Vote on Account.—(In Committee on Finance).

I move:—

Go ndeontar i gcuntas suim nách mó ná £7,744,365 chun no le haghaidh íoctha na muirearacha a thiocfidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1931, i gcóir seirbhísí áirithe puiblí, eadhon:--

That a sum not exceeding £7,744,365 be granted on account for or towards defraying the Charges that will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1931, for certain public services, namely:—

£

£

1

Teaghlachas an tScanascail

1,850

1

Governor-General's Establishment

1,850

2

An tOireachtas

40,000

2

Oireachtas

40,000

3

Roinn Uachtarán na hArd-Chomhairle

4,140

3

Department of the President of the Executive Council

4,140

4

An tArd-Scrúdóir

6,000

4

Comptroller and AuditorGeneral

6,000

5

Oifig an Aire Airgid

20,000

5

Office of the Minister for Finance

20,000

6

Oifig na gCoimisinéirí Ioncuim

222,000

6

Office of the Revenue Commissioners

222,000

7

Pinsin tSean-Aoise

922,000

7

Old Age Pensions

922,000

8

Iasachtaí Aitiúla

484,000

8

Local Loans

484,000

9

Coimisiúin agus Fiosrúcháin Speisialta

3,650

9

Commissions and Special Inquiries

3,650

10

Oifig na nOibreacha Puiblí

33,000

10

Office of Public Works

33,000

11

Oibreacha agus Foirgintí Puiblí

223,000

11

Public Works and Buildings

223,000

12

Saotharlann Stáit

2,370

12

State Laboratory

2,370

13

Coimisiún na Stát-Sheirbhise

4,200

13

Civil Service Commission

4,200

14

Cúiteamh i gCailliúna Maoine

84,000

14

Property Losses Compensation

84,000

15

Cúiteamh i nDíobhála Pearsanta

1,000

15

Personal Injuries Compensation

1,000

16

Aois-Liúntaisí agus Liún-taisí Fágála

600,000

16

Superannuation and Retired Allowances

600,000

17

Rátaí ar Mhaoin an Rialtais

31,200

17

Rates on Government Property

31,200

18

An tSeirbhís Shieréideach

3,500

18

Secret Service

3,500

19

Coimisiún na nDleacht

800

19

Tariff Commission

800

20

Costaisí fén Acht Timpeal Toghachán, agus fé Acht na nGiúiríthe

Nil

20

Expenses under the Electoral Act, and the Juries Act

Nil

21

Costaisí Ilghnéitheacha

2,219

21

Miscellaneous Expenses

2,219

22

Soláthar agus Cló-bhuala

45,000

22

Stationery and Printing

45,000

23

Measadóireacht agus Suirbhéireacht Teorann

11,826

23

Valuation and Boundary Survey

11,826

24

Suirbhéireacht an Ordonáis

15,000

24

Ordnance Survey

15,000

25

Deontas Breise Talmhaíochta

300,000

25

Supplementary Agricultural Grant

300,000

26

Dlí Mhuirearacha

20,000

26

Law Charges

20,000

27

Longlann Inis Sionnach

1,380

27

Haulbowline Dockyard

1,380

28

Príomh-scoileanna agus Coláistí

77,000

28

Universities and Colleges

77,000

29

Congnamh Airgid do Shiúicre Bhiatais

Nil

29

Beet Sugar Subsidy

Nil

30

Oifig an tSaor-Chíosa

1,400

30

Quit Rent Office

1,400

31

Oifig an Aire Dlí agus Cirt

13,500

31

Office of the Minister for Justice

13,500

32

Gárda Síochána

580,000

32

Gárda Síochána

580,000

33

Príosúin

30,000

33

Prisons

30,000

34

Cúirt Dúithche

13,360

34

District Court

13,360

35

Cúirt Uachtarach agus Ard-Chúirt an Bhreithiúnais

19,150

35

Supreme Court and High Court of Justice

19,150

36

Oifig Chlárathachta na Talmhan agus Oifig Chlárathachta na nDintiúirí

17,000

36

Land Registry and Registry of Deeds

17,000

37

An Chúirt Chuarda

24,800

37

Circuit Court

24,800

38

Oifig na nAnnálacha Puiblí

1,840

38

Public Record Office

1,840

39

Tabhartaisí agus Tiomanta Déirciúla

1,000

39

Charitable Donations and Bequests

1,000

40

Rialtas Aitiúil agus Sláinte Puiblí

162,000

40

Local Government and Public Health

162,000

41

Oifig an Ard-Chlárathóra

3,650

41

General Register Office

3,650

42

Gealtlann Dúndroma

5,150

42

Dundrum Asylum

5,150

43

Arachas Sláinte Náisiúnta

102,000

43

National Health Insurance

102,000

44

Oispidéil agus Otharlanna

11,230

44

Hospitals and Infirmaries

11,230

45

Oifig an Aire Oideachais

57,300

45

Office of the Minister for Education

57,300

46

Bun-Oideachas

1,402,000

46

Primary Education

1,402,000

47

Meadhon-Oideachas

80,000

47

Secondary Education

80,000

48

Ceárd-Oideachas

40,000

48

Technical Instruction

40,000

49

Eolaíocht agus Ealadhantacht

13,500

49

Science and Art

13,500

50

Scoileanna Ceartúcháin agus Saothair

60,000

50

Reformatory and Industrial Schools

60,000

51

An Gailerí Náisiúnta

1,400

51

National Gallery

1,400

52

Talmhaíocht

158,500

52

Agriculture

158,500

53

Foraoiseacht

20,000

53

Forestry

20,000

54

Iascach agus Seirbhísí na Gaeltachta

19,000

54

Fisheries and Gaeltacht Services

19,000

55

Coimisiún na Talmhan

212,000

55

Land Commission

212,000

56

Tionnseal agus Tráchtáil

35,700

56

Industry and Commerce

35,700

57

Bóithre Iarainn

21,000

57

Railways

21,000

58

An Bínse Bóthair Iarainn

2,350

58

Railway Tribunal

2,350

59

Muir-Sheirbhis

3,200

59

Marine Service

3,200

60

Arachas Díomhaointis

76,370

60

Unemployment Insurance

76,370

61

Oifig Chlárathachta Mhaoine Tionnscail agus Tráchtála

7,390

61

Industrial and Commercial Property Registration Office

7,390

62

Puist agus Telegrafa

749,000

62

Posts and Telegraphs

749,000

63

Fóirleatha Nea-shrangach

9,000

63

Wireless Broadcasting

9,000

64

An tArm

525,000

64

Army

525,000

65

Arm-Phinsin

72,000

65

Army Pensions

72,000

66

Gnóthaí Coigríche

20,000

66

External Affairs

20,000

67

Cumann na Náisiún

4,640

67

League of Nations

4,640

68

Luach saothair chun costais bhainistí Stoc Rialtais is le Saorstát Eireann

9,800

68

Remuneration for cost of management of Government Stocks of Saorstát Eireann

9,800

An tIomlán,

£7,744,365

Total,

£7,744,365

Deputies will remember that the Vote on Account is intended to enable the public services to be carried on from 1st April until 31st July, by which date the ordinary estimates have to be passed, and also the Appropriation Bill. As a general rule, therefore, the amount asked for on account is about one-third of the total estimates. In certain cases it is not necessary to ask for any sum on account, as, for instance, in the case of the sugar beet subsidy and others, because no payment will fall due before 31st July. In some cases for a similar reason, less than one-third is required. In a certain number of cases also, because there are heavier payments in the early part of the financial year, it is necessary to ask for rather more than one-third.

No new services may be met out of moneys supplied by means of the Vote on Account. Deputies will see how that operates in the case of No. 63 (Wireless Broadcasting), where, although the total estimate is £75,386, only £9,000 is asked for on account, because £48,000 of the total estimate is intended to be applied towards the erection of a new broadcasting station. It would not be proper to meet any part of the cost of that new station out of the Vote on Account, and so what is asked for here is simply to meet one-third of the sum that remains after we deduct the cost of that station from the total vote for wireless broadcasting. Therefore, the broad position is that the Vote on Account enables the services which are already in existence to be carried on until the Estimates have been passed by the Dáil, and have been confirmed by way of an Appropriation Bill.

I might say that the Vote on Account does not really give an opportunity for the discussion of details of estimates. It affords an opportunity to the Dáil for the discussion of any point of general Government policy. I regret the Estimates are not in the hands of Deputies, but I am promised them from the printer for to-morrow evening, and they will certainly be in the hands of Deputies on Saturday.

As the Minister for Finance stated, the occasion of the Vote on Account is, generally, taken for the purpose of giving Deputies an opportunity of discussing important matters of Government policy that would not arise in the normal course. In pursuance of that practice I propose to ask the Dáil to discuss a matter of considerable importance and of considerable urgency. I refer to the developments which have recently occurred in the transfer of the ownership of Irish industries to foreigners. This matter is, of course, important, because it affects the whole economic welfare of the country, and it is urgent because the volume and momentum of that movement has grown considerably in recent months. It is also urgent because there has been what the "Irish Independent" this morning called "an awakening of national consciousness" in that respect. The outstanding fact concerning the various discussions that have taken place on this question, in the Press and elsewhere, has been the uncertainty that has existed concerning the Government policy in regard to it. The invasion of foreign capital which has occurred has been assumed in some quarters to have taken place with the approval of the Ministry. I think it is desirable that the Government should make clear whether or not they view this development with favour or disfavour, whether or not they consider it desirable or undesirable. If they consider it undesirable, I think they should state that fact quite clearly and definitely and, in addition, indicate the steps which they propose to take, or the powers they propose to acquire, to enable them to deal with it. The investment of foreign capital in the Free State is, of course, not a bad thing in itself. It only becomes bad when it is carried on to an excessive extent or if the form of investment selected is nationally undesirable. I think it can be shown that the investment of foreign capital in the Free State is open to objection on both these grounds. It has been carried on to an excessive extent and, generally speaking, the form of investment selected has been undesirable.

The Revenue Commissioners, I understand, have estimated that in the year 1926, £73,000,000 was invested in the Free State by non-residents. They estimated also that the trading profits of foreign companies from branches established in the Free State were approximately £4,000,000 per year. It is, of course, likely that the amount of foreign capital here has increased since the year 1926 and, also, that the trading profits of the foreign companies have increased. In any case, there is a considerable drain on the resources of the country which is, of course, reflected in our net adverse trade balance. The Minister for Industry and Commerce, in reply to a question on 2nd November, 1927, gave an estimate of the profits on investments of foreign capital in Saorstát Eireann for the year 1925-26 as £3,700,000. In reply to a similar question on 23rd October, 1929, he gave an estimate of the profits on such investments for the year 1927-28 as £5,300,000. In other words, there was during the two years intervening a very considerable increase in the outgoings in respect of foreign investments here.

We have a net adverse trade balance of about £8,000,000 a year. The trading profits of these foreign companies established here have, of course, to be taken into the account as an invisable import. There is on the other side of the account the invisable export represented by dividends received by Free State residents in respect of capital invested abroad, but even after every conceivable item has been taken into the calculation there is left a net adverse balance of £8,000,000, which can only be met by selling foreign securities held by Free State citizens, or by transferring the ownership of fixed assets at home. It is obvious, therefore, that the very existence of this abnormal investment of foreign capital here itself tends to increase the volume of foreign capital invested here, and, consequently, to increase the drain upon the country's resources.

I said the form of investment generally selected is undesirable There were on 31st December, 1928, 459 foreign companies with places of business established in the Free State area. The great majority of these companies are engaged only in trading operations here. A number of them are, of course, registered as manufacturing companies, but they do their manufacturing abroad, and have established places of business here only for the purpose of facilitating the sale of their goods. The existence of these branch concerns confers little or no benefit upon a country. In the first place it is obvious that no additional employment is provided by a transfer of the ownership of a manufacturing concern already established in the Free State. If foreign owners continue such a concern in active operation then the employment situation remains normal. If they diminish its activities unemployment increases. The establishment of new trading concerns is of little benefit either. There are, in fact, a number of these foreign trading concerns now operating in the 26 counties. Recently the number has been increased by the fact that additional foreign companies came over and acquired a controlling interest in existing enterprises here. The net result of the establishment of the majority of these companies in the country has been a decrease in the volume of employment.

The case of a well-known firm of ready-made clothing manufacturers could be cited as an example. That particular firm get their actual tailoring work done abroad, and their establishment here has resulted in a number of Irish firms being put out of business, and a number of Irish tailors being deprived of employment. The same result has been created by the acquisition of other concerns by companies engaged in other classes of business. It is also the general rule that, in all these foreign companies, the higher grades of employment are confined to employees promoted from the parent house, whether that be in England, America or elsewhere. It is only the lower paid positions that are given to citizens of this country. As the editor of the "Irish Independent" said, the Irish people are rapidly becoming merely hewers of wood and drawers of water in their own country. That situation will become more pronounced unless some steps are taken to check this unhealthy development.

It has also to be remembered that these foreign companies operating here do not pay income tax to the Free State Treasury. Before 1926 they did do so, but in consequence of the agreement made in that year their income tax now goes to the British Treasury, and as a quid pro quo the Free State Treasury. I understand, receives a portion of the income tax paid by domiciled British citizens who have established residences in this State. The Irish people are, I think, in the dark as to the financial consequences of that arrangement. It is quite possible that it was a profitable deal in 1926, but the situation has, I am sure, disimproved in the intervening years. The trading profits of these concerns must have increased considerably during these years, and consequently the tax payable on them has also increased. In addition to the fact that these foreign companies do not confer any direct benefit on the country, there are other directions in which they can become a positive evil. Those who control industry can, and always have, exercised a considerable influence on the determination of national policy. When they are foreigners, it is inevitable that they will make it difficult to adopt measures to protect national interests if these national interests are in conflict with their own. The kind of influence which can be exercised by them is bad in itself, but it is almost inevitable that in every case that influence will be used contrary to the best interests of the nation.

It has also to be recognised that industries which are only branches of foreign concerns are limited in their development. They will never grow beyond the point which suits the interests of the parent house abroad. There is, however, a much more serious aspect to this question. The tendency towards the rationalisation of industry on an international scale which has developed in recent years is operating very largely to nullify, in fact if not in form, existing tariff barriers. When an international combination is established it can, by a manipulation of prices, defeat the aims of national Governments if it so chooses when these national Governments attempt to encourage the establishment of particular manufactures by the imposition of tariffs. That fact has, of course, been recognised elsewhere. Mr. Baldwin, the leader of the Conservative Party in England, has been advocating the rationalisation of industry within the British Empire in order to secure that economic unity which his associate. Lord Beaverbrook, is trying to obtain by other methods. At a recent meeting in London Mr. Baldwin said:—

Amalgamations, eartels, working arrangements are made every year between keen competitors in the same country, and even in different countries. Competing industrialists find it convenient to get together in order to get more pooling arrangements to provide a market. In inter-Imperial arrangements I look for that and for much more.

He then went on to develop his idea, and to show that barriers imposed by Dominion Governments for the purpose of protecting industries could be nullified by the establishment of these inter-Dominion industrial combinations. That development is a matter which should give serious concern to the Executive Council here. If it is possible, by effecting an international industrial arrangement, to defeat the aims of the legislature when it establishes tariffs, then it is time that the Government was looking around for the purpose of discovering other methods of making its will effective.

We have had in recent weeks considerable publicity given to developments in the flour-milling industry. The English firm of Messrs. Ranks, Limited, have acquired a controlling interest in the firms of Messrs. Bannatyne and Russell, Limerick, and of Messrs. Furlong, Cork. There seems to be some possibility that foreign control over the flour-milling industry here will continue to extend. It can, of course, be argued that the refusal of the tariff was directly responsible for the present position. It would not, however, have been possible to have prevented that position occurring even if the tariff had been imposed unless additional powers had been acquired by the Executive Council in the meantime. England was over-milled and had to find an export market. She found it here in the Free State, the nearest and only unprotected market to her. The Irish millers, having been refused a tariff by the Executive Council and the Dáil, were faced with the alternatives either of going under or selling out. A number of them have chosen to sell out. In face of that situation, the solemn warnings which the Minister for Industry and Commerce has uttered here seem particularly futile. I think I can claim that those who advocated in this Dáil the imposition of a tariff foretold with considerable accuracy the present situation. I do not draw attention to that fact merely to enjoy the pleasure of saying, "I told you so," but as proof that in that one instance, at any rate, we successfully diagnosed the disease.

The Minister was very careful in every statement which he made in connection with this matter to avoid giving a definite indication of any kind as to his policy. He has neither said definitely that he approves nor that he disapproves of this development. It is for many reasons undesirable that the country should be left in the dark as to the attitude of the Executive Council. If it is their intention at any time to step in and prevent further development in that direction it is only fair to all the interests concerned that notice of the fact should be given. If, on the other hand, they propose to let matters drift as they have been doing it is equally fair to the people that they should be informed.

It is not, of course, merely in the flour-milling industry that this development has taken place. When one examines the list of foreign companies with places of business established in the Free State area one is struck by the fact that no less than 71 of the total of 459 are returned as engaged in the business of insurance and finance. That figure 71 falls to be compared with the figure 15, which is the number of companies registered here engaged in the business of insurance and finance. It has been estimated that the total premium income of external companies engaged in insurance business in the Free State in 1927 was approximately £3,500,000. The net loss to the country was about £1,000,000. If we take the total outgoings and subtract from them the total incomings in respect of claims paid, agents' fees and other administrative expenses, the net loss to the country is approximately £1,000,000 per year. That loss must also be taken into account when we are estimating our net adverse trade balance. It is taken in as an invisible import and must be met by the exportation of goods or services abroad, or else by the transfer of capital. In addition to the annual loss arising out of insurance, the funds which these foreign companies hold against their liabilities to their Irish clients are in all cases entirely invested in foreign securities.

In 1924 a committee was established by the Executive Council to examine the whole aspect of industrial insurance business as carried on in the Free State. That Committee did not go into any aspect of insurance business other than that of industrial insurance. They submitted a number of recommendations which, if put into operation, would have resulted in some improvement in the situation. I do not say that their recommendations embody all that could be done, or even that a Bill containing these recommendations should be accepted by the Dáil, but the passage of such a Bill would improve the situation. Six years have elapsed since that report was submitted to the Executive Council, and although a Bill to deal with the matter has been repeatedly promised by the Minister, it has never yet seen the light.

We have had meetings, public and otherwise, in recent weeks to consider the question of the impediment to Irish trade resulting from the existence of a monopoly in shipping. It has been asserted, and I think proved conclusively, that shipping freights to and from the Saorstát are considerably in excess of what they might be expected to be if the element of competition had been in operation. The companies associated in the monopoly are all foreign companies, and those who are now contemplating taking action to break that monopoly will have to realise that their task will be a very difficult one. It is in relation to that matter particularly that the Government should realise the danger inherent in the situation, and either take action if they have the powers, or acquire the powers if they have not got them, to enable them to facilitate those who are trying to overcome the difficulty of high freights by introducing an element of competition again. The difficulty created by the existence of these foreign companies within the country is not one which will be easily overcome. I do not want to be taken as implying that there is a ready-made solution to it. The main trouble arises out of the fact that some of the biggest and most profitable industrial enterprises existing in the Free State are controlled by foreign companies. No one would seriously contemplate any action which would interfere with such concerns as Messrs. Guinness in Dublin or Messrs. Ford in Cork. The country gains substantially by the fact that these foreign companies have established places of manufacture in this country. There are, however, a large number of other companies whose operations are either definitely harmful or of no benefit.

In that situation, I think, one obvious step which the Executive Council can take is to acquire some power of selection so that they can decide that a particular company or a particular class of company will or will not be permitted to operate here. This matter was discussed at the Ard-Fheis of the Fianna Fáil Party. I know that some of the Deputies may not consider the Ard-Fheis of a very high level as a deliberative body. It did, however, consider this particular problem, which is more, apparently, than the Executive Council has done, and in addition to considering it, it indicated what it considered to be a partial solution of it. It suggested that though it could not find a complete solution for all the dangers and difficulties in the situation, nevertheless legislation should be enacted to give the Government the power of selection which I have indicated. It suggested that the Companies Act should be amended to provide that foreign companies operating in the Free State should only be permitted to do so under licence; if the Executive Council was of opinion that the operations of a particular company would be of benefit, in so far as it would give employment or encourage a new form of industrial enterprise, then no difficulty would arise in the matter of the licence; if, on the other hand, the firm seeking to come in or to extend its activities, was such a firm as Messrs. Burton or Messrs. Cavendish, or firms of that kind, that are purely commercial trading firms, then in our opinion the licence should be refused. The Ard-Fheis recommended, of course, that all companies that had not succeeded in securing licences from the Executive Council or from the Register of Companies, or from whatever authority was established, should be registered here, should have their headquarters established within the country, should have their meetings of directors here, and should conduct all business of that kind within the country. Whether or not that would be a useful line for the Dáil to follow, I do not know; certainly I think it is worth examination.

The particular reason why I choose to raise this matter was because it does not appear that it has been examined at all by the Executive Council, or, if it has been examined, the decision has been apparently to leave matters as they are. I do not want to appear to be trying to make party capital on this, or merely to find some point upon which I can attack the Executive. This is a problem in the solution of which all parties can co-operate. If the party opposite is anxious to find a solution it may be sure that this party will do everything possible to help it. If, on the other hand, the Executive has definitely decided to permit this development to continue unchanged, it will be necessary for us to endeavour to arouse public opinion to secure a reversal of that decision. For the present, however, we do ask that the Executive will make its policy known, both in the interests of the industrialists concerned and in the interests of the people of the country whose economic welfare is at stake.

In speaking on industry Deputy Lemass emphasised the very important question which is day by day growing more intense, and that is the question of foreign capital coming in to this country without any control whatever. I would be inclined to divide those companies into three different classes. One class of foreign element comes in but seldom for the purpose of production of anything like real wealth; another class, which is, unfortunately, rather numerous, comes in merely to obtain gains and profits, and a third class comes in for what is known as the closing down process; discovering that industries here compete with them, they come in and buy them up, work them for a year or two and then they deliberately close them down.

