in view of the uses that can be made of it. It is obvious the statement will get three times as much publicity as the correction. If we were simply making debating points, I could throw the £30 at his £950. The fact is that it is quite impossible to disentangle the educational, experimental and live-stock breeding work. It is when you have people talking about agriculture but meaning something else that these statements are made. I do not accuse the Deputy of anything like that; but you have people outside making debating points and talking about agriculture when their meaning lies elsewhere, and you get agriculture, experiments and live stock breeding debated in this fashion. It is quite impossible to disentangle them.
If I were to take the same line as the Deputy, I could easily say that the average cost per pupil is about £30 and that it is well worth the money. The Deputy ought not to say that the university work should not be done there. University work is not done there. Experimental work of this kind is not University work. There are people who will mix up research and experimental work, but I take it the Deputy knows the distinction. I am sure the Deputy knows perfectly well that the work of hybridising plants that will be done at a Faculty of Agriculture is not experimental work. There is no useful purpose served by mixing up matters.
The functions of these colleges are as follows:—(1) The training of boys and girls in subjects pertaining to agriculture; (2) experimental work; and (3) the production of pure-bred live stock. Deputies will notice that the Appropriations-in-Aid each year about balance the particular item, general expenses of management. I make no point about that. Next year it might be just as much. The Appropriations-in-Aid were somewhat less this year and last year as compared with the general expenses of management; in other words, there was a loss. Perhaps that might change. It proves nothing. Next year, provided there are more experiments, the general expenses of management might be greater. As they are being run, the Appropriations-in-Aid practically balance every year the general expenses of management.
I will take the question of the training of boys and girls in subjects pertaining to agriculture. In reply to Deputy Heffernan, let me say that the numbers at the Albert College remain stationary. Let me take the agricultural students. I am dealing with the years 1921 to 1926 in succession, and the figures are as follows:—18, 20, 25, 21, 12 and 31; that is to say, that in 1925-26 there were 31. That is a higher figure than in 1920. As regards farm apprentices, the figures are:—12, 15. 9 (1923-24), 13, and 17. The figures there are higher also. In regard to horticultural students the figures are:—7, 8, 8, 6, 4, 9. There was a drop during 1922 and 1924 for obvious reasons; people were not thinking of education. As regards Clonakilty, the figures from 1920-1926 were:—26, 7, 19, 7, 26, 26, 26. Now, as regards Athenry:—17, 14, 22, 17, 25. Here are the numbers as regards Ballyhaise:— 26, 16, 7.
Ballyhaise was not open for some time. The intention is to make Ballyhaise a girls' school—a school somewhat similar to the Munster Institute. The figures for the Munster Institute are:—54, 56, 56, 51, and, this year, 53. The Munster Institute is full and cannot take another pupil. We have a long waiting list, and some have been waiting for a long time. It is proposed to make Ballyhaise a girls' school and it is proposed to use the farm as a dairy farm for the purpose of supplying milk to the Institute.
How many can you accommodate at Ballyhaise and Athenry?
I could not give the exact number, but I think it is twenty-six to thirty each. Ballyhaise is not open yet, and, therefore, we are delayed in carying out our intention. The water supply at Athenry went wrong. We were not prepared to take any risks, and we changed the students to Ballyhaise while the engineers of the Board of Works are investigating the pollution of the water supply.
Will Athenry be re-opened?
Certainly it will be reopened. The students are changed to Ballyhaise, and that for the moment has stopped the plan of converting Ballyhaise into a girls' school, but that will come immediately. There is nothing so much needed. As I say, there is a long waiting list for the Munster Institute.
took the Chair.
The waiting list is over 200, and that state of affairs has existed for a long time. It is our intention to go ahead with the original project and to convert Ballyhaise into a girls' school and the students will go back to Athenry. Again, let me state, the numbers are on the increase and our colleges are, in fact, almost full. Twenty-five to thirty is the most that Athenry would hold.
How are the students selected?
By examination, and they are taken in in the order in which they appear upon the lists.
Would the Minister consider the necessity of sending the results of the examinations to applicants and the number of marks they receive? There is dissatisfaction at the moment with the methods of selection.
I dare say there is, but they get the results of the examinations.
It is not customary to give them.
Every applicant is informed whether he passes or not when he is put upon the list. If they are on the waiting list it shows that they passed, but they do not get supplied with the marks. I am sure there is dissatisfaction, and I am quite sure that there are suggestions made by long-suffering applicants that they might be put higher up on the list. There is a waiting list of 200 for the Munster Institute. Possibly some of those have been waiting for a long while and you can well imagine that after waiting, possibly, for a year a mother would find some other reason for her son or daughter not being called than their actual place on the list. I know a little about this subject and it is a sore subject with a lot of people. People are anxious to get their daughters or sons transferred to higher places and I know it is not an unheard-of thing for suggestions to be made to the Department that people should be called before their time, but I can assure the Deputy that it is the invariable procedure of the Department only to call students according to their order upon the list.
I am aware of that, but I think it would satisfy the parents if they got the results.
They do get the results by the way in which they are placed on the list.
I remember when I was a Governor of the Munster Institute, there were always applications on the part of some ambitious ladies, especially, to be put ahead of the rank they held, and every excuse was given, but we always treated the matter with absolute silence. There was no use arguing a question with anybody if they misjudged the work of the Governors of the Institute. They did misjudge it, and called attention to it in a way that we were determined to treat with contempt. I think it would be far better, instead of pandering to the erroneous idea of anybody that they are out of their order or that they were not fairly treated, to treat them with the silent contempt which they deserve.
Of course Deputy Nolan did not suggest that there was any favouritism. I only mention that to show that where the dissatisfaction exists it is due, largely, to the fact that there is always a long waiting list, and people get impatient. So far as the colleges are concerned, the numbers have increased, and they are practically full.
Deputy Cooper raised a very big question that it is impossible to discuss without taking a very long time, as to what experiments should or should not be conducted on these farms. He has got to remember that experiments are not done primarily for the pupils at all. It is quite easy to teach a pupil who comes up for one year's course if he is a good farmer's son who has been at a winter class, and who only comes up for a year or two's course. There is no real necessity to do experiments in order to teach him. You teach him ordinary subjects, showing him good cultivation, and the value of seeding and testing. In the Munster Institute they have to deal with poultry, butter-making, and so on, and it is necessary to show them all processes in connection with butter-making, not only the good effect but the result of the bad effect as well. You have to show the varieties of poultry, and that some pay and some do not, and show the effect of wrong treatment on the quality of butter and produce generally, and, in that way, a very large percentage of the material, as, for instance, in the case of butter, goes to the bad. It is a sacrifice for educational purposes, and that is all that is in it.
For instance, again, take the question of milking as one single item of the Munster Institute. Cows have to be milked by different girls, and in such circumstances will not yield their full quantity of milk. Every farmer knows that a cow must be milked regularly by a fairly experienced milker in order to give the best results. In the Munster Institute, where the cows are milked by different sets of girls, you have a loss. These are not the ideal conditions where you want a high yield of milk. The same applies to other items and to other colleges.
Now it is useful to have experiments going on under the noses of the students. These students of 18 or 19 years of age have a great deal of practical experience, and a considerable number of feeding experiments are carried out. I am not a bit afraid that what Deputy Cooper foreshadowed will happen. He quoted a case that I mentioned, where a certain feeding experiment was carried out on 25 or 30 cattle. I spoke to the superintendent at the time and said: "You are going to get a real good price as cattle are going well." He said: "I would if I had not to hold them over. But I must hold them over." Deputy Cooper is afraid, if I may use the word, that a "mug" would go home and tell his father that in future he is to keep the cattle until the price falls. There is not the slightest fear of that. They are not quite as innocent as all that. The experiments are not so terribly complicated that they are likely to disarrange a student's intelligence in that way. It is useful for the students to see these experiments, manurial experiments, cultivation experiments, and the good students take a real interest in them. Remember that these experiments are done for other purposes as well. I have here a short list of the experiments done on these farms last year.
Are these at Athenry and Ballyhaise?
Yes. These are experiments and not research work. There were, in addition to the tests on this list, tests in animal nutrition, the value of green food for pigs and dried sugar beet for fattening cattle and milch cows. A large number of store pigs have to be bought, divided, weighed and kept under conditions that a commercial farmer would not dream of keeping them under. The greatest care must be taken that no extraneous factor interferes with the experiment. The result of the experiment must go out through the country in leaflet form and we must take care that in feeding experiments the results are not vitiated by extraneous circumstances. I dare say most Deputies know that pigs are inclined to take the food from one another. We have to arrange that every pig in the bunch gets the same amount of food. We have also to arrange for weighing. We have to secure that the experiment is not destroyed or injured by reason of the fact that one group of pigs have got cold or less light, or is brought up under less ideal conditions than the others. All that costs money and means capital expenditure. It means supervision. In other words, you cannot make education pay, and this education is not only for 15, 20 or 30 pupils, but is education for farmers, as the result of the experiments will be published in pamphlet form. During the last year experiments were carried out and none of them was in the nature of very abstract research work such as would be done in the plant-breeding laboratory of a university. They were experiments in the interest of the farmers. They were experiments that will give results and make a difference in the way of increased profits or, if you prefer, less losses. I have a list of 100 pamphlets. I do not know if the Deputy reads those pamphlets issued by the Department. If not, I can recommend them to him.
I have looked through the lists, and I read the Monthly Journal. I do not get the pamphlets.
You ought to. Even though I say it, they are very good, very much on the mark, and extremely well written. I cannot understand why there is not a greater demand for them. An increasing demand is reported during the past year, but I cannot understand why they are not more fully availed of. Remember that these pamphlets are based on experiments carried out at the farms. I think the Deputy said that he understood that experiments should be carried out at the Albert College, but that he did not see the necessity for them at the other institutes. I cannot agree with that. As Deputy Conlan mentioned, we find it necessary to study the different conditions. If a new breed of oats is brought out at the Albert College, it is tested first in small quantities and then sent to other farms and tested under different conditions. Before we open our mouths about it, we test it in about 150 places throughout the country. Otherwise it would be madness to recommend throughout the whole country oats that was grown on a single farm in Dublin. I need not go into the question of breeding high-class live stock for the purpose of resale, sometimes at a loss——
May I ask if the highly-bred live stock is sold in the localities in which the colleges are situated, or is it open to any farmers in the Saorstát to purchase them? I understand these animals are sold on easy terms.
