Vote on Account.—In Committee on Finance.

The Dáil went into Committee on Finance.

I move Resolution No. 4:

That a sum not exceeding £7,843,498 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, 1932, for certain public services, namely:—

1

Teaghlachas an tSeanascail

£ 1,700

1

Governor-General's Establishment

£ 1,700

2

An tOirechtas

39,000

2

Oireachtas

39,000

3

Roinn Uachtarán na hArdChomhairle

4,000

3

Department of the President of the Executive Council

4,000

4

An tArd-Scrúdóir

6,000

4

Comptroller and Auditor-General

6,000

5

Oifig an Aire Airgid

21,000

5

Office of the Minister for Finance

21,000

6

Oifig na gCoimisinéirí Ioncuim

224,000

6

Office of the Revenue Commissioners

224,000

7

Pinsin tSean-Aoise

919,000

7

Old Age Pensions

919,000

8

Iasachtaí Aitiúla

490,000

8

Local Loans

490,000

9

Coimisiúin agus Fiosrúcháin Speisialta

3,400

9

Commissions and Special Inquiries

3,400

10

Oifig na nOibreacha Puiblí

33,000

10

Office of Public Works

33,000

11

Oibreacha agus Foirgintí Puiblí

226,000

11

Public Works and Buildings

226,000

12

Saotharlann Stáit

2,456

12

State Laboratory

2,456

13

Coimisiún na Stát-Sheirbhíse

4,400

13

Civil Service Commission

4,400

14

Cúiteamh i gCailliúna Maoine

62,400

Property Losses Compensation

62,400

15

Cúiteamh i nDíobhála Pearsanta

900

15

Personal Injuries Compensation

900

16

Aois-Liúntaisí agus Liún taisí Fágála

575,000

16

Superannuation and Retired Allowances

575,000

17

Rátaí ar Mhaoin an Rialtais

29,200

17

Rates on Government Property

29,200

18

An tSeirbhís Shicréideach

3,500

18

Secret Service

3,500

19

Coimisiún na nDleacht

1,700

19

Tariff Commission

1,700

20

Costaisí fén Acht Timpeal Toghachán, agus fé Acht na nGiúirithe

Nil

20

Expenses under the Electoral Act and the Juries Act

Nil

21

Costaisí Ilghnéitheacha

2,209

21

Miscellaneous Expenses

2,209

22

Soláthar agus Cló-bhuala

42,000

22

Stationery and Printing

42,000

23

Measadóireacht agus Suirbhéireacht Teorann

11,615

23

Valuation and Boundary Survey

11,615

24

Suirbhéireacht an Ordonáis

14,739

24

Ordnance Survey

14,739

25

Deontas Breise Talmhaíochta

300,000

25

Supplementary Agricultural Grant

300,000

26

Dlí-Mhuirearacha

20,250

26

Law Charges

20,250

27

Longlann Inis Sionnach

1,900

27

Haulbowline Dockyard

1,900

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

13,470

31

Office of the Minister for Justice

13,470

32

Gárda Síochána

564,000

32

Gárda Síochána

564,000

33

Príosúin

30,000

33

Prisons

30,000

34

Cúirt Dúithche

13,180

34

District Court

13,180

35

Cúirt Uachtarach agus Ard-Chúirt an Bhreithiúnais

18,970

35

Supreme Court and High Court of Justice

18,970

36

Oifig Chlárathachta na Talmhan agus Oifig Chlárathachta na nDintiúirí

16,550

36

Land Registry and Registry of Deeds

16,550

37

An Chúirt Chuarda

24,800

37

Circuit Court

24,800

38

Oifig na nAnnálacha Puiblí

1,849

38

Public Record Office

1,849

39

Tabhartais agus Tiomanta Déirciúla

1,000

39

Charitable Donations and Bequests

1,000

40

Rialtas Aitiúil agus Sláinte Puiblí

166,000

40

Local Government and Public Health

166,000

41

Oifig an Ard-Chlárathóra

4,900

41

General Register Office

4,900

42

Gealtlann Dúndroma

6,000

42

Dundrum Asylum

6,000

43

Arachas Sláinte Náisiúnta

103,000

43

National Health Insurance

103,000

44

Oispidéil agus Otharlanna

6,000

44

Hospitals and Infirmaries

6,000

45

Oifig an Aire Oideachais

56,550

45

Office of the Minister for Education

56,550

46

Bun-Oideachas

1,390,000

46

Primary Education

1,390,000

47

Meadhon-Oideachas

113,475

47

Secondary Education

113,475

48

Ceárd-Oideachas

60,368

48

Technical Instruction

60,368

49

Eolaíocht agus Ealadhantacht

13,575

49

Science and Art

13,575

50

Scoileanna Ceartúcháin agus Saothair

61,000

50

Reformatory and Industrial Schools

61,000

51

An Gailerí Náisiúnta

2,234

51

National Gallery

2,234

52

Talmhaíocht

144,988

52

Agriculture

144,988

53

Foraoiseacht

21,580

53

Forestry

21,580

54

Iascach agus Seirbhísí na Gaeltachta

90,000

54

Fisheries and Gaeltacht Services

90,000

55

Coimisiún na Talmhan

195,000

55

Land Commission

195,000

56

Tionnscal agus Tráchtáil

35,590

56

Industry and Commerce

35,590

57

Bóithre Iarainn

11,000

57

Railways

11,000

58

An Bínse Bóthair Iarainn

2,300

58

Railway Tribunal

2,300

59

Muir-Sheirbhís

3,500

59

Marine Service

3,500

60

Arachas Díomhaointis

53,500

60

Unemployment Insurance

53,500

61

Oifig Chlárathachta Mhaoine Tionnscail agus Tráchtála

6,850

61

Industrial and Commercial Property Registration Office

6,850

62

Puist agus Telegrafa

750,000

62

Posts and Telegraphs

750,000

63

Fóirleatha Nea-shrangach

15,000

63

Wireless Broadcasting

15,000

64

An tArm

479,000

64

Army

479,000

65

Arm-Phinsin

74,000

65

Army Pensions

74,000

66

Gnóthaí Coigríche

20,000

66

External Affairs

20,000

67

Cumann na Náisiún

5,000

67

League of Nations

5,000

68

Luach Saothair chun costais bhainistí Stoc Rialtais

12,500

68

Remuneration for cost of management of Government Stocks

12,500

69

Scéimeanna Fóirithinte

139,000

69

Relief Schemes

139,000

An tIomlán

£7,843,498

Total

£7,843,498

The Vote on Account is slightly over one-third of the total Estimates for the year. It is intended to enable ordinary services to be continued between the 1st April and the 31st July next. Accordingly, in most of the cases the amount asked for is one-third of the Estimate. In some cases nothing is asked for, as, for instance, expenses under the Electoral Act and the Juries Act, because no expenses will accrue in the first three months of the year. In Votes like Vote No. 29, the Sugar Beet Subsidy, the same thing applies. No payment will be made in the early part of the year, and, consequently, no sum is asked for on account. In the case of other Votes more than one-third is asked for. In the Supplementary Agricultural Grant, where half would be payable in the first two months of the year, half the sum is asked for, and in the case of the Universities and Colleges the same thing applies: half of the total amount is payable in the first part of the financial year. No new services can be financed out of the Vote on Account. If some new sub-head appears in the Estimates which was not in last year's Estimates, then no expenditure can be made out of the Vote on Account on that sub-head. If it is desired to make expenditure out of that sub-head earlier in the year, it is necessary that the Estimate itself should be taken earlier. The sums asked for enable existing services which have already been before the Dáil and approved to be continued until such time as the Estimates can be passed and the Appropriation Bill carried through all its stages, which by our Standing Orders has to take place before August.

I beg to move:

That the Vote be reduced by £1,843,498.

The members of the Dáil who thought that the Minister for Finance was going to take seriously his own statement when introducing the Budget last year —that it was necessary, if the Budget was to be balanced this year, to practise the strictest economy, and to look for savings in every direction—must have been dissatisfied when they saw the Estimates this year representing, not a saving or a reduction, but an actual increase over the amount that was in the Estimate introduced this time last year.

I will admit that when he was analysing the position in the Budget statement, the Minister for Finance made the case that every item of expenditure for which he was providing was necessary. He did it by asserting that every expenditure there was practically unavoidable. Therefore when I read the statement I must say that I thought that he had at last come to the position in which he would really face the realities of the situation. I felt that he had come to the time when he had no further roosts to rob and that he would have to meet expenditure from revenue and that he would realise that the burdens that he was imposing upon the community in order to do that were rapidly becoming so severe that certainly all unproductive services would have to be carefully examined and would have to be reduced, or rather the cost of their administration would have to be reduced. We have no fault to find with the money that is spent on social services that have proved of advantage to the community. We thought at last the recommendations that we have made here in the past as to the reduction in services of a certain kind might at least receive careful consideration. If the Minister were really serious in looking for savings in every direction he surely could not ignore savings of hundreds of thousands of pounds or even savings of tens of thousands of pounds when these were pointed out to him.

Looking at the Estimates this year, we find that the Army and Army Pensions Estimates reach the old figure of £1,600,000. The Estimate for the Civic Guards is at the old figure of £1,600,000 also. We ask the Minister whether he really believes that the cost of these services cannot be reduced without really reducing efficiency and without interfering with the purpose for which these services are maintained. We believe that any purpose for which the Army could be justified could be achieved at a cost of not more than £1,000,000 a year. We believe that within that figure you would provide the Army services which are needed here at the present time. There is in that item alone an opportunity of making an economy of £600,000. We believe also that there is room for reduction—not a bagatelle at all—in the cost of the Civic Guards; and that £1,000,000 would not be an unreasonable figure to put down to meet the cost of that service.

We believe also that in the present circumstances there is no justification for not making savings on the Oireachtas itself. In the past, we stated as our opinion that 100 Deputies could do the work for which the Dáil is elected, and could do it quite well. We believe that the Seanad as at present constituted is not performing any really useful public purpose and that the money that is spent on it might very well be saved. We would certainly prefer to see savings in that direction than to see the Minister for Finance compelled to take the attitude which he took when by a majority in this House the question of old age pensions was dealt with and the House voted to make the necessary sum available. And then we come, of course, to the position of the Governor-General, where, no matter what view is taken, the cost of the office is extravagant. The Minister for Finance, in defending that Vote on a former occasion, said that he could not conceive any circumstances under which there should not be some Head to this State who would cost as much. Is anybody here going to take it, or is anybody here going to accept it that if we had, for instance, a Republic, that the President of the Republic in this country or in this part of the country would get a personal salary of £10,000 a year? Suppose we were meeting here to consider the salary of a President of a Republic, even for the whole of Ireland, would anyone be inclined to give him a salary of £10,000 a year when we bear in mind that the President of the United States, with 120,000,000 of people to pay it, only gets £15,000?

Coming to the salaries of the Ministers themselves and of the higher civil servants, it is not the first nor the tenth time that we have pointed out that savings which are not by any means negligible could be made under all these heads. When the Minister for Finance was brought to the position in which he had to face the facts, I, for one, expected that he would, having no other roost to rob, at least be compelled to consider savings under all these heads. What do we find? We find, as I have said at the outset, that the Estimates, as introduced this year, show an actual increase of £138,646. That is not a fair picture of the situation at all, because in the interval we know that the value of money, as shown by the cost of living indices, or the wholesale prices which the farmer gets for his produce, has appreciated.

With reference to all these indices we find that the actual increase is very much greater, and the burden on the community is very much greater than is indicated by that increase. So that instead of coming down, the fact is that the cost of all these services has gone up, and, with increased cost in other directions, one would have expected that the Minister for Finance would not ignore directions in which substantial savings could be made. Between January, 1930, and January, 1931, there was a 7.3 per cent. fall in the cost of living. If we take that into account and make a corresponding reduction in the Estimate as introduced last year the reduction would amount to £1,728,000, or, in other words, this year's Estimate represents an increase of that amount. There was a 19.6 per cent. fall in wholesale prices between January, 1930, and January, 1931. If we make a corresponding reduction in the Estimate as introduced last year we find that this year's Estimate represents an increase of £4,460,000 odd. There is a 16.2 per cent. fall in the index of wholesale food prices. Taking that figure, we find that the Estimates represent an advance of £3,667,000 odd. If we take into account the decrease in the price of the produce which the farmer, who is our largest taxpayer, has to dispose of—take the fall in the price of fat cattle in the Dublin market between March, 1930, and March, 1931—we find that it represents to him—the person who has to sell cattle in order to provide for taxation—an increase of £3,362,000 odd. If we take fat sheep similarly this year as compared with March, 1930, we find there is a fall of 27.5 per cent., and it would represent a total increase to him of over £6,000,000. The facts being these, as I have said at the outset, I think we have just reason to complain of the action of the Minister for Finance. I do not say that our social services are not necessary, although, for example, in regard to education I am not at all satisfied that we are getting full value for our money. There is a very substantial sum now being voted for education. I would like to see the educational situation examined thoroughly so as to satisfy myself, for one, that that money is spent to the best advantage of the community. But leaving all such services aside and assuming that the Minister for Finance could find no direction in which reductions could be made in these services, I say it is all the more reason why he should not feel as contemptuously as he does on the question of reduction in services like the Army, the Civic Guard, the higher salaries of the civil servants, in the cost of the Oireachtas itself, in the salaries of Ministers, and so on.

The Minister for Agriculture the other day told us that the only real solution for the depression we are suffering from is economy, economy at the top, in the middle and at the bottom. We have pointed out directions in which economies at the top can be effected. What excuse has the Minister for Finance to give for constantly ignoring these economies at the top that can be effected? The Minister for Agriculture lectures the farmers, and tells them that they must be economical. A salary of £1,000 a year is to the ordinary citizen of the country a very large sum. If he looks at these Estimates he certainly does feel discontented that he who is providing the money has to live at a standard altogether lower than the standard at which public servants whom he pays enjoy. As I have said, a salary of £1,000 a year seems a fabulous salary to him. If you look through the census of agricultural production and the production in industry you will find that the salary which the average worker gets is very much lower indeed than £1,000 a year. Yet it is from the workers, the farmers and so on, that this money has to be got. It seems to me, from reading the speech of the Minister for Finance last year, that he has made up his mind that there is to be no economy here, unless we put up with social services which would be less than those which could be provided in other countries. To him, apparently the direction in which retrenchment has to be made is at the cost of social and other services. As long as these services can be shown to be of definite value to the community I for one do not want to see retrenchment in that direction, but I do want to see unnecessarily large salaries cut down. I do want to see expenditure on the Army and on the Guards cut down, because I believe it is excessive. To put ourselves in the position of the taxpayer, that taxpayer sees himself living at a comparatively low standard. He finds it very difficult to make ends meet and if we ask the taxpayer to provide these social services do you think he will be more ready to provide them if he sees what he regards as unnecessary expenditure and extravagance at the top?

Let us take that phrase of the Minister for Agriculture—at the top, the middle and at the bottom. Let us keep at the top for a while. If we do cut down expenses and show the taxpayer, the person who is providing the money, that it is being carefully managed, that no extravagant salaries are paid, and that public servants are not living at standards altogether incomparable with his own, then he will be prepared to put his hand in his pocket to meet the cost of social services, such as old age pensions, and so forth. In the process of levelling, if we do not try to level down, where there is extravagance and unnecessary expenditure, we cannot hope to get the average person to contribute to the process of levelling up. The amount which I put in the amendment is, from one point of view, a token sum. It would correspond to a reduction of the Vote on Account, even at the present figures, from a four to three months' Vote.

Apart altogether from the necessity for careful examination of the Estimates before we agree to these sums being voted, there is another reason why I think we ought not to vote in advance more moneys than are absolutely necessary. Prior to a complete examination of the Estimates a three months' Vote ought to be sufficient. We have less confidence in voting money for the present Ministry when we read the reports of the Committee on Public Accounts. When we see the Minister for Finance denying the House an opportunity for discussing a Vote which involves public policy we are less inclined to give money in advance than we might otherwise be. I think that an examination of these reports shows not merely that the Minister arrogates to himself what ought to be the privilege of the House, but that in a number of instances the supervision over departments which should have obtained if the Minister were really anxious to effect economies has not obtained. We will be able to deal with that on another occasion, and I do not propose to give it more than a passing reference.

Private Deputies here should not vote moneys in advance to the Ministry if it can be avoided and I believe it can be. I believe that within three months it ought to be possible to go carefully through the Estimates and again to put it up to the Ministry to make reductions in the several departments which we have indicated. Private Deputies here have always experienced difficulties in dealing with the Estimates, especially in regard to information as to the staffing of departments and as to whether there are redundancies in these departments or not. It is not possible for Deputies outside the Ministry, and outside the information available to the Ministry, to form anything like a fair and just idea as to whether the Civil Service, for instance, is overstaffed or not. The general impression abroad, and the impression gathered by Deputies visiting the various offices is that there is overstaffing. We cannot prove that there is overstaffing in several departments but it is clear that there is some overstaffing from the Estimates themselves. When I find Secretaries to Secretaries to Secretaries, and all that sort of thing I feel that there is something more than terminology involved. I feel that there is bad organisation involved, because with this continuous delegation from a hierarchy, what generally happens is that it is the lowest man who does the work. The most subordinate officer generally does the work which the others simply tell him to do. A good deal of that could be cut out.

Deputies who have gone to offices and tried to use their eyes have almost invariably come away with the impression that these offices are overstaffed. If there is overstaffing it is the duty of the Minister for Finance to overhaul it and to see whether redundancies can be removed. Some four or five years ago a Departmental Commission with Deputy Heffernan as Chairman was set up. Personally I have not much faith in Departmental Committees, and so far as the average private Deputy is concerned he is no better off with a Departmental Committee than with the Ministry itself, because he can get no further inside information. As I say, a Departmental Committee was set up some time ago, but I have not seen any reports from it.

I was wondering whether the Minister for Finance would not set up a Committee of members of the House to examine the situation. We would have more confidence in an examination carried out by members of the House than in one carried out through a Departmental Committee. So far as such committees are concerned, we believe that, for all intents and purposes, we would be in the same position as being in the hands of the Ministry, and if the Ministry itself is not directly going to effect economies where they ought to be effected, we do not think that they will be brought about by a Committee such as a Departmental Committee. We would have more confidence in the report of a Committee of the House set up to examine the position. We believe that if the situation were investigated by such a committee the chances of redundancies being connived at would be less. I do not know whether the Minister would be prepared to consider a proposition of that kind. The Committee on Public Accounts, of course, examines the expenditure in a certain way, but its terms of reference are very narrow and its reports deal simply with the manner in which moneys have been spent. It checks up illegalities. It can expose, for instance, matters like the expenditure of a sum of £216,000 which the Minister for Finance took upon himself to dispose of without consulting the House, but it cannot do anything in the way of reducing the expenditure with which we have to deal in the Estimates.

I have touched at one point on the importance of showing the taxpayer that his money is well spent. Those of us who are anxious about having our social services as good as those in any other country—anything less than that ought to be beneath our ambition —should have more interest than others in showing the taxpayers that every penny got from them is being used to the best advantage of the community. That is not consistent with paying salaries of £10,000 a year to the Governor-General and with salaries which are set out as a headline at the top. It is not an argument against reduction to say that they do not amount to a large sum in toto. They mean much more than the money involved, because they indicate a state of mind and attitude on the part of the Minister by continuing to pay such salaries and by defending them. That does not make it easier for the taxpayer to bear his burden or to make him more inclined to meet the demands of his brother in distress.

A Government and an Executive that carefully administer the money they get are in a position to ask for more for other services. As I say, those of us who are anxious to see the social services of this country in no way inferior to those of other countries are very anxious that the taxpayer should not see those inequalities, which make him unwilling to bear his burden. I do not think that there is much more that I can usefully say upon this matter. I am moving this motion because I am dissatisfied with the Estimates and because I do not think that it is right that we should vote a substantial amount in the Estimates for more than three months. I believe that we should not vote that money until the Estimates have been carefully examined, and I put it to private Deputies that they are not justified by the attitude of the Ministry in giving them credit for a longer period than three months. I therefore ask the House to adopt the amendment.

I beg to second the amendment. I think that Deputy de Valera has rightfully stressed to the House the importance of scrutinising most carefully the expenditure which has to come before us. The chief duty of this House is said to be to examine expenditure, to see that the taxpayers' money is wisely and economically spent, but when we come to examine it the House has really very little option in the matter. The Minister for Finance prepares his Estimates in consultation with his officials. He goes to his Party and discusses the matter with them, and his Party, as every other Party in the House, has to some extent to take with confidence what the Minister says. They have no opportunity, as Deputy de Valera rightly pointed out, for examining these Votes themselves. Few individuals in the House can definitely state whether in any particular department or branch of the Civil Service there is, for example, over-staffing, or whether the country is getting value for the money that is being spent. The reply of the Minister for Finance to that will be that it is quite inconsistent to ask for further services unless one is prepared to pay the cost of providing officials to administer them.

What we have to do in this matter is to look into things from a business point of view, to ask ourselves whether, if we were expending this money as business men on our own account, we would allow items of expenditure to pass by that we as private business men would not stand for. I think that is a safe criterion. If you apply business standards in examining matters, you cannot go very far wrong. At present there is no opportunity afforded for examining these questions. An amendment for reconsideration or rejection of the Estimate is put down. The discussion has to be carried on, on general principles, and it is very hard to get down to details. In the long run the amendment is defeated by a majority of the House, the effect of the vote simply being that the present administration must be carried on at the present level or the present scale. I think there are undoubtedly abnormalities in the Civil Service owing to the manner in which the present administration was set up in this country and owing to the fact, as I stated here on a previous occasion, that the Minister was compelled to take over an administration that was based entirely on a model that was quite unsuitable in a number of cases to our circumstances here. Owing to that fact alone I think that there is a very good case for re-examining the whole question.

The people engaged in the agricultural industry on which this country chiefly depends, and which is now meeting with the severest competition in the English market, as well as having to bear the depression arising from a bad season and a great slump in prices—a slump in prices that is not alone being felt this year, as it is being felt very keenly, but that has been felt for many years past—are putting to us the question: Are we prepared to reduce the cost of administration to a level that they can bear, or are we going to raise the standard of living for the agricultural community to the same standard and the same level as workers in what I might call sheltered occupations enjoy? The tendency is, as Deputies know, away from the land, as people are not prepared, for the small profits and small return they are getting at present, and considering the insecurity in regard to prices, markets and so on, to continue any longer unless they are quite satisfied that they are getting a fair deal. When this vast multitude of items of expenditure is presented to the ordinary man in the country he is quite flabbergasted. He is dumfounded. There are services of which he has never heard. There are offices which he would have the greatest difficulty in finding. There are services which undoubtedly he could not consider and which, if they had to be considered and passed at local bodies throughout the country, would not be tolerated or considered because the tax-payers down the country would not consider them.

We have to give a lead, I submit, to local bodies and to agriculturists who are finding it very hard to live at present and very hard to make ends meet. We ought to make it quite plain that we are taking every step to see that expenditure is reduced to a proper level. I am not going into the vexed question as to whether this country is enjoying the prosperity that many would have us believe it enjoys. What I do know is that the facts of the depression in agriculture are incontrovertible—the facts of that fall in prices and the general insecurity in that industry. I do know also that there is no prospect of giving agriculturists the same standard of living we are demanding for people in other services and in other occupations who are drawing Government salaries. It is quite impossible; we cannot do it. I submit if the Government had given us a lead in reducing the cost of living, they might say to the agriculturists, "We have taken certain steps to relieve you," but they have not done that.

Whether the reduction in the cost of living is to come before the reduction in expenditure or to follow it, the two things are closely bound up, and I fail to see how we are going to have a general reduction in prices, the reduction in the retail prices that is long overdue, and the reduction in the cost of living that is so absolutely necessary, unless the Government take steps to reduce expenditure at the top and give a good example. Even wholesale prices have fallen to the pre-war level. Agricultural prices have fallen to the pre-war level. The cost of living is still very much higher that it should be, but the Government have taken no steps to deal with it.

I submit that the only practical way to meet the situation is to take steps to produce economy at the top. The very fact that the men in charge were making that gesture to the country should show them that there is a realisation of the actual position that unfortunately seems very often to be absent from statements by Government speakers, who have the idea that the country is very much better off than it is. If the country is in that prosperous condition, how can they explain the hundreds of thousands due in rates and other ways by the farmer? It is quite clear that the agricultural industry is in a very serious condition. The farmers understand, even if every Deputy in this House combined to force a contrary opinion on them, that the only solution is economy when the prices fall and you are faced with keen competition. This economic depression may last for many years, and it can be seen that the only way to face up to that difficulty is to reduce expenditure and personnel and to bring the administration of the country into equilibrium with the circumstances of the people.

There are very many increases in Estimates throughout the various sub-heads. I wonder how the Minister could at this hour of the day, and in present circumstances, justify any increase whatever in non-reproductive services. The argument has frequently been made that the huge reduction in the salaries of the civil servants for the most part would only be a fleabite, that it would only come to £200,000. Nevertheless £200,000 is a very large sum; it would pay the interest on a very much larger sum and, when we are spending money on nonproductive services and on services that no case has been made to show that big reductions should not be effected in them, we simply have the position that we are really taking money away from other sources where it might be better spent. I think with justice it can be said that no attempt has been made to show the people of the country that they have been really getting value for their money. Even the findings of the Departmental Committee presided over by Deputy Heffernan have not been published. So long as that state of affairs continues the country has a grievance. In a very moderate statement which Deputy de Valera has made he has appealed for an examination of this question by Deputies, who have experience of the circumstances of the country, of business requirements and the organisation of business, and with the steps that are ordinarily necessary to carry out undertakings. I think it would be a very good thing and would be well received in the country if the Minister would at least show that he is prepared to seriously consider that question. If he does not consider it, we are simply going to be in the position that we are going to have the usual long discussion on the Estimates, without any proper basis, or without having clearly in our minds what is the basis of the whole thing, or what exactly is the justification of the present standard of staffing and expenditure.

I think the circumstances of the country demand that the whole question should be gone into very carefully and without presuming to impose on the Minister for Finance—who, of course, is primarily responsible in this matter—I think it is not asking too much now that we should come down to rock bottom in economic matters generally, and that a serious effort should be made to cut out abnormalities and excrescences that must, in the nature of things, have grown up and survived. We should treat people more fairly, and we should discuss this as a serious matter of prime importance to the country.

We propose to vote for the amendment which has been moved by Deputy de Valera in order to show, in the only way that we can show it, our lack of faith in the whole policy of the Government and in the manner in which they propose to expend the sums now asked for. We desire to show by our vote our protest against the Government's policy in regard to unemployment, in regard to housing, and in regard to many of the other matters which affect the well-being of the citizens of this State. We are told from time to time by the eloquent Minister for Industry and Commerce that the situation in the country has considerably improved. When asked to give reasons for his view in regard to the conditions generally he relies upon the live register in regard to unemployment. I want to give a few instances to the Minister for Finance, who I presume will reply on behalf of the Minister for Industry and Commerce, to show that the register in regard to unemployment is certainly far from being correct, and does not represent in the towns, or perhaps villages, of this country the extent to which unemployment exists at present.

Some short time ago members of this Party endeavoured through local agencies to find out the number of people registered at particular local exchanges, and as far as we could make it we have made a survey of the local situation, obtaining the actual number of people unemployed in particular areas. I will only quote a few cases to prove that the live register is far from being reliable as an indication of the extent of unemployment at present. The figures are taken out for the week ending 21st February last. In Balbriggan the number of male able-bodied people registered was 98 and the number of women 62, boys 1 and girls 4, total of 165 registered as being unemployed in the local labour exchange. From a survey carried out by people upon whom we can rely we find that there were an additional 175 people unemployed but not registered. If the Minister has any doubt as to the accuracy of the figures I am now giving we will be able to furnish himself or his representative with names and addresses so that he can verify the figures. In Bray there were 121 men, 24 women, 5 boys and 1 girl, a total of 151 registered at the local exchange. As far as we can find out an additional 140 are unemployed and not registered. In Dunmanway town, the unemployed registered are given as 39 and the unregistered in the town area only as 31. In Macroom the registered figure is given as 11 men and 1 woman, whereas, as far as we can find out there are 77 unemployed and not registered. In Tralee the registered number is 200 and the number not registered is 508. In Newbridge for the first week in January the number registered was 41 unemployed, and the number not registered was 140, or a total of 181. Out of the 140 not registered 26 were able-bodied men, had 87 dependents and were drawing home help from the Kildare Board of Health.

I quote these few cases, but I could quote several others to show that the figures upon which the Minister bases his statements with regard to the so-called prosperity of the State are generally wrong and unreliable. Of course the Minister has other information which he has not so far published. I believe that information regarding unemployment is lying in the Castle, but he does not want to publish this information, which he obtained out of the last census return. I presume he will publish it after the next general election. I am quoting these figures to show that this so-called live register is nothing more than a fake as far as we are concerned. In making his case for a reduction in the amount of the Vote Deputy de Valera picked out a number of items and sub-heads under which he believed considerable savings could be effected. I agree with Deputy de Valera and I believe that other members of this Party agree with him when he says that a considerable reduction could be effected in the Army Estimate without having a serious effect upon the position of the country. I am not going to agree with the Deputy however, unless he can give some more details in support of his case, that there can be a great reduction made in the cost of the Civic Guards. Personally I believe that the Civic Guard Force is quite sufficient in the present circumstances. I would be rather inclined to take the line of reducing the Army even if that meant an increased cost of the Civic Guards. I am not going to make a case for that now, but I agree with Deputy de Valera that a good case can be made for a considerable reduction in the amount asked for Army services.

The Minister will not reduce the amount until everyone in the parish has told him where poteen is being made and so on. That is what he is waiting for.

To get away from such a case as Deputy de Valera made in favour of his amendment, I want to draw attention to the failure of the Government to deal with unemployment particularly, and also their failure to carry out the promises made during the last four or five years to embark upon a great national housing scheme. On going through the Estimates I find that there is a reduction in them for the Department of Local Government and Public Health, amounting to £3,000 for housing grants as compared with last year; there is a reduction of £5,000 for drainage maintenance; a reduction of £35,990 in the estimate for the Board of Works for the carrying out of new works.

[An Leas-Cheann Comhairle took the Chair.]

These reductions will cause further unemployment. They show that the Government is not prepared, in the coming year, to make any serious attempt to face up to the demand for the carrying out of a great national housing scheme. The Minister for Local Government, in reply to a question I addressed to him to-day, furnished figures which I am sure Deputies will find anything but satisfactory. I asked for particulars of the number of houses erected by local authorities during the years 1929, 1930 and 1931, the number of houses erected by borough councils, urban councils, boards of health, public utility societies and private individuals. The figures show that the number of houses erected by boards of health is far lower than I anticipated. When I asked the question I was only endeavouring to picture the situation which I know exists in the constituency I represent. The houses erected by the boards of health all over the State for the year ending 31st March, 1929, and for which housing grants were provided number 72; the number erected up to the 31st March, 1930, was 115; up to the 31st March, 1931, 40. I think the Minister will admit that there is need for about 40,000 houses throughout the State. I think we are entitled to some explanation from the Minister in that respect when we realise that the demand for houses that are badly needed comes from the rural parts. Deputies will realise the failure of the Government to assist the local authorities, particularly the boards of health, to erect houses. In 1929 72 houses were erected by boards of health as against 1,624 erected by private individuals. In 1930 15 houses were erected by boards of health as against 2,094 erected by private individuals. In 1931 40 houses were erected by the boards of health as against 1,958 by private individuals. That shows clearly that the policy of the Government in regard to housing has been framed, and is actually working out to the detriment of the local authourities and in favour of private individuals, who are getting housing grants because they build houses to sell and not to let. The general tendency in the case of private individuals who secure grants is that they build houses to sell and not to let, whereas local authorities, if they got reasonable financial facilities, would build houses to be let to people who are not in a position to buy them but who require houses badly.