I am deeply interested in the question of industry simply because I am largely connected with the agricultural industry, and I have always recognised the importance of industry to agriculture. In fact, the life of agriculture is industry, and I fear that the Minister for Agriculture and the Minister for Industry and Commerce have not been close enough in touch with each other; in other words, I do not think that they have worked in that complete unity in which they should have worked, because the prosperity of each of these Departments depends entirely on the other. We all know very well the difficulty that there is in standardising agricultural produce. That is one of the great problems that different countries have been trying to solve. Most countries have solved it by maintaining, protecting and supporting their industries, not allowing industries to be controlled by foreign combines.

I know that the Minister for Industry and Commerce will reply more or less by saying that it is impossible to establish industries in this country because of the centralisation, the high organisation, and the cheap selling power of competing foreign industries. That I admit, but I wonder if it is the policy of the people of this country ever to attempt to produce in mass. Certainly I believe that it will not be done for some years to come. I do not believe that we will be able to compete ably with foreign countries for a number of years. The idea that underlies the minds of the Executive Council is that we should go out definitely for mass production. I am afraid that the tradition of industry in this country is too long dead for that to be done. I believe that we would be far better off in organising small industries and in keeping them going. Foreign combines would have the greatest difficulty in buying up these, while they have no trouble at all in buying up one centralised industry. We really cannot blame them for doing so, but I believe that we should not leave ourselves open to their attacks. It is quite obvious that in the case of a centralised industry in the City of Dublin, with the capital at their disposal and with the consumption power available in Ireland, that industry cannot reach for a number of years to a very high stage of development, and that during its struggles—and struggles it will have —it will always be open to these attacks, no matter what laws there may be to protect it.

But the policy of the Minister for Industry and Commerce seems definitely to be one of centralisation. In a country which is purely agricultural I cannot imagine how centralised industries will serve the needs of farmers who are separated all over the country. We have gone in for a policy of the division of land; we have divided land into small holdings of 30 and 40 acres, and there it remains; we have not made any provision whatsoever for the people who are living on these holdings for a market for the goods they produce, or a place for their sons and daughters to work when they grow up. I believe that is a problem that should be faced by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, and it is a problem that must be faced. The Department of Lands has done its duty. It has changed the whole system and complexion of the country, and now it is the duty of the Minister for Industry and Commerce to step in and supply something that is deficient. Everybody knows that before the operation of the Land Acts big ranches prevailed and that beef production was the chief industry. But anyone who knows that industry knows that it is now impossible on these small holdings to fatten stock, as was done before, and the only thing that is open to the people now is the raising of store cattle, that is, if the butter industry cannot be developed to any high pitch.

But I believe the important question is the question of the revival of industries. A purely agricultural country must of necessity be a poor country, and therefore the development of industries is all-important. How to proceed to that is the next question, and I believe that the procedure that is allowed to go on of itself, as at present, is not the correct procedure. We have had a few flour mills left in this country. They struggled along, with the result that at a few moments' notice a combine was allowed to walk in and buy up the lot, with the definite intention of closing down these mills as soon as the storm subsides. They do not want them, having quite sufficient in their own country—probably more than they need. That will be the result. I think it is time we faced these issues and made a determined attempt to safeguard the ordinary means of livelihood of the people; in other words, the ordinary bread that they use. It is quite time we gave up the idea that it cannot be done. After all, the first question a Frenchman, a Norwegian, a Dane or a person of any other nationality asks is: Can a nation produce its own bread?

It is an unfortunate thing that when we talk of our rich country, of a good climate and all the rest, that we cannot even attempt to produce our daily bread, nor even attempt to maintain whatever production remains here. For the last 25 or 30 years we have been getting into a system of buying the raw material abroad. We continue to buy the wheat abroad and to make a certain amount of flour out of it here. That continued for some time until the propaganda, with the talk of foreign millers that we were selling under the cost of production, gradually got us into a position where we ceased even to do that. The next position was to buy up our mills and then to tell us that we could not attempt to produce as cheaply as they could. The last position will be that these combines, represented by three or four gentlemen, will be in a position to decide whether the price of bread will be 2d., 3d. or 4d. more. I think we ought not to leave ourselves open to that. The Minister for Industry and Commerce should set about thinking of the results of the Land Act and should try to put some means at the disposal of the sons and daughters of these farmers who are now possessed of 40 acres of land, so that they may be absorbed into industries instead of having to go abroad. It cannot be done in any other way.

I do not believe that the reply we always get from the Minister is true, that if tariffs are used prices increase and the poor food consumer will get it in the neck. If you do not accept tariffs, accept some other system. The point is that something must be done, or otherwise all these farms will gradually become ranches again. I think that has happened before. Of course, I admit that previously when it happened, in the years before the famine, the division of land was too intensive. But the division might not have been so intensive but for the fact that all industry was taken from the people, and there was no other means of existence. These are points that I would like to have considered. They can be conveniently considered and the farmers helped by the proposed de-rating system. I believe they can be embodied so that the de-rating system could be used as a means of protecting industries and preventing, as far as possible, foreign elements coming in here and using whatever resources we have, while they care to do so, and the very moment they find any little difficulty they close down, the number of unemployed left being immaterial to them. They will tell them probably that they can go to the United States, and, I suppose, the next place will be Russia.

I want to ask if I understood Deputy O'Reilly aright. He said that some English interests had acquired some of our mills and that they made no secret of a definite intention to close them down.

Mr. O'Reilly:

I did not mean to say that.

Mr. Murphy:

I thought you used the word "definite." If that were so it would be a serious matter.

Mr. O'Reilly:

I said that companies came here with the definite intention of buying up installations and then closing them down.

Mr. Murphy:

I must have misunderstood the Deputy.

Listening to Deputy Lemass, one was inclined to come to the conclusion that there was very little difference in his mind between industry and capital—that they were practically synonymous terms. I was rather surprised to hear the Deputy give expression to such ideas, because those of us who have had some training in industrial matters know that a great deal more than capital is necessary in industry. Many of the industries in our city are the development of generations, and I would like Deputies when they talk of these matters to have it clearly in their minds that industry is not one of those things that can be transplanted from one place to another at will and developed in new situations; industry is a matter of slow and tedious growth. In addition to the training of those at the head, it is also essential that the workers employed in industry should have trained and developed minds.

Now I have urged that particular aspect of this question in this Dáil on many occasions that that is one of the first steps towards industrial development. Let us take a practical example of what Deputy Lemass spoke to us about. He said in substance that foreign capital is harmful. He did not actually say that it was dangerous, but I think he went on to argue that it was nationally dangerous. I do not think that Deputy Lemass will get many in the commercial world to agree with him in that respect. Let us take one practical illustration. We have here recently erected in this State several tobacco factories. Those tobacco factories were erected by what the Deputy calls foreign capital. Those tobacco factories give employment to some thousands of young people here in our State. Supposing those factories had not been established, the probability is that the great mass of their output would be imported. I do not mind how much home capital is made available for a particular industry of that character. Capital of itself cannot produce industry.

May I ask the Deputy a question? Does Deputy Good know whether there were in Ireland, before this import tax was put on tobacco, several efficient and well-run tobacco factories capable of expansion to meet our needs?

I am quite well aware that there are small tobacco industries in the country to-day, some of them flourishing, some of them otherwise, but to compare these with the mass production we see in these large factories is not a comparison that I would like to argue.

You get on your knees and admire these large tobacco factories.

I leave that to the Deputy, but supposing for a moment that that particular knowledge that is behind the work were not available, could any of the Deputies tell me what would supplant it? I will tell you what would supplant it—the incoming steamer and incoming goods. This aspect of the question I hear discussed over and over again. We will start industries. Let us be quite clear that industry requires brains as well as capital. The Deputy talked on the economic side, and I was rather interested. He said it had been calculated that there were 73 millions of foreign capital invested in this country. I take the Deputy's figures. I do not question them. As a result of that investment of 73 millions some four millions are going out of the State each year. In other words that capital is—I am quoting the Deputy's own figures——

No. I said that the profit on the foreign capital invested here was represented by the Minister for Industry and Commerce as £5,300,000. £4,000,000 represented the trading profits of branch houses of British concerns in the country.

There is no use in going into small details like that. What I am coming to is that the earning power of this capital is approximately five per cent. The Deputy says that is lost money— this is the pith of his argument— and that if our own capital were invested in our particular industries the four to five millions would be all gain for the State. Now I know something about investments and I can tell the Deputy for his information that most of the investments that are made outside this State are producing five per cent. to six per cent.

In the Hatry group.

Hear, hear.

I allowed the Deputy to carry on his speech. I will endeavour to carry on mine but two fools cannot talk at the same time. What I want to come to is this: that if you take the capital that is invested abroad and that is bringing into this State five per cent. to six per cent. and you take out of this State capital which is taking an equivalent return out of the State what better are you off in the net result? Does not one practically equalise the other? Let us get that point clear. I have heard so-called economists arguing in this House that the capital belonging to this State is not properly or wisely invested because it is not invested in the State. I have yet to see that the capital invested outside is not just as wisely invested from the economic aspect as the capital in the State.

The Deputy urged on the State that it ought to interfere in these matters. I am very slow to urge any Government to interfere in commerce. My experience of Governments is that very few of them know where they are when they get interfering with commerce, and it takes a very wise commercial man to follow the extent of Government interference once it starts interfering with commerce. Every such intervention where the Government has attempted to interfere with commerce has always been followed by one result, and that result has been disaster in most cases, so I do not want our State to get along a line of that character. If we are going to give it advice let us give it advice that will be useful. There is only one further word I have to add and that is I am as anxious as any Deputy to see industrial development pushed.

Pushed where?

One of the misfortunes of this State is that we have practically only the one industry, and if that industry, like all industry, has its bad times, then the whole State is sick as a result. That is unfortunate, but it is the inevitable result of any State dependent on one industry. If, on the other hand, that industry is in a profitable state then the whole State which is dependent on it is in a much better and happier frame of mind. I would urge that if the Government has any idea at all of interfering with commercial development or with capital invested in industry, my advice to them would be to move very cautiously and very slowly.

Deputy Good very often tells a story similar to mine, but he invariably has a different application and moral. I also am inflexibly hostile to the unnecessary interference of Governments with commercial affairs, that is to say, in the sense of interference to run them. But it is a very different thing to say that a Government must not interfere in a process which is in operation in this country and which is definitely inimical to the State. The difficulty with Deputy Good and those whom he represents is that they are always perfectly in favour of a thing being done and always entirely opposed to the doing of it. I propose, in a moment, to go through a little bit of Deputy Good's speech, because it was a contribution which ought to be very valuable to a debate of this kind, which I hope will be carried on throughout in the spirit in which it has been initiated. That is the spirit of people who are facing a big actual problem in relation to their own country, prepared to think out frankly, face to face, its difficulties and, if possible, to co-operate in its solution.

Deputy Good says that capital alone does not make an industry. That is perfectly true. It requires capital, it requires labour and it requires management. He then goes on to draw some strange conclusions. At any rate, that seems to be what I drew from him, that we in this country were failing in industry through the lack of those brains which he says we require. I suggest that there is a perfectly feasible and understandable explanation of the failure of Irish industries, which is not founded upon lack of brains, and I propose to take a particular illustration. I am not going to give the names. The names are at the disposal of the Minister for Industry and Commerce.

As we know, the insurance industry of this country is practically completely possessed outside. With all the talk we have in prospectuses, and so on, of the advances of our native insurance companies, they have not even scratched the paint on the armour of the opposition. Very often it is said that that is due to this lack of brains and that lack of organisation which seems to loom so big with Deputy Good. A certain Irish insurance company had the insurance of a great industrial institution in Ireland for, I think, somewhere about £1,400,000 or £1,500,000. It had that insurance at the rate of 2/- per cent. on the general buildings, and it had very liberal terms, up to a pound or so, upon temporary buildings. It came on to the time when the insurance of that enterprise would be renewed and word came down from the head office here in Dublin of that Irish insurance company intimating that the rate of insurance had been raised from 2/- to 3/6, a rate which was obviously and utterly absurd. This rate was submitted to the insurer. He expressed himself in terms which this Dáil would not allow me to use. Protest was made to Dublin, and in the end there was produced a document showing, I think, that re-insurance of that risk had been set by a collection of English companies at 3/6. I need hardly tell you that an Irish insurance company of the size could not honestly take on itself, under present conditions, the holding of a risk of that kind. This was re-submitted, and several attempts were made in Ireland to get the rate for that particular industrial concern, but it was, like the parrot disease, 3/6, 3/6 everywhere you went to. The insurance was running out, and the local manager in Ireland got on to Lloyd's Bank in London by 'phone and asked for temporary cover. He got temporary cover to the extent, I think, of £780,000 at 4/-, and subject only to the whole insurance being given by 4 o'clock the next afternoon at 4/-. This again was reported to the Irish industrial concern. The rate was apocryphal, and the man went to London to an insurance broker of whom I know. He said, "I want to insure this place for £1,500,000." The answer was that there was no difficulty. He came back to Ireland on the next boat with the place insured, not at 4/-, not at 3/6, not at 2/-, but at 1/10, and the firm that led in setting that new insurance at 1/10 was the firm that led in setting the re-insurance of that competently-managed Irish company at 3/6.

That Irish company went all over the world looking for re-insurance in face of a block of opposition of that kind. They went to Germany, and there was a re-insurance available in Germany, because at that time they had broken squares with the people upon the other side, but the Dawes scheme came into operation. The financial interests became friendly again, the block was reformed and Germany refused to re-insure. They went to America, and America said: "If the firms close by who know you will not re-insure at those rates, how can you come to us?" They went as far as Japan, but the ring was complete. Re-insurance could not be got, and in the end that Irish company was sold to the company which led in setting the rate at 3/6, and which led in giving the insurance at 1/10, and which is now concerned in insuring that same enterprise at 1/6. It was not lack of brains, it was not lack of organisation, it was not lack of efficiency which broke that organisation out of the comity of Irish industries.

There is no more dust in the sunbeam than there is in the rest of the room, and what practically does happen in Ireland is this: That when enterprises by efficient management grow out of the stage at which they can be ignored into the stage into which they must be considered, then they find themselves up against this block and faced with the proposition of either putting their chanies in the pool or being smashed. I could parallel that story, which to me is fundamental, in many smaller examples in Ireland, and that is what you have to face. Many good plans have been broken in Ireland, and not through lack of brains, not through lack of efficiency, but because there was power and intention to smash them when they had developed into the position in which they were capable of being considered as effective nationally.

Deputy Good told us that the building up of an industry was a matter of generations. I agree. The destruction of an industry is often simply a matter of the right-hand grip at the right time. Technical education is necessary. Technical education is a thing which for practical and efficient purposes ought to be developed. I know that that is the particular fetish of Deputy Good and I think that the House is fortunate in having somebody who, time and time again, will reiterate that point of view, but technical education alone will not do it when you are faced with blocks of this kind. Deputy Good told us that we have had several tobacco factories in this country and that there had been substituted some more. How, he said, can we stand up against mass production of that kind? How can we stand up against mass capital, capable of being used as a single unit, recklessly and remorselessly, through all the avenues of influence which it possesses in this country? We cannot stand up on any other basis than on the full understanding by the people of the real issue behind it, that activity in all parties, in all organisations and in all interests in this State which will bring the people of Ireland together, prepared to put into the market place something that can be neither bought nor sold.

You have a great many soap factories in this country, every one of which, perhaps with the exception of one, is controlled either through percentage of capital, through capital ownership, or through the control of raw material by one single enterprise. That enterprise has a capital of sixty-six million pounds. Assume, for a moment, that I have £100,000, all the technical skill necessary, and all the organising ability which is required, and that I put up, in Dublin or Cork, a perfectly efficient, new, and modern soap factory for the purpose of producing soap, what is the value of my 100,000 one pound shares? On the day on which I open the factory the enterprise with the capital of sixty-six millions is prepared to get after me as a unit. It is worth the scrap value, and only the scrap value, of the plant which I have put in. If, however, we could produce that miracle here of getting the people together, determined to face the problem in the only way in which they can face it, namely, by bringing into the market place something which can be neither bought nor sold, the loyalty of the people to themselves, and if when I started that factory they said that the only soap they were going to have was my soap, what would be the value of the sixty-six million capital acting as a unit in opposition? Not one red cent.

Allusion has been made to the adverse trade balance, visible and invisible. The greatest danger we have is one of our invisible exports, the export of the ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange in the country. That is going on continually and at a rate the understanding of which, I think, is not kept to one single party. I think that the Minister for Finance, though possibly not in the same degree, is as conscious as I am of what is going on and of the danger belonging to it. The Council of the County Borough of Cork last night passed this resolution:—

"That this Council views with concern the present and increasing tendency of existing Irish productive industries to pass into outside control, and demands that the Minister for Industry and Commerce shall take some such action as may be necessary to prevent the control of the Irish milling industry passing outside the State."

At the present moment I do not know what exact action may be necessary or, in the actual circumstances, is best to be taken in relation to that industry, though probably I know more about what is going on inside at present than most people. From these benches we give to our opponents an assurance that if they will take effective action, whatever that effective action may be, they can rely on us for our complete co-operation. I would like, however, to say something further, namely, that if the action which is necessary to be taken is not taken now, and if action is now taken which means that the control and ownership of that industry will pass into the hands of outsiders, we on this side of the House will not recognise that as a permanent position. There has been retrospective legislation in this country before, and if ever such legislation could be justified it would be justified to amend the evil in relation to this development which may, through present difficulties, through inadvertence or through indecision, fail now to be taken.

I agree with Deputy Good very strongly in one thing which might seem to have relation to this when he speaks of interference in the industry. If it is suggested that the Government of this country is competent or is the proper body to take over the job of reorganising cross-Channel shipping or Irish milling I thoroughly disagree. Perhaps the most useful development that has come about in public economic thought in this country in recent years has been the gradual hardening of the understanding that the effective function of any Government in relation to industry is not to do the things themselves but to stand behind those who are doing them. If the Irish milling industry is faced by a threat of rationalisation from outside which means in practice eventual destruction, I have not the faintest shadow of doubt that all this talk of rationalisation, to the extent to which it is profitable to individual millers or otherwise, simply means an economic version of the policy of the spider asking the fly to come into the parlour. If, however, the State is prepared to do the things which I think that it is absolutely necessary for the State to do, if the State is prepared to take the powers which in my opinion it ought to have, it should exercise its right, as against the Irish millers and against any other trade on whose behalf those powers are operated, to demand something in return. From the point of view of Irish economics, from the point of view of manufacturing in Ireland out of that industry the maximum number of livelihoods, and in the process giving the most efficient access to the most necessary foodstuffs for the rest of the people, they must be prepared to do their share. Rank is in, all the talk, all the stories you hear, all the pronouncements notwithstanding. The only thing that is true is that Rank is here and is here for Rank. Some months ago when we were dealing with the question of a flour tariff I said that there were two industries in Ireland which I thought were capable of standing up to economic penetration. One of them was the milling industry and the other was the woollen industry, but I said that they were only capable of doing it if they were prepared themselves to do what was necessary in internal reorganisation and co-operation.

Before Rank came in, that problem was comparatively easy, but you have now to deal with the fact that you have here a miller from outside who has, roughly speaking, thirty per cent. of the productive capacity in milling in this country, who imports about one half of the flour imported into this country, and who has a complete and intimate affiliation with those who import the other half of the imported flour, with those who control the mills which are working in England and the large amount of capital which they have and which they must use for fighting, to get possession of the whole Irish milling industry if they are going profitably to work their corporations together.

I would ask you to look at this problem for a moment—and I am not blaming Rank; he is here under the laws of the country which we have power to change; he is not doing anything illegal, he is not breaking any ordinary custom of commercial morality in anything he is doing— and to consider it as if Rank were not here and then see how you have to modify the solution of that problem, having regard to the fact that he is here, and here to stay, unless you decide otherwise. Having regard to the fact that England is completely over-milled, that she has available capital in the milling industry which is altogether greater than ours, and having regard to the actual state of financial embarrassment which is represented by the individual Irish mills at present, I would say that the whole Irish milling industry, taken as a unit, is a wasting asset, an asset which can be wasted very rapidly to nil, and which will, in fact, be very rapidly wasted to nil if ordinary economic forces uncontrolled are allowed to operate. What I would suggest to the Irish millers is this: that they recognise the fact that this is a wasting asset which may waste to nothing; that they first come together, the whole internal milling industry in Ireland, that they recognise that they are a unit—for the moment let us deal with the Free State—that they put perfectly separate and independent auditors into every one of these mills and estimate and record the value of each individual unit of that possible combination in good-will, profits and everything else; that then they form a corporation in which those mills will be represented by, say, one mill 1.8 per cent., another mill 15 per cent., and so on—in other words, units of value as distinct from nominal value. They can put on any nominal value they like.

Once that has been done, then that milling corporation, as a corporation, must be prepared to regard the whole industry as one. They must be entitled, with due regard to Irish economic interests and considerations alone, to remodel any mill, to scrap any mill, to build any new mill. Their business is completely to rationalise themselves from within. When they have done that, when they have shown evidence that they do intend to do that, if the necessary resources and assistance of safeguarding are put behind them by the Government, then I think they are entitled to come to this Government or to any other Government and to receive from whatever Government is in power, with the support of the whole House, every assistance that is necessary to maintain that efficient new Irish milling entity in safe existence. To deal with the facts, when now you have the cat amongst the pigeons, is a very difficult question. I would find it very difficult to draw legislation which would be effective. I think the Minister would. No legislation in my opinion will be effective unless you can put behind that unit of Irish milling the public opinion of a thoroughly-informed country, unless you can get people to realise that that is their asset, that to take that asset out of their possession is to put in pawn the price of their food and even the existence of their food at any moment which is critical. Any power that the Ministry can effectively use to reconstitute the Irish milling industry as an internally-owned and controlled efficient industry, they are entitled in my opinion to have the support of the House in giving.