These animals are sent mainly to the congested districts. The immediate district in which the colleges are get no special advantage. For instance, from Clonakilty, boars would be sent to Mayo. It depends on the needs of the moment. The other question Deputy Cooper raised will also arise on his next amendment. He said that we should seriously consider whether it is good business for the State to subsidise the distribution of live stock to small farmers who are not able to pay for high-class animals. I would like to hear the views of other Deputies on that question. I regard it as not only good business but absolutely essential to send such animals to these districts. Remember that the congested districts—and particularly the western side—constitute a very big area. There are very big numbers of live stock bred there, and it would be a very serious thing indeed, not only for the reputation of the stock within the area, but for the reputation of the stock of the country as a whole, if the stock there deteriorated. There is even a more serious consideration still. The Deputy will remember that in the poorer areas the dividing-line between just-enough and starvation is not very marked. How could a small farmer in Mayo, Donegal, Connemara, parts of Kerry, Leitrim, parts of Kildare, and even other districts outside the congested districts, afford to give £50 for an Aberdeen-Angus bull? And remember that one will only get a third-class Aberdeen-Angus bull, at the moment, for £50. How could he afford to buy even the last bull that we would pass, costing, say, £30? How could he afford to pay £12 for a boar or £10 for a sow?
If we do not continue this policy, especially for the congested districts and the poorer districts, we are going to have deterioration. This is not a new policy. We are doing no more here than we have been doing through the county committees of agriculture. The whole premium system, under the county committees, is based on this policy. That is what has improved our cattle until they are, from the point of view of quality, the best cattle in the world. We will see what the Scotch farmers will say about them in a year or two years. They are already beginning to talk. They already know what difference there is between them and the Canadians. I have not the slightest hesitation in saying that, as a result of these schemes, we have the best live stock, from the point of view of quality, in the world. If we had not, we would have been driven out of the British market long ago. Suppose there are a thousand premiums in the country, and three hundred special term animals. They are all bulls that would average round about £60 or £70 each.
I want to emphasise that that would be the average price. If you take certain breeds, the price would be much higher. You would pay as much as £180 for an Aberdeen-Angus, and you would pay £120 for a middling one. How many people of the 1,300 who keep premium animals could purchase them if they were not helped in this way by the State? You would have no breeders, and you would have no buyers, and you would have fourth-class bulls, with consequent fourth-class stock.
What do our live stock schemes cost on the whole? I suppose about £70,000 a year. There was never £70,000 better spent. I think £140,000 would be well spent in the same way. I say, deliberately, that even if we had to get the money from taxation, and if the country was three times as poor as the most pessimistic person alleges it is, you could not spend money in a better way. When one considers for a moment the amount of money spent on other services, and when one thinks of what has been done at so little cost by the constant introduction into and spreading through the country of first-class breeding stock for the last fifteen years, I marvel that Deputies of all parties, in the House, instead of talking about short cuts to riches in farming, do not press that in future the Estimates of the Department of Agriculture should be increased from £50,000 or £60,000 to something like £100,000 for this work. As far as I am concerned, my aim and object is to extend this side of the Department's work in the way of introducing high-class stock—bulls, boars and sheep—into every county. The Deputy knows what even one good bull will do in a district. The progeny will leave their mark there for generations. You cannot measure what one good animal will do. Multiply the number from one thousand to, say, two thousand, and, at the other end, weed out all the bad animals, and you will have stock that will be of creditable quality—something that you need not be ashamed to market anywhere. I say we ought to continue that. We should not be prevented doing that by anybody with an interest in agriculture. If we continue to do that, the least we might expect—this may, perhaps, be irrelevant—would be that the farmers would do their duty by feeding their stock and marketing them properly.
I have little further to say except to repeat that this fairy tale about £950 per student is not good enough. It does not cost £950. It does not cost £30 per pupil. The number of pupils in these colleges is increasing. As we get back more and more to normal times, the increase will be greater. I want to see more of these colleges. They are expensive, but I want to see more of them, nevertheless. We have five of them at present. I would be glad to see 30 farmers' sons from each county getting this sort of education.
Whilst I do not agree with Deputy Cooper's amendment, I am very pleased that he put it down, because it gave the Minister an opportunity of putting before the House an exposition of the different activities of these agricultural schools. I have a good deal of experience of these schools. I have been through the Athenry, Glasnevin, and Portumna institutions. In my opinion, the money expended on these institutions has been very usefully expended. Anybody who desires information as to what the Department actually did in the improvement of live stock should read the evidence given by Mr. T.P. Gill at the inquiry held in London when the Act for removal of the embargo on the importation of Canadian cattle into England was under consideration. Mr. Gill showed that the value of our cattle had been improved by these live stock schemes from £2 per head to £5 per head in twenty years. Anybody who has occasion to go to our fairs will easily notice the improvement in all classes of live stock that has taken place during the last 20 or 25 years. That is due to the work of the department and particularly to the work carried out in those schools. In saying that, I would like to urge that more could still be done. The pamphlets the Minister referred to are extremely interesting. Any farmer who applies to the office can get copies of them, but I am sorry to say that, up to recently, a great number of our farmers were not aware that the results of the research branches of the Department were available in this way. The English Department of Agriculture is actually carrying out some of the work of which our Department were pioneers. In 1922 I took the following cutting from an English paper:—
Warble Fly.—A Committee of the Ministry of Agriculture has, for some time past, been considering scientifically the various remedies which have been suggested for checking the damage to skins of cattle made by the warble fly pest. In the past, the step most favoured in dealing with the pest has been the squeezing out of the maggots from the backs of cattle during the season when they become ripe—that is, from February to June. This method, however, although efficacious if persisted in, entails much labour. The Committee, therefore, directed their attention to observation of the action of washes or smears which can readily be applied to the backs of cattle ... During last spring an experimental dressing of no fewer than 940 cattle was made with this mixture, under the direction of the Irish Department of Agriculture. Of 4,885 warble maggots found to be present in the cattle 3,990 were destroyed, representing a mortality of over 80 per cent.
This Committee, appointed by the British Ministry of Agriculture, actually suggested that the recommendation of the Irish Department of Agriculture should be carried out in England. I say that is a great tribute to the work of our Department here. They have a very able staff of officials in the English Department and they go in for a lot of research work, as we do here. But in the respect I mentioned, we are ahead of them.
I was pleased to hear from the Minister that Ballyhaise school is going to be opened as a school for girls. I was, I think, one of the first Deputies to suggest that something on those lines should be done. There were a lot of complaints about the difficulty of getting into the Munster Institute, and there was great dissatisfaction in parts of the country, owing to the length of time young ladies had to wait before gaining admission. I am sure this departure will relieve the situation a great deal. I am sorry our boys are not taking as much advantage as they should of schools, like the school at Clonakilty and elsewhere. I should like to know from the Minister—perhaps I had better leave it over until the Vote for veterinary grants, as I may be out of order in asking it now— whether any researches are being carried on in regard to foot and mouth disease at present?
I should like to call the Minister's attention to an announcement made the other day, where frozen pigs coming in actually carried the disease; they traced it in Great Britain to those pigs. Some time a consignment of those pigs came into this country.
The Deputy can raise this matter on another Vote.
I should like some information with regard to the Chantilly stud farm in County Dublin. I presume it is used to breed thoroughbred stock.
It is a stud farm pure and simple, a sort of clearing house for all the animals coming from the other side. They are kept there until they are sent to the country.
With regard to the Minister's activities in the breeding of stock, I think the House will say "More power to his elbow." He has done a great deal in the breeding of stock, but a great deal has yet to be done. Ask any experienced farmer or cattle dealer and he will tell you that, after a percentage of cattle are taken, the remainder are very poor indeed.
We all recognise the necessity for agricultural education. Last year both Deputy Gorey and myself referred specially to the necessity for bringing home to the people the result of this education. With that idea, we suggested that there should be demonstration farms in the various counties. What is suitable to one county is not suitable to another. Experiments made in Cork will not be of great value in Limerick, and the same would apply as between Tipperary and Kildare. I do not refer to an experimental station. That is quite another matter. If you had one or two demonstration farms in each county they would be very useful. At present I think when land is being taken over in various counties, and where you have in each of the large farms taken over a dwelling-house with out-offices, forty or fifty acres of that land should be given to some young man who had been trained in one of the Department's institutes. That would be better than having an inspector to reside there. The farms could be given under special conditions as to the payment of rent, etc., and could be used to demonstrate successful work. You cannot get farmers to go to model farms. The work must be brought home to them and must be available for the farmers in the various counties. I think the Minister should take notice of this important matter.
The Minister did not deal with my point with regard to using those schools for the purpose of education.
We do that; they are all welcome.
The only thing I see weak about the Minister's argument is this: he wishes to see an agricultural school in each county with an attendance of thirty pupils. There are only twenty-five in Athenry and seven in Ballyhaise.
Ballyhaise is closed. It contained seven in 1922-23, during the civil war. There is accommodation for twenty-six in Athenry.
With regard to Deputy D'Alton's remarks about demonstration farms, those are becoming, to a certain extent, a hardy annual now. The suggestion was put forward recently by the Farmers' Party, but we are not asking for a demonstration farm. We are asking that, perhaps, more than one farm may be taken up in each county. An official from the Department should be placed on that farm and asked to work it in the most up-to-date manner so as to demonstrate to the people that an official of the Department can put his theories into practice, and show that a farm can be worked and made to pay according to the ideas of the Department of Agriculture. Many people say instructors are only theoretical farmers. To a certain extent there is something in that.
To what extent?
A man working in Glasnevin, Athenry, or some other place has a fixed salary and no obligation to make his work pay.
He is under an obligation to carry out his experiments at a certain cost.
I know that.
That was discussed on the main question already.
I suggest it may be discussed under this as Deputy D'Alton opened it up again. A good deal of the work carried out under the agricultural colleges is experimental and non-instructional. I know there is a dairy at Glasnevin which is used for commercial purposes. Instructors are really engaged in work not altogether experimental. Those men must be given a chance to put those theories into practice. That is somewhat different from Deputy D'Alton's idea.
I had better explain what I have said again. This idea was mentioned five or six years ago by some prominent farmers. Deputy Gorey and I discussed those matters and agreed that it would be better, if possible, not to have an instructor there, because if he carried out certain work, farmers around would say: "The Department is doing it." We consider if such farms were given to a qualified man he could demonstrate there.
I think that the Minister stated last year that he intended to get in touch with practical farmers with a view of seeing that the instructions of the Department were carried out on certain farms in order to prove that the theories propounded by the instructors could be put into practice and made a paying proposition.