I want to know from the Minister for Finance what explanation he has to give the House for that state of affairs and what steps, if any, he proposes to take during the coming financial year to afford more reasonable financial facilities to carry out housing schemes. It is quite true that a fairly large number of houses have been erected by borough councils and, to a certain extent, by urban councils. The explanation for that is that these councils were given loans for a period of 35 years, whereas boards of health could only secure loans for 15 years through their local treasurers. That is the real explanation why housing schemes have not been carried out in the rural districts. Leix County Board of Health made a survey of the housing needs there some time ago and, provided reasonable financial facilities were provided, indicated their willingness to proceed with a fairly extensive housing scheme. Representations were made to the Department of Local Government and Public Health in order to ascertain the best facilities that could be provided. As is usual in such cases, the Minister merely referred the Board of Health to their local treasurer for whatever money they required for the purpose. As a result of that communication and of the Minister's refusal to facilitate them the Council got into communication with the Royal Liver Friendly Society, asking that Society if they would consider giving a loan for housing as it had apparently done in the case of other local bodies for a long period at a fairly reasonable rate of interest. The Leix County Board of Health were informed two months ago that the Directors of the Royal Liver Friendly Society were prepared to consider giving a loan of £35,000 at 5 per cent. to be repaid over a period of 61 years. If an Anglo-Irish Society of that kind can provide money under such conditions for a local authority in this country to carry out housing schemes where they are badly needed, surely a Government that boasts about its great credit, and whose Ministers, when speaking in the country, tell us that we can have whatever money is reasonably required under certain conditions, can provide better conditions for the boards of health than the directors of the Anglo-Irish Society I have referred to. At any rate, I want to know from the Minister for Finance on behalf of this Board of Health whether the Government will in the near future bring in legislation or provide any better facilities than are indicated in that particular offer of the Royal Liver Society. If not this Board of Health will be obliged to accept the offer and proceed with the housing schemes in accordance with their previous decision.

The Minister for Local Government, in reply to a question about two weeks ago, repeated in the House a statement he has made frequently outside, namely, that it is the intention of the Government in the near future, whatever that means, to bring forward a Housing Bill. I think the House is entitled to hear from the Minister for Finance what the terms are likely to be, and whether they will be better than those offered to the Leix County Board of Health by the Royal Liver Society.

The decrease under various sub-heads, such as Boards of Works, Local Government, and Drainage, amounting, as far as I can make out, to £43,990, clearly show to anybody who wants to know what is the policy of the Government that they do not intend to carry out any extensive schemes during the coming year which would effect a reduction in the present unemployment figures. In addition to the failure of the Government to provide better financial facilities for housing, or to carry out a national housing scheme which would give continuous work to the unemployed in the various parts of the country, there is also the fact that there has been a considerable reduction in the acreage of land under tillage, and, as far as one can see, there will be a further reduction in the coming year, all of which goes to show that the figures in regard to unemployment must be worse than they were two or three years ago. The latest figures available for the information of the Deputies show that there has been a reduction of almost 400,000 acres in the land under tillage compared with the figures available in 1922. That clearly shows, as Deputies representing rural areas know, quite apart from the figures available, that there is a considerable increase in unemployment in the rural parts.

The members of this Party, therefore, for the reasons I have given, propose to vote for the amendment. I should be glad to hear from the Minister for Finance, who, I understand, is the Minister responsible for holding up the Housing Bill, and upon whom also rests the responsibility for providing those better financial facilities demanded in the country, what better terms, if any, than the terms presently provided are likely to be made available in the coming year for the boards of health, so that the bodies concerned may, in the cases where they have not already done so, proceed to carry out housing schemes in the towns and villages where houses are so badly needed at present and where unemployment is so acute.

I was interested in the statement made by Deputy de Valera in proposing his amendment, when he suggested that an inquiry should be made into the cost of Government administration as we know it in this State. That is a subject on which one has expressed opinions from time to time, but I am afraid as regards the effect on the Government that they are still in much the same position as they were in that respect—that they will say that the administration is as economical as it can reasonably be expected to be under the circumstances. Like Deputy de Valera, I am not satisfied that we are in that happy position. It will be within the recollection of Deputies that the form of Government and of State administration which we have here is modelled very largely on the form in Great Britain. Doubtless it may be the best form of administration for that country, which administers to some 45 millions of people, but I have yet to be assured that it is the best form of administration for a State comprising something under three millions of people. That is a matter which I have urged on a number of occasions should be taken up more enthusiastically than it has been. As a result of the pressure which was put on the Government to have an inquiry made into this matter, the Departmental Committee, to which Deputy de Valera referred, was set up some four years ago. Of the work of that Committee we have very little information. We have had reports from time to time in reply to questions about the number of meetings they held, but as to evidence of any real economies effected by that Committee we have few facts to guide us.

The Minister has stated from time to time in this House and elsewhere that that Committee has done most useful work. I would like to see evidence to that particular effect.

They have none to give.

That Committee was set up in some way to satisfy the doubts that existed in the minds of many members of this House. I have very little hope that a Committee of that kind is going to achieve much for us. It may effect economies in particular Departments of State here and there, the saving of a few clerks here and a few more in some other office, but that is not the question as I understand it. The whole question involved is this: Are our lines of administration and our system of administration the kind best adapted for this particular State? I do not know whether I express the opinion of Deputy de Valera when I say that to my mind that is the real problem. If you have a whole series of Departments, as you have here, and try to reduce the staffs and effect economies in that direction, the leader of the Opposition is more enthusiastic from that point of view than I am. I do not see that he can achieve much in getting up against these Departments and asking them to reduce their services. I would like to have the question tackled from a different standpoint altogether; and if the leader of the Opposition would tackle the problem from that point of view, then so far as I am concerned I would give him my wholehearted support. He expressed doubt about the success of the Departmental Committee. I have expressed similar opinions, but let us hope we may both be disappointed when we see the results of the work of that Committee. But whatever we may achieve through a Departmental Committee in the way of economies, I am not at all satisfied that we are going to achieve anything more through a Committee of Deputies. Very few Deputies in this House as I know them—I speak under correction— are qualified to express an opinion upon this particular problem. They have not the experience on which to base such an opinion, and the only thing they could do would be to follow very much on the lines of a Departmental Committee, going through each office and seeing where economies could be effected. Much as we may be against the Departmental Committee, I would be inclined to support the Departmental Committee to ensure economies rather than a committee composed of Deputies. I do not think either is the proper authority to deal with the problem as it should be dealt with. Let me explain it in this way.

When we had the problem of technical instruction under consideration we set up a Commission. On that Commission we appointed experts from other European countries in order that it might have the advantage of the working of the most up-to-date systems before that Commission when it was making its report. Let me say, as one who had the privilege of sitting on that Commission, that the information that we got from those European representatives was of a very helpful character. Deputies will remember again that when the Minister for Industry and Commerce was setting up the Shannon scheme, he had the whole question reported upon by men of European fame who had a thorough knowledge of the particular subject. Yet, when we come to deal with this problem of State expenditure, we have the suggestion, on the one hand, of a Departmental Committee and the suggestion on the other of a Committee of Deputies. I have no faith in either. It is only playing with the problem. If we want to get at the root of the whole evil let us get an opinion from some man or men of European standing in finance, with experience of the problems we are face to face with here. Pay these men whatever might be the fee required, and let us have their views upon the problem. And let us see what recommendations they would make after making enquiry into our State expenditure, and into the whole of the Departments of our State administration. Let men like that, well-known experts in matters of this kind, come and express their views and tell us where we may effect economy and improvements. That would be my method of dealing with problems of this kind.

I am quite satisfied we will have these outbursts from those interested in effecting economies from time to time. But we will make no real advance along this difficult problem until we do it, at any rate, in the way that we dealt with other problems successfully. So that while I agree with the principle enunciated by the leader of the Opposition as to the necessity for economy, I am not at one with him in the method he proposes to adopt for effecting that economy.

Deputy Derrig when speaking on this problem—and he speaks on it as an authority—referred to the importance of the cost-of-living figures. There is no problem that should be more carefully considered in this House than that particular problem. Costs of production are of the greatest importance to this country. This country lives upon its exports; it sells its exports in the greatest market and in the keenest market in the world. If the cost of living increases the cost of production increases. We will be all agreed about that. The cost of production is very largely based on the cost of living. You must give a man a living wage;— none of us can deny that—and consequently the cost of production is very largely governed by the cost of living. I say that is a most important problem for us in this House.

I have been watching these figures carefully; I have drawn the attention of the House to the gradual rise of those figures, and I would like to see that aspect of the question getting more consideration than it has in the past. Deputy Derrig, when discussing that aspect of the question, did not mention the fact, though I am sure he had it in mind, that only some three and a half years ago the cost of living in this country was 5 points over the cost of living in Great Britain. On the 1st January last the cost of living was 13 points over Great Britain. That shows a serious situation. And when we try to help the farmer there is no way in which we can do it more effectively, I am satisfied, than through keeping down the cost of living. I would like to see that particular question examined and weighed fairly by the Minister for Finance, because he has to provide the money; or suggest the means by which the money should be provided for the maintenance of this State. In providing the money he ought to have before his mind that the best way for doing that is the way that will affect the cost of living least. The Minister for Finance has been getting money lately from sources that I am satisfied are very costly, and they have raised the cost of living much more than it would be raised if the money were obtained from other sources. Therefore, I say it is a matter over which the Minister for Finance ought to be more watchful than he has been in the past, in view of the effect of this method of finance on our policy to maintain the position that this country has maintained in the past in the most competitive market on the other side.

I need not stress this particular aspect of this question, because it must be obvious to anybody who has even looked casually at these figures that if these figures are allowed to get out of hand we will be seriously jeopardised in our ability to maintain our position in these markets on the other side, and if we cannot maintain our position in the markets on the other side the result will be more unemployment and more taxation on this side. Therefore, from these two aspects of this particular problem, I would like to get some reply from the Minister for Finance to show that these matters will have the attention of his Department.

Deputy Good has expressed in the course of his remarks the usual mentality of those who have not yet become reconciled to the fact that there is an Irish nation. Deputy Good quarrels with the Government's proposition of an inter-departmental committee to examine the revenue and expenditure with a view to economy. The Deputy says he has very little hope of any good result from such a committee. He quarrels also with the case put up by the leader of the Opposition that a committee composed of all Parties of the House should be set up to examine expenditure and recommend economies. He suggests, as in other things, that European experts should be sought to go into the matter and suggest how economies could be effected in the running of this State. It seems to me that it is a very bad commentary on the intelligence of the Irish people, and a particularly bad commentary on our brilliant young statesmen of whom Deputy Good is so proud, to say that in the running of the affairs of these twenty-six counties European experts must be called in to tell us where and how we can save 1½d. or 2d. or £1 on any particular item.

I do not think this is the way to approach this question at all. If there is not enough intelligence and if there is not initiative in Deputies to conduct investigations in such a matter and bring in a report of possible economies that can be effected, then it is a lasting disgrace and an insult to the intelligence of the electors. It would be really a national insult if we had to call in outside advisers in this matter. Surely this House is competent to do that work, and there should be sufficient brains in this House to work out a policy by which economies could be effected, and put that policy into action.

Deputy de Valera, in appealing for a committee to be selected from all Parties in the House to inquire into administration is supported in that view by no less a precedent than the Mother of Parliaments, for which Deputy Good and many others who think like him profess so much admiration, and for which they have such great respect. No later than last week in this Mother of Parliaments a motion was passed by the House of Commons authorising the Government to set up a committee to inquire into these matters and to advise the Chancellor of the Exchequer as to where and how economies could be effected in public administration, taking into consideration the national welfare and the position of the national revenue.

That Committee that is being set up by the Mother of Parliaments at the head centre of the British Empire is to be composed of representatives of the three political Parties in the British House of Commons. If that Parliament, which is administering much more than we have to administer, thinks it is necessary to do that, and thinks it is unnecessary to call in European experts to advise it as to where economies could be effected, surely there is no reason why we should not ask the Government to consider the setting up of a Committee which would assist them in going through the Estimates and pointing out what, in their opinion, would be possible economies, giving facts and figures to prove that these economies could be made, thereby arriving at a basis on which national expenditure could be reduced, a number of misunderstandings removed and a lot of criticism ended.

Deputy Heffernan's Committee has been in operation now for some years, unless it is dead, and so far as we can understand it has not died yet. But in the Estimates presented to the Dáil this year we do not see any great results that that Committee has effected. According to what we can read in the Estimates the Minister has more or less arrived at a position where things are stereotyped. Year after year we have had presented to us an expenditure of in or around £21,000,000. That sum is more or less recognised as being the minimum sum by which the State can conveniently be run. Surely the humour of the situation should strike Deputies who go through these Estimates and give them any consideration. The small fragment of what was once Ireland, with a population of less than 3,000,000 souls takes from the taxpayer's pocket for its protection in police, and in the Army, a sum of over £3,000,000. That is £1 per head of the population—man, woman, and child. We are told that this State has entered into international treaties. We are told that we have the friendship of all nations and that Ireland now has no enemy, yet £1 per head of the population of this State is paid for our protection in the way of police and army.

Mr. T. Sheehy (West Cork):

It is well invested.

We are signatories to all those pacts and treaties, and we are told that we have peace at home and that all revolutionary elements have been crushed. We are told there is no prospect of further danger in any direction. Why, then, this abnormal expenditure of £1 per head of 3,000,000 people on protection? The Estimates, on a quick run through, present some very interesting features. Increases in the Estimates lead one to believe that the Economy Committee of which Deputy Heffernan is head has not functioned very successfully, and when propositions are put up that the Estimates could be reduced we are asked in what direction. On a quick run through I should suggest that there are many ways and many departments, particularly those departments in which increases have been voted, where reductions could be effected by a little bit of initiative on the part of the Ministers. Departments where economy could be effected and where we are presented with increases are the Office of the Minister for Justice, the Gárda Síochána, Wireless Broadcasting, the League of Nations, Quit Rent Office, Stationery and Printing, the Office of the Minister for Finance, Commissioners of Public Works and Buildings, Civil Service Commission, Tariff Commission, Law Charges, Beet Sugar Subsidy, Reformatory and Industrial Schools, Land Commission and Marine Service. These are all services where increases have taken place and where economies could undoubtedly be effected. Other Departments where economies could have been effected, and where no attempt has evidently been made to apply them, are the Governor-General's Establishment, Oireachtas, Secret Service, Valuation and Boundary Survey, Ordnance Survey, Industry and Commerce, Railways and Railways Tribunal, Army and Army Pensions and External Affairs. That is quite an interesting list for any Minister who sneers at the idea that there is a possibility of reducing the Estimates as presented to us. I would honestly recommend them to look through those items and see whether it is not possible, with a little goodwill, to chop a few more pounds off them for the coming year.

Some of the items that arise out of those Estimates are of interest to the House and to the people. We have under the head of "pensions and superannuation allowances" the fact that ex-State officials and ex-officers and men of the National Army are getting between them a sum of £1,898,384 in pensions, while in the whole Twenty-six Counties the amount for all old age pensions in that year only amounted to £2,767,000. That seems to me to be a very funny commentary on our sense of social justice, and also a very funny commentary on this Christian humanity of which we heard so much during the past couple of weeks. We have also in connection with the Beet Sugar Subsidy the fact presenting itself that the ordinary people of this State will have to pay £162,500, whilst the unemployed will receive £2,126 less. In other words, only £160,374 have been allotted.

Deputy Davin referred to the question of the unemployed and unemployment insurance. We find, in looking through the Estimates, that the amount for the unemployed is reduced by £68,472, whilst the sum for prisons, courts, and industrial schools exceeds the unemployment insurance by £146,461, these institutions altogether taking £306,853. That also is a very peculiar commentary on our sense of justice and humanity. Surely after 8 years' experience Ministers of State should be able to present Estimates that would not contain paradoxes of that nature.

Then again we have the question of External Affairs. This Department since its inception has cost nearly half a million pounds, and this year we find that the Estimate is more or less stabilised. Surely it is time that the Ministers, when dealing with expenses of that nature, should look to home politics and to the home situation rather than to the question of foreign and external affairs. It is time that questions of delegations to ornamental assemblies of the type of the League of Nations should be dealt with on a more sensible basis than they have been dealt with up to the present.

Surely the Deputy is anticipating discussion of the main Estimates now.

No, the Deputy is giving a general glance through the different items.

That is exactly what the Deputy is not allowed to do on a Vote on Account.

I understood that the Leader of the Opposition referred to several items of that nature, as also did Deputy Davin when dealing with local government.

As far as I heard Deputy Davin's speech, he dealt with two questions of policy—the question of unemployment and of housing. I do not think Deputy Davin attempted to go through the different items, and certainly I would not have allowed him to do so.

I am not going through the different items. These are matters of policy on which the House deserves an answer from the Minister before the debate concludes.

I do not want to restrict the Deputy any more than I must, but I do not want this debate to develop into a debate which should properly arise on the main Estimates when they come before the House.

Would the Leas-Cheann Comhairle tell us how many items each Deputy is allowed to discuss?

The practice on a Vote on Account has been that some big question of policy was taken and discussed.

Who is to decide it?

I would like that the Chair would stand up at the start and tell us which of these items is going to be discussed.

The Deputy misunderstands me. The Deputy may himself decide upon some big question of Government policy and discuss that. I think Deputies are aware that the practice has been that some big question of policy was taken and discussed and when that was ended another question was raised. We do not want this debate to develop into a debate similar to the one we will have on the general Estimates when they come before the House. Deputies must remember that this is a lump sum that is being asked for. It does not deal with any particular estimate, and the amendment which is now before the House is to reduce the Vote on Account by a lump sum, not a reduction of any particular estimate. Therefore the broad question of policy must be dealt with and the Deputy must not go into detail.

I submit that I am endeavouring to deal with the reasons why this House should pass Deputy de Valera's amendment on the broad question of policy.

If the Deputy will keep to the broad question of policy I will be delighted.

I have finished with the question of External Affairs, and since the Leas-Cheann Comhairle says that I must deal with special items, I propose to deal with the Department of Justice and to refer to one item under that Department in which I think the House would be very much interested. The time has surely come when the Government should make some statement as to how the question of Secret Service is being dealt with. Time after time we have been told in the House that internal peace has been established and is being maintained as a consequence of the protection which citizens are afforded. Yet, year after year, Government policy finds it necessary to allocate certain sums for Secret Service and agents provocateurs.

Recently in this State we had cases of that nature which resulted in a tragedy. I hope that the Minister for Justice, or the President, will, before this debate concludes, give some indication of Government policy on that point, and tell us whether it is the policy of the Government to persist in this attempt to stir up again the embers of civil war in this country, or whether it is their policy to ask the Dáil to vote public money for the creation or manufacture of crime. Going back again to the question of economy, we find absolutely no attempt made in the introductory speech of the Minister for Finance to indicate where the Government stands in regard to prospective economy, as Deputy de Valera stated, at the top. In other Dominions of the British King, such as New Zealand and Northern Ireland, there is an attempt at economy at the top, and Britain has not so far attempted to make immediate and terrible war. In New Zealand the Governor-General voluntarily agreed to a reduction in his salary, and in Northern Ireland the same thing is spoken of.

Surely when a Minister recommends, as the Minister for Agriculture did, hard work as being the only solution of the problem and the only possible salvation for the farmers, Ministers should make some attempt to start at the services which, as Deputy de Valera said, would set a headline for the rest of the country to follow. Many items among the Estimates are capable of being reduced, but they have not received the consideration which they should have received from the Government, and they have not been dealt with in a manner which would enable adequate economies to be made. I believe that the amendment to reduce the Vote by a sum of £1,000,000 is not illusory. I believe that it is quite possible to accomplish that economy, and by reducing the Government's supply of funds from four to three months it is quite possible in that period for the Government to arrive at a solution of the problem or to reach a position where this £1,000,000 could be economised without serious loss to the State or to the social services.

I support the amendment strongly and hope that the House will pass it, in the belief that unless there is reduction at the top there will be very little prospect of the ordinary tax-payers and citizens finding, with good heart and good grace, the money required to run the services of the State for the next twelve months. If the Government desire to have in the Twenty-Six Counties, a contented people, if they desire to get the tax-payers to meet the obligations imposed on them by national expenditure, more or less as a national duty, they must set an example themselves and let the country see that one section of the people is not always to be called on to bear the burden. Up to this only one section has been called on to bear that burden. I hope that the amendment will pass, and that before the debate concludes we will have some declaration of Government policy from some responsible member of the Executive Council, a declaration which we have awaited since the President made his declaration last November.

I think that there is a fairly general demand in the country for the reduction of expenditure, and not only in the country but, as we find to-day in the Dáil, amongst all Parties. Not only was that demand voiced by the Leader of this Party but also there was agreement from the Labour Party and from Deputy Good who, I presume, speaks on behalf of his Party also. Deputy Good said that he was not at all satisfied that expenditure is as economical as it might be. He did say that he agreed with the principles enunciated by Deputy de Valera, but that he did not agree with the methods. Whether the situation is to be examined by a Departmental Committee, a committee of Deputies, or by a man of European financial standing, Deputy Good should not be deterred from supporting the amendment when put to a division, because, no matter what Deputy Good may say on behalf of his Party about the spending of public money, the only thing that matters is his vote in the Division, and if he is really in earnest in trying to have economies effected in public services I think he cannot bring it about merely by speaking here. He has had experience, and the only way he can get anything done here is by going into the Division Lobby in support of the amendment.

And block the whole administration.

The Government would be given three months to carry on and to find some way of cutting down the Estimates which have been presented to us. We have been given the Estimates for the year 1931-2, and we read inside the book containing them that there is a reduction of £246,000. When we come to examine in a rough way how the reduction is effected we find that it is not effected by economies which the country would welcome but rather by cutting down certain Votes which will probably be necessary before the year is out. For instance, one very large Vote, the Vote for Relief, has been reduced by £160,000. Does the Government really believe that a Relief Vote will not be required during the year 1931 as large as the Vote required in 1930? As a matter of fact, from figures given in answer to a question here to-day by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, we find that the number of registered unemployed is higher now than it has been for the last two years. If the number of unemployed has been going up since 1930, instead of going down, surely the Government should not be so optimistic as to cut down the Estimate for Relief from £300,000 to £140,000?

There are a few other Votes of that sort which have been reduced, which have been referred to already, and which would give more employment if they had been left as they were. The economies effected in the Estimates for this year have been made on such Votes. If these economies are to be carried out they can be carried out only at the expense of the employment that has been given in the country. We cannot afford to have any economies carried out at present at the expense of employment, because employment is far too scarce as it is. Coupled with that, we have the reduction in the Vote for Unemployment Insurance. That, with the £160,000 already quoted, would practically amount to the total saving of £246,000. We know, because we had a discussion here already, how that saving of £160,000 on the Unemployment Insurance Vote was effected. It was effected because in many instances people were so long unemployed that they went out of benefit, and not at all by the fact of their going back to employment. If unemployment lasts long enough, under the present laws in this country we shall want no unemployment benefit at all, because people will go out of benefit entirely and we will have to have relief schemes instead.

There are some other reductions also made in directions where the Government cannot claim any credit. We have such things as the reduction in the purchase of creameries or reductions in superannuation where people who were getting pensions have evidently died, and where others who were getting extra benefits under Article 10 of the Treaty got that benefit last year, but evidently do not come in for as large a share this year. Then there is the large reduction of £65,000 in Property Losses Compensation owing to the fact that the number of claims to be made during the coming year is not estimated to be as high as the number for last year. If we take the items which should be properly classed as savings under the head of sums that were voted last year to give employment, and savings on the head of items that are not recurring during the present year, and not due to any effort on behalf of the Government to make savings, we find that we could make up a sum of reductions on the Vote in that way of over half a million pounds. Against that half million pounds we have only a nett saving of £246,000. Therefore we have really to meet an increased Vote in the Estimates of this year of a quarter of a million for other services. Many of these have been already quoted by Deputy Mullins, and they are, as Deputy Mullins pointed out, very difficult for any Government to defend in present circumstances in this country.

Reference has been made here already to the cost of living and to the cost of production in this country. Deputy Good referred to that, and said that it was a question that required the most searching investigation. Deputy Good said that this country lives on its exports. That is the sort of statement that is neither true nor untrue. I suppose it can be taken that every country lives more or less on its exports and that every country lives more or less on its imports. We may be in the position in this country of living more on our exports than other countries, but further than that we cannot go. Some of us believe that it would be much better for this country if we were to develop the home market to a greater extent so that we would not be in the position of depending to such an extent on our exports. Some of us have advocated again and again that we should produce whatever we possibly can for ourselves so that we should only have to export what is necessary to pay for the imports we require. As things stand at present, we are exporting many of the things which we also import. We are not producing many of the things that we are importing and that we could produce for ourselves.

The producers who perhaps come in for most of the burden of taxation and rates, etc., in this country are at present the agricultural producers, because we find that up to a few years ago, at any rate, according to the census of production, the agriculturist was producing about 70 per cent. of the total production of the country. As it is claimed that this is a country that is paying its way, it must be taken that taxation comes out of production, in other words, that we are not living on our capital, that we are living in every respect on our production, and if we are it follows that taxation comes out of production, so that we may assume that 70 per cent. of the taxes of the country must be got either directly or indirectly from agricultural production. When the census was taken, some four or five years ago, of the output of agriculture in this country, it was estimated that the total output of agriculture amounted to £64,757,000. It was also pointed out in the little book issued by the Statistics Department that out of this output of over £64,000,000 the agriculturist had to pay certain items. He had to pay, for instance, over £8,000,000 for imported foodstuffs, fertilisers and seeds, 3¼ millions for land annuities, and for rent or interest in lieu of rent on unpurchased land he had to pay 1½ millions. For rates he had to pay 2¼ millions; for machinery, etc., necessary to the working of the land, he had to pay 1½ millions. In addition to these sums, when we come to examine the destination of the agricultural output, we find that £23,000,000 worth of this output was consumed by people engaged in agriculture themselves. If all those sums are deducted from the original £64,000,000 we find that agriculturists have left £22,920,000.

If it is a fact that this country is paying its way and that taxation is being paid out of production, we must assume that the agriculturist is responsible for 70 per cent. of the total taxation to be raised in this country each year, which would amount to 70 per cent. of £25,000,000—£17,500,000. If that is taken from £22,920,000, the net sum left to agriculturists, we find they have the very small sum of £5,500,000 to pay for everything else. They are supposed to be able to buy certain things that are not produced by agriculture, such as tea and clothes. Some of them who are in better circumstances than others are supposed to be able to buy luxuries such as motor cars. Some of them also are able to contribute a certain amount for the education of their children, but where all these items come from we do not know, so we have to come to the conclusion, when we examine this matter fully, that either the figures given by the Statistics Department for the agricultural output of the Saorstát were wrong or the statement that we are paying our way in this country is wrong, because we cannot possibly be paying our way in this country on what is given here. We cannot possibly pay for the taxation that is sought by the Government out of production when we come to examine the figures, so that we really must be living on our capital in this country, whatever capital we had before the Government came into power. Perhaps the sums of money that were sent to small farmers in the congested districts from relatives in America helped to pay the various items they had to pay as their bills became due.

Now leaving the difficulties, as given by the statistics, out of it, we may take it that we have no reduction here practically in taxation. In fact, in the last four or five years there has practically been no reduction made in any item, in any of the Budgets brought before us, and there is very little hope that in the present year the Minister for Finance will be able to reduce taxation. Take that position as compared with the position of the producer. The most important item in the farmer's production is the production of milk and butter. The average price of creamery butter for 1930 was 124/-; the average for 1929 was 166/-. The creameries had to contend with the reduction in their prices from 166/- to 124/-, but had to continue to pay the same in taxation that they paid while the price for butter was better. Naturally the price of butter had an influence on the price of milk. We find that whereas the average price of milk in 1929 was 6.6d. per gallon, the average price in 1930 was 4.9d., a reduction of 25 per cent. The farmer was living principally on the production of milk. There are certain counties where practically all the people engaged in agriculture depend on milk. They had to suffer a reduction of 25 per cent. from 1929 to 1930. Even suffering that reduction they had to continue to pay the same amount in rates and taxation. There was no attempt made by the Government to make a reduction in taxation to meet the position these farmers found themselves in. That applies to practically every item in the agricultural scheme. For instance, the second class of farmers most hardly hit by the fall in prices were the producers of grain for sale, who suffered a reduction of 20 per cent. in 1930 as compared with 1929.

The only reply made by the Government to farmers in those tillage counties has been made by the Minister for Agriculture at a meeting where he said that the Government had come to their aid, and had, to some extent, tried to meet their position by setting up a beet factory. We find during the last few weeks the Carlow factory is only prepared to offer 38/- per ton for beet during this coming season. They are asking the farmer to go down from 46/-to 38/- per ton, a reduction on an average of £4 per acre. These farmers had already suffered a reduction two years ago. Now the beet growers believe they could not grow at that price. In some counties they have threatened not to grow any more unless the factory increases the price. As against that we find in the Estimates £54,000 more for the Carlow factory than last year. Surely the Government, in presenting that Estimate, could have regarded the way the factory was treating the growers of beet? I think it is a very poor excuse for a Government to say they are bound by a contract which they entered into a few years ago to pay the subsidy to a foreign combine, whatever profits they might make and whatever price they might offer the farmers. The Minister for Agriculture also, on some previous occasion, said that their policy was to try and lower the cost of what the farmer had to buy and raise the price of what he had to sell. They may have been trying that policy. They have not succeeded in raising the price of what the farmer has to sell. I think they can hardly claim that they have succeeded in helping the farmer in anything against the fall of prices that has taken place in the last few years. They have not improved the price of Irish butter on the British market as compared with any of the other foreign butters on the British market. I do not believe they have improved the price of any other article; for instance, beef as compared with frozen beef coming from the Argentine. Comparing the imports into Great Britain from other countries, they have not improved the price of Irish exports to Great Britain.

On the other hand, they have not, in any way, tried to lower the cost of what the farmer has to buy. The only real thing the Government has direct control over is taxation, and if the Minister for Agriculture was speaking for himself and the Executive Council, and if they were really in earnest in making that statement, they would have effected a big reduction this year in the Estimates for the public services. They could have made a big saving there, and could have given that benefit to Irish agriculture, but they have not done so. I suppose that if a statement of that sort was made, we can only come to the conclusion, when the statement was not put into practice, that it was made to try and hoodwink the farmers. There could have been savings made in the public services, and some of the savings could be devoted to the relief of agriculture.

[An Ceann Comhairle resumed the Chair.]

For the last couple of years we have been hearing of de-rating. We have heard talk of a reduction of freights, and we have heard of many other ways in which agriculture could be helped. But we have not seen any of these schemes put into practice. In fact, while this agitation for de-rating is going on we find on every occasion on which the Government had an opportunity they put the cost under Bills which they introduced on to the ratepayer instead of adding it to central taxation. Instead of relieving the agricultural ratepayer of rates, they have succeeded in increasing the rates on agriculture during the last few years by almost a shilling in the £. They have, for instance, forced a certain local government scheme on the ratepayer. Take this Vote of £300,000 passed here before Christmas. In practice we find when they are distributing this to the local authorities in many cases they are only offering to pay 30 per cent., or perhaps less, of the cost of the scheme, and the local ratepayer is compelled to put up the other 70 per cent. The inducement to any local council is to try and relieve unemployment, and naturally they take even the 30 per cent. of the scheme and try to pay the other 70 per cent., with the result that they have to increase the local rate.

Then we had a Bill that went through a couple of weeks ago—the Local Government (Special Expenses) Bill, under which schemes for water supplies were to be provided. We find that there also there will be an increase in the local rates. Under the Agriculture Bill that went through a few days ago, it was made mandatory on local councils to strike a rate of 2d. in the £, which will also increase the rates. There were other Bills such as the Tourist (Traffic) Bill, which may also raise the rates. Surely in these instances the Government, whose members go through the country talking about de-rating, and the prospects of de-rating, cannot be taken as in earnest, when in the meantime at every opportunity they increase the local rates. If they are really in earnest in the preparation of a scheme for the de-rating of agriculture, they should at least have suspended the imposition of any further additions to the local rates, and would arrange to pay the expenses out of the Central Fund. Even apart from the reduction of overheads and a scheme for de-rating, we find that on other matters of policy, which concern the agricultural community, we can hardly accept the statements of Ministers. Only a few days ago we had one Minister pointing out the benefits of tariffs, telling his audience that as a result of tariffs we had 15,000 more people employed now than before the tariffs, but the very same day, to another audience, another Minister was pointing out the ill effects of tariffs, and how they would tend to drive the farmer out of business. On a big question of that sort, the protection of our industries, whether the agricultural industry or any other industry, if we have Ministers in the Executive Council preaching to two audiences in different parts of the country, two completely different view-points about the benefits or the ill effects of tariffs, we cannot expect from such an Executive Council to get any sane policy which will rescue this country from the depression into which it has fallen during recent years.

Deputy Mullins mentioned that other countries had already tried to cut down expenditure, and that even some of the Governments under his Britannic Majesty—New Zealand and Northern Ireland—had intimated their intention to cut down the higher salaries, and that the Ministers had announced their intention of commencing with their own salaries. If we have other countries in Europe and in other parts of the British Empire that have not been afraid to tackle this question in a big way, and to cut down the higher salaries, surely a State such as ours which has been suffering from depression and unemployment for the last few years, should tackle this question seriously, and should try to effect economies.

We heard a reference to the Inter-Departmental Committee that was set up. In 1927 we were told that a Committee had been set up to examine expenditure, and to try to effect economies. We were told at that time that Deputy Heffernan had been appointed Chairman of the Committee. Since then we have heard very little about it. Perhaps Deputy Heffernan has been too busy with the administration of the Post Office to effect economies, because I believe it was as a result of the severe criticism of Government expenditure on the part of the Farmers' Party, with which Deputy Heffernan was associated, that this committee was set up. Evidently the Government thought they would placate the Farmers' Party by setting up the committee, and by making their own nominee chairman of it. Since that, Deputy Heffernan has forgotten about the economies that were to be effected, and has forgotten about the farmers on whose behalf he spoke. He is looking after the Post Office, and amongst other things has deprived the farmers of three posts in the week. I think the Government should take this matter seriously. They have evidently got into a stereotyped manner of preparing Estimates, as year after year they bring in practically the same Estimates, with this exception that in practically every department where a number of civil servants are employed the amount has gone up slightly. Every Budget for the last three or four years—and it will probably be the same this year —is similar to the previous one, there being no reduction whatever in taxation.

I think we should be very thankful to Deputy Good for the speech he made here to-day, because speeches from the Fianna Fáil or the Labour Benches on the reduction of Government expenditure are not going to have much effect. When Deputy Good and his Party speak they generally have a salutary effect on the Government, and I believe that the Minister for Finance when replying—if he thinks it worth his while to reply, because he does not always reply lately— will be much more pliable than he would have been if he found that he had Deputy Good and Deputy Good's Party with him. On that account I think we should be thankful to Deputy Good for making the protest he did make, even though he said he is not going into the Division Lobby or to embarrass the Government for the present.

I listened with very keen interest to the statements made by Deputy Ryan, and I was wondering whether he would tell where the economies might be effected. The Deputy spoke for the best part of an hour and did not make any constructive suggestions during that time. I was particularly interested when he dealt with the beet factory. The Deputy finds fault with the Government for entering into a contract with the owners of the beet factory. Deputies on the opposite benches, as well as those on these benches, know the history of that industry thoroughly from its infancy. They know thoroughly well that in the pre-Truce days and in the days of Sinn Fein it was always the hope that the day would come when a native Government would be able to assist in the setting up of such factories in Ireland. We were told that we had some beet factories in this country some years ago, but that an alien Government drove them out. We longed for the day when a beet factory would be established here. When we did get a native Government in power the great bulk of the people and their representatives in this Dáil approached the Government and asked them to investigate— as a matter of fact, insisted on their investigating—the possibility of getting a beet factory started. The owners of this factory came here and made investigations. What did those of us who were in touch with the matter find at the time? That every man they approached advised them not to put one sixpenny bit into the factory. That was the encouragement they got, because the conditions here were anything but normal. People were not anxious to put money into that particular industry here, or, as a matter of fact, into any other industry at the time. The Government went on with the scheme as an experiment. If the Government had not done that, I should like to hear what Deputy Ryan and his colleagues would have to say to the Government for not doing so. They have done so. They have entered into certain contracts which are working out favourably. When we tell the truth we say that we are all delighted that the factory is there. The farmers who could not grow oats or other crops satisfactorily were very glad to avail of the price they obtained for the growth of beet.

The Deputy also told us that the Government have done nothing to improve the price of farm crops during the last couple of years. Everybody who has made a study of the question knows that the bottom has fallen out of the market for a number of those crops—oats, for instance. The Deputy did not suggest how the Government were to improve prices. If he suggested that the Government might, by a bounty or subsidy, as they do in other countries, increase the price to the producer we might be inclined to agree with him, but he has made no suggestion. He has merely touched the fringe of all these matters and left us thinking. The Deputy also told us that the Government forced certain schemes on public authorities. The implication, of course, was that these schemes were absolutely useless to public authorities and, as a result, that the rates were increased. We all make our investigations, and, of course, when the Government are blamed for those things Deputies on these benches have to accept the responsibility. In making our investigations we did not come across any of these forced schemes. Any schemes which local authorities were invited to adopt were schemes which were discussed in the Dáil. They have emanated from the Dáil in the first instance, and many Fianna Fáil Deputies are loud in seeking for these new services. The Deputy might argue, for instance, that some county councils are not particularly anxious about appointing county medical officers of health. I think any Deputy with any responsibility must agree that such appointments are very desirable. For years we have been waiting for such appointments to be made.

The Deputy also complained that the grants made out of the Relief Vote are not sufficient to warrant local authorities carrying out various schemes. I do not think there is any serious complaint under that heading. Any local authority ought to be very pleased to get a free grant of 30 per cent. towards the carrying out of sewerage or water schemes or any of those important services which are absolutely essential. A 30 per cent. free grant out of the tax-payers' money should not be lightly turned down. It is something which local authorities appreciate. When we see the advertisements published in the newspapers seeking tenders for the carrying out of these schemes, which are long overdue, it is evidence that local authorities are quite satisfied with the 30 per cent. grants.

These are the main points that Deputy Ryan touched upon. He merely hinted at these things and had not the courage to tell us how the Government was to effect these economies. I think he suggested that a reduction in Army expenditure, or something of that kind, would enable the farmers to be subsidised or enable de-rating to be given to them to some extent. Deputy Ryan might have suggested that the county councils might make their own investigation and do what the Commissioner in Kerry has done. He has reduced the estimates for the coming year by £20,000 for the same or better services. Deputy Ryan might have suggested to the Government that they should indicate to the county councils that such retrenchment was necessary. If he did he would be doing something practical. We have some 27 county councils in this country, and 27 times £20,000 would be a very big sum saved in one year to go towards the relief of farmers' rates.

How much would Cork save?

I suppose £20,000. Deputy Ryan might also suggest that the Land Commission should deal with the derelict farms all over the country, and in that way reduce the rates on the farmers who are working and who are inclined to pay their debts.

Mr. Hogan (Clare):

How would he deal with them?

We are not dealing with that now. It is only a suggestion, but if the Deputy wishes I am prepared to discuss it very fully on another occasion. These are suggestions which Deputy Ryan might make. He has not made any constructive suggestion. I merely intervened to see if I could get from him or any of his colleagues some practical suggestions that Deputies on this side could appreciate.

In this Vote on Account we are proposing a definite reduction. I had hoped that when this Vote came on we would hear some statement on economy from the Chairman of the Economy Committee which has been sitting for the last four or five years, but never yet gave a report to this House. We have heard some underground statements that the Committee appointed by this House has been reporting from time to time to the Minister for Finance and making suggestions for economy. I think these suggestions should be made to the House so that we might know where the economies were taking place, and that some definite token would be afforded us here of the economy at the top and bottom and in the middle that the Minister for Agriculture spoke about some days ago. I happened in my leisure moments last week to go into these Estimates, and I found that there is paid on salaries of over £400 a year a cost-of-living bonus of over £326,000. I had to go at great length into the Estimates to find that out. I had to go page by page through estimate after estimate, and to take out each salary and the amount of bonus which each salary carried, and I found on basic salaries of over £400 a year the sum of £326,000 was paid in cost-of-living bonus. Could there not be some economy effected there? What is the reason for all these enormous salaries? I shall tell the Minister, though of course he does not like to hear it. What happened? We had a whole horde of people shoved in here after 1923, and we had to find positions and salaries for the whole of them. There was a position say that would carry a salary of £700 a year. But there were fourteen applicants for the position, with the result that the shoe-black of that position had to get the same salary as the man at the top, or a position equivalent to that of the man at the top, in order to give him the same salary. That is why we, in a small State like this, have to find something like £21,000,000 in the Estimates. No attempt at economy has ever been made. Will the Minister for Finance seriously suggest that a man with £1,500 a year must get a cost-of-living bonus to help him to rear his family, and will he seriously suggest that that should be carried on at the present time? Who is paying these salaries? I asked Deputy Heffernan, if, in his four years wanderings through the Departments, he has ever asked himself that question? Was it ever suggested that a man with £1,500 a year was not able to live on it, and that he should have tacked on something like £200 a year more for fear his poor family would go hungry? Fancy a man with £1,500 a year getting £4 a week more for fear his family would go hungry.

We had Deputy Good telling us that he approved of paying standard rates of wages for workers. Yet Deputy Good is one of those who applauded the maximum wage in this House of £1 9s. 0d. a week to the working man with a wife and family. But the poor fellow with £1,500 a year in order to prevent his family from starving has to get £4 a week more. That is the Cumann na nGaedheal Government as we see it in the Estimates. Surely there could be a saving and a very definite saving under this head where there is £326,000 paid as cost-of-living bonus on salaries of over £400 a year.

We had Deputy Hennessy talking about great things done through the country by the grant of 30 per cent. of the expense of water and sewerage schemes. That matter was gone into fairly fully here a fortnight ago on the Public Expenses Bill. It was pointed out at that time who it was that gained by these new water schemes. I gave the Minister for Local Government a concrete case. I pointed out that a board of health, of which I was a member, was asked to pass an estimate for a sum of £1,950 for one of these water schemes for new houses built at a cost of £1,200 each. These houses would only be occupied by a medical officer of health with £1,000 a year, or some other official like him, and the unfortunate farmers were to pay something like 2½d. in the £ to provide water for baths and cooking for these gentlemen with £1,000 a year to live in these houses built at a cost of £1,200. We are supposed to go down on our knees and than the liberal Government of Cumann na nGaedheal for giving us 30 per cent. of the cost. The remaining 70 per cent. is to be dragged from the unfortunate farmer who with his donkey and cart has to draw barrels of water over a half-mile or more to water his cows. That is what we are told by Deputy Hennessy who apparently, whatever period he has spent in rural areas, has still a town mind and cannot see beyond that.

Surely there can be some economies effected. Surely when we see that the Governor-General gets £252 for a Grand piano in addition to £26,000 a year, there could be some economy. In addition let us look at the sum of £216,000 given for bribery, some of it without the sanction of the Dáil at all, and following that the £25,000 for the head stones for gratitude on the part of our Government. Surely there must be some room for economy. Let us examine the conditions of the people who have to be paid this money, and see whether they can afford this enormous expense. Then perhaps we will see exactly where we are.

The farmer tills his land, and the more he tills the more he loses. We have the advice of our excellent Minister for Agriculture that we should grow grain not for sale but to feed our cattle. But if I go into the local markets I can buy oats for £5 a ton. It will not pay me to grow oats and to pay rent and rates at £3 an acre in order to put an acre of that ground under oats and sell it at £5 per ton, after paying for seed. Why should we till at all? Why not allow the whole country to go back into ranches again? Is the unfortunate farmer who has his family working as unpaid labourers on the land to be held up as the only basis of taxation in this country?

I will give the Minister a small illustration. I will take the case of the county medical officer of health receiving a salary of £1,000 a year. He contributes to the local services solely on the valuation of his dwelling-house. The valuation of his dwelling-house might be only £20 a year. So that he contributes out of his salary of £1,000 a year only on a valuation of £20. The farmer with an income of £1,000 a year would be paying rates on a valuation of £2,000. Still we have the position made here that the farmer must contribute for the social services. I have looked down through this Estimate. I have seen no relief for the farming community beyond what they got last year. That is a matter which I hope we will have an opportunity of discussing in this House next week on our Motion to give back some portion to the farmer of what has been robbed from him.

Going through this Estimate and examining it, we know that under the Treaty the country is supposed to pay £10,000 a year to the Governor-General. What Treaty obligation is there to pay him £25,800 a year? What obligation is there on the people of this country to pay him that large sum? Surely a man with £10,000 a year ought to be able to pay his servants, his cook, his butler, and he ought to be able to stamp their insurance cards. But even the stamps for the cards are provided by the State. Then we must present him with a new motor car every year and a special piano at a cost of £262. Surely a man with £10,000 should be able to buy a piano. It is the same all along the line—gross extravagance. I know the rut into which the Executive Council have got. The Executive Council got into a very definite rut when they started out to find highly-salaried positions for all their friends and for all the friends of their friends. Having got all these high-salaried positions for them they are now in the position that they are hung up trying to find other positions for some of them who have lost their jobs from time to time. They are trying to buy off some of them.

That sum of £216,000 which was discovered by the Comptroller and Auditor-General some months ago happened to be the purchase price that a certain number of them got from the Government for getting rid of them temporarily. If there was any hope or if we saw any serious endeavour on the part of the Executive Council to stand up to this matter and say that in a country like this a man's services are worth only so much to the country, and are not worth any more, there would be some hope then.

If we saw the Executive Council setting a limit and then working down from that we could understand their viewpoint. But they say: "Oh, he is a great man, he is a superman, you could not pay him for his services." We have any number of supermen; we have one superman here who is the Chairman of an Economy Committee and who is also in charge of the Department of Posts and Telegraphs. How he is able to do all that work I do not know, but I know that one of the results of this superman's job is that there is no report from the Economy Committee after four or five years. I would like to see some results from the work of a superman. When people come in here to this House as elected representatives, sent in by a certain section of the community, something should be heard from them about that section of the community. We have seen the leader of the Farmers' Party completely silent here while an important Land Bill was going through this House. He proposed no amendment to any section, and not a word did he contribute. We have seen his silence here on other things. We have heard wild statements from him down the country once in a while.

That is not relevant to the Vote on Account.

I am digressing slightly. I am just pointing out now the value of supermen who are paid enormous salaries here and who are worth nothing. As a matter of fact, I think if we presented them to some place it would be a good way out. We have clause after clause and section after section here which I think work out very badly for the country. I do not hear any comment from Deputy Michael Hennessy with regard to the present position of the Haulbowline Dockyard. We have what I might call white slave labour at present there. I do not know who has been appointed by the State as caretaker of Haulbowline Dockyard, where men are paid fourpence an hour for their services, and where, if my informants are correct, the machinery that was taken over by the State is being broken up or being shifted away quietly by whatever Jewman has got hold of Haulbowline. But we have no comment from Deputy Hennessy, who lives in the town of Cobh quite adjacent to Haulbowline. A great industry was started in Haulbowline by the State——

The Deputy can deal with that matter on the Estimate.

Yes, I will have such an opportunity on the Estimate, but I was hoping there was some use in pointing out to the Executive Council that the people who have to pay those salaries are facing absolutely unjust taxation at the moment. One business, and one business only, is being taxed for supplying local service. That is unjust. There is no getting away from that. But the Government has, for a number of years, got away with it because those who were sent in here to represent them sat silent and gagged by some means into which it is better not to enter just now. It is time that the farming community got relief, and very definite relief, from those charges that should never have been imposed on them. During the past twelve months the rates on the farmers have been increased by eleven pence in the £ by these proposals brought in here. By the new proposals in the Vocacational Education Act they are eventually going to be taxed 6d. in the £. The Bill brought in by the Minister for Agriculture is going to tax them 2½., and the Bill that was introduced by the Minister for Local Government and Public Health will tax them 3d. in the £. The farmer's business is the one business that should not be taxed at all. The official with a salary of £950 or £1,000 should be made bear his share of the burden. Why should the farmer's business be compelled to pay for the upkeep of the asylums and the roads? Why should not the claim be made against the official who gets off scot-free?

The Deputy must keep to the matter before the House. Rates are not imposed on the farmers under this Vote.

I will confine myself to this as well as I can.

The Deputy has not been very successful so far.

I am pointing out that the burden laid on the shoulders of the farmer by this Assembly is a burden that he should not be made bear.

Rates for vocational education are not laid on the farmers under this Vote.

It is a new burden that has been laid on the farmer, but the biggest burden of all is that we have in this country unfortunately a Government which lays down two special rates and is causing a definite cleavage between one class and another, one for the official who has a barbed wire entanglement around him—"You shall not touch me;" an official with £1,000 a year gets £219 of a bonus for fear his family would go hungry, and an official with £1,500 gets £199 13s. in addition for fear his family would go hungry, and that from a Government which lays down that the maximum wage of a man on road work is to be £1 9s. 0d. per week. If that is government of the people by the people for the people, then may God protect the people from it.

There is one Department about which I would like to get some information; that is the Department dealing with the repayment of the Dáil Eireann Loan. I was told, in reply to a question last week, that the cost of the staff in that office was £17,000 since repayment began. There was a question put down by Deputy MacEntee last week seeking information as to how much money was being claimed over and above what had been actually subscribed, and as to what was the risk of overpaying. It is probably five years since this office was set up. We all realise that there were certain difficulties, but I think plenty of time has elapsed in which to pay all these claims or to give a decision as to which claims should be allowed and which claims should not. I suggest that it is not an economical way to handle the situation, to continue paying a staff at the rate of about £4,000 a year. I wonder are we going to save £1,000 or £2,000 in excess payment at a cost of £4,000 a year? The Minister could not tell me, in reply to a supplementary question, as to whether it would take six months or two years to settle all the claims. He said he would be safe in saying that it would be all done within ten years. He could not give me any idea as to whether or not there would be some finality about this matter. It is a question that affects my constituency very largely, as in practically the whole of North Roscommon nothing has been paid. Deputy MacEntee could not get the information. The Minister said it would take too much time. If there is no risk of paying more than £1,000 or £2,000 over what was subscribed, I think it is very poor economy to spend £4,000 a year on the staff in that office.

I would like if the Minister could give us some indication of what the risks are of paying too much. I think in some cases people mixed up what they paid to some other fund with the Dáil Eireann Loan. They made genuine mistakes, but there is great dissatisfaction over the way in which the matter is being dealt with. I was surprised to hear the statement that £17,000 had been paid on staff alone. I think that is a point we should get some information on.

The Deputy could get that on the Estimate.

Mr. Boland

I think there is a case there for saving. It is very false economy to continue to pay £4,000 a year.

Mr. P. Hogan (Clare):

I am anxious to discuss, as clearly as I can, with a view to extracting from one of the Ministers some statement as to their policy, the questions of unemployment and housing. We do not think that the present administration has any reason to ask us to vote this large sum of money until they give us some earnest that they are serious in endeavouring to make at least some attempt to solve both the housing and the unemployment problem. It is for that reason, that we do not think they have justified the trust that has been placed in them, that we are voting for this amendment to reduce the Vote. The Government knows, from information at its disposal, that there is a very large housing problem, a problem which is responsible to a great extent for a great deal of the disease and ill-health that prevail in certain districts, not alone in the slumland of the city, but in the slumland of the country towns of the State. Repeatedly here it has been brought before the notice of this administration that there are in various unurbanised towns slums that should not be allowed to continue, slums where people are endeavouring to rear families under conditions that are not at all what they should be; repeatedly the present administration has been asked to afford cheap money to local authorities so that they might put up houses in such a way that people could secure proper accommodation for themselves and their families.

We have been promised a Housing Bill. We do not know what is in it. We do not know whether facilities will be afforded, by long-term loans or cheap money, to deal with unurbanised towns. It is one thing to talk about urbanised towns, to talk about cities where there are authorities in immediate contact with this problem, such as the Dublin Corporation, the Cork Corporation, or the urban councils of the various towns where that problem exists or where commissioners are administering, where they come in contact with the problem daily, but it is another thing in the widely scattered rural districts where there are towns that are not urbanised, where there are back lanes and back streets with low, damp, ill-ventilated houses which are hotbeds of disease and which are responsible for half of the pulmonary diseases that ravage this country at the present time. We would like to know from the Minister for Finance—possibly I would get a more satisfactory answer from the President—what does the present administration propose to do to remove that blot from the social fabric of this State. They cannot say that they do not know of it; they know it well. It is a social disgrace at the present time. Until the Government show some earnest that they are prepared to tackle that problem those of us who are in contact with the problem—and we do not want to make Party capital out of it—are not satisfied that the present administration are taking due cognisance of its duty to a very large section of the citizens of this State. In my own county, in unurbanised towns I know there are hundreds of houses that are not fit to live in. I am not talking about the two urban districts of Kilrush and Ennis, but of other towns and villages in the county. We want to know what is the Government policy in regard to allowing boards of health to finance schemes that will enable houses to be put up at an economic rent so that these people can afford to live in them and so that they can remove from the present hovels in which they are living. That is one of the problems about which we would like to hear from the Government, and it is because of their failure to face that problem that we are going to vote for Deputy de Valera's amendment. There is another problem, and it is a problem to which we have been endeavouring to get the Minister for Industry and Commerce to face up. He tells us glibly on several occasions—I am sorry to say that I use the word "glibly" with deliberation—that, so far as other States are concerned, we are favourably situated in regard to unemployment, that we have not a large amount of unemployment, comparatively speaking.

I put a question to the Minister for Industry and Commerce to-day in order to try and extract some information as to the position of unemployment, so far as he can gauge it, in this State. I framed the question with the object of getting the maximum amount of information, and he told me that the live register on the 9th March, 1931, showed a total of 26,511 unemployed. I also asked him up to the latest date on which information was available, what was the number of unemployment insurance books that were lodged in the unemployment exchanges, and he said that up to the 19th January, 1931, the number was 33,419. I cannot compare these figures effectively, because they deal with different dates, but the point I want to make is one which the Minister for Industry and Commerce ought to consider seriously. There is clearly a discrepancy between the number of people on the register and the number of unemployment insurance books lodged in the exchange.

What happens is that a man who ceases to be employed, lodges his book in the unemployment exchange, and registers. While he is entitled to draw unemployment insurance benefit he registers, but when he ceases to be entitled to benefit he ceases to register. Why should he line up in a queue to sign his name? His book remains in the exchange until he gets employment again. The number of books in the exchanges on the 19th January, 1931 was 33,419, and I think I am entitled to take it that on that date the number of unemployed people was 33,419, people who were entitled to benefit. What about the people who have not sufficient stamps to entitle them to get benefit? What about the thousands who do not pay unemployment insurance? They are not calculated. The Minister asked us on several occasions—Deputy Davin quoted figures to-day—to disprove his figures. I have gone to the extent of endeavouring to find out what is the amount of unemployment in the town in which I live. I have not the exchange figure. It is given as Limerick.

I find that in Ennis in December last year, the figure was 101. I find that on careful examination by people who know the district the total number of unemployed on the list prepared—it can be examined by the Minister or by any of his responsible officials—was 232. The unemployment exchange district is not co-terminous with the town. It is much larger. There are other districts, such as Clarecastle, Quin and the surrounding districts, included in the 101 but not in the 232 which shows that the number of unemployed would be nearer to 300 or 400 in that particular district. That is the Minister's method of meeting unemployment figures. On the Estimates I find a considerably reduced amount for relief work. In order possibly to justify that, the Minister counts heads in such a way as to prove that the Vote is sufficient to meet distress consequent on unemployment.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce is not here, though I hoped that he would be, and I suppose that we will have an opportunity of raising this matter when his Estimate comes up. The fact is, however, that he has not faced up to the unemployment problem or to a calculation of the number of people unemployed, and if you want to solve a problem you must know something about it, its extent, and how far it has eaten into the body politic. The Minister for Industry and Commerce has taken no steps to discover how many persons are unemployed. His figures go to show conclusively that the information which he gives to the people when making speeches in the country, such as he made in Limerick, regarding unemployment, is not accurate, but he proceeds to deal with the problem on the basis of figures which he works up on the live register. On the matter of housing, which is a social scandal and which should be treated immediately by the Government, we find no indication that they are dealing with it so that people who want houses will get proper houses to live in, or that public bodies will get loans on terms which will enable such houses to be provided. On the question of unemployment the Minister has made no effort to acquaint himself with the full extent of the problem, and the Government are unable to make any effort to solve it. These are two reasons—there are others, of course,— which are sufficient to induce anyone with any sense of responsibility to his constituents and the citizens at large to vote for Deputy de Valera's amendment.

We have been discussing a Vote of £7,843,000 which is going to be extracted from the wages of the workers, from the earnings of the farmers, from the profits of the manufacturers and from the pockets of every one of our citizens. It is going to be wrung out of the very necessities of our people, and yet the debate on this motion bears as much resemblance to a serious discussion as an exhibition of shadow-boxing would bear to a prize fight. There have been no spokesmen from the Government Benches to defend this proposed expenditure. The President was present during the debate and remained silent. The Minister for Agriculture was present during the debate and remained silent. The Minister for Industry and Commerce was present during the debate and remained silent.

With the exception of Deputy Hennessy who stepped into the bearna baoghaol, there does not appear to be a single member of the Government, or of the Party which supports the Government, who is prepared in the present circumstances of the country and the condition of our people to defend this Vote in the House, not even the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, Deputy Heffernan, who was Chairman of the Economy Committee. Deputy Heffernan in a debate like this certainly believes in showing an example in economy. He is very economical—in words. Not even he is able to rise in the House and give reasons why, though people are becoming daily worse off, though the roll of unemployed is growing, though the aggregate of our internal and external trade is diminishing, not even he who has gone through all these Departments, who has tried to wield the pruning knife wherever extravagance has been found. has been able to get up and give grounds which would appeal to reason and common sense why this Estimate should be passed. Deputy Heffernan of the Independent Farmers' Party, whom he used to lead—the leadership is now handed over to the Parliamentary Secretary, who acts as the chief Government Whip in this House— Deputy Heffernan as Chairman of the Economy Committee, and the Farmers' Party with which he is allied, have shown during the past four years that, as I said once before in this House, they exercise about as much influence upon Government policy as a handful of hayseeds would upon a telegraph pole.

The one thing that must strike any listener to this debate is its sterile unreality. Yet the subject is the most important that arises in this House. The whole basis of our national well-being is sound finance. Only upon it can a happy and prosperous State be built, with comfortable homes and contented people, and the price of sound finance is unceasing, vigilant and searching criticism, criticism not only from the Opposition Benches, but also from the Government Benches. When the Government Party is reduced to the position that it cannot even command the voice of one of its Deputies in support of its policy of extravagance in this House, then it is time that the Deputies who, because they disagree with the extravagant policy of the Government, have failed to defend it, should do their duty to their people and refuse any longer to support a Government in whose policy obviously they do not believe.

The first thing I should like the House to do would be to consider first of all the Estimates, and to remember that even though they amount to £21,921,000, they do not by any means represent the total of our proposed expenditure during the coming year, because, in addition to the Estimates which are set forth before you and which the House will have an opportunity of discussing in detail later on, in addition to the £21,921,000, which is provided for what are called Supply Services, over which this House has control, and which it may renew from year to year, there is an additional sum of about £4,600,000 during the current year which has also to be paid out of the Central Fund and which, like the money provided for in the Estimates, has also to be raised by taxation and out of ordinary revenue. Therefore the total cost of the administration during the coming year, as the Minister for Finance foreshadows it, will not be £21,900,000, the sum he has indicated, but will be something in the neighbourhood of £26,521,000.

May I draw attention to the fact that there is not a quorum present?

House counted, and twenty Deputies being found present,

The Deputy may proceed.

I hope that when this incident is reported in the newspapers, as it will be reported, due emphasis will be laid on the fact that there were not twenty Deputies present in the House when a proportion of a Vote of twenty-six million pounds was being discussed.

Mr. Sheehy

Seven millions.

A proportion of a Vote for twenty-six millions was being discussed. Even if it were only for seven millions, do you think that the farmer, who is so hard pressed at present to pay his land annuities, or the farmer who is going to be taxed to pay £1,100,000 odd during the coming year by way of pensions to ex-R.I.C. men, will feel any happier when he knows that when a proposal to authorise an expenditure of £7,800,000 was under discussion there were only seventeen people in the House, and that amongst these seventeen people there was not even one member of the Independent Farmers' Party?

What about the amount paid for the blowing up of the bridges?

We are listening to a neolithic Deputy. He is going back to the stone age.

You would not blame us for the dam that collapsed on the Liffey this morning?

I was emphasising that the total cost of government in this country during the coming financial year will be 26½ million pounds. The first thing I suggest the House ought to do is to relate that proposed expenditure to probable income. In that connection the first thing I think to note is the fact that during the past four years our revenue has been static.

In 1927-28 the revenue from taxation amounted to £24,123,000; in 1928-29 it amounted to £24,221,000, and in 1929-30 it amounted to £24,172,000. Now I am sure that all the Deputies have realised the significance of the fact that the variation from year to year in the revenue has been very slight indeed. The correspondence between the current year and the year preceding is even more remarkable because, on the 8th March, 1930, the total revenue received from taxation was £27,348,675, and on the 7th March, 1931, the revenue was £22,348,945. Apparently in 1930-31 there will be exactly the same revenue as for 1929-30. Now some people might say we have something to be thankful for in that connection. Under other Government the revenue tends to increase. Under our Government the revenue tends to decline, and they will say this must be a beneficent Government since it lightens the burdens upon our people. The Minister undoubtedly last year did decrease the burden upon a certain section of our people. There was a remission, I think, in the tax upon champagne. But this was more than compensated for from the point of view of the agricultural labourer and the manual labourer in our cities to-day by the fact that in 1928-29 there was an increase in the tax on sugar, which brought in £185,000, or ought to have brought in that amount. There was a tariff on woollens which brought in £88,546, and a tariff on butter, which this year will bring in something like £40,000. The total additional revenue which the Minister ought to have derived from his additional taxes was £313,546. Therefore if this had been a normal country progressing economically in a normal way, if we had even enjoyed average prosperity our revenue from taxation, instead of being static, as it has been, instead of remaining at the one dull level during all the past four or five years, ought to have shown an increase of something like £313,546.

Instead of that, even though the Minister has given an additional turn to the screw, year after year he has not been able to extract any greater flow of juice from the wine press. The taxpayer in this country is speedily approaching the condition of a sucked orange. There will be soon nothing left for the Minister to do but to throw him away, because there will soon be nothing more to be got out of him.

The next thing to be considered is that this burden, which the figures I have put before the House indicate, is already more than the country can bear, is being borne by a declining trade. During the twelve months ending the 31st December, 1929, the total internal and external trade of this country amounted to £109,172,000. During the twelve months ending the 31st December, 1930, that trade had declined to £102,470,000. We have had a decline of over seven millions in our total trade, and yet the burden of our taxation remains as it was in 1928-29. Is it any wonder that as a community we are, I believe, no longer paying our way? After the tax gatherer has done with us there is not, I believe, enough to meet our national creditors. According to the figures which were given by the Minister for Industry and Commerce in this House on the 19th November, 1929, our total visible and invisible exports amounted to £67,610,000, and our total visible and invisible imports amounted to £73,400,000, so that on the trade for the year 1929 there was an adverse balance of £5,790,000 which we are unable to pay for out of the produce of our labour, because our Government takes too much from us. It is rather a significant fact if you consider the amount paid away in the ultimate financial settlement for which the Minister for Finance was originally responsible, that it is enough almost to meet our adverse trade balance. If we were able to retain in this country the moneys paid away under that agreement we would be solvent from year to year and our position would certainly be much better off than it is.

So far as the adverse trade balance is concerned this is going to be very different from our revenue. It is not going to remain static. That £5,790,000 worth has got to be paid for somehow. I believe at present it is being paid for by the realisation of our investments abroad. We derive an appreciable income from such investments, and as we realise them that income is going to dwindle from year to year and the adverse trade balance is going to increase. Therefore the only way to meet our commitments abroad is to secure such economies in administration at home as will enable the ordinary citizens of this country, whether farmers or manufacturers, to meet their commitments to foreign creditors—our farmers, indirectly through the shopkeepers, have commitments to foreign creditors. We are dependent on foreign manufacturers for farming implements, workshop machinery and for cement and other building material, and unless there is such a searching investigation in all the Government Departments as will reduce waste and extravagance, whereever found, we will be unable to maintain our social services and present standard of living for the general body of our citizens.

The Minister for Finance, who again is not in the House, is one of those superior persons, afflicted with that superiority complex which is one of the weaknesses of the Government. They never think that the criticisms of their opponents are worth listening or replying to. Possibly the general election will awaken them to the fact that it would be better to have treated these criticisms a little more seriously. The Minister for Finance is an inveterate political joker. Among his other side-lines, a relic of former days when he was a Republican, the Minister is, I believe, the principal propagandist for the Press. You read an interesting statement in your daily newspaper with the caption "Balancing the Budget," that the drive of the Minister for Finance for savings in every direction during the past three or four weeks seems to have converted a prospective increase in the cost of the general services, officially known as the Supply Services, into a decrease. I might try to transpose a biblical quotation. We know that though the hand is the hand of the journalist, the voice is the voice of the Minister for Finance, that he is responsible for this propaganda which is devised to delude the people of this country into the belief that the Minister for Finance has been making a desperate attempt in order to balance his Budget.

I referred earlier at the opening of my speech to the statement that our expenditure was £26,500,000. Our revenue to meet that expenditure last year amounted to £24,172,000, so that, instead of the Minister for Finance balancing his Budget—notwithstanding those tremendous drives of his, and that he is out for saving in every direction, drives which remind me of Pier Gynt's drive to the castle east of the sun and west of the moon, and are mere phantasies of the Ministerial imagination—we have actually a deficit of over £2,283,000 What is the consequence of that? The consequence is that because of these recurring deficits which have been most noticeable features of the Minister's Budget every year, the cost of debt charges has been steadily going up, until in the current year I expect they will amount to £2,142,221. That money has to be provided before a single penny piece can be found for the social services. Though the Minister has been increasing the number of taxes, nevertheless there is less money available for the social services. The figures which I have given emphasise the need for economy. I think they prove that the case which Deputy de Valera has made —that there should be a committee consisting of members of the House set up to inquire into the whole administration of the public service is an unanswerable one in the present condition of the country. I know that if the President were here he would tell us how prosperous the country is. The President is a confirmed believer in auto-suggestion. He is the Mary make-believe of Irish politics. He lives in a world of unreality, moving about from place to place surrounded by a handful of prosperous people. He believes that the whole condition of this country is prosperous. If he had to go to the country as we go, week after week, not to meet prominent people, not to meet the few prosperous business people in every town, but to meet the mass of the people, whom we see Sunday after Sunday coming out of country churches, those who have to toil and moil from morning to night, and ask them their opinion, whether they enjoyed prosperity, he would know, as we know, that there is more hardship and more want at present than there has been at any time during the present generation. Even if the President deludes himself, Deputy Sheehy cannot delude himself, Deputy Carey cannot delude himself, and Deputy Connolly cannot delude himself. Everyone of them are shopkeepers. Everyone of them are engaged in trade in their respective constituencies, and they know as well as anyone that it is much harder now to get money out of the farmers and to get them to meet their bills in the shops than it was at any time.

Mr. T. Sheehy

I beg your pardon. I contradict that statement. They have not got to the condition that the Deputy says in my constituency.

I have been down in Deputy Sheehy's constituency. I think the Deputy's constituency embraces the district of Adrigole. Does the Deputy remember what happened in Adrigole three years ago?

Mr. Sheehy

I remember it perfectly well.

Does the Deputy mean to tell me that the same conditions do not persist in that district to-day? If they do not persist, why not? Because the Commissioner who used to administer that district, in accordance with the policy laid down by the Department of Local Government, has long ago been removed, and the district is now administered by men who have more humane instincts——

I think the Deputy ought to get back to the Vote on Account.

——than the puppet who was enthroned there by the Minister for Local Government and Public Health.

The Deputy ought to get back to the Vote on Account.

Mr. Sheehy

There is a Board of Health there that would not let anyone be in want, and I am a member of it. There is no one in want or in destitution who would not be relieved.

I am not saying that the Board of Health is not doing its duty.

Mr. Sheehy

The Deputy is running away with the character of a fine, honest and historic portion of my constituency.

No. I am sorry if Deputy Sheehy misunderstood me. I am perfectly certain that if Deputy Sheehy is a member of the Board of Health no person would be in want and no person would be neglected. I am satisfied about that.

I want to hear Deputy MacEntee on the Vote on Account.

Mr. Sheehy

I will be back here again.

I am sure you will because you do your duty. Do you think the people would have the Commissioner back again? I am glad to hear that the people of West Cork are enjoying prosperity.

Mr. Sheehy

They are in comfort. They are not shouting about their poverty. They are paying their way. They are paying their annuities and their rates, and if the Deputy went down and told them not to pay their annuities they would stone him out of the district because they are honest men.

I suggest to Deputy Sheehy that he should not interrupt Deputy MacEntee.

Mr. Sheehy

I will not. Let the Deputy leave West Cork alone.

It is quite obvious, as Deputy Sheehy says, that the people in West Cork are not parading their poverty and, therefore, he is less familiar with conditions in his constituency than Deputies are of the conditions in other constituencies. In fact, if I may say so, the people of West Cork——

——I am talking about the condition of the country to which this Vote relates. The people in West Cork, particularly those at the bottom, are practising the economies about which the Minister for Agriculture talks. They are practising economy not only at the bottom, but also in the middle, and so far as the people there are concerned we have economy at the bottom and economy in the middle. I was referring to the condition of the country. I am not going to labour the point any more. The conditions are known to every Deputy, and I ask them, with those conditions before their minds, are they satisfied that they are getting value for this £21,920,000, portion of which we are now asked to vote.

I do not see even one member of the Farmers' Party in the House. The Farmers' Party profess to be independent and, therefore, because they are independent of the Government, they are in a better position to criticise extravagant expenditure. They have not the same commitments as Deputy Sheehy, a Deputy who in all loyalty will stand up for his Party, no matter how bad the case may be against them. They are not trammelled with Party ties or Party loyalties. Therefore, if they are independent in a matter like this, where the welfare particularly of the people whom they represent is concerned, one would think they would have a little to say—that they would be able to say here in the House what, no doubt, they have said to Deputy Heffernan, and, since his activity on behalf of the farmers has borne so little fruit, possibly they might in this House be able to persuade the Minister for Finance occasionally to listen to their colleague when he pleads the case of the farmer in relation to taxation. I would have thought that any farmer would have listened with the greatest interest to Deputy Ryan's examination of the present economic position of that section of the community. During that speech Deputy Heffernan was not present in the House. Not a single member of the Farmers' Party was present in the House, not even the ex-member of the Farmers' Party—Deputy Gorey—who so ably put the case of the graziers when the Land Bill was before the Dáil, was in the House when this motion was under discussion. Deputy Gorey is a farmer of that mentality who, if a proposal to strike a rate of ½d. in the £ for the teaching of Irish were before a county council, would probably try to organise a foray into the council chamber in order to defeat it. But, when a mere bagatelle like £7,800,000, the greater portion of which will have to be borne by the farmers, is before the Dáil, Deputy Gorey does not grace the Chamber with his presence. He does not even rise to criticise the proposal or to defend it. So far as he is concerned, and so far as the farmers whom he represents are concerned, he does not take the slightest interest in it whatsoever. Is the Dáil satisfied to vote this money? Are we satisfied that we are going to get value for it, even if we do vote for it? I put down a question to-day to the Minister for Finance, not with any hope or expectation that I should get an answer, but merely in order to see exactly what value we were getting for the money it was proposed to vote. I asked the Minister to state the number of persons in the financial years 1926-7, 1927-8, 1928-9, respectively, from whom a return of income for income tax purposes was required. Mark the simplicity of the question—the number of persons from whom a return of income for income tax purposes was required. Secondly, the number of persons who are assessed for income tax. I also asked a number of other questions. The reply of the Minister was: "As I have informed the Deputy on previous occasions, the income tax statistics are not extracted in such a form as to enable the required information to be compiled." Mark the admission! The Department of the Revenue Commissioners accounts for £681,000, in this Vote, of which £107,636 is to be spent on the Office of the Chief Inspector of Taxes, and £49,000 is to be spent for collectors and assessors, making a total of £156,636 for a Department which cannot even state the number of citizens from whom it requires a return of income and whom it assesses for income. Is not that a rather striking admission as to the manner in which this particular Department is administered? Does it not indicate that, at any rate, the general administration of that Department cannot be efficient? Surely a Department charged with the collection of revenue ought to be able to tell the House how many taxpayers it assesses for income tax purposes. That, you would think, would be a most elementary matter to record on the files of the Department. If it is not, how can this Department check the collection at all? How can we be sure that every taxpayer who is assessed for income tax duly pays his tax? If these figures are not available in the Department, can we be certain that the Department is efficiently and economically run?

The Minister for Finance has admitted that the figures are not available, and the conclusion which I ask the House to draw from this is, that the administration of this Department is so topsy-turvy that if a committee such as Deputy de Valera suggests were set up, real and substantial economies would be made in that Department which would not only save money from the point of view of expenditure, but would also increase the revenue which normally would be derived from the collection of the income tax. That possibly may not appeal to certain Deputies, but it certainly ought to appeal to the Minister for Finance, who stated that the sole purpose of this Department was to get in all the tax they could. The Department does not even know, upon the Minister's own admission, how many taxpayers it assesses for income tax, and its duty is to get all the income tax it possibly can!

Again, take the Army. I am not going to criticise the present Estimates, but we have had it upon the authority of one of the senior officers in the Army, a Deputy whom his colleagues in this House, I believe, hold in the highest esteem, that during the past few years no less than £14,000,000 has been squandered upon the Army. Can any Deputy who has ever investigated the accounts of the Army be certain that the same waste and the same extravagance are not going on to-day as was when Deputy Major-General Seán MacEoin held a responsible command in the Army? Three officers who held responsible positions in the Army state that £14,000,000 of public money was squandered upon the Army, and yet, with that fact before them, Deputy Heffernan, and the Independent Farmers Party which he leads, will walk into the Lobby and vote against Deputy de Valera's motion to reduce this Vote by £1,000,000 until a committee of inquiry is set up to examine and scrutinise the whole system of our administration.

In that connection I would like to deal with the interjection made by Deputy Good. As Deputy Ryan indicated, we welcomed Deputy Good's speech in this matter. We would welcome the criticism of many more Independent Deputies if they took enough interest in these problems and in the well-being of the country to get up and say what they really think in regard to the present system of administration. But I would like Deputy Good, and other Deputies like him who might be inclined to criticise the extravagance of the Government, not to be under any misapprehension. If Deputy de Valera's amendment was carried to-day it would not mean that the public services would cease. The Vote would be reduced by one million odd, but there would still be six millions odd with which to carry on the business of the country. If the amendment were carried, and the Government resigned, then, what would happen? Why it is not so long ago since the Government were defeated in this House and resigned. President Cosgrave emphasised, at the time, that things went on as before. There was no upheaval in business in the country. The National Loan did not even fall in the market. There was absolutely no disturbance in the ordinary normal trend and tenor of our ways. People went to work; clerks went to their offices, bankers went to their banks and, as Deputy O'Connell says, not even a dog barked; the moon rose, the sun shone and went down, the Dublin trams ran, and everything went on exactly as before.

Now if by any chance the Government were to be defeated on this motion, if we were really to inspire the Independent Deputies with a spirit of independence, and if we really could convince them that there was a case for examination, the Government would be defeated, as before, and no doubt this time they would learn their lesson, in due course. If they came back to power we should see an earnest attempt made on their part to meet criticisms directed against them in this Dáil, to make these economies which the country desires which are so vital to the whole community, and instead of being faced with an increasing taxation and an increase of the income tax, because I do not see where else money is to come from, the Minister would be able to come before the House and to present a Budget that would meet not only expenditure classified as normal, but expenditure classified as abnormal, without any increase in taxation, but the possibility of a reduction at the end of the coming year, and the country would be better and happier because at last the Independents in this House had the courage to play an independent part.

Deputy MacEntee, in the early part of his speech, said the debate was marked by a character of unreality. I think the debate was necessarily marked by that, because it was opened by Deputy de Valera, who was followed by other Deputies of the Fianna Fáil Party, with a plea for economy. Nobody in this House who has had experience of the attitude of Fianna Fáil in regard to matters that come before the House could feel otherwise than that the whole matter was unreal when we had that Party pleading for economy. The attitude of Fianna Fáil generally has been to advocate measures that would mean increased taxation, increased State activities, increased administrative expenses, and that would, perhaps, add very much more. If the various policies advocated by Fianna Fáil were adopted by this House, they would add a sum to the cost of running the State very much larger than any economies or reductions that have been suggested by the Deputy or by any member of his Party.

I personally cannot but feel that the suggestions made for cutting down services are suggestions not based on any desire to lighten the burdens of the people, or to assist the economic life of the country, but rather suggestions based on political spite and political feeling arising out of recent history. It is all very well to say that we should have much less expenditure on the police. But those who have gone most closely into the question, gone into it solely with the idea of getting the police work of the country efficiently done, securing that people are protected from annoyance, from petty pilfering, and from the occurrence of serious crime in their areas, have satisfied themselves that it is impossible in this country to modify seriously the police system which is in force.

There are countries where you have the single village constable. There are various difficulties in the village constable system. If we had it here, people would have to be employed specially on some of the work the police do at present. If we had the village constable system it is quite probable we should have to have special people employed for the taking of agricultural statistics from year to year, for the special returns like the census, and for special work like that of school attendance. Much of that work would not be done as efficiently as it is done at present, but, even allowing for that, it might not be cheaper to have the village constable system. We all know very well that, except in some special areas, the police work of the country could not be so done. Historical reasons explain why the position is as it is. If the police work of the country is to be properly done, no substantial change can be made from the present system. There have been reductions in numbers, stations have been closed, and the question of economy is constantly kept in mind in that matter.

As regards the Army, the question of army and military policy is one that I do not think it will be possible to have discussed—in so far as such a thing can be discussed in this House—for some time to come. Discussions upon Army policy, I am afraid, are going to be more unreal than discussions inaugurated by the leader of the Opposition on economy.

There are, perhaps, people in the House who would say that we should have no military forces at all, that we should simply trust to there being not only no open attack on this country, but no situation arising in which, in the absence of military forces, the rights of the people of this State might be disregarded. I am talking now of course from the point of view of external relations. I do not believe that in the present state of affairs in the world it would be safe for any State to be without a certain amount of military defence. It is not that the means of military defence that a small State might provide would be sufficient to defeat the armies of a big State which might conceivably, in certain circumstances, attack, but rather that the means of defence would be such as to make it not a profitable proposition for a big State to carry out the attack.

What exactly it will be possible to do in the way of defence here later on is a matter that I do not think can be now determined. There are systems of military organisation which would be cheap and effective for the purpose for which they would be necessary, but which could not be established at the present time because of the fact that they probably would lead to the reappearance of the chaotic conditions that existed here in the early days of 1922 where men were armed, and where because they had the possession of arms they thought it proper that they should be the arbiters of the destinies of the State, that they should dictate to the civilian population and so forth. But such systems of military organisation might be established at a later date and it might be possible to revise the estimate that one would now make of the money that must be spent on maintaining a military organisation which would serve first for the defence of the majority in this State— would serve to protect for the majority their rights, if assailed by any violent minority whatsoever—and secondly, in so far as the resources of the State permit, protect that State against aggression, whatever from that aggression might take.

While I do not see any grounds for anticipating any attack from the quarters from which Deputies on the opposite benches would suggest that that attack is likely to take place, nevertheless one cannot tell in what circumstances an attack of some sort might be launched against the State.

International complications of various sorts might arise which would produce a situation in which the actual rights of the people of this State would be in danger if they were in the position that any power which chose could do what they liked with the country without any resistance worth talking about being put up by the people of the country.

Apart from the suggestions which Deputy de Valera made with regard to the Army and the police, there was nothing else really except matters of general and in some cases a trivial character in his speech. So far as overhauling the Government machinery is concerned, the present Government did not wait until the Fianna Fáil Party came to lend their assistance to carry out the overhauling of that machinery. We carried out enormous economies. We re-arranged scales of salaries in all directions, and reduced the payment which all sorts of officials had very substantially below the rates of pay that were prevailing at the time of the change of Government. Details have been frequently given in this House as to the changes that were effected in this direction. That is a process which is constantly going on, which must constantly go on and which will never be completed because there is an ebb and flow of work in nearly every branch of a department. The staffing which would be adequate to-day would be inadequate in a year in one place and the staffing which is just adequate now may after a change be more than adequate in a year in another branch.

So it is that the question of supervising establishments has to go on continually. That is a matter in regard to which there has been no negligence since the change of Government. It can be said subject to what I have already mentioned that there is no over-staffing. It may be that in one particular branch because the work has ebbed out in the last few months the changes that are due have not been effected, just as it would be said in other departments where the work has increased the extra staff required to cope with that work has not been provided. Speaking generally there is no over-staffing in Government Departments.

When Deputy de Valera made his remark about a secretary to a secretary and a secretary to him again, the remark, if it were made seriously and not by way of jest, was simply foolish. For instance, in one case I am nominally Minister for Posts and Telegraphs. There is the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs. He is there the Parliamentary Head of the Department. He discharges all the duties of the Minister, and though he will be described in the Estimates as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister, he is at the head of the Department. He will have a private secretary, but to talk about a secretary to a secretary of some other secretary, if it was meant as anything more than in the nature of a jest, is absurd.

There is no putting down work to the lowest in the range. As a matter of fact, if there is any fault in connection with the work in Government Departments it is rather that the work is pushed up. To anybody who has experience of the Civil Service, the fault will not be that the work is pushed down but that it is pushed up. Our whole system of control via the Comptroller and Auditor-General and the Public Accounts Committee causes very often matters that are not of great importance to be pushed up to the Head of the Department. I do not know how it can be avoided if we have to maintain this system of Parliamentary control. Sometimes it arises that the man on high salary has to deal with matters that should not occupy much of his time. At all events our present system does prevent great abuses arising and perhaps great losses of public funds in some corrupt way, but the fault certainly, in so far as it is a fault, is not the fault of somebody who is a highly-salaried civil servant doing no work and getting work done for him by somebody else. Everybody who has experience of heads of Departments knows that they are very much overburdened people and that the strain of work on them is great indeed.

Deputy Good, I think, dealt very rightly with the suggestion that a Committee of the House should be set up to examine Government expenditure with a view to suggesting economies. Such a committee could not possibly do the work, for one thing. Deputies could not be got to give the time to it. It would be work of great length and of a very arduous character indeed. The number of Deputies who would be capable of doing the work in the House would not be very great, and of those who would be capable I doubt whether there would be any who could afford or who would be willing to give the time that would be necessary if the work were to be done effectively at all. When Deputy Good talked of bringing in experts from outside I think he was talking about something considerably different from what the Fianna Fáil Deputies had in mind, something with which a great many people will agree, something about which I am in agreement myself, but I do not think the matter can be remedied. The whole secret of economy lies in services. If you want less expenditure, if you want smaller staffs, if you want cheaper staffs, the way to get them is to cut down the services.

You cannot, by any sleight of hand, have existing services or more extensive services and yet smaller and cheaper staffs. The real way to economy is to cut down services. There are services in existence which, if there had been a Parliament and Government here thirty years ago, would not be in existence to-day, or would never have been brought into existence. They were suitable to English conditions and were applied to the whole of the old United Kingdom, but when it comes to cutting away these services we are up against immediate difficulties, because people have got used to them, and people are prepared to raise a great deal of agitation if there is any attempt to take them away.

A few years ago I was responsible for a proposal to reduce certain services in respect of postal delivery. I found there was so much opposition that I had to abandon the proposal. I am satisfied that the proposal was entirely justified, that the services, while they are of some convenience to the people, are not of such economic advantage as to warrant the expenditure upon them. If they never had been instituted people would have been quite satisfied to do without them, and I believe if there had been a native Government here thirty years ago some of these services would not have been instituted. It may be possible that if we brought in outside experts who would look into the thing coldly and impartially that they would report that these services might be dispensed with or that such services might be reduced, but whether we would be any further when we got that report would be another matter. My own opinion is that the opposition it would arouse, and the slanders which would be given circulation to in regard to the experts would be such that no action could be taken in regard to it. There we have the difficulty.

Fianna Fáil never faces up to the question of economy at all. They have not shown any disposition to do so since they came into the House, and I do not want to go into any history beyond that. As a matter of fact, on nearly every occasion when the question would arise, the Fianna Fáil attitude was that the State should do more, that the State should take this new burden upon it, and consequently staffs should be increased, administrative expenses increased, and taxation accordingly increased. Therefore, to talk about economy when it comes from the Fianna Fáil benches strikes me as being entirely unreal. I, personally, cannot take it seriously. I regard the speeches made in that respect as simply speeches to the gallery, speeches that are delivered for crossroads audiences, having no substance or reality behind them.

Of course we have gone over a good deal of ground and I cannot undertake to deal with all the points that have been raised. I think a great lot of them are proper to the Budget debate and some of them to the debates on individual Estimates. The members of the Labour Party have raised the question of unemployment. The Minister for Industry and Commerce has informed me that on previous occasions he has found that certain unofficial estimates of the number of unemployed in particular districts have been exaggerated. I do not know whether these particular estimates given to-day were prepared with greater care, but I do know that it is necessary to check very carefully indeed any details that may be prepared by some body who is asked to state what is the extent of unemployment in a particular town or locality. Very often people who are not actually working, but whom it is misleading to describe as unemployed are included. You may have people, for instance, who are ill or who are temporarily or permanently incapacitated. I have seen returns in which such people were described as unemployed. You have very often women who have been working, but who have married, who do not intend to go into a factory or shop again, and whose names have been entered on an unemployment list. I have seen cases of ex-British soldiers who had wound pensions being entered as unemployed. Before accepting the figures which Deputies give I would like to know whether they have just been as carefully compiled and checked as they ought to be before they would give us anything to go on.

The question of unemployment, however, cannot be solved by direct Government action at all. I think it is almost true that no matter how many the Government may provide employment for by the initiation of works the position would scarcely be relieved, because in a year or two in the case of those who were given employment, if it was anything like a permanent character, you would find their places as unemployed were taken around the district, because other expenditure out of taxation for the purpose of relieving unemployment has had a greater or lesser effect on reducing employment elsewhere. It is very hard to measure what degree of unemployment is caused by any increase in taxation. It is impossible even to put your finger on an individual and say the last increase in taxation put that man out of work. It, nevertheless, is true that if public burdens are increased certain businesses here and there find it no longer economic to carry on. They find it no longer possible to bear the public burden. Consequently, you have men thrown out of employment. Very extensive Government activity towards dealing directly with the question of employment may lead to no advance at all. It may lead to as many men being put out of employment in other directions because of the increased burdens thrown on industry. Therefore, while it is right and proper in times of exceptional distress to give some exceptional relief that will keep some people working and put some little money into their pockets the idea of the Government providing work directly for the unemployed seems to me to be entirely wrong. We might take the line of going the whole hog-practically State responsibility, but that certainly carries us very much further than deciding to put on a very extensive series of new taxes. It actually carries us into a new system entirely, something that I do not think there is any majority in the House to support. It is recognised, and it has been stated by several Ministers, that the time has come for a new Housing Bill which will not be simply for a year, but which will be for a long period, and which will be in various respects different from the Housing Bills we have had from year to year heretofore.

That Bill is in course of preparation in the Department of Local Government and Public Health, and will be introduced at a fairly early date, because existing legislation expires shortly, and it is not intended that we should be in the position of having to renew that, but rather that we should substitute new legislation for it. Deputy Davin asked whether local authorities should take a particular offer of a loan. If the terms of the loan are exactly as he stated, I would be inclined to think that they should take it. Deputy Good expressed the view that certain methods which we have adopted to get revenue were such as to raise the cost of living. I presume that the Deputy was referring to the revenue obtained from customs tariffs.

Partly.

I do not know to what other source of revenue he was referring. That, of course, is one of the difficulties of the customs tariff: not only do you impose on the taxpayers the burden represented by the amount that comes into the Exchequer, but you impose a further burden on it. If goods are taxed entering the country, that tax represents the price to the trader, and there is a profit taken on the amount of taxation which comes into the Exchequer. The money that goes out of the taxpayers' pockets following the imposition of a customs duty is greater than the amount of revenue obtained, but, on the other hand, the customs tariff is, I think, the most effective way of getting new industries started, or industries which are relatively weak built up.

The Minister will, I suppose, agree that money obtained in that way and at that price has its reactions?

Yes; that is one of the reasons why the Government has refused to be pushed into a policy of tariffs for everything and of giving tariffs to everybody who wants them. That is why we have made arrangements to have every tariff application examined as thoroughly as possible by people who are as impartial as we can find. Several references were made to the Economy Committee over which the Parliamentary Secretary presides. That Economy Committee was not appointed by the House. Deputy Corry is mistaken there. It was appointed by the Government, and while it has not presented a formal report to the Government, from time to time it has drawn attention to aspects of expenditure which it thought would bear revision. As the result of attention which it has drawn to various matters, economies have been effected.

The Committee is now pretty near the end of its work. There are only a few estimates to be examined, and a report will be presented at a relatively early date.

Could the Minister, even now, give us some idea of the number of sittings which that Committee has had, and the time spent on its work?

I could not, but perhaps the Deputy would put down a question.

Will the report be presented to the Dáil?

I think that a report of that nature will have to be published, and will be published; but, naturally, it will be examined by the Government in the first instance.

Would the Minister not think of holding it over until after the General Election?

I did not think of that, mind you. Deputy Boland asked about the Dáil Eireann Loan. The cost would not be as high as he suggested, because the staffs are smaller now than they have been. Recently we have made certain changes in the method of investigation, and we have taken up the line that we will not be quite as strict in requiring proof as we were heretofore. We have made substantial changes, and the result will be that, while we have not made big payments during the last twelve months, we are now reaching a stage when big payments will be made.

Just before the elections.

The Deputy will have to guess about that. We have reached a point where within the next few months there will be very large payments made. Deputy MacEntee spoke about static revenue. One of the difficulties that has faced the Government in most Budgets has been the declining revenue from alcoholic liquors. In some years there was an enormous decline in the amount received from that source. In certain other years there was practically no decline or a trivial decline, but as compared with the position in 1923, the revenue received from alcoholic liquors is very much less. In fact if the same amount were received from that source as was received in, say, 1923, a great many schemes could be carried out without any increase in taxation.

Why not open then on St. Patrick's Day?

I do not think it would do very much. That decline, of course, is substantially due to the high taxation. It is also due to certain changes in habits. Some of those changes are indirectly the result of taxation; others are due to new conditions. For instance, the opening of picture houses all over our cities and towns has tended very substantially to reduce the amount of money spent on alcoholic liquor.

Should there not be compensation in the amusement tax?

No, nothing at all corresponding. The amount of money a man would spend by taking a girl to the pictures would not at all equal the amount he would spend by taking six of his pals into a publichouse.

Is the Minister speaking from experience?

Even the use of the motor car has tended to reduce the consumption of alcoholic liquor. Three or four people very frequently now go in a motor car to a fair and get away home when the fair is over. All sorts of things have contributed to reduce the consumption of liquor as well as the very high taxation, and the high price. That has caused a very great decrease in the revenue which is available to the State. I do not say, taking it all in all, that that is any loss. I do feel that the rapid decline in the consumption of alcoholic liquor has itself caused difficulties and hardships to individuals, and I would not like to see these hardships or difficulties increased. On the other hand, I do think that the country, on the whole, if it does not now drink too much, did in former times drink too much, and that the change to sobriety has been a very good change, but that change has had a great deal to do with what is called the static condition of our revenue.

Before the motion is put, can the Minister say whether it is intended to introduce the Bill for the re-valuation of loans to fishermen? Information has been requested during the past week from the Minister for Lands and Fisheries on this matter, but he has not given it. I have just got a representation that it would be quite useless to go on with the Fishermen's Association until that question is settled, and that the fishermen will not take any interest in any action of that kind until the Bill is introduced.

I could not tell the Deputy when the Bill will be introduced.

Does the Minister honestly believe there is a danger that the family of the poor man with only £1,500 a year would die of starvation if he did not get the £4 per week bonus?

I would not say that there is any danger.

Then would the Minister take away the £199 from him, or does he consider it absolutely necessary that he should get it?

[An Ceann Comhairle took the Chair.]

Question —"That the figures £7,843,498 stand"—put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 65; Níl, 52.

  • Aird, William P.
  • Alton, Ernest Henry.
  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Blythe, Ernest.
  • Bourke, Séamus A.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Brodrick, Seán.
  • Byrne, John Joseph.
  • Carey, Edmund.
  • Cole, John James.
  • Collins-O'Driscoll, Mrs. Margt.
  • Conlon, Martin.
  • Connolly, Michael P.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Heffernan, Michael R.
  • Hennessy, Michael Joseph.
  • Hennessy, Thomas.
  • Henry, Mark.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Galway).
  • Holohan, Richard.
  • Law, Hugh Alexander.
  • Leonard, Patrick.
  • Lynch, Finian.
  • Mathews, Arthur Patrick.
  • McDonogh, Martin.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • Mongan, Joseph W.
  • Murphy, James E.
  • Murphy, Joseph Xavier.
  • Nally, Martin Michael.
  • Nolan, John Thomas.
  • O'Connell, Richard.
  • Crowley, James.
  • Daly, John.
  • Davis, Michael.
  • Doherty, Eugene.
  • Dolan, James N.
  • Doyle, Peadar Seán.
  • Duggan, Edmund John.
  • Dwyer, James.
  • Egan, Barry M.
  • Fitzgerald, Desmond.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Good, John.
  • Gorey, Denis J.
  • Haslett, Alexander.
  • Hassett, John J.
  • O'Connor, Bartholomew.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Mahony, Dermot Gun.
  • O'Reilly, John J.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
  • Reynolds, Patrick.
  • Rice, Vincent.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Sheehy, Timothy (West Cork).
  • Thrift, William Edward.
  • Tierney, Michael.
  • White, John.
  • White, Vincent Joseph.
  • Wolfe, George.
  • Wolfe, Jasper Travers.

Níl

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Anthony, Richard.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Boland, Patrick.
  • Bourke, Daniel.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Broderick, Henry.
  • Buckley, Daniel.
  • Carney, Frank.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Cassidy, Archie J.
  • Clancy, Patrick.
  • Clery, Michael.
  • Colbert, James.
  • Colohan, Hugh.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Corry, Martin John.
  • Crowley, Fred Hugh.
  • Crowley, Tadhg.
  • Davin, William.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • Everett, James.
  • Fahy, Frank.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Geoghegan, James.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Clare).
  • Houlihan, Patrick.
  • Jordan, Stephen.
  • Kent, William R.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick John.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Morrissey, Daniel.
  • Mullins, Thomas.
  • O'Connell, Thomas J.
  • O'Reilly, Thomas.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Sexton, Martin.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Tubridy, John.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Ward, Francis C.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Duggan and P. S. Doyle; Níl: Deputies Boland and Allen.
Question declared carried.
Motion put and declared carried.
Resolution ordered to be reported.
The Dáil went out of Committee.
Resolution reported.
Question—"That the Dáil agree with Committee in its Report"—put and agreed to.