Let me turn to one other difficulty and it is in my opinion more fundamental. It is a fact that in dealing with these cases, great as are the powers outside us, and immense as is their wealth, the real danger is inside. It is a fact that we cannot regiment on the side of our industry with anything like the efficiency they can—they bring to bear the powers of co-operation. The House will be familiar with the fact that in dealing with one of these outside influences, the Cork Harbour Board some weeks ago were asked by one of the tentacles of the octopus, the City of Cork Steam Packet Company—it was an impudent demand—to go to the Railway Tribunal or to a court for an injunction to prevent the Great Southern Railways, in which just at the moment I do not happen to possess any shares though I intend to buy them, from reducing freights from the whole of the South of Ireland to Great Britain. Imagine a demand more impudent than that.

Instead of the Cork Harbour Board passing that resolution they passed an entirely different one. That was that while maintaining all the rights and powers of the Cork Harbour Board for the benefit of the community, they dissociated themselves from this attempt of the City of Cork Steam Packet Company to prevent a reduction of these freights. An amendment was proposed to that resolution for the purpose of sidetracking it. There were not many people who voted for that amendment, but I want you now to see who voted for it, and then you will get an understanding of what you are up against. I think you will agree that that was an impudent proposal. There voted for that resolution the Chairman of the Cork Harbour Commissioners: there voted for it the Managing Director of the Cork Steampacket Company; there voted for it the Chairman of the Liquor Commission; there voted for it the Chairman of the United Cattle Trade Association; there voted for it the President of the Incorporated Chamber of Commerce and Shipping. And among the other qualifications of those who were included in that vote was the City Coroner, the ex-Chairman of the Cork Harbour Board; the founder and two ex-Presidents of the Cork Rotary Club, an ex-Lord Mayor of Cork, and an ex-T.D. I am not, in saying this, in any sense political, because I do not think it is a question on which there is any line of ——

Will the Deputy show how are the names relevant at all to the debate?

I am pointing out the fact that in dealing with this thing we are up against the fact that the interests that are up against us are spread wide through our own people.

The Deputy is discussing the question of foreign capital and what the Executive Council could do about it. I do not see how the list of names given by the Deputy can apply at all in the matter.

I will try in a moment to bring that in. I have already given the House an illustration of how foreign capital can operate to smash absolutely and attack every Irish industry, such as the insurance companies that I have already referred to. I have shown you how you can deal with big foreign companies attempting to use their money for the purpose of smashing Irish industries. I have gone further to show you how, if we had complete co-operation of the Irish people that you, in the attempt to deal with these big combines, could be successful. I am going to point out to you why we are not successful, and that is because there is, in every key position in Ireland, an enemy. With that I will leave the names which I have quoted.

Here you have a proposal obviously for the benefit of the community and it is opposed by people with that degree of representative authority that I have mentioned. Imagine the same proposal made in France, Germany, Italy, or Spain. Go to Paris and try to find out what the opinion was in relation to any commercial question—the opinion of all those who count in Paris. Get a list, interview the people corresponding to that list, and find everyone of them on the same side, and what sort of a conclusion would you come to? You have the Chairman of the Incorporated Chamber of Commerce and Shipping in Cork, who is also the Managing Director of the City of Cork Steam Packet Company, and who in one or other capacity exercised a vote in that matter. Try and fix a parallel in any other country. In relation to the freights upon cattle you have the Chairman of the United Cattle Trade Association. Why? Do you wonder that it is difficult—almost impossible—for any thing good of a large character to be done when the army of occupation, of economic penetration, is in absolute and complete control of every key position in the commerce and industry of the country? I hold on this matter a balanced and broad view. I am not speaking out of the thought, knowledge or experience of a few years. I am speaking out of a knowledge and an intimate contact with Irish industry all my life. I know where the enemy is. I ask you in every possible way to break down any division that is amongst yourselves in relation to matters of this kind, because it will require the whole effort of the whole people to deal with the conditions with which we are faced—conditions which have a vested interest in the poverty and depopulation of the country.

[An Leas-Cheann Comhairle took the Chair.]

I desire to support Deputies Lemass, O'Reilly and Flinn in their demand that we should have some statement of policy from the Government on the recent developments in connection with the absorption of Irish industries by foreign combines. It seems to me that the occasion is a favourable and an opportune one when the Minister for Industry and Commerce and, in fact, the Executive Council, are reconsidering their whole industrial policy. It seems to me when the discussion on the flour tariff took place in this House that the Minister for Industry and Commerce anticipated some form of rationalisation taking place in that industry. He said that the ideal was—or if he did not say that in very definite words I, at any rate, gathered from him that he desired—the concentration of industries in favourable situations and favourable circumstances.

That, I took it, was the concentration of industry similar to the Dublin Port Mill, equipped with the most modern plant and machinery and which would enable us to compete from the point of view of equipment with modern industries in every country. The Minister seemed to have at the back of his mind the idea that unless some form of rationalisation took place which would bring our flour-milling industry up-to-date, that the tariff weapon itself, even if granted, would not be enough. The ostensible reason he gave for refusing that protection was an increase in the cost of living. Nevertheless, I think his idea was that even if the tariff were granted there would still be the danger which has now come to pass and which is definitely in our midst, that even if the tariff were granted the Irish mills would still not take steps to bring themselves up to date, and to instal the most modern machinery so as to enable them to take advantage of the tariff in the way we all would like. His idea, I think, was that even if the tariff were granted, Ranks would come in in the same way as they have come without a tariff. Whether or not the tariff was there, he believed Ranks would eventually control the situation.

If that were at the back of the Minister's mind. I think it was up to him and the Government to take steps to put the position as they saw it before the representatives of the flour milling industry. As Deputy Flinn has pointed out, it was up to Ministers to put it before the representatives of other Irish tariffed industries also, because they have seen the soap industry, for instance, passing into foreign hands. With the information at their disposal— they have sources of information that we cannot possibly have, and the Government have all these avenues open to it—they must have known that these proposals for merging the Irish milling industry with a foreign combine were on foot even at that time. They should not have waited, nor should they have tried to escape responsibility in this matter by suggesting at the time when it was last under discussion in the House that the Irish flour milling industry had not come forward with proposals. That is the essential difference between our policy and the Government policy in this matter of industrial development. They have the Tariff Commission, which inquires into an industry as it stands at the moment but seems to take very little cognizance of the trend of developments of that industry generally, or to map out a programme of how the industry is likely to stand at the end of five or ten years if that line of development is allowed to proceed untariffed.

We believe that the Tariff Commission should not alone have the power to examine into the industry as it stands, with reference to its position and its application for a tariff, but that it should also have power to make recommendations for the reorganisation of the industry, if necessary, or at any rate proposals by which, with the granting of a tariff or subsidy or other form of Government assistance, some compensatory and accompanying step should be made by the industry concerned for its own internal development and organisation. An Irish weekly paper has stated that this rationalisation which is taking place in England and which is to cause enormous dislocation of business in that country, in the beginning, at any rate, will, as one of its first fruits, be made to be felt in this country, and that we who cannot in any sense be expected to benefit from it are ultimately going to share the full effects of the English dislocation. We are going to get all the disadvantages of rationalisation but we are going to get none of its advantages because the people who control this policy of rationalisation are outside our ken, outside our control. Deputy Flinn's argument is, I think, perfectly sound, that one thing at least that should have been done was to approach the milling industry and try to get them to face the facts of the situation and ask them, if they were really in earnest, were they not prepared, if the Government granted a tariff, to see that there should be some safeguard and that we were not going to grant a tariff to an industry that would in any case crumble under foreign competition, but that would take effective steps to reorganise and put itself on a firm business footing. I do not say that I go the whole way with Deputy Flinn in saying that this policy of rationalisation which, is being carried out in England would be really necessary for us in this country and that we should carry things to such a stage as to throw practically all the available milling employees in our inland mills out of employment. I think it would have been better if the Government had sought for proposals for the reorganisation of the mills on some reasonable basis, if they had seen that the inland mills were going to give a decent return and took into consideration the fact that after all employment comes before any other thing in this country at present, and that there should not be the mere scrapping of the staff or the installation of modern machinery by which the work of a large mill could be done with a few hands.

I think very serious consideration should be paid to the number of employees and the local circumstances with regard to a mill. For example, the whole population of a small town or a large town may be mainly dependent on the existence of a mill. We have read that in Great Britain, where the rationalisation process is being carried out, whole towns of working populations were thrown out of employment as soon as the big mills began to be closed down. I think such drastic action would not be necessary in the reorganisation and rationalisation of the Irish milling industry. What could have been insisted upon was that for certain common purposes such as marketing and for common control and for certain other purposes each firm in the milling industry should have representation upon a kind of general board of directors who would control the whole industry and who, in collaboration with the Government experts, would take the necessary steps gradually to try to improve industry in the way they thought best without at the same time throwing too many people out of employment, the important thing being to secure unified control so that the whole industry could move as one unit. That is what is being done in England and it ought to be possible to do it in Ireland. Side by side with that there is the proposal which has been made from this side of the House frequently and which, although it is in a rather general and vague form, nevertheless is a suggestion which might be worked upon and which I think will have ultimately to be the foundation of a Government policy for controlling this penetration that has been spoken of, and that is the system of granting licences to foreign combines. It is very unfortunate, when you have this penetration going on for very many years and when, as Deputy Flinn has emphasised, you have a very uninformed public opinion on this question, now happily beginning to show signs of awakened interest, that this whole business has been allowed to proceed for so many years without any attempt being made to stop it.

The position that the Government are in is that they can claim that the situation was there before they came on the scene; that the circumstances were outside their control, and that gradually the situation has developed in a way which has made it almost impossible for them to interfere. Nevertheless, I think that public opinion in the country, at some stage, and perhaps at this moment rather than any other, will demand that some definite steps should be taken by the Government. Whether those steps should be simply a warning to the people concerned—I think that is rather ineffective—or whether that warning should be followed up by definite action, is a matter for the Government to decide.

When in one of his Budget speeches, either last year or the year before, the Minister for Finance referred to the question of the registration of foreign companies, this Party expected that at that time his experts were giving serious attention to this whole matter and that some definite step forward would be taken which would, at any rate, put the Government in a stronger position to deal with such a situation as that which we now have, when it would arise, than they have been. At present they do not seem to have taken advantage of any weapons which lie in their hands. They do not seem to have passed any legislative measure whatever to enable them to take such action as they would consider necessary. All that we can say is that if they take a reasonable step, and we believe a necessary step, they will have the support of the Party on this side of the House, and I think of all Irish nationalists on this question.

I think it would not be right to sit down without referring to the important influence that Irish banks have in this matter. If the Government could get them to take a more serious interest in the absorption of Irish industries by foreigners, and could get them to see that a more forward policy would be taken in the direction of trying to get more Irish money invested in our home industries, that would, of course, be by far the best and most helpful thing that could happen in the way of keeping our industries under home control. The Irish banks have persistently taken up the attitude that they are in exactly the same position as the English banks on this matter. The bank clearances, however, for the past two months or ten weeks, have shown a considerable decrease. There is a general scarcity of money throughout the country, and all parties are feeling the pinch.

It is an extraordinary thing that when other countries are realising that the one thing necessary is to try and put money into circulation, provide credit and reorganise and develop their industries for all they are worth, in this country we have industries being taken over by foreigners, industries closing down, and a very small amount of money in circulation in the way of employment in comparison with what we would have expected under a tariff policy. We have a very large number of tariffed articles. The Minister for Industry and Commerce has frequently told us that we have quite a large proportion of our total imports tariffed. Nevertheless, the amount of employment given cannot be considered satisfactory, and I think the reason for that is chiefly that capital has not been found for the development of those tariffed industries. That is one of the things that we think the Tariff Commission, if its operations and the scope of its work were extended, could have usefully looked into. It could have looked into the general development of the industries, how they were proceeding in technical equipment, in increasing production and minimising the expenses, and it could also have acted as a liaison between those industries and the Government and tried to facilitate them in getting more capital.

The one thing that characterises Germany in this matter, and that has brought her to the forefront in a very short time, is that the German bankers have taken a very active interest in this whole matter. The German Government also, I think I am correct in stating, placed extremely large credits at the disposal of German industrialists. I am not sufficiently well acquainted with the operations of the Trade Loans (Guarantee) Act, but I am sure the Minister is doing his best in that line in the way of getting banks and investors generally to take more interest in Irish industries. I think that there is now a good opportunity. I think that the time has come when Irish bankers ought to be made realise by the Government that they have a duty to these industries. The Government themselves, in tariffing them and putting a tax upon the population in order to support them, have given a guarantee, to a certain extent at any rate, that they are pledged towards the development of those industries. Nevertheless, investors are not forthcoming, and I think that if the Government took steps to get bankers to take a more active part in industrial work, in going on the boards of these enterprises, and in seeing what the industrial situation exactly was, more good would result.

I know that I will be told by the Minister that the Banking Commission have examined this whole question and that experts have come there from the Dublin Chamber of Commerce and other bodies representing Irish business men to say that they are quite satisfied that the banks are giving them facilities. Perhaps that is so. Perhaps the facilities granted are as good as those granted in the past and perhaps the Irish business community in general has no reason to growl, but I think if we are really going to expand our industries and going to preserve them under home control, that side by side with the factors of technical education and reorganisation, we will have to take some steps to see that the Irish investors will be afforded more opportunities than they have got of realising that all parties in the House here except perhaps a small minority are really in earnest in this matter of Irish industries and that any Irish industry that is in danger from foreign competition, if it puts up reasonable proposals to this or any other Government, will get attention. If Irish investors were quite sure that the Government policy in this matter was to protect the Irish investor and the Irish industry—really to protect them not alone depending upon the tariffs but if necessary to take further steps to see that the industry should not be strangled by foreign competition—I think the Irish people with a general pull from all parties would rise to the occasion.

Another reason why Irish industries are not progressing as satisfactorily as we would wish to see them. is that since the Free State came into being there has been an extraordinary development in distributive machinery in this country. For one commercial traveller that you had selling foreign goods ten or fifteen years ago, you have, probably, twenty or thirty commission agents now. All these commission agents are working throughout the country selling English goods. And not alone is there this distributive machinery which the foreign combines can flood this country with with their huge capital resources, but they have also those multiple shops and the instalment system.

All these things mean that Irish traders are going to get such facilities in regard to credit, in regard to publicity, for the stocking and selling of English goods, that there are ninety-nine inducements for the ordinary retailer or wholesaler to traffic in foreign articles as against one inducement for the home article. We cannot overlook the situation that the foreign combines have flooded the country with their publicity and their agents. When it is said, as it will be said, that there is too much talk about Irish industry and that Irish industries have done their share, it has yet to be shown that any product at present turned out by Irish workmen is not as good, as cheap in price and in quality, as the corresponding foreign article.

If there is anything wrong it is with that financial machinery that Deputy Flinn has spoken of, or the superior distributive facilities that foreign combines have for flooding the Irish market with their products. If the Government Party take these different factors into consideration I think they will realise that the opportunity is now here, and that the moment has come to take a bold step forward in order to help those pioneers who have done so much to establish those infant industries, but who are now in the position that, having landed at a certain stage, and succeeded so far, they may wake up in the morning and find their industries in ruins because of those foreign combines coming in. The Minister, I know, realises all these matters and has been giving them his attention. However, we would like to have a definite statement from the Government on this matter. We want to have a declaration from them, not alone that the matter is being examined and that warning is being given, but that some definite proposals are going to be made. We want to know that in the new Budget some such step will be taken, as we anticipated when the Minister for Finance referred to the question of the registration of foreign companies, as would make these companies more definitely responsible to the Minister for Industry and Commerce, as well as making the milling industry and the woollen industry, and all other industries, face up to the situation, and make them realise that they, too, have their responsibilities, and that the Government cannot be expected to do the whole thing. Some such statement as that would be beneficial and would certainly do a great deal for the country.

I was going to suggest that perhaps what we ought to do is to try to get the Minister to conclude upon this question of foreign capital and industries, and if there was any other question of policy it could be raised afterwards.

I do not at all imagine that anything I say now on the question of foreign capital is going to close the debate on that subject. I would much rather that this question should be debated. I am intervening merely.

May I suggest that if the Minister does speak now we should not be precluded later from referring to the question of foreign capital.

No. I am only suggesting that we ought to keep to this particular topic and not mix up any other matter of policy with it, but to simply finish this and then go on to something else.

This is the first time on a Vote on Account that the debate has confined itself to a large item of policy and that we have not had the spectacle we ordinarily have of Deputies dissipating their energies on small points that could more properly be raised upon the estimates. I am afraid that while complimenting the rest of the House on that, I am going to wander into some points of detail, but only to exemplify the difficulties that arise from an attempt to deal in a simple way, and to give a simple answer to a very big question of policy. Deputies ask me to give a clear cut and definite and precise statement as to what is going to be done with regard to what is described as the passing of Irish industrial concerns into the hands of foreign capitalists It is much easier to ask that question than to give an answer. There are all sorts of difficulties to any scheme which may be proposed. It is to be noted that the scheme which has been, as one Deputy said, very vaguely proposed, has not been put forward in any detail, and no attempt was made by the Deputy who put it forward to indicate whether he himself recognised—he did recognise vaguely certain difficulties attendant on its application, but he did not go into any detail— whether modifications would lead to his scheme being adopted. Flour has been raised as one special item. It is a recent development. If the flour question had not emerged in the critical way in which it has recently, and the question of economic penetration were going to be discussed by anybody with any knowledge of Irish industry that question of economic penetration would have to confine itself to tobacco manufacture in the country, to soap manufacture and, to some degree, to the question of sugar and chocolate confectionery. I leave insurance out as a thing which has developed here recently. It is another special branch. Leaving insurance and milling out, if economic penetration were to be spoken of say last year the only examples that could be quoted to any great degree were tobacco, soap and the sugar confectionery business.

Would not the Minister include shipping so as to save time?

I leave shipping out for the moment as one of the big items. I am talking of the industrial development of the country, of industries operating inside the country. Shipping so far as it is a monopoly and so far as it represents economic penetration, is for services between this country and England. I will deal with shipping as a special item later. There are differences in the three items with which I was dealing. In the case of tobacco, there has been a very big penetration by way of foreign capital. The manufacture of tobacco in this country has to-day reached the point at which the home demand is being met. That signalises that industry as being in some way different from soap. In the case of the soap industry, the control of it has passed, to a great extent to foreign hands. The difference between it and the tobacco industry is that there is still a home demand which is not being met by the home manufacturer. So far as jam is concerned, there has been, so to speak, some taking up of that. Foreign firms have come in here, and the position with regard to the manufacture of jam is somewhat equivalent to that with regard to tobacco. The home demand for jam is being almost entirely met by home production. So far as sugar and chocolate confectionery is concerned, that is not the case.

So as to get this flour question out of the way, I will now deal with it. This flour business has emerged, as the newspapers have said, as a catastrophe upon us. Why has it so emerged? Not for any reasons connected with the tariff. In fact, if a tariff had been put on flour, that particular catastrophe, if it is a catastrophe, would have been upon us some months after the tariff had been put on.

I agree.

But why has it come about in this instance? Simply because certain Irish manufacturers, for reasons absolutely unconnected in the main with their business, have found it, for certain domestic reasons, impossible to carry on in this country. They had to sell out, not because their trade was failing in this country, but because of certain things that only, to a very slight degree, had their roots here. They were forced to go on the market. They placed their businesses for sale, and these were bought up. We have now the situation that a foreign miller has taken over certain Irish mills. That situation is complicated by what? Not, as has been mainly represented in the papers, that the Millers' Mutual Association in England has come to Ireland and said to the Irish millers: "Come in with us or we will swallow you up." By themselves the Irish millers have gone to the Millers' Mutual Association in England and said: "Take us in, or let us in." The retort of the Millers' Mutual Association to that demand so far has been: "Not until 100 per cent. of the Irish mills in the Free State and in Northern Ireland are ready to come in." The first answer to that was from the North of Ireland millers, who said: "We are not touching it."

That was the situation up to very recently. If, at any time, the Millers' Mutual Association in England changed their demand and put it: "We will take the Irish millers into our consideration when no longer 100 per cent. of the Irish mills, but 100 per cent. of the Irish Free State mills are prepared to accept our demands," then there is a situation here which can be stopped at any moment by a small number of the Irish mills standing out from the combine. That is the situation. It is not an attempt by an outside body to absorb the millers in this country. It is rather an appeal by the millers in this country that they should be let into the big rationalisation process that is going on. They want the old United Kingdom re-created for the purpose of a flour milling association. The demand, as far as I can learn, comes from the Irish millers.

But would not the result be the same?

It has been put up in the newspapers as an ugly thing, a thing that people with national tendencies ought to go against. It was previously represented to us, and we to a certain extent believed, that the Irish millers, as a class, had a national outlook in front of them— that they had a national outlook prominently before them. They can stand out, and if they do they can destroy this Association. That, of course, may be only postponing the evil day, but at any rate they can stop that Association coming into being. Supposing that it does come into being, that the Irish millers do agree to the demands of the Millers Mutual Association in England, that the demand of the latter is reduced to the point that they will take the Irish millers in when a certain proportion of them want to go with them, and that a combine takes place, what is going to happen? A desirable thing may happen or an undesirable thing may happen. Let me remind Deputies of the report of the Tariff Commission which dealt with the application for a tariff on flour.

A variety of reasons were given by the Tariff Commission for turning down that application, but the one big reason given by the Commission and the one that led the Government not to propose a tariff was this: that according to the report of those who examined the application, and had in consequence to examine the existing mills in the country, they found that certain Irish mills were badly placed, badly machined and badly managed. They found that one or other or all three circumstances operated, so that flour could not be produced in this country at what could be regarded as an economic rate. That was the situation declared to be there by those who examined into the application. It was the situation which the Government accepted and it led them to say "no" to the application. In other words, the Government were not going to protect what was described as inefficiency—using the word in the meaning given to it in the Tariff Commission report. The inefficiency might have arisen from the fact that the mills were badly placed, badly machined or badly managed. At any rate, for one reason or another there was not efficiency.