Agricultural instructors have been asked to keep in touch with special farms in each district, but it must not be taken for granted that every farmer does what the instructor asks him to do. The instructors do keep in touch with special farms and advise farmers in connection with certain processes. Deputy Roddy reminded me of a statement that has recently been made by Mr. O'Gorman, Chairman of the Cork County Council, in connection with Clonakilty. He stated, first of all, that there were twenty-two teachers there, and secondly, that an officer was employed there who got £1,200 a year and that another officer got a pension of something like £900. That statement is untrue. It is not the first statement of the kind that this particular gentleman has made. The fact is that there are three teachers and twenty-six pupils there. No officer of the Department of Agriculture, except the Secretary, gets a salary of £1,200 a year, not to speak of a pension. I stated here on Friday that owing to the fact that farmers were, to a great extent, unorganised, every mountebank who claimed to be a spokesman for agriculture, got away with it. In this instance you have an excellent example of that. Here you have Cork County, one of the best farming counties in Ireland, but you have as Chairman of the County Council and County Committee of Agriculture, Mr. O'Gorman, a man who grows more thistles within his own area——
I object to that statement. Mr. O'Gorman, whatever be his capacity, was elected to the Cork County Council and is Chairman of that body, as well as being elected Chairman of the County Committee of Agriculture.
Is this in order?
He is there as an elected representative of the people. The people consider him worthy of being put into these positions, and it is unfair of the Minister, availing of his privilege here, to attack Mr. O'Gorman. Let him go outside and attack him, if he wants to do so.
The Minister is entitled to his point of view, the same as anyone else.
I have something else to do besides going outside and controverting Mr. O'Gorman's lies. I was challenged by Farmer-Deputies when I made that statement. In opening the debate I said deliberately that we were suffering from a minority of disgruntled individuals, people with bees in their bonnets, and I said that as a result of that fact, and also owing to the fact that farmers were, to a large extent, unorganised, every mountebank who called himself a spokesman for agriculture got away with it. That statement was challenged. Here we have the Chairman of the Cork County Council and Chairman of the County Committee of Agriculture as spokesman for the farmers of Cork.
This is not the proper place to make charges against him.
I was challenged on this statement. This gentleman is a farmer who grows the largest crop of thistles between this and where he comes from, and whose bulls are rejected——
That is very low.
It happens to be true. I cannot understand the point of view that people should be allowed to make untrue statements all over the country, and that no one should be allowed to state the truth, even by way of reply. I did not hear the Deputy getting enthusiastic in his protests when Mr. O'Gorman and others made notoriously false statements about the Department of Agriculture and the Government generally. He is to be allowed to make these statements and get away with them, whereas when I endeavour to put the position accurately, I am told that it is in bad taste. I repeat what I said, and I want the farmers to listen to it. In a county which is one of the best farming counties in the country, you have as chairman of the county council and county committee of agriculture a gentleman whose one point in agricultural policy was to abolish summer-time. That was about three or four years ago. His policy for agriculture now is to abolish the bonus of the instructors—officers who work from dawn to dark, whose salary is from £150 to £350 per annum, and who spent four years in the College of Science. After twenty-five years' service they may get £350 with bonus. These statements were made at the behest, apparently, of the county council and committee of agriculture of a county which is a first-class farming county, and whose schemes are always well done. They were good farmers there, and now there is an attempt to break it up. By whom? By probably the very worst farmer between here and where he comes from, who is notorious for the acreage and weight of thistles he can get, and who breeds perhaps the worst bulls in the district. I want to state that definitely, and I hope every Deputy has heard it, and I make no other claim for it, whether it be in good taste or in bad taste. The people who are abusing us are not so meticulous. I hope that every Deputy has got that, and I make no other claim for it than that that it happens to be an example——
On a point of explanation, I want to say this, as the Minister has made such an elaborate, clear and definite statement, that I do not stand up here to defend some of the things that Mr. D.L. O'Gorman has said.
Would the Deputy shorten it? Would he deny a single statement that I made?
No. My point is this: Mr. O'Gorman has been placed in a certain position by the votes of the people in his county. Evidently the people thought Mr. O'Gorman worthy of having that position. Mr. O'Gorman got up at a public meeting and made these statements, outside of any privilege. I say that this is not the place where the Minister should get up—where Mr. O'Gorman is not present and where he could not answer the Minister—and speak as he has done, protected by the privileges of the House. Mr. O'Gorman cannot take any legal action against the Minister for what he states here. I say in all fairness that if the Minister wants to make statements of that kind he ought to do so outside the House on a political platform. The Minister has information about Mr. O'Gorman having thistles on his farm and having bulls that did not pass. That is just the Minister's opinion. Another man might say that Mr. O'Gorman is a good farmer.
A good judge of bulls.
In any case I want to make it plain that I am not defending what Mr. O'Gorman said about the officials of the Department. I want to say this, that I have the greatest possible respect for the officials of the Department. I say that they are doing very excellent work, and I think in practically all cases they are not being overpaid. I say that without hesitation. I think you will find that the salaries of these officials are probably the lowest, compared with any other staff that appear on the Votes, and they are doing most useful work for the country. There may be exceptional cases, but I would say that these officials are not being overpaid in most cases.
There is always an exception.
We must have a reservation. They are doing excellent work for the country. But at the same time I do protest against the Minister taking advantage of his position in the House to make these statements.
I think Mr. O'Gorman has been sufficiently discussed now.
I was about to observe that we were getting a long way from my motion. Deputy Roddy first drew Mr. O'Gorman into the matter. My notice was first drawn to that gentleman about two years ago, when I observed that whenever I made a speech Mr. O'Gorman repeated it about two days later. That apparently made a reputation for him in the County Cork which led to his promotion to various high positions.
Did he repeat them with or without acknowledgment?
Without. But since his attainment to these positions he appears to have taken to thinking for himself, and I am afraid that I cannot return the compliment which he paid me, because whatever my iniquities may be, I do know the difference between six organisers in the Department of Education and the Vote for the Department of Agriculture. I do not go dragging my red herrings like that. To come back to the Minister, I am glad he enjoyed my speech, because I enjoyed his; I would have enjoyed it more if it had been shorter. I do know that there are such things as Appropriations-in-Aid, and I am correct as to the average cost of the pupils. If the Appropriations-in-Aid are calculated, the average cost is £520, but I believe the appropriations account is misleading. I will tell the Minister why I do not believe in his Appropriations-in-Aid. Appropriations-in-Aid of this character are things that vary from year to year. Athenry was closed last financial year; it is now open, but yet the Appropriations-in-Aid to Athenry both this year and last year are set down as £4,000. Whether it is working full capacity or whether it is closed the same appropriation is made.
Of course it is working full capacity as far as the farm is concerned. The farm is not closed.
Then the work the pupils do is valueless?
If you mean from the point of view of being labourers on the farm, absolutely. On the contrary, we lose. Their work is very seasonable, and they do but an hour a day or so.
That is new light to me, because the Principal of the Albert Agricultural College, Glasnevin, giving evidence before the Food Prices Commission recently, said that the cost of the milk produced there could not be compared with the commercial cost because of the work done by the pupils.
That is so far as one item is concerned. Supposing the pupils milk the cows they are paid nothing for it, and if you are costing your milk and put nothing down for milking it makes a big difference. But you can take it as a general principle that the work done by the pupils in any properly conducted agricultural school is of no commercial value, and it would be a very bad day indeed if the aim was to commercialise it. You would be doing what the schoolmaster did in Dotheboys Hall, who got a boy to spell "window" and then said: "Go and clean it."
I thought there had to be some differences in the operations of these farms, whether seasonable differences or not. I expected to see some variation, but not very much variation. In the same way, Ballyhaise, which was open and is now closed, has a £4,500 appropriation.
There are no figures. The Appropriations-in-Aid appeared for the first time last year. They have not yet come under review by the Comptroller and Auditor-General. I maintain that they are book-keeping figures, and they lead to confusion.
I do not understand where the confusion is. These are live stock farms, and the live stock operations come in for the purposes of the Appropriation-in-Aid. There are not only pupils there, but the farms are run even if there are no pupils.
I still hold that these are book-keeping figures, and I am not prepared to accept the method unless the Minister can give me actual figures of the Appropriations-in-Aid.
In Glasnevin there are 50 or 60 dairy cows, 250 pigs, and I should say about 15 or 20 sows. You can work out the number of pigs there would be per annum from these. There are also some sheep, a considerable amount of fowl, and some beef shorthorns. What does the Deputy think the receipts from these would be? We do not keep them in glass cases; we sell them and put them out. I suppose 400 or 500 pigs per annum are sold, or distributed through the country and certain charges made for them. Milk would also be part of it. Obviously the receipts from a huge farm like that would be very big. They could be taken as something less in Clonakilty and Athenry.
The Minister does not know what the receipts are any more than I do. This is a fixed book-keeping figure——
Will I give the Deputy exact receipts?
I do not want them.
The Deputy has asked for them. Take the receipts from students. There are 57 students. Multiply that number by £20, which is what the fees would about be.
Are these the fees for Athenry and Ballyhaise?
I am giving the particulars of the Albert College.
I am not talking about the Albert College at all.
Let me go on. Here is where you will get the receipts from Clonakilty. There are 26 pupils, and the average fee is about £15. Multiply these two figures and deduct the result from the Appropriations-in-Aid and you will get the exact receipts from live stock and live-stock produce.
In any case the Minister has admitted that the Appropriations-in-Aid will vary from year to year if the pupils' fees are lost.
It would not be very large. Just a couple of hundred pounds.
It is not a very large sum, but it is quite sufficient to be estimated for.
So it is. We do estimate for it.
Then why is it, if Athenry was shut and was taking no pupils, the Appropriation-in-Aid was £4,000, and now that it is taking pupils who are bringing in £500 a year, the Appropriation-in-Aid is still the same?
If it was open it would be, instead of £4,000, £4,000 plus £400 roughly.
We are estimating for the coming year, and the Minister told me that Athenry is now open.
The farm is open, but the school is not.
I think I will leave this point, because I find it as hard to understand the Minister's explanations as his Appropriations-in-Aid. I shall not accept them until I see the Comptroller and Auditor-General's Report for last year. I am satisfied that this is a book-keeping figure. The Minister accused me of having bulked all the objects of these colleges together: research, education, and the sale of live stock. I did not bulk them together; the Minister bulked them together. The Minister shows the cost of these colleges under the one sub-head— F. He has sub-head E, Research, and he elects to put all the cost of these colleges under sub-head F. He has inherited that from the past. I am not blaming him, but it is extremely misleading.
Does the Deputy suggest a change?
