In Committee on Finance. - Vote on Account.

I move:

That a sum not exceeding £7,570,125 be granted on account for or towards defraying the Charges that will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1930, for certain public services, namely:—



Governor-General's Establishment






Department of the President of the Executive Council



Comptroller and Auditor-General



Office of the Minister for Finance



Office of the Revenue Commissioners



Old Age Pensions



Local Loans



Temporary Commissions



Office of Public Works



Public Works and Buildings



State Laboratory



Civil Service Commission



Property Losses Compensation



Personal Injuries Compensation



Superannuation and Retired Allowances



Rates on Government Property



Secret Service



Tariff Commission



Expenses under the Electoral Act, 1923, and the Juries Act, 1927



Miscellaneous Expenses



Stationery and Printing



Valuation and Boundary Survey



Ordnance Survey



Supplementary Agricultural Grant



Law Charges



Haulbowline Dockyard



Universities and Colleges



Beet Sugar Subsidy



Quit Rent Office



Office of the Minister for Justice



Gárda Síochána






District Court



Supreme Court and High Court of Justice



Land Registry and Registry of Deeds



Circuit Court



Public Record Office



Charitable Donations and Bequests



Local Government and Public Health



General Register Office



Dundrum Asylum



National Health Insurance



Hospitals and Infirmaries



Office of the Minister for Education



Primary Education



Secondary Education



Technical Instruction



Science and Art



Reformatory and Industrial Schools



National Gallery












Land Commission



Industry and Commerce






Railway Tribunal



Marine Service



Unemployment Insurance



Industrial and Commercial Property Registration Office



Posts and Telegraphs



Wireless Broadcasting






Army Pensions



External Affairs



League of Nations



Remuneration for cost of management of Government Stocks of Sáorstat Eireann




I regret that the Volume of Estimates is not in the hands of Deputies. The reason for that is that there was some special scrutiny given to the Estimates this year in the Department of Finance, and a delay of a week or more took place before they could be sent to the printers. I was, however, able to furnish uncorrected proofs of the Estimates to the Leaders of the different Parties, and I will be able to have the Volume in the hands of Deputies before the Second Reading of the Central Fund Bill. As Deputies are aware, the Vote on Account will provide enough money to the various Departments to carry on until the 1st August, which is the date by which, under Standing Orders, the consideration of Estimates should be completed and the legislation necessary to implement the Votes should be passed. During the past two years it was not possible to give consideration to the whole of the Estimates before the 1st August. In one year a large number of Estimates were passed without consideration, and last year a second Vote on Account was taken. I hope that this year no such difficulties will arise. I do not propose to make any statement now in connection with the Vote on Account, except to suggest to Deputies that, if possible, the discussion should be confined to some matters of general policy. It would not be possible for Ministers to deal with details on this Vote, and it would not be making the best use of the time of the House to go into details in connection with any particular Estimate. I suggest to the House that it would be desirable that the opportunity should be availed of for discussing matters of general policy rather than matters of detail.

The White Paper which has been issued in connection with this Vote on Account lets us know that the total net Estimates for the year 1928-29 were £22,966,000 odd, but for the year 1929-30 we are asked to believe that the actual expenditure will not exceed £21,141,000. When we contrast the Estimates which are put forward for the year 1929-30 with the swollen Estimates which preceded them— Estimates, say, of thirty-six or thirty-seven million pounds put forward in some of the earlier years of the present Government's administration —we naturally assume that there has been a certain change of policy, and we ask ourselves what is the impression which a contrast between this year's Estimates and those submitted by the Minister for Finance for last year is designed to give? I know of few things more affecting in literature and life than the spectacle of a spendthrift endeavouring to reform. It is quite obvious, from the White Paper which has been issued and from the obviously inspired statements which appeared in the Press about the great efforts which the Minister was making to secure economies in public services, that the citizens of the Saorstát and, I presume, the voters in Dublin City North are asked to contemplate a strong man, not exactly struggling with adversity, but a strong man resolute to secure for the citizens of the State the greatest possible economies that can be secured in the public services. That is a very affecting spectacle, and it is one that is calculated to appeal to the commonsense of every individual citizen and elector, but before we accept that at its face value I would like to take a general view of the Estimates, and examine them in some particulars. Unfortunately, the Appropriation Accounts are not yet in our hands, and we are not able to get that close comparison between the Estimates and the preceding expenditure which would give us a guide, or a standard, whereby we might consider this Vote on Account. Because the Appropriation Accounts are not in our hands we have, or at least I had, in making an examination of the Estimates, to turn to the Appropriation Accounts of 1926-27.

I do not propose to go in detail into every Estimate, but I have selected the Public Services and endeavoured to arrange them into groups. I endeavoured, for instance, to take those Votes which would properly be submitted to defray the expenses of the Central Government. I took those Votes as one group; those which deal with Law, Police and Justice as a second group; and Finance and Revenue as a third group. In that way I have gone down the list and endeavoured to form some idea as to what the actual expenditure of these groups of services in the year 1929-30 will be as compared with the actual expenditure on the same groups which took place in the year 1926-27. I would like again to emphasise at this stage the pose which has been taken up by the Minister and the Government. Years ago we could fling our millions broadcast. It was necessary that the channels of patronage should be wide, and that every possible element of support that could be procured in the country should be bought or suborned. Now we are faced with a different story. The spendthrift has come to reckon with the moneylenders, and the debt charges, which were infinitesimal in the year 1924-25, have gone up year by year, until in this current year they amount to something like £1,600,000; and if the signs and portents are to be borne out by events, they will for the year 1929-30 amount to something like £2,200,000.

Now there has got to be, if not a change, at least the appearance of a change, and the Minister is resolutely bent on securing economy. Let us go through the Estimates, take the groups as I have taken them, and see how far these boasted economies of his are going to be realised, and how far he has taken proper steps to secure their realisation by insisting, in respect of each department, that the cost of it must not be exactly commensurate with the ideas, sometimes the ambitious ideas, formed by the heads of these Departments as to their relative importance in the scheme of things, but rather with the capacity of the State to pay its way. We will take the services that might be properly chargeable to the Central Government—the Governor-General, the Oireachtas, the President's Department, services of that type, white elephants like Haulbowline, and a few other things. I find that the actual cost of the Central Government group of services in 1926-27, as calculated from the Appropriation Accounts, amounted to £2,408,759. Consider, however, those same services on the basis of the Estimates for 1929-30, with which we have been furnished. The overhead charges, which one would think every endeavour would be made to reduce, so far from being, in the opinion of the Minister, likely to be less in the year 1929-30 than in the year 1928-29, are actually more than they were in the comparatively extravagant year 1926-27.

There are more Deputies drawing salaries.

The Deputy states that there are more Deputies drawing salaries. Does the Deputy suggest to the people that because he draws a salary that is a sufficient explanation of the figures I am going to quote? The actual cost of something like twenty-three services, ascribable to Central Government, in the year 1926-27 was £2,408,759 but the estimated cost of these same services for the year 1929-30 is £2,589,719, so in that one particular group, where every effort ought to be made to secure a reduction, instead of having a reduction, the Minister actually comes to us and says: "I ask you to pass an estimate for the services included in that group which will provide for an expenditure greater than it was in the year 1926-27."

I take the second group—Law, Police, and Justice. It has been the boast of this Government that they have restored law and order in this country. That boast has been repeated on many election platforms. I think the fact that they were able to say that, apparently has been responsible more than anything else for the electoral support which they have secured. If they have, in fact, fulfilled their boast, if they, and not a change, possibly, in the attitude and the mentality of the great bulk of the people, have been responsible for the change from 1923-24 to the conditions existing in 1928-29, then surely if they were zealous custodians of the public purse and if the Minister did properly discharge the duties of his office, he would refuse his sanction when the Minister for Justice came to him asking for an increased expenditure on the services relating to Law, Police and Justice. He should refuse to sanction such an increase. What has the Minister for Finance done? He is responsible mainly to the Dáil for these Estimates. They come to the Dáil with his imprimatur. Going through the group dealing with the Office of the Minister for Justice, the Gárda Síochána, the General Prisons Board, the District Courts, the Supreme Court and High Court of Justice, the Land Registry and Registry of Deeds, the Public Record Office, and Dundrum Asylum, I find that whereas the actual cost in the year 1926-27 was £2,431,000, for the year 1929-30 the Estimate is £2,529,000. Again, we have in that particular group of services an increase of £94,000.

We come now to one in which there has been a slight change and apparently a change for the better. Education is one of the services which no one wants to restrict or curtail in any way, provided we get value for the money. I am sure there is no person in this Dáil or in the country who will grudge the maximum expenditure on educational services, provided we get value for the money. I find that in this particular group of services the Minister in 1926-27 actually expended £4,594,300. Next year he proposes to spend £4,851,530. There is, as between these two years, a proposed increased expenditure of £250,000. We do not quarrel with that. What we do quarrel with is that in that particular group of services, out of the increase of £257,000, no less than £194,000 is to be swallowed up in the Office of the Minister, so that for the enlargement of the educational services there only remains so far as the actual citizens of the country are concerned, apart from those who form the bureaucracy, something like £87,000. Out of an extra expenditure of £257,000 the amount that the school teacher or the school-going child gets is something less than one-third. The rest is swallowed up in the Office of the Minister for Education. The next group is that of Lands and Fisheries. In that group I have included expenditure upon fisheries and expenditure upon the Land Commission. I find that in the year 1926-27 the actual expenditure upon these two services was £751,000, and for the year 1929-30 the Estimate is £753,500. I think in regard to the Land Commission we can say in view of the ultimate financial settlement, which was arrived at by the Minister for Finance and the Chancellor of the British Exchequer, it has become largely a rent-collecting agency for England. To a large extent, therefore, its services to this country are unremunerative and undesirable from the point of view that it collects from land annuitants in Ireland something like £3,400,000 odd for transmission to England each year.

To that extent, the expenditure upon the Land Commission is something that we are not prepared to endorse or to agree to. But it might be held, and the figures do give some indication, that the extra expenditure on this particular group —some part of it, at any rate—is going to be absorbed by the Department of the Minister for Fisheries. You will notice that there is an extra expenditure on the group of something like £2,000. But included in that extra expenditure for the year 1929-30, I find that the item for salaries, wages, allowances and superannuation in the office of the Minister for Fisheries has gone up from £22,000 to £28,237. It is, in short, a repetition of what happened in connection with the Vote for Education, that instead of more money being spent actually among the people for promoting the benefit of the people in the activities of these Departments, we find that by far the greater proportion of any increase on services like this, where an increase might be justified, is going to be swallowed up by the office of the Minister responsible.

Now, I take the group relating to Agriculture and Forestry. In the year 1926-27 there was spent upon the office of the Minister for Agriculture, upon forestry, by way of agricultural grants and the beet sugar subsidy, £1,916,000. This year it is proposed to spend less than that—£1,902,000—and you will note that in this case, as contrasted with the other two groups, there is actually to be a decreased expenditure upon agriculture and for cognate purposes. But you will be surprised to learn that, while the total expenditure upon the agricultural group of services is being reduced by £14,000, an increase in the expenditure on the office of the Minister of £41,664 is contemplated.

If we tot up what these services actually cost for the year 1926-27, as compared with what the Minister estimates they are going to cost during the year 1929-30, we will find that practically there has been no reduction in the Estimates; there has been no reduction in the general cost of these services; the taxpayer has still to pay the same, and, in addition, has also to pay the debt charges, which are increasing each year. They have already risen from £1,082,000 in the year 1926 to £1,529,000 in the year 1928-29, and next year will be something like £2,200,000. The Minister, we understand, at the present moment is looking with a certain amount of concern to the close of the financial year. We do not know whether the fears and forebodings of the Minister himself and of the Press are going to be fulfilled, but it certainly looks as if this year the milch cow of the taxpayer will begin to run dry. We have come to the point where we have got to consider whether we can go ahead increasing the burden on the taxpayer, first of all by borrowing — by borrowing, as one newspaper has suggested, to meet the deficit for the current year—or whether the Minister himself is going to take some steps to secure that economy which he pretends to be zealous for. If he decides that he will take what seems to him the easy way out, and if he decides that he will proceed with the Estimates upon the basis on which they have already been submitted to the Dáil, then this House must take responsibility for the inevitable consequences of that.

If the Estimates go through in their present form; if this Vote on Account which you are asked to give to-day, which in giving will commit you to an acceptance of the Estimates which are shortly to be in your hands, then you are undoubtedly voting to enable the Minister next year to raise, by borrowing, whatever deficit will accrue. If you do that the inevitable consequence must be an increase in the debt charges; and, arising out of that, because the Minister will not take steps to secure economies in those non-essential services where economies can be secured, there must be a restriction of the social services of this State. I have said before in this House that, whatever else we may do, we cannot afford to allow the standard of living of our people to fall below the standard of living in the Six Counties or in Great Britain, because, if we do, the inevitable consequence will be to increase emigration, and further to deplete the manhood and womanhood of this country, the principal source of our wealth. In view of that fact, and because this is the first occasion that the Dáil has of passing judgment upon the spending policy of the Government during the coming financial year, I ask that, in discharge of its principal duties as the zealous custodian of the public purse, the Dáil should refuse the Minister this Vote on Account.

Our complaint against the financial policy of the Ministry as shown in this White Paper will be a repetition of our complaint in previous years. Economy is practised; the Estimates are reduced by one and three-quarter millions; but when we come to an examination of the details; when we come to an examination of the methods by which this reduction has been secured, we find that the items which have been most heavily dealt with are items which would be calculated to give the greatest measure of employment to our people, or that it is the social services that are generally attacked. Deputy MacEntee referred to the Land Commission, and I was rather surprised to hear his statement in that connection, because I am sure he must have forgotten that a very considerable portion of the money voted for the Land Commission last year, and in previous years, was devoted to the improvements of estates. This was a side of the Land Commission's work which has proved to be exceedingly useful, especially in the congested areas, and it has given a good deal of employment to people who were in need of employment, at the same time as it has improved the estates which have fallen into the hands of the Land Commission.

I think if Deputy MacEntee, when he has an opportunity, looks into the details of this Estimate, he will find that the £200,000 reduction in the Vote of the Land Commission this year is almost entirely taken up by the reduction in that special activity of the Land Commission—the improvement of estates.

Again, Deputy MacEntee referred to an increase in the Education Vote, but he will find in Primary Education a decrease of £15,000, and in Technical Education a decrease of £8,000, and in one particular item, on a matter which has been brought before this House on many occasions, and which has also been mentioned in public, the necessity for building schools, instead of making progress there has been a backward step, and there is a reduction of something like £25,000. Then we have a reduction in Unemployment Insurance, and we have again to complain that there is no Estimate for relief schemes. All these things go to show that the main economies, apart from the Army, where there is a big economy, are under the heading of what might be loosely classed as social services. We have a big reduction in the Post Office Vote, amounting to £192,000. I wonder if I would be justified in assuming that the greater portion of that will be attained by curtailing services of the Post Office, especially in rural areas. Perhaps we will hear from the Parliamentary Secretary a defence of that change in attitude. I remember a time when he was very loud in his complaints, and also his colleague, Deputy Gorey, against a curtailment of postal services in rural areas. He had our sympathies then. We heard complaints from him then, and from many others, that the farmer practically has to carry the whole country on his back, but when it comes to giving services the farmers and the people in the rural areas always seem to be forgotten.

I agree with Deputy MacEntee that it is important—nay, essential— that the social services here should be kept on a level with those in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, but I do not think that Deputy MacEntee can keep calling out for economy, and more economy, and at the same time be insisting that the social services shall be kept on a level with those in Northern Ireland, unless he is prepared to show us quite clearly how both these things are to be effected at the same time. A vote for this motion would be an endorsement on our part of the financial policy of the Ministry and its attitude towards social services generally, and that is an endorsement I am not prepared to give. There are one or two questions with regard to general policy that I think are of importance, and that I might raise now, and ask the Ministers concerned what their attitude is. The first point I will raise—I am glad to see the Minister for Local Government in his place—is the position in regard to house-building. I need not go into the necessity for more houses. That is understood, but I would like to have from the Minister before this discussion is closed a clearer indication than he gave on the last day on which he was replying to a question as to what his policy is. He has promised new legislation. Can the Minister give any indication as to the lines that legislation will take? I do not want him to go into details, but can he give the House any indication as to what will be the form of the assistance that will be given, and especially what will be the position of the many people who had applied for grants, who complied with the conditions, but who found in the middle of February that the grants were all exhausted. In the Vote for the Minister's Department there is an increase under the heading of "building." Will the Minister say whether that increase refers to, or is intended to cover, his new proposals, or with legislation which has already been passed?

I am glad to see—I congratulate the Minister on the fact—that the Local Loans Fund has been increased pretty substantially. Perhaps the Minister would indicate what is the exact object of the increase. Is it intended to give loans to Corporations and public bodies in connection with building, or if not, what is the object? I think the country will look to the Minister for a more detailed statement of his policy with regard to house-building during the coming year than he has given up to the present. In connection with that matter, there is the position with regard to tenants. We have been promised legislation by the Minister for Justice. I do not know whether the Government fully appreciates the importance of this matter. No indication has been given, so far, whether or not the increase of Rent and Mortgage (Interest Restriction) Act will be continued after June or not. If not we will have the position that all houses at present controlled will be then decontrolled, and house-owners will be at liberty to take advantage of the great scarcity of houses that exists, and that must exist for a considerable time. There is evidence that preparations are already being made by house-owners to take advantage of the termination of the Rent Restrictions Act. Notices are being served on tenants in many places, and they are being asked, if they want to continue in occupation after June next, to pay rents that are double, treble and in many cases four times the amount being paid by them. That is a serious position, and an especially serious position in the city of Dublin, and I would invite Ministers, if it were for nothing but for the sake of the election being fought in North Dublin City, to help the voters in that constituency to make up their minds one way or the other, by giving some indication as to whether or not they will confine their legislation merely to the Report of the Town Tenants Commission, because I need hardly mention that the Report of that Commission does not deal with the main difficulty, which comes from the scarcity of houses.

The tenants all over the country are anxious to know whether, after the 30th June, they will be left entirely at the mercy of the house-owners; whether there will be any control, and whether the house-owners will be at liberty to charge any rents they wish? Even if the Report of the Town Tenants Commission were put into operation, and the machinery set up which it is expected will be set up, we can take it for granted that that machinery would take some time to get into full working order. In the meantime, the tenants would be in a very bad way. I hope that the Minister for Finance, or some member of the Executive Council, will throw light on this matter. Every Party in the House, I think, will agree that this is a question which is causing very great concern, not only in the city of Dublin, but in many of our small towns and villages throughout the country.

If Deputy O'Connell could give to the House the actual evidence which he has in his possession, and to which he has referred, it would, I think, be very valuable for the House to have it.

Mr. O'Connell

I can give it to the Minister if he wishes.

Could the Deputy give it to the House?

Mr. O'Connell

I have not the details here.

I think the House would be glad to have it.

When I saw the newspaper heading, "Substantial reductions proposed in the Estimates for the coming year," I certainly was very glad. I said to myself that at last they had been coerced a little bit by the rod of public opinion, but when I got the White Paper and looked through it, and examined how and under what particular items reductions were effected, I felt exactly about it as Deputy MacEntee and Deputy O'Connell. I found that the lines along which we felt very large expenditure could be saved were avoided, with the exception alone of the Army. With regard to the Army, we see it is not proposed to effect anything like substantial reductions in the expenditure on it. Even in the case of the Army, we are very far away still from the amount of expenditure which we think it right should be incurred on it.

Considering our conditions, and the purpose to which the Army can be put, we think, as we have said here on many occasions, that we will not have arrived at anything like a satisfactory state in connection with the Army until the expenditure on it is well under £1,000,000—certainly not more than £1,000,000. Our old friends the Civic Guards, the Governor-General, the expenses of the Oireachtas, all these are still not diminishing, but actually increasing, at a time when we know that there is general distress in the country. I read in the newspapers that in Belfast a Committee which carried out investigations found that there were 2,000 families in that city suffering from acute distress, and 1,000 in practically a starving condition. I believe that if an investigation of the same type were carried out in the City of Dublin, it would be found that conditions were not very much better. Some time ago I was speaking to a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, who have had an opportunity of investigating the conditions here. That was about three or four months ago; and I was assured that at that time the conditions were worse than they had been at any time in the memory of the particular man who gave me the information. He was a man on whose word I could place great reliance. He had been engaged on this work for many years during a long lifetime, and he said that the conditions were then worse than they had been at any time in his memory. I believe that if an investigation were carried out in the City of Dublin, we would find something of the same kind as was found by the Committee in Belfast.

When such conditions obtain, I think it is altogether wrong for us to come here and make them worse. These conditions are being made worse by taxation, which industry and the people generally cannot bear. I see no evidence that the Ministry at all appreciates that particular fact. We find that the expenses of the machinery of bureaucracy, as Deputy MacEntee called it, are going up. In connection with the particular item that Deputy O'Connell spoke of, the Land Commission, when I saw the reduction in that figure I asked myself what items exactly did the reductions cover? I came to the conclusion, from a hasty glance at the rough Estimates that some of us have got, that they were on these particular works that Deputy O'Connell referred to. That means, of course, taking away employment in various parts of the country, and making conditions worse than they are. I also thought that it meant a further slowing up of the process of vesting land.

We have had complaints here on many occasions already of the grave injustice that has been done to tenants whose land has not yet been vested. How far this reduction is going to be used as an excuse for further delay it is difficult to determine. We think there is no reason in the world why a definite date should not be fixed out of hand for the vesting of all land. We would like to know from the Minister in charge what he proposes to do about that. Is he going to leave the matter in the condition in which it is at present? Several years have elapsed since the lands were purchased and since really the "Appointed Day" should have been fixed.

Deputy O'Connell practically challenged us to point out how it is that we can stand over any reductions, seeing that we do not want to diminish the social services. Time after time we have indicated the particular items in which we think substantial reductions could be effected. We have mentioned the Army. We think that another half million pounds could be taken off the Army expenditure. In regard to the Civic Guards, we believe that the cost could be reduced by nearly half. We believe that half the force, with public opinion properly behind it, would be able to do all the work that is to be done. Last year the amount for the Governor-General was £27,000, and it amounts to the same figure practically this year. With regard to the Oireachtas, we have indicated how in regard to both Houses substantial savings could be effected. At one time, I think, we estimated that over £40,000 or so could be saved. I ask whether all these savings could not be effected without in any way interfering with the social services?

The point is: would it raise our social services to the level of Great Britain's?

Before we consider raising our social services to the level of those in Great Britain, let us compare our taxable capacity with that of Great Britain. I do not think we should have any standards outside our own. We have to live our own life in our own country, and we have to have social services up to the highest level we can afford. We may be able to have social services far in advance of the social services in Great Britain, but if we take our taxable capacity at 1.5 per cent., which I think was the authoritative figure given—last year it was pointed out, I think, by Deputy Ruttledge when speaking on this particular Vote that it was 1.5 per cent.— it would mean taxation in the Twenty-Six Counties of about £12,000,000. What have we here? We have over £21,000,000 for the Supply Services. We cannot afford that. I think the Labour Deputies will admit that there is a limit to which we can go even in the social services, and if we go beyond that limit we are going to do damage to the community as a whole. Whilst I say that, no reduction in existing social services should be brought about except after the most careful examination, and reduction rather in the administration of the services than in the benefits to individuals.

Might I be permitted to explain? Rightly or wrongly, I took Deputy MacEntee to say he was anxious to have our social services raised to the level of those in Great Britain. In the course of my remarks I asked how that could be done and at the same time bring about the economy the Deputy's Party wanted. I may have misunderstood the Deputy.

Our attitude is that we want to maintain the social services at the highest point our people can bear. We do not want to have any reduction in those services if it can possibly be avoided. I say a reduction in any of those services should be undertaken only as a last resort, and should not be undertaken so long as there are opportunities of saving in other directions and no harm is done to the community. That is our attitude. We believe reductions that will bring down taxation to something like what the people could bear could be effected without injuring the social services. That is in general terms. When talking of these services, what we have to bear in mind is the relative taxable capacity of the people here. From the point of view of taxable capacity, we are not able to bear as high a burden of taxation as England bears. We should come down to £12,000,000, which is not likely. We were laughed at last year when we said there was a possibility of reducing the total taxation by £3,000,000. The Minister for Finance has reduced it now, and in the way we wanted; while they laughed at us last year, he is going to reduce it this year. He might say in reply that some of the items would naturally reduce because they lapsed during the period. That is quite true, but by looking ahead and bringing in a type of legislation which would diminish the cost of the two Houses of the Oireachtas, which would get rid of the burden of the Governor-General, and by legislation or administrative action which would diminish our expenditure further on the Army and the Civic Guards, I believe that the figure we mentioned in last year's Estimate would be within reason. I I believe there is room still on nonsocial services for a reduction of another £1,000,000. I could get figures to prove that, but, unfortunately, I have not had time to work out the details on the lines we had before. What I have said now has been already said by other speakers in the same terms. The new point I am anxious about is in connection with the Land Commission. I want to know: is it proposed to take any definite steps to right the grievance of people whose lands have not yet been vested?

Looking at the Estimate as it appears on the White Paper, I see that in the economies the Minister is introducing he attacks the services that a humane Government would consider it desirable to increase. Looking down the list of services in which reductions are being made, one finds such items as hospitals and infirmaries, primary education, technical instruction, reformatory and industrial schools, improvements of the estates under the Land Commission, posts and telegraphs, and in contradistinction to that one finds an increase, no matter how little, in services that could do without an increase, such as the office of the President, the Oireachtas, External Affairs, and rates on Government property. The increase in these departments may be very little, but it shows a policy. It shows that in the matter of the improvement of estates, where much-needed employment was given, and on which useful work was carried out, the Minister has divided the amount that was given in the improvement of these estates by two, which simply means that half the amount of work will not be done, and that the unemployment which he knows is rampant in the country will not get any relief in that direction. In the Department of Posts and Telegraphs there has also been an immense effort at what is called economy by savings. I was endeavouring to look up the speeches made by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs.

That was not fair.

It is fair in this case.

Mr. Hogan

I had not sufficient time to look them up in full; otherwise I would be in the position of making some very valuable quotations from his speeches. I find that at one time he was advocating an extension of these services. These are services that can scarcely be considered as services out of which the State should make a profit. They are services necessary for the people —utility services—and revenue should not be sought for in the sense of making a profit on such services. They are very useful services from the point of view of the Farmers Party, which Deputy Heffernan told us yesterday was revived, and which I welcome back as a political entity.

One would like to know why expenses are incurred in certain directions while services are cut down in other directions. I do not know whether I am on the border line of disorder if I ask the Minister for Finance who financed the pamphlet issued by the Incorporated Law Society against the Legal Practitioners Bill. I find there was an amount of money given to the Incorporated Law Society—an amount to the extent of over £300. I just wondered whether that money was used to get out the pamphlet inflicted on every member of the Dáil during the week.

The general policy, as far as I see at the moment, is that the Government have attacked services of a most essential kind, highly important social services, and services which any humane Government would consider it desirable to increase rather than to cut down. It has increased certain services which might easily be cut down, and has cut down services which are really essential. Many services that might be attacked in the interests of economy have not been attacked. Take, for instance, the Department of External Affairs, which shows an increase, the President's Department, rates on Government property, and other items of that sort. I suggest that if we are to have any economy practised it should be practised on such services as those I have now mentioned, and not on the services which are necessary for the masses of the people, for the relief of unemployment, and for the very necessary work carried out under the Land Commission.

I desire to join with other Deputies on these benches in protesting against reductions in Votes which in the past provided very useful work in the country. It is very significant that the Minister for Finance, who is also nominally the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, in addition to reducing Votes for arterial drainage, for the Barrow drainage and for new buildings under the Board of Works, is also taking responsibility for a very large cut in the Vote for Posts and Telegraphs. The reduction amounts to £192,120. I speak subject to correction, but I understand the policy for the coming year is that in every area where there is a postal delivery from a sub-office, and where the existing facilities give a daily delivery, the six-day deliveries are to be cut down to three.

I am very sorry that Deputy Heffernan has left the House. I hope it is not for the purpose of forgetting the speeches he made on this matter two or three years ago. If he looks them up he will be very sorry for the responsibility he has to shoulder here in trying to father this Estimate. The reduction made here hits the farming community to a greater extent than it hits any other section of the people. I will be glad to hear from Deputy Heffernan the grounds on which this reduction was made. Many of the postmen who will be affected by this policy, if this is the policy, are at the moment earning an average allowance of 25/- a week. If these postal services are going to be cut down to half, that will mean that the remuneration, the pittance or allowance, will be only 12/-. That will have the effect of forcing many of the postmen to look upon work under such circumstances as not being remunerative. They will be entitled, if so disposed, to reject any offer of employment under these abominable conditions, and they will automatically be entitled to unemployment insurance benefit, which will practically amount to the old rate of wages paid for the six-day delivery service. Is that the sort of economy that the Minister and his colleague or subordinate, Deputy Heffernan, stand for? Is that the sort of economy that the farmers of the country, for whom the Deputy pretends to speak, stand for? I do not think so, and Deputy Heffernan will find himself faced, if and when this policy is put into operation, with many demands to visit areas in North and South Tipperary in order to justify this policy, which is quite contrary to the policy he advocated previous to the time he took up office under the Government.

Deputy Heffernan is head of the Department of Posts and Telegraphs; he is also Chairman of the so-called Economy Committee. Are the taxpayers to understand that the reduction of £1,825,166 is solely due to the work of the Economy Committee over which Deputy Heffernan has the honour to preside? I understand the demand for this severe cut came as a shock to the heads of many Government Departments within the last three or four weeks. Some of the people responsible for the supervision of large numbers of men, in Departments such as that of Posts and Telegraphs, got instructions by telephone to put into operation reductions which would, in one particular case, amount to £50,000 or £55,000 per year. These things appear to have been done in a very hasty manner and I believe if there was more time devoted to their consideration some of the things that have been done would, perhaps, never be done. Let us take the Department of Posts and Telegraphs. I do not want at this stage to go into details in connection with the Estimates but, as regards the Secretary and the Assistant Secretary of the Department, I wonder will Deputy Heffernan either now or on the Estimates give the House detailed particulars of the work which those responsible and highly-paid officials are carrying out. Is he in a position to justify the continued existence of these two positions and the high salaries which go with them? The Parliamentary Secretary, if he knows anything about the Department, should be in a position to give me some answer.

Under the heading of New Works there is an expected reduction for the Board of Works of £208,000. Every Deputy can well understand how that will affect labour conditions in the areas where building operations are being carried out by the Board of Works. I am sorry that Deputy Colohan is not here because he knows much more about the work on the Barrow than I do. I am sure that Deputy Colohan will be surprised to learn that there is a reduction from £75,000 to £20,000 for the coming year. He will be able to estimate the number of his constituents in Kildare who will be thrown out of work as a result of that reduction.

On several occasions in this House, by way of questions to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance, I inquired as to the reasons why the Board of Works were not making a greater effort to take advantage of the benefits of the Arterial Drainage Act of 1925. We were told here repeatedly that there is a good deal of delay caused by the necessary preliminary inquiries, inspections and valuations that have to be carried out before the actual drainage work can be commenced in the areas concerned. We were given to understand last year in this House, when the discussion of this Estimate was under consideration, that a good deal more work would be carried out in the coming year than was carried out last year under the Arterial Drainage Act of 1925. What is the position we are faced with at the moment? The Estimate of £28,000, which was provided for arterial drainage work and which would give a good deal of valuable employment in rural Ireland, is being reduced from £28,000 last year, when little was done under the Act, to £22,000 for the coming year.

All that goes to show that these reductions, these so-called economies, will mean that there will be a balanced Budget produced for those who are anxious to look at it, but who are not going to inquire any further. But how many people will be unemployed in the coming year who in the past got employment through these Votes? I am informed that the reduction in the Estimate of the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs will mean, as a minimum, the disemployment of 300 men from the 1st of April, and a considerable reduction in the present remuneration of about 400 additional men. I am informed that 100 postmen in the City of Dublin are to be affected. It is clear that in this Estimate the reduction of £192,120, which is mainly confined to work in provincial centres, is bound to affect the work of a large number of men. Whether that number is 300 or 600 does not matter very much. The same applies to the effect that is going to come from a reduction of £200,000 in the Estimate of the Board of Works. There is a reduction under the vote for the Barrow drainage from £75,000 to £20,000. For arterial drainage there is a reduction from £28,000 to £22,000. I would like to hear from the Minister an explanation as to why he is forced to effect these reductions.

There is also, as Deputy Hogan mentioned, a reduction of 50 per cent. in the Vote for the Improvement of Estates. I have been a member of the Public Accounts Committee for a number of years. I was Chairman of the Committee the year before last, and a member of it last year. On two occasions we had reason to draw the attention of the responsible Ministers to the failure of the Land Commission to spend a sum of money up to the extent of what was voted by this House. We were assured, after a discussion here in this House, that no further surrenders of money would be made to the Exchequer under this particular head. I assumed from that statement, which was made in the House by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Fisheries, that the full sum which is provided for the financial year now coming to a close would be expended before the 31st of this month. If that was so, and if there was necessity for spending that money for road and land improvement, building of houses, etc., then, if the operations under the Land Act of 1923 are to continue on the same scale as in the past, there is the same necessity now for the spending of this money on the same kind of useful work as there had been in the past.

Why does the Minister divide the figure in two? Is this done in an arbitrary way? It appears to have been done without any consideration whatsoever. There was a sum of £323,000 last year, and the Estimate shows a so-called reduction of £161,000. That so-called saving will mean that less money will be spent in rural Ireland. Fewer men will get employment on this work in the coming year than in the past. This will create additional charges upon the farmers, and I hope Deputy Heffernan will come into the House and say that those whom he represents will see to it, and ascertain what is the attitude of the Minister and the Minister's Party to this matter.

I hope I shall be in order in congratulating Deputy Davin on having covered more ground at greater speed than ever before, at the same time clearing away a good deal of arterial drainage in his progress. I have not had the advantage Deputy Davin has had of seeing the uncorrected proofs of the Estimates. But I accept his statement. He spoke of his experience on the Public Accounts Committee with regard to the Land Commission, and he called attention to the fact, which I was going to call attention to, that the Land Commission had consistently over-estimated the amount they would be able to spend on the improvement of estates. The Public Accounts Committee stated that this should be rectified, but I do not remember getting any assurance that the matter would be rectified by spending all the money. The assurance given was that it would be rectified by more accurate budgeting in the future; if that is the case I welcome it. It is a sound principle, and Deputy Davin and Deputy MacEntee know it. It is no use voting money that is not going to be used in the year. It does not give employment. It is no good to anybody. It is a paper transaction and it causes unnecessary taxes to be imposed. The same applies to the Board of Works. Consistently, throughout a period of years, the Board of Works have been steadily over-estimating the amount of work they have to do in the current financial year. I was so impressed by that three years ago that I put down an amendment to reduce the sub-head by £200,000. I gather from Deputy Davin that that sub-head has now been reduced by £200,000. The Board has found out what they can do and what they cannot do, and the Minister is not asking for money that will not be needed in the coming year. It is not a question of employment, because this money was never spent. But even if it were, the Minister has now begun to realise that economies were always popular until you began to economise. When you begin to economise there are always certain vested interests protesting against it. The matter of the Post Office I will leave to the Parliamentary Secretary for Posts and Telegraphs.

I think Deputy Davin has gone to fetch Deputy Heffernan, and is now repeating his speech to him in the hope that he will reply. I will leave that. I have not the details of the economies. It is a very large economy, and I think it can be made without serious inconvenience on the telephone, engineering and stores branch, by carrying out telephone development somewhat more slowly than it could otherwise be carried out. Deputy Hogan took exception to this Vote. He took exception to economies in the big Votes for the Land Commission, the Board of Works, and so on. He suggests that economies should be made in the Department of External Affairs and in the President's Department. If you abolish those two Departments completely, abolish the Ministers, abolish the whole of the staffs completely, abolish the whole of the representation overseas, in the United States, France, Germany, and so on, you would save precisely £70,000, and what reduction in taxation can you get by the saving of only £70,000? The only really valuable economies, the only economies that will have an effect on the Budget are those made on the big Votes, the Votes that run into six or seven figures. You must go to the big Departments if you want to get any economy that will either meet the deficit or cause a reduction in taxation. You cannot by picking up £12,000 in the President's Department, £58,000 in the Department of External Affairs, £13,000 in the Vote for Hospitals, Charities and things of that kind, make any real economy. Substantial economy can only be got, as I said before, by a reduction of certain services.

It would be ungenerous to criticise the speech of Deputy de Valera. Obviously he had not very much time to prepare a serious statement of policy, but he did give us some indication of where his party propose to make economies. He selected only four items in this Vote on Account, the Governor-General's Establishment, the Oireachtas, the Gárda Síochána and the Army. The last two are substantial Votes. Take the Governor-General's Establishment and abolish it. For purposes of comparison, I will only take the figures set down here. I am taking this from last year's figures. I want to show what Deputy de Valera would have done if the Fianna Fáil Party were in power here. He would abolish the Governor-General's Establishment, thereby saving £6,870. He would reduce the Vote for the Oireachtas. Assume he would reduce it by £100,000 and only leave £17,000. I think Deputies opposite will agree you have to leave something. Travelling expenses, at any rate, would have to be met, and probably there would have to be some allowance for the Deputies who have to stay in Dublin. Take £100,000 off that; take half off the Gárda Síochána. That was, I think, the figure. They think it can be reduced by half. That is £804,000, and a little over. On last year's figures, you would save just over £1,700,000. Taking that as Deputy de Valera's economies, he would have made a saving of over £1,700,000. The Minister on last year's Budget saved £1,825,000. I am not so inhuman as to expect Deputies to approve of the economies that have been made, but if the country is looking for effective economy, they will find the economies made by the Minister for Finance were £125,000 more than those suggested by Deputy de Valera; and the Minister's economies are only beginning, while Deputy de Valera, once he dealt with his four pet services, would find it very hard to go a little bit further.

Until Deputy Cooper rose to speak on this Vote, I thought previous speeches delivered from this side of the House had left Cumann na nGaedheal speechless. I am glad we had Deputy Cooper's speech, although I must confess I found it very difficult to understand. He started by endeavouring to demonstrate that you could not effect any real economy by taking a small piece off one Vote, a small piece off another and dealing with all Votes in that way, and concluded by demonstrating that the Minister for Finance, while dealing with the Votes in that manner, effected a bigger saving than Deputy de Valera suggested could have been saved by tackling the bigger Votes. I hope he has satisfied himself.

The Minister has tackled the bigger Votes. He has taken £100,000 off several of them.

I say I hope the Deputy is satisfied that he has proved something, but it is not quite clear to Deputies what it is that he has proved.

The Deputy is always satisfied.

I have to be. I hope Deputy Cooper will not be the only member of Cumann na nGaedheal to intervene in this debate. It is true that those who sit behind the Ministerial Benches generally say very little, having very little to say. They think they do their duty to their constituents so long as they are in the precincts of the House and are able to troop in as Deputy Flinn described them once like "dumb driven cattle" whenever the Division bell rings.

Is Deputy Lemass aware that there are only eight members of his Party behind him?

The actual number of Deputies in the House does not affect my argument. It is the number of Deputies who can explain how and why they will vote in this particular matter. I can satisfy Deputy Cooper that members of Fianna Fáil are not prepared to give a silent vote as apparently members of Cumann na nGaedheal are. You are asked to vote a sum of £7,570,125. It is not an inconsiderable amount. It is worth while examining before you ask the taxpayers of the country to find that sum for the purposes of meeting the bill which is given in detail in this paper. We think you should express your opinion as to whether that bill is too high or too low, or as to whether the various items on which it is proposed to expend money cannot be provided for in some other manner.

I hope Deputies here will remember that there is not in this country anything like the degree of prosperity we would like to see. There is, in fact, a rather considerable volume of unemployment, an amount of destitution and a periodic drain on our population through emigration. What the volume of unemployment is we do not know. The Minister for Industry and Commerce has been as reticent on that matter as the Minister for Justice was this evening on the reasons for the recent activities of his police. A census was taken in this country in 1926. This is 1929. Three years ago, at great expense, certain information was secured regarding the occupations of all our people, and no doubt in the collecting of that information some particulars were secured as to those who were without occupation, but for some reason best known to themselves information as to the number of unemployed in the country has been withheld from the Dáil. They will tell us the Statistical Department is overworked, and that it was necessary to tell us the number of people of various religions and different professions in the different provinces and towns before they told us the number of people without work and consequently destitute in those towns and villages. In 1926 the Government of Northern Ireland took a census and were able to make available shortly afterwards the actual figures as to the number of people without work in that area. It is extraordinary that the Statistical Department here cannot do the same. I would like to suggest to Deputies that they could have done the same, but received orders from the Minister in charge to do nothing of the kind, because if the figures were made available, and if the people of the country or Deputies in this Dáil knew the exact volume of unemployment, they would not be so mute and stupid-looking when asked to pass a Vote of over £7,000,000.

While it may be in order to say that Deputies are mute, it is hardly in order to say that they are stupid-looking.

As it is not in order to say what you think, I will withdraw the expression as being unparliamentary.

The Deputy was very mute when leaving the Six Counties a week ago.

Not at all. If the Deputy had been there he would have known whether I was or not. Yesterday we had in this Dáil a certain proposal to put a duty on woollen cloth. Into that were introduced matters of a more general nature which were not properly in order and to which I would like to make some reference. I would like particularly to deal with the speech which was delivered, if I might call it a speech—the statement which was made—by the Minister for Agriculture, God's gift to the Irish farmer.

This is the tariff question generally?

Whatever may have been said for it yesterday it does not arise here. The Deputy will have his chance and a very extensive chance, of dealing with it on the Budget. I think on a Vote on Account the discussion should be confined to expenditure and not taxation.

I might perhaps explain that it is not exactly dealing with the question as to whether tariffs should or should not be imposed. But you will recollect that the Minister for Agriculture yesterday went out of his way to insult and slander Irish industrialists. It is in connection with that statement that I would like to make a few remarks this evening. He appeared to think that any body of manufacturers in this country who availed of the machinery which the Government themselves established to have an application for a protective duty placed before the Tariff Commission were in consequence of that action entitled to be accused by him of endeavouring to serve their personal interests at the expense of the country as a whole. He seems to think that the fact that these manufacturers came in the first place to the Government, of which he is a member, gives him a right to use any derogatory remarks he likes concerning them.

We have had constant reference in this House to the difficulty of getting owners of capital to put their money into Irish industry. Is there any Deputy here, or any member of the Government, who thinks that the speech which was delivered yesterday by the Minister for Agriculture will help to induce capitalists to put their money into Irish industry? The Minister is a member of the Executive Council, and when he speaks here in this Dáil he is presumably conveying to members of the Dáil the opinions and the attitude of the Executive Council upon the question to which he refers. The Minister for Agriculture admits, of course, that it was essential that there should be more industries in this country, but he was very careful to give no indication as to what policy, if any, the Government have to ensure that there will be more industries in the country. He spoke as if he believed that any policy of Protection would not achieve that end. In fact, I must say he gave me the impression that he was definitely opposed to the action which the Government has already taken in protecting such industries as have been protected. Whether that is so or not we would like to be informed. If the Minister for Agriculture has been given a free hand by the Executive Council, we would like some responsible member of the Executive Council to tell us. If they are not prepared to stand for every idle word which he speaks in this Dáil, they ought to let us know. But until we get that definite repudiation of the Minister for Agriculture from some other member of the Executive Council, we will have to assume that he is speaking the policy of that Council, and that what he says all the rest are prepared to stand by.

The Minister for Agriculture, in the course of his remarks, stated that it was foolish to rush into tariffs at the bidding of people who had vested interests in them.

Is the Deputy going back on the debate we had last night?

I am not going to speak about people who have vested interests in tariffs, but I would like to say a few words about people who have vested interests in opposing tariffs.

I do not think it properly arises on this Vote. The Deputy ought to try to confine himself to the Vote.

Perhaps I could point to a question which we have to decide when we are asked to vote a huge sum such as we are asked to vote here. It is not merely a question of whether the money is being wisely spent upon the various services indicated here, but whether the people can afford to pay the money. If the people are, to a large extent, unemployed and to a still larger extent barely living on the margin of subsistence, we will have to take that fact into account when we are deciding whether we will vote Tá or Níl in this matter.

I am not satisfied that it arises here. I think it would arise more properly on, say, the Budget or the Central Fund Bill.

We will probably have such a lot to say on the Budget that we will not find time to deal with things of a general nature like these.

You can make four speeches.

We will probably try in any case. It is my opinion, however, that when the Government comes to the Dáil at the beginning of the financial year and asks for a sum of money on account, they should indicate to the Dáil what, in their opinion, are the prospects that during that year the people will be able to pay the taxes which they intend to impose. Obviously, the people cannot pay the money if a large section of them are unemployed. Obviously they cannot pay the money if those who are employed have to maintain a large proportion of the population in idleness. If the conditions which now exist continue to operate during the year, then we will find at the end of the next year, as the Minister for Finance has found at the end of this year, that it is very easy to overestimate the taxpaying capacity of the people. We have got to take these facts into account. I do say that we can have in this country social services as good as those prevailing in England, and we can afford to be a little generous in the expenditure of public money if we have put into operation a policy to achieve what the Minister for Agriculture talked about yesterday—the establishment of new industries in this country. He has no policy to that end. In fact, every proposal that is made by any Party or by any person in this country to achieve that result, is ridiculed by him and by those associated with him.

The Minister for Agriculture yesterday talked about hedging.

The Deputy is getting back on the old track.

This is hedging in tariffs. He congratulated Deputies on this side of the House upon their ability to hedge. That congratulation is a matter of particular pride to us, coming as it does from that source. The Minister for Agriculture unfortunately spoke after another Deputy who if not a member of the Executive Council is at least very closely associated with it—the Parliamentary Secretary for Posts and Telegraphs. If ever there was an example of hedging given in this Dáil we had a demonstration of it yesterday from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs. He stood up here and declared publicly that every principle for which he stood in public life, and every principle for which the Party or the group with which he is associated in public life stood, compelled him to oppose the imposition of a tariff on woollen cloth, but because by doing so he might jeopardise the existence of the Government which gave him a job he would not oppose it. He went into the Lobby—at least he stayed outside the Dáil altogether. The Minister for Agriculture can get lessons in hedging from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance. I noticed that he hedged out of the Dáil altogether this evening as soon as some reference was made to speeches which he delivered in connection with the Department of Posts and Telegraphs before he became a "token of appreciation." I hope that he has gone out to read those speeches, and if it should happen in the course of his perusal of the speeches which he delivered some years ago that he should see the light once more and realise that the manly course for him to take was to come in here and say what he believes and vote for what he believes, then we are likely to have a political sensation before the evening terminates. Of course that will never happen. The Government are quite safe and can be sure of their majority so long as the farmers are represented by such hedgewhackers as the members of the Farmers' Party.

Deputy Cooper apparently thinks that the duty devolves upon this Party to go through the various Estimates item by item and show where economies can be achieved. It is not possible for a Deputy in opposition, who has not the intimate knowledge of departmental working which a Minister has, to be clear as to where extravagance is taking place or as to where economies can be effected. But we can see on the face of this Estimate that such a reduction as has been achieved against last year has been achieved, in the first place, by the automatic termination of certain Votes, and, in the second place, at the expense of the few Government Departments which did confer some benefit on the people through their operations. Of course, we read in the papers that a revolution is taking place in the Army, that as a result a very large number of officers have retired, and forced economies are being effected in all directions; that, in fact, apart from the battalion left to parade on St. Patrick's Day there would be, after the 1st April, practically nothing of it left. We note, however, that we are still asked to pay £1,400,000 to maintain what is left of it this year. We are also asked to pay £1,500,000 for the Civic Guard; £1,794,000 for superannuation and retiring allowances; £296,000 in army pensions, and other big sums in respect of services which, I suggest, could very usefully be modified. The Army, of course, is a service which has been constantly under discussion here, and perhaps it would be unnecessary to say anything further about it. The taxpayer will contribute £1,400,000 this year, as he contributed £1,800,000 last year, and if he gets the same benefit from that contribution this year as he got last year, then he will be at the loss of that amount.

I should like to suggest to Deputy Cooper, and to the Minister for Finance if he is open to receive suggestions, that before the Minister reduced the vote for the effecting of improvements on estates, or before he reduced the grants under the Primary Education Vote, he should have seriously considered the estimates submitted by the Army and the Civic Guard, and the various other apparently useless Departments, and have seen whether or not it was possible to leave the Vote in respect of the improvement of estates as it was, and the Primary Education Vote in respect of grants to continuation schools as it was, and secure the economy which he was so anxious to secure by reductions under these other heads.

The Deputies on this side are, of course, opposed to this Vote. We voted against a similar Vote last year, and we were told that by doing so we were taking the risk of leaving the Government without money; that they would have to get money in any case to carry on, and that it was foolish to vote against the entire Vote, because that would leave them with nothing at their disposal to meet the ordinary requirements of government. I hope that argument will not be put forward on this occasion. It is quite obvious that if we succeed in rejecting this Vote, the important thing will not be that the Government will be without money, but that the Dáil will be without a Government, and that will be sufficient compensation, at any rate, for any inconvenience which might be caused by the fact that another Vote would have to be introduced later on.

I did not rise to speak mainly for the purpose of criticising the Vote, but to endeavour to persuade Cumann na nGaedheal members that it was their duty to their constituents to explain exactly why they are going to vote for this motion. The Minister for Finance will, no doubt, conclude the debate, and he may or may not advance certain arguments to counteract those put forward by Deputy MacEntee and others. But Deputies opposite should realise that what the Minister for Finance says does not altogether answer for their action. They have direct responsibility to the people who sent them here, and it is the people who sent them here who will have to foot the bill, not the Minister. They will be all anxious to know why Deputies Connolly, Law, Sheehy, and other Deputies opposite, go into the division lobby and vote to give the Government a cheque for £7,570,000. Those Deputies would, I am sure, very much resent being described, as Deputy Flinn once described them, as "dumb, driven cattle," but if they are not dumb and driven, they have an opportunity now of showing it, and as I understand the entire time this evening will be given for the discussion upon this matter, they need not be afraid of unduly prolonging the debate.

In reply to Deputy Lemass, I think the House has no option but to vote this amount, because it seems to me that suddenly to cut down a number of the largest services in such a drastic way as has been suggested would mean complete disorganisation of the State. I do, however, think that Deputy Cooper was wrong when he said that the Minister should only apply himself to large items of six figures. "Take care of the pence and the pounds will take care of themselves," is a very good motto. There are a number of small services which might very well be looked into. We are a comparatively small State, and, on the whole, I think we are house-keeping on too large a scale. But the Minister has recognised this, and I think we should all be very glad to see the reductions which he has proposed.

I would rather give way to some members of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party opposite if they wish to speak. Deputy Lemass and myself seem to have one common ground: and that is that our hearts ache for the benighted, somnolent ignorance which distinguishes the back benches of Cumann na nGaedheal. I do think that the two of us have devoted a good deal of time, that we might have spent more pleasantly in our own interests and avocations, in the attempt to dispel their ignorance and to improve their education. As the Chair has said, it would be disorderly to say that they look stupid; I think it would, also, be unnecessary. The difficulty with this question, at the moment is, that the Government have in the past, for political and polemical purposes produced inflated Estimates which they had no intention of spending. During a considerable period, it was necessary to shock the people of this country as to how horrible the political opponents of the Government were, and for that reason it was necessary to put down huge Estimates, showing up to ten million pounds worth of compensation and things of that kind. But as Deputy MacEntee has shown, when you come to analyse the actual accounts you find that the apparent economies disappear and the apparent and actual extravagance remains.

I do not want to say anything to discourage the Government in what they are now attempting to do in trying to cut their cloth according to their measure. If they had attempted to do that, as a gradual process, over a period of years, I should not merely be grateful to them but I should feel bound to congratulate and thank them. We are not faced with an ordered policy of economy by a Government with a sense of responsibility to this country, with its narrow resources; we are simply faced with the death-bed repentance of men who have lived up to the limit of everything they could possibly lay their hands on; they find now they cannot lay their hands on any more. It is the economy of the man with the sheriff in the house, with the water cut off, with the bills flowing in and with the creditors importuning. It is the economy of men who know that on their record their position even as to the borrowing of money is bad. Good as the credit of this country is, the credit of the Government is not good. At the very last moment, when the larder is empty, when all the visible resources are completely hypothecated, we have an economy which is purely political in purpose and which is completely panicky in method.

I personally appreciate that there is some ground in the complaint that we, on this side of the House, have harped, and harped continually, upon a certain number of avenues of economy. But why? If you are dealing with a man who, you know, is overspending his income, whose condition personally is the condition as I have portrayed, and of the Government; if you go into his house and find staring you in the face obvious extravagance — champagne, chocolate, biscuits, or something of that kind; you find blatant and obviously stupid extravagance staring you in the face—and when you suggest economies in these particulars you are refused, what is the use of treating that man as a man to whom you can go and say of the smaller matters of which you do not know: "Will you investigate and will you find out?" It is that refusal to take obvious means of economy that makes it doubtful, very doubtful indeed, for us to attempt to ask them to investigate in the more difficult bypaths. Personally I feel that the particular lines of economy which have been indicated from this side are lines upon which economy is blatantly obvious. If I saw the Government attempting, not at the eleventh hour, not when the bailiffs are in the house, and not when the larder is empty, but on ordered principles before they had reached that state—if I had found them attempting to economise in these obvious ways, I would then have been inclined to believe that they themselves were willing and competent to economise in the other avenues. But when I find them refusing, then it seems to me that it is not the education of this Government which is required, but its elimination. As far as the money of these departments is concerned, I am not in a position—I doubt if there are many people in the House in the position—to indicate the lines and the degrees in which economies could be effected. We are not in a position to indicate the method by which they could attempt to ascertain, and by which we would attempt to ascertain, whether economy could be effected in these ways. We should have accountants and experts to come in and examine what is actually being done in these departments, and what result was being got from them, and then we should be able to come to this House and tell Deputies whether or not what was effectively being done in these departments could effectively be done at a lesser price. But if you have the obvious case of refusing economies in the things that we can see, we are bound to judge that in the things that they can hide the condition is at least as bad.

Is this Government one which is competent, on its record on finance, to be entrusted with any carefully organised business like economy? What sign have they shown of business knowledge in any particular business transaction that they have touched? A Government that could not even make a success and profit out of a bank—the one group of people in Ireland who apparently were capable of making a bank bankrupt in their hands; the people who have to their credit the finance of the sugar beet scheme; the people who have to their credit the extraordinary case of the Trade Loans; the people who could not come here to this House to-day and tell the House where the Government money that is put into industrial trusts is invested—what sort of a record have they in finance? Is there any man in this House to-day who is satisfied with the financing of the Sugar Beet Scheme, the Shannon Scheme, the Trade Loans, the Land Bank, or the Industrial Trust? Are these people to be trusted? Even if they were willing—and we have obvious proof that they are not, until they are driven to it by the sheriff— are they people who are capable of being trusted as competent and capable business men to go through any one of their Departments and find how much it ought to cost to run? They have never balanced their Budget in reality from the beginning, and last year represented the breaking point. I have no pleasure in looking forward to the difficulties of the Minister for Finance in relation to his Budget. It is no pleasure to us, it is no party profit to us, to see the Minister for Finance in the position in which he is. It is a tragedy to the whole country, and to every element and every part of it, to this Government, its successor, and to all its successors that there should have been that action in relation to finance which to-day has dried up the sources of finance and left in a country, which is still capable of being prosperous, a Government which is bankrupt both in money and ideas. There has been taken into account as ordinary revenue for this country over the five post-Treaty years and used as ordinary income an average of £1,000,000 of pre-Treaty income tax. This was the Government who segregated recurrent and non-recurrent revenue. That was non-recurrent revenue, but it has been used as recurrent revenue. That is how they balanced their Budget.

The Ministers are only beginning their economy. That is not said by us, but by their supporters. They have succeeded in a ramp, in a panic, when faced by the sheriff. They have succeeded, according to Deputy Cooper, in the Estimates, which I have not seen, in saving £1,800,000, but they are only beginning. Why did they wait until the sheriff was in the house to begin? If they had started this process a considerable time ago not merely could they have a saving of £1,870,000 a year without interference with or shaking of their administrative machine, but by this time the economies amounting to those indicated by Deputy de Valera could have been added to those indicated by Deputy Cooper. Three or four millions of money, representing tens of millions, perhaps nearly a hundred millions of money, at a price at which industry could use it, could have been let loose on this country for the purpose of fertilising and developing it. But they are only beginning. If they had waited a little longer they would not have had an opportunity of commencing. To the extent to which they have begun I give them credit. To the extent that even a death-bed repentance can be got from them this Government is entitled to credit for a policy of economy, but not to any other extent. They did it when they had to. They ceased to spend money when they could not get it.

That is the best that can be said upon the facts for them. It is time, and long over time, that they went, but so long as they are here in this action of attempting now, at the eleventh hour, to begin to live within their means we will help them. We will recognise quite frankly that economies cannot be got without sacrifice, and that the advocacy of economy of a particular kind may have to be met by electoral sacrifices. The Minister for Finance is not responsible for it in the slightest degree, but this House imposed on him a payment of £175,000 last year on a particular item in relation to old age pensions. Every member of the House in doing that consulted his own humanitarian instincts and his own electoral necessity. That item, at any rate, lies dead and straight on the shoulders of this House. To that extent they must not complain of a particular taxation, but there are very few expenses which have been imposed on the Minister by the House. The sooner they get on with the job of bringing the expenditure of this country within the limits of its capacity to bear, the better for the country and the better for the cleanness of their reputation when they have gone. I recognise that it is not going to be an easy job to advocate some of the economies that will have to be advocated, and it is a responsibility on everybody in the House who believes that expenditure is too high to share with this Government in the closing days of its life the responsibility of advocating the economies which are necessary to produce that reduction in expenditure.

It is a matter of deep grief to me that the Farmers' Party who made such an auspicious lowering of the curtain last night, when they proclaimed that they had again come to life and were destined, apparently, to take an important part in the future destinies of the State, are not represented here now. That is all the harder to understand, because the Farmers' Party, above all parties, is the one which hangs economy highest among its banners. In the elections that have taken place from time to time down the country no party had the slightest interest in economy except the Farmers' Party. It is very significant that a change apparently has come now, and that when the rather important matter of voting seven and a half millions of the people's money comes up for discussion, there is not, so far as I can see, a single member of that party in his seat. This matter of economy is one that affects the agricultural community. The matter of the working of the Departments which have a direct bearing on reproductive work in connection with agriculture is also of great interest to the farmers of the Free State. They will, I am sure, be sorry to see there is a large cut in the subsidy for the beet-growing industry this year. It has been reduced from £274,000 to £108,000. That, I submit, is a reduction in a source of employment and in the actual output of money—that portion of the money which we vote in this House and which finds its way in one way or another into the hands of the farmer and labourer in the country. If that economy is to be effected, and if other economies have to be effected, economies which we have not had fully explained to us yet, but which I see in certain Departments, such as Fisheries and Land Commission, are very big economies, the House must naturally put a question to those responsible for making these economies. The House must ask whether they are satisfied that the economies really represent an elimination of waste and a real step forward on the road to genuine economy, or whether they mean a reduction in employment and in whatever amount of money is devoted to providing employment.

I do not propose to deal with Fisheries, because it would be futile. The amount of money that has been granted to the Department of Fisheries has made that Department the Cinderella of the Free State. The Minister in charge of that Department has had the Land Commission handed over to him. On his shoulders also has been placed the burden of building up something in the Gaeltacht which will help to keep the Irish-speaking population at home. On his shoulders, I believe, at present is also laid the task of producing some proposals which will lead to the building up of the fishing industry and to placing it in the position it should occupy—one of the foremost assets of the Free State. The extent to which the Government is in earnest in this matter, and the real value of its promises, may be judged from the fact that whereas it gave £41,000 last year for the upkeep of the Fishery Department, this year it is going to give £42,000—an increase of £1,000. Yet when Deputies on this side of the House have the audacity to get up and say that Senators' salaries, the salary of the Governor-General, and the salary of every officer who is getting more than £1,000 a year should be reduced, if we cannot get money anywhere else to keep these people from eating shell-fish or smoking cabbage-leaves or tealeaves, we are told by Deputies on the other side that we are not in earnest, that something else is being done. What is the something else? I submit that if the Government cannot find any more money than an extra £1,000 this year to tackle the problem of the Gaeltacht and the fishery industry, it were better that the Government should get out, or that it should take some bolder steps to get this money for the fishery industry.

Deputy de Valera has pointed out that a very important matter hanging on the agricultural economy of the Free State is also in question in the Estimates before us. That is the question of the delay in the vesting of land in the tenants. The Land Commission Estimate has been reduced from £719,000 to £515,000. We do not know at present whether that reduction of £200,000 means that half the officials of the Land Commission, let us suppose, have had their services dispensed with. I doubt it. I am very much inclined to agree with Deputy O'Connell that that £200,000 represents a reduction in the employment which would be given in the improvement of estates, the making of roads, the building of houses and other works in connection with estates that lie in the hands of the Land Commission. That £200,000 therefore represents a reduction in employment. No substitute is provided. The schemes of the new Department are not forthcoming. The Fishery Department is not going to do anything wonderful with its extra £1,000. What is going to take the place of this £200,000, a large amount of which would be spent in the poorer areas of Ireland, and a large amount of which would go to give employment to labourers in various rural centres who cannot find any other employment? What are they going to do? There is not alone that aspect of the question, but there is also the fact that the reduction in the Land Commission Estimate means, I believe, a general slowing down in the operations and the work of dealing with tenanted land under the provisions of the 1923 Act. In an answer to a question put by Deputy Allen on 28th February, in which he sought information regarding the number of tenants purchased under that Act, who had been vested, he was told that since the year 1923, the year the Act was passed, 6,114 had been vested. At the time the Land Act was introduced by the present Minister for Agriculture, we were told that there were 70,000 tenants involved. According to that there are some 64,000 tenants still waiting to be vested. If we vest at the rate of roughly, 1,000 per year, it follows that it will take 64 years to deal with the remaining 64,000. That is the way the Land Commission is carrying on.

It would be much better, I think, to give the Land Commission and the Fishery Department whatever financial facilities they require in order to enable them to bring this whole question of land purchase to a conclusion, and also to try to put the fishery industry on some commercial basis such as has been attempted in connection with the dairying industry. It is quite evident that that is not being done in the one case, and that in the other case the officials of the Land Commission have nothing further from their minds than this question of how purchase should be completed. It has been going on for generations. Officials come and officials go; Departments come, are broken up, amalgamated, or disappear, but the Land Commission seems to go on for ever. Occasionally a regular artillery charge of figures is hurled at us from the other side of the House, a regular mass of figures to show the amount of land that is in the different processes. Whether the experts of the Land Commission themselves understand these processes or the complications which they seem to devise as years go by I do not know. But there are a large number of people in the country who wonder when this question of land purchase is going to be finished, or if it is ever going to be finished. The Minister for Agriculture, speaking down in the country, said that at the end of five years he could promise that every Irish tenant farmer would be the duly vested owner of his holding. That five years has passed and we do not seem to be any nearer that. We have about ten per cent. of the holdings vested that had to be dealt with at that time, and the other ninety per cent. still remain on our hands. In addition to the slowness of these operations, and the fact that there is general insecurity in the country while the land question is not being satisfactorily attended to, there is being imposed upon the farmer a definite burden in this case, and if the reduction which is being made this year in the Land Commission, and in the work which the Land Commission gives, were offset or counterbalanced in some direction by giving the tenants the reduction to which they are entitled and which they were promised in 1923, then something might be said for that economy. But there is no ground whatever for hoping, there is no evidence whatever to show us that these tenants are going to be any better treated now than they were two years ago, three years ago, five years ago.

The Minister for Agriculture, when he introduced this great Land Bill in 1923, went very fully into the matter. We were not here when that Act was brought in; some of us were in jail and some of us were outside; but we know that great promises were made to the electorate that this Bill was going to settle the question definitely, finally, and for all time, and the Minister had not the slightest doubt about it at the time, because we must assume that he was in earnest as to the effect of the measure. He said that there was one great difference between each and all preceding measures for land purchase, or for land settlement, and that was that the thing called interest in lieu of rent was to be abolished, that there was to be an automatic vesting after certain facts had been disclosed to the Land Commission — very simple facts, such as the name of the tenant, the amount of land he held, and whether he was a judicial tenant or not. After these very simple facts had been collected by the Land Commission, there was to be automatic vesting, an Appointed Day was to be fixed automatically as a matter of course, and immediately after that the tenant was to be placed on the same basis as if he were paying his standard purchase annuity. So that instead of, as the Minister for Agriculture said at the time, the Irish tenant purchaser not having to pay interest in lieu of rent for five or seven or perhaps ten years, when he ought to be paying an annuity towards the redemption of the purchase money and towards the redemption of the obligation that had been placed upon him, he is as bad at the end of five or seven or ten years as he was at the beginning, and he has eventually to begin paying his annuity from the very start. That bad phase of the old Land Acts was to be completely wiped out in this wonderful new measure, which illustrated the statesmanship and the imagination of the present Minister for Agriculture. Then, after a certain time, the Minister for Agriculture began to change his mind.

The Farmers' Party, a few years after 1923, began to think that these promises were not being fulfilled. They began to see that the automatic vesting was not being made, the appointed day was not being named, and the tenants who were to secure the immediate reduction were not getting it, were at the loss of some 10 per cent. every year, an amount that at the present time comes to £80,000, I believe. Accordingly in 1925 this whole question was raised in the Dáil. It was raised, as was only proper at the time, and as would be most improper at the present juncture, by Deputy Heffernan. Deputy Heffernan said:

A return placed at our disposal by the Ministry of Agriculture a short time ago showed that there were over 94,000 tenants coming under the 1923 Act, and of that total at the date of the issue of the return in the case of 334 only had the appointed day been fixed. That is a very small proportion—334 holdings compared with 94,000.

Deputy Heffernan at that time said that there were 94,000 holdings, whereas we calculate, basing it upon what the Minister for Agriculture said in 1923, that there were 70,000. At that time the rate of progress was very small; it was only 334 out of 94,000, and there is no proof whatever that it has increased since. Then, in order to emphasise the importance of the question at the time, it was not alone raised by Deputy Heffernan, but the present Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Lands and Fisheries, Deputy Roddy, actually handed in a motion to raise the whole question. He was then a member of the Government Party, and there was a big slump in Government stock at the end of 1925 because the promises that had been made in 1923 were not being fulfilled, and the reduction that should have been granted to the tenants was not being made to them. There were other matters also with which Deputy Roddy was not satisfied at the time, but he dealt in particular with the delay and with the general unsatisfactoriness of the Land Commission in dealing with this question. He said:—

In the debate on the Land Commission Estimates this year the Minister for Lands and Agriculture stated that in his opinion the Land Commission was moving rather too quickly in this matter, and he advocated a slower pace. At the time I thought that that was an extraordinary statement, and it certainly caused a great deal of uneasiness and dissatisfaction in many quarters. There might have been some justification for such a policy in the days of the Congested Districts Board.

Further, he said:

The Minister may quote an elaborate array of figures in order to show the amount of preliminary work the Land Commission is doing. He did quote figures extensively in the debate on this year's Agricultural Estimate, figures designed to show the amount of land that had actually been inspected by the Commission, the amount of land that had actually been valued, and the amount of land that had actually been divided, for which land purchase agreements had been signed. These figures undoubtedly looked very formidable on paper, but after all they carried no conviction to the minds of the ordinary small landholders throughout the country.

So that at that time Deputy Roddy was not at all satisfied with the way in which the Land Commission was being worked, and he emphasised his disapproval of their dilatoriness by saying that the problem was not being tackled in a really serious and determined way; that the formalities that have to be gone through before the land finally passes into the possession of the new owners are too elaborate, and that it might be possible to co-ordinate these processes in some way in order to speed up the work of land division. Deputy Roddy himself has now been in charge of the Land Commission for a number of years; he is well acquainted with these processes, and in a debate a few nights ago on this question of the delay in vesting land in the tenant proprietors, he said that a great deal of the delay was due to the question of legal procedure, although when the Land Act was being introduced it was emphasised, over and over again, that after a simple statement of the particulars of the holding were lodged with the Land Commission, upon the Appointed Day there was to be an automatic vesting of the land and an automatic reduction to the tenant. Now we are told that there are legal formalities. What are the legal formalities? In the first place there is the question of title. If the Land Commission have not sufficient examiners, why do they not apply for more? How is it that the Land Commission, which was so slow when the Minister for Agriculture was in charge of it—he who at the end of his reign in that Department actually defended it; actually said that it was better that it should go slow —under Deputy Roddy, who had such a progressive point of view, and who was so anxious to get things moving a few years ago, shows no improvement?

If it is a question of legal formality, and if, as Deputy Roddy said a few nights ago, he has not been able to simplify these processes, why has he not applied to the Dáil for money to secure more examiners in title and more barristers to deal with this question? I cannot agree that the question of title is holding up this matter of the vesting of lands. The House knows very well, in spite of all this talk about having to go to China and Peru in order to clear up this question of title, that in the case of the Agricultural Credit Corporation, to mention only one case—and I do not say that it is a good case, but it comes to my mind—we were able to suggest and to implement in legislation a method by which this question of title would be taken for granted, and you would proceed by arranging that the whole matter would be entered into later on. Whether the question of title has to be settled or whether it has not, whether the Land Act has turned out to be much more complicated than it first appeared, whether this whole question of automatically vesting on the appointed day has disappeared, and whether a whole host of new complications have sprung up I do not know; but what I do know is, that whatever the legal difficulties may be, or whatever the Departmental red-tape regulations may be, there is no justification whatever for mulcting the tenants to the extent of £80,000 a year. They deserve that £80,000. Farming is not so prosperous at present that they can afford to give it as a free gift to the Government. I submit that the Government has had plenty of opportunities for dealing with the whole question of title, and that that is only a sham excuse, only an attempt to throw dust in the eyes of the public, that that is the reason that these people are not getting the reductions.

There was also a suggestion that a great deal of the work of the Land Commission during the past five or six years consisted in dealing with and vesting lands that had been acquired under previous Acts, but we never heard at all the stage to which these transactions had been brought before 1923. I have been informed and I believe that the Congested Districts Board had a very large number of estates prepared and practically in the last stage of transfer, and that the Land Commission should come along now, claim credit for what the Congested Districts Board had completed or had almost completed, and use that as an excuse for not proceeding with the work that it was definitely stated in 1923 they were going to complete in five years, is simply not worthy of them. There are not alone judicial tenants under the 1923 Act who are losing 2/- in the £ as long as their lands are being held up in this way and are not vested, but there are other classes of tenants. I am informed that in various parts of the country there are judicial tenants whose holdings were purchased from 1912 onwards who are getting a reduction of only 3/-, whereas they are entitled to 5/6 or 6/- in the £. An example is the estate of Trinity College in Cahirciveen. There is also the question of non-judicial tenants. These tenants are in a slightly different position to the judicial tenants, but we on this side of the House can see no reason why all tenants should not have their lands vested and why an appointed day should not be fixed this year, or within the next few months.

In Northern Ireland, where a Bill was introduced in 1925, the Government guaranteed that they would complete the work in four years. It is true that they have not completed it, but at any rate they named the appointed day, and now that they propose further to postpone that appointed day, they have aroused around their heads a storm of opposition on the part of every farmer who is interested in the question. But, at the time this Act was being passed in 1923 every Deputy who took an interest in the matter, who took the Minister's words at their face value, believed honestly that the appointed day was merely a matter of automatic arrangement, was a mere question of date, that the whole matter would be settled in a short time, so that not a single member of the House. as far as I know, asked: "Should we not put a time limit on this appointed day? Should we not say to ourselves if we feel that we can complete the work in five years, that we should definitely have it in the Act that the appointed day should not be later than this day five years?" If that had happened we would have an opportunity of going into this whole question, and the Land Commission would have had to proceed with its work on the understanding that at the end of five years it would either have to complete the work or give a full account of its stewardship, and a full explanation of its failure to do so. After five years there is no explanation, there is no method by which the matter can be raised, and there is general dissatisfaction throughout the country, not confined to our Party, or to the supporters of our Party, but general dissatisfaction amongst the supporters of all Parties with the Land Commission. I put it to the House that Deputies ought to take this opportunity of urging upon the Government that they are not going to tolerate that state of affairs, that they are not going to vote large sums of money year after year for the upkeep of the Land Commission without knowing what it is doing; above all, that Deputies should say that they are not satisfied to vote such large sums of money while they know that the professions of the Land Commission, and the intentions of the legislature in this matter, are not being carried out, and that the tenants are being mulcted.

There is an aspect of this vote which has not been touched upon so far in the debate. I think it is important that it should be mentioned, because it emphasises the need for economy in a particular way. I allude to the fact that of this vote of seven and a half millions a very considerable proportion will leave the country in the course of its spending. I do not think that phase of expenditure has ever got anything like the attention it deserves to get. In a normal country where the people would be living out of their own resources, it could not be anything like so serious if the Government expenditure were some thousand pounds more or less, but in a country like this, where people are very largely living on imports, it is obviously a really serious matter. Of these seven and a half millions, it is practically certain that about four millions will leave the country directly. In connection with this subject, not merely as it applies to Government expenditure but to general expenditure, I wonder if the Government are really satisfied with the present system under which our economy is carried on? Are they satisfied that, in the shops of the country, the main exhibits are from other countries? Are they satisfied with the support that Irish industry is getting? How is it that, in all their pronouncements, one never hears anything half as emphatic or half as appealing as the appeal made by an Imperialist statesman in another part of Ireland recently?

The shops cannot make the people buy Irish stuff if they do not like it.

It is rather singular that it should be left to this leading Imperialist to make an appeal for home industry, while here, where nationality is such a big tradition, we never hear an appeal from the top. We are being sneered at and ridiculed for talking about tariffs. We are painted practically as the enemies of the people, but no alternative system is suggested from the Government side. None of us, perhaps, would want tariffs if it were possible to secure that home manufacturers would get a fair chance without legislative help. It is to be deplored, I think, that the attitude of the Government is a purely negative one on this subject. I give the Government full credit for this fact: that in connection with a lot of expenditure under the Central Purchasing Department and Post Office purchases, and so on, Irish manufacturers are getting a very big chance. Even with that, there still remain great masses of the people to be stimulated on this question. It is surely, I think, the duty of the Government to appeal to the people not to be leaving everything to legislation, to remember that they have a duty to themselves, apart from what a government can do for them. I believe if such an appeal were made to the people from time to time that a lot of good would ensue.

With regard to another matter, I think that the Government could long ago have effected a very necessary settlement in connection with a controversy that has been going on simply by making a clear statement of their position. I allude to the controversy which has been upsetting education so much, and which is causing a lot of confusion in the country—the question of compulsory Irish in the schools. We, of course, are more than satisfied with the policy of the Government in regard to the teaching of Irish in the schools. But we do not think that the Government should be satisfied to allow to continue a controversy that is upsetting education and leading to hopes on the part of certain people that they will be able to effect a complete and fundamental change in the system of education in this country. Nobody wants to restrict liberty, but on a question like that I think it is only fair to the minority, who are agitating for this change, and agitating against compulsory Irish, that they should be told definitely that there is not the smallest chance of their agitation being successful.

In connection also with the attitude of a certain minority towards the economic ideals of the country, I think it is only due to that minority to tell them that, in that matter also, they will have to reconcile themselves to the wishes of the majority of the people; that this country should be built up as a nation and not as a mere colony or as a loose community, basing its whole system of production on the requirements of another country. I think that question is much more serious than is generally realised, because it is leading inevitably to a hostility towards the minority that no one desires. It may be a question of opinion as to whether Parnell's dictum that Ireland cannot afford the loss of a single Orangeman could be accepted to-day. But, certainly as far as the Saorstát is concerned, no one desires to lose a single one of what may be termed the minority. There is this to be observed, however, that if the minority is to continue to agitate that they should be allowed to act as West Britons——

Surely that has nothing whatever to do with this Vote on Account?

I submit that it has something to do with Government policy.

I do not think so. I have given the Deputy a good deal of liberty in the matter. I have allowed him to travel quite a long way from the Vote on Account. I think he ought to come to that now, and to definite Government policy.

I thought this was an occasion for discussing Government policy?

I suggest then that I am hardly out of order in noting omissions on the part of the Government, omissions which are leading to a rather unfortunate state of things in the country. I think that these questions are important enough to be mentioned. I think that if the Government gave this matter some attention it would probably put an end to the hostility that is undoubtedly growing on the part of a number of people, as they observe what I will term again the minority being tacitly encouraged to look for a system of education and a system of economy that would suit themselves but a system that is utterly alien to the expectations and the ideals of the bulk of the people here.

I would again appeal to the Government to give more attention to the question of encouraging support for Irish industries. I think that no amount of legislation enforced by the Dáil would be nearly as successful in securing support for Irish industries as a genuine appeal made to the people from the top to give voluntary support to their own manufactures. In view of the terrible conditions that prevail in most country towns at present, such an appeal is, I think, more than due. The Government cannot be satisfied with the present system under which practically all our requirements, not merely in manufactured goods but to a large extent in food, clothing, furniture, building materials, and so on, are being imported from abroad and paid for by a few agricultural products which do not contain a big labour factor. I am sure it would have a very good effect if, in an appeal from those in high places, it were made quite clear that everyone who was a good citizen was expected to give his support to Irish products, and that what some people are agitating for, a merely agricultural community, was not possible and would never meet the desires or requirements of the people.

This debate has given us another example of the peculiar method of carrying on debates in this House, a method adopted by the Government. The Minister who is in control of a particular debate gets up and makes a short statement in which he tells the House little or nothing. That is followed by several speeches from the Opposition. There is absolute silence on the Government Benches. Although we are to-day voting £7,500,000 there is no criticism either of a constructive or destructive nature from any of the benches except the benches of the Opposition. I do not know what members of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party consider their duty to their constituents. I would imagine that they would on a serious occasion like this, when it is a question of dealing with such a large amount of money, and where they would obviously have the opportunity of doing something which would help the people, take part in the debate, but instead they remain absolutely silent. I suppose we should only expect to be treated in the way in which we are usually treated in debates of this sort, and that at the end when no counter statements can be made explaining misrepresentations or dealing with remarks that some Minister, or one or two members of the Government, will get up and make the kind of speeches to which we have been treated in recent debates, and insult those who had spoken in the debate in a way which, to do justice to the Ministers, they would not indulge in in ordinary intercourse with the people. When they get up in these debates they think it is an opportunity of wrapping what they think is a mantle of statesmanship around themselves and insulting others who are entitled to have their opinions in reference to the interests of the country seriously considered.

At present, we have an enormous amount of unemployment. We have misery amongst the farmers, and a condition of things which on a Vote like this one would imagine should draw from all Parties in this House criticism whether of a friendly nature or of the opposite kind. One would expect that the brains of this House would be applied in this debate. The question of vesting land under the Land Commission has been mentioned. Although the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Lands and Fisheries was present he made no attempt to answer the question raised, or to offer any hope to the farmers whose holdings have not yet been vested. Clearly the intention of the Land Act was to vest the land as rapidly as possible. It is largely a question of administration, and if the Appointed Day were fixed the judicial holdings could be vested very rapidly, but some people contend that the Land Commission consider their work will come to an end too soon if the land is vested, and that responsibility for delay in vesting the land rests with the Land Commission. If that is the contention, it seems to me that it is the permanent officials of the Department who are controlling the Ministers in this House, and it is not this House and the Ministers who are masters of the situation.

I hope we shall have the opportunity of hearing some of the Ministers and then some of the Opposition members speak before the debate is concluded by the Minister. It is really most demoralising to find debates carried on on the lines of recent debates. Members on this side speak and they wait to see if some members of the Government, either of the Party generally or of the Front Bench, are going to meet the arguments. Suddenly we find the Minister called upon to conclude. It is a set phrase—"The Minister to conclude." We are forced, although we received no answer to our arguments, to get up and carry on the debate in the hope of getting answers to our questions and getting the opportunity of debating the questions raised in a proper manner, and as they should be debated in a House which represents the people. I would like to emphasise the necessity of something being done as regards fixing the Appointed Day soon. It could be done easily in the case of judicial holdings, but in the case of non-judicial holdings and of untenanted land naturally a little more time would be required. I hope the Government will offer not us, but the people, some hope of speeding up this matter of the vesting of land.

There are just two matters to which I would like to refer briefly. The first is a reduction of a sum of £200,000 in the Land Commission Estimate. Unfortunately in dealing with this Vote on Account we do not know the nature of that reduction. We shall know it later. If it were a genuine reduction it would certainly be praiseworthy, but in connection with land I am suspicious of it, particularly in view of the policy of festina lente which is being followed in dealing with land. The Act of 1923 obviously by its tenor, and judging from the speeches made at its introduction, contemplated the immediate vesting of the lands. To the best of my recollection, the Minister for Agriculture stated publicly that the operations would be completed within five years. The five years have gone by, and I would like to know what percentage of the land has now been vested. Judging by the amount of stock floated it seems to me it will take another half a century to complete the transaction. Where a fair rent has been fixed there is no difficulty whatsoever. The majority of the small holdings could have been vested any day since 1923. Section 40 puts the onus on the landlord as regards title. Now, it is a very serious matter for the tenants. They get 10 per cent. reduction on vesting; in addition to that, the payment of the purchase money begins only on vesting. We have had a case quoted here where a tenant was 17 years waiting to have his farm vested, and he may have to wait another three years, so that for twenty years he may be paying interest in lieu of rent, and the time at which he begins to pay for the purchase of his farm is put back. That is a very serious thing for the farmers of this country.

It is calculated that the Land Commission makes £80,000 per annum on this. The landlord also gains, for the interest in lieu of rent pays him much better than the 4½ per cent. he gets later on. Whether it is the extra gain to the Land Commission or the consideration for the landlord that is causing the delay—and I think it is not the latter—we would like some explanation of it. Of course, in the case of a non-judicial holding the price is fixed by the Inspectors and there will have to be more delay, but I think the delay is inexcusable. I think it would be quite possible and quite feasible to have the appointed day fixed, or at least to give the tenant the advantage of the 10 per cent. reduction whether or not the question of title is definitely fixed. Matters of that nature could be definitely adjusted afterwards and the day fixed after which the tenant will get the benefit of the 10 per cent. reduction.

Deputy Moore referred to the policy regarding Irish and education generally. That will be gone into more minutely in subsequent debates, but I wonder whether the abolition of the summer courses for the teachers does in any way tend to raise the hope that the status of Irish in the schools might be reduced. There is much to be said, I must admit, for the abolition of such courses. Very often the courses were not conducted as they should have been. That was not the case generally, but very often they were not conducted as they should have been, and the money for the fostering of the Irish language might have been more wisely spent, perhaps, in certain cases. The purpose of those courses was to train the teachers. To my thinking, it would take two years more of such courses in order to complete the work begun, and to stop them now will do harm.

I want to introduce a few matters in connection with this Vote on Account. In particular, I wish that all the Ministers would take the advice given from those benches frequently in the same manner as my friend, the Minister for Justice, has taken the advice which I gave him on a few occasions here. I am very glad to notice here in the Public Works and Buildings Vote a reduction of something like £200,000 in the sum contemplated this year. I hope that reduction is going to be carried on in connection with some other barracks besides the barracks that I mentioned here last year, which the Minister for Justice has now decided are not necessary. I thank him on behalf of the taxpayers of my constituency for sparing us this £1,500.

The Deputy should not thank me too soon.

I also wish to thank him for taking the advice I gave him last week when I requested him to close the barracks at Glanworth.

The Deputy cannot refer to those matters on this Vote.

Some of my colleagues have dealt with the vesting of lands. I would like to hear some definite pronouncement on this matter from the Ministers opposite. We have from time to time heard very definite protests from the farming community on this question of vesting land. I think that it is an outrageous procedure on the part of the Land Commission who have a definite vested interest in this matter, inasmuch as they collar apparently £80,000 out of those unfortunate tenants who are not vested but who are paying interest in lieu of rent. That money is collared for the rent, etc., and for income tax. I think it is high time that something was done in this matter and that the appointed day was definitely fixed. I raised the matter here last week, expecting that I would get a definite reply from the Minister or from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Fisheries. Unfortunately, nothing is apparently further from their minds than to take steps to get rid of the burden that has been put on the farmers of the Free State by this landlord Act of 1923. One of the reasons which were given was the delay and trouble of proving title. Under this landlord Act interest in lieu of rent is collected from those tenants, and apparently nobody has any title to collect that money. If a landlord cannot prove title, why should these rents be collected and handed over to him? If the landlord has not a title to the estate, why should the tenants on that estate pay him interest in lieu of rent?

Under the 1923 Act the onus is on the landlord to prove title. What do we find? We find that the Land Commission is paying the landlord for proving title and here and there down the country one of the old agents of the landlord, those old sharks, were picked out and transferred up here to prove title for the landlords and they were paid for doing that by the taxpayers. I do not think that any other body of men in any country in the world— not even in Africa—would put up with the treatment that has been meted out to the farmers by the present Government. Only for the fact that they have been accustomed for hundreds of years to be slavedriven they would not put up with that treatment. The little bit of freedom and independence they got through the reign of the I.R.A. in this country was very quickly taken from them by the present Government. The tenants of estates down the country who were given a breath of hope and some idea that they were to get justice from their own are now left in despair.

We have heard in this House from time to time speeches and declarations made about the agricultural depression. I think that not since I came here, at any rate, nor in the last five years, was any effort made by the Government to relieve that agricultural depression. We had very definite pronouncements quoted here to-day by Deputy Derrig. These pronouncements were made by the Minister for Lands and Agriculture when he was introducing the Land Act of 1923. He stated very definitely that there was to be no period at which the tenant would be asked to pay interest in lieu of rent. That speech was made by him on the 28th May, 1923, when introducing the Land Bill. He stated that the tenants were going immediately to enjoy a reduction of 30 per cent., and, in some cases, of 35 per cent. in their rents, and that the period during which they would pay interest in lieu of rent was to be abolished. He stated further, "We have endeavoured in this way to avoid the delays and obstruction in the previous Acts."

In other words, he was going to get rid of the red tape, but apparently the landlords' interests in this country and in this House were too strong for the Minister—that is, if he had not a leaning that way himself. Though there is at present in this House a majority representing the farming interests, nothing whatever has been done to compel the Minister for Agriculture or the Government to redeem the promises made in 1923. I will not make any allusion to the Party once known here as the Farmers' Party. They are dead, and I do not think anybody is sorry for them. I think the turn-about-face given here last night by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs finishes the Farmers' Union movement in this country and the Farmers' Party here.

The statement made by the Minister for Agriculture when introducing the Land Act of 1923 must definitely be carried out. I admit that the Minister changed his views very rapidly, because in 1925 he mentioned that he would rather they slowed up a little bit. When we compare figures we find that he slowed up very effectively. The Northern Government's Land Bill was introduced in May, 1925. In November, 1927, 6,700 holdings were vested out of 25,000. In February, 1929, 6,114 had been vested in the Free State under the 1923 Land Act. Of course, when the Minister for Agriculture changed his mind, when he definitely went over to the landlords' interests, and when the influences of the Land Commission were too strong for him, he handed all over to the duds of the country——

I rise to a point of order. All this is unfair and unjust, and the Minister is not here to reply to it. If Deputy Corry went to-day to witness the sales of young cattle in Ballsbridge, and if he saw the prices given there, he would realise that the policy of the Minister for Agriculture is far more important than all the rubbish he is talking now.

The statements I quote here are statements made by the Minister for Agriculture in this House.

The Deputy ought to be a little more careful in his choice of language regarding members of this House.

I quoted a definite statement made by the Minister for Agriculture.

I am not referring to a statement by the Minister for Agriculture or by any other Minister. I am referring now to the expression the Deputy used with regard to a Minister of this House. I think the Deputy knows quite well what I am referring to.

If I used any expression about a Minister of this House that was not in order, I withdraw it. The Minister for Agriculture made a very definite statement when he was introducing the 1923 Land Act, and he left the farmers of the Twenty-Six Counties under the impression that there was to be no delay whatsoever in the matter of vesting. He stated also that interest in lieu of rent was to be abolished. "We have endeavoured in this way to avoid the delays and obstruction in the previous Acts." That statement was made on 28th May, 1923. The Minister left the farmers under the definite impression that there would be no period in which they would be hanging between heaven and earth, as the saying is. They were to be vested at once and they were going to get a reduction of 35 per cent. on their rents. Those promises have not been carried out. We find ourselves dragging on from year to year. As Deputy Derrig stated, it will probably take the Land Commission 68½ years to vest the land in all the tenants. I see no excuse whatsoever for that. When difficulties were found with regard to the Agricultural Credit Act, the Minister came here looking for further powers and no delay was caused here. I am sure if the Minister for Lands and Fisheries found any difficulty in vesting, and if he came here, there would not be a single Deputy to oppose any proposal he would make with a view to hastening the vesting of land. Of course, that would be against the policy of the Land Commission and against the policy of the landlords' agents throughout the country who are brought to the Land Commission in order to prove titles and who are paid by the State, when really the payment should come from the landlord. If the landlords have no title to an estate or cannot prove title, why should the Land Commission collect rents for them? Whom are they collecting the rents for if the landlord is unable to prove title? Apparently it is a landlords' Government and a landlords' Land Commission that we have here.

One would imagine, listening to the speech of the last Deputy, that he has a complete monopoly of sentiments on behalf of the farmers. When the farmers of Ireland were fighting the landlords, and when they were making every effort to protect their homesteads, there are men here who stood by them and ran the danger of having their heads battered by those who were backing the landlords and the crow-bar brigade and the wielders of the battering-ram. I may tell the Deputy that as far as his wonderful sympathy for the farmers is concerned, we, on this side, take it all with a grain of salt. I rise to support the Vote on Account proposed by the Minister for Finance. Last year we heard the Deputy denounce other extravagances. This year we heard him denounce other economies. They cannot have it both ways. It is impossible to continue a policy of high revenue and at the same time to make no attempt at reductions. The Minister is held up here because he has selected special Votes to reduce. Deputy Lemass stated that a million of money could be saved by reducing the Army and the Civic Guards, but I wish to inform the House that the reduction of both one and the other is in the hands of Deputy Lemass and his Party, if they drop this policy of unrest, this policy of disturbing the conscience of the people all over the 26 Counties. They have held out the hope that if they had a chance, as he said in his speech, of smashing the Dáil and the Government, they would do so. On the face of such a statement coming from the other side, how can ever the Army or the Civic Guards be reduced? I consider that the Minister for Finance has gone a very considerable extent when he has reduced them so far, and in face of the speeches that have been delivered in this House or outside it there is no hope whatever of making any further reductions in the Army or the Civic Guards. As I said, let them change their policy and throw in their weight with the development of the country. They talk of industries and all that, but those would get a fillip if they would only drop this policy of keeping the country in a state of turmoil with speeches in which there is no bottom whatever.

Deputies to-night, in the course of their speeches, have referred frequently to the Northern Ireland Land Acts without apparently having studied these Acts. Deputy Corry, Deputy Derrig and Deputy Little referred to the benefits which tenants in Northern Ireland enjoy as compared with the benefits which tenants in the Free State enjoy at the moment. It is quite true that in the Northern Ireland Land Act of 1925 there is a general appointed day for all estates, but in the amending Act of 1929, which is now almost law, the Land Commission of Northern Ireland, realising the impossibility of fixing one general appointed day for all estates, have provided that there shall be, as there is in the Land Act of 1923, a separate appointed day for estates. It is quite impossible to appoint one general appointed day for all estates. The difficulties appertaining to the estates if they come in under the 1923 Act vary considerably. One estate may be dealt with in a comparatively easy manner, whilst another may present innumerable difficulties. These difficulties, particularly in regard to estates in the congested districts in counties like Mayo and Galway, have been so great that a special staff of men are at present engaged in dealing with them.

I think Deputy Corry stated that the Minister for Agriculture promised the Dáil that there would be no delay in vesting estates coming under the 1923 Act. I do not know what the nature of the speech was which the Minister made in this Dáil but I am perfectly certain that the Minister made no such foolish statement as Deputy Corry alleges he made. The procedure with regard to the vesting of estates is clearly contained in the Land Acts. The Land Act of 1924 lays it down for every estate that certain enquiries in connection with the vesting of every estate must be made and that a certain procedure must be followed. The Minister was responsible for introducing that section into the Act and, as a matter of fact, the statutory rules that have been drafted by the Land Commission based on that very section have been approved of. These statutory rules guide the Commissioners in the procedure that operates in regard to the vesting of all estates.

I indicated, in the discussion of a question on the adjournment the other evening, some of the difficulties we have got to encounter in fixing the appointed day in estates coming under the 1923 Act, but in estates in counties like Mayo, Galway and Sligo, and perhaps to a small extent in Clare and Kerry, considerable difficulty is experienced in fixing the turbary rights, in disposing of drainage maintenance rights, and in disposing of all sorts of questions relating to boundaries. Deputies should also remember that in dealing with estates under the 1923 Act no comparison whatever can be made with the estates that came under the earlier Acts of 1903 and 1909. They should remember that the Act of 1903 was a voluntary Act, and that difficulties of that kind were mutually adjusted between the landlords and the tenants acting, I assume, through their solicitors or agents on both sides. As a matter of fact it took years and years to dispose of some of their difficulties in connection with turbary. In some of the 1903 Act estates it took years to dispose of these difficulties. As a matter of fact there are turbary rights not yet disposed of and still in dispute between landlords and tenants. There are other classes of difficulties, too, that are still in dispute.

If so, why so?

Before a holding can be vested it is essential that every single legal difficulty should be removed out of the way before a holding can possibly be vested in a tenant. It is absolutely essential that a tenant once he signs his vesting agreement should have an absolutely clear and safe title to his lands, and in order that he may be assured of that safe and clear title, it is absolutely essential that every possible legal difficulty should be removed out of the way, because if you get a tenant to sign a vesting agreement without removing all those legal difficulties, without removing every cause and source of trouble, you are, as I said previously, simply vesting litigation costs and expenses in him.

Deputy Derrig, I think, said that the fact that the Land Commission are not proceeding more rapidly with the vesting of holdings or estates under the 1923 Act means a loss of something like £80,000 a year to the tenants. That estimate is absurd. The loss at the most, if it can be called a loss, would not represent half that amount. After all, the loss to the class of tenants in which Deputy Corry and Deputy Derrig are interested, the poor tenants, I assume, in counties like Mayo, Galway, Sligo, Leitrim and other congested counties, whose rentals would probably not amount, at the very outside, to more than £10 a year, could not be more than anything from 12/- to 15/- a year. Assuming that it was possible to take some sort of legal short cut in the work of speeding up this vesting, the tenants who would gain most are the very large farmers in Dublin, Kildare and other eastern counties. It would represent no appreciable gain whatever to the smaller tenants. There is not, as far as I can see at the moment, any possible means of speeding up the work of vesting lands, other than tightening up the administrative machinery for the purpose of carrying out this work of vesting. So far as the Land Commission is concerned, every possible step has been taken with the object of speeding up the work of vesting holdings in tenants acquired not only under the 1923 Act, but under the 1909 Act as well, because there are still remnants of estates to be dealt with under the 1909 Act, and still smaller remnants of estates to be dealt with under the 1903 Act.

Every possible step is being taken to speed up the work of vesting, with the result that to-day the work is proceeding much more quickly. I can safely say that it is proceeding at least twice as fast as we were able to proceed last year or the year before. After all, I realise the needs and the difficulties of the small tenants in the western counties probably as well as Deputy Derrig.

As I happen to be T.D. for Carlow and Kilkenny I can assure the Parliamentary Secretary I am satisfied that the big farmers in the Midlands, as he calls them, will deserve their reduction as much as the farmers in any other part of the country.

I realise that perfectly well. I understood the Deputy to refer to the small farmers in Mayo in the course of his speech.

He has deserted Mayo now.

I realise their difficulties. The gain would be very small, even assuming that their holdings could be vested in them by some automatic process, and nobody has indicated how it could be done or what legal machinery could be devised for the purpose of doing it. I have devoted a considerable amount of time and thought to it, and I am not satisfied that it is possible to adopt some legal short-cut for the purpose of speeding up the work of vesting. It is absolutely essential for the security of the farmers themselves and the security of the State that every step in the procedure we are following at the moment should be gone through fully and completely. It is essential once a holding is vested in a tenant that every possible legal safeguard should be adopted so that he may be absolutely secure in his title to that property and that there may be no danger of litigation subsequently. If you are going to give a tenant a secure title it is utterly impossible to dispense with any step or stage of the procedure that we are following at the moment in the vesting of tenanted land. Deputy Derrig or some other Deputy referred to the fact that it is provided in the 1923 Act in Northern Ireland that some sort of compensation would be paid to the tenants in respect of the difference between interest in lieu of rent which they were paying and the annuity when subsequently fixed. But Deputies should remember that there is no comparison between the land problem in Northern Ireland and the land problem here. The land problem in Northern Ireland is infinitesimal in comparison with the problem here.

Surely the Parliamentary Secretary does not deny that in introducing the 1923 Land Act the Minister for Agriculture specifically stated that interest in lieu of rent was being abolished. Did he not say that, and did he not say on a simple statement of fact that the appointed day would be fixed and that vesting automatically took place?

I am quite sure that the Minister for Agriculture never would have made such a foolish statement as that.

took the Chair.

If the Parliamentary Secretary will allow me, I will read the statement made by the Minister for Agriculture. It is in the Dáil Report, volume III., 1923, page 1151.

"The machinery of the Bill is quite simple. On the appointed day the holdings will vest in the Land Commission. Different appointed days will be named for the different estates and districts. The appointed day is the day on which the holdings vest in the Land Commission. On and as from that day the purchase money would be placed to the credit of the vendors and the tenant will receive his reduction of 30 or 35 per cent., as the case may be. The interest in lieu of rent period is abolished."

That is what I have been saying.

"We have endeavoured in this way to avoid the delays and obstructions of the previous Acts."

That is quite right; that is what I have been saying. It is perfectly clear that the Minister, when referring to the appointed day, was referring to the day on which the holding is vested in the tenant. Naturally the interest would arise from that date; that is the date from which the annuity starts. That should be quite clear even to the intelligence of Deputy Corry.

In other words, he was not serious before, but only joking.

Lest the Parliamentary Secretary might try to get away with this——

Is this a point of order, a point of interruption, or a point of explanation?

I think he ought to answer the question specifically, whether or not on the appointed day interest in lieu of the rent period should be abolished. Does not that mean that he should be placed immediately on the same basis as if he had purchased?

Interest in lieu of rent is automatically abolished, and the annuity commences on the vesting date, that is the appointed day. I think that disposes completely of the question of vesting.

I have been engaged elsewhere and have not had an opportunity of hearing the discussion on this question of land vesting. I think the delay in the vesting of land is quite indefensible. If there is any question about title it is a question between the people who at present own the property and the mortgagees, whoever they may be. The question of charges as against an estate should cease now, and whatever charges there are against an estate should be against the stock or whatever is going to be held by the landlord until such time as these mortgages are cleared. There ought to be no difficulty in this matter, but lawyers seem to be too strong for the best intentions. The whole thing could be done in six months. The Government had better make up their minds that people will not stick it any longer. Machinery ought to be found, and must be found, to end the matter.

A useful contribution.

For the reason, I suppose, that it bites.

I should like to draw the attention of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Lands and Fisheries, not to any bogus grievance, but to a very real grievance which exists in the case of some small estates and some fairly large estates, the particulars of which apparently have not yet reached the chief Opposition Party or Deputy Gorey. There are still in this country a number of English-managed estates, or estates, in part, English-managed. As the result of the procedure of the Land Act of 1923, the happy position of landlords of estates such as these is that they are drawing not 75 per cent. of the income, as provided for by the Act, but what is, in fact, at least 100 per cent., or a little more. Although I do not see eye to eye, from what I have heard, with the Land Commission with regard to this, I submit, in the case of these estates, where the landlord is doing nothing to carry out his obligations towards keeping the estate in repair and providing the necessary works, that these estates ought to get priority. At all events, there should be speedy investigation and inquiry, because the tenant will not do it, as no fund is provided for him, and the fund which does belong to the tenant in fact, and which the tenant must get when the lands are being valued under the provisions of the Act, is at present going into the pockets of the landlord.

I know that there are many difficulties in connection with the administration of the Land Acts. 1903 is a long time ago, and at the end of a quarter of a century there are unfortunately disputes still unsettled under the 1903 Act, which the wit of man has not been able to settle, and under which both the tenants and the landlords are suffering very considerably. These delays will occur— whether the fault lies with the lawyers, or the tenants, or the landlords, or the Land Commission does not matter. It is beyond human ingenuity to prevent these occurring. The instance which I gave is one which can be put a stop to, and which ought to be put a stop to. I submit that cases such as I have referred to ought to be dealt with in special priority, and that those tenants who are in an unusual position ought to be dealt with as quickly as possible.

A number of questions were asked which I might reply to, although they were raised casually. I was asked whether the Increase of Rent and Mortgage (Restrictions) Act would be renewed or extended, or whether the legislation recommended by the Town Tenants Commission would be introduced. It will probably be impossible to introduce a Bill based on the report of the Town Tenants Commission and, therefore, I am fairly sure that there will be no alternative to an extension of the existing legislation, until the more comprehensive Bill can be prepared. I was asked about the reduction which appears on the Estimates for the Department of Posts and Telegraphs. Economies are being effected in various respects in that Department. Amongst the economies which will take place will be a reduction of deliveries in a great number of rural areas from six to three per week. Somebody said that that was hitting the farmer. The saving which will be effected will be of benefit mostly to the farmers, because ultimately the greater part of the money raised in taxation will come from the agricultural community. There are a great number of rural deliveries which are entirely uneconomic in the sense that the revenue resulting from them does not go any distance towards paying the cost. They are uneconomic in this sense also: that the communications which are delivered are very seldom ones which will suffer in the least from a delay of one day. Where you have certain types of business communications, especially in large commercial centres, a reduction of deliveries which would mean a day's delay might have very serious consequences. So far as the deliveries in these rural areas are concerned, it will very seldom indeed happen that there will be any disadvantage to the recipients of the communications as a result of a day's delay.

Some reference was made to the money provided for arterial drainage and to the Barrow drainage. So far as arterial drainage is concerned, the thing that has transpired more and more clearly during the last couple of years is that there is very little economic drainage to be done in the country. The vast majority of the schemes examined have been schemes the cost of which is so great in comparison with the good that will be done, that it is extremely doubtful whether it is any advantage to proceed with them. We had a suspicion before the Arterial Drainage Act was passed that most of the good drainage schemes had already been carried out, and we knew that the schemes which still remained to be dealt with were not at all so attractive, but we did not know that so many of them would be so very far from being economic as has turned out to be the case. It is not possible to get ahead at a very rapid rate with arterial drainage. Great care will have to be taken in the preparation of schemes and in the selection of them, if there is not to be a tremendous waste of public money. Apart from that, there are cases where schemes could be gone on with if county councils were prepared to make the contributions required. In some cases the county councils have agreed to make the contributions, but in many other cases they have failed or declined. In that way, work is held up. There is provision in the Estimates for all the work in connection with arterial drainage which it is likely to be possible to do in the coming year.

With regard to the Barrow drainage, the position is that a good deal of the work during the coming period will be work where mechanical appliances can be used and where the cost of labour will not be so great, consequently, while the work of the scheme will proceed as it has been proceeding, the amount of money that will fall to be expended in the coming year will not be as great as it has been in other years.

There were some references made to the Economy Committee, of which Deputy Heffernan is Chairman. That Committee, while it has not presented a report, has done a very great deal of work during the year. In addition to investigations carried out by individual members, or by groups of members of the Committee, 44 meetings of the Committee have been held. The suggestions and criticisms of that Committee, although they have not been embodied in a report and presented to the Executive Council have been availed of in the Departments where the Estimates were being prepared and in the Department of Finance. I may say that if it had not been for the work of that Committee the Estimates would be nothing like as low as they are, as indicated in the Table attached showing the particulars of the Vote on Account.

This debate, of course, has followed stereotyped lines. We have had the usual talk of economy from the Opposition Benches and the usual fault-finding with any saving of expenditure as indicated in the Estimates. The real difficulty in reducing taxation is the difficulty that arises in the ever pressing demands for increased expenditure. Some people want increased expenditure under heads that can be dignified with the name of social services; other people want it under other heads, but the experience of anybody who attempts to reduce or control expenditure is that there is very little support for the actual work of controlling or reducing expenditure. There is a great deal of lip service to economy and there is a great habit of attacking things that people dislike for political or other reasons in the interests of economy, but I do not feel that there is a very sincere desire for it.

It is absurd to talk about reducing the expenditure on the Civic Guard to half. That is simply and entirely absurd. Any attempt to reduce that expenditure to anything like what is suggested, having regard to the remote and recent history of this country, would have nothing but the most serious reaction and could lead to nothing but very much increased expenditure on the police or military services in the future. It must be faced as a fact that there is not the public respect for law or for the rights of individuals and that there is not the civic courage in this country that there is in other countries.

There are countries where, if crimes like the crimes against jurors and witnesses that took place here recently occurred, there would be the strongest condemnation not from one political party only, but from all political parties, and there would not merely be condemnation of the crime but there would be encouragement to all members of the public to assist the police in bringing the criminals to justice. There would be this feeling amongst jurors that they would suffer anything rather than be diverted from doing their duty by a handful of what somebody called sewer-rats. We have not that civic spirit in the country. We have people standing aside and people almost encouraging it, people scoffing at the police in their attempts to deal with these crimes, and when we have responsible people—and I include the people on the opposite benches—failing to do their duty in these matters, then we cannot arrive at such a state in this country that we could have a reduction in police expenditure that might be possible under entirely different conditions. But even if everybody did their duty it takes a good while to arrive at a state of affairs that would exist if we had had a different history both in the remote past and in the recent past. No matter what anybody did, it would be a considerable time before the police expenditure could be cut down. I do not know whether it could ever be reduced to half, considering the duties we throw upon the police.

One of the items of the policy of the Government in recent years has been this: While we felt we could not reduce the numbers of the police and that we could not alter the system of policing to, let us say, the village constable system, we felt that we ought try to give the police additional duties. Along the Border, for instance, the police have been required to do duty that would normally be done by Customs Preventive officers. The expenditure on the Customs staff is reduced in that way. The police spend part of their time doing customs work and are available for other work at other times.

In the same way in enforcing the School Attendance Act police are employed, thus saving the salaries of School Attendance Officers, and other work is thrown upon the police. It may be possible to throw some more of that kind of work upon them and, while not reducing the police Vote, to save expenditure in other directions. If we were thinking of reducing the police to half the present cost—it would be utterly impossible—it could not be contemplated without taking certain duties from the police. I know that in Dublin there are calls for more policemen for point duty. Perhaps we could employ a different type of officer who would merely do point duty, but I doubt that there would be any great saving. In individual districts where houses are built and where there are no police stations, like those districts on the North side, deputation after deputation has come to the Minister for Justice to ask for a police station and for more police patrols and all that sort of thing. Petty crime and offences of one sort or another occur because there is no police station in the neighbourhood and because patrols are not as numerous as they should be. In many country districts where there is very little crime there might easily be, and in some of them there would be a great deal of crime, if there was no police station.

Then take the question of poteen, which is, I think, a desperate evil, and, where it exists, a most demoralising thing. There are areas where the poteen traffic would grow to a tremendous extent if you had not a police station. More harm possibly would be done by the growth of that poteen evil than would justify the payment of police. Even if it was thought justifiable, which I do not, to bring about a big reduction in the whiskey duty, you could not bring about any reduction of the whiskey duty that would make the making of poteen unprofitable.

There are areas where the police have to be employed for that. In some countries there is no such tendency. It is just one of the heritages of the evils of the past here. We have the poteen-making tradition. We have clergymen and all sorts of people who are not ashamed to have poteen in their houses, who are not ashamed to lend countenance to poteen-making. You have District Justices who find it hard to believe that it is a serious offence. I must say that they are better than the justices who preceded them, but there is that feeling that it is not a terrible offence. It is consequently a difficult thing to deal with. A reduction to half the number of the present police force would leave whole areas of the country sodden with drink and the crime that would follow the unrestricted manufacture of poteen. I have often discussed the question of the police force with the Minister for Justice. I have been even anxious that we should make some attempt in some of the more orderly areas of the country with the inauguration of the village constable system but, while I would be very anxious to see it tried in a few favourable areas and make other arrangements for the carrying out of police duties which that would involve, I am convinced that there are a number of areas where nothing of the sort could or ought to be attempted.

I am perfectly satisfied that the sort of sweeping reductions which Deputy de Valera indicated could not be carried out at all. As regards the Army, when the Army was costing four millions a year I succeeded in having the view—I had not any trouble about it—and I put forward the proposal which was accepted by the Cabinet that the cost of the Army must come down within two or three years to two million pounds and afterwards to one and a half millions. Having come to the point where the cost of the Army is under one and a half million pounds, I am not prepared to take some arbitrary figure and say that we will spend no more than that upon it. I think that the time has been reached when we should look at it in another way and see what sort of a defence organisation we want and, having made up our minds on that point, see what is the smallest defence organisation we ought to have. Having satisfied ourselves on that we should then see how we can maintain at a reasonable degree of efficiency such defence organisation. Leaving the question of internal order altogether out of it, I am very clear that we must have a defence organisation here.

I have said in the Dáil before that if there is any war situation arising at our doors, I want the position to be that there will be no excuse for and little danger of flooding the country with troops from outside. I want the position to exist here that a very considerable force can be quickly organised, and I think it might bring calamity on the country if there were no means of bringing to the colours quickly here a substantial defence force. It might lead to a military occupation which would otherwise be avoided, and a military occupation might lead to all the affairs and interests of this country being really handled and controlled without regard to them. I do not necessarily say that anyone is going to attack us, or that anyone may be regarded as an enemy towards us, but I think, with international morality in its present state, if this country is to have as much security as it ought to have, that there should be a defence force. Whatever people of different parties may think with regard to the use of a defence force for the mere work of police support, I think it ought to be possible in a reasonable atmosphere to hammer out some scheme of national defence largely, in my opinion, based on the militia or territorial system. There may be differences in detail in regard to it, but there would not be fundamental differences of opinion. If we are to do any good with such defence force, I believe that the question must be faced in that way, and, having got down to under one and a half millions as the cost of the Army, it is no use saying that it should cost one million one hundred thousand pounds or one million two hundred and fifty thousand pounds, or nine hundred thousand pounds. It might be that a quite satisfactory system of defence could be maintained for a lower figure, but I think we must work it out.

There are people who are very fond of talking about the taxable capacity of the country. It is difficult to determine what is the taxable capacity of the country, and I do not think that comparisons with the wealth of another country are any great guide to us. In a British despatch about the public debt, a suggestion was made, based on a speech delivered in the Dáil, to the effect that the taxable capacity of the Saorstát might be taken as one and a half per cent. of the taxable capacity of Great Britain. I do not know whether that figure could be questioned very much, but even if we were to accept it, it does not constitute any proof that we could carry on our public services for twelve millions or that we ought to try to carry them on for that sum. I think that the taxable capacity of a country depends not merely on the wealth of the country, but on what is being done with the money raised in taxation. It might well be advisable in some cases to increase taxation if the use of it was going to be of sufficient benefit to the country. In any case, certainly, if we begin to calculate the taxable capacity of the country on the same basis which led to the conclusion that we should spend only twelve millions on our public services, we would have to decide that that calculation was on a wrong basis somehow, because we could not carry on on twelve millions. Two or three of our services would go far to absorb twelve million pounds. When you consider education alone—and I do not think that less money can be spent on it— and when you remember that it costs four millions, when you add to that old age pensions, you get nearly seven millions. Add to that amount the grants to local authorities— about £2,400,000—and you have over nine million pounds for three headings alone.

I think nobody can get anywhere with that argument. It is merely something in the nature of a cheap line of newspaper or platform argument to talk about the taxable capacity of this country. I think we must see whether particular services are value for the money, in the circumstances that exist here, and do our best to decide in that way whether we can cut off this expenditure or abstain from another expenditure, having regard to all the circumstances. No party will find that the cutting down of expenditure is popular. There are one or two items, which people advocate more for reasons of politics than for those of economy. I take the argument which we hear from time to time with reference to the Governor-General's establishment as having no real relation to economy and as being merely a political argument. I am perfectly satisfied that if the people who want a different sort of State here had their way, whoever occupied a sort of titular headship would have some such establishment and would be a source of some such expenditure. I do not think that it can be avoided. Countries very distant from Europe might find it possible to avoid things that we should not avoid in the national interest. In my view a country like New Zealand might avoid things which it would not be in the public interest to avoid here. As a matter of fact if the political situation were different and if there were agreements of a certain kind which do not exist at the moment, I believe it would probably be in the national interest to spend more in connection with the establishment of the Governor-General than is at present spent. I say that because of the tendency that exists for people to be attracted out of this country and have their affections attracted from it by certain activities on the other side.

I think nobody can ignore the damage that has been done to this country in the past by what I might call the migration of wealth, by families who have made money in the country not staying in the country, carrying their title to wealth and property out of the country with them, and carrying on their expenditure in other countries. I believe, of course, the language policy that has been carried out will in a generation or two do a great deal to rectify that. I believe it is due to the extreme extent to which the denationalisation policy has gone and that the general policy will rectify it. Nevertheless things like the particular work that might be done on a greater scale in different circumstances by the holder of an office like that of the Governor-General, would have their effect in counteracting things like that. We cannot assume that all the States in the world, or nearly all of them, are extremely foolish, and that because of such things a good deal of the expenditure that is incurred in most places is wasted. I do not think it is wasted expenditure.

With regard to the demands to abolish the Seanad, I think again there we have a sample of the political demands which are trotted out when there is any talk of economy. I think, while some Deputies may doubt it, that the existence of a second House which can hold up measures passed in time of excitement, or passed, if you like, in a particularly partisan spirit——

It has not done so.

I will admit for the sake of argument, but not otherwise, that the members of the present Seanad nearly all have the views of one Party, but taking the long view and looking, not even five years ahead, but ten or fifteen years ahead, I think that there are real advantages in having a Second Chamber. Minor economies might be effected in both the Dáil and the Seanad if some reductions in numbers were made, though I would not like to see the Dáil reduced to a small House. I think there might be a loss of efficiency and a loss of representative character following on a great reduction in the number of members of the Dáil. Perhaps if the membership were reduced to 125 or so, no damage would result, but these things do not give us any economy. They are not considerable, and I do not really take them very seriously as suggestions for a campaign of economy. I think that suggestions in regard to the main things, like the Army and the police, are not the result of any real consideration.

I think that the suggestions in regard to these two items are merely political proposals put forward in the name of economy. It is very difficult to get substantial economies without losses which perhaps go a considerable way towards neutralising the benefits of these economies. You cannot get economy without bringing about unemployment in certain directions, and that unemployment represents some loss in itself. We thought it desirable to go as far as we reasonably could in preventing increased calls upon the tax-payer, because while by raising taxation and continuing expenditure for relief schemes or other schemes advocated here, we could give employment, Deputies must realise that while you can easily see the employment that is given as a result of the expenditure of monies raised by taxation, there is likely to be something nearly approaching a corresponding amount of unemployment caused by the levying of taxation, but that unemployment is so diffused that it cannot be pointed to definitely in the way in which employment provided as a result of taxation can be pointed to.

In some respects the reductions which appear in the Votes are really the result of closer estimation. In other cases they represent a cutting off of definite services or a reduction of the speed with which certain things might be done. They do, to a very considerable extent, represent in the main real reductions in expenditure and not merely adjustments in estimation. I am satisfied that at the moment it is very necessary in the national interest to do what can be done towards preventing any increased burden being thrown upon the tax-payer.

It is entirely wrong for Deputies to suggest that there has been any spendthrift attitude displayed by the Government at any time. When the Government first took office, they were occupied with a task which did not leave a great deal of leisure for a close scrutiny of expenditure, and undoubtedly things slipped in the first years which would not have slipped if the Government had been free to give its attention to normal work; but there was never at any time any deliberate swelling of expenditure, and there was never any orgy of patronage such as I think Deputy MacEntee suggested. I think that it can certainly be claimed that there never was a Government, in the circumstances in which the present Government found itself placed, that did so very little in the way of giving rewards to people who had rendered political or politico-military services. Practically nothing was done, and that required a very good deal of firmness, because undoubtedly there was a good deal of pressure towards some partial adoption, at any rate, of the spoils system which exists in certain countries. As soon as there was any restoration of order, the Civil Service Regulation Act, which is a very rigid instrument, very much more rigid than the Order under which they work in Great Britain, was passed.

There has been a consistent attempt year by year to cut down expenditure. Where expenditure has increased it has largely increased as a result of special efforts that were made to obtain increased production, or to give increased employment. Things like the Arterial Drainage Act, apart altogether from any expenditure that followed on arterial drainage, involved an increased staff for the Board of Works; building and housing programmes involved increased expenditure; things like the Shannon scheme involved increased expenditure and threw work on the staff of the Department of Industry and Commerce; expenditure was incurred and a staff was required for the working of things like the Trade Loans Guarantee Act; expenditure was required for sugar beet, for the Barrow drainage scheme and for all these other schemes. I do not think that we need be sorry that any of these efforts were made; and if any good, reproductive schemes are submitted to the Government in the future they will be as ready as they have been in the past to undertake them. But they feel that in the case of any expenditure which is not directly reproductive, though it may be beneficial in many ways to the community, they ought to hold their hand as far as possible and give an opportunity to the economic recovery which has begun to proceed.

There is one point I mentioned to which the Minister did not make any reference, that is, the Government's policy with regard to house-building. Has the Minister anything to say about that?

There will be a Bill shortly.

He has nothing to say further than what the Minister for Local Government has said?

Not just at present.

The Committee divided: Tá, 71; Níl, 60.

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


  • Allen, Denis.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Boland, Patrick.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Broderick, Henry.
  • Buckley, Daniel.
  • Carney, Frank.
  • Clancy, Patrick.
  • Clery, Michael.
  • Colbert, James.
  • Colohan, Hugh.
  • Cooney, Eamon.
  • Corkery, Dan.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Corry, Martin John.
  • Crowley, Fred. Hugh.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Davin, William.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Doyle, Edward.
  • Everett, James.
  • Fahy, Frank.
  • Flinn, Hugo.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
  • Holt, Samuel.
  • Houlihan, Patrick.
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Kerlin, Frank.
  • Killane, James Joseph.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Moore, Séumas.
  • Morrissey, Daniel.
  • Mullins, Thomas.
  • O'Connell, Thomas J.
  • O'Dowd, Patrick Joseph.
  • O'Kelly, Seán T.
  • O'Leary, William.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • O'Reilly, Thomas.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Sexton, Martin.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (Tipperary).
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Tubridy, John.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C.
Tellers: Tá, Deputies Duggan and P.S. Doyle. Níl, Deputies G. Boland and Davin. Motion declared carried.
The Dáil went out of Committee.
Resolution ordered to be reported.
Resolution reported.
Question—"That the Dáil agree with the Committee in the Resolution"—put and declared carried.
The Dáil went into Committee on Finance.