Supposing that a combine takes place and that all the Irish mills are brought into it. The arrangement, as I understand it, is that a quota has to be fixed. Whether that quota has to be fixed only for the active mills in the country, or the active mills plus the idle mills, I do not know. Supposing that it applies only to the mills that are in operation at the moment, and that after the combine has been in operation for some little period one of the badly-placed Irish mills says: "We are going to give up the struggle." Suppose an Irish miller says to an English miller: "We want you to take our quota. We will draw from the pool so much as represents the disappearance of our quota. Somebody else supplies the quota and has to pay for it." That is the principle, I understand, on which the quota is worked. Anyone who exceeds his quota pays a fine into the central pool and anyone who does not come up to the amount draws out of the pool. A mill may want to throw in its quota and draw out from the pool the amount that somebody else pays over. Supposing a number of Irish millers did that and that some of the other Irish millers take their place and produce more than their quota so that there is no reduction in the quantity of flour manufactured in the country, then no great harm is being done. The tendency should be, and for some years past has been the other way, not to stereotype the amount at present manufactured in the country, but rather to increase it year by year. Supposing you had the situation that a couple of Irish mills did throw up their hands and that other Irish mills produced for them, the situation would be that you would be stereotyping the amount of flour produced here. But supposing two or three Irish mills decided to go out of business, and that as a result English millers took their place and produced on the other side, then the situation is changed adversely as regards the Irish milling industry. It would mean that you would have more flour manufactured outside the country. What mills are most likely to go to the wall in these circumstances? The badly placed, the badly machined, and the badly managed mills. Every inefficient mill that goes out of production in this country clears up the situation for a tariff for the remaining Irish mills.

If there will be any left?

There will be always some left. It is too good a business for some of them to go out of it. If there is any indication that all the mills are going out of business that can be grappled with at once. There is no indication of that at the moment. Under those circumstances it would be a most improvident thing for any English miller to buy out any Irish mill's quota and come in here, because the more quotas of Irish mills that are bought out by English mills the nearer we are approaching to protection for the good mills that are left, and if the Irish millers go out of business at the instance of the English Mutual Association good luck to them.

Has the Minister taken into account the question of the workers in the mills?

I do take that into account. If the Irish mills are producing at a rate which is thought to be economic, the workers will get more employment.

I understood the Minister to say that the Irish mills could come in only when 100 per cent. of them so decide?

If that is so, will not the whole milling industry be in the grip of English rationalisation?

Does coming into this mean that the Irish millers are in the grip of anything? Is it thought a likely development by anybody? Does anybody think that the Irish mills, to the extent of 100 per cent. are going to go on disappearing, or that a process is going to set in which will lead to the disappearance of Irish milling to any great extent. I do not believe that is the case.

Thirty per cent. of Irish milling has already passed.

Yes, but not passed out of production.

It has gone to English mills.

Yes, but not out of production.

Does the Minister assert that certain Irish flour mills are prosperous at the moment?

Take the mill in Dublin, which, according to the Tariff Commission's report, is efficient, using the word "efficient" in the sense that they used it; that is working for three days in the week. That does not indicate that it is prosperous, or likely to prosper in the near future?

It only indicates that it is carrying on its business and that it is a good mill and is making money.

They do not seem to think themselves they are making money.

Why? If they were not I imagine they would have gone out of business long ago. These matters can be argued by other speakers. I want to give my particular point of view, and I cannot always be answering questions.

The Minister seems to imply that if the workers in one mill become disemployed in consequence of the mill closing down, they would possibly find employment in another mill. Is it net a fact that the staff which a mill maintains cannot be reduced beyond a certain amount? A mill producing only three days in the week employs the same number of workers it would employ as if it were working for six days. A mill cannot reduce its employees beyond a certain number which must be kept to operate the mill.

I do not pretend to follow all the Deputy's questions, but I by no means said that any person at present occupied in a mill is going to find himself always occupied in a mill. There will be changes. If the full rationalisation process went on within the Free State—a very desirable thing—the result probably would be that there would be less employment in the flour milling industry than what we have at the moment. Certainly there would be less men employed. Whether the fewer men employed would get more hours' occupation is another matter, but I would not be deterred from a rationalisation process conducted within the country by consideration of the fact that certain men would temporarily lose employment, or even that certain men would permanently lose employment. The aim of industries should be to provide employment. The big thing is to keep industries in the country, and to have the products produced at a rate people can pay for, and at a rate that will have some relation to what they can be produced at elsewhere. Employment in the flour industry would seem, according to the Tariff Commission report, to be a very minor matter. This Government, as well as any other Government, has control, whenever it likes to take it, of the situation with regard to foreign capital. Whatever internal arrangements are made in the country, they are subject to the fact that we can take whatever steps are necessary to preserve national industries, and we are all the freer to do that if we do not interfere with the internal arrangements when they are first proposed.

As to the alleged crisis in the flour milling industry, it should be understood that for reasons unconnected with flour milling in this country certain mills are up for sale and they have been purchased by outside millers, and as far as one can understand the amount these mills manufacture will probably be added to. If there is any other move on it is a move at the initiative of the Irish mills, and that cannot be entered into until 100 per cent. of the Irish mills go in. When that number, or even a proportion goes in, the situation is still under control. One must watch developments. The developments that will take place may be either desirable or bad, and action will be taken according as either of these developments come about. Does any person believe that English business people who apparently come over here for business are going to come here and allow an association of such a kind to be formed, to bring in mills and allow developments which might mean that in the end they had lost or paid money and got no return for it? If they like to take that chance they may do it. The situation has always to be handled here, but there is no good rushing in hurriedly on this thing until the matter has developed. I am in a very strong position with the help of the House in this matter. I believe I am getting proper information from the Irish millers and the Mutual Millers' Association at the moment. When I believe I am not getting correct information I can within three days get a tribunal established to take evidence on oath and get the information. I will do that if it is necessary to get the information. When we see developments occurring we can handle and manipulate the situation in any way we like, so that there ought to be no scare over the milling situation.

As far as insurance is concerned. I only want to say this—this was the second big point that was raised with regard to control by outsiders— that there is a big number of external insurance companies operating in this country and a small number of native companies. But right through any discussion that there is on any question of insurance we come up against the misuse of the word "drain." The drain to the country was represented by Deputy Lemass as being £1,000,000. Do those Deputies regard any money that goes out of this country as a drain, no matter for what purpose the money may be invested outside? If so, then there is a drain of something less than £1,000,000, I believe. That is not the proper way to look at this. The money that goes out of the country for insurance premiums, after commissions and other payments here have been deducted, is only one aspect of the whole investment abroad problem. The only situation in which the word "drain" can properly be applied to money which has been abstracted from this country through the medium of insurance would be if it could be shown that the rates charged for insurance were terribly high, and that consequently very big profits were being made by certain companies, and that a disproportionate amount of these profits went to foreign shareholders, or if reserves were being built up outside this country from which we were not getting benefit when we could be getting benefit. Only under these circumstances can the word "drain" be applied. Even if the word "drain" is applied to this I believe that any talk which places the figure in the region of £1,000,000 is quite exaggerated. Less than half a million would be the amount. And remember that by far the bigger proportion of what goes out of the country, in my calculation, goes out as a good investment, and service is being rendered in return for it. I want to come back again to the matter of insurance on one small point on the question of licences.

Deputy Lemass has said that his policy is the licensing of firms, and I said when the Deputy was out that he avoided—as it is possibly right in this debate to avoid—a discussion of details, and I would like—although I do not express the hope that it will be answered in this debate—to ask a few questions. Has the Deputy thought out the way in which these licences should be given? Is there to be discrimination always against a foreign company, and does he know that if that is his line of approach to this, that solution does not impress itself as a solution on people engaged in certain industries here? Let me make the point. There is one industry here—a tariffed industry—and I have found myself for the last eighteen months being met by that industry with a demand. They do not talk so much of licensing against foreign competition, because in the particular end of the industry there does not happen to be very much foreign competition, but they want a licence so that nobody else, foreign or native, should be allowed to intervene in that business because competition is already so cut-throat; in other words, they want me to establish for them a sort of combine in one industry that everyone in this House would be against if it were, say, in regard to the coal merchants. I have even had a demand from insurance companies in this country, not merely that the foreign competitors would be put out—the extreme demand was to put them out; the lesser demand was to allow them to operate here under difficult circumstances—but always there is joined up a demand that no new native company should be allowed to enter business, on the ground that the field is over-worked, without any attempt at all being made to prove that the field is being efficiently worked by the native companies and that people are getting good service in return for their money.

Further on the question of licences, Deputy Lemass brought in as an argument for them the question with regard to foreign companies that income-tax was not being paid. In so far as "foreign" does not include "British," income-tax is paid, but in so far as it includes "British," then the 1926 agreement to which he referred is still regarded by the Government as being advantageous to us and one that should not be changed or dropped.

Can the figures be produced?

Certainly. Estimates can certainly be produced.

We would be very glad to have these estimates some time when the Minister can give them to us.

I expect that the Minister for Finance will be glad to provide them. I cannot, but I have seen them. A further question arises to be asked in connection with this matter of licences: who is to be licensed? I am sure that the Deputy would himself shrink from trying to set out in a statute the conditions upon which the Minister should give licences. In the end it would have to be a rather vague thing—a general power given to the Minister. I wonder as the debate progresses if Deputies could give an indication of the conditions that should be before the Minister when he was deciding to licence one firm and to refuse to licence another. For instance, I wonder how far has there entered into Deputies' minds when they are discussing these other questions about industries the figure of the consumer. Would they say that a licence ought to be refused to anybody, native as well as foreign unless he can give efficient service? Then we go on to the question of how efficiency is to be measured, and I think in the end we will get back very much to the list of questions that have to be put to the Tariff Commission for their consideration, or to the list of things that have to be examined by my advisory committees when they report to me on applications made under the Trade Loans (Guarantee) Act. And yet both the list of questions set out in the Tariff Commission Act and the type of procedure that operates under the Trade Loans Act have been held up to us as being impediments in the way of Irish industry rather than a help. We must have the consumer before us; he must be before us the whole time.

But surely the Minister will admit that there are two extreme cases, represented in this country by Messrs. Ford in Cork and by the English company which built a cinema recently in O'Conncil Street. There can be no comparison between two cases of that kind.

None; but the simple question that the Deputy asks cannot be simply answered.

I never suggested that it could.

I am glad to have the assurance that a simple answer is not expected, and I do not intend to give one. I will go on to the other points about this licensing matter. We are to restrict foreign capital in its application to industry here. We have a great deal of capital invested abroad. Supposing that there is some sort of retaliation in regard to that, what happens? I suppose the hopeful answer will be that our own capital will be driven back to our own shores. What will it do then? Have we manufacturing processes for the owners of this capital to put it into?

The necessity for investment would create industries. They would have to put it into something.

A million pounds of Government credit was set aside for the establishment of industries under the Trade Loans (Guarantee) Act. That was put up at a time when unemployment was very high and at the beginning of a period of industrial development. And yet how many industries have been created by the million pounds that was thrown out for investment?

No confidence in the present Government!

That hardly requires an answer.

In their money, is it?

How many industries have been created? How many industrial applications for that money have been turned down on the simple ground that a certain number of business men who investigated the applications had no confidence in the technical skill or the managerial capacity of the people who applied? You cannot, simply by having a large amount of money at hand, create industry. You must have something else; you must have skilled labourers, to start with.

Would it be pertinent to ask why the Minister could not arrange to get people with proper managerial capacity?

That would mark a big step forward—that the Government should enter on business.

I would like the Minister to state——

I am attempting to be connected in this matter.

We want to be connected, too. We would like the Minister to state what standard of efficiency he requires for our business people, to start off. Does he want them to be as efficient as Messrs. Rank or Messrs, Ford, or some of these other people who are catering for several million people?

The Deputy does not expect a precise answer to that, but here is a general answer: We want a standard of efficiency similar to that which we thought was present in the boot and shoe manufactures, the soap and candle manufactures, and in all the industries that we tariffed. We were satisfied with the particular amount of efficiency that these people had. On individual applications I have no ruling; people who are engaged in business in this country decide from what they are able to gauge from the applicant's previous industrial history, from the way he presents his facts and the way he has thought out matters to carry on when he starts, whether or not the whole thing inspires confidence, and they turn it down or agree with it on that. To come back to the main question: supposing we restrict the operation of foreign capital here, and that our own capital is restricted in its operation abroad and driven back, what then? We would surely have a waiting period. It is good to have capital on hands, but I have found few examples of industries which were under efficient and good management and in good circumstances, and which could not find all the capital they required.

The Agricultural Credit Corporation.

It is functioning very well.

But did it get the capital?

That is the Irish investors. I did not say Irish capital. Irish investors will not put their money in concerns, but that is a different thing. I know there is grave reason to complain of that, but I think it is natural in the circumstances. Here is a country that had an industrial history years ago, but its recent history has been that of a country without industries. There has been, in the main, no tradition of business or of industry in this country to give people confidence in businesses to be established. That has to be dealt with; that is going to be a slow process, and one failure resounds more amongst possible Irish investors than a dozen good businesses will serve to wipe out. This is apropos of this subject. Our policy towards industrial development is this, that no industry that can show itself as likely to be properly managed and to be operated in ordinary decent, efficient circumstances is going to be refused Government aid, in whatever way Government aid may be given, and that has been our programme all along. The aid may be protection, the aid may be the sort of thing we did in regard to sugar beet, or the sort of thing that was done in regard to the Shannon; it has a variety of ways of showing itself. But no industry that shows itself as likely to become an efficient industry—and we recognise at the beginning that we cannot claim the same efficiency in new industries as in the case of old-established firms—has been or would be refused any aid that the Government can grant.

Deputy Derrig raised a point in regard to the Tariff Commission which is relevant to this; that is, that the Tariff Commission should have extra duties thrown upon it. For instance, he said that the Tariff Commission should have the work of examining how far industries tariffed had helped themselves, had brought in new capital and made extensions to their works or plant or had increased their managerial capacity or direction in any way. That is a thing that might come later; it could not come early, and I doubt even if the time is ripe for it yet. There were two big blocks of tariffs, one of six years ago, and the second of five years ago. If you immediately proceeded to investigate these and to examine how they are operating now, you will certainly frighten manufacturers from coming in with extensions, because they would immediately come to the conclusion that a rigorous examination was on foot and that if they did not give immediate proof of efficiency the tariff would be withdrawn. That might operate hereafter. It certainly must operate in a tariffed industry, if you find that progress in meeting the whole demand is slow, or that there is something approaching a combine as between tariffed groups.

What about the consumer?

The consumer will certainly have to be protected, but remember that most of the tariffs that have been put on to date have been put on in a way that meant a certain shifting of taxation. For instance, the boot and shoe tax was put on with a very definite statement by the Minister for Finance that we had looked for a reduction in an existing duty which would give relief to the population by almost the same amount as we looked to get from the tariff itself. When tariffs were being tackled we had to treat these things in a rough and ready fashion. If there is any agitation that in a particular industry goods are being produced under tariff conditions and sold at an unreasonable rate, then the question for an investigation committee certainly advances a stage.

Does the Minister not consider it inconsistent to refuse a tariff in the case of the flour-milling industry because there would be an increase in the cost of living, whereas in the case of the boot and shoe industry he is not in a position to say whether it has caused an increase or not, although it has been in operation for seven years?

Not by any means, because we were faced with this definite position in regard to flour that there would be a very small increase in employment, and there was a statement by the Tariff Commission, which we accepted, that an increase in the cost of an essential article of food was likely. In the other case, we thought that there might be an increase. We certainly knew that people who could not get their boots here would be paying a little more, and we remitted the tea duty as against that. But the counter to that was a very big prospective increase in the number of people to be employed. The two things are not comparable. We get in all this question pretty well all the considerations that affect any industrial developments in the country. We cannot deal with tariffs alone and neglect the export trade. We cannot think of ourselves as a completely tariffed country and leave out of consideration the concern to which Deputy Derrig referred—Messrs. Ford, of Cork—or even Messrs. Guinness. All these things must be brought in together. So also when we are talking of restricting foreign capital from operating here we must think of the other side—how far Irish capital at present bringing in a return is going to be dispossessed. A tariff has its reactions of particular types.

There is one industry in this country in which the full effects of the tariff have been in operation for the past four years, and we have now got to the point that the imports for the use of that industry have been reduced to the small item of £50,000, and of that £50,000 one-third represents articles which are not manufactured here and which are not likely to be manufactured here, and the greater bulk of the remainder represents articles that are not being manufactured here, but certain types of which are sent here for finishing purposes and are re-exported, so that they do not really represent imports at all. What is the position of that industry at the moment? It is really clamouring now for a foreign market, and says that in order to get a foreign market we must make tariff concessions. At least it has indicated its view on that, and it is apparently anxious that having, with the aid of the tariff, captured the home market it will now get the extern market, but realises that if that is going to be done that there would have to be some breakdown of the sort of rigid tariff attitude in this country. If an industry has reached the saturation point in this country the only possibility of getting an extension is to get a foreign outlet.

Would the Minister mention that industry?

Shirt-making. Remember that is an industry almost entirely in native hands. Remember there are plenty of machines for making more shirts, and if more shirts are made the cost of production will be cut down. Our foreign outlet is more or less blocked.

Mr. Byrne:

Have not the shirt industry a foreign trade already?

Mr. Byrne:

Where is our retaliatory measure?

We have already our tariff in operation. There is no reason for the tariff whatever to help our internal manufacturers to get a hold of the home market, because they have it.

How does the tariff policy interfere with the manufacture of shirts?

Because the only country where they can get a sale is tariffed already. If we approached that country to take away the tariff on that particular article the demand would be on consideration that we would allow certain things into this country which are now tariffed.

What country is the Minister referring to?

The United States mainly. It is not confined to one country; there is a group.

Does the Minister mean to imply that that export trade is with the United States? My recollection is that it is principally with Britain.

I am leaving Britain out. We have an export trade with Great Britain but that has nothing to do with it. There is no retaliation by Britain. The other outlet they are seeking is mainly in America. At least that is what those who are interested in the trade seem to think would be the proper lines.

Black shirts for Italy.

I have dealt with the question of flour. I have touched on the question of insurance. I have dealt with the question of licences and how they are to be operated. I have then given certain views with regard to industries that have been tariffed here and the development that there has been. If one were to speak of the ideal development of industry in any country it would be, I suppose, that the industry should be developed in a particular country by native manufacturers who had, at their command, capital belonging to other natives freely given. That would be the ideal. I suppose the second step down from that would seem to be still having native manufacturers employing native labour and having capital owned by natives and given under compulsion and the third stage is I suppose if you can get manufacturers' processes going on in the country, employing native labour, producing articles with it at an economic rate and being run by capital sent in from outside. I put foreign capitalists running manufacturing in this country in the third stage but it may be the only stage that we can command. It may be the only situation that we can induce. There are disadvantages in it. They are not at all so big as Deputy Lemass said because the tax end and certain things that flow out of the country are not so big as he imagines.

On the question of Labour, may I say this: In so far as it is a foreign company, non-British, employing alien labour, that it is entirely under my control. Aliens only come into this country on permits. The system so far adopted has been that if they replace Irish Labour they are generally refused. Prima facie, a case is established against them. The only time when the prima facie case is broken down in their favour is if it is proved that the alien is coming in in a skilled capacity, and if there are going to be put under his control certain Irish apprentices who will hereafter replace him.

May I ask the Minister if, within aliens, he includes British workers?

No; I said definitely non-British. I am talking of the foreign countries.

British are not foreign?

They are not under the Aliens Act. If we are going to adopt another policy of excluding people from England, Scotland and Wales, remember that has its repercussion, too. We might be faced with the return of a very big number of Irish people at present finding employment in England, Scotland and Wales. The same situation does not apply with regard to the outside countries. But we have not on the whole found that the tendency of the industrial concerns coming in and financed from the outside is to employ their own labour instead of native labour. They do bring in occasionally, and I must say generally, so far with my approval, people of the managerial type, people of the technical director type, but when they do bring them in with our approval our approval is limited. We hope, and express the hope, that they afterwards will be replaced by natives whom we will train. We have not found it impossible to get them to agree, in the main.

Is the Minister only dealing with industrial concerns and not including trading concerns?

My whole attention is occupied with industrial concerns; at the moment that is the biggest end.

That is one of the disadvantages which Deputy Lemass touched upon of foreign capitalists coming in. It is not so big as has been imagined and if it does get to any point where it looks like developing into a scandal or a big hindrance then it can be tackled. At the moment with regard to the mere question of foreign capital being brought into this country I would say in the main that I am in favour of it, but I say that with very definite advertence to the dangers of it; but when I do advert to the dangers of it I also advert to this that when that influx of foreign capital has got to the point when it constitutes itself a menace here then it may be tackled. The control is always here. It may mean some chopping and changing. It may mean hereafter some disturbance in business, but the benefits on the other side have to be remarked, that you do get in capital. Where you do not get your native to embark capital you get foreign management, skill and technical capacity. It is only where the native has not got it or is not disposed to lend capital to a particular industry that you get industries running along under certain circumstances. I am leaving flour, as a special question, out of this discussion at the moment. I do not believe these other industries are anything like a menace. If and when they do become a menace then they can be tackled. I said that four or five years ago. I have said it three or four times. The Minister for Finance in his statement had exactly the same thing in mind. The particular item he segregated out for comment in a certain Budget speech he said would be dealt with when the circumstances showed themselves favourable.

Would the Minister give us any indication of the point at which he would intervene if foreign capital did become a menace in relation to any industry?

If, for instance, we find a concern in this country which had been doing a mixed business—home and foreign—and it was of considerable value, and if the foreign concern which came into this country dealt with the foreign part of the business mainly through the foreign house, and confined itself here to the home trade, which was previously done by the native concern, then I would consider that that was a point at which to take it up. There would be no hesitation in adopting a new line of policy then and of dealing with it by legislation if necessary. There have been unfavourable circumstances in regard to some of these concerns. They have concentrated on saturating the home market and cutting off the foreign, but we have the advantage still.

Deputy Flinn asked what would the French or the Germans do in such circumstances. If we were a country that was as long industrially established as France or Germany, there would be a very different answer to the question. I say that our circumstances must be brought into consideration, the fact that people who have money to invest have not yet got confidence enough in the state of the country to invest their money. They have not even got confidence in the people who are going to manufacture—in their technical skill and methods of running their business. In those circumstances any industry run by a foreigner is better than no industry at all, and we would much rather see the foreign capitalist coming in, getting certain of our industries on their feet, and giving us good example, good direction, and skilled management. I do not say the natives cannot supply that. In certain circumstances they cannot, and the foreign capitalist would be welcome.

I have given a very general answer to the question. I would make it full of reservations. I would make a special reservation in the case of the milling industry. That is an industry that should be preserved in the country. I make a special exception in that case. I make a special exception in the case that Deputy Flinn mentioned, that of shipping concerns, which is really a matter that is not for Government handling but for Government sympathy. At the moment I would say that I welcome foreign capital coming in here to get industries going in this country.

I would like to ask the Minister one question referring to the applications under the Trades Loan Guarantee Act. I think he made reference to the comparatively large number of cases which had to be turned down owing to bad management. Are we to take it from the Minister that if a good business proposition is put up to his Advisory Committee, which is satisfactory in other respects but the management of which is not satisfactory, that the Committee will not go so far as to get a proper manager?

The Committee have no such function. Strictly they have not. I have known cases to occur where an application was favourably received in the end that had previously been unfavourably received, and it was only because a change of management had been agreed to. Legally the Committee would only have to say no, but there is much closer touch than the official regulations would seem to indicate between the advisory committee and the applicants. The applicants are generally told how to frame their answers to the questions. The only cases in which applications could be turned down because there was no confidence in the management would be where there was no proper management after a suggestion of change had been made.

I am in favour of a demand being made for the protection of our Irish industries. There is grave danger of our industries being exterminated because of foreign combines taking control. In Limerick we have the most up to date flour mills in Europe, and there is grave danger owing to the dumping of foreign flour that many hundreds of men may be disemployed in the near future. I think the Minister ought to take some action immediately. If he does not do it now it may be too late twelve months hence.

I must say that the Minister's speech disappointed us of the promise of its beginning. We had hoped, as a result of this discussion, to elicit a declaration from the Minister which would quiet the unrest which prevails generally in the public mind at the present moment. I think, with the exception of the comparatively short portion which he devoted to the present position of the flour milling industry, very little of the Minister's speech was directed to this problem. He seemed to treat it in a rather ambiguous fashion. What we had in mind when we suggested that this topic might be discussed was not the investment of foreign capital in this country to establish new industries here, but the fact that there was under way a process of economic conquest which was acquiring already established industries, possibly to destroy them. We very well recognise that where there are opportunities for starting industries in this country and those opportunities are not availed of by our own citizens that it is possibly desirable, in order that the eyes of our own people might be awakened and their enterprise aroused, that foreign capital should step in and lead the way.

At the same time, we feel that even if that were to come about certain safeguards should be imposed upon that capital in order to protect the interests of the citizens of our country. It was, I think, in relation to the entry of foreign capital into this country for the purpose of establishing new industries here that the Minister advanced the point that if we imposed undue restrictions upon that capital those restrictions would have reactions upon the Irish capital which is invested abroad. He suggested, if we made it difficult for foreigners to invest here, that Irish capital invested abroad might be driven home with possibly unprofit able and disastrous results. Speaking from memory, I think that the amount of our foreign investments is somewhat in the neighbourhood of £200,000,000, but I do not see any immediate field for the profitable investment of that sum here. I say, however, that, even if the situation which the Minister seems to fear did develop abroad and that some of that money had to come home, the very fact that there was in this country a considerable amount of uninvested capital would create the urge to use it here, and the fact that it was here, unused, would be one of the strongest influences making for the creation of new industries here. The Minister attempted, I think, to forestall that point by indicating that there had been £1,000,000 set aside by the Government for the establishment of new industries and that hitherto only a comparatively small portion of it had been availed of, the principal reason being that those who applied for it had not been able to satisfy the Government that they possessed or could procure the necessary technical skill to make the proposed industries a success.

One of the things which is necessary if technical skill is to be procured is that there should be ample capitalisation behind any project which requires it, and, undoubtedly, if you find concerns going to borrow money under such things as the Trade Loan Facilities Acts, except in particular cases where they have been long established, you will generally find that because the men interested in such undertakings have themselves not the necessary financial resources they will be unable to procure the necessary technical skill. It is quite another matter, however, if you have capital uninvested and seeking for profitable opportunities to employ itself. That capital, just as it will have to create new openings in this country for itself, will also bring in the necessary skill to make it profitable to those who own it. The point which the Minister made in that regard and in relation to present circumstances would not apply at all if, instead of there being £1,000,000 of money to be secured upon comparatively onerous terms, there was capital to the extent of ten or fifteen millions which was anxious to employ itself practically on any terms which would yield a profit.

These are two very different conditions and you cannot apply an argument arising out of one to the other. If Irish money invested abroad were to be driven home and had to be employed here, though the direct and immediate return to the Irish investor, the person who owned it, might be very much smaller than under present circumstances, I think that the profit and return to the community as a whole would be very much larger, because the use of that capital here would provide employment. At present, with our emigration and the general poverty of our people, the position is that we have not sufficient employment for those who inhabit the country. Therefore, as I said, the investment of Irish capital in this country upon any terms would result in the greater profit to the community as a whole.

The Minister's speech was disappointing also from the point of view that we hoped that we would have a very definite statement from the Government as to its policy regarding the control of an Irish industry which was being acquired by foreign investors. The Minister stated, what we all know to be the truth, that every Government, whenever it likes to take hold of it, has control of foreign capital. He said that we are freer to do that if we do not interfere with the internal arrangements when first proposed. He said later: "When it becomes a menace then it can be tackled."

I think, so far as the flour-milling industry is concerned, that it has become a menace. Already one firm has acquired twenty per cent. of the total productive capacity of the Irish flour mills. That firm is associated with an English organisation which controls a productive capacity which, working under normal circumstances, would in four and a half days per week supply all the needs of its own home market for that week and which for the production of the remaining one and a half days must find a market somewhere else. The flour-milling industry is attacked not only from the front but also from the rere, and is like an army, so to speak, with a detachment of the enemy within its own camp. The Irish milling industry which would find it difficult to withstand the unrestricted competition of English mills, even if those mills had not a foothold or were not producers in this country, are going to find it impossible to withstand that competition when English interests control already as much as twenty per cent. of our total productive capacity. In those circumstances, I repeat that English control in this industry has already become a menace. The people themselves know that. I do not think that the people of this country either knew, or were at all concerned with, the extent to which English interests had control here until the last few days, when they realised that within a comparatively short period they would be entirely dependent on English interests for their daily bread.

If this thing goes on, our morning prayer shall be: "Give us, O Rank, our daily bread." The Irish people know that if present developments continue even in time of peace their bread will be dearer and in time of war their bread may be unpurchaseable. They are greatly exercised at the situation which has come about, and they feel that since this question has become a menace it should be tackled. The Minister and the Government think that the matter may be dallied with a little longer. "They who love the danger shall perish in it." There is at least one experience of the Minister and the Government which I think should be a warning to them. If they deal with this matter now, if they take some steps to prevent this process from continuing, they will at least be able to deal with it on terms much less expensive to the country than those upon which they may possibly have to deal with it and settle it a little later on.

When certain Irish creameries were purchased by English interests, the Executive Council did not give, I think, very much thought to the matter. They possibly lulled themselves into a false sense of security with the same truism as the Minister has expressed in this debate—"Every Government, whenever it likes to take hold of it, has control of foreign capital." Therefore, since we may do it to-morrow if we wish, there is no particular urgency for doing it to-day. But when the Minister and the Executive Council came to deal with Messrs. Lovell and Christmas over the creamery question, I think they found it much more expensive to purchase these creameries in 1926 than they would have if they had sought to buy them in 1923 or 1924. What is true of the creameries will be true also of the flour milling industry.

The bald statement that every Government, whenever it likes to take hold of it, has control of foreign capital, is not exactly accurate, because when they come to take hold of it they may find that they have not unfettered liberty of action in the matter, as naturally the Government of the foreign country, whose nationals have invested capital in this country, will have something to say in the matter, too. If we allow this capital to come here unconditionally, we are going to find it very hard and very difficult to impose conditions on that capital afterwards, because the foreign Government, in that case, will say: "You did not, when you were inviting this capital (as the Minister has invited this capital) into the country, impose conditions at the beginning. We do not think it is right that you should now alter the terms of the bargain, and we will not agree to your imposing restrictions on it now." International complications are certain to arise when the Minister proceeds to exercise control over large interests which he has permitted, freely and without conditions, to enter this country, and if the Minister really does feel and does want to put himself in a position to deal with this question when it becomes a menace, then he ought to make his position very definite and clear now, and he should not by his silence place foreign capitalists in the position of saying: "You invited us to come here freely, we are here freely, and we should be allowed to operate here freely."

I said that the Minister devoted a comparatively small part of his speech to this question of foreign control. A good deal of the speech dealt with the question of tariffs. I do not think that that question was immediately pertinent to the issue. The Minister himself, in his opening sentence, broached the matter. It would seem as if the question of tariffs, the wickedness of tariffs, the disadvantages of tariffs, had become obsessions with the Minister, because he said: "Why has the flour industry emerged as a catastrophe? Not because of the refusal of a tariff." Possibly in saying that he had in mind the debate which took place upon the Fianna Fáil resolution in that regard. Possibly the Minister, mild and all as his speech was, found it hard to resist the temptation to have more or less a side-wipe at the tariff policy of the Fianna Fáil Party. The Minister suggested that notwithstanding that it was full of menace for the future of the people of this country, a menace which in certain circumstances he would be compelled to tackle, he preferred this menacing and dangerous situation to the situation which might exist under a tariff. He is quite content, apparently, that the Irish flour milling industry should attempt to maintain itself by the formation of a pool within the industry, by the organisation on this side of the Channel of a cartel similar to the Millers' Mutual on the other side of the Channel.

What are the characteristic features of this Millers' Mutual? First of all a quota is fixed. Each mill has to try so to arrange its production that it will not exceed, and possibly will not fall below, the quota allotted to it. If it exceeds the quota, then there is a fine for exceeding it. It it does not reach the quota, then it is permitted, as compensation, to draw a certain amount out of the pool to which all the producing firms have contributed. The Minister said that the Irish milling industry would not be adversely affected if the Irish millers came to such an arrangement amongst themselves. If one of the Irish mills ceased to produce its quota, it became available for the remaining producers.

In dealing with the question of tariffs, the Minister said that there had to be present to our minds the figure of the consumer. I wonder, when he was considering this proposal of the Millers' Mutual, was there present to the mind of the Minister the figure of the consumer, because if there had been, the Minister might have asked himself: "Who provides this pool?" The consumer, the figure of whom the Minister says we must have present to our minds when we are considering this question. This pool, which has to be drawn out of by the mills which have ceased to produce, has got to be provided by the consumer. At the present moment in England, the consumer of bread is paying a higher price for that article in order to provide that pool which keeps the Millers' Mutual together. Here is an extraordinary thing about it, that the consumer, in order to provide profits, pays, I might say, for those mills which are shut down, for the owners of those quotas which are wiped out. It was urged here in the debate upon the tariffs motion that if a tariff were to be imposed on imported flour the price of bread would go up. I am not admitting that. I do not believe there would be any increase in the price of bread, but if there were an increase in the price of bread we have at least this advantage, that there would have been an increase in employment, that some more Irish hands would have been made busy. But under the proposal which the Minister favours, though the price of bread will assuredly go up in this country, as it has gone up in England, the amount of employment is to be decreased, and, as I said, the price of bread is going up in order to provide profits for those who do not earn them and who do not give any employment. That is the proposition which appeals to the Minister more strongly than the proposition which was advanced from these benches. It is only when the price of bread has gone up sufficiently and when employment has sufficiently decreased that the Minister may consider the question of protecting Irish industries.

The Minister in dealing with this question said that this matter of the control of the Irish flour milling industry had emerged as a catastrophe. I am quoting the Minister's own words. I do not see how a catastrophe can emerge in any case from anything but it has emerged in this case as a catastrophe The Minister said the immediate reason for that was that a certain Irish manufacturer, for personal reasons, had to sell out. That was the immediate reason. Had to sell out to whom? He had to sell out to British interests because he could not find at the present moment in this country and in the present circumstances of the flour milling industry of this country an Irish purchaser. That was because any prospective Irish purchaser knowing the mind of the Government, and knowing the position of the English flour milling industry with its one and a half days' over production per week to dispose of at any price, could not see any security and could not see any advantage and could not see any prospect of a profit in investing his money in Irish flour milling under the present Government.

The situation might have been radically different if the proposal moved from these benches had been accepted by the Government, and a tariff had been imposed upon Irish flour which would have protected the Irish flour millers from unrestricted competition by the English millers. A very different situation might have been created then, because under those conditions Irishmen with money to invest might have seen an opportunity for a profitable investment in this industry and that process of rationalisation, which the Minister welcomes, and which, possibly, most of us feel is desirable, would have been inaugurated in this country in the flour milling industry. It would not have needed this attack by English millers upon the Irish milling industry to bring that rationalisation about. It would have come about then in the natural circumstances which would have prevailed under a tariff. It is one of the greatest misfortunes in the present circumstances that that tariff is not in operation, because then these magnificent mills would have remained in Irish hands and would not have passed to foreign control. I understand that these mills are amongst the most efficient in the Irish milling industry.

I said that the Minister's speech was disappointing. It is not only disappointing to us, but it will be very disappointing to the public. I think there is nothing that so exercised the public mind as what has happened during the past few weeks in connection with the Irish flour milling industry. They have seen that it is an attack by the English millers upon the Irish position; and remember that Messrs. Ranks in this matter can hardly be dissociated from the organisation of which they are members; that it is not merely the case of one firm having the enterprise to come in here, but it is a case of one firm acting as member of the organisation and carrying through the organisation policy. The very attitude which the Millers' Mutual have taken up towards the Irish millers is an indication of that. What that attitude amounts to is this; that these English millers are going to take from the Irish millers nothing but unconditional surrender, and that it must be a surrender not of one or two units but of every single flour milling organisation in this country. The English milling industry has presented an ultimatum to the Irish industry in this matter. It is the highwayman's ultimatum, the ultimatum to stand and deliver. The Government, which, I am sure. would be very zealous to put down highway robbery if it were committed against a private citizen, stands by and does nothing when a whole industry, one of our vital, staple industries, is the subject of that outrage. It cannot stop here, and whatever may be in the minds of the Minister and the Government the people are expecting from them some definite pronouncement and some definite action which will either arrest this process or which will enable the Irish mills and Irish industries to withstand it.

While the discussion that has been proceeding is certainly of an important nature, there are other things that some of us would like to draw attention to so as to emphasise the Government's policy or want of policy. I would like to know from the Minister for Finance what is the policy of the Government, or have they arrived at any definite conclusion, in the matter of coastal erosion. Everybody knows that from Cork right around to County Louth all the coastal areas have suffered to a very great extent during the past winter from coastal erosion. Appeals have been made to the Government during the past three or four months; the position is very serious, but still the Ministry are silent in the matter. I know I will be met with the reply that there is a Commission at present sitting; but the idea that people have in their minds about these Commissions is that they are merely set up to throw dust in the eyes of the public and there is nothing ever done by them. I think something ought to be done in my constituency. In Rosslare, which is used largely by tourists during the summer season, there are a great many people dependent on tourist development for a living. The position is very serious down there and representations have been made to the Government in connection with the matter. Up to now no reply has been received. I would like to know from the Minister for Finance if something will be done in so far as coastal erosion there is concerned. The matter is very serious and requires immediate attention.

One is very pleased to see in the Estimates this year that there is an increase in the amount of money set down for local loans. I hope it is an indication that the Government intend to release a good deal of money for the building of houses. Is it the intention of the Government this year to extend the privileges of borrowing from the Local Loans Fund to public Boards of Health? While I am prepared to admit that the question of housing is more important in the urban than in the rural areas, there is certainly a big demand for houses in the rural areas. I ask the Minister for Finance to make a certain amount of that money available for the building of houses in the rural areas. I congratulate the Government upon increasing that amount and also upon what they have done up to this for housing. While this money has been made available for a good deal longer period than that over which public bodies could borrow money from banks, in my opinion something else remains to be done. I believe that the interest and repayment charged by the Government for housing loans could be further reduced.

I believe I am correct in saying that when the Government decided to release money from the Local Loans Fund for the building of houses last year the bank rate was in the vicinity of six and a half or perhaps seven per cent. The bank rate to-day is five and a half per cent., and I notice that in England the bank rate is reduced to four per cent. We are entitled to expect that the bank rate in this country will in a very short time be brought down to five per cent. In view of the fact that the Government would be able to procure money at a lesser rate of interest than when they agreed to advance money from the Local Loans Fund it would be only reasonable to expect that the Government would still further reduce the amount asked for interest and repayment on the moneys they are giving for housing. I understand the basis of calculation for the annuities that have to be paid by urban authorities at the moment is five and three quarters per cent., or an annuity of £6 13s. 4d. That could be easily based now on five per cent. with an annuity for thirty-five years. If that were done it would reduce the rent of a house costing £300 all in by tenpence per week. I think the Minister will realise that a relief to the extent of tenpence a week on a house built for a working man would be something very desirable. I ask the Minister to direct his attention to that matter, with the object of seeing if it could be done. I appeal to him also to indicate the policy of the Government in so far as coastal erosion is concerned. I would like him to endeavour to extend to county boards of health the same provisions that for the last year he extended to urban authorities in so far as housing is concerned in order that a certain amount of housing can be done in the rural areas.

I think my first duty should be to express appreciation of the manner in which this debate has been conducted this evening. Certainly it bears a striking contrast to some of the proceedings that took place here yesterday and on a previous occasion. As the Minister for Industry and Commerce stated, most of the remarks passed here this evening have been directed towards industry, the introduction of foreign capital into this country and what the Government should do by way of fostering our native industries. Let me say that as far as I am personally concerned I think, in relation to Government interference in industry, the best thing would be for the Government to keep its hands off industry. I believe that the men engaged in industry in this country are in a better position to carry on than the members of the Government, who are, after all, only birds of passage. That is a fact that should be recognised by every Deputy here. While of that opinion, I believe the Government can, by legislation of a wise and useful character, do much to help whatever existing industries we have, and perhaps also be in a position to help in the formation of new industries.

Speaking of industry in general, I would like the Minister to bear in mind the fact, especially in regard to the introduction of foreign capital into this country, that there has been a tendency on the part of foreign combines to get control of industries here, to work these industries for a few years and then to close them down and import the articles that had formerly been manufactured in this country. That applies in particular to one important industry that has been carried on for a long time in the chief town of the constituency which I represent. I refer now to the distilling industry, which afterwards was engaged in the manufacture of yeast. The foreign company, known as the Distillers' Company, got control of that distillery at a time when the local industry had a name renowned for the excellence of its product at that time, namely, yeast.

After working that yeast factory for a number of years, the Distillers' Company thought fit to close it down. At present the company is in the position to manufacture the yeast in a foreign country; it is part of Ireland, but yet it is a foreign country—Northern Ireland. If my information is correct, they have a monopoly of practically the whole trade of this State in that commodity. In order to be fair to the Distillers' Company, I should say that they were prepared, in the event of the Government giving them certain facilities, to continue here. But, since they have not restarted manufacturing operations in the local distillery, it is about time that the Government should examine the situation and see whether it would be possible to have established within the Free State—not necessarily in Dundalk, though I should like it to be there—a factory for the manufacture of yeast for the Twenty-six Counties. I might mention that when that industry was in full working order it gave constant employment to about 300 men directly, not to speak of the employment given in connection with the import of coal and in trades incidental to the working of the industry.

Reference has been made to the erection of tobacco factories within this State. So far as I am concerned, I more or less welcome foreign capital in this country. At the same time, I think the Government should be careful to see that, as far as possible, the firms that were already engaged here in the manufacture of tobacco should receive sympathetic consideration. Whilst Deputy Good may be right in saying that the erection of tobacco factories in Dublin was the means of giving employment to many hundreds of people who would otherwise be unemployed, yet the fact remains that simultaneously with the establishment of those foreign factories in Dublin a local factory closed down. While these foreign firms may give a certain amount of employment, there is no inducement to them to extend their trade to countries outside the Free State, unlike some of our local factories. For instance, the firm of Messrs. Carroll in Dundalk, which, I am glad to say, is in a very flourishing condition, not only manufactures tobacco for the Free State, but they also export to Great Britain, and even to America, which shows that the initiative is there in those captains of industry who have local ties and, what I might call, a national outlook. That is a matter which is worthy of consideration.

There is another question to which I would like to refer. It is a very delicate question, and one in which, I think, the Government will find it difficult to interfere, as it depends on the Irish people themselves. I refer to the extension of the deferred payment system. This system may be all right when the commodities bought through it are of home manufacture, but when it comes to buying foreign made articles, then it is a very serious matter for this country. It really means that large numbers of our working-class people are mortgaging part of their wages for a period extending from five to ten years, according to the length of the contract. That is a very dangerous principle to introduce into the country. It is a matter which is engaging the attention even of leading politicians in the United States of America. Deputy Flinn more or less dealt with that point when he said that this question of home industry depended to a large extent upon the Irish people themselves, a statement with which I agree. It does seem extraordinary, yet it is a fact, that since the establishment of our home Government here there seems to have been a regular mania through the country to buy nothing but foreign manufactured goods. It is very hard to explain, yet the fact remains. It is only fair to lay stress on the fact that the Government cannot be of much assistance unless they have the hearty, loyal and continuous co-operation of the people. Until the people throw off this apathy and indifference that exists there will be no hope for the contry, no matter what Government is in power. The people should be active and loyal to themselves and support Irish manufacture. Perhaps we have all been sinners in that respect in the past, but even now, if we stand shoulder to shoulder in this matter, there is a great possibility within a very short space of time of accomplishing something by way of reducing unemployment.

Reference has been made to house-building. There again I have the same complaint to make as regards this tendency to purchase foreign material. It is extraordinary that about eighty per cent. of the materials used in the construction of houses is imported. Whether our Irish architects are to blame or not, there seems to be a great tendency to stipulate for foreign materials in the building of most of our houses. I do not know why that should be. It may be that the cost of the native article is higher. I shall mention one or two specific articles which I think could be manufactured economically in this country with a little aid and assistance from this Government. One of them is bricks. As everybody knows, bricks are essential if we are to have good dry houses. In dealing with this point, I should like to venture the opinion that unless we are very careful as regards the materials used in the building of houses our efforts in combating the terrible scourge of tuberculosis will be of very little avail. If the type of houses that are being built here continue to be built, I am afraid they will be nothing more or less than French drains. It should be possible to have every brick necessary for the building of houses manufactured in the country. I should like the Minister for Industry and Commerce to enter into consultation with the Minister for Local Government, and between them it might be possible to devise ways and means whereby the quantity of foreign materials used in the construction of our houses could be considerably reduced.

There is one other matter I should like to refer to, that has already been dealt with by Deputy Corish, and that is the question of coast erosion. There is at present, I understand, a Committee sitting considering this very important matter. It has come to my knowledge within the past few weeks that a considerable tract of country adjacent to Greenore will, in the course of a very short space of time, unless something is done, be in the same condition as Greystones. The sea is beginning to make inroads there, and some 200 acres of land are threatened. It is an old saying that a stitch in time saves nine. If something were done immediately, as the erection of a wall to form a breakwater along that few hundred yards, it might be the means of preventing that tract of country from being inundated and make it possible to work it. I should like the Minister to give some attention to that matter.

I am glad that this debate is being carried on in an atmosphere that more or less reflects credit on the House. As I said in the beginning, no Government can do very much to solve our present difficulties, and they are many and great especially those connected with unemployment, unless the people as a whole forget their little differences, and work in the interests of the nation as a whole and not of a party. That can only be done by the people, in the first instance, recognising the fact that this is a poor country. There is no use making comparisons in regard to the standard of living that prevails in other countries. We must have here a standard of living suitable to the country. It is better to have our people working for a possible fifty out of the fifty-two weeks of the year than having them going round and only working twenty weeks in the year. That can only be done by co-operation and recognition of the elementary fact that Ireland is a poor country, that she is purely an agricultural country and can give a fairly decent standard of living to the majority of her people. It should not be a question of giving a high standard of living to the minority and a low standard of living to the majority of the people. I say that the time has arrived when all who have the welfare of the country at heart should stand behind whatever Government is in power, in its efforts to grapple with the great problems that confront us.

[Deputy Davin rose.]

Before Deputy Davin speaks I should like to say that, as already suggested from the Chair, the debate on the particular question raised by Deputy Lemass—foreign capital—might be concluded first and other topics taken afterwards. I thought when Deputy MacEntee sat down and Deputy Corish rose that we were finished with the question of foreign capital. I understand it is Deputy Davin's desire to raise another matter altogether, and I would like if we could be assured that we were finished with the question of foreign capital now, so that we could go on to other matters. It has always been the suggestion from the Chair that one or two topics should be taken on the Vote on Account. The question of foreign capital has been dealt with and I think it should be concluded before we deal with other matters. What was Deputy Davin's intention?

I intended to follow the line taken by Deputy Corish.

To deal with matters other than that of foreign capital?

I want to deal with the Estimates for social services.

Then I take it we are finished with foreign capital.

I would like a few minutes on that before we pass from it. First of all, I should like to say the House must be very grateful to Deputy Coburn for his patronage in complimenting us on our good behaviour. We shall try to be good in the future. When Deputies on the other side of the House are on the defensive they are always very good and we can be good in return. Deputy Coburn said that he more or less welcomed foreign capital into this country, and then he proceeded to use every possible argument that could be used against foreign capital. He pointed out the effects that follow from foreign capital coming into a country.

Under certain conditions.

Under the conditions under which it came in. The Minister for Industry and Commerce, when dealing with the flour question, said the reason the Government rejected the tariff on flour was because they believed the millers in this country were inefficient. He went on to outline what might occur if the present developments were allowed to proceed, and he said that certain of the flour mills would close down. They might be taken over either by Irish millers or British millers. Having developed his argument to the full he ended up by saying that the more Irish mills are replaced by English mills the nearer we are to a tariff. That puts in a nutshell the policy and outlook of the Executive Council. If you want efficiency bring in the English miller or tobacco manufacturer, or whatever is British, and you will get efficiency. But the Irish flour miller or tobacco manufacturer is inefficient when compared with the mills or factories in Great Britain. As long as we have that outlook in the Executive Council there is very little hope that our industries are going to succeed, and no hope that Irishmen are going to put their money into Irish industries. If the foreigner comes across here, whether he puts his money into sugar beet, tobacco or flour mills, or anything else, he has a chance of being protected and of being spoken of as an efficient industrialist, and will have a fair chance of getting a return for his money, but if he is an Irishman all sorts of questions are put as to his capacity, his efficiency, his management and everything else.

As Deputy MacEntee pointed out, if a tariff had been put on flour at least we would have given additional employment and the case could not be worse. Now what is going to happen? As Deputy MacEntee pointed out, the Irish millers who go down, have to be paid for out of this pool, which means out of the pockets of the consumers, and that can only be done by the price of bread going up. So that the price of bread will go up; we will lose our industries and we will have more unemployment and all because the Government could not see their way to grant this tariff. Speaking of foreign capital, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, in criticising the remarks of Deputy Lemass as to the trend of money from this country, said it should be regarded that any money that went out of the country—the Minister went into details and spoke, for instance, of money that went out in the way of insurance—was a good investment. Even in the case of the very big insurance companies, they have cut down their expenses to a minimum. At least ten per cent. is paid out in head office expenses and in dividends. Every half-penny of that 10 per cent. is paid out to the staffs in the head offices in London, Liverpool, Manchester, as the case may be, instead of being paid out here, as it would be, if the Government nationalised insurance and compelled these companies to register here. At present they are registered in Great Britain.

Deputy Good asked what was the use of getting foreign investors to withdraw their capital from this country and of getting Irish investors to withdraw their capital from Britain, America or elsewhere and of investing it here to replace the foreign capital. He did not see that any good was going to result to the country if such a thing as that were done. A study of the arguments of Deputy Lemass, Deputy MacEntee and Deputy Coburn, with regard to the influence exercised by foreign capital here, will show what the disadvantages are of having our various industries run by foreign capital. We know what some of the disadvantages are.

Deputy Good spoke of the advantages that had accrued to this State by the setting up of the tobacco factories. We find when we examine this matter of the setting up of these tobacco factories, readymade clothing and some other factories, that they are simply employing a large proportion of young girls in them. They are not giving employment to men in this city who are supposed to earn a livelihood for their families. These tobacco factories are British controlled. The higher positions amongst the female staff are held by ladies from across the water. The higher positions amongst the male staff are filled by Englishmen. The Minister for Industry and Commerce asked if he could get an answer as to how this question was to be solved. I am not prepared here and now to say how a question of that magnitude can be solved. The Government, which has been in office for the last seven or eight years, has seen during that time our native industries being taken over by foreign companies. They have seen some of our native industries lose their foreign trade; they have seen more of them closed down. They have seen people employed in these native industries being, in many cases, dismissed, while people were brought over from England and other places and put in the higher positions. They have seen all that go on during the last seven or eight years. Surely they are not going to face the House and say they have failed to find a solution for this question—that they are looking across to this side, or to some other part of the House, for a solution of it. They must have examined the question, and if they are competent men they must have found a solution for it. If they have found a solution for it they have not given the House a sufficient reason as to why they did not put it into effect.

As a result of the taking over of a jam factory in this city a few weeks ago four employees who had been for a long number of years employed in that factory, one for over twenty years and another with twenty-nine years' service, were dismissed with a week's notice, while people from the other side were put into their places, as if we had not unemployment enough in the country without allowing these foreign companies to come over here and displace Irish people from positions they had held so long.

I want to say a few words about the outlook of the Minister for Industry and Commerce. I suppose we may take it that what he said represents the view of the Government as a whole. What the Minister said was interesting in this way: He said that we can deal with this matter when it becomes bad enough. Therefore, I suppose we may take it that the Government are going to allow it to get worse. The majority of the people who live in this country, who work here to earn their bread and live here fairly comfortably, realise that things are getting bad here. They find that foreign companies are coming over here more and more every day, and are getting control of some of our most vital industries. The outlook of the Government seems to me to be like that of a doctor called in to examine a patient. Having made the examination, he diagnoses the case as one of cancer. He then says in regard to the patient: "He is not bad enough yet; we will let him go a bit further. We will let him get pretty bad and then operate."

What I would like to know from the Government is this: Do they think that this Irish nation will have resistance enough left if they allow the cancer that is attacking some of our most vital industries to gain a firmer grip and postpone the operation that, if performed in time, would save the Irish nation from dying from an industrial point of view? The Minister for Industry and Commerce said that when this thing becomes a menace they are going to step in. We believe that it has already become a menace, and I think the majority of the people in the country agree with us on that. During the last few days thirty per cent. of our milling capacity has gone under the control of foreigners.

A number of our soap factories are under the control of foreigners as well as a large number of our tobacco factories. Speaking of the tobacco industry, that was one in which we had a sufficient number of our own people fully and completely qualified to run it. We had several efficient tobacco factories here in Dublin and throughout the country. Before the English companies came over here, our own tobacco factories were so efficient that they were able to compete with them in their own markets. Now we have these English tobacco factories over here. These factories are controlled by the British. As has been pointed out by speakers from this side, the majority of their highly-trained staffs are English men and English women. A lot of their technical work as regards management and other matters is done in England. There might be a case for giving a licence to foreign companies to come over and operate industry here—industries that we never had in this country—but there is no case whatever for allowing foreign capitalists to come here and control industries that we had already proved we were competent to run ourselves.

If the Government had a really national outlook, if they were not always afraid of their own shadow, they would take such steps as they saw they could take to ensure that Irish industries are going to be controlled by Irishmen in the interests of the Irish people as a whole. Ministers have, as Deputy Derrig pointed out, made a fetish of efficiency. Deputy Good has also made it a fetish. It appears from the Minister's speech, and Deputy Good's speech to-night, that we ought to get down and worship as a god some efficiency machine. The only reason for the existence of any machinery is to do something for the comfort of mankind, and the only interest we have in wanting efficient machinery running in this country is not to see it working smoothly and beautifully, but producing something here which will add to our comfort and wellbeing. If there is any machine going to be operated in the country, no matter how efficient it is, whether that one machine will do the work three hundred men did formerly, we do not care how delicate and beautiful that machine may be or how smooth it works, we do not want it in this country if it is not going to add to our general comfort and wellbeing. The duty of the representatives of the people here is to get a decent standard of comfort for all our people.

The English people coming over here with their rationalised industries are doing business with the minimum number of employees. That means we are going to have less and less people here to buy the products of our industries. A great number of the Deputies this evening pointed out some of the dangers attending the influx of foreign companies. We have to make a stand against that now whilst there is some resistance left in the country. If we are going to put it off from day to day, perhaps in five years' time, when the majority of our industries are under the control of foreigners we will be then trying to do something which we will not have sufficient power to do. We are allowing the control of our industries to pass over to foreigners, and if that process is allowed to go further, we will not have enough resistance left to deal with it. Take the case of Mexico. The Mexicans, unfortunately for themselves, allowed the control of their industries to pass over to foreigners. Every year you have a revolution in Mexico, not that the Mexicans are more cantankerous than other people in the world but that you have two blocks of foreign capitalists striving for control in that country, and sometimes these opposing blocks come from the one country. It is an unfortunate thing from the national point of view to allow British or any foreign capitalists to get absolute control of our industries. I hope the Government, even at this late stage, will step in and do something to stem the tide. Deputy Lemass, in his opening statement, referred to the policy of Fianna Fáil which was agreed upon at the Fianna Fáil Ard-Fheis, to prevent Irish industries from going more and more under the control of foreigners. If the Government have no better scheme to put up themselves, let them put that scheme into operation and give it a trial.

Before this part of the debate is finished I would like to say that the general opinion of this side of the House as a result of the Minister's speech is that the flour-milling industry is going to be in a more unsettled condition than ever. His statement that economic forces are going to have their way and that no State action would be taken until a certain point is reached will obviously create the greatest possible unsettlement in the industry. Its effect on the miller must be to make his future entirely obscure. On the one hand, he is faced with the effect of this rationalisation process. He cannot see ahead for a day as to what the effect is going to be on him; and on the other hand, he is faced with State action here after that rationalisation has had a certain effect on the Free State mills, but he does not know what form that State action is to take. Can any industry progress under conditions such as that? Is it fair to leave the miller in the condition of uncertainty that he will be in when he reads what the Minister for Industry and Commerce has said with regard to the problem? In my opinion, the Minister will have to make another statement almost immediately, a statement more definite and re-assuring than the one he has made to-day.

In connection with the general problem, I think there should be some statement from the Government as to whether they are going to take any action to rouse the consciousness of the people as to their responsibility in face of the new conditions that are being caused by the revolution in industry all over the world. It is time, for instance, that the Government made some effort to secure a larger volume of voluntary support for Irish industry. They have the wireless and the schools and they have at hand the Post Office which is availed of in many countries for propaganda, and they have many other agencies. Are they satisfied the position is one in which they should not use these facilities? Are they satisfied that the support for Irish industry at present is substantial and promising enough for the future that they can remain indifferent to the position?

A few weeks ago a distinguished ex-member of the Executive Council addressed the civil servants in Dublin and made a strong appeal to them to give their best and strongest support to Irish agricultural and manufactured products. I think that the appeal was very badly needed in that same circle, if my knowledge of how the Civil Service spends its money be at all accurate. At any rate, it was a good beginning, and I think the ex-Minister is to be commended for his action. Is the Government not prepared to give more encouragement to appeals of that sort? Is it not prepared itself to take any part in such appeals or do anything that would rouse the people to give a greater support to the products of the country? I suggest no Minister can be satisfied at the condition of things in the Saorstát when he sees in every town and village into which he goes practically nothing but foreign goods for sale in the shops. I do not think he can be satisfied that that is very promising for the future of the country or that the country can continue to support its Government or its existing population if that state of affairs is not quickly changed. In my opinion, a lot of the discontent that is so often expressed with regard to high salaries and pensions and that sort of thing would be obviated if it were plain that the money which goes in that way was spent within the country. I think what makes the expense of Government so very serious to many people is the consciousness that a great deal of the expenditure is money that almost immediately goes out of the country. Even leaving Government expenditure aside for the moment, if you take the one million yearly that is spent in wages from Ford's factory, I have heard it estimated that probably £700,000 of that amount goes out of the country almost immediately.

Is this a question of Government policy?

Yes. With regard to support for Irish products.

I cannot see the connection between Ford's workers and the Government.

I am only taking that as an example. You have misunderstood me. I am just remarking that it is desirable that some effort should be made to have more of the money that is spent in the country respent in the country. The fact that so very big a proportion of the money spent by the Government and by large employers is leaving the country almost immediately is a very serious matter. I think that affects the general question. I was remarking that in regard to that million yearly I have heard it estimated that probably £700,000 of it almost immediately goes out of the country, that a great deal of the expenditure on food for the employees is on foreign food, that a vast amount is spent on foreign clothing, and practically all the other household requirements are articles of foreign manufacture.

I do not see how the Deputy can bring that into relation with the policy of the Government which we are discussing on the Vote on Account.

I thought I had made it clear. I am remarking on the necessity of the Government taking notice of the fact that there is not general support among the people for goods manufactured in the Saorstát. It is particularly important, I think, in connection with industries in which the Government has sunk a certain amount of money that there should be some determined support for their products. There are several concerns at present working on Government loans, and assuredly in justice to the people whose money is invested in them it is only right that the Government should see that their products are getting a fair support from the public. It would be only reasonable that the Government would put themselves about a little to see that the people are supporting the output of these manufacturers. Some two years ago the Minister told us that there were considerable prospects of cement manufactury in this country in the immediate future, and he also mentioned that he had under consideration the question of an artificial silk industry. It is rather remarkable that we have not heard anything about these two things to-day or at any time since, and if it would not be too late now perhaps the Minister who is to reply would tell us how much further the effort to get these things manufactured in this country has gone.

One thing that came out plain to-day from the Minister's statement was how regrettable it is that there is not required from the Department of Industry and Commerce an annual report. I think the report from that Department would be at least as important as a report from the Department of Local Government or some of the other departments which publish annual reports. We were told some time ago that there were several advisory committeees acting in connection with the different industries. We have got scraps of information like what I have quoted now from time to time, but we have no knowledge as to what line the Department of Industry and Commerce is going upon with a view to developing new industries. It is a very expensive Department, and, in my opinion, it is probably doing very good work. It is rather a pity the public are not allowed to have any information as to what it is doing. For instance, is the Department satisfied that the boot and shoe industry is going ahead sufficiently, or has it in contemplation anything that would tend to increase the output of boot and shoe manufacturers here and reduce imports? Has it anything in contemplation with regard to the huge import of woollen goods that would tend to reduce the enormous bill that the country meets for the imports of these articles? We find that leather manufactures are imported into the Saorstát to the extent of well over half a million pounds. How far has the Department interested itself in that question. Is it content that the output of leather here is sufficient in the conditions at present prevailing, or what is the programme with regard to it? I have no expectation that Government Departments can solve many of these questions themselves, but from hints the Minister has let fall from time to time it is evident that a great many of these items are being reviewed by his Department, and in some cases reviewed very thoroughly. It is rather a pity that we cannot get information as to what the Department's thinking is on these subjects, and I suggest now that it would be no harm if the Government reconsidered the question as to whether an annual report should not be published by the Department of Industry and Commerce.

The members of the Labour Party are mainly concerned with that part of the Vote which is likely to affect the unemployment situation. We all agree that we are at a certain disadvantage in considering this Vote on Account because we have not before us the estimate giving details of the items that make up the various amounts in the total Vote. I am glad to notice that there is an increase of about £200,000 in the amount provided for the coming financial year under the head of Local Loans. May I appeal to the Minister and to the President to see that some of this money will be made available for boards of health in order to carry out housing schemes which they are waiting to proceed with when the money is made available on long term loans. It is hardly necessary to remind the President that he has on various occasions in this House and on platforms in the country promised that long term loans will be available for local authorities willing and anxious to carry out housing schemes where they are urgently needed.

I am glad to see that the boards of health in the two counties in the constituency which I represent have taken a good deal of trouble in getting their medical officers and engineers to prepare reports regarding the urgency for carrying out housing schemes. Communications have been passing from time to time between both boards of health and the Minister for Local Government in which requests have been made to the Minister to make money available for schemes that are urgent in the opinion of the county and local medical officers of health. I know of one small town in my constituency where the county medical officer of health has stated that in his opinion 38 of the houses are a danger to the people living in them, but they cannot get out of these houses until alternative accommodation is made available for them by the board of health, and the board cannot make this provision until money is made available by the Minister. I hope that the President will fulfil the promises which he has made on public platforms in connection with this matter.

I join with Deputy Coburn and other Deputies in impressing upon the Minister the necessity for carrying out housing schemes with bricks that are available in the country instead of continuing to import cement to the tune of £500,000 per annum. Anyone who travels round England, particularly in the south, whether by motor or by rail, cannot fail to notice the houses dotted all over the country, built of brick instead of cement, although cement is available in that part of England. Why should an Irish Government, or the housing authorities here, while they have brick available at home, import cement? If the brickyards could be opened up under some scheme which could be started or assisted by the Government they would give much more employment than the employment that is given here by the importation of cement. Deputy Coburn's opinion on this matter ought to be worth more than that of many Deputies who are not connected with the building trade, and he has stated, and I believe it is the opinion of medical officers, that a house built of brick is a much healthier house than a house built of cement.

Hear, hear.

I am glad to hear Deputy Good say "hear, hear." That is a matter on which I cannot express a sound personal opinion, but Deputy Good must be right sometimes, especially on housing matters. On the Vote for Public Works I want to say that in the opinion of the members of this Party the Government have not taken advantage, to the extent that they should and could, of the powers that have been provided for carrying out arterial drainage schemes. There is a considerable amount of unemployment in the rural areas as a result of the depression which we all know exists in the agricultural industry. I am one of those who hold the view that if this Act was properly, fairly, and impartially administered by the Government, with the co-operation of the local authorities, considerable unemployment could be relieved and useful work could be given in reclaiming flooded lands all over the country. I hope that the Government will be a little more active on that side in the coming financial year than they were in the past year, and that they will remove a number of these red tape regulations that have to be gone through in the Board of Works before schemes can be put into operation.

A Deputy:

Green tape.

Red or green tape, it is all the same; the delay is there and the Board of Works are mainly responsible for that delay. Could we have any statement from the Minister for Local Government regarding his road policy? I cannot understand the road policy of the Government. During the present financial year I understand that the ratepayers of the whole Free State are being called upon to pay an increase of 16 per cent. for road maintenance charges compared with the last financial year. In one county in my constituency the estimate for the coming year shows an increase of a shilling in the £ compared with last year, and in the other county in the same constituency there is an increase of 10d. In both areas the increase is mainly due to the fact that additional sums had to be raised from rates for road maintenance purposes. Why should that be, at a time when we have considerably increased revenue to the Road Fund, and when the farmer ratepayers in these areas have less freedom on the roads than they had ten years ago? I believe that most farmers look upon it as a menace and a danger to do their daily work on the trunk roads in present circumstances. The revenue of the Road Fund has been considerably increased. Where is that money going to, or how is it being spent?

I suppose that this has a bearing on the popular de-rating proposal that we hear so much about, but I suggest that the trunk and main roads should be handed over to a central authority and control, instead of having the indirect control which we have to-day, which is the cause of considerable delay and confusion in the administration of the moneys that are made available. If we had that central authority and control, I believe that the people who have to provide the money, both ratepayers and taxpayers, would get a far better return for their money. You would have direct control, which would obviate delays, and from a purely labour point of view it should mean continuity of employment for a minimum number of road workers all the year round, instead of having the casual employment that there is to-day in most counties. It would also make roadmaking machinery available without having any boundary to the area where that machinery could be used from day to day, from week to week, or from month to month.

At any rate, I cannot understand why there should be increased charges on the rates every year for road maintenance, an increase of 16 per cent. this year over the year before, when we see that there is a continuous increase in the revenue derived from motors, motor buses and lorries. There should, therefore, be more money from the Road Fund and less to be provided from the ratepayers if the Road Fund money is properly administered. At any rate, I think it is the duty of the Minister to tell us whether he has any definite opinion on this very serious matter as a result of the consideration which he must have given to it since he became Minister. The de-rating proposal is a very plausible and a very popular matter for discussion in the country. I was dragged down recently to a meeting of the County Council in one of the counties in my constituency, where a gentleman who is an ex-member of this House put forward a scheme for consideration.

Surely the Deputy is not going to discuss de-rating on this motion?

I did not know that it was barred from the discussion.

The Deputy knows it now.

Well, I will say finally, that if you want to de-rate in partial and in a practical way, the way to do it is to take the main and the trunk roads off the ratepayers and put them under a centralised authority.

I think that the Deputy can find another occasion for discussing that.

I have got it out now. There is one other matter that I want to refer to. I am in a difficulty in making up my mind about it, because we have no book of Estimates available for our information, and in this matter the book of Estimates would be very educative. I noticed that there was an increase in item 55— the Land Commission. It is £635,981 for the coming financial year as compared with £547,376 last year. I hope that the increase under that particular Vote is for the purpose of carrying out improvement works on the many estates which are waiting to be divided and for which schemes of division are in the Land Commission offices for the past twelve months. If the increase in that particular Vote is to be provided for that particular purpose, I hope that estates where the division schemes are drawn up will be divided in the early part of the financial year and that the necessary improvement works will be carried out without any undue delay. It is work of a useful nature and would give employment in many parts of the country where it is badly needed.

I rose on this particular discussion to try and get from the President, who takes a greater interest and knows more—I pay him that compliment—about the housing needs of the country and the financing of housing in general than any other member of the Ministry, an assurance before this discussion ends that the promises, made from public platforms throughout the country, that money will be made available for the boards of health who are ready to put these schemes into operation, will be carried out without any further unnecessary delay.

I wish to say a few words in the first place on the question of the taking over of Irish mills by those foreign combines. There were a few remarks of the Minister for Industry and Commerce with which I do not agree. In the first place he said that the reason for refusing a tariff was that it would only give employment to a few. I would be very anxious to hear some statement from the President, who is, after all, senior member for Cork City, as to whether the City Flour Mills are to be taken over by a foreign combine or not. In my constituency we have three flour mills working at present. One of them, Messrs. Callaghan's, is giving employment to 350 people. Those people are not supporters of ours; they paid £50 into the Cumann na na nGaedheal fund at the last election and expected something in return. I do not know what promises they got. I went into the question with those people; they pointed out that they were prepared to start a factory which is at present closed in Cork City if the tariff is put on. They propose to devote £18,000 for putting in new plant and machinery. They guarantee whole-time employment for the 350 hands they have at present, and, in addition, they will take on 80 hands. It might be a very small thing for the Minister for Industry and Commerce, who announced some time ago that if those people took their mills up to Dublin or some other place some consideration would be given to them. We, however, want them where they are. The employment of 350 or 400 families might be a very small thing to him, but it means a lot to a country town where there is no industry whatsoever except flour milling.

I have seen the Order Paper week after week covered with questions from Cumann na nGaedheal Deputies even in my own constituency asking what the Minister for Industry and Commerce is to do about the flour question this week, next month and the month after. With the utmost respect I say that those Deputies got their opportunity here on the tariff question and they did not take advantage of it. They voted against the tariff. Now they are looking to know how the cure is to apply. I say it is definitely up to the Government to find a remedy.

The Minister also alluded to the amount of money laid aside under the Trade Loans Act and said that when these proposals came to be examined by business men they were turned down. I would like to know who were the business men. If the proposal was for a jam factory were the business men already in the jam business to whom this new industry would be a rival or were they business people like the manager of the Cork Steam Packet Company interested in the cross-Channel trade? Were those the men, and therefore were the proposals turned down because of that? I would like to have a certain statement from the President as to whether he will allow this flour mill in his own constituency to be closed down or allow this foreign combine to take it over altogether.

I would like to hear something from the Minister for Local Government about those loans. We have repeatedly called attention in this House to the absolutely wrong policy adopted by the Minister for Local Government on the whole question generally. For instance, on these specialised roads he gives a certain refund. If the county councils expend £80,000 on specialised roads they will get back £40,000, but if the county council expends £80,000 on what in my county we call the farmers' roads which the ratepayers use they will get back nothing at all. In other words the policy that the Minister is trying to force on the local bodies is a policy of repairing roads on which the farmers cannot travel. The Estimate for the roads in my county at present has gone up by about £5,000 this year. It is climbing up every year owing to the policy of the Minister and at the same time the farmers of the whole county are complaining that they cannot travel on the roads. Anyone who has to travel from Midleton up to Cork can see the wheel tracks along the footpaths where the farmers have to drive in in order to carry their farm produce to the market.

I would like to hear some definite statement from the Minister as to when he is going to finish with this wrong policy of holding out an inducement of a refund from the road fund to the county councils for puting up roads that they do not want, and of giving no inducement as regards roads which are absolutely necessary to the farmers. The bye-roads of Cork county are in a worse condition now than they were in 1923 owing to the policy of the Local Government Department. I think the farmers who pay the rates should be the judges of what is required.

I would like to have some statement from the Minister for Local Government and Public Health as to whether his Department or the local bodies should be the judges of what salaries should be paid to officials.

I think the Deputy ought to keep to the general policy and not go into details.

It is on the policy of the Local Government Department that I am speaking.

The Deputy will get another opportunity in going into details.

I do not know how I am going to box them together. I wish I could. I would be anxious to hear some statement from the Minister on that question. I would like to hear something as to the policy of the Government as a whole in regard to salaries. When a local body fixes a salary for an official the Minister comes along and says it must be three times what it has been fixed at, that instead of £150 it must be £450.

Then we have the Department of Justice. I take it that the actions of the Minister for Justice have the support of the Executive Council. I regret that the Minister is not here, but he might come in to-morrow and let us know something about it. I would like to know whether the Civic Guards are amenable to the ordinary law of the land or not.

I would suggest to the Deputy that it would be much more suitable to raise that on the Vote for the Department of Justice when it comes up. The Deputy will have to follow the lines laid down by the speakers who preceded him.

Unfortunately, the speakers up to the present, with the exception of Deputy Davin, confined themselves to one special matter, namely, the matter of foreign combines.

Deputy Davin said he was going to deal with the question of the Government policy regarding the provision of employment in the country. Deputy Corry wants to deal with particular matters which are more or less details, and they can be much more profitably dealt with on the estimate for the particular Department.

If I make my subject the filling of the gaols and hospitals by the Civic Guards will I be in order? I will guarantee that I will stick solely to that subject. As regards this matter, it is time that we had some pronouncement—I will not say from the Minister for Justice, because I do not think there is any member in this House, even amongst his own Party, who treats his pronouncements with any shade of consideration at all. I would like to hear some pronouncement from the President as to whether he is in favour of the present state of affairs as regards the Civic Guards. For instance, if the ordinary civilian down the country is found in what they call the illegal possession of arms he will get six months in gaol, while the ordinary Civic Guard, who admits that he has no authority to hold arms can shoot a man and is not brought to trial for even the illegal possession of arms. I would like to hear some definite statement from the President as to whether the Civic Guards are amenable to the ordinary law of the land or not.

I suggest to the Deputy for the last time that he ought to leave that over for the Vote for the Department. We are now on the Vote on Account.

I thought we had agreed that I would confine myself to that subject.

The Deputy is wrong in that.

I only hope that the President will give us some pronouncement on that. We will have some bit of confidence in what he says. Since the debate is to be confined to the general policy of the Government, I do not see much use in speaking, for I have long ago realised the futility of bringing forward anything here. No matter what is brought forward here, it is going to be defeated by a certain number of votes. The general policy of the Government has been the same since 1922. It is a policy which is rapidly plunging this country into bankruptcy, the policy of going abroad every year and borrowing ten millions of money while not starting any new industries. If you are always taking out of the pot and never putting back, you will soon come to the bottom. If you are always borrowing and never paying back, you will come to the point when you will get no more. If, instead of spending the money they borrow on their political hacks all over the country, the Government started some industries in the country that would give employment, we might get a little relief. I would ask them at their next Executive meeting to go back along the road and see how they stood, for instance, in 1924 or 1925 and compare it with how they stand in 1930. Let them see how many new industries have been started in the country, how much they have borrowed, and what they have done with it. After all, they will have to encounter it some day. If they go on those lines, they will find very quickly that they are travelling the wrong road. They will find that with the exception of Ford's factory in Cork there has been no industry started. I do not think that we have to thank them even for Ford's factory because it was there before them and, I hope, will be there after them. I ask the Executive Council to go back over the road and see where their present policy is leading. We know that their policy in regard to land purchase is the policy of paying landlords ten times the value of their estates and trying to extract it from the unfortunate tenants. They should make up their minds to give these landlords only their just price and send throughout the country inspectors whose minds will be concentrated more on ascertaining the value of the estates than on the interests of the people who are to get them. I respectfully submit that the policy of the Executive Council in regard to land is to buy estates at excessive value and distribute them out in such a way as Deputy Hassett told us, that persons like a district justice can get 300 acres. There are other little things

Because they are little things they should not be brought on this Vote, and I have already told the Deputy that.

I have dealt with their policy in regard to land and have given them a little advice which I hope they will take. They may succeed in getting away before they are caught, but if they are caught I would not like to be in their shoes.

In connection with Estimate No. 43—National Health Insurance—I may mention that when the Bill was going through the House, Deputies on these benches pointed out that the transfer to the boards of health in connection with the treatment of sanatorium cases would be relieving the Central Fund of its liability and placing the expense incurred in administration and the treatment of consumptive cases on the local ratepayers. That contention has been borne out by a letter which the Wicklow Board of Health received from the Minister's Department on 13th February.

I suggest that that is a matter of detail which can be brought up on the Estimate.

It has to do with the general policy of the Local Government Department.

It is not a matter arising out of the Vote on Account.

I only want to know whether it is the future policy of the Department that all cases for domiciliary treatment must, in accordance with the terms of the Minister's letter, be treated at the expense of the ratepayers. Owing to the letter which we received——

Very well. All I want to know is whether it is going to be the policy of the Department that such cases are to be dealt with by the home assistance officer instead of by the medical officer of health. I desire to support Deputy Davin's plea in connection with the extension of the Local Loans Fund to rural authorities for the provision of houses for agricultural labourers. In my constituency, we have schemes ready and plots marked out for the erection of 250 cottages, but we are unable, owing to the fact that the bank will only give a loan for fifteen years, to build these cottages, which would, under those conditions, become an undue burden on the ratepayers. We appeal to the Executive Council to extend the Local Loans Fund to rural authorities and boards of health, to enable them to provide houses for such a deserving class as agricultural workers. Personally, I believe it would be much better to spend money on such houses than to provide pleasure for people by spending £48,000 on a new broadcasting station and giving £3,000 to a motor club in Dublin, while people in the country are deprived of such necessaries as food and houses.

I would also like to know from the President what is the policy, if any, of the Executive Council in connection with coast erosion. I know that there is a Commission sitting to deal with that matter, but I am honestly of opinion that that Commission, like many others, has only been appointed to delay matters and to try to keep the people's minds off important matters. I notice that there is nothing in the Supplementary Estimates for grants to local authorities for that purpose. In my constituency, coast erosion is a very serious matter, because property to the value of a couple of hundred thousand pounds is in danger of being destroyed, and no provision is being made to house the people whose dwellings have been washed away. The only advice which we get is the suggestion that the local authorities should provide for these people and spend £50,000 or £60,000 out of the rates in preventing inroads of the sea. I have come to the conclusion that it is not the Government's intention, no matter what recommendations may be made by the Commission, to deal seriously with the matter. I would like to have a statement on the subject from some member of the Executive Council in order that public bodies will know where they stand. Public bodies are expecting to receive some grants from the Government, but nothing has so far been done. The Government should display some real interest in the matter by giving grants towards the prevention of coast erosion, as public bodies, who already have to bear heavy responsibilities, are unable to deal with the problem, which is really a national one and which should be dealt with as such. I hope that it is not the policy of the Parliamentary Secretary for Posts and Telegraphs to give contracts without advertisements being duly published in the Press.

That is a matter for the Estimate. It is a minor matter.

I hope that it is not going to be the policy of the Department for Posts and Telegraphs——

The Deputy can ask that question when the Estimate comes up.

They have already given contracts for the carrying of mails.

That is not in order.

It is an important matter.

I am not questioning its importance, but it is not in order and therefore the Deputy cannot say anything more about it.

Notwithstanding the fact that the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs has a Supplementary Estimate in?

No, it is not an Estimate.

It is a Vote on Account.

It means payment to people who received contracts from the Parliamentary Secretary without the insertion of advertisements.

The Deputy must accept my ruling. I have given the Deputy a good deal of liberty already.

Would An Leas-Cheann Comhairle tell us what we can discuss on a Vote such as this, as we want to know where we are?

If the Deputy had been listening to some of his colleagues during the day he would have no necessity to ask me that question, because his colleagues would have demonstrated very well to him what he could discuss.

It was pointed out that one definite thing should be taken first and thrashed out, namely, the question of the combine in the flour industry. Until I stood up, so far as I could see, that was the only matter dealt with from those benches. Deputy Davin dealt with general policy, but he did not, of course, go into each item. He dealt with general policy as it affected unemployment. I would like to know what we can discuss on this Vote.

It may be no harm to say now that it has been urged before the Committee on Procedure and Privileges, which is constituted of representatives of different parties, that the only way in which any benefit could be got out of a debate on a Vote on Account would be to take one or two matters of general importance and discuss them. It would be obviously impossible, if you could take up each item and discuss it, to get any discussion or any reply, because the Minister for Finance, or whoever would be responsible for replying, could not reply to all the points raised. It was suggested to-day that a matter of general importance to the House should be taken up and discussed and, when the discussion on it was finished, that one other matter of general importance should be taken up and discussed. Deputies, however, cannot discuss every item which appears on this Vote.

I want to find out definitely what was the other matter of general importance which was decided upon.

It was not decided upon.

We may have different views as to what a matter of general importance would be. For instance, I think that the filling of jails and hospitals by Civic Guards is a matter of prime importance.

The Deputy mentioned that fact at several points in his own speech.

Am I to understand from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs that there will be no departure——

The Deputy has been told twice already that he is not allowed to make that point.

There has been a departure in making contracts, and I only want a guarantee from the Minister or the Parliamentary Secretary.

I have given my ruling. The Deputy will have to discontinue his speech Deputy Hogan.

If the Minister for Local Government and Public Health is not going to conclude the debate, I will await his speech.

I am not concluding the debate.

Mr. Hogan:

Then I am prepared to await the Minister's speech.

On the question of the provision of greater financial assistance for the building of labourers' cottages——

I do not want to be caught out by the Minister for Local Government. He might follow the example of the Minister who sits on his right and we might have the discourtesy repeated of a Minister walking out of the House without answering questions. A number of questions have been asked from these and other benches and I want to be assured that the Minister is not now replying. Will he wait until some other questions are asked, because I want to ask a few other questions?

I think the Deputy may take it that asking questions would not be in order. The Minister for Local Government is now merely intervening in the debate to make his own speech. The Minister for Finance is responsible for the Vote on Account and he will reply.

I am only intervening at this stage at the invitation of one of Deputy Anthony's own colleagues.

We are very anxious to hear you.

On the question of greater financial provisions for the building of labourers' cottages in the country, local bodies who build labourers' cottages can get at present a grant of £50 in respect of each cottage but they will have to make their financial arrangements with their own banks. In so far as the Local Loans Fund is open for the purposes of housing, it is open only to urban authorities and the size of the problem that exists in urban areas at the moment is such as to prevent the Government opening local loans at the present moment to other than urban authorities. We realise the difficulty in which rural bodies are placed in this matter at present but we have also to take the fact into account that two-thirds of the houses built by private persons with the aid of State grants under the Housing Acts, have been built in rural areas. One of the astounding facts is, if you take the year ended March, 1928—I had no opportunity of looking up the statistics in the Department but I take this from a return circulated in the Official Reports—is that whereas in Mayo 911 houses were built in rural areas with the assistance of Government grants, in Leix only 47 were built. It is very difficult to understand how private persons in Mayo can build 911 houses whereas in a much wealthier county like Leix only 47 have been built. The rural dwellers in Leix are apparently waiting for more Government assistance than the people in Mayo require to build houses.

If there is a real necessity for the erection of a larger number of labourers' cottages throughout the country, I would suggest that there are certain factors which would help the Government in coming to a decision to give improved financial assistance. The first of these is a realisation that the boards of health are going to collect the rents. A question was asked recently by a Deputy from Kerry as to the sum supposed to be outstanding to the British Government in respect of the rents of labourers' cottages. The amount outstanding in rents in respect of labourers' cottages in Kerry represents 2½ years' rental at present. If we could understand from boards of health that they were going to collect the rents, that would be something to help us. If we could understand from local authorities that their attitude to the collection of rents and rates was going to be that they would collect the rents as well as the rates, we would know where we were. In spite of the fact that the rents of these cottages are as low as 1/- and 1/3 per week in some cases, and the fact that the Rates on Small Dwellings Act was introduced to help poor people to pay their rates in weekly instalments with their rents, the very fact that these rates were added to the rents of labourers' cottages throughout the country was made in many cases an excuse for a strike against the rates and rents. The attitude taken up by many local bodies in the country in this regard was not the attitude that one would expect from them. People were practically encouraged by many members of local bodies to pay no rents or rates. Can we expect an assurance from the local bodies that they are going to collect these rents and rates?

Some of them are collecting them. They are collecting them in Carlow.

There are some counties certainly collecting them, but there are other counties which are the spearhead of the whole position and they have invited neighbouring counties to join in this movement against the payment of rents and rates, which could not be tolerated even in any one county. The position I speak of exists in more than one county. I think Deputies will understand. In the second case, we would like to have an assurance, which would help the Government in dealing with the matter, that local bodies would attend to the repair and upkeep of cottages that are their property.

There is another thing that I think would help us and that is a realisation that you cannot build at the rates for which money can at the present moment be got and let houses at the same rents that you could let them at when you got money for 68½ years at 3¼ per cent. which, with a reduction, practically amounted to 2.1 per cent. It is well that Deputies should be clear upon that matter. It would help us if people in rural districts, local bodies, realised that you cannot charge 6/6 for rent and rates in a town like Wexford and build the same sort of house or something like it and give a quarter of an acre of land with it and rent that house, which would be situated one and a half or two miles outside Wexford, for 1/3 a week. If the rent to be paid for labourers' cottages in the country was brought as close to the economic rent as the rent that is paid in an urban district for a workman's cottage, then we would be nearer the time when greater facilities could be given. Within the last six months there have been upwards of 100 labourers' cottages built in three parts of the country under the present Act. But our urban problem stands in the way immediately, and even if money were available there are certain aspects, such as the noncollection of rents, the non-repair of houses, and the non-acceptance of the fact that you cannot rent labourers' cottages to-day at the figure of 1/3 or the figure of 1/6.

Will the Minister inform us what he thinks would be an economic rent for a labourer earning nine shillings a week and having to support a wife and children?

The idea as to what the rent should be should come from below. There is no use in talking of labourers getting nine shillings a week. I do not know the county in which they get 9/- a week.

There are others who do know.

I am saying what I think it is right and useful to say in regard to this particular matter. I take it Deputies are prepared to accept that we are anxious to help in this matter. On the question of roads, and the policy with regard to roads raised by Deputy Davin, the Executive Council's policy at the present time, March 1930, is just what it was when the matter was discussed on any of the Estimates that I spoke on as Minister for Local Government. We are taking the Road Fund and dividing it amongst the local authorities, and we are letting the local authorities spend it. We are paying half the cost of maintenance of the trunk and link roads. We are utilising whatever can be then reasonably expended, out of what is left from the income of the Road Fund, on improvement work. We are spending it through the local bodies; but we are endeavouring, while spending it through the local bodies on improvement works, to see that it works out as the building up of a continuous scheme of good trunk and link roads throughout the country generally. There is no change in the policy that was expounded before. In so far as Deputies say that farmers have no use for the new roads, I think it was in Deputy Corry's own county a day or two ago it was explained that the work done on the roads in Cork had reduced the road traffic charges to the farmers by 50 per cent.

Might I ask the Minister where he got that statement?

The Cork Co. Council meeting.

I very much doubt it. I will make the Minister come down to look over those roads.

It should not be let pass unchallenged that there is any general attitude in the country against the payment of cottage rents. There is no organised attempt on the part of cottage holders or public bodies to withhold or obstruct the collection of cottage rents. What did happen in the matter of cottage rents is what happened in the matter of a great many other things. Take, for instance, the land annuities. During the years that have passed everybody knows what the effect was in the country. Certain amounts of money accrued that should have been paid and that were not paid. Certain farmers did not pay their annuities regularly. But the Minister for Finance does not suggest that you should withhold the agricultural grant from the farmers for the relief of rates because of that. You are giving them facilities to pay their rents easily, and that position is quite justifiable. The tenants of the labourers' cottages are just as willing and anxious to pay their rents as well as they can, consistent with their position and taking into account the amount of unemployment there is, and they are quite willing and anxious to clear off whatever debts are due to public bodies. I do not think the Minister for Local Government can put it forward as an argument that that is the reason why the money is held up and that long term loans are not given.

I did not give it as a reason.

Mr. Hogan:

I am glad the Minister did not give it as a reason and therefore we need not dwell upon it.

The main thing is the amount of money required for urban districts. If there was an improvement in these other districts it would help us, with an easier conscience, to face the question of providing additional facilities for rural housing.

Mr. Hogan:

In the county that I am concerned with, the county I have immediate experience of, I know that the cottiers are paying up as well as they are able to and they are not organised in any way to oppose the payment of rents. They have not been advised by any public representative not to pay their rents. They are anxious to pay them and they have repeatedly suggested there should be some facilities afforded them to clear off arrears. In the matter of roads I do not think the Minister was sufficiently explicit. I think what Deputy Davin wanted to know was about roads that are a national facility. His point was that there should be so much of them maintained as a local charge. We all know that there are roads which the Government consider national and not local facilities. They are not to a great extent local facilities. I know roads that should be maintained and I know it is very necessary for strangers coming into a county to have good roads. There are links between the larger centres and the smaller centres and I know that these links should be maintained in good order. But these roads are not the roads used generally by the farmers who contribute a good deal towards their upkeep. The roads used very often by the farmers are the roads that are getting very little assistance and that is what Deputy Davin wanted information about. He wanted to know if there was any intention on the part of the Government to take these roads under national control and make them a national charge, so that the county or district roads that the farmers use considerably could be maintained and kept in a proper condition for the farmer who would be bringing his turf, potatoes or oats over them.

The question of long term loans has been adequately dealt with, but the Minister has not told us very much about them. I think there was a good deal of reason for the getting of long term loans, but the Minister has not given us much information. Has he ever considered whether some of the money lying idle under the National Health Insurance Act could be utilised for the building of houses? Some £300,000 or £400,000 have been accumulated and invested. That could be converted into trustee stock just as well as into the stock in which it is now invested.

I do know that some of that stock was bought before the National Health Commissioners were under the direct supervision of the Minister for Local Government or the Minister for Finance, and I recognise that probably if he threw some of that stock into the market it would not realise as much as we would like. But I think there ought be some consideration given to the point that there are £300,000 or £400,000 in that fund and that half of that should be used for building houses, houses of the type of labourers' cottages and such things.

Nobody has said anything from the Ministerial Benches about coast erosion. I am anxious that something should be said by the Executive Council on this matter. I do know one district in the County Clare that is nearly wiped out altogether. It has been suggested seriously to us in the County Clare that we should shift one town altogether. I know the place thoroughly, and lately a man of 60 or 70 years of age told me that he remembers when the promenade at Lahinch was ten or twenty yards farther out than it is now. I do not know what Deputy Lemass finds funny in that statement. It is no fun for us in County Clare. The sea is eating in there, and at present it is easier to move Lahinch than to keep out the sea. Unless something is done at once the place will disappear and this whole health resort and attraction for tourists will be wiped out. I think that somebody ought to make an effort to tell us whether the Government has any policy on that matter of coast erosion. I do not think that the Coast Erosion Commission will give much satisfaction. I think that is a problem that is much too big for an inter-departmental Commission to deal with.

The advantage of this debate is that one can discuss the policy of the Government on it and get into two or three Departments at the same time and deal with a large subject. It was mentioned here that there was a difficulty in collecting the rents of labourers' cottages, although the rents are only 1/3 a week. Apparently the Minister was surprised, and he seemed to think that it was due to something else besides incapacity to pay those rents.

When he was faced with the wages paid to agricultural labourers in the country—sometimes 9/- a week—he could not state how much the man who was getting 9/- a week is able to pay as a weekly rent. That was because the Minister had in his mind what the cost of building was. Naturally there was a great gap between the two. Looking at this from the point of view of the larger policy, or the lack of policy, on the part of the Government, we see that what is really the matter is the fall in the purchasing power of the ordinary worker in Ireland. That is at the root of the trouble. Men would have no hesitation or difficulty in paying 1/3d. a week rent if they were in a position to pay it. But because wages they are paid are so low they find difficulty in paying this small weekly rent. I do not know if a wage of 9/- a week is typical of the whole country. Certainly in some parts of the country 12/- a week is about the average wage of the agricultural labourer. The reason he is paid so low a wage as 12/- is because the farmer who employs him cannot pay him any more.

That brings us up to the matter which is now very much in the minds of the people, and that is that there is a real neglect on the part of the Government in making an effort to raise the purchasing power of the people. I think it is fair to say that the attitude of the Ministry to-day is a passive attitude, one of watching but not an attitude where they are going to take any risks with new enterprises or doing anything to encourage new enterprises. Whether that is due to the fact that there is ill-will amongst a certain section of permanent officials and experts I cannot say. Without specifying individuals or going into charges against individuals, I feel that it is one's duty to mention in the House what one hears on all hands and that is that there is a deliberate effort on the part of certain people to prevent Irish enterprise from going ahead. A person cannot put his hand upon the influences but it is mystifying to find that when people are trying to push ahead with enterprise they seem to be met on all sides with an attitude which is so conservative as to be timid to the extent of paralysing the activities of the nation. Either that or on the other hand it is an attitude which is a sort of malicious complex. There is undoubtedly a very strong turning of the tide of opinion in the country. People feel that they are not being properly treated by the present Government. What they feel most is that the source of wealth in the country is being exhausted. This registers itself in the fact that there is a lowering of the purchasing power of the people. There was a time when shopkeepers and professional people did not feel that so much. But now no matter where shopkeepers buy their goods, either here or in England, they feel that their market is the most important thing and that that market is failing because the people cannot buy the goods which they have to sell. They rather blame the Government for their lack of initiative in helping forward enterprise in the country.

To come down to my own constituency of Waterford, I wish to say that some little time ago I suggested publicly that the businessmen of Waterford who had held a small exhibition there of Irish goods ought try to do something to build up industries in that city in order to give work to the unemployed. No reply came from those people. I had mentioned that they were opposed to us in their policy; that they were in favour of free trade and of conditions as they are, and that, therefore, it fell upon their shoulders and it was their duty to show that the present system was a good system—not by argument but by actually doing something for the relief of the unemployed by the building up of industries. The only reply I got to that was a pathetic retort that they were so occupied in trying to pay their employees' wages that they could not think of anything else. You have the business people on the one hand holding down to their old antiquated ideas of free trade and seeing the market slipping away from them and the purchasing power of the people dwindling. The consequence is that they are beginning to suffer, and yet they cannot do anything. On the other hand you have the Government taking up a purely passive attitude and doing nothing to encourage industry. Between them the country goes on drifting from bad to worse. Remedies have already been suggested. I am not going to repeat what has been said already, but there are plenty of examples to be followed in other countries. To these examples the Government might look if they wanted to see how the system could be changed, how good work could be done in a solid way, in a way in which the elements of risk would be reduced to a minimum and yet progress could be made in a fairly rapid way for the benefit of the people in particular. The Government might look into the method in which Germany a generation or two ago built itself up from being a poor country to becoming a rich country industrially.

Between the Government and those enterprising persons and the banks a system was established by which those industries were encouraged. We have a younger generation in this country of able and expert engineers and scientists coming along. They are at your command to make use of them if you wish. If they have not got experience, they have energy and hope. If the Government were to take a firm hand with these financial interests, so conservative, so stick-in-the-mud, and would learn from what is done in Germany and bring together the enterprise, energy and ability of these young men, together with the financial resources which are at the disposal of the banks, they could do something to end this decay which is going on in the country.

There is one matter I should like to ask the Minister about, and that is, how housing is progressing; whether there is a feeling that it is not moving forward rapidly enough and that more should be done for housing. I do not wish to indulge in criticism when the particular Minister concerned is absent, but I should like to draw the Government's attention, and the President's attention particularly, to the treatment of prisoners.

That is a matter that really must not be raised.

I do not propose to enter into criticism, but only to draw the President's attention to it to give him an opportunity of changing his policy.

I recognise that we shall have a later opportunity, on the consideration of the Estimates, to go into many of these matters in more detail. I believe that to address oneself to each of these items seriatim would be more in the nature of useless obstruction than an attempt to do any real business. I shall, therefore, confine myself to asking one or two questions and passing one or two comments.

I regret that the Government on the occasion in the Dáil this Session when an attempt was made by some of us, in view of the contemplated rationalisation of industries across the Channel—a policy that was well-advertised in the British Press—did not display a little more commonsense, not to say prudence, in supporting the resolution for a tariff on flour. I am concerned for the moment with my own constituency whilst at the same time being broadminded enough to have consideration for other places of relative, but perhaps of minor importance, such as the City of Dublin. I regret the want of sound economic policy on the part of the Government, having particular regard to the flour industry. I am personally acquainted with the affairs of two very important mills in Cork which would be affected by the rationalisation scheme which is contemplated. I think the scheme has gone something further in the realm of practical politics than the mere contemplation of such a step, because the Minister for Industry and Commerce, within the last couple of weeks, in answer to a question raised here, said that certain steps would be taken as a last resort if this key industry is very seriously threatened.

I shall have something to say at a later stage when the Estimates come up on the question of old age pensions, and also on the Civil Service Commission in connection with the mode of recruitment of certain civil servants, without having regard to some persons who have been engaged in certain branches of the Civil Service in a temporary capacity, notably the case of——

The Deputy said he was not going into details.

This is merely a summary.

I think the Deputy had better wait for the Estimates.

I have suggested that myself.

That is a very good suggestion, if the Deputy would only keep to it.

I shall confine myself to one or two items with a view to getting something in the nature of an outline of policy from the Ministers concerned. I have no objection, for instance, to a certain grant under the general heading of education, but I say that there is a want of proportion shown here, and certainly a lack of understanding or appreciation of the needs of the country. We have here a sum of £77,000 allocated in this Vote on Account to universities and colleges; we have a sum of only £40,000 for technical instruction. I submit that in a country which is mainly agricultural, and which requires so much industrial development, necessitating industrial or technical training, these figures should teach us a very important lesson. We might easily ask the question quo vadis? as far as this whole question of education is concerned. We should have some regard to maintaining a proper balance. I have due regard for education on cultural lines. I want to see the highest form of all branches of education developed, but I repeat that this Vote shows a want of balance and of understanding of the realities of the position in the country. We have our universities and colleges turning out many people who can find no employment in the country. We are subsidising these universities and I want to know for what. Many of those going through our universities to-day will not be able to find employment in this country. Instead of giving these young people, who will eventually find their way into other avenues of industry, a proper technical education, we are simply throwing money away by endowing universities. I have a concrete example to give. The city which I represent, and which the President shares with me the honour of representing, has one of the most wonderful industrial concerns in the world. From day to day application is made to that firm for employment by graduates from our universities. A course of Classics is very useful; a course in any branch of education, and particularly higher education, is very useful. I am not speaking against the further development of that kind of education. Rather is it my purpose to show that we are spending too much on the university side, and too little on the technical side.

I ask the House would it not be far better to develop along the lines I have suggested educationally rather than to be turning out B.A.s and M.A.s, and all the rest of it, who will have to emigrate, handicapped in many ways, and will have to take up teaching in other countries. Would it not be far better to educate them, as I suggest, by giving them technical training. I am not at all satisfied with the amount allotted for that purpose, and I do not anticipate that even in the Estimates there will be any great increase in the sum for technical education. There are a great many items in this Vote on Account with which I thoroughly agree and on which money will be very usefully spent. I cannot join in the suggestion that the amount provided in Vote 32 for the Gárda Síochána is anything but well spent money.

We are not going to debate that now.

I know. I want to touch on one or two items, but only one or two. Like Tennyson's brook, I should go on for ever if I were to deal with the whole list of Votes. As I said, we will have an opportunity of discussing these in detail later. With regard to one of these Votes, there is, at the moment, an inquiry proceeding whether a lot of gentlemen who, apparently, have a very soft and easy time, are going out under Clause 10 of the Treaty.

The Deputy should not discuss that Estimate.

What I am anxious to get from the Minister is an indication of policy in that direction. How many of these gentlemen does the Ministry intend to turn adrift, and how long are they going to continue to acquiesce in this policy. I know there are certain statutory obligations on the Departments and the Government as a whole under that clause, and I think we should have some kind of declaration from the Minister for Finance, or other appropriate Minister, as to what the policy of the Government is with regard to those persons who find it fairly profitable, having enjoyed a Civil Service position for a number of years, to get out of the Service on the most favourable conditions possible, just because they think that this country and its institutions and its people are not as stable as other countries. I would like to have some indication of the Government's policy in this particular regard. Amongst the number of those people we find many of them with sufficient leisure, at any rate, to qualify for professions. It may be asked how can the country which, after all, is not a very poor country, afford to let loose a number of people under Clause 10 to swell the already swollen unemployed market while they are being subsidised by the State to enter into competition with unemployed people outside?

I suggest the Deputy should not have raised this matter at all; but, having raised it, he should leave it there. The Deputy is aware there is a tribunal sitting, dealing with these cases, and I think it is very undesirable that any case that is before a tribunal should be dealt with in this House.

I submit to your ruling, sir. If I thought it was not correct to have raised this question, I would not have done so. I am only sorry that the tribunal has not concluded; if it had I should have had a great deal more to say. However, I want to say that, so far as this Vote on Account is concerned, on the whole it has a lot to commend it. I anticipate that in some Departments, particularly the Local Government Department, we will have increases in the Estimates under various heads, and, notably, under the heads of certain social services. I should like to see, when the Minister for Finance comes to issue the Estimates for the year, increases under the heads dealing with social services. I have little more to add at present on this Vote on Account, but I hope to be in a position to return to the matter on a future occasion.

I listened to the Minister for Local Government a while ago when he mentioned about the rents of labourers' cottages and the effect the non-payment of rents would have on the building of more cottages. I am a member of two boards of health in Cork, and the rents of the cottages under our control are paid up regularly. I believe that is because we keep these cottages in a good state of repair. For that reason, in our district at least where we manage affairs well, there is no rent owing. We have a new scheme of cottages on foot at the moment, and I hope we will get the necessary encouragement from the Minister for Local Government.

I heard it mentioned by Deputy Hogan that we have a big surplus in the Insurance Societies Fund— £300,000 or £400,000. It was the original intention that some of this money should be devoted to the building of labourers' cottages, especially for subscribers who were insured persons. Now there is to be an amalgamation of those Insurance Societies, and that is creating dissatisfaction throughout the country, inasmuch as a great number of domiciliary patients will have to go to the Home Assistance people for outdoor relief instead of getting domiciliary treatment which they got all along. It is well to get relief, any way, whether through the Relieving Officer or anyone else, because there is a lot of people in this country, nearly the whole of us, in want of outdoor relief at the moment. I suggest that as well as some of this money being devoted to the building of cottages some of it should be put to the benefit of the ratepayers and that certain grants necessary for domiciliary treatment should go to the insured persons entitled to it, instead of putting a burden on the ratepayers who are at present paying for it. They can take it and say to themselves afterwards "we are taking it because we have paid for it and we do not care a twopenny ticket from whom we get it." I would impress on the Government that a slice of this money should be taken out of the funds that are lying idle, invested in some way, and a certain amount of it handed over annually to the home assistance department. I hope that the Minister for Local Government will be able to do something in the way of sanctioning a scheme for the erection of cottages for those in need of them, that he will do that, even though some of the cottage tenants are stated to be bad payers. I hope that in giving his sanction to such schemes preference will be given to those districts where the present tenants are prompt in paying their rents. One of the reasons given against the erection of more cottages was that the present tenants do not pay their rent. The people in my district pay their rents and rates, and I hope that when the Minister comes forward with his scheme for the erection of more cottages no obstacle will be put in the way for carrying it into effect.

I did not hear the statement of the Minister on the question of cottages and the proposed new housing scheme. I hope, when the Minister starts his housing scheme, that he will be able to get money as cheaply for it as it was got for the erection of houses under some of the old schemes. If he is able to do that, then I hope it will be possible to fix the rents of the new cottages as low as the rents charged for the old ones. I take it that, on the Vote for the Department of Local Government, we can go into more detail on this question of rural housing.

There seems to be a great regret amongst certain Deputies with regard to the amalgamations that have been carried out amongst a number of insurance societies. From my knowledge of these societies the more quickly amalgamations are brought about the better. There is no term too strong to use about these people who are regular blood-suckers. They simply exist on the labouring man. The multiplicity of these societies and officials, who apparently tap Deputies in this House to cry about their interests and not the interests of the workers——

I do not know whether the Deputy was present or not when this matter was first referred to, but the only way in which the question of insurance societies came into the discussion was this: that the suggestion was made that the surplus funds of these societies, which are invested, should be used for the building of houses.

I see a sum here of £102,000 for National Health Insurance. I take it that deals with compensation arising out of amalgamation?

I take it that, on such a Vote as this, we can discuss each particular social service arising on the Vote?

I would like to know then, what we can discuss?

The general policy of the Government.

And part of the general policy of the Government is the amalgamation of insurance societies.

There is no question before the House of the amalgamation of insurance societies.

Was there not a Bill passed in the last session dealing with this particular subject?

I suppose, then, that I must submit to your ruling under protest. I heard the Minister for Industry and Commerce deal with the general question of insurance. One of the things he said, in answer to the arguments from these benches about the necessity for protecting Irish insurance, was that he was met by the demand from the existing Irish insurance societies that there should be a limitation on the number of Irish enterprises. I think it was quite a legitimate demand. We found, in the revival of Irish insurance, that there were too many insurance societies springing up here. Their doing so endangered the existence of one another, because with partition and a dwindling population the field of activity for insurance societies in this State is very limited. I think that, with a population of less than three million there should be a curtailment in the number of insurance societies, that is if Irish insurance societies are to be able to exist and to compete with the foreign insurance societies in the country.

As regards the efficiency of these insurance societies, the Minister for Finance, when issuing his last national loan, paid the greatest tribute that any Government could pay to them. What the Minister for Finance said on that occasion should help to remove from the mind of the Minister for Industry and Commerce any doubts that he may have as to the efficiency of these Irish insurance societies. Another striking tribute to their efficiency is the large assets they have been able to build up during the few years of their existence. Therefore, I say the question of their efficiency in the matter of protecting them does not arise at all. The fact that these Irish insurance societies were able to wallop such large corporations as the Prudential and the Pearl is certainly a great tribute to them and one of the reasons why an Irish Government should extend protection to them.

I notice, in the Vote on Account, that provision is being made for a sum of £40,000 for forestry. On this I desire to draw the attention of the Minister for Agriculture to the wholesale destruction of woods that is going on. I believe an order has been made with the object of putting the Forestry Act into force soon, but still it is no harm to stress this matter. I was at a meeting of the Westmeath County Council a few days ago, when a grant was made for tourist development.

[An Ceann Comhairle resumed the Chair.]

On the same evening I saw employés of a North of Ireland firm going into woods at Lough Derravaragh and Lough Lene and cutting down the trees in them. There is not much use in giving money for tourist development purposes if the destruction of woods, which add to the scenic attractions of a district, is allowed to be carried on in that way. That destruction could not have gone on if the Department had asserted itself. The sooner the Minister does something to put a stop to the vandalism that is going on in that direction the better. The sooner, too, that he makes the Civic Guards enforce the powers given under the Act that was passed dealing with forestry the better. I remember that on the debates that we had on that Bill the Minister said he could not expect the Civic Guards to go out and watch every whin bush that might be cut down. On that I wish to say that I think the Civic Guards have a wide field for activity in stopping the wholesale destruction that is going on so far as the cutting down of trees in the Free State is concerned. The Forestry Act is one that should be strictly enforced.

As regards the question of housing, the census returns in the Free State show a very lamentable state of things, and the sooner it is remedied the better. The Ministry should endeavour to get, I repeat, the cheapest possible credit and the longest term credit for house building schemes. As to industrial enterprise, I would like to say that there can be no progress here until there is a proper national system of cheap credit. We should not continue to be the dearest country in Europe as far as credit is concerned. I notice by this evening's newspaper that the Bank of England rate is down to 4 per cent. It is a good sign that people are beginning to take an interest in the question of the bank rate, as it has a bearing on the economic life of the country. We have been told repeatedly that the English bank rate is for the very finest paper, and that the Irish bank rate is 1 per cent. higher. Business people who require an overdraft realise that the rate of interest charged by the banks is one and a half per cent. higher than the published Irish rate. That is a thing the Minister for Finance should look into. These institutions have in themselves the power of crippling all Irish enterprise. Taking the bank returns for the nine weeks ended on Saturday, we find that clearances for the period are down by £1,637,000 as compared with the corresponding nine weeks of last year, that is, the trade of the Free State is down by over £1,500,000 as compared with 1929, and by £3,000,000 as compared with 1928. If in nine weeks of this year things are one-third worse than last year, and last year was one of the worst years since the war, surely that is a matter for thought by any Ministry that wants to see progress in the Free State. The legislation we pass here and the sums we vote for improvement are rendered of no avail by these people curtailing the clearances, and the turnover of trade in the 26 counties. The bringing down of bank clearances is an effective weapon for paralysing trade, and it should be looked into by the Government if it has the interest of the Free State at heart.

I would like to support the Deputies who dealt with housing. In Carlow there is a scheme in progress for the building of 25 cottages, and the same difficulty is experienced there as in the rest of the country regarding a long term loan. Nobody in Carlow has advocated that the tenants of cottages should not pay rents or rates, and I believe that it can compare with any county in its up-to-dateness in the payment of rent and rates. In Carlow also houses are kept in a decent condition. There is one matter in particular to which I wish to draw attention, and that is the question of unemployment. From 1903 to 1927 we used to vote sums for the relief of distress. In my opinion, at no time in the history of the country was a vote of this sort more necessary than at the moment. We have thousands of people unemployed all over the country. Unemployment is due largely to the complete disarrangement of social conditions as a natural sequel to national waste. I have seen in this evening's paper that there has been an attempt to solve the unemployment problem with batons. If the country had the facilities for getting near to Leinster House, we should have thousands of them coming here. In my opinion we have been endeavouring to lock the door to progress in this country with the wrong key.

Speaking as a Deputy from a rural part of Ireland, I believe there never was a serious attempt to solve the unemployment problem. I believe most of the unemployment in the city of Dublin and in the towns is due to people flying from the rural parts into the urban centres. There is no employment in rural Ireland, because agricultural industry is being neglected to such an extent that it has become a source of weakness instead of strength to the nation. The neglect of agriculture leads to poverty and creates a pestilential mass of pauperism. We cannot have prosperity if we have not the people on the land, and we have only 160 people in the country to the square mile. Unless we develop highly and cultivate all the land capable of cultivation and produce the maximum of our requirements, not alone in quantity but in quality, this country will go down. Germany and other countries have seen that, although manufacturing industry is essential, agricultural industry is of even greater importance. These countries have developed their agricultural industry. Of course, the Minister for Agriculture will tell us that most of these countries are highly industrialised.

I move to report progress.

The Dáil went out of Committee.
Progress reported.