I do suggest a change. The Minister himself classified the cost and showed that the cost of education would work out at £30 a head. I suggest that this cost for education should figure under "Education." The Minister tried to deal with research by differentiating between research and abstruse research. I differentiated between research generally and education. Then he justified these colleges being under "Education" because they were the foundation of certain valuable pamphlets. I presume they are educational, but then why did they not figure under that sub-head? Do let us know what we are spending on research, education and the improvement of live-stock. The Minister is one of those who have taunted Deputies who have asked for a Geddes Committee with not criticising the Estimates, but the Estimates themselves are not in a form in which one can criticise them. He has made a great part of his case as far as the improvement of live stock is concerned, but he has not made a case at all for including both these things under the head of Education. A great deal that the Minister has told us is absolutely new.
The heading is not Education.
The heading is "Education and Development," and what "Development" means I do not know.
The heading is "Agricultural Schools and Farms."
The heading of the whole thing is "Agricultural Education and Development." That is F.
We are discussing F 1. I am only concerned to point out that the heading is not Education.
Yes, but surely in agricultural schools and farms, schools take the first place? Now we are told that education is a very small part of their function. The farm should be subordinate to the school. The whole thing is extraordinarily misleading. I would be very sorry if anything I have said is taken up in the way that the Minister has suggested, and that the changes should be rung on my figures. That is not my intention. But when I am told that my figures are illusory, the person who has eluded and deluded me is the Minister himself, because of the way he has presented his Estimate. He has produced an enormous amount of information this afternoon which was new to every Deputy. They were not told of these items.
They are there on the face of it.
They are there, but there is a great deal that is not there. A large sum is lumped under the heading "General Expenses of Management." That, I presume, is the purchase of stock, feeding stuffs and seed. They are greater than the Appropriations-in-Aid. But there is a great deal that we do not know, a great deal that this motion elucidated, and, therefore, I hold it has been entirely justified.
I would like to understand where we are in regard to this Vote. We had allotted three hours for the Agricultural Department and eight hours as a whole for the Minister's Votes. I think we have already occupied the eight hours, and I am wondering who is to be robbed of time in respect of future votes, and whether Ministers have had any consultations, as promised, with the President in regard to these matters, because if the whole scheme of the time-table is to be thrown over we shall not know exactly where we are.
took the Chair.
I did not imagine that this motion would have taken so long. I did not anticipate that the Minister would need to speak half an hour in reply. I am prepared not to move my next two motions, if that would facilitate the Dáil.
In connection with G 1, I want some information, but I do not want to draw a long speech from the Minister.
I will never do it again.
The Minister says that these Estimates are so clear that anyone can understand them. In connection with the improvement of flax-growing, there are apparently nine instructors. Are these men working and giving instruction in the schools and colleges or are they working through the country? Is there any evidence that there is an increased acreage under flax in the southern counties, or is it confined to Cavan, Monaghan, and Donegal? It is £3,400, not a very large item, and I would like to know whether any practical value is being given by this work. I do not want to curtail it, but to know what line is being adopted.
These instructors are not in the colleges. They work in six or seven counties.
The Northern counties chiefly?
Yes; and in Cork and Waterford also. The area has gone down this year. Of course, prices are extremely low and the prospects of flax look very bad. But the area is far and away less than last year. It is the one crop that has gone down. On the other hand, the Deputy will understand that that is quite a sudden development. In any event it was foreseen that the price of flax would be very bad. I think we would not be justified in discontinuing our schemes because prices fluctuate, and possibly it requires more assistance now than at any other time.
At one time very considerable quantities of flax were grown in some parts of the south of Ireland. I would like to know if the practice of growing flax has died out in Wexford and Cork?
There is a large area of flax grown in Cork.
But not in Wexford.
The Minister, in his statement on the Estimates, mentioned that a sum of £900 would be apportioned for an agricultural college at Warrenstown. I would like to know what provision is made in the Estimates for that?
It is not in the Estimates before the House, but a supplementary Estimate in connection with the matter will be introduced. The amount I had in mind was £970.
I would like to have a little more information from the Minister than he gave us in his opening statement on a matter that comes under sub-head G 2. I attended the annual congress of members of the Dairy Shorthorn Association held at Mallow. Several farmers at that congress put forward the claim that the grant from the Department towards cow-testing associations was not sufficient. Some of the delegates stated that the Minister had expressed the opinion that he was not prepared to increase this grant. I would ask him to reconsider it and see whether something could not be done to increase the grant. In the poorer districts, where the land is not good, the people are not able to maintain good quality cattle, with the result that the milk yield is small. The Department's annual contribution is 4/- to the 3/- put up by the farmer. In districts where the land is poor that contribution might be considered inadequate, and while I would be very slow to ask for more money, still I think this is an exceptional case, and perhaps something might be done in the way I have indicated. The improvement of our dairy herds must be the foundation of our whole agricultural development in the future.
The increase in the number of our cow-testing associations is not as great as it ought to be. I think we should do something to encourage farmers to come forward and join them in greater numbers than they have been doing. What I am anxious about is that the Minister should endeavour to do something to help the people in these backward parts of the country, where they find it very difficult to carry on. One of the difficulties they are up against is to pay the local supervisor. As I pointed out to the Minister on a previous occasion, the districts that the local supervisor can work with the most ease are the prosperous dairy districts. There is a large number of cows in them, and as the area to be covered is not too large, the supervisor is in a position to earn a reasonable salary.
The position is different altogether in the poorer districts. There the area to be covered is very large, and the result is that the local supervisor finds it very hard to get any return for his labours. One of the troubles in connection with this matter is to get good reliable men to carry out the work. If the men who are appointed local supervisors are not honest and reliable, the whole foundation of the work is sapped, and the results given are not trustworthy. The results in connection with cow-testing associations, if they are to be of any use at all, must be absolutely reliable. These supervisors must be honest men, and it is their duty to attend and see the milk weighed. I have heard it stated that some of them allow the owners of the cows to weigh the milk themselves and put down their own weights. I do not say many of them do that. In other cases, it is quite possible that they do not carry out adequately the testing of the milk in regard to better fats. I understand there has been a check in that respect recently, and that now the inspectors of the Department insist that the milk which is taken for test is retained until examined by themselves.
I suggest to the Minister that something ought to be done in the direction of making the job of local supervisor one worth having. It is difficult to do that in the poorer districts for the reasons I have stated. The result is that in these poorer districts men of an inferior type are given the positions. Good men cannot be got to undertake the work because the salary is too small, and they get tired of the work.
The position in regard to this is that here is something which pays the farmer, something that is of vital interest to him, and yet we have to pay him to do it. We give him 4/- per cow for every 3/- that he puts up. That, I suggest, is a huge subsidy in the circumstances. It is an extraordinary thing that in this country, in order to induce farmers to do something that is to their own interest and from which they will make hard cash, we have to give them a subsidy at all. Look at the size of the subsidy we are giving: 4/- for every 3/- that the farmer puts up. There is a point at which we should stop, and I honestly say that we have reached that point in regard to subsidising cow-testing associations.
I want to see these associations developed. Everyone wants to see them developed, but in my opinion the State should not go any further in the way of giving them subsidies. They are getting a very big subsidy as it is. The Deputy referred to the poorer districts. We need not go to the poorer districts at all. Take districts like Cork, Kilkenny, Limerick and Waterford, all of which are well off, where you have really good land, and what do we find? That the cow-testing associations in these districts have not developed to the extent they should have. With regard to the supervisors, they are a fine lot of young men working for a very small salary. The position is not a whole-time one, and the salary is a small one. They are a fine type of young farmers' sons. I have met many of them, and I have the fullest confidence in the accuracy with which they make their records. The Deputy did not suggest that the records were not accurate. I do not think he need feel that there is any danger of the records being cooked.
I know a lot of these supervisors and I have found them to be very enthusiastic, hard-working young fellows. I would like very much indeed to have more money to pay them. We are putting up as much money as we should be asked to put up, 4/- for every 3/- that the farmer puts up, and the people to be blamed if these supervisors are not paid larger salaries are, in the circumstances, the farmers. We are putting up a big subsidy, and the blame should lie on the farmer and not on the Department if the supervisors are not getting a sufficient salary. It is not a question of asking the farmers to increase the number of their cows, but rather to get more of them to join these associations.
I agree with a good deal of what the Minister has said, but he did not deal with one or two points that I had mentioned. As I pointed out earlier, it is much easier to organise these associations in good dairy districts than in parts of the country where the land is poor. Cow-testing associations are pretty numerous in the districts where the people go in for dairying on an intensive scale. A supervisor in a district like that would be able to make a fairly good salary. I agree generally with the Minister that most of the supervisors are fine young men, but there are exceptional cases. I know cases myself where the accuracy of records made by them would be open to doubt. I have seen records in connection with one association which I believe were not accurate. As a matter of fact, I believe that in that particular case the inspectors of the Department found that the records were not accurate. I am glad to say, however, that inaccurate records are very rare. Some of these good young men are really not being paid enough in certain districts to keep the thing going properly. Their job is only a part-time one, and what they make is really very small. Perhaps something could be done in the way of increasing the grant per cow that might result in an increase of salary for the supervisors in districts where at present it is impossible for them to make anything like a reasonable salary.
Is it too much to expect a farmer with ten cows to put up 30/- a year or a farmer who has only three cows to pay 9/- a year?
My point is that in the poorer districts where the supervisors have to work hardest they find it extremly difficult to earn a livelihood at the job. I suggest that the Minister should do something in the way of devising a scheme, whether by more grants or otherwise, that would give these supervisors a bigger salary than they are receiving at present.
With regard to sub-head G 3, there is an item there for the purchase of stock bulls. I am referring to a matter which, I fancy, the Minister anticipates, and that is that prior to the Royal Dublin Society's sale of bulls the Minister sent over to Scotland and purchased there a number of Aberdeen Angus bulls. I think on the broad issue there was considerable justification for doing so, as the Minister thereby got fresh blood into the country, and he got these bulls somewhat cheaper than he would have got them here. The fact remains, however, that the money of the Irish taxpayer, who is in some cases a breeder of bulls, was spent for the benefit of the Scottish breeder of bulls. I do not say the Minister is not justified in going outside the Saorstát if by doing so he can buy bulls at a price at which he could not get them here. I suggest that he should first give the Irish breeders a chance, and see whether at Ballsbridge he can get the type of bull he requires and at the price he requires. There will always be exceptional cases in which the Minister will be justified in bringing in fresh blood. I know the action of the Minister has caused much criticism and feeling amongst breeders of Aberdeen Angus bulls in the Saorstát. I therefore hope that the Minister will give some indication as to his future intentions. I think it would be fair that he should have a look at Ballsbridge before going oversea.
I think breeders should keep quiet about this. There are 200 premiums going a-begging at the moment, and even the ordinary premium-holder cannot get them. Any unfortunate countryman who came up to Ballsbridge this spring could not buy a moderately good yearling premium bull for less than £100. The fact is that breeders are getting really good prices at the moment, so good that while the premium for an Aberdeen Angus is £20, the ordinary farmers cannot touch them, and the result is that in spite of all the bulls we bought in Scotland, there are 200 premiums going a-begging. There is a very limited number of bulls left of the premium standard, and the prices are so high that they are out of range entirely of the small farmer. There is no question whatever of attempting to buy our extra premium bulls in Ireland. We bought, say, 110 Aberdeen Angus bulls in Scotland. If we went to the R.D.S. to buy these 110 bulls the price would have gone up from £70 to £170 for yearlings, and we would have a revolution. What would the unfortunate people who want Aberdeen Angus bulls say to it? If we went to the R.D.S. to buy our extra premium bulls at least £50 apiece extra would have been put on to the price, and that is supposing that we were able to get them, but we could not get them. There is a tremendously fine price at the moment for Aberdeen Angus bulls. They are paying really well, better than for a long time—so well that the unfortunate farmer who has a premium cannot afford to purchase them. It was pitiful to see farmers with a premium going around the Show trying to make a purchase of one of these bulls.
The Minister's figures are somewhat exaggerated. I do not think there were more than 15 Aberdeen-Angus bulls that fetched more than £100 at the March Show.
I am talking of the May Show.
But I am talking of the March Show. The Department bought them in prior to the March Show.
I was referring to the May Show for the reason that that was the last opportunity we had of buying them, and that was what they had reached at that time. In May we were not able to touch them—I mean the ordinary premium-holder could not touch them. I mention May to show how the prices went up as a result of the demand.
I am talking of the time when the Minister bought the bulls. At that time, at the March Sales in Ballsbridge, bulls fetched on the average £60. I had five of them, and they averaged £75. Included in the five were two prize-winners, so I presume these bulls were not worse than the average, but certainly anyone would have got a very good bull for £100. As a matter of fact, one of my best bulls went for only £50—a March calf that went late in the sales. The Minister should not wait until May to buy bulls. He should try the March sales, and see whether the prices are what the Department can afford to give, and if he cannot get the bulls at the price he wants, then let him go to Scotland, but on this occasion he went to Scotland first.
The sales would be all over by March.
If the Minister would put that up to the R.D.S. I have no doubt they would have the March sale ante-dated. I should say if he is prepared to spend, say, £1,000 on these sales he could get the sales fixed for the middle of February.
What age would the bulls be then?
They would be younger.
What is the point to be raised before Deputy Johnson's amendment?
I am coming to K2 now.
May I ask the President if there has been any re-arranging of the time-table? Are we to have the normal discussion on the Land Commission Vote in view of the long discussion on this Vote?
There has not been any re-consideration, and the time-table has been ruthlessly torn to atoms by quite a number of contributors to the discussion this evening, including the Minister, Deputy Cooper, and Deputy Heffernan.
Is the President aware that I am not moving two of my amendments?
I am aware that the Deputy might have been more ruthless than he has been. We made a certain bargain. I do not know whether it is being kept, but I have kept my part, and Deputy Johnson has kept his.
I am anxious to keep my bargain as far as I can, but I regard this Vote as an exception to the bargain.
You did not mention that.
It has not been mentioned, but I took it it was understood.
That was a mental reservation of your own.
I think it would be a pity to pass over this without adequate discussion. As a matter of fact, we are passing over many things on which I think a good deal of time could be spent. Time spent on this can be made up on the Land Commission Vote, as I think the whole question of the Land Commission was fairly threshed out three months ago.
Deputy Heffernan's point on K 2 can be taken up after the adjournment for tea.
Deputy Heffernan asked for an explanation of sub-head K 2. The Estimate is increased by £6,000 this year. I think the idea is that the grant should be £10,000 this year and £8,500 for the following four years. The money appears in my Vote. In that way the question as to how much will be transferred to the I.A.O.S. will rest with the Department of Agriculture, and in that way they will have a check on all the doings of the I.A.O.S., and a certain amount of control will be exercised over them. On the other hand, I fully recognise that the I.A.O.S. is, and should remain, an independent body. I do not think the arrangement we have come to should interfere with its independence in the least. The State is under no obligation to give a grant, but it considers it highly desirable to do so. It is giving it in this way on the Estimates of the Department of Agriculture, with the result that if at any time during the four or five years the work which the grant is given for is not carried out, there will be a way of dealing with the situation. It provides for additional organisers and, above all, for additional accountants who will keep in close touch with the financial side of the work of the creameries, audit accounts, and generally see that the financial side which, to some extent up to the present has been neglected, is properly supervised.
I would like the Minister to make it clear what he means by keeping control. Do I understand him to mean that of the £10,000 we are now voting it will be for the Department to pay out so much of that sum as it thinks well according to the conduct of the Society, or is it in regard to subsequent years it is proposing to keep the check?
What I said in that respect applies not only to the subsequent years but to this year. I think that was always the position. I think while the money was voted it was open to the Department to withhold portion of the Grant if they considered it right to do so, for good and sufficient reasons. I think that is essential. We are, of course, preserving the point of view that the I.A.O.S. is a body for which we have no responsibility, and over whose operations we have no control. The Deputy will understand if the State is giving a Grant on the Estimates of a certain Department— though indirectly—it is possible to see that the work which is being paid for is being done.
That is true, but I think the principle has usually been that the Grant was given if the Department were satisfied that the work to be accomplished by the body receiving the Grant was likely to be carried out to its satisfaction.
I think the Deputy is right. While we transfer the amount of money on these Estimates during the year in which it is voted, it would be open to the Department to reconsider the whole case when it would become necessary to put up a new demand to the Department of Finance. I think that is the correct view.
I want to say, on this particular sub-head, that in general while I do not approve, to any great extent, of State contributions to voluntary societies, I think the time has practically come in regard to the I.A.O.S. in which it is necessary to give it a helping hand if it is to continue doing the useful work which it has been doing in the past. I think when the State starts to subsidise a society of this kind it should keep as much of a check as is possible over it in the circumstances. While I have a great deal of praise for the work which has been done in the past by the I.A.O.S., I think there were defects in connection with their methods. In view of this fact I think the Dáil, in some way or another, while making this contribution, ought to have some voice, directly or indirectly, in the actual methods of organisation carried out by this organisation. If I were to criticise the methods of the society I would say that the officials of it were inclined to be theoretical and not sufficiently practical. I would say what they require in the future is to get men into their organisation and to organise for them, men who have a somewhat more practical turn of mind than some of those who have been working for them in the past; not by any means all, because I know some of their organisers and officials are really practical men. I think it should come from this Dáil, now that a very generous contribution is going to the society, that we expect results.
With regard to sub-head M 1 (c)— Allowances to Farmers and others in connection with keeping agricultural costings accounts—I would like to know from the Minister what stage these costings accounts have reached, how long has the Department been carrying on this work in connection with these costings accounts. I know that they carried on that work in the past up to a certain stage. I would like to have a statement of their work in that regard elaborated somewhat by the Minister, and I would like to know from him when we may expect pamphlets to be published by the Department showing the result of this system of costings.
Costings have now been going on for about two years. There is an officer of the Department whose duty it is to collate and digest these costings, and I think it will be possible to issue some publication in connection with them within a short time. I could not name the exact date. It is going on for two years, and there is a special officer of the Department engaged in collating, analysing, and preparing for publication the results of these costings.
Under sub-head M 2 I want to raise a point, if I am in order, though I believe I am not in order. That is with regard to market reports. I refer to market reports coming from England. I think the officers concerned with the market reports in England are really under the Department of External Affairs.
They are under the Department of External Affairs.
In my opinion they ought to be under this Vote.
The Deputy cannot discuss the matter here.
In connection with M 4, would the Minister discuss very briefly the conditions under which grants are available for the erection of village halls? I think it is a matter that should be known publicly. It is not known generally that such grants can be made.
In the view of the terms of the sub-head, grants may be made, but in fact they are not being made. I mentioned that a sum of £23,000 is voted this year. There was a Supplementary Estimate, making £30,000 in all. There is being used for stallions, bulls and agricultural implements, £10,000. Then there is an additional £5,000 for implements and an additional £2,000 for stallions, bulls, and sprayers. While there is the power, it is not the intention of the Department to make any advances for village halls. There are other and more urgent needs. At the same time, I do not think the sub-head should be altered, because with better times and more money we might consider making these grants.
Should not the provision for silos come under the Vote for the Office of Public Works?
The Office for Public Works can make advances for silos.
Do you make advances?
We will not. While it is possible I do not think we will make any advances this year. This is merely to indicate that the money the Dáil is voting can be used for that purpose if in the course of the year we thought it right to make any such advances, but that would depend to a great extent on the terms of the application made and the circumstances surrounding it.
Why should farm buildings be put under this Vote? If money can be advanced I think it should be advanced from the Office of Public Works in the ordinary way. Why should it be put under this heading?
Would it be possible for an enterprising farmer to get it from both sources?
I doubt it. He would want to be very enterprising. The answer is that there are different conditions to start with. We give these loans in the congested districts mostly. A lot of our Department's schemes are schemes for poor areas. We make it a special point to supplement other schemes for poor areas.
Surely a silo is not a thing for a poor area, unless it be a co-operative silo.
Are silos worked in connection with the schools?
In connection with sub-head O (1), in view of the statements appearing in the Press about the prices of Irish eggs in the English markets I would like the Minister to give us some idea as to what the actual position is.
I can answer that quite shortly. I have a statement here showing the prices in London, Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow and Cardiff. I have in the columns the prices for Irish, Danish, English, Dutch, French, and Swedish. I find that for the twenty weeks beginning with the 2nd January the price of Irish eggs was practically the top quotation of the market. There were only three weeks in which the quotation for Irish eggs was not the top quotation. For seventeen weeks Irish eggs held the top price and for the three weeks commencing 9th January, 27th February, and 26th March, Irish eggs were second best and Danish eggs were first. With these exceptions Irish eggs were consistently at the very top. The very same thing applies to Manchester; with the exception of four out of twenty weeks Irish eggs were at the top.
I think the Minister ought to be congratulated upon that very satisfactory position.
The best test of all probably was when the London Egg Exchange Company, Limited, acting in conformity with the British Board of Trade during the strike, when fixing the price of eggs, put Irish eggs immediately after English new-laid eggs and before all other imported eggs. They did that as a result of their experience.
As regards sub-head O (2), I would like to draw the attention of the Minister for Lands and Agriculture to the delay in appointing a bacteriologist under the Dairy Produce Act, 1924. Almost one and a half years have passed and no bacteriologist has been appointed to carry out the very important administrative functions indicated under this Act. I think the fact that there has been no appointment results in a big loss to the Government. I believe if a bacteriologist were appointed at the commencement there would be a saving of some £5,000 in fees. As it is, there is a very substantial loss.
I am aware an advertisement has been issued for a bacteriologist, but the conditions indicated in the advertisement are such that you will scarcely get any man worthy of the name to accept the post. The salary offered is from £300 to £400, and for that salary a man must have first-class honours, be a Bachelor of Science, and, if he is to know bacteriology, he must have a degree in medicine, and have practically a veterinary diploma. No bachelor of science can know bacteriology without having a knowledge of veterinary practice. We all know that milk and butter are the media of conveying the most virulent diseases. It is bad enough, and unattractive enough, to have this salary ranging from £300 to £400, but there are other conditions. A man to attain the minimum salary must be thirty-five years of age. A man who possesses all the qualifications set out in this advertisement, and who will accept £300 at thirty-five years of age, will not, I think, be a very desirable acquisition.
The commencing age is twenty-five years, and if a young man or woman accepts the post at that age, he or she will be penalised. In the case of a woman, the salary is reduced from £200 to £100 for a person twenty-five years of age. I do not know why a woman should be penalised in connection with this office. Her profession costs her as much as it will cost a man. She is expected to do the work as well as a man, and for that reason she should be paid the same salary. Why a bachelor cannot do the work as well as a married man, I do not know. If he is a bachelor and is twenty-five years of age, he commences at a minimum salary of £100.
This is an important matter, because it affects the whole administration of the Act. These conditions are imposed in such a way that you will get no first-class, second-class, or third-class man to accept the post. I do not attribute the fault to the Minister for Finance; I do attribute it to interference by the Department of Finance. An official fixes these salaries in such a way as to become a public danger, especially where professional work is concerned. I would ask the Committee to consider this matter carefully. One and a half years have passed and we have no bacteriologist. If one is to judge by the advertisement, one does not wonder an appointment has not been made.
It is one and a half years since the Act was passed, but Deputy Doctor Hennessy will understand that the five parts of the Act could not be brought into operation simultaneously. Three parts are in operation, and the five parts must be brought into operation in sequence. In any event it would be impossible to bring the fourth part into operation less than a year after the first part. It would, of course, be useful if we had our bacteriologist, but there are some difficulties in appointing one and fixing up the various details preliminary to filling the position. Undoubtedly a bacteriologist appointed in connection with the Dairy Produce Act will be a very important officer and his work will be extremely useful, not only to the State but to the creameries. A really good man can give invaluable service to the creameries by indicating the root causes affecting butter.
In all these matters we are in a dilemma. We are expected to do things really well, to tackle a big task and place Irish butter at the top of the English market in competition with Denmark and Canada. We are in competition with countries where they do things very well, where they pay for their scientists and spare no expense on their controlled schemes. Undoubtedly they are right in adopting that attitude. Money saved in a matter like this is not money gained. It might be the very worst form of economy, the biggest extravagance in the long run. We are expected to do everything as well as our competitors. We are in a dilemma. On the one side you have people who expect a lot, and people of that type are usually, the most inefficient; the people who expect most will do least themselves, and they are the quickest to blame others. Here we have these people begrudging anything like a decent recompense to a man who does a decent day's work.
Whom is the Minister referring to—the Minister for Finance or the Farmers' Party?
I am speaking of the position I find myself in.
Between the devil and the deep sea.
I am between the devil and the deep sea and, while I concede it lies with Deputy Johnson to make that point, I make the further point: I am in the dilemma, and the Minister for Finance is in the dilemma, that while we are expected to do things as well as our competitors, the people who expect and are prepared to do less for themselves will see to it, above all else, that the agents we employ for that purpose are paid as little as possible. That is the dilemma we are trying to solve, in our own way, for a very long time. We are trying to solve it on the lines of paying for the work done and I leave it between the Deputy and the Minister for Finance as to whether we are doing it on this occasion.
I think the Minister ought to be fair in this matter. He will remember, he was applauded very generously by the representatives of the agricultural community in regard to the whole of his speech on Friday, and a very important clause of that speech which was applauded very generously by the Farmers' representatives, was this: "It was important to provide, as far as possible, for first-class professorships; and first-class professors, like everybody else, can only be had for first-class salaries."
I say the Minister must give credit where credit is due, and, notwithstanding anything said from the Farmers' benches, in the past, they have now come to the conclusion by their plaudits of that passage in the Minister's speech, that when good work is required, good salaries will have to be paid, and they will no longer in future begrudge high-class salaries for high-class work. I think that should be recognised, and I hope I have the assent of the farmers to that position.
They never took up any other attitude.
I wonder did the Deputy oppose propositions regarding reductions in those Votes on account of salaries? I think the statement made by Deputy Hennessy rather contradicts the proposition that high-class work can only be called for if fair salaries are paid. I have it in my mind that the work of the bacteriologist is of a very high-class character, and requires a very considerable amount of ability, and unless it is done very carefully and unless you have an able man or woman to fill this post, much of the value of the position will be lost. It surprises me to hear that the Ministry is expecting to get that high-class man, or high-class woman, for the salary mentioned in the statement made by Deputy Doctor Hennessy. I feel with him that it is unfair to expect the quality and the ability, called for for this purpose, for the salary that is offered.
I must congratulate the Minister for Agriculture in having a field-day to-day. He is getting a little back on his economy opponents. Doubtless, the Minister can go to the country and say, "No economy can be effected. The Farmers' Party agree that efficiency must be paid for in good salaries. They have been talking nonsense when they said anything to the contrary all this time." The Farmers' Party never said that good men did not deserve good salaries, but we do not say that there are not some middling men getting good salaries here, and if we compare some of the salaries given here with the salaries paid in other countries——
We asked for them several times, and you did not give them.
I could give them.
But you did not give them.
Go to Holland.
Go there yourself.
I agree with Deputy Hennessy and Deputy Johnson that the salary offered to the bacteriologists is not sufficient. I do not believe that that is a matter between the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Agriculture or that the Minister would not get a sufficient sum to pay a good man. Neither do I agree that he is in a dilemma in regard to this salary. This is merely electioneering propaganda.
On Sub-head O (3), I put down this motion, "To reduce Sub-head O (3), by £10, in order to extract from the Minister some information regarding his intention in respect to the black scab Order as it affects the North Louth Area. I am sure the Minister will be able to get first-hand information on this matter from his colleague, the Minister for Defence. A year ago the question was raised as to the possibility of relieving the potato, growers of this area from restrictions, or alternatively, finding some means of allowing the potato growers there to dispose of their crops. I realise that there is a difficulty facing the department in view of the very earnest desire to prevent all risks of black scab spreading through the country. The case as presented to me is like this:
The potato growers there were persuaded to purchase immune varieties, and they had up to a month ago in the case of one district, Bellurgan, five hundred tons of Kerr's pink potatoes for which they could find no sale. That is to say, while they are free to export to England, as far as the Irish Department is concerned, that particular brand of potato was not in demand and there was practically no sale. The case that is put up is that there was, at that time, about six thousand tons of potatoes in the area. Some varieties were being sold for export at fifteen shillings to a pound a ton. But Bellurgan, where they had these Kerr's pink variety, was practically deprived of a market because that variety was not in demand in Great Britain. I was asked to put to the Minister that the risk of spreading disease by virtue of the distribution of any variety of potato from that area is nil at this time of the year, that that will be particularly so, if the potatoes are sent for consumption in a city; that there could be freedom with safety for sale in quantities, under some kind of supervision, to a city or even large town. It has been put to me also that the aim of the Minister is less likely to be achieved if men who are the owners of four, five or six acres find it necessary to dispose of a sack or two for the purpose of exchange, or practically barter them for tea, coffee and sugar in the market. The risk of the disease spreading is greater if men are tempted to dispose of their potatoes in that piecemeal fashion. They get them through and because of that surreptitious method, there is greater danger of the disease spreading. It is suggested that the Department might well and reasonably make some arrangement, now that the time for sowing has passed, to allow the distribution of immune varieties from this district to the cities and towns.
The objection is raised that it is not in the potato alone that the risk lies, but also in the earth attached to it. Against that contention, it is pointed out that from the same field, turnips and cabbage may be transferred, and the risk is just as great if such a movement takes place in that way, as it is in the case of potatoes. It is very strongly urged by the people in that area that their position is a very difficult one, inasmuch as they have grown these potatoes, and have conformed to the advice of the Department with regard to the purchase of immune seed. They have no outlet for their crop. I do not want to make any proposal which would increase the risk of spreading the disease of black scab to other parts of the country, but on behalf of the people in that area, I plead that the Minister should consider in every possible way how he can meet the needs of that community as regards the disposition of their potatoes. I suggest that that could be done, taking into account that the sowing season is over, and that the risk of disease spreading is practically nil at this time of the year.
As Deputy Johnson stated, the position is, that these people can export the potatoes, but they cannot send them from the scheduled area to any other part of the Free State. That is what they want to do. It is a hard case, and I assure the Deputy that we have examined it carefully from the point of view he has expressed. We have examined it from the point of view whether it would be safe to make some arrangement whereby they could sell the potatoes, say, to the Army, or some institution where you would have control of the potatoes and of the refuse afterwards. We decided that it would not be safe to do so. The Deputy will remember that we are in the fortunate position of having black scab only in Louth and Donegal. We are unlike Northern Ireland in this respect, and it would certainly be to our vital interest to see that that state of affairs continues. In Northern Ireland the disease is very widespread. It is in Down, Armagh, Antrim and Derry. We are in the happy position that we have only two areas with black scab. It is undoubtedly to our vital interest to take every precaution, and to see that black scab is controlled. Having considered the question of letting these potatoes out for special purposes, such as for use by the Army or some institution, we came to the conclusion, after a lot of examination, that we could not do it. It would be impossible even there to try and control the refuse.
As Deputy Johnson pointed out, these spores of black scab are taken out not only in the potato—even in immune varieties—but also in the soil adhering to the potatoes. That might get mixed up very easily with manure. It has been known to spread from manure a year afterwards. That is the real trouble and the real risk. As the Deputy stated, the planting season is now over, and it was thought that the potatoes could be let out in the certainty that they would not be used for seed, but for table purposes. The difficulty I have mentioned stands in the way. The refuse could very easily get mixed up through manure, and could very easily infect land into which it was brought. The Deputy mentioned the case of mangolds and turnips, and I have no answer. That was allowed. There is some difficulty in even justifying it. It was allowed to go on, and has not led to any evil results. It would certainly be wrong to extend it. When you consider it, there is less danger from mangolds and turnips. The spores are likely to be taken out with the soil as well as with the potatoes, even in immune varieties.
I do not think we would be justified in making the same regulation for potatoes as is the practice in respect to mangolds and turnips. If black scab spread it would be very hard to defend our position as against the hardship that there is in this small area.
We have done well by Cooley. We induced them to grow immune varieties there. That was the best we could have done for them. We were not able to save them from the fall in prices that has taken place all over Britain and Ireland this year. The potatoes are, in fact, all cleared except in Bellurgan area. On the other hand, I want Deputy Johnson to remember that they could have cleared their stocks at a better price. The price has been falling. In most instances they were offered a much better price at an earlier stage than the price they actually obtained afterwards. It is the old story again of people getting into one way of farming. There are, I know, very special reasons in that district why they should continue that method of farming. It is peculiarly suited to potatoes. They got into that method of farming and they refuse to change it. They adopt the attitude that they must get what they regard as a good price for their potatoes regardless of the state of the market.
In Cooley district they were undoubtedly unwise. They refused a far better price than they took later. In Bellurgan they did that also, and it is the only area where the potatoes are not cleared. Possibly, they will be able to clear them yet. Bellurgan is only a small portion of the entire area. In Cooley district we took the risk of arranging the growing of sugar beet. The arrangements that I have mentioned have been made in respect of manures. We induced the sugar company to give that district special attention. They are getting the full contract price. Notwithstanding that it is outside the area, the sugar company were able to arrange with the railway company for very special terms. These terms are quite reasonable. I think there will be 300 acres of sugar beet grown there, and the growers will be assured of a good price and of cheap transit facilities. In addition, there has been started a credit society. Already a £600 advance has been made to that credit society. If ever there was an area where the financing should be done by a credit society, it is that area. Their operations are small. They are very small farmers. They do not require the large amount of money that would be required for live stock. They require only comparatively small amounts, and a credit society for them is the ideal thing.
We started such a society, and we put in £600. Having regard to all the circumstances—that we have arranged for the growing of sugar beet, that we have arranged a credit society, giving an advance which will probably be followed by more advances one of these days—I think we have done all that could reasonably be expected of us.
Would the Minister explain why there are five temporary Inspectors instead of two last year? I understand that the black scab disease is getting less. We should therefore require fewer inspectors.
resumed the Chair.
These inspectors are not for black scab. They are for potato development generally. We are endeavouring to develop a seed trade in five or six areas, and we have met with a considerable amount of success. We used to import 3,000 tons of seed potatoes into this country. Last year, we produced all our seed except 300 tons. We think this is one of the catch crops we can develop, and we are concentrating on it.
Then these items are under the wrong sub-head.
Is it worth while having a special sub-head in order to save the Deputy putting a question?
I maintain that it is worth while. Deputy Cooper has already referred to this matter. Here we have inspectors dealing with production of potatoes for seed, and we have them under the heading of Destructive Insects and Pests Act.
We find it extremely hard to make arrangements to control potatoes from the north. In case there was an outbreak anywhere, these Inspectors would be transferred immediately to that work. We can get simplification up to a point but there is a point beyond which you cannot simplify a complex question.
The potatoes are all good coming from the North. I listened to a good portion of your speech here on Friday afternoon and I read the rest of it yesterday afternoon. I do not often pay compliments but, on this occassion, I congratulate you on the comprehensive and optimistic statement you have given to the Dáil.
I should like to ask you, A Chinn Comhairle, whether Deputy White is addressing his compliments to the Chair, because there is a Standing Order that Deputies must address the Chair.
I was just wondering to whom they were being addressed.
I am addressing them to the Minister for Lands and Agriculture, through the Chair. With regard to these new faculties about to be established——
The Deputy, I am afraid, is late in dealing with the general question. We are now discussing an amendment dealing with Sub-head O (3). If Deputy White has anything to say on that, I shall be glad to hear him.
I must ask your pardon. I had a great rush coming from Innishowen to-day to be in time for the Land Commission Vote. I was under the impression that you, sir, would take a broad view of the points to be raised, seeing that I have only just arrived. However, I bow to your decision with the greatest possible pleasure because you are both a scholar and a gentleman.
On Sub-head O (4), I have on several occasions referred to this question of the Weeds and Seeds Act. I should like if the Minister would state what in his opinion is the measure of usefulness of this Act or what results are derived from the expenditure of this £850 in the 26 counties. My experience of the past three or four years' working of this Act is that it is practically useless in the counties where it has been adopted.
Has the Meath Co. Council adopted it?
Yes; practically from its inception. As County Meath has been mentioned, I may say that there the Act has been of no particular avail. Land-owners who destroyed the weeds on their lands every year have not, since the adoption of this Act by the Meath County Council, seen an inspector. They ask why. The question can be very simply answered. There is too large an area under the charge of an inspector for him to give attention to the whole lot. It is almost impossible for an inspector attending, say, to Dunshaughlin Rural District, to cover the whole of that district during the period that the weeds are supposed to be destroyed under this Act. There is another point that could be raised in regard to this matter. The Minister does not state in the Estimate the number of temporary inspectors employed at this work. He does not state what salary is paid them. So far as I can gather, the amount paid these inspectors is so small that it does not leave them in a position to be immune from corruption or bribery. To my mind, the same must be utilised and must be working very strongly in many counties in Ireland.
Has the Deputy any proof of that?
I might be able to give proof of it. The Minister informed me last year, when I tabled a question about a particular estate of some 1,100 acres convinient to the town of Trim, that an inspector had paid a second visit there and had discovered that all the weeds had been destroyed on that estate. I told the Minister that I could give him quite a contrary statement to that which he had received from his inspector, and I state the same now. The weeds were not destroyed, no matter whether the inspector called there or not.
What do you deduce from that?
The Minister said an inspector called to see whether the weeds were destroyed or not. The inspector reported to the Minister that the weeds were destroyed. I deduce from that that if that inspector went there and reported to the Minister that the weeds were destroyed, when they were not, that that inspector received some bribe from the owner of the land, because the report was ridiculous and false. There was not as much as 200 acres destroyed out of the whole 1,100. That existed last year, and probably will exist this year.
Everyone has his own way of explaining things.
The Minister has his own way of explaining things; in some cases he explains things to such an extent that no one knows what he is talking about at all. The position is that the money voted under this sub-head had better be withdrawn altogether because no useful purpose is served by it, and I suggest the Minister for Lands and Agriculture should give his consideration to improving the administration of this particular Act by passing it over to the County Committee of Agriculture in the different counties where the Act is adopted and letting the instructors of that Committee do the work, or on the other hand have it passed over to the Gárda Síochána and let them administer the Act, because under the present system there is no administration at all. The Act is a farce. It is of no avail and this not alone applies to the County Meath but to other counties I have been through. Last year when I was travelling with a Deputy on the Farmers' benches I pointed out to him on both sides of the railway approximately two or three hundred acres of thistles. That proves that this Act is hopeless and of no avail, and I ask the Minister to give his consideration to this matter.
I asked him before to reconsider the advisability of introducing legislation to amend this Act and now I ask him again to do the same thing in connection with this matter, and see how it may be better administered. I should like him to give it some consideration with a view to having the Act enforced in the manner in which it should be enforced if it were passed in another Parliament outside this. Then the very numerous people, the farmers down the country, who evade this Act will be brought to realise their responsibility in the matter. It is not fair to allow preferential treatment to one as against another. Take two farmers:—one goes out and destroys weeds, no matter what the cost may be. The other, across the mearing, lets all his weeds grow. The blossom flies away; the seed gets in on the tillage of the first farmer who has thereby as much weeds as the other man who lets his grow.
Deputy Hall has, as far as I gathered from him, given a particular instance of an inspection made, and indicated a particular official, without naming him. The official can easily be identified. Deputy Hall said, that in his judgement, a temporary inspector took a bribe. I do not know whether Deputy Hall realises what he did say. I do not know how these inspectors work, but I am very much concerned with the general level of debate here, and with respect for ourselves. The Deputy, as far as I understand the law in the matter, can say almost anything he pleases in the House with impunity. It is a serious thing, however, to say that a particular person took a bribe and I should like Deputy Hall to withdraw that altogether because it is a statement which he makes under the privilege of the Dáil, and a statement, which, in my judgment, ought not to have been made.
I hope the House does not take me as attempting to make a statement under privilege. The statement would not be made by me only that the Minister intervened, and I withdraw that portion which refers to the official who took the bribe. The Minister put that question deliberately to me, and I made that statement. The Minister informed me last year that an inspector reported to him that the weeds on that particular farm had been destroyed, and I pointed out to the Minister that the statement was false, and that if he received that statement, it was false. However, I withdraw the charge of bribery.
I have come to the conclusion that this Act was administered in a slipshod way. I am forced to that conclusion, partly by a statement of the Minister himself, who informed the House some time ago that on a particular farm in the County Cork, owned by County Councillor O'Gorman, there were more thistles grown practically than in the rest of the County of Cork. If we had an active and efficient weeds officer, that would not have occurred, but the Minister would not have been able to get in a word then at County Councillor O'Gorman. I agree with a great deal of what Deputy Hall said. The Act is not administered properly, and it ought to be administered properly. Take my own case. I employ men each year to cut thistles and crop weeds. My next-door neighbour never cuts a thistle, with the result that he destroys my land each year. I think that ought not to occur. People, especially with large holdings, ought to be compelled to cut weeds.
I am discussing the matter with the Minister for Justice to see whether the police would not be the proper people to administer the Act.
I think that is very desirable.
I support the suggestion of Deputy Hall as to the administration of the Weeds and Seeds Act. That could really be performed by the county instructor, and it would not be of very much extra cost to the county. As far as I understand, I do not think many counties in the Saorstát have put this Act into operation at all, and where it is in operation I believe the proper persons to administer the Act in the county are the county instructors.
Perhaps the Deputy does not want the Act.
I voted against it several times in the county council for the reason that we do not want it.
The Deputy is giving advice as to how to administer an Act that he has not adopted in his own county.
I can confirm what the other Deputies have said in regard to the Act being badly administered. In many parts of the country large areas have not been touched. I was glad to hear the Minister say that he was consulting the Minister for Justice in regard to this matter, as something will have to be done. I think there is something in Deputy Doyle's suggestion, and, perhaps, the matter could be met by giving the county instructors supervision over the other officials, as these officials may inspect some districts and ignore others. The good man suffers for the bad man's neglect.
What would be the position of the officer under the Cork County Committee of Agriculture if he had to inspect the farm of his Chairman?
With regard to F (4), I want to draw the Minister's attention to the grant of £1,100 to universities for teaching in agricultural subjects. I hardly see the necessity for this grant, in view of the fact that we are to have faculties in agriculture in Cork and Dublin.
If the faculty is set up, that money will not be expended, but if it is not set up, the money will be used.
In regard to subheads P and Q, which refer to the faculty of general agriculture in University College, Dublin, and the faculty of dairy science in University College, Cork, am I to take it that the amounts mentioned there are subject to the decision regarding the new faculties? Is this the only opportunity which we will have of discussing the provision of capital for the erection of buildings and so forth in connection with these colleges?
There will be a Bill.
I feel that this matter will require some consideration.
The Bill will provide for the transfer of lands and buildings, for instance, in connection with University College, Dublin, and money will be paid annually in lieu of that now paid annually to the universities.
Will this capital expenditure now being voted be spent whether the Bill becomes law or not?
It was intended to proceed as quickly as possible with that capital expenditure, and I do not think that there is anything against that.
I do not want to enter on a discussion now which may be prolonged, but I think it is important that we should understand that we are providing capital expenditure by this Vote, and that we will have no authority over the property to be built subsequently. The general question that is involved in this proposal will. I think, require some discussion, but I do not desire to discuss it now if an opportunity will arise later.
The Bill will provide for an annual sum to be voted for this purpose. At present, under the Universities Act, sums are provided by way of annual grants to the different colleges. New sums will be substituted under the Bill, but they will have to be voted annually and appear on the Estimates. I think when we are discussing the Bill these matters could be raised.
The Bill will raise the question of university endowment generally, but this money will not appear in it. A general discussion, however, on university endowment will be relevant.
Why is it necessary to make this grant, for instance, to the University College in Cork? Should that really not come under the heading of "Education"?
It has been decided as a matter of policy that the money should be voted through the Department, as there will have to be a close arrangement between the Department and the University Colleges. Under the faculty, work will be done which used to be done by the Department. This arrangement will give us an opportunity of discussing matters on somewhat equal terms.
Who will control the money?
The university will be in control of it. The Dáil will vote the sums annually, and, surely, it is obvious that the Dáil will have a certain amount of indirect control. So far as the faculty is concerned, it will, as in every other self-respecting university, be autonomous.
This faculty is not different from those of medicine and science, for instance, and I think that this grant should come in, in connection with universities and colleges, under the heading of "Education."
I feel that the discussion is developing, and I want to say that, by the process we are now entering on, the work which was done by the Department in Glasnevin and in the Cork Dairy School, for instance, and which was hitherto directed by the Department through one or other of its agencies, will no longer be subject to criticism by the Dáil either by the Farmers' Deputies or any other Deputies, and the whole control will be in the hands of an authority not under the control of the Dáil. I think it is well that we should have that fact in mind when we are handing over to an authority, which has no responsibility to the Dáil, this work of agricultural extension, experiment and education.
That is not so.
So far as carried on by the faculty in those buildings?
No; the work that will be done in that faculty will be university and not secondary work.
Is it not stated that the work, for instance, at Glasnevin farm will be transferred to the university?
No. The farm will be transferred to the university. So far as there was secondary education given in Glasnevin, it will be arranged to have it carried on in some other institute of the Department. It is a matter for discussion as to whether a small proportion could not be done in the university itself as extension work, the same as in other countries. So far as the main work of the faculty is concerned, it will be university work— teaching and research work—and this is not going to be a sort of glorified secondary school.
I am concerned rather with the proposal to hand over this work of the agricultural colleges to the university without a clear understanding of what is being done. When it is all thoroughly plain, I may be able to agree with it, but it has not yet been explained.
I explained it in five pages in my opening statement.
The Minister says that he has explained it in detail. I have not the Official Report by me, but I read the newspaper report, and the clear impression which I got from that report is, that the work of the Department at Glasnevin, and the farm there, will be transferred to the university. "With regard to Dublin, it was proposed that all the technical and experimental work should be done at the Albert College, Glasnevin, which, with the farms attached, would be transferred to University College."
Of course, the farms and the staff will be transferred, but only work of a university standard in animal nutrition and in plant-breeding will be transferred. The Department of Agriculture, of course, does secondary and primary education as well.
Does that mean that the Department of Agriculture will do its primary and secondary work on property and in buildings belonging to the University?
Certainly not. Not in the Albert College.
I do not know whether this is a fair report, but perhaps the Minister would excuse me saying that he followed a bad example, and that it was very difficult to understand his statement, which was read very quickly. But the report is clear—"that all the technical and experimental work should be done at the Albert College, Glasnevin, which, with the farms attached, would be transferred to the University College." Is that a correct statement?
Then I think I am right in what I said. If the work of the farms is to be transferred to University College——
It is intended that the University shall carry out research: "With regard to the Agricultural Faculty in University College, Dublin: It is proposed that all the technical and experimental work shall be done at the Albert Agricultural College, Glasnevin—which, with the farms attached, is to be transferred to the University College. That is to say, practically all the work after First Arts will be done there. In the nature of the case practically all the work, including chemistry, bacteriology, botany, animal nutrition, plant breeding, animal breeding, plant pathology, forestry, horticulture, zoology, would have to be done within a convenient distance of, or actually on, the farm. Obviously, it would be inconvenient to have laboratory work, say, in plant or animal breeding, plant pathology, in animal nutrition, agricultural chemistry, in the laboratories at one centre, and then be under the necessity of taking the students to another centre at a considerable distance for purposes of actual demonstration. Moreover, practically all the laboratories required are at present in the Albert College."
The Department of Agriculture used to do research work in the real sense of the word in two matters, animal nutrition and plant breeding. These two are being transferred, but so far as the ordinary technical and secondary education of the Department is concerned, that is not being transferred. The farms and buildings are transferred to the complete control of the College, but the work done on the farms and in the buildings will be research work and education of a university standard. We have four other institutions, and we can continue our ordinary education in them. Afterwards it may be found necessary to make arrangements for special courses for particularly advanced students, but that is a matter than can be discussed.
I take it this matter will arise when the Bill is produced, and I will not try to follow it up now, but I think a good deal of consideration will be required as to whether it is good policy to make this transfer and to lose control of the work done in these buildings.
I take it that the Faculty of Agriculture will be under the same control as any other faculty in the University——
——And that the buildings of the Albert Model Farm will be part of its scope, the same as the equipment of the Anatomy School under the Faculty of Medicine. I desire to draw the Minister's attention to the whole system of awarding county council scholarships.
I do not control them.
I think the system should be overhauled in view of these new faculties. I suggest that in future a scheme should be worked out by the Department under which the larger proportion of these University scholarships should be awarded to the sons and daughters of farmers so that they would be enabled to pursue a University course, both in agriculture and in dairy science. I agree with the Minister's statement that until we have an educated people both in agricultural and dairy science we need never hope to achieve the great things that might be expected of us as an agricultural country. Here is a chance for the Department to put into operation a practical scheme which would be of some reproductive benefit to the country. We have a plague of B.A.'s, B.Sc.'s and B.Comm.'s, and now we want an army of Bachelors of Agriculture. The farming community is supplying the greater part of the money for these scholarships, and the farmers' sons and daughters should have first call on them. By the development of these scholarships we expect that something will be done in the remote counties for the scientific and research side of agriculture. I sincerely hope that the Department will seriously consider the suggestion that I have thrown out.
I have had considerable experience of very many officials of the Department in various capacities for the past twenty-five years. I had the honour and distinction of being a member of the Donegal County Council and the Agricultural and Technical Instruction Committee. In these capacities I have come across a considerable number of the officials and I have always found them to be men who were inclined to do their duty without fear or favour. I am not speaking now as a champion either of the Land Commission or of the Department of Agriculture, but I think Deputy Hall made use of a very unhappy expression when he referred to some of them taking bribes.
That matter is closed now.
I would emphasise this matter of the county council scholarships, and I hope that the Department will take it up seriously.
The county councils undoubtedly should adapt their scholarships to this, and scholarships should not be given as they have been given. They should be considered in the light of the fact that these two faculties will be there.
The county councils would be slow to recast their schemes or to take the initiative in a matter of this kind, unless the Department of Agriculture takes up this matter and attacks it strongly.
I want to call the Minister's attention to the very small amount of money that is allocated for the improvement of horse breeding in the matter of thoroughbred stallions which I believe are rather sparse in the country and are badly needed. The breeding of hunters is one of the best industries we have. It has not been quite so good for the past few years, but I believe there is a boom coming. I am sorry to say that there is only £1,000 down for this.
There is £2,000. A Supplementary Estimate is to be introduced.
Even £2,000 is not enough. It is a small amount for such an important industry. I see that the Minister has another scheme for the breeding of agricultural horses, or the Irish draught horse, so-called. For this scheme he has down a very much larger sum. That is a class of horse that I think will never make up the country. It is far less important than the hunter class to Ireland, and the amount of money that is allotted for both schemes does not total more than £4,000, while the administration of these two schemes cost somewhere about £1,200 or £1,300. That is a rather large amount, considering the total amount to be spent.
Where did the Deputy get the £1,200 for administration?
For the inspectors in both schemes. There is a sum of £800, another sum of £250 and a further sum of £140. I think £1,200 is far too large a sum to be spent on a administering a scheme the total cost of which is only £4,000 or less. I think the administration is costing too much. The only fault I have to find is that the Minister is not giving more money for the scheme. At present the Minister gives nothing for nominations to mares except what he gives to Irish draught mares and except the county committees put up something of their own there is no such thing as nominations of mares to thoroughbred stallions. I would like the Minister to increase the subsidy to this industry.
The only answer to that is that it is impossible to do everything at the same time. We are dealing with butter, eggs and livestock.
But this is very important.
So were the others, as everyone's goose is a swan. I agree that the breeding of horses requires further development but it has to a certain extent been crowded out. You cannot do everything at the same time. All these things cost money and all this goes to swell the Estimates.
I hope it is no harm to draw the attention of the Minister to this matter.
These inspections are in respect of mare nominations. You can add £5,000 more to that scheme for nominations.
Where is that set out?
It is under the county committees of agriculture. It is not in the Department's Estimates at all.