TELEGRAPH BILL, 1928—FOURTH STAGE (RESUMED).

Question proposed: "That the Bill be received for final consideration."

Nuair a cuireadh an díosbóireacht ar ath-ló, bhíos ag cainnt ar cheist an telegrafa. Ar feadh na gcúig mblian seo thart tá an uimhir de telegrama a tugadh isteach ag oifigí an phuist ag laghdú. Ní amháin go bhfuil an uimhir ag dul síos, ach go bhfuil an t-ioncum ag laghdú. I 1923-24 sé an méid ioncuim a bhí ann ná £266,207 agus i 1927 £221,900. Mar a theasbáin an Teachta Lemass, tá laghdú ar chostas an seirbhís telegrafa fén duthaigh agus tá sé níos áirde san gcathair. Ní dubhairt an Rúnaidhe Páirliminte go rabh aon iarracht ghá dhéanamh chun an costas do laghdú. Dubhairt an tAire go mbeadh an costas nua ar mhuinntir tráchtála agus ní ar an mhuinntir coitchianta ach ní chreidim sin. Is é mo thuairim go mbeidh an costas ní amháin ar na daoine atá ag obair i gcúrsaí tráchtála ach go mbeidh sé an-mhór in áiteacha ar fuid na tíre, áiteacha ná fuil i ngiorracht d'oifig phuist agus in a bhfuil táille le n-íoc. Béidh sé ar na daoine seo—daoine atá ina gcomhnaí ar oileán no b'fhéidir sa Ghaeltacht— an costas nua d'íoc agus an táille chó maith.

Tá cheist polasaí a bhaineas leis an gceist seo. Tá an guthán ghá leathnú ar fuid na tíre agus táthar ag súil go mbeidh i bhfad níos mó airgid ag teacht isteach ar a shon san. Ach go dtí seo caitheadh a lán airgid ar an ngutháan agus ní amháin ar an nguthán ach ar thelegrafa chó maith. Cuireadh ceist ar an Aire mar gheall ar na daoine atá ina gcomhnuí ar an teórainn agus níor fhreagair an tAire an cheist chó soiléir agus ba chóir do. Ní bheidh aon bhac ar na daoine atá ina gcomhnaí in aice leis an dteorainn dul thar an teorann agus telegram do chur ar an sean-íoc—sgilling amháin. Ní dubhairt an tAire dada mar gheall ar an mbealach no ar an gcaoi ina socrófar an cheist sin.

Dubhairt an tAire go raibh an Rialtas chun connartha nua do dhéanamh le Rialtas na Bhreataine Móire no go rabhadar ag ceapadh an chonnartha atá ann d'atharú. Ní mór dó teasbáint dúinn cad a dhéanfaidh sé ar an gceist seo—ceist na ndaoine in a gcomhnaí ar thaobh na teorann agus atá in-án dul isteach ins na sé condaethe agus telegrafa do chur ar 1/-. Dubhairt an tAire go mbeidh an méid céanna telegrafa le chur feasta agus 1/6 orra agus a bhí; agus dá mbeadh aon laghdú orra ní bheadh sé mór. Más rud é go bhfuil an méid céanna telegrafa ag dul tríd an bpost saoileann sé go mbeidh sé in án rud éigin do dhéanamh annso agus annsúd chun an costas do laghdú. Is dó liom gur sgadán dearg é sin atá an tAire ag iarraidh a tharrac isteach. Deireann sé gurab é bun agus bárr na ceiste seo ná go bhfuil an costas rothrom ar na daoine lasmuich de lucht tráchtála agus de na daoine a bhfuil spéis speisialta aca ins an cheist seo. Deir an tAire go mbeidh gá le cáin mhór chun na hoibre seo do choimeád mar atá.

