Financial Resolutions. - Customs Duties (Boots and Shoes) (Provisional Variation) Order, 1932.

I move:

That the Customs Duties (Boots and Shoes) (Provisional Variation) Order, 1932, made on the 22nd day of April, 1932, by the Executive Council under Section 1 of the Customs Duties (Provisional Imposition) Act, 1931 (No. 38 of 1931), and a copy of which was laid on the Table of Dáil Eireann on the 27th day of April, 1932, be approved with and subject to the modification that the following paragraph be substituted for paragraph 3 of the Schedule to the said Order, that is to say—

"(3) Twenty-two and one-half per cent. on the value of the article on the following articles, viz., boots, shoes, slippers, goloshes, sandals, and clogs intended for wear by young children and of any size from 7 to 1 (inclusive)."

Resolution No. 5 and the new Financial Resolution referred to in the paper go together. I will explain the situation in a moment. A provisional order was made imposing duty upon boots and shoes in excess of the duty heretofore in operation. The effective difference made was to increase from 15 to 25 per cent. the duty operating upon boots and shoes and we left unaltered the duty on children's shoes and shoes manufactured not of leather but of rubber and other materials. It is intended now to remove entirely the duty on children's shoes up to size 6. That requires the introduction of a new resolution because that duty was imposed by the Finance Act of 1924-1925 and has been in operation since. It is also intended to remove for a period of six months the duty upon the manufactured parts of children's shoes from size 7 to size 1. I will explain the reason for that.

When we were discussing this alteration in the Budget duty, I had certain discussions with the boot manufacturers and it was my intention at the time to ask them to concentrate their activities upon the production of adults' boots and shoes and to leave the market for children's shoes to be supplied by imports so that for a period we could remove the duty on these boots and shoes altogether. Since these discussions have taken place, however, certain people have come along who propose to erect new factories in the Saorstát for the manufacture of children's shoes only. They advert to the difficulty, however, that they would have to train their labour and ask for a period during which that training process will take place. It is proposed to admit free of duty all the cut parts of shoes for six months. At the end of that time the duty will be reimposed on those parts and possibly a duty put on the entire range of boots and shoes and brought up to the present level of 25 per cent. There will then be in existence, we hope, factories engaged in the manufacture of these shoes capable of supplying the greater part of, if not the entire, requirements of the country.

We are also making for the moment no change in the duty on rubber shoes, but again it is only a temporary arrangement, because we hope to have the manufacture of these rubber shoes also undertaken in the Saorstát in the near future—certain discussions in that connection are in progress at the moment—in which case that duty will also be liable to an increase. There is probably no duty among all the duties imposed by the late administration which was more unfairly criticised than the duty in relation to boots and shoes and on some occasions, criticised by those responsible for its imposition.

And by the Opposition of the day.

In order to remove any misunderstandings as to the effect of that duty on the development of the industry I should like to make a brief statement to the House. The duty imposed was a small one, 15 per cent. and the margin of protection afforded to the industry here was not very substantial. It was imposed in April, 1924. At the time there were five boot factories in the Saorstát. One of these was, however, closed and the others were all working short-time. There are now nine factories all working at full-time. When the duty was imposed there were 250 people engaged in the manufacture of boots and shoes here. There are now 1,205. The production of the home factories has increased from 19,666 pairs in 1923, the year before the duty was imposed, to 58,166 pairs in 1930. The confusion which has arisen in the minds of some people in relation to this duty arises out of the fact that the total imports of boots and shoes also increased in that period. They do not advert to the fact that the consumption of boots and shoes has also increased in that period.

I will explain in a minute, why to a large extent that increase——


That increase in consumption has been occasioned by the rise in popularity of rubber boots and rubber shoes. The importation of boots and shoes of rubber, which was only valued at £35,000 in the year 1926, has increased to £100,000 in the year 1931.

Surely the fall in quality has something to do with it.

I do not think so. The Saorstát factories have, up to the present, more or less concentrated upon the production of the heavier type of boot. It appears that the duty of fifteen per cent. was sufficient to swing the balance in their favour in relation to this class of boots, but not sufficient to swing the balance in their favour in relation to the lighter class of boots. It is true that the production of ladies' and children's footwear and of the lighter footwear for men and women has been undertaken, and very considerable progress has been made in that end of the industry, but to a very great extent the English manufacturers met the duty by cutting prices and consequently they were in a position to check effectually any substantial growth in the industry here. The existing nine factories with the existing plant are capable of doubling their output, and we anticipate that that doubling of output will take place almost at once, in addition to whatever new factories may be established. The Department is in touch with various groups who are proposing to engage in this industry. The training of necessary workers will, of course, take some time, and consequently boots will have to be imported for a period despite the duty. It will, however, be some consolation to those for whom price is a main consideration to know that the English boot manufacturers are again proposing to meet the increased duty by cutting their prices still further. The price lists of the English manufacturers which I have seen circulated since the imposition of the new duty all show a substantial reduction in prices, and in some cases the prices were cut to the extent that the same class of boot is being sold here now at a lower price than it was sold at last year. I do not suppose that the English manufacturer will continue that process indefinitely. We do not propose to allow them. It is our intention to develop this industry and to ensure that our requirements in the matter of boots will be met by factories working within the country. Because of the highly-skilled nature of the work and the time that must elapse before an adequate number of workers are trained, that result cannot take place immediately. But it will take place ultimately and employment will consequently be made available for some five or six thousand additional people in this country.

I do not want to give the impression that the boot manufacturers will be able to develop the necessary output immediately, because there has been to a very great extent a forestalling of the duty. Probably this duty has been forestalled to a far greater extent than the duty on any other commodity, and there are very large supplies of boots and shoes of all descriptions in the country at the present time. It is not until these stocks are cleared away that fresh orders of any magnitude will become available for the Irish factories unless the shopkeepers and the customers cooperate and insist upon getting articles of Irish manufacture, in which case the development of the industry will start much earlier.

When I advert to the fact that there has been as yet no increase in prices and that an increase in prices is not anticipated at any time in the near future, I want to utter a word of warning. I am aware that certain shopkeepers in different parts of the country have put up prices unnecessarily, but we are proposing to take power to deal with such people. Jail, in my opinion, is the proper place for them. One glaring example was brought to my notice only this morning. A lady of my acquaintance was charged 2d. more for a grape fruit than yesterday on the ground that the new Government had put a tax on them. Similarly other merchants have put up the prices of different commodities and even have advanced the price of Irish manufactures without justification. Where evidence of such a thing has been brought to my notice I am approaching the manufacturers with a view to the cutting off of the supplies to those merchants immediately, because I certainly think they should not be allowed to exploit the needs of the consumer in that way.

In the course of a few weeks the situation will have adjusted itself, and people will have come to realise that where the prices of particular commodities are increased to them by the retailers it has been done without justification. It would help to that end if Deputies and others got out of the habit of talking about taxes. When people talk about taxes upon clothing, boots or shoes or any other article subject to a tariff, they are creating a wrong impression—they are creating the impression that Irish produced articles are also subject to a tax. This is, of course, not correct and consequently they are facilitating certain dishonest shopkeepers in misrepresenting the facts to their customers and getting exorbitant prices. The changes which we are making in the fiscal list only impose taxation or tariffs upon imported commodities. The products produced in this country are not subject to a tax of any kind, and the prices of them will gradually decline as production increases, and people will be able not merely to help themselves and help their country, but they will also bring about a more rapid fall in prices if, when making their purchases, they insist upon getting Irish products in preference to imported products.

These are just general matters that do not arise altogether out of the Resolution before us. The Resolution proposes to ask the Dáil to approve of the Order made on 27th April for the modification in respect of the parts of shoes—sizes 7 to 1 inclusive—to which I have referred, and the Financial Resolution which will be moved subsequent to it removes the duty upon infants' and children's shoes, sizes 0 to 6, and upon the parts of such shoes, and also removes the old duty upon the parts of shoes, sizes 7 to 1. I ask the Dáil to pass this Resolution.

We had better get this Resolution through in good time, because this is not the proper time to have a debate upon the general matters to which the Minister has referred. I can see the result of adopting this tax, and I deliberately call it a tax, and I am not going to forestall anything I have got to say on other matters later on. We have heard the astonishing statement that certain people have got a remission because of the fact, now recognised by the Minister, that some time has got to elapse before you can get skilled workers in a particular trade.

I am remitting the tax imposed by the late Minister, not by me.

We have got to get skilled workers and the remission is for six months. If the Minister will produce to this House after six months his trained workers, I suggest that there should be a mannequin parade for them at the back of the House. They would be as remarkable as the marvellous heirloom spade that Deputy Corry has told us outlasted six or seven English ones. Six months for the training of skilled workers in a particular branch of industry! I should like to see them.

The Minister was to have given us an answer to the question that Deputy Dillon asked him, but we did not get it in the end. Deputy Gorey, I think, supplied the answer. We can deal with that later. I asserted many and many a time, and was as often contradicted, that one thing you could say had resulted from the imposition of the boot tariff and the criticisms that were passed upon it; that was the general conclusion that there were more boots and shoes being bought by the Irish community than there had been at any time previously. That was an indication I said of a rise in the standard of living, and not in the cost of living, and betokened an increase in general prosperity and that has got to be admitted.

The Minister is very anxious to deal with people who are profiteering, with the people who are making scandalous impositions, and would like to put in gaol the person who charged a lady friend of his 2d. extra for a grape fruit. Why would not a person charge 2d. extra in the last couple of days? Not for the reason given. There is no direct tariff on these things, but does the Minister think that the increases in income tax to 5/- in the £ and in the rental of business premises as well as the increases in all the other taxes put on in the last couple of days are not going to be passed on to such articles as grape fruit? The Minister is learning a very definite and easy lesson in economics if he gets that into his head, and there is going to be no question hereafter of putting people in gaol because certain commodities which are not directly tariffed or taxed have to increase in price. They will increase in price as a result of what has happened in the last couple of days.

Then we had this animadversion to the taxes—the Minister's rather innocent statement to the House that if people would only ask for Irish manufactured articles they would not be charged anything, but his own statement on the spades and shovels Order that we had this morning gives people who want to increase and who have got to increase the price of Irish manufactured articles all the answer that they require for any objector. The whole contention about these tariffs is this: that the Irish manufacturