Poor Relief (Dublin) Bill, 1929—Second Stage.

I beg to move the Second Reading of the Bill. The Local Government (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1923, was passed to remedy the more serious defects in the existing law relating to the relief of the poor, and county schemes, involving in a large measure a total reform of the former poor law system, were adopted thereunder throughout Saorstát Eireann, with the exception of the poor law areas situate in Dublin city and county. The initiative in the preparation and submission of a county scheme under the Act of 1923, rests with the local authorities concerned, and the postponement of the preparation of a scheme in the case of Dublin was mainly due to the fact that radical administrative changes in this area were expected as a result of the reports of the Greater Dublin Commission and the Poor Law Commission. Meanwhile the question of the relief of the poor in the metropolitan area continued to present a special problem.

Section 10 of the Act of 1923 removed restrictions on outdoor relief in all the counties to which the Act applied with the result that home assistance might be given to persons other than those incapacitated by old age or illness or to widows and children, that is to say, to able-bodied persons out of employment. The absence of this power in the case of Dublin city and county necessitated various temporary measures of special relief such as the putting into operation of Section 13 of the Local Government Act, 1898, and the provision of relief grants from Government funds. Relief grants of considerable amounts were made available during the greater portion of the period since the passing of the Act of 1923 and further large local contributions were made by the City Commissioners and to a lesser extent by the local authorities in Dublin county to supplement this relief. A special Committee of the Seanad was set up to consider the matter in June last and they recommended that legislation should be passed without delay providing that, pending the adoption of a county scheme, the Poor Law Guardians in Dublin should be empowered to grant outdoor relief without the restrictions which were removed for the remainder of the country by the Local Government (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1923.

A Bill was accordingly introduced in An Seanad to remove restrictions on the granting of outdoor relief in the Poor Law Unions of Dublin, Rathdown, and Balrothery. As it was desirable that the views of the local authorities concerned should be obtained, a conference on the matter was convened and a committee of local representatives appointed to consider the question of the extension of outdoor relief and it was hoped that their deliberations might result in the submission of an agreed joint county scheme under the Act of 1923. It appears, however, that local opinion favoured the postponement of the joint county scheme until the Greater Dublin question should be settled by legislation. The committee agreed to the proposed extension of outdoor relief but represented that 50 per cent. of the cost of the additional financial burden thereby imposed should be made from Government funds on the grounds that conditions in the metropolitan county merited special terms. They also proposed a division of the Dublin Union into three districts.

At present there are three Poor Law areas in Dublin city and county. You have the guardians in Balrothery area, the guardians in Rathdown area and the Commissioners in Dublin city area. A special committee, consisting of representatives of the local bodies, recommended that relief in respect of the able-bodied should be made a separate charge for special areas. They recommended that as far as the Balrothery area was concerned, it should be a charge over Balrothery area, therefore it would be on all fours with ordinary relief there. They recommended in the case of the Rathdown area, that the Rathdown district should be divided into two areas, an urban area and a rural area, and that the charge should be a separate charge in respect of the rural area and a separate charge in respect of the urban area. In addition, they recommended that in the case of the areas controlled by the City Commissioners, the old North Dublin Union area, the old South Dublin Union area, and the Celbridge Union area, the City of Dublin and the townships of Rathmines, Pembroke and Howth, should be made one separate area of charge in respect of relief for the able-bodied poor, and that the remaining rural portion should be made another separate area of charge. They further suggested the setting up of advisory committees in the city and county for the purpose of administering relief under that Act and of dealing with the work that might be required by the Guardians. The setting up of these committees inevitably rose to the minds of the Committee arising out of the splitting up of the areas into separate areas of charge.

As regards the contention of the Guardians that fifty per cent. of the cost of the relief granted under this Act should be made from Government funds, it would be impossible in existing circumstances to accede to such a proposal. The mode of distribution of grants in aid of local taxation is clearly laid down by statute. The present subventions of poor law expenditure form a large proportion of these grants, and no further relief could be given to local poor law expenditure, even all over the country, without a full examination of the whole question of local taxation and the adjustments that would be required in local government should further expenditure in this direction become operative. Still less could the granting of a special measure of relief to one particular area be justified.

I may say that the Bill which we are introducing now, while replacing the Bill that came from the Seanad, gives practically complete effect to what the Seanad Bill proposed; that is, it extends relief to the able-bodied in the city and county of Dublin in the same way as it is already extended to the rest of the country. It is because there are some matters of detail that require to be dealt with by legislation that it is more convenient to substitute for the Seanad Bill the Bill now before the House.

With regard to the question of the area of charge, the idea dominant in the minds of the rural members of the Committee who considered this particular matter was that the rural areas in County Dublin should not bear any portion of the charges that might be regarded as arising directly from city areas. In the Balrothery area the question does not arise. In the Rathdown area they asked that the townships as a whole be made a unit area of charge for this relief, and that the rural area be made a separate area of charge, too. I have been unable to accept that, because I see no reason why, in the granting of relief to the able-bodied in Rathdown Union, a discrimination is made which is not made in the ordinary case of outdoor relief.

As regards the City Commissioners, I do meet the Committee that has gone into the matter in this particular way. The Bill proposes to make Dublin City, Rathmines and Pembroke, but not Howth, a separate area of charge for this particular class of relief. It proposes to make the rural portions of the North and South Dublin Unions and Celbridge—the whole of that area—another separate area of charge. I think that is meeting, to the fullest possible extent that I think it is advisable to meet it, the case the Committee wished to make for separate areas in the city and county.

We have adopted so much as seemed feasible of the Committee's recommendations as to areas of charge. Dublin County Borough and the urban districts of Rathmines and Rathgar and Pembroke will, under the Bill, bear the whole burden of the additional relief granted in their areas, and suitable provisions are made for the apportionment of the costs of relief as between the city area and the rest of Dublin Union. This is substantially in accordance with the view of the Dublin rural representatives that they should be free from any financial liability under the Act that would attach to the city. Circumstances in the Unions of Balrothery and Rathdown would not justify any similar division of areas.

In view of the extent to which public assistance resources are burdened in Dublin by the influx of needy persons from outside, it has been considered necessary to insert in the Bill a provision requiring a two-years' residence in the county or county borough or both as a qualification for relief under this Act. To supplement this provision it is also proposed that a Union may pay the expenses of removal of a person who does not possess this qualification and who satisfies the Guardians that such removal is likely to enable him to support himself and his dependants elsewhere by his own industry or other lawful means. These provisions will continue in force only until the 31st March, 1931, by which time it is hoped that they will be replaced by permanent legislation dealing with the relief of the poor.

Will the Minister say if this question of removal is connected only with a person less than two years in the city?

In regard to the area of charge the Minister stated that Dublin, Rathmines and Pembroke will be a separate area of charge. He points out that the rural portions will form another area of charge. Does he mean Blackrock, Dun Laoghaire and Killiney?

We have to think of four areas. There are at present three areas—the area of Balrothery, with the Guardians dealing with relief work; the Rathdown area, with the Rathdown Guardians operating, and then we have the Dublin Union Commissioners, who deal with the old North Dublin Union, plus the South Dublin Union, plus Celbridge Union. Balrothery must continue to be a separate area. The Guardians will administer relief there, having the same area of charge as in the case of ordinary relief. In Rathdown the area will be the same as for ordinary relief. It will include the townships and the rural portion of the Rathdown area. It is only the portion under the City Commissioners that will be divided into a city area, taking in Dublin, Rathmines and Pembroke, and the rural area will take in all the outside areas, including the urban district of Howth.

This Bill is a serious proposition from every aspect that one might examine it. Something of the kind has been very badly needed in the City and County of Dublin, especially in recent years. There is some kind of explanation for the absence of the powers in Dublin that other counties have had since 1923. To my mind the explanation given is not adequate, considering the need there has been in Dublin for such powers. Other poor law authorities have had the powers which are now proposed to be given to Dublin City and County to provide for able-bodied people in want. There is not any part of the area under the Free State that has had as high a proportion of people in absolute want as the City of Dublin. There are places, no doubt, in which there has been a very high rate of unemployment other than Dublin. But in no place has there been such need, such dire want, as there has been within the confines of Dublin City and County, and Dublin City in particular. Therefore, if such powers were needed anywhere they were needed in Dublin, and should have been provided before now. We do not know how long the excuse that is offered—that legislation was being prepared to deal with Greater Dublin — may continue. Promises have been made for the last two or three years in this connection, and these promises have not been kept. Promises were made this year, and in all probability these promises will be treated in the same way as the promises of last year and the year before were treated.

However, the Bill is giving these powers to the Commissioners. That is so much to the good from one point of view. I might refer to a favourite topic of mine, that is, that my belief is that had the Municipal Council and the old Guardians been in charge of affairs the poor would not have suffered as they have suffered in the last four or five years, that some effort would have been made before now to bring under the notice of this House the shocking conditions of the poor of Dublin. It would look—it may be a hard thing to say—as if the anxiety of the Commissioners appointed by the Minister for Local Government at the time was to save, above all, the pockets of the ratepayers and to save the face of the Government. That may be too hard a thing to say, but it looks to me as if that thing is true. We have been told in the Press and on platforms for years past that everything is rosy in the Free State garden; that we are all prosperous and that we have turned the corner. I do not know how many corners we have turned or where we have got to, we have turned round so often. Of course, it would not serve the powers that be, as far as the Commissioners were concerned, to have the real state of poverty that existed become known by being brought under discussion here.

My belief is that, if the figures given recently to the Chamber of Commerce by one of the Commissioners be true, this Bill will put an enormous burden on the ratepayers of the City of Dublin. But my belief is that even so, even that the ratepayers will have to bear such an additional burden as was suggested by one of the Commissioners, if the full facts of the present conditions were known to the ratepayers, those who can afford to pay this additional burden would not grumble. I am inclined to believe that people in Dublin do not know, have not opportunities of knowing, or have not taken opportunities to make themselves aware of the shocking conditions in which such a high proportion of the poor of Dublin live at the present time. That is the only excuse that I can find for the want of civic spirit in Dublin—that there must be existing amongst those who can afford to pay and who can afford to be more generous than they have been, appalling ignorance of these conditions. The conditions are indescribable. That is not too strong a word to use in reference to the conditions in some parts of Dublin. The conditions were bad before the European War, but since the war ended these conditions have become worse than they have been known in Dublin for generations.

Within the last day or two I was speaking to a medical officer who attends an hospital for babies in the City and I heard his description of the number of cases he has to deal with and the number and variety of diseases that exist amongst children. He told me that the majority of these cases were not cases for the hospital. They are cases that arose out of starvation and out of want of proper nourishment for the babies and for their mothers. If there were proper nourishment one-half of these cases would never have come to the hospital. I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that. There is shortage of employment and as a consequence shortage of food and scarcity of clothing, and, above all, there is scarcity of milk for the babies. We know that there are worthy bodies trying to alleviate distress in the City of Dublin. There are societies of men and women collecting and working hard to get money together, aided by philanthropic institutions, to get milk for the babies. They do not touch a quarter or perhaps less than a quarter of the numbers that require their attention. It is not their fault. They have not the resources. Such are the conditions. It is these conditions that make a Bill of this kind a necessity. Poverty, starvation, hunger, cold, and misery of every kind is the lot of a very big percentage of our people and the problem of how to deal with it is a gigantic one.

I do not attempt to say that if there were any other Government in power that that Government, any more than the present one, could solve the problem of Dublin poverty in a year or two, or five years. The problem is not of the making of the present Government, although my belief is that they have added to it. The problem is one handed down to us. It is a legacy of the former régime. It is one that the Government had to face when it took over control, but to my mind it has not faced it nor attempted to face it. It does not even face it now in such a way as would provide a solution. We have to get, therefore, temporary expedients such as this Bill.

The Commissioner who spoke recently on this subject to the Chamber of Commerce said that this Bill would, under certain circumstances, add an extra 5/3 to 6/9 in the £ on the rates in the city of Dublin. That is an enormous sum. What the citizens will say when the demand notes for this added rate reach them I do not know. My belief is that if efforts are made to show the people and to show the ratepayers in Dublin what the true conditions are that the ratepayers will say: "We will have to face it. Such being the conditions, such being the lot in which many of our fellow-citizens live, some way must be found to provide relief for them. This is a temporary expedient proposed by the Government, and we must put up with it." I know that it will be a hardship on industry. I know that it may have an effect on nascent industries in the city of Dublin and on industry generally. But what is the alternative? Are we to allow these people to die of starvation? Are we to allow the 170 per thousand of the infants under 12 months to continue to die in North Dublin as they are dying, according to the recent census statistics? We have on the one hand an enormous deathrate due mainly to starvation and due to disease brought on by starvation, and on the other the possibility of injury to the city and to the industries of the city. I think, as humanitarians, we are bound to feed the hungry as long as there is any money to be got anywhere.

This Bill, even as it stands, will not be able to provide enough money to feed the necessitous poor of Dublin, not even with the assistance of the various philanthropic associations—the St. Vincent de Paul Society and other organisations that are working so hard in Dublin. It will not be able to do any more than touch the fringe, I will not say of the starving people, but of the necessitous people in the City of Dublin. In the last four or five years, due to various causes, there has been an excess of unemployed, and whether that is due to people from the country flocking into the city, expecting to find the streets paved with gold, or not, I do not know, but it is probably one of the causes. Whatever the causes may be, the fact remains that there has been an increase in the numbers of unemployed in the city, and that no adequate effort has been made to meet that situation. When the Commissioners were appointed they set out to cut down everywhere. They cut down on poor relief, inside and outside the Union, and made matters worse in many respects. Their object was to save the ratepayers, but for the savings they may have made in the last three or four years the citizens of Dublin are going to pay, and pay through the nose, through this legislation.

The Minister evidently would have liked, if he could have done so, to put off legislation of this kind until the new Municipal Council had taken charge of Dublin, or whatever portion of Dublin is going to be given into its control, and allow that body to have the responsibility of increasing the rates, but evidently he found the pressure was so strong and the need was so great that he must introduce legislation now, even if he is to damage the reputation of the Commissioners, as Deputy Good said recently. I was interested in reading Deputy Good's speech at the Chamber of Commerce, where he said: "I am afraid that their good character (the Commissioners', he meant) will be rudely shaken when the ratepayers come to know that the rates will be probably increased by 2/- or 3/- in the £. It is very unfortunate that this increase will have to take place while they are in office." He would have liked the increase to be held over until the Municipal Council came in for all the bad things that might be said about them. But this increase ought to have been made years ago. If the authorities in charge of the poor were doing their duty, three or four years ago a demand of this kind should have been made on the Minister for Local Government. The poor have been in need of it in the last three or four years, just as much as they are at this moment, but evidently the policy of saving the face of the Government at all costs and at the cost of the starving poor, appealed more to them.

I believe that this problem is not a Dublin city problem; it is a problem for the whole of the Twenty-Six Counties. Dublin city is just what the Twenty-Six Counties has made it, because people from every corner of the Twenty-Six Counties and outside them, from every corner of Ireland and outside it, have been flocking into Dublin. I suppose that the proportion of those people whom you would call citizens of Dublin, whose association with Dublin would go back fifty or sixty years, is very small. The number of families in Dublin that have been in the city for three generations would probably not amount to twenty per cent. So that the problem is not, strictly speaking, a Dublin city problem; it is a problem for the State as a whole. I agree with those County Dublin ratepayers' representatives who asked that the National Exchequer should bear a proportion, and a large proportion, of the cost of meeting the shocking situation that arises out of the gigantic problem of the poor of Dublin with which we are now faced. Dublin citizens will perhaps have to bear that, and if they have to they will do it with a good grace. If they have not realised the conditions that have existed up to the present, the demand notes that they will get when the rate is being collected will soon make them realise what the real conditions in Dublin are. But I would say that it would really be unfair to ask the Dublin ratepayers to bear the whole of that burden. As I say, it is not a Dublin city problem, strictly speaking; it is a national one. If that be not admitted I would say that the whole of the county of Dublin ought to bear equally the burden that is now being placed on the ratepayers, or at all events, all the urban areas ought to do so. I suppose we will go into the details of the Bill later, but it is certainly a step in the right direction to provide that the fathers of families who are willing to work if work were available should not have to break up their homes, such as they are—mostly, of course, one-room dwellings—separate from their wives and families and go into the Union in order to get the relief that is due to them by the State because of their impoverished condition. That is a step in the right direction, and it is one that ought to have been taken before.

In Section 3, the section giving power to pay for the removal of a person from the Union, there does not seem to be any limit to the amount that may be demanded, beyond whatever limit the word "reasonable" may put on it—"to pay the reasonable expenses of his removal from such union to some other place." A poor person with a family might believe that if he got sent to America, say, he would get work, or that some people would give him work, and that that would be a reasonable claim to make. There is no limit, beyond the word "reasonable," to what might be demanded, and it might be well that the Bill should be altered to specify in some more definite way the amount that might be made available for such purposes. Also it would be well that there should be some definition of the kind of work that is referred to in Section 4. Among the unemployed there are many artisans, many skilled tradesmen, and the Bill does not state whether work in their own trades might be demanded by these men. If that is so, the Commissioners, or whoever will be administering the Bill, will find themselves up against the trade unions. I think it would be well to have the wording of that section changed, and to put in something more definite to prevent difficulties of that kind arising.

The Bill is to continue in operation until the 31st March, 1931. I think that is too short a period, bearing in mind the fact I have already referred to, the broken promises of the past. The Minister may say that the Greater Dublin Bill will be introduced this Session. He can say that if this Bill is passed with the limited date of March, 1931, in it, there will not be an equally great necessity this time twelve months or between March, 1931, and whatever time the necessary legislation is passed with regard to Greater Dublin. I think the limit of time there is too short, and that it should be extended to, perhaps, March, 1932, unless the Minister can say that it is really his intention this time to introduce the legislation that he has so often promised.

Again I would say that this is a serious problem for the city of Dublin. If the Bill is passed as it stands, if the expenses set out in it as a likely charge on the city of Dublin are not met in some way out of the National Exchequer, the consequences for the Dublin ratepayers are going to be very serious. For my part, I say that they will have to be serious, and that the money will have to be paid, if the Government does not feel called upon to help and I believe that those who are able to pay in Dublin, if they realise the conditions of their neighbours and their fellow-citizens, will pay. But the problem is grave, great, and urgent, and even though the consequences to the city may not be in some respects advantageous, the poor and starving people must be fed, clothed and looked after at any expense to the Government or the ratepayers.

Deputy O'Kelly has stated very wisely that this Bill is a very serious one no matter from what point of view we consider it. The point of view I am concerned with is the serious burden it is going to throw on the ratepayers of Dublin, and in the adjoining townships of Rathmines and Pembroke. We are told the burden will represent something equivalent to 5/- of an immediate increase in the rates in these three areas. When we recall that the rates in Dublin are something in the region of 15/-, and those in the two other areas something less, and that we are going to add to that burden a further one equivalent to 30 per cent.—5/- and 15/—we get some idea of the seriousness of the situation.

Let me say at the outset that while this Bill has been discussed at considerable length, I have not heard one single word of objection to any assistance being given those who are really destitute. All are agreed that the really destitute should get assistance, but in endeavouring to assist them we must be careful that we are not going to do a very considerable amount of injury. That is the aspect of the problem I would like serious consideration to be given to. If we add this heavy additional burden to the rates in the city and the adjoining townships it is quite obvious that a number of struggling industries in those areas will be closed down by reason of such an increased rate. To those who are considering the erection of factories—and there are some who have the matter under consideration —the added burden of 5/- will be a serious one, and in many cases it will decide the fate of these schemes adversely for the city. The result will be that in our efforts to do good we are going to add a very considerable number to the unemployed in the city and townships.

It has been stated by Deputy O'Kelly that this burden is falling unfairly on the City of Dublin. Anybody who has any experience of the problem will agree with that statement. If inquiry were made, and if accurate information could be obtained concerning the inmates of our Union, we would find that a very large percentage of the inmates come from areas outside Dublin and that the burden of maintaining them is falling on the City of Dublin. That is unfair, and I am quite satisfied that the reason Dublin was exempted from all the liabilities under the previous Acts that fell on other counties was due to the expenses of the unemployed, the poor and the destitute who gravitated from other areas falling on the ratepayers of Dublin. This problem should be dealt with along the lines that Dublin should not be called upon to bear any more than the burden of the unemployed and the destitute immediately within its area and those born within that area. If that same principle were extended to the other counties in the Free State, so that each county should bear the burden of its own nationals, then we could get over some of the difficulties that Dublin has been suffering under. If that principle be accepted, this Bill will need radical alteration, and I am not sure that it is not desirable that it should be so amended in order that this burden should be more fairly distributed.

Now as to that clause which is being referred to requiring a person to have two years' residence in the city before qualifying for benefits, I am afraid that is too short a period. The unemployed may have been in and about our city for a period of two years without obtaining any work, and having been about our city for two years that they should then qualify to become a burden for all time does seem unreasonable. I would like to see that period very considerably extended, and even if extended to a considerable extent, I doubt if it is in itself a sufficient remedy. I think in addition to that we should only have responsibility for those who were born within the area.

In discussing the economic aspect of a problem of this kind, one does not want to get into a discussion on unemployment, but one might say that if a little more was spent upon prevention, and a little less devoted to the cure, the money would be much more wisely spent. I am afraid when we deal with these problems that we are very much inclined to look upon them from the effect side rather than from the other end, that is, from the cause, and if we devote a little more money in prevention, as I said, it would avoid a great deal of expenditure in the other end in attempted cures. But, dealing generally with the economic aspect of this problem, I do not mind whether the expenditure be national or municipal. It gravitates down to the one source. It becomes a burden on industry, and we are in that unfortunate position in this State that we only have one industry of real importance; that is the industry of agriculture. Now that industry is not in a condition, as we know it at the moment, to carry any further burden. Therefore I would urge that in dealing with this problem we should keep that particular aspect of the question before our minds. But whether we deal with it from the national standpoint or the municipal standpoint, the burden gravitates down to that industry that we are all anxious to promote, and the major portion of the burden will fall on that industry at a time when it is unable to carry any further burden. If we cast our minds for a moment to an adjoining State we will see there that efforts are being made to stimulate industry in order to try and help this particular problem of the unemployed, and we see there the difficulty of stimulating industry by reason of the burdening of industry with taxation to such an extent that it is unable to rise owing to the burden that has been put upon it.

I leave that aspect of the question. There is just one other aspect of this problem I would like to say one word on. It has been stated that there is a considerable amount of destitution, and I quite realise it, in our city. But our city, unfortunately, has never been free from the burden of the destitute. We have gravitated to our city a number of those who are really, from one cause or another, some from physical defects, unemployable, both in the past and in the present. It is only right to point out that these people have been assisted by societies that have all done excellent work in this direction in our city for years past. Those people have not been neglected, and as I see this particular problem, the work of those societies will be infringed on. I am not so sure that the State is going to discharge the work any better than it has been done in the past by those societies, but I would like to know from the Minister if he has had any communication from them, if this question of overlapping of charity has been considered, and, if so, what arrangements have been arrived at, because you cannot expect the charitable people in Dublin to contribute, on the one hand, through these various charities, and, on the other hand, as ratepayers and taxpayers to the solution of this problem.

The only other word I would say on this subject is that I urged on the Minister at the introduction of this measure that time should be given for its consideration. Now that we have entered a little more fully into the realities of the problem, I think this House will agree that this is a matter in which it would be wise to hasten slowly, and I would urge that a reasonable amount of time should be given to the consideration of the different proposals that may be brought forward on the Committee Stage in order that industries which are struggling at the moment should not be closed up, and also in order that those who have in mind the starting of further industries in our city should get a little more encouragement than that got from Deputy O'Kelly this afternoon.

This Bill was introduced by the Minister, and is before us now in substitution for the Bill which was introduced in the Seanad by Senator Johnson. Perhaps I should express my belief at the outset that the Bill the Minister has introduced satisfies in the main the idea which Senator Johnson had in introducing his Bill. While the original Bill left the Minister wide power to make regulations, he has put into the Bill some of the things that would be done by regulations if Senator Johnson's Bill were passed. I listened with a considerable amount of interest to Deputy Good and his complaint with regard to the serious burden this Bill is going to put on the ratepayers. It is a serious burden undoubtedly, but if the burden is serious it only shows us that the problem which is to be dealt with is serious. I waited with considerable interest to see what Deputy Good's solution of the problem would be, how would he propose to deal with those able-bodied people in the city and suburbs of Dublin who are willing and anxious to work but get no work to do. Is his suggestion that rather than ask those who can pay rates to pay them for the relief of those, that those people should be left to starve? It seems to be the logical conclusion of Deputy Good's statement as far as I can understand it.

I do not want to go at any great length into the economic problems involved in this matter. Suggestions were made on many occasions from these benches for such a re-organisation of the economy of the country generally that work would be found for the unemployed. Always to any such suggestion we had an opponent in Deputy Good, who believes that private enterprise should not be interfered with in any way, We have here before us in this problem to-day the result of the private enterprise which Deputy Good and others with him would tell us——

Bad as we are, we have not got to the state of Russia yet.

Mr. O'Connell

No, but there is a very long way between the state of Russia and the suggestion put forward from these benches.

The same principle.

Mr. O'Connell

In reference to the Bill generally, I always like to find myself in agreement with Deputy Good and, to some small extent, I certainly agree with him that the way to tackle the problem is to prevent it rather than to try to cure it. I am with him in that. That is a doctrine that we on this side of the House have always preached and will continue to preach, and I hope we will have Deputy Good to help us out. In regard to his statement about the peculiar position of Dublin, I confess that I could not follow him in his enunciation of the principle that each county should bear the burden of its own nationals. I wonder how far Deputy Good would push that principle. You could have a peculiar development if it were pushed to its logical conclusion. It seems to me that it is a plea for the establishment of twenty-six republics in the Saorstát. If we build brass walls around the county boundaries, why not have district boundaries, parish boundaries, or even smaller ones?

On this question of Dublin, I confess I do not find myself in agreement with Deputy O'Kelly either. There is a certain migration or movement of people towards Dublin, but it is not all the unemployed who move to Dublin. Quite a number of people find employment in Dublin and help to build up the city.

And displace Dublin men.

Mr. O'Connell

If Dublin men allow themselves to be displaced that is their concern. If better men come from the country I am not the one who should say that they should be kept out.

Mr. Byrne

That is the problem.

Mr. O'Connell

That is the problem that Dublin men will have to look to, but I do not at all think that the idea should be fostered that those people who move to Dublin are the waifs and strays of the population. It is not the case. Perhaps if the position were examined it would be found that many of the men who have contributed towards the building up of the City of Dublin and its industries are men who moved from the country here. It might be found too that a large percentage of the people who are in this deplorable position were born in the City of Dublin.

Mr. Byrne

That is not so.

Mr. O'Connell

I do not say it is, but I say it is possible that it is. We should have an examination in any case. I do not agree with the section of the Bill which states that it should be confined to people who are more than two years resident in the city. What are you going to do with those people who are destitute and who happen to be less than two years resident in the city? The Bill says "pay their expenses." But pay their expenses where?

To where they came from.

Mr. O'Connell

That is not stated in the Bill.

The proposal in the Bill is much more practical.

Mr. O'Connell

What I am rather cavilling at is why this special provision should be put in to apply to Dublin and not to other areas in the Free State. If this is good for Dublin it ought to be good for other areas. That is the point I wish to make. I do not think Dublin is entitled to any special arrangements such as are provided in the Bill. It does not seem to me that it is going to meet the case of the person who happens to be less than two years resident in Dublin—an able-bodied man who is destitute. They cannot pay his expenses to any place—as I understand the Bill—unless they are satisfied that such removal is likely to enable such person to support himself and his dependants by industry or other lawful means. I do not know what "other lawful means" mean. But it will generally be for the benefit of such person and his dependants. Suppose they find a person who is destitute and they cannot satisfy themselves that there is a place that he could be so removed to what is going to be done with him? Is he going to be allowed to starve? That position, as far as I can see it, has not been provided for in the Bill. They must be satisfied that he must be in a position to support himself wherever they pay his expenses to. If they are not satisfied that he will be in a position to support himself they will not pay his expenses. But what happens? There is no provision for him.

They can offer him indoor relief.

Mr. O'Connell

There is one point about Section 4 that I would like to see ensured. I trust that it is not the intention of the Minister or of those who will be administering this Act that work which would otherwise be done at standard rates of pay will be done under the provisions of this section under these rates of pay. I say that because I have a case in my mind of something that occurred in connection with it before in the north side of the city, where work was done and a rate of wages paid which was under the standard rate in the city and its surroundings, on the plea that the men were not able to work as long and as hard.

What kind of work?

Mr. O'Connell

Work which would in the ordinary way be done by labourers at the standard rate of wages here.

Surely we can know what kind of work.

Mr. O'Connell

Development work in connection with housing, I understand.

The work at Whitehall.

Mr. O'Connell

I am not objecting to a work test, that they should be asked to work, but I do say that they should not be put to work with the object of lowering the standard rate of wages payable, and, even if that were not the object, if it had that effect, that it should not be allowed to be carried out. I welcome the Bill generally as an effort to meet the terrible situation which has been described by Deputy O'Kelly as existing in Dublin. Dublin, unfortunately, is not the only area in the Free State in which these conditions exist to-day. This is only a palliative, something in the nature of a a temporary measure, to meet a very urgent situation, but, such as it is, the situation is one that cannot be allowed to continue. It is rather a sad commentary upon the Government that they should have waited before taking this step, in spite of all the pressure brought to bear upon them from time to time, until a Bill to remedy this matter was introduced by a private member of the Oireachtas.

I think that in this matter, as well as geographically, I occupy a position midway between Deputy Good and Deputy O'Connell. I cannot see why a man, because he is resident in the City or County of Dublin, who is in a necessitous situation, should not be entitled to receive the outdoor relief that he would receive in any other city or county in the Saorstát. I am in favour of the principle of the Bill to that extent. On the other hand, having regard to the great burden that must inevitably be placed on the ratepayers, I think it is very proper that such sections as Section 4, requiring work, and Section 3, giving power to pay for the removal of a recent comer to the city, should exist in the Bill. My main purpose, however, is not to address myself to these points, but to the question of the area or areas of charge in the Bill. Some of my constituents are dissatisfied with the Bill; some of them on the County Council are inclined to think that the Minister for Local Government has been hard upon them. I wish they could have heard Deputy O'Kelly's speech, because then it would have become clear to them that where the Minister for Local Government chastises them with whips, Deputy O'Kelly, if he was Minister for Local Government, would chastise them with scorpions. Deputy O'Kelly said—and it was a very important declaration—that he would prefer, in the first instance, to make the charge for the relief of poverty in Dublin a charge on all the taxpayers of the Saorstát—on the whole Twenty-six Counties; but, if that were not possible, he considers that the whole County of Dublin should bear the burden.

Deputy O'Kelly is speaking from the Front Bench of the Fianna Fáil Party. Is that the policy of the Fianna Fáil Party? Is it the policy of Deputy Brady and Deputy MacEntee? If so, they have hitherto failed to make it very clear to their constituents. Is it put up by the Fianna Fáil Party that the whole County of Dublin should bear the burden of poor law relief of the City of Dublin? Deputy O'Kelly said so. Is that the Party's policy? We ought to know that before we go any further. I hope it is not their policy. I do not know whether I can convince Deputy O'Kelly but I do hope to convince at least some Deputies that it is an unjust and inequitable proposition. The whole County of Dublin—not those districts adjacent to the city only, not merely those districts which almost form part of the city of Dublin, which are practically contiguous to it, only separated by a street or a canal, but the whole county of Dublin, including the rural ratepayers—should bear the burden of poor law outdoor relief in the City of Dublin! It is not a just proposition. On what grounds can you base it? On the ground of contiguity—of being near the city? But there are areas in other counties much nearer the city than some parts of County Dublin. The farmer living at Garristown or the Naul, whom Deputy O'Kelly wishes to saddle with this burden, is very much further from the City of Dublin than the farmer at Leixlip or even Maynooth. He gets very much less advantage from his neighbourhood to the city than the shopkeepers in Bray or Greystones. Both of these towns in Co. Wicklow get more advantage from their nearness to the city than the farmers in North Co. Dublin and part of the Rathdown Union. As a matter of fact, there is not a great deal to be said for this argument of contiguity nowadays. It may have been a good argument 30 years ago, but, with the development of motor and bus traffic, farmers thirty and forty miles away can send in their goods to Dublin in a motor lorry and sell them and come in themselves to shop and purchase their requirements as easily as the farmer sixteen or twenty miles away.

I am glad to see that the Minister has, at any rate, dealt with the case of the farmer in the North County of Dublin. The Balrothery Union, under the Bill, can give outdoor relief to the people in the Balrothery Union district who need it. The Balrothery Union district is a homogeneous agricultural area with one or two very small towns, differing in no very great degree from other small towns in the country. But the Minister has imposed on the Rathdown Union the duty of dealing with outdoor relief not only in its rural areas, but also in what is to become a coastal borough—the townships of Blackrock, Dun Laoghaire, Dalkey and Killiney. I believe exception was taken to this proposal by the County Council, and I think with some reason. There are these townships stretching along the shore, but Rathdown Union goes for some distance inland right up to the Dublin mountains. The ratepayer in Glencullen and Stepaside has very little to do with the coastal townships; he has practically no interest in their outdoor relief and he makes a very small demand for outdoor relief himself. The situation is complicated by the fact that we are to have legislation shortly creating a new Local Government area in the Rathdown Union. I have seen it stated with some authority, and I have not seen it contradicted, that it is proposed to create the townships I have named as a coastal borough. You are going to have a situation if this Bill, in its present form, is passed, by which you will have a coastal borough and an adjoining rural area, and yet these two places are to be one for the purposes of poor law relief. It seems anomalous. I should have thought that it might be possible— it will not be easy; I do not say that I could draft an amendment to do it—but it might be possible either to extend the boundaries of the coastal borough so as to take in these rural areas in order that the dwellers there will have the advantages of the borough services, or if you cannot do that, to allow the dwellers in the mountains, who are comparatively small farmers, to go their own way and distribute their own poor law relief and pay for it, but not to pay for the poor law relief in more populous and wealthy districts. The rateable value of these inland districts in the Rathdown Union is not very high as a rule, and it cannot matter very much to the success of the Bill. I do hope the Minister will give the point further consideration; at any rate, that he will further develop his argument as to why it is impossible to divide Rathdown Union and relieve the rural ratepayers from some of this burden. Farmers in Co. Dublin have not been having an easy time. They have had to pay rates very much higher in proportion and degree than their neighbours in the Counties Kildare, Wicklow and Meath. While it is necessary to relieve poverty and unemployment we should place the burden on the shoulders that are best fitted to bear it, not on the shoulders of comparatively small farmers. There are no votes in this. I know very well that there are a great many more votes in the townships which are to make up the coastal borough. These people are scattered on the Dublin mountains, but there is a question of fairness and equity, and it seems to me, in fairness and equity, that the Minister should give the matter further consideration.

Both Deputy Good and Deputy O'Connell prefaced their remarks by expressing their unwillingness to go into the economic issues involved in imposing this big additional burden upon industry and trade in Dublin city. I am personally at a loss to understand their hesitancy, because it seems to me that if we are to pass an Act which involves increasing the rates in the city by five shillings or six shillings in the pound, we should, at any rate, examine the causes that make that impost necessary and the economic consequence it is going to have. The introduction of this Poor Law Relief Bill is a terrible and I think a fitting commentary upon the industrial policy of the Government since they took office. The fact that we have to-day, eight years after they first took control of the affairs of this part of Ireland, to alter the statutory provisions relating to the distribution of outdoor relief, so as to permit of 5,000 able-bodied destitute poor being brought within them seems to me an indication of the absolute failure of the Government to deal with the economic issues which confronted them while they have been in office.

The burden upon the ratepayers of Dublin is going to be a heavy one, but I would like to say definitely that they very largely deserve it. In my own constituency they have always, with the exception of one lucid interval, voted for Cumann na nGaedheal in the majority, and they will be interested to learn that this is one of the results of their stupidity. Another result is that those of my constituency who are members of this House are not sufficiently interested to be present at its discussion.

Where is Deputy MacEntee?

He does not represent my constituency.

But he does mine.

Deputy Good said, at the opening of his speech, that if a little more were spent upon the prevention of unemployment instead of upon its cure it would be much wiser. How does Deputy Good propose that money should be spent upon the prevention of unemployment? The unemployment in Dublin is undoubtedly serious and it is the result of the inability or the unwillingness of the Government to deal with the question of industrial revival in this country during the past eight years. Deputy Good appears to dissent from that?

Not altogether.

He said himself that if this problem was dealt with along the lines that it should be dealt with that Dublin would be only asked to provide for the relief of the destitute poor born in the area. And he then suggested, as a solution of the difficulty, that those destitute in Dublin now who were born outside Dublin should be shipped back to the districts they came from and provided for there. And he went on with his speech and in one sentence demonstrated as ridiculous the very suggestion he had made; because he said no matter how you distribute the burden, whether you take the funds required for the relief of the poor from national or local sources it is going to be a burden upon industry and particularly upon the agricultural industry. It is because this burden is too heavy upon industry and particularly upon agricultural industry that it is going, as Deputy Good foretold, inevitably to result in an actual increase in the number of unemployed. The reason the burden is too heavy upon agricultural industry is that that industry by itself, while operating under present methods, is not able to maintain the existing population of this country. If that is admitted, obviously the only real solution of this problem of unemployment is to develop the industrial arm so as to help agriculture to bear its burden of supporting our people. The industrial arm could be strengthened if the Government chose to do it. If instead of bringing in Bills to enable relief to be given to the destitute poor they brought in measures designed to give them work they would be proceeding on right lines.

On many occasions in this Dáil since 1927 we have pressed upon the Government the necessity of taking action for the development of industry. We pointed out that 12,000 additional workers were provided with work since 1925 in consequence of the tariffs imposed since that year. We argued that that signpost pointed to the road along which progress should be made if the remaining number of unemployed were to be taken off the rates. The Government failed to take action. They let matters drift, and as a result they come forward now with a proposal to take another quarter million pounds from the taxpayers of Dublin in order to prevent these 5,000 able-bodied poor from suffering through starvation during the coming winter and the following year.

The Ministry of Local Government, I said last week, always take the line of least resistance. They did so on the National Health Insurance Bill; they are doing so in relation to this matter. It is easy enough to say let the ratepayers put their hands into their pockets and provide another five shillings in the £ and increase their contribution by 30 per cent. But does that solve the problem? Next year the ratepayers will have to give more; it is inevitable that this burden is going to increase the number seeking outdoor relief. Relief, at any rate, is only a method of temporarily bridging over the difficulty. If we are going to make unemployment only a sad memory in this country we have got to tackle it in some other way than by altering the statutory provisions for the granting of institutional or outdoor relief. Deputy Good appears to fear that one of the effects of the Bill will be to infringe upon the operations of certain charitable organisations. Without in any way seeking to disparage the work of these organisations I hope to live long enough to see the day when they will have ceased to exist. The duty of providing for those whom industry or agriculture is not able to provide for is an obligation of the State and not of charitable citizens. In any case, I do not see that, fundamentally, it makes much difference whether the taxpayer pays for the relief in his rates or in contributions to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Public opinion in this country will not tolerate men and women dying of starvation. If we cannot maintain them in one way, then we are going to do it in the other, and productive industry, particularly the agricultural industry, will foot the bill in the end. The effect of this Bill upon the ratepayers of Dublin will be, I hope, to make them realise that while they continue along the road they have been going in the past this burden upon them is going to continue and to grow in volume. If the Bill has that effect it will be well worth its passage here. If it has the effect of awakening the national consciousness to the seriousness of the problem of unemployment, and of producing a vigorous demand for a proper solution of that problem, it will be one of the most useful Bills that has ever come before this Dáil.

As Deputy O'Kelly pointed out, Deputy Good, of course, is seriously concerned with the fact that this Bill became necessary before the tenure of office of the Commissioners expired. The account of their work which could be shown upon paper will not look half so bright after this additional impost upon the rates has been made as it would if that impost had never been thought of. I think it is possible that if the Commissioners were quite as good as Deputy Good represents them to be, the full increase of 5/- in the pound might not be necessary in order to provide the funds necessary to give relief to the 5,000 people involved in this measure. Deputy Good was, no doubt, listening to questions that were asked to-day concerning pensions given to two rate-collectors. There have been in other directions indications that the handing of the paw to political friends was not altogether confined to the old Dublin Corporation.

That is certainly not relevant to this Bill.

If it is not relevant I may as well leave the matter. It seems to me, in any case, that one of the reasons why this Bill has to be introduced is because the Commissioners managed the affairs of the City of Dublin as they did during the past four years. If the old Corporation, not necessarily the old members of the Corporation, but if the old municipal council had remained in office, I believe that long before the year 1929 this problem of relieving distress in Dublin would have been tackled in a much more serious way than it is at the moment. The principal reason why this impost upon the citizens of the capital to provide for the relief of the destitute poor is going to have the result of increasing unemployment and discouraging business enterprise is because of the method employed of securing municipal funds by taxing rental values. If the funds of the City of Dublin were raised by some other method, or if they were supplemented by funds raised by some other method, it would be possible to secure this quarter of a million of money without necessarily producing the same consequences—as will be produced by an increase in the rates. I do not know whether the Minister for Local Government has ever contemplated giving powers to a municipal council to impose taxes of other kinds than on rental values. If, for example, the Dublin Corporation was empowered to levy luxury taxes upon dances, dog racing, picture houses and functions of that kind in order to provide funds for giving relief to the poor, these funds could be secured in a manner that would not impose the burden upon industry that an increase in the rates will involve. It seems to me that if the question of municipal government and the question of raising funds for the relief of distress in municipal areas were properly considered, we could devise ways and means for getting those funds in a manner that would weigh much less heavily upon the people of the city than the present method does. Whether or not the Minister has considered that, or whether or not he would be prepared to seek statutory powers to enable the Dublin Corporation to raise funds in that way either in this Bill or under any other Bill, there is a case, despite what some Deputies have said, for calling upon State funds to relieve the Dublin ratepayers in the matter of meeting the abnormal unemployment that exists in Dublin at the moment.

Undoubtedly a large number of unemployed from other counties gravitate to Dublin. Of course, it is equally true, as Deputy O'Connell has pointed out, that people other than unemployed come to Dublin. But if Deputy O'Connell examines the census returns he will find that the movement from the country towards the capital has been very pronounced in recent years. The increase in population which has taken place in the Dublin area in the last intercensal period is proof of that. Apart altogether from the question of whether it is fair or equitable to tax the whole body of the people in order to help to relieve unemployment in Dublin, it is undoubtedly advisable to do so, because of the consequences which an increase of five shillings in the rates will inevitably have. We might argue for weeks here as to whether it was fair to ask for a contribution out of State funds for the benefit of Dublin ratepayers, but I fear we would not be any wiser at the end of our discussions than we were at the beginning. But I suggest to the Minister and Deputies that, leaving the question of equity out of it altogether, it is advisable to do so, because the problem that exists in Dublin is altogether different from the problem that exists in most other counties. I do not think there is any other area in Ireland that has been called upon, or is likely to be called upon, to bear a five shilling rate for the purpose of providing relief for able-bodied destitute poor. That fact alone is an indication that the problem here in the City of Dublin is an abnormal one, and that the abnormal burden involved by it is going to produce economic consequences that will react not merely upon the people of this city, but on the people of the country as a whole.

The Minister for Local Government, in his introductory remarks, pointed out that while the statutory powers intended to be conferred by this Bill upon the Dublin Corporation were withheld, the State had to come to the aid of the municipality by giving numerous grants to be used towards the relief of unemployment. Presumably the Minister for Finance hopes that, as a result of this Bill, the continuance of those grants will not be necessary—in other words, that the burden of providing for the unemployed will, in fact, be transferred from the Exchequer to the Dublin ratepayers. The very fact that such grants were given strengthens the case for the continuance of aid from the Exchequer to the Dublin Corporation in its efforts to meet the abnormal problem that exists here. The Committee, as the Minister pointed out, recommended that 50 per cent. of the entire cost should come from Government funds. I am not suggesting that the Government contribution should be 50 per cent., 20 per cent., or 75 per cent., but I think that some contribution should be given because of the various reasons which I have stated.

The point raised by Deputy Cooper is an important one. I thoroughly agree with him that it would be unfair to ask the farmers of Balrothery area, for example, as it would be to ask the farmers of County Meath and County Kildare to contribute towards the relief of the unemployed in the City of Dublin area. Whatever case can be made, as he points out, for imposing a charge on one can be made for the other. I do not think that Deputy Cooper understood Deputy O'Kelly's point. Deputy O'Kelly is of opinion, and I am also, that the urban districts in Rathdown, which Deputy Cooper mentioned, should be included in the area of charge for the city. It seems to me that we can group into one area of charge all the urban districts, and in another area all the rural districts. The exclusion of the costal townships from the area of charge in the city is, in my opinion, inequitable and unwise. The case, however, for helping the ratepayers of the municipal area from State funds remains, and that means that the small farmers, shopkeepers and traders of the rest of Ireland will be asked to help to meet the abnormal problem that exists here.

Again, I would like to assert that this problem is abnormal because the Government have failed in their duty as a Government, because they have watched this problem of unemployment develop during the last seven or eight years and taken no serious steps to deal with it. This Bill should be interpreted by the House as a vote of censure upon the Department of Industry and Commerce, for if that Department had been actively at work endeavouring to stimulate industrial production, and working on the right lines to provide employment, the necessity for this Bill to deal with abnormal unemployment would not then exist. I hope the ratepayers of Dublin, when they get the demand notes, as Deputy O'Kelly pointed out, will realise that is the true situation and take the first opportunity they get to indicate their desire for a change of Government policy in that regard.

Mr. Byrne

I agree with Deputy Seán T. O'Kelly that we are bound to feed the hungry. The Poor Law Relief Bill before the House is designed for that purpose. I will draw the attention of the House to a very important statement made by Dr. O'Dwyer before the Chamber of Commerce. He said: "The presence in our midst of large numbers of men anxious and willing to work but unable to get it must be admitted." And he went on to add: "The proper solution of the problem was a policy directed towards increasing industry and employment." With these two propositions I find myself in complete agreement. I would like to remind Deputy Good, who pointed out one fact which nobody in this House can deny, namely, that the greater burden of the upkeep of this State is thrown on the shoulders of agriculture, that this country was at one time a highly industrialised State, and that it is quite possible to bring back that high degree of industrialisation if the proper means are adopted. I suppose if I said to Deputy Good that in the year 1782 the foreign exports of Ireland were equal almost to the foreign exports of England, he would find it very difficult to believe that fact. I would like to remind Deputy Good that this country has lost many industries which it could have, such as the manufacture of cottons, muslins, flannels, calicoes, glass, glass cutlery, and others. These could be and should be made in this country. If that could be accomplished it would provide work for the unemployed, and that is the only true solution of the problem. It may be interesting to state that from 1782 to 1796——

I must ask the Deputy to come back to the Poor Law Relief Bill of this year.

Mr. Byrne

During that time the exports of the country went up by 175 per cent.

The Deputy must come back to the Bill.

Mr. Byrne

I will come to the Bill immediately.

The Deputy must come now.

Mr. Byrne

I suggest that unless we find employment by means of industrial remedies the problem of unemployment will never be dealt with in this city. This State owes a duty to the individual and the individual owes a duty to the State. The introduction of this Bill is not performing the duty which the State owes to the individual. Ratepayers of the City of Dublin should not be called upon to support the bulk of the unemployed of the whole country, and in effect that is what this Bill means. Dublin city is not unwilling to do its duty to the destitute poor. The City of Dublin has always done its duty to them. Under this Bill the ratepayers of the City of Dublin are asked to support the destitute poor from almost the whole of the country. It has been admitted by various speakers in this House that there has been a continuous influx of people from every part of the country. Nobody can possibly deny that statement. That has been going on continuously day after day. It has been pointed out by the leader of the Labour Party to-day that some of the people who come from the country do not become unemployed. It must be remembered that there is only a limited volume of employment to be had in the City of Dublin. If a man comes from the country to Dublin and succeeds in getting a job in the city, though he does not become a burden on the rates, it means that he deprives another man in the city of getting employment. The exodus of the people from the country to the capital is the cause of unemployment in our midst. If a man comes to the city from the country and fails to get employment he becomes a burden on the ratepayers. Dublin under this Bill is asked to support him.

If the State does not take proper steps to deal with the unemployment question, speaking from this side of the House I consider it will be a very serious matter for the Government Party. Two alternatives lie before the Government. As far as the unemployment question is concerned they must either take some action to prevent the continuous influx of people from the country districts into Dublin, or they must shoulder the cost of the Bill if these people are to be maintained in the city. No man could justify the fact that the ratepayers of the city are to support the unemployed from all parts of the country. That is the actual position at the moment. Anyone who paid attention to the statement made by Dr. O'Dwyer before the Chamber of Commerce will realise that the unemployment problem is becoming more and more acute every day. The amount spent on relief in this country in 1914 was £1,063,000, and in 1927 £1,596,000. The cost to the ratepayers of the Dublin Union was in 1914 £133,000 and in 1927 £264,000. This Bill will impose a further burden on the ratepayers of the city if it passes through the House.

The ratepayers have already to bear a burden of £264,000 and the Bill proposes to place an additional burden of £250,000 on their shoulders for the relief of the poor. Taking indoor and outdoor relief it means that the ratepayers of Dublin will have to find over half a million for the purposes of relief. When the Shannon scheme is completed what will become of those who lose their employment and will be cast out on the streets? They will have to gravitate to Dublin, swell the ranks of the unemployed in the city and add to the burdens placed on the shoulders of the ratepayers in the city. I agree with the speakers who said that this is a national and not a local problem. The ratepayers of Dublin should not, in the state of economic depression that prevails in the city, be asked to bear the burden of this Bill—this gigantic burden which it imposes of over £500,000 a year.

I may be asked what are the alternatives to that. Are there alternatives? There are, but they must be State alternatives. If we are unable to bear the burden of over half a million for the upkeep of the destitute poor the State is bound, in my opinion, to give a very substantial contribution to enable the ratepayers of the City of Dublin to meet that bill. As I have already said, if we are to support the unemployed of this country nobody can deny that the State must come in and help us. Reference was made as to what other countries are doing. If we glance at what other countries are doing in regard to unemployment and see how they compare with this country, we find that in Great Britain, if thirty contributions have been paid within the two last insurance years preceding the date of claim, the applicant can have benefit as long as his unemployment lasts. Even across channel these measures were found to be inadequate to deal with the unemployment problem and the insurance scheme there has been modified so that any person contributing eight insurance contributions for the last two years, or thirty contributions for the whole time of insurance, is entitled to relief the whole time that he remains unemployed.

In this country we give one week's benefit in respect of seven weeks' unemployment insurance contributions. I draw attention to the fact that last year the "Trade and Labour Gazette" stated that the unemployment insurance fund was exhausted by over seven million pounds. There is one thing that cannot be denied by anyone who pays attention to what that means. It is this, namely, that across Channel they recognise unemployment as a national problem, while here we are endeavouring to throw that national problem on to the ratepayers of the City of Dublin. Deputy Good referred to the effect that the passing of this Bill will have on industry in general in the City of Dublin. Though I do not generally agree with what Deputy Good says, I must say that I am in agreement with every word he uttered from that particular angle. When this Bill passes we will have to face the statement of the Commissioners that there will be an immediate increase in the rates of from 5/- to 6/9, bringing the rates of the city to over 20/- in the £. Will any business man contend that any industrialist would, under conditions such as those, set up a new industry in the city? Will anybody contend that a foreign industrialist will venture to come here and set up an industry with overhead charges by way of rates amounting to 20/- in the £? The only possible effect that this Bill will have, so far as industry and commerce generally are concerned, is the complete cessation of any industrial activity and the complete failure of any further development under that head. I would point out that this Bill only goes as far as 1931. Does any Deputy, looking at the present economic position of the city, contend that in the year 1931 the unemployed in the city can go without the contributions that must be paid under this Bill?

We will have got around another corner by that time.

Mr. Byrne

We will have got around another corner, but not around the unemployment corner. This is a national obligation, and it is unjust for the Government to put the burden on the ratepayers of the city. I know how hard-pressed the ratepayers are now, and how difficult it is for them to meet their commitments, especially in the case of small business men, some of whom will have to pay rates ranging from £20 to £40 per annum. As things are, they find it difficult enough to pay the present rates, and how they will meet the increased rates when this Bill passes is beyond my comprehension. They have families to keep, they are industrious and hardworking, and this burden is one which they will not be able to bear. It is up to the State to make at least a fifty per cent. contribution to deal with this abnormal situation as requested by the Commissioners of the city. I have no doubt that if the Minister in charge of this Bill can see his way to make that contribution, so far as our Party is concerned it will not lose by the contribution not only in the city but throughout the whole country. Deputy O'Connell asked why this should not be applied to other parts of the country, but he knows as well as I do that Dublin men do not go to the country to seek employment.


Mr. Byrne

Dublin men are not fitted for the ordinary employment to be found in the country, because they have no training in agriculture. If a Dublin man wants a job there is only one place where he can go, and that is to the United States. I say that this burden is most unjust on the ratepayers of Dublin, and is one which the House should not impose.

I do not know whether we should recognise the contribution to the debate by Deputy Byrne as an indication of a division in the Government ranks. It is nothing new to us on these benches to express the view that it is the duty of the State to provide work for the unemployed and sustenance for those unable to work. Deputy Byrne has probably been reading the constitution of this Party, because he gave expression to many things which are in our programme. Members of the Government have stated on more than one occasion that they do not regard the problem of unemployment as a national one. It is only now, when Deputy Byrne feels that this matter is going to affect the ratepayers of Dublin that he raises his voice to say that these charges should be placed on the country at large. It is only when the shoe pinches that Deputy Byrne finds sympathy with what we have been preaching for many years. I do not say this in a personal way about the Deputy, but I say that it is time that he realised the position.

Mr. Byrne

I am not concerned with what Deputy Briscoe thinks, but I am concerned with the interests of the city of Dublin.

While a Deputy may be concerned with his own particular constituency we in this Party are concerned with the country as a whole, and we are not, I hope, going to develop in this country a system of government by which Deputies will scramble with each other to get the best possible benefits for their own particular constituencies. The Minister in charge of the Bill has got the solution of this problem in his own hands, and if he is genuinely anxious to go some way towards solving the problem he can do so. In Dublin grants have been made by the Government for the building of houses with imported bricks, while brick factories here are on half time.

Closed down by the building people.

I say that the Government have no right to give subsidies for the building of houses with foreign bricks while native material is available and can be got quite as good and as cheap as foreign material. If they encourage the use of native material for the building of the houses which I have in mind they would give some employment in particular areas. A good deal has been said about unemployed people not being living for a certain number of years in Dublin. I have no sympathy with that point of view. I sympathise with the people of Dublin who have to pay an increased contribution towards solving a problem that should be solved by the Government. I do not say that any ratepayer in Dublin will cry and consider that he is doing wrong in contributing his portion towards the relief of distress, a situation which has been brought about by the Government in mismanaging the industrial and economic situation. I agree that he has a "grouse" and that he will feel that a lot has been put on his shoulders. I hope, when the general election comes, that the Government will get the answer they deserve for being the cause of putting this burden on the shoulders of the people of Dublin.

This Bill will require some explanation when it is going through Committee. It is all very well stating that certain things will be done, but this Bill will involve something about which there will be a lot of red tape. When the Bill is going through Committee, I would like the Minister to make a clear and definite statement regarding the interpretation of Section 4. Section 4 of the Bill means that an unemployed person can go to the union and seek relief, and the union in turn can demand work in exchange. You may have a healthy, able-bodied man, as pointed out by Deputy O'Kelly, possibly a tradesman, and you are going to put him on work such as road building for a few days a week. You are going to make a sick man out of him after the winter season is over. He will be doing spade and shovel work for a few days' pay, and he has got to nourish himself and consider himself lucky and consider that the State is doing well for him. On the other hand, you have people who are very weak and who are constantly unemployed, and they are to be set working side by side with this other man. I would like some explanation from the Minister as to what work is to be done and how he is going to deal with these matters.

With regard to the area of charge, supposing an unemployed man comes along and, as is quite usual, has not an address in Dublin. He has not lived in the city; perhaps he has slept in the Park sometimes and at other times on the roadside in the country. To whom is he going to be charged? Under this Bill that man can get no relief because he has no address and no home and there is no area to which the relief given him can be charged. Again, you have widows with children. How are you going to deal with them? We are quite serious in demanding something definite of the Government towards the alleviation of the distress which exists. The Government is putting a big burden on Dublin, and we, in Dublin city, have a right to know what we are paying for. I would like the Minister to be as clear as he can on that particular point. The charitable institutions, too, are interested in the passage of the Bill. They are interested to know what Section 4 of this Bill is going to mean. I was glad to hear that Dublin will get some relief from some trouble they expected to suffer in the near future. I was glad to hear that the Shannon Board will have to continue to pay rates on the Dublin property which it has taken over from the City of Dublin. The citizens of Dublin were rather afraid that they were going to have increased rates in that respect, and I am glad to think that can be considered as a contribution towards this extra impost.

I think it was Deputy O'Connell who referred to Dublin city in connection with people coming in from outside and not finding work here. I want to emphasise as far as I am concerned that I am not going to differentiate between unemployed hungry persons. I am not going to ask the House to say: "Where did this man come from? How long has he been in Dublin?" All I want to see is that the hungry and needy will be dealt with without making any distinction as to where they come from. I would say, however, that Dublin city has no say whatever, either the county or the metropolitan area, in the administration of the country as a whole. They have no say in helping to bring about a change in the attitude of the Government as regards industrial development. Nevertheless, the Government has a say over the city and over the different areas and is putting this impost on the citizens of Dublin, regardless of the fact that they themselves must bear the responsibility for the position with which we are faced to-day.

Deputy J. J. Byrne referred strongly to the fact that people were coming into the city from the country and were displacing people in the city. I visualised what he wanted. He wanted an inter-county customs barrier set up so that a man from Wexford would not be allowed into Wicklow, or a man from Wicklow into Dublin, as long as a man in Dublin was unemployed. If Deputy Byrne knew a little more about customs barriers, he would realise that there is a good deal in what we say. If we can bring about an improvement in the industrial position generally, we can solve the unemployment problem, but in the meantime it is the Government's duty to provide relief not only in the city but in the country. The sooner they realise that the better it will be, not only for the people of Dublin city, but for the people of the country who wish to find employment. Deputy Good states that industry is going to suffer and that some outside firms who were going to open factories here will not do so. If factories are going to be opened at the rate they have been opening, and if unemployment is going to be increased at the rate it has been increasing for the last five or six years, I say we will have to take the matter into our own hands, because great strides have not been made, as the Deputy suggested, and a great increase in the number employed has not come about.

Before I conclude, I wish to say that I am not recognising at all any relation between what Deputy Good was trying to develop—cause and effect. I am facing this as it confronts me, that is, that something must be done to alleviate the condition of a certain number of people who live amongst us, and it is in that spirit I approach the matter. That is why I particularly emphasise the fact that I want the Minister to give such information as he can in regard to Section 4, and particularly sub-sections (1) and (2). The Bill will have a great bearing, not only on industry, but it will have a great bearing and effect on life in the city generally. The city could, if it wished, and if the Corporation were in being, start some scheme of a reproductive nature. We have always contended on these benches that the State should start some schemes of a reproductive nature. At one time, a Lord Mayor of Dublin—I am not saying whether the scheme was good or bad—had an idea to reclaim a great portion of Merrion Strand. That would have given employment in the city and would have reclaimed for the ratepayers of the city a great deal of valuable property. If the Government were to face the question on that basis, to see if they could not formulate schemes of a reproductive nature, and so provide work that would be of some benefit to the ratepayers of the city, we would be getting nearer a condition of things that we all want to see, the disappearance of unemployment in the city.

While I rise to support the general principles of the Bill, there are certain sections, notably Sections 2, 3 and 4 which I would like to see altered. It was not my intention to intervene in the debate and I would not have done so were it not for what I might term the peculiar speech delivered by Deputy Good. The Deputy is one of those persons who believes that human interests should be made subordinate to industry. I hold the other way about. In the course of his remarks Deputy Good made reference to the point that he was mostly concerned with the serious burden that would be placed upon the ratepayers. Apparently, he was more concerned with that aspect than with the destitution that exists in the Balrothery area in addition to Dun Laoghaire, Blackrock, Baldoyle and Malahide. I think destitution exists there to a very large extent. I could only infer from Deputy Good's remarks that he believes unemployment and destitution are necessary evils which must always exist and, consequently, which will have to be remedied by charity or in other ways. He does not believe that destitution is a very urgent problem as far as Dublin city and county are concerned. Does the Deputy realise that this Bill, in essence, is only asking for the destitute in Dublin city and county the same treatment as is given to destitute people in practically every other county?

The Deputy mentioned that this would be an exceptionally big burden on industry and it might deter certain people in County Dublin, who are thinking of opening industries, from doing so. Is the Deputy aware that in North County Dublin industries have closed, not because of any burden in the way of rates being placed upon them, but because of the endeavours of rings and combines to control the prices of particular commodities? I will refer, as an example, to the Portmarnock Brick Works. That industry was not closed down through any burden in the way of rates, but it was closed down by the action of a certain master builders' association in order to create an artificial scarcity of bricks and in order to inflate the price of building material.

The Deputy knows very little about the subject to which he is referring.

I think I am pretty well conversant with that question.

I would advise the Deputy to make some inquiries.

I know sufficient about the closing down of the brick-works, but it might not be very pleasant for Deputy Good to hear the truth in regard to that question.

Perhaps the Deputy would refer to that matter on a more suitable occasion.

Deputy Good has also mentioned that people who are destitute come in from other counties and those people should not be made a charge on the residents in Dublin city and county. Arguing on these lines, would Deputy Good maintain that, as regards the rebuilding of the Four Courts or the Custom House, the money which was expended on that work should be borne exclusively by the people of Dublin? Does the Deputy not agree that certain employment was given in the city on that work for which counties outside Dublin were obliged to put forward money?

Deputy Good mentioned that a large number of people are unemployed owing to physical defects, and they are being helped by charitable organisations within the City and County of Dublin. I quite agree, but the Deputy puts forward the peculiar suggestion that this Bill is going to infringe on the work of those organisations. Does the Deputy believe that that work should be exclusively carried out by charitable organisations, and that it is not work for the State or for local authorities? Does the Deputy not know that those charitable organisations are only doing the work because the State and the local authorities in some cases have actually shirked their duty?

I am one of those who believe that the principal duty of a government is to look after the interests and the welfare of the people. If a government is going to allow the people to go destitute and leave them in the position of not having sufficient to provide for wives and families, that government is certainly not doing its duty.

I admit that this Bill goes a bit of the way; it does not go a sufficient distance. Deputy O'Connell referred to Section 4, which provides that people who are getting relief may be called upon to perform a certain work, and power is going to be given to the local authority to acquire land and, if necessary, machinery for the purpose of giving such work. What is actually behind that suggestion? Does it mean, as Deputy O'Connell pointed out, that people in receipt of outdoor relief will be called upon to do work probably at a starvation rate of wages and so keep employment from others at the regular trade union rates? It is suggested that an attempt may be made by the Government to do that in view of the fact that certain relief works were carried out in Dublin and in Donegal at wages less than the regular rates. I hope that is not the intention of the Government and that they will not run up against the trade unions in Dublin city and county by endeavouring to act upon these lines.

It is stipulated in Section 2 that in order to get relief a person must be resident in the area for two years. I think that stipulation should not be allowed through. If a person comes to Dublin in search of work after walking the highways and byways and is unable to obtain that work, and he, with his wife and family, is destitute, he should not be turned down. Power is given under Section 3 with reference to a person who has been two years in residence that the Union can pay reasonable expenses so as to send that person to some other place. To what other place? I hope the Government will not adopt the policy of the Conservative Government in England when they endeavoured to get people to emigrate in order to solve the problem of destitution and unemployment. The Minister may say that that is not the intention, but if the section is passed it may mean that a union could pay a person's fare to America in order to remedy any destitution that may exist. Such a tendency would depopulate a country which is already too far depopulated.

Would it not be better that those people should become useful citizens in another country rather than be paupers in this country?

Useful to whom?

Does Deputy Good put it forward as a suggestion that the unemployment problem is going to be solved by emigration? I would like to hear him put forward that suggestion or argue such a line in County Dublin. As far as this country is concerned, it has been depopulated because of the fact that not enough attention has been paid to this question of unemployment. I would like to see those sections of the Bill altered, and I trust the Minister will accept the suggestions I have put forward.

It is said that open confession is good for the soul. Certainly no one could deny that this Bill is a very eloquent confession of the failure of Government policy on most vital and important matters affecting the welfare of our people. We cannot but think of the professions of our leading Government spokesmen through the country during the last few years and we recollect the number of corners that we were told we had been turning almost annually. We find we have arrived now at the real corner when we have to admit, as this Bill admits, that the position has become so dangerous that we must find some means of staving off something worse. Here is the remedy, a temporary remedy of course. We heard from Deputy Tierney two or three weeks ago that when the history of the past eight years comes to be written it will be found that it was the most prosperous period in the history of this country. Just think of that declaration from the leading spokesman of the Government Party and try to reconcile it with the conditions which make this Bill necessary. Is it any wonder that we have become the laughing stock of same and sensible people outside this country? The circumstances that have brought this position about have been created and deliberately encouraged, by both the State and the administrators of local government in this city. We had here some months ago in this City of Dublin a floating ballroom on the Liffey and on that floating ballroom we had an imported band, brought over from London. There was money spent by our local administrators on that ballroom——

That is not a fact.

If the Minister is prepared to deny it——

Does the Deputy mean that any of the expenses in connection with that floating ballroom, the band or any other aspects of Civic Week have come from the rates or that any of the work was directed by the Dublin City Commissioners? Does the Deputy suggest that?

My contention is——

I want an answer to that question.

I will explain what I suggest. My contention is that the City Commissioners were responsible for permitting the importation of that band and giving them employment here during Civic Week.

Does the Deputy suggest that the City Commissioners were responsible for giving employment to the band that was in the floating ballroom on the Liffey?

Indirectly, yes.

What does the Deputy mean by "Indirectly, yes"?

I mean in the first instance that the floating ballroom scheme was introduced by the City Commissioners.

What does the Deputy mean by "introduced"?

It would be better to let the Deputy make his speech first.

Could we be at least clear that the Deputy does not suggest that the ratepayers' money, any penny of it, was spent upon the work of which he is speaking?

In so far as the ratepayers are responsible for the payment of the City Commissioners, yes —decidedly yes. Who are paying them? Is it not the ratepayers of the city who are continuing those people there and paying them huge salaries, and was it not under their authority this was done during Civic Week?

That is not a fact.

I say that it was under their authority the band was brought over. Will the Minister deny that the City Commissioners could not have prevented that floating ballroom on the Liffey and the importing of a band from London?

It is not a question of what the City Commissioners could have prevented. It is a question of who was responsible for carrying out the arrangements for Civic Week and who put up the money.

Better let the Deputy continue his speech and the Minister can deal with that point when replying.

I will reply to that.

And I will leave it to the House to say how far I am accurate in saying that the City Commissioners are morally responsible by virtue of inactivity, gross carelessness or deliberate connivance with certain interests in this city in the creation of circumstances which necessitated this Bill this evening. I did not get up for the sake of talking. I rose because of what Deputy Good said here. I felt I must retort. Deputy Good has come forth again with a terrible wail on behalf of the industrialists in this country. He talked for ten or fifteen minutes about the terrible difficulties under which industrialists are labouring.

took the Chair.

He told us also that a lot of poor, unemployed people have been gravitating towards the City of Dublin. He told us that there is a terrible influx of the "have nots" into Dublin. But what about the influx of another set of individuals from different countries who have come to the city, individuals of the Deputy Good brand, who have come here and invested certain monies in industries, the profits on which are sent off to foreign countries? Who are the greatest enemies of our society—they or the poor, unfortunate unemployed citizens? I put that question to Deputy Good for serious consideration. We have, let us say, a man who, because through the accident of birth or some other circumstance, happens to come into possession of a certain amount of money, comes over here, happens to start industries and incidentally, of course, gives employment. The profits of that industry are sent off to foreign investors. I will leave it at that with this addition, that I have yet to learn where and when any industrialists of the Deputy Good brand ever happened to start an industry in this country in the belief that its primary object was the giving of employment to the people with a view to increasing their standard of living. I have yet to learn when and where that has been done by any of these individuals.

Therefore, as Deputy Lemass has said, if the passing of this measure is to inflict a penalty on the ratepayers, they have richly deserved that penalty, those of them who are native born and who should be national, but who refuse to exercise their influence in their organisation and see to it that we have a proper national administration in control here. Having failed to do that, they richly deserve the penalties which this measure is going to inflict upon them. I hope that as a result of this Bill there will be an awakening brought about in their ranks, and that they will come to realise that there is only one hope for this country if it is to be saved from utter and inevitable bankruptcy. We are heading rapidly in that direction. The only hope is that if the present Government are not prepared to take the necessary steps to ensure that our unemployment problem will be tackled, not in some haphazard manner, not for the mere sake of gaining political kudos for the time being, but for the sake of dealing with the problem as it should be dealt with, by facing it as a national problem—let them face up to their responsibilities as claiming to be leaders of national thought —the ratepayers will, when they find that this measure has been passed through both Houses, and that it is going to impose an increase upon their rates, have a remedy for that, and the remedy is obvious.

The attitude of our party on this Bill has been made clear, so that it is not necessary for me to deal with it at any great length. We have made it quite clear that we regard this Bill as fulfilling a part of the duty of the State. We believe that to allow people to starve in our midst is inhuman and unChristian, and should not be permitted, no matter what the burden of relieving it may be. But at the same time we have made it quite clear that we do not think this is the way to deal with the major problem. We recognise this Bill as a temporary expedient, and as such we support it. But we want everybody to realise that our attitude towards it is simply to regard it as a temporary expedient, that we believe it will in no way save us from having possibly greater burdens to bear. In other words, we agree with Deputy Good to a certain extent that it is quite possible that the acceptance of this burden, if we depend upon measures like this, may lead to a situation in which we will be increasing the burden until it completely breaks our back.

As for the burden itself, our view is that it ought to be distributed somewhat. I think that the Minister should have given us some indication of what the burden is likely to be. We have had to gather it from statements in the Press, and I think that is not right. The Minister should have given us some indication, as the result of the researches of his Department, of what the total amount of the burden is likely to be. It would appear from the statements that have been made by the Commissioners that it will amount to something like an increase of 30 per cent. on the present rates in the City of Dublin. I think that that is not an overestimate; that it is, roughly, the figure that one would arrive at from the information given by the Commissioners. Is it right that the City of Dublin should bear that burden? We believe that it should not bear it unaided, that in a sense this burden is one that the community at large, all the people of the Twenty-six Counties, ought to bear a portion of. An exact apportionment might be a matter of some difficulty, but in a case like this, which involves the very sudden increase of 30 per cent. on the existing burden of Dublin, we think that the country as a whole ought to come in and help; that is, that the State ought to assist the city.

There is a way in which the State could do it. We think that a considerable portion of the money which the State should give to assist Dublin could be got by a tax on luxuries and amusements. Such a tax, properly graded so that it would fall on those who would best be able to bear it, would bring in a certain amount at any rate, and we believe that that sum should be definitely assigned to assist Dublin in the relief which it should get.

We are very clear on the other matter that was raised by Deputy Cooper. As a matter of fact, he simply used the arguments that had already been used in our Party when we were discussing the matter. We think that Blackrock and Dun Laoghaire, for instance, ought to be coupled with the other townships. As Deputy Lemass pointed out, that was what Deputy O'Kelly referred to when he said that the charge should be distributed over the county, and he spoke immediately after of the urbanised areas in the county. That was what clearly he had in mind. We believe that the urban areas ought to be grouped together to help to bear this burden, and that the State ought to give a substantial contribution, because we think it unfair that there should be a sudden increase of, roughly, 30 per cent. put on the city rates. Of course it will be argued by Deputies from the country that the salaries are spent in the city, and perhaps there is a good deal in that argument. It might be one of the reasons why the contribution from the Exchequer to the city should not be as large as we might otherwise think it should be.

It was particularly to stress the fact that the State ought to come in at this stage, and also to point out that it would only be just that the State should get that money by way of a special tax on luxuries and amusements, that I intervened in the debate.

Not being a Deputy for Dublin city or county it will not be taken that I am in any way looking for votes in rising to speak on this Bill. Several points were raised by Deputies J.J. Byrne and Good to which I would like to refer. I do not want to hit the industrialists. I know that it is a vicious circle— that if you kill industry you kill employment and add to the unemployed list. But when Deputy J.J. Byrne says he consults the interests of Dublin and of the citizens of Dublin, I wonder if he thinks for a moment that those unemployed are also citizens of Dublin and that their interests must be consulted too.

Mr. Byrne

Absolutely. I made that clear.

I think it was Smith O'Brien who, on one occasion, appealed to the large and respectable class of men of no property——

Wolfe Tone.

Wolfe Tone. Thanks for the correction. He appealed to the men of no property on whom Ireland relied many a time in her hour of need and from whom she found help. We talk of the burden which will be put on the rates. Quite so, and as Deputy de Valera said, the State might bear some portion of it and not put the whole burden on the city. But industrialists should realise, shopkeepers should realise, that by leaving the poor in the terrible conditions under which they now live they are indirectly paying, in the ill-health of these people, what they will pay directly under this measure.

This is not a wealthy city; there are very few people here with great fortunes, and I am afraid that those with moderate means do not realise their responsibilities to their fellow-citizens. There are some thousands in the city that I know of who know nothing of the conditions under which people exist in the back streets; they keep to the show places and the places of amusement. I do not think they would go with such light hearts to these places of amusement if they realised how some of their fellow-citizens live, or try to live, for "live" is not a word to be applied to them. I am not a kill-joy; amusement is necessary, and we are told that variety is the spice of life. But there are some thousands at present in Dublin to whom life is all variety and all spice. All variety and all spice is not a wholesome diet, morally or otherwise. If less were spent on amusements it would be better, and there would be more to help the poor. If the whole State were roused to a sense of its responsibility and to a sense of the terrible conditions existing in the by-streets and in the lanes of Dublin the people would not be unwilling to contribute something to relieve that distress.

Deputy Good suggested that emigration might be a solution. It might, but a howl was raised in the north-eastern corner of this country when emigration was suggested as a solution of their unemployment problem. We are not going to have it as a solution in the Twenty-six Counties either, though it is solving the problem to a certain extent. I was in Connemara on Monday; I passed, between Maam Cross and Galway city, four cars, two of which I believe were loaded with the trunks and boxes of emigrants leaving Connemara. That is a very bad trade to have down there.

Finance must, of course, be taken into consideration and so must industry, but charity is greater than finance and is greater than industry. I am quite certain that when the country understands how these poor people live here, or starve here, it will not be unwilling to bear portion of this burden so that such a sudden increase would not be put on the rates of this city as would lead to the aggravation of the unemployment problem.

Mr. T. Sheehy (West Cork):

Although not a Deputy representing Dublin city still, as an Irishman, I take a great interest in its prosperity and I was exceedingly pained to-night to listen to the speeches that were delivered on the opposite side of the House. In place of applying themselves with energy towards trying to improve the Bill on behalf of the poor, they seized the opportunity to denounce and attack the Government. A few minutes ago a Deputy stated that for the last eight years the Government were doing nothing but promoting unemployment. I challenge him now to state what condition employment was in eight years ago, and what the condition is to-day. From close observation of how things are going I have no hesitation in stating that to a great extent the men who are responsible for unemployment and for emigration are the Opposition. Their policy for the last eight years has been a policy of upsetting the State. No wonder that the young men and women of the Twenty-six Counties despair of the future when there is no improvement whatever in the policy of the people opposite. They are in a narrow, garrulous and miserable mood all through, only anxious that a day would come that would place them in power with good salaries.

Their action to-night, and their solicitude for the poor of Dublin I take cum grano salis. I do so unquestionably because there was no sincerity in what they said. When the Estimates were being discussed in this House a few months ago every single Deputy in that party, and a great number of Labour Deputies, opposed them, and if they had the power there would not be a man employed by the Land Commission or on drainage work, the Guards would be sacked, the soldiers would be sacked, the teachers would be sacked, and then we would have the Opposition in power. God help the poor if they were dependent on those on the opposite side, who are so solicitous about them.

I tell them that they have a remedy in their hands. I tell Deputy de Valera here and before the people of the Twenty-Six Counties that they have a great opportunity if they would realise for once their duty to their country. If they drop this cross-firing, criticism and jealousy and join with us hand in hand to build up the nation the world will look upon us with pride. During the last month I saw the representative of 130,000,000 of the great people of the United States present in the Strangers' Gallery. What did the United States send an Ambassador here for? They sent him here, recognising that we are a sovereign State, one that deserves the credit and the approval of the world at large. In a short time the greatest living monarch, Pope Pius XI., will send an Ambassador to the Free State, recognising that we are an independent sovereign State. Under these circumstances why are we down-hearted? To Deputy de Valera I would say: "Raise up your heart, throw away all these little criticisms, join with us manfully, show the world we are a united nation, and that we are gaining as we go along."

Many Deputies, Dublin Deputies in particular, have alluded to the large number of people that come from the country to Dublin, and the suggestion has been made by Deputy Good and others that those who are unemployed and who came from the country should be sent back. I wonder do these Deputies realise that the movement to Dublin only followed the movement of business firms from country districts, and from other cities, to Dublin—portion of the policy of centralisation of the Government. When we saw Dobbyn Ogilvie, Crosse and Blackwell, and other firms leaving Cork and starting in Dublin it was only natural that the unemployed would follow to look for the employment that was taken away from them in Cork. This is all portion of the policy of centralisation of the Government. Why? The Minister for Industry and Commerce when speaking on the motion for a tariff on flour made a statement about flour mills throughout the country and suggested that if they were moved elsewhere they would do better. There was the suggestion that if they moved them, perhaps to Dublin, they might get consideration.

Statements were made that the country at large should bear the burden. I think the country at large has enough burdens to bear for the City of Dublin. The money of the country at large is going to pay some hundreds of civil servants who are working in Dublin and whose salaries are contributing to Dublin rates. The policy of centralisation in the Local Government Department is now carried so far that if a sweeping brush is wanted for Cork Union it must be bought from the trade list of a Dublin firm. I think the present Bill is a sad commentary on Government policy, both the policy of centralisation, which occupies so much of the mind of the Minister for Local Government, and the policy of doing nothing, which has been the policy of the whole Executive Council for the last eight years.

I do not want to interrupt the Deputy, but I want to suggest that he is speaking under a misapprehension. The policy of this Bill is that Dublin will bear its own burden. The policy that has been suggested of putting portion of that burden on the rest of the country is the policy of the Fianna Fáil Party as explained here.

Pardon me. On a point of explanation. I made my remarks to clear up that point. The point is that the State Exchequer should do it, and I indicated how the State Exchequer could do it by special taxes on amusements and luxuries—the incidence of which would be mainly on Dublin.

On the whole country.

Tell us what amusements?

Any person who walks through this city can see a cinema or a theatre in nearly every street. If a tax was put upon these places it would help to contribute towards the support of the unemployed. I would like to know from the Minister, as a member of the Executive Council, what he has done with all the millions that have been raised abroad for the purpose of starting industries. Have they gone into the rapacious maw of the salaried officials, or have any of them gone to the starting of industries which would render a Bill like this unnecessary? If the Executive Council goes abroad every two years and borrows £10,000,000 to start industries, and again goes abroad in two years time and borrows more money to start industries, and if there are still no industries started, it is time that people should know where the money is going.

I regret that this Bill is necessary but I do not agree with those gentlemen here who state that all the country people are rushing up to Dublin looking for work. Anybody walking on the streets of Cork today can see a great influx of Dublin people into Cork in connection with Henry Ford's factory. If those people get unemployed in Cork we do not say that the City of Dublin should pay relief for them.

I realise, unfortunately, this Bill is necessary, but I consider that the direct responsibility for the Bill rests with the Executive Council, who have mismanaged the finances of the State, who have made no effort whatever to relieve unemployment here and who now make this effort, which is not an effort but a sop. Even the people of the City of Dublin cannot bear this burden for all time, but we see no effort being made to put an end to it in the way it can be put an end to, to start industries in this country with all the millions that they are borrowing abroad, avowedly for that purpose.

As we have said, we are accepting this Bill without welcoming it, because no one can welcome a counter-irritant as a substitute for a cure, and that is precisely what this Bill is. By irritating the psychology of the members of the Chamber of Commerce of Dublin to the tune, as Deputy Good said, of 5/- in the £, we are going during the coming winter to induce, if we can, the great mass of the unemployed of the city to forget the painful symptoms which they themselves have been feeling of an economic disease which is general to the whole State. This Bill and the problems which we are faced with in Dublin are largely the result of causes which are operating everywhere throughout the Twenty-Six Counties. The symptoms of starvation, poverty and unemployment are more severe and possibly more likely to be chronic here than elsewhere throughout the country. For that reason it has been argued since the position here is a result of general causes and of a general policy, that the Government which has been responsible for that policy ought to take upon itself some of the responsibility not only of the poorer constituencies of Dublin city and of Dublin county, but of the constituencies throughout the Twenty-Six Counties for alleviating that problem.

We have suggested that that responsibility should be accepted in a limited way. It has been suggested by Deputy de Valera that some portion of the costs of providing this relief would be, or could be provided, by a special tax upon amusements and upon luxuries, a tax upon entertainments, a tax on hotels and restaurants where the service is a luxury service. Nobody wants to impose a tax upon a dinner that costs, say, 2/- or 2/6, but we know that there are nightly bills for food in some of the restaurants of this city which amount to 15/- and 20/- per head for those who dine there. We do say one way, possibly on the whole the least injurious way economically, of helping to meet the destitution which wasteful and extravagant living has helped to cause in this city would be by taxing luxurious meals of that description.

Again we have the dance halls crowded every night in the city; we have dog racing, one of the most popular sports in the city. We have even if you like the public-houses. But I want to make this clear that I do not want to tax what may possibly be harmless amusements in themselves. At the same time while I am making it harder to get into picture-houses I am not going to make the inducements to go into public-houses greater. Therefore, where we are going to tax harmless amusements of the people now as distinct from the luxuries we must make sure that there will be something to counterbalance it as far as the City of Dublin is concerned.

I thought it was going to apply all round.

If you centralise these in Dublin you will see as far as their incidence is concerned that possibly nine-tenths is going to be borne by the City of Dublin, where this destitution is to be relieved. Therefore, when it was suggested that possibly some of this money might be found by the imposition, if you like, of a special tax on amusements and luxuries, the great burden of that taxation was going, I believe, to fall on the City of Dublin but was not going to fall on the shoulders of the particular section of the Dublin community which could best afford to bear it.

That was the way in which we indicated that the Exchequer of the State might help to meet this problem. I believe it is the reasonable way. I believe it is the only way in which we can immediately ease the destitution and relieve the suffering without effecting grave economic injury to the whole industry and structure of the State. Deputy Good was wisely alarmed when he saw this Bill. This is a facile sham, two pages of print absolutely empty of thought because if this was going to be the Government's policy to solve this pressing problem then there was no future either for this State or for this country! Quite justifiably he raised his voice in alarm, because until we do something more than provide palliatives—unless we go to the root cause of the trouble and as well as providing bread and work—there is no hope, no future either for the Deputy Goods, Deputy Cassidys and the Deputy MacEntees in the city. That is the attitude we take up in this matter.

There is one other point I would like to answer. It has been said by Deputy Good that he is anxious because of the burden that this Bill was going to cast upon the ratepayers. The fact of the matter is this that this Bill imposes no additional burden upon the ratepayer that he has not already had to bear directly or indirectly.

That is not so.

Those who have been engaged in industry in this country at present are carrying on their shoulders the burden of the unemployed, and the only thing this Bill does is, as it were, to uncover that burden and make it plain and clear for those who are carrying it to see it. They are removing, if you like, taking away, stripping the old man of the sea of his invisible cloak and the Chamber of Commerce, which has been carrying this burden for the last five years, was only able to see it when Senator Johnson produced his Bill and compelled the Government in very shame to take it over.

Again I say we are accepting this Bill without welcoming it. We want to see a radical change in the policy of the Government which will make Bills of this description unnecessary. We are not going to oppose it, and I, for one, am not very much concerned as to how the burden is distributed, because I know that ultimately the burden will be borne generally by every citizen in this country. Those who are living in Dublin have to bear the burden immediately, but, ultimately, they do transmit some portion of the burden of unemployment in Dublin city to every man and woman throughout the Twenty-Six Counties. For that reason, therefore, I am very much concerned with the immediate incidence, but I do think it is only just that since the greatest number of unemployed are to be found in urbanised areas that the urbanised areas ought, at any rate, to bear that burden, as I said before, in the first instance. Undoubtedly they will transmit portion of it to Dublin county, but that will be a natural transmission. Ultimately the burden which Dublin county will be called upon to bear will be the natural portion of the burden; it will be the fairest share of the burden. At any rate, so far as first appearances go, it is only just and right that the urbanised areas should bear their share of the burden, in the first instance, by doing that. Possibly it will ease a great portion of the opposition which this Bill has met with in certain districts in County Dublin. It will not, I believe, affect the position ultimately, but it will make the passage of the Bill easier. For that reason I would recommend that the urbanised areas should be included in the Dublin Union.

To attempt to follow the discussion over the many by-paths it has gone through, I think, would not be very profitable. I think it will serve the subject we are discussing here best to keep pretty close to the Bill. I have to thank Deputy Sheehy for replying to a lot of the criticism that might otherwise have to be replied to Along that particular line I just would like to say for myself that there are some of our faces that were not made to be saved, and, therefore, we can dispense with a lot of unnecessary talk that might otherwise have to be indulged in. One of the points upon which there has been an amount of criticism is the area that will bear this particular class of charge. What could indeed be fairly well defined as the coastal borough is one that should particularly be discussed.

Deputy Cooper suggested that the urban area should be divided from the rural area in the Rathdown Guardians' area, and that these two areas should be made separate areas of charge for the purpose of relief to the able-bodied. The whole of the Rathdown area is a separate area of charge, without any distinction between the urban districts and the rural districts in respect of ordinary poor relief, as has been paid up to the present. Some of the remarks of the Deputy would suggest that portions of the rural area are, perhaps, sufficiently urbanised to be brought in in any separate urban unit with the urbanised parts of the area there. But making it a separate area for a particular class of outdoor relief, where the whole area at present is the area of charge, requires a very considerable amount of argument.

This Bill is a temporary measure. Exception has been taken to the fact that it runs only until the 31st March, 1931. That date may be changed if necessary, but that date does not so much depend upon the Greater Dublin Bill to bring these provisions to a conclusion as upon the introduction of a complete codification of the poor law which is being put into legislative form at present. The Act of 1923 was a temporary Act, and the poor law system that it enshrines requires to be put into permanent legislation. It is recognised for some time that it is desirable, in order to assist administration as well as to put the matter into permanent form, to codify the system as early as possible, and I expect that the necessary legislation will be introduced before the 31st March, 1931.

However, this is a temporary measure, and we are asked to split up in a temporary measure an area acting under a board of guardians at the present moment, and that will continue to act as a unit until, if at all, it is changed in any Greater Dublin legislation. I do not propose to do it, and I do not think it would serve any purpose either to the townships or to the rural districts in the Rathdown Union to do it. The difference in valuation between the townships and the rural districts will have the effect that the rate of charge will not be materially different over the whole area compared with what it might be over two separate areas.

Another aspect that has been argued from the benches opposite is that in any area of charge the urban areas should go into the city. That, again, in a temporary measure would be to take for one particular class of outdoor relief an area which is being operated at the present moment by a board of guardians and transfer that area, for that particular purpose, to an area which is being controlled by a different body, the Commissioners acting for guardians. It would mean the duplication of relieving officers, and the position of the Dublin Union Commissioners to establish what the circumstances were of the able-bodied people in the Dublin townships seeking outdoor relief would not be such as to enable them properly to discriminate and to deal with the problem of people who ought to be dealt with. The people who ought to deal with that are the people who are dealing with general outdoor relief in the Rathdown district at the present moment.

The next point that has been considerably laboured is the question of Dublin city. Whatever be its area, Dublin city is Dublin city, in the same way as Galway county is Galway county, and what this present Bill does is it puts on Dublin city the responsibility which by the 1923 Act was put on Galway county, Cork county, Limerick county, and on the different county boroughs. I fail to see how any one speaking for Dublin wants to make the argument in connection with such problem, whether of poor relief of the able-bodied or ordinary poor relief, as it exists in Dublin, that Dublin ought not to be asked to face in the same way the responsibility for dealing with that problem as Cork is asked to face in respect of Cork, Limerick in respect of Limerick, or any of our county areas in respect of the county. I am afraid that any thought that there has been on the matter has been very superficial. At any rate, if we are going to have local government there is no part of the work that is being carried out by local bodies at the present moment that should be more local, and that the responsibility for which should be more local, both financially and in the matter of dealing with the problem, than poor relief, whether for the able-bodied, or for the people who are incapacitated.

If the financial responsibility for dealing with any problem of poor relief is going to be taken away from the local bodies on whose shoulders it is at present and made a ten or twenty-five or fifty or seventy per cent. State problem, then you are bringing about a state of affairs that should be well considered before any party or individual would say that that was the right way to deal with the problem. If the financial burden of poor relief, either for the able-bodied or others, is going to be made a State charge, then you are going to loosen the sense of responsibility by which that matter is going to be dealt with in local areas.

It has been stated that this is going to impose a burden. No doubt it is. No doubt there is a point at which the State has to make up its mind as to the extent to which it can give poor relief. There is a point above which the producers in the State cannot offer sustenance to people who are non-producers. But I suggest that there is another line along which the problem arises which requires very careful consideration—and the line cannot be lightly drawn—that is the line at which, if an individual gets brought into the poor law system in any way, he gets permanently brought into it. There is a danger that the administration of poor relief at a particular part of the spectrum of population is going to prevent the individuals concerned relying on their own energy to get into productive work, but, on the other hand, is going to drag them over to the poor relief side. I suggest that that is quite as much a problem as the problem of how far productive industry is or is not able to bear the burden of poor relief.

The extension of this Bill to Dublin is simply doing in respect to Dublin what was done in respect to every other local area in 1923. It was done, to use the word used by Deputies in respect of these areas, suddenly then. It is done now, to use the same word, suddenly in Dublin. I sympathise with those responsible for the administration of the city if they are called upon, after having struck their rate, to incur an additional large expenditure for poor relief, but I insist again that Dublin should be as well able to shoulder its own burden in this matter as any other place in the country. The problem will not be looked straight in the face and fully realised by those responsible for the administration of this class of relief in the City of Dublin unless they shoulder the full burden that is theirs. To suggest, as Deputies have suggested, that an entertainment tax or some other tax should be put on the whole country for the purpose of providing relief for the able-bodied in the City of Dublin is not to solve in any way the problem in Dublin, but is to open a very big problem in the rest of the country, so that our policy in this matter of poor relief is that Dublin must support its own burden.

And only its own burden?

And only its own burden. I cannot sympathise with Deputies who argue that the provision contained in this Bill, that this particular class of relief will only be paid in respect of people who have had two years' residence in Dublin city or county, is not a sufficient safeguard for the city. The period is a reasonable period to provide all the reasonable safeguards that the city should ask. A question has been asked by Deputy O'Connell and others as to what is going to happen in the case of a person having been less than two years in the city or county of Dublin who applies for relief and who has no home and does not know where to go to. The relief provided for that particular class of person is relief in the union in Dublin.

And paid for by Dublin?

And paid for by Dublin. That particular class of relief in respect of people coming into the city has been paid for all along by Dublin.

That is put down as safeguarding Dublin.

Mr. Byrne

We are not to give them outdoor relief, but to give them indoor relief, and that is protecting those in Dublin.

Yes. I do not know if either of the two Deputies interested in this matter will suggest that the financial burden involved in that is a big one. Personally, I do not think that it is. The question has been raised that persons may know that they will find work, or may be able to go to their homes, in a particular part of the country, but that under this Bill travelling expenses only can be provided for them. Provisional relief under the general Poor Law Act can be provided for any person in circumstances in which provisional relief is demanded, and it would be possible to provide provisional relief for these persons as well as sending them to the part of the country to which they want to go. A question has been also raised as to whether the terms here are not too wide and that people may want to be sent to foreign lands. The Bill is purposely left wide. Under the ordinary poor relief it is possible for a local body, with the consent of the Minister, to pay the expenses of a person or family, in circumstances that appear to warrant it, who want to emigrate. These powers have been used on one or two occasions. So that leaving this Bill as open as it is does not really confer any additional powers, but the doing of it, the paying of any expenses under the Bill, or the giving of any relief, is entirely a matter for the local body administering the Bill. I suggest, therefore, that there is no necessity to tie up the local body in that matter, that no case will be dealt with by being sent to any great distance away except after mature consideration by the people responsible for administering the Act.

Will the Minister tell us what form of proof would be required as to the two years' residence of an able-bodied person applying for outdoor relief?

This is a Bill to enable a local body charged with the administration of Poor Law relief to give relief to people who have two years' residence in the City or County of Dublin. If the local body are intelligent enough to be charged with the administration of poor relief they will have to be regarded as intelligent enough to make the necessary arrangements to find out whether a person is resident in Dublin or not. I know the matter may easily present difficulties, but the difficulties have to be resolved on the spot by the officials charged with the general administration of the Act.

I take it the Minister has no conception of the manner in which they are likely to overcome those difficulties.

I can easily conceive a way in which I might do it myself if charged with it, but I do not think it profitable to discuss the details of the kind of forms that should be filled up and the inquiries that should be made. People who will be charged with administering the Act are already administering Poor Law relief to the disabled.

Question—"That the Bill be now read a Second Time"—put and agreed to.

With regard to the Committee Stage, I have been asked whether I am going to give a considerable amount of time for the discussion of amendments to be sent in for Committee. I suggest that we should take the Committee Stage next Wednesday. That would give a week in which to submit any amendments. When we see these amendments, and when we hear such discussion as may take place upon them, then we can decide whether a long period might be necessary between the Committee Stage and the Report Stage, so that such amendments as after the discussion in Committee Stage are seen to be required can adequately be discussed and can be thought over and prepared between Committee Stage and Report Stage.

I want to point out that this is a matter of very considerable importance to the ratepayers of Dublin and that time should be given so that amendments put forward should receive due consideration. There are a number of bodies interested in this matter and a certain time must elapse before they can be called together to consider amendments, and after that, the amendments to be put forward will require consideration. That cannot be done in a few days. The Minister suggests giving seven days between this and Committee Stage. Amendments must be put forward some forty-eight hours before the expiration of that time, so that if you take the summoning of the meeting of those local bodies and then the time that must elapse in order to get the amendments in, there is practically no time to give to their consideration.

Have not all of those bodies already met, and conferred with the Minister, and he says that he only differs from their suggestions in some matters, which he pointed out.

I am not aware of that.

It is now 30th October, and those who will be charged with the administration of this measure will have to set up their machinery according to the terms of the legislation. Although this Bill practically embodies what was in the Bill which came from the Seanad, nevertheless when we are finished with it here it has to go back to the Seanad. I do not like the idea of presenting the City and County of Dublin on, say, the first day of December, with a Bill of this kind. If it will meet Deputies I shall put it down for Thursday next. Then we would be in this position: that we shall discuss the Committee Stage on Thursday next, and I would ask the Dáil to take the Report Stage on the following Wednesday and to get the Bill to the Seanad that week. The extra day may be of some use. The alternative to that would be to put it back another week, and that is simply to discuss the Committee Stage here on Wednesday week and keep the Report Stage back for another week.

If I intervene again, it is to say that it is not unreasonable to ask for fourteen days' consideration of the amendments, in view of the importance of the liabilities that will be thrown upon the ratepayers under this Bill. The Minister knows as well as I do that these bodies move slowly. Nothing that we can do will urge them beyond a certain speed, and I think in view of what has been said here to-day that it is not unreasonable to ask for a fortnight for the consideration of the different proposals that may be embodied in the amendments.

This Bill has been before all concerned in the matter since the original Bill was discussed in the Seanad, and what I would ask the Deputy is to be satisfied with my putting down the Committee Stage for next Thursday— that is, to-morrow week. If on to-morrow week any sound reason could be shown why it should be further postponed I am sure the House would only be too willing to discharge the Order and further postpone the matter.

I can only register my protest.

Committee Stage ordered for Thursday, 7th November.