Isé teacht isteach an telegram ná 1/3½ ach isé an costas atá ar an Roinn mar gheall ar an telegram san ná 2/5. Tá 1/1½ cailte ar gach telegram. Ní ceart don Rialtas an costas san do chur ar dhaoine eile—daoine nách bhfuil baint acu, no fíor-bheagán bainte aca —leis an gceist seo. Dubhairt sé nach féidir socrú no system níos fearr do dhéanamh ionnus go ndíolfe na seirbhísí asta fhéin. Deir sé go bhfuil an iomad d'airgead na ndaoine gá chaitheamh agus go mba cheart an t-ualach san d'atharú ó ghuailnibh na ndaoine coitchianta go dtí guailnibh na ndaoine a chuireann telegrama tríd an bpost.

Conus a rachadh telegram tríd an post?

Níl fhios agam. B'fhéidir go dtabharfá an Teachta leictiúr dúinn, ós rud é nách bhfuilim chó flúirseach leis. Mar adubhart an lá deireannach, is an-deacair do Theachta cosúil liom fhéin aistriú do chur ar cuntas mar so. Dá mba rud é gur tugadh an teolas so i dtosach as Gaedhilg ní bheadh an trioblóid seo orm.

Is the Deputy entitled to read what he calls his speech?

He is not reading it.

There is, firstly, a question of fact at issue as to whether or not the Deputy is reading his speech.

On a point of order, is the Deputy entitled upon three separate occasions to make precisely the same untrue accusation against this particular Deputy?

Mr. WOLFE

I do not remember making the accusation before.

Deputy Flinn has no right to make that kind of statement when a point of order has been raised. The point of order that a Deputy is reading his speech is not an accusation, and, therefore, it cannot be an untrue accusation. If Deputy Flinn would restrain his own language it would be much better. Deputy Wolfe's point of order is perfectly legitimate. Deputy Flinn's intervention is most objectionable.

Mar adubhairt an lá deireannach, dá dtabharfa an tAire an cúram céanna do cheist na Gaedhilge in oifig an phuist agus mar tá ghá thabhairt ag na h-oifigigh iochtaracha ar fuid na tíre níor ghá domh-sa Gaedhilg do chur ar an gcúntas so.

Níl aon bhaint aige sin leis an gceist seo.

Tá a rabh le rá agam ráidhte. Ós rud é go bhfuil an Teachta de Bhulbh mí-shásta liom agus go n-abrann sé go bhfuilim a léigheamh m'oráide, b'fhéidir go mbeidh sé níos sásta liom má chromaim ar an Bhéarla.

It seems to me that the Minister for Finance, in asking the Dáil to pass this Bill, has thrown a red herring into the discussion and cleverly evaded the important question of whether or not economies should be effected in the administration of the telegraph service by saying that the whole question is that under present circumstances an enormous burden has been placed on the rest of the community who are not themselves in the habit of sending telegrams and that the whole of that burden should be borne by the business community or whatever other people are mainly sending these telegrams.

I think the House expected, and I hope before the discussion closes the Minister will say something more than he has on this important question of effecting economy in the administration of the telegraph service. The question, in my opinion, is not chiefly the changing of the burden, or the lessening of the burden, of the subsidy which he claims the taxpayer is paying for an adequate telegraph service, but whether the cost to the business community and those who are sending telegrams could not have been greatly reduced if the Minister, during the past few years, had taken steps to see that this service, which we know he and other Ministers stress as a service, which is being conducted on business lines and which would bear favourable comparison with business concerns, had gone into the matter or had got his Parliamentary Secretary to go into this business of telegraph administration, as the director of a private business concern would have done. I think he would have found considerable room for economies, and by effecting those economies it would not have been necessary either to charge the tax-paying community with a burden of £150,000 per year, nor would it have been necessary to inflict upon those who are sending telegrams an extra fee of sixpence per telegram. The cost has been estimated by the Minister for Finance at 2/7 per telegram, while the receipts in respect of each telegram come to only 1/3½, so that there is a loss of 1/3½ per telegram, or £150,000 per year. The Minister has not vouchsafed any details to show us in what way he computes that cost of 2/7, nor has he, as he might have, when he contemplates that an addition should be made to the charge for telegrams, gone on to show what the result would be in a detailed manner. He has simply said that he does not anticipate any considerable diminution in the number of telegrams. He says that he is not convinced, so far as the arguments may have been made by representatives of the business community, that this new charge inflicts a further burden upon the producers and upon the business community generally. He is not satisfied that that is a fair statement of the case, and he wants to lead the House to believe that the burden, in fact, will mainly fall upon individuals concerned in betting. It has been pointed out by various other Deputies that that is an over-statement, that there are certain merchants in the country engaged in the egg trade, for example, whose business demands that they should be in daily and constant intercourse with the English markets. I think unless the Minister can produce further details to prove the strength of his argument, the House would be well advised to follow their own common sense and to agree with me that, instead of inflicting a burden upon the people interested in gambling, the burden will be inflicted upon merchants such as I have mentioned, whose business makes it necessary for them to be in constant touch with other agents and with the English markets.

How will the extra cost imposed upon them work out? The Minister says it will not effect any diminution in the number of telegrams and that any diminution that may eventually be caused will be more than counterbalanced by the economies that will be effected. It is an extraordinary way to carry out economies that you should first have to impose an additional cost on the consumer in order to carry your economies subsequently into effect. Why not carry out the economies in any case and show the House what has been done and what could be done in order to reduce the cost before you inflict a further burden upon the producer?

The trunk system of telephones is now fairly well established throughout the country and it may be the attitude of the Ministry that they desire to subsidise in this strange way the telephone service by compelling the people to use it. I think they said pretty definitely that in the vicinity of Dublin telegrams had decreased considerably and they have tried to argue that there is a greater loss in the administration of the telegraph service in Dublin City and round about than down the country and that that is caused by the fact that an increasing number of people about Dublin who would otherwise have used the telegraph are now using the telephone. If the Minister wants telephones to become more widely used, if it is his desire to carry it still further down the country and get a larger number of people to instal telephones, I think he could have found a more economical and desirable way to achieve his end than by putting an extra cost on telegrams, because at the present time there is a heavy loss on the telephone as well as on the telegraph service. It is not a case of what you lose on the swing you gain on the roundabouts. It is quite possible, and I venture to predict what will happen is, that you are going to have a continual loss both on the swings and the roundabouts, and the Ministry in imposing this new rate have not looked forward sufficiently and contemplated the result of their action.

They have not contemplated what exactly is going to happen in connection with the telephones. They had a vague idea that there would be an increase in the telephone service, and there the matter stands. As a matter of fact, even if there is an increase, and if there was a proportionate increase such as we would expect if a large number of people now considered that telegrams were too expensive, and that it would be more profitable and cheaper to use the telephone, even if a large number of people changed their habits in that respect, we are not at all sure, and we have not received any assurance from the Minister that the telephone service, as it stands at present, would be able to cope with any new demand on a large scale. The telephone service is greatly in arrear, and until the telephone service is properly established and developed and is able to stand on its own legs largely, and to show that it can be run as a business proposition, the cost of the telegraph service should not be made prohibitive for those availing of it. The Post Office, as a whole, is being run, we are told, as a business proposition. But until that stage has been reached, until the telephone service is working clearly and definitely as a separate unit and has shown indications that it will in future be able to pay its way, I submit that it is a mistaken policy to assist it in this manner by trying to force people to establish telephones in their houses and make it too expensive for them to pay 1/6 for a telegram.

There is also the question of the delivery fee in out-of-the-way districts where the people are poor. Perhaps the Minister for Finance thinks that these people are not very much interested in the matter of telegrams, and that they only get a few during the year. Nevertheless, in those cases where the total income of the poorer people is very small, and where the people are living in places which are remote from telegraph offices, porterage fees are excessive. While the Minister is trying to lead us to believe that it will be possible to effect economies in the service and add on an additional cost to the price of the telegrams, and at the same time to give even a better service —not alone to maintain the present service, but to make it cheaper for the people in remote districts, to reduce the delivery or porterage fees for the poorer people in remote places—he has given us no definite idea as to what he has in mind. He has made a statement. He showed by a certain amount of information, which will be naturally irritating to the people who live in those remote places that are not favourably situated, that these charges for porterage are going to continue there, and not only that, but the cost of the telegrams is to be increased by 50 per cent. The Minister also stated that economies would be effected this year, and perhaps this was an attempt to answer those who thought that, perhaps, better efforts might be made to secure economies and to carry out this work on a system that would bear better comparison with business methods. He stated that the temporary staffs that had been employed throughout the past few years had been largely got rid of; that large numbers of auxiliary postmen and staffs in the lower grades of the Post Office had been got rid of, and that in that way economies had been uneffected. Great hardship had been undoubtedly caused to large numbers of these people who had been in what they thought was a quasi-permanent form of employment for years past.

Is not that getting away from the Bill now?

Am I not in order in suggesting where economies might be effected which would reduce the cost of telegrams?

Not on the Fourth Stage of this Bill. That is a point for the Estimates.

A number of Deputies have referred to the position which will arise if people who are residing near the Border——

The Deputy has dealt with that point already.

I dealt with it in Irish, and all the Deputies here do not understand Irish, and——

Could I relieve the Deputy by moving that the question be now put?

I am not now prepared to give the Minister leave to move that the question be put, as I dislike to closure the Deputy while he is speaking. I would like to hear Deputy Derrig to a conclusion if it is going to be any way soon rather than allow the closure to be moved while he is addressing the House. I suggest to him when he makes a speech in Irish that it is a repetition to say the whole thing over again in English. There are places where two languages are allowed to be used in an assembly like this, but a Deputy who begins in one language must continue in that language to the end, except that he may quote in the other language.

But what about the Deputies who do not know Irish? You might, sir, make some allowance for those who do not understand the Irish. Deputy Wolfe would want to know what the Deputy is saying in Irish.

Deputies then ought to learn the language. I am refusing leave to move the closure at the moment.

The point I was dealing with was the question of the position of people on the Border, or who are living near the boundary or Border.

The Deputy dealt with that already.

The Minister for Finance has not dealt with the question. He stated in a speech at an earlier stage that reciprocal arrangements were in contemplation with the other Governments concerned, that negotiations were, I understood him to say, about to take place. Am I not in order in moving that the Bill should be re-committed, in view of the fact that the statement of the Minister for Finance is not satisfactory with regard to the arrangements that might have been made with the Government of Northern Ireland and with the Government of Great Britain in order to remedy this radical defect, as I consider it, in the Bill?

The Deputy has been speaking for forty minutes on this Bill, and he now concludes his speech by asking me to accept a motion to re-commit the Bill —to re-commit a Bill which has only one operative section.

I call attention to the fact that the Deputy is obviously contravening Article 46 of the Standing Orders. He is repeating himself, and is speaking for the purpose of obstructing the debate. I suggest that the Ceann Comhairle should allow the closure to be put.

I am not at all convinced that the Deputy is speaking for the purpose of obstructing the business, or that he is repeating himself, except in so far as he was endeavouring to repeat in English what he said in Irish. When that was brought to his notice he desisted.

He is reading in Irish statements already made by a Deputy in English. He has acted the part of translator of figures which we can easily see if the Deputy refers us to the particular place.

Deputy Derrig has now concluded his speech, I take it?

Is the Parliamentary Secretary in a position to make such an accusation?

Is the Deputy able to disprove it?

I would like to mention that I did not translate the speech. I translated the answer that the Parliamentary Secretary gave in English to a Deputy on the 16th May.

And it was quoted by another Deputy in his last speech.

I claim to move: "That the question be now put."

I should like to ask——

I am accepting the motion: "That the question be now put." The original question was "That the Telegraph Bill, 1928, be received for final consideration." During the consideration of that question the Minister for Finance moved: "That the question be now put." The question is, therefore: "That the question be now put."

Question put.
The Dáil divided; Tá, 66; Níl, 43.

  • William P. Aird.
  • James Walter Beckett.
  • George Cecil Bennett.
  • Ernest Blythe.
  • Séamus A. Bourke.
  • Seán Brodrick.
  • Alfred Byrne.
  • John Joseph Byrne.
  • John James Cole.
  • Mrs. Margt. Collins-O'Driscoll.
  • Martin Conlon.
  • Michael P. Connolly.
  • Bryan Ricco Cooper.
  • William T. Cosgrave.
  • James Crowley.
  • John Daly.
  • Michael Davis.
  • Eugene Doherty.
  • James N. Dolan.
  • Peadar Seán Doyle.
  • Edmund John Duggan.
  • James Dwyer.
  • Barry M. Egan.
  • Osmond Thos. Grattan Esmonde.
  • Desmond Fitzgerald.
  • James Fitzgerald-Kenney.
  • John Good.
  • Denis J. Gorey.
  • Alexander Haslett.
  • John J. Hassett.
  • Michael R. Heffernan.
  • Michael Joseph Hennessy.
  • Thomas Hennessy.
  • Mark Henry.
  • Patrick Hogan (Galway).
  • Richard Holohan.
  • Michael Jordan.
  • Patrick Michael Kelly.
  • Myles Keogh.
  • Hugh Alexander Law.
  • Patrick Leonard.
  • Finian Lynch.
  • Arthur Patrick Mathews.
  • Martin McDonogh.
  • Michael Og McFadden.
  • Patrick McGilligan.
  • Richard Mulcahy.
  • James E. Murphy.
  • James Sproule Myles.
  • John Thomas Nolan.
  • Bartholomew O'Connor.
  • Daniel O'Leary.
  • Dermot Gun O'Mahony.
  • John J. O'Reilly.
  • Gearoid O'Sullivan.
  • John Marcus O'Sullivan.
  • Vincent Rice.
  • Martin Roddy.
  • Timothy Sheehy (West Cork).
  • William Edward Thrift.
  • Michael Tierney.
  • Daniel Vaughan.
  • John White.
  • Vincent Joseph White.
  • George Wolfe.
  • Jasper Travers Wolfe.

Níl

  • Frank Aiken.
  • Denis Allen.
  • Gerald Boland.
  • Seán Brady.
  • Robert Briscoe.
  • Henry Broderick.
  • Daniel Buckley.
  • Frank Carney.
  • Michael Clery.
  • James Coburn.
  • James Colbert.
  • Hugh Colohan.
  • Eamon Cooney.
  • Thomas Derrig.
  • Eamon de Valera.
  • Frank Fahy.
  • Hugo Flinn.
  • Andrew Fogarty.
  • Seán Hayes.
  • Patrick Hogan (Clare).
  • Patrick Smith.
  • Richard Walsh.
  • Patrick Houlihan.
  • Stephen Jordan.
  • Michael Joseph Kennedy.
  • James Joseph Killane.
  • Mark Killilea.
  • Michael Kilroy.
  • Seán F. Lemass.
  • Patrick John Little.
  • Ben Maguire.
  • Seán MacEntee.
  • Séamus Moore.
  • Daniel Morrissey.
  • Thomas J. O'Connell.
  • Patrick Joseph O'Dowd.
  • Seán T. O'Kelly.
  • William O'Leary.
  • Matthew O'Reilly.
  • James Ryan.
  • Martin Sexton.
  • Timothy Sheehy (Tipperary).
  • Francis C. Ward.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Duggan and P. Doyle. Níl: Deputies G. Boland and Allen.
Motion declared carried.

The question now before the House is: "That the Telegraph Bill, 1928, as amended, be received for final consideration."

Question put.
The Dáil divided: Tá, 71; Níl, 38.

  • William P. Aird.
  • James Walter Beckett.
  • George Cecil Bennett.
  • Ernest Blythe.
  • Séamus A. Bourke.
  • Henry Broderick.
  • Seán Broderick.
  • Alfred Byrne.
  • John Joseph Byrne.
  • John James Cole.
  • Mrs. Margt. Collins-O'Driscoll.
  • Hugh Colohan.
  • Martin Conlon.
  • Michael P. Connolly.
  • Bryan Ricco Cooper.
  • William T. Cosgrave.
  • James Crowley.
  • John Daly.
  • Michael Davis.
  • Eugene Doherty.
  • James N. Dolan.
  • Peadar Seán Doyle.
  • Edmund John Duggan.
  • James Dwyer.
  • Barry M. Egan.
  • Osmond Thomas Grattan Esmonde.
  • Desmond Fitzgerald.
  • James Fitzgerald-Kenney.
  • John Good.
  • Denis J. Gorey.
  • Alexander Haslett.
  • John J. Hassett.
  • Michael R. Heffernan.
  • Michael Joseph Hennessy.
  • Thomas Hennessy.
  • Mark Henry.
  • Patrick Hogan (Galway).
  • Richard Holohan.
  • Michael Jordan.
  • Patrick Michael Kelly.
  • Myles Keogh.
  • Hugh Alexander Law.
  • Patrick Leonard.
  • Finian Lynch.
  • Arthur Patrick Mathews.
  • Martin McDonogh.
  • Michael Og McFadden.
  • Patrick McGilligan.
  • Daniel Morrissey.
  • Richard Mulcahy.
  • James E. Murphy.
  • James Sproule Myles.
  • John Thomas Nolan.
  • Thomas J. O'Connell.
  • Bartholomew O'Connor.
  • Daniel O'Leary.
  • Dermot Gun O'Mahony.
  • John J. O'Reilly.
  • Gearoid O'Sullivan.
  • John Marcus O'Sullivan.
  • Vincent Rice.
  • Martin Roddy.
  • Patrick W. Shaw.
  • Timothy Sheehy (West Cork).
  • William Edward Thrift.
  • Michael Tierney.
  • Daniel Vaughan.
  • John White.
  • Vincent Joseph White.
  • George Wolfe.
  • Jasper Travers Wolfe.

Níl

  • Frank Aiken.
  • Denis Allen.
  • Gerald Boland.
  • Seán Brady.
  • Robert Briscoe.
  • Daniel Buckley.
  • Frank Carney.
  • Michael Clery.
  • James Coburn.
  • James Colbert.
  • Eamon Cooney.
  • Thomas Derrig.
  • Eamon de Valera.
  • Frank Fahy.
  • Hugo Flinn.
  • Andrew Fogarty.
  • Seán Hayes.
  • Patrick Houlihan.
  • Stephen Jordan.
  • Michael Joseph Kennedy.
  • James Joseph Killane.
  • Mark Killilea.
  • Michael Kilroy.
  • Seán F. Lemass.
  • Patrick John Little.
  • Ben Maguire.
  • Seán MacEntee.
  • Séamus Moore.
  • Patrick Joseph O'Dowd.
  • Seán T. O'Kelly.
  • William O'Leary.
  • Matthew O'Reilly.
  • James Ryan.
  • Martin Sexton.
  • Timothy Sheehy (Tipperary).
  • Patrick Smith.
  • Richard Walsh.
  • Francis C. Ward.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Duggan and P. Doyle; Níl: Deputies G. Boland and Allen.
Motion declared carried. Fifth Stage fixed for Friday, 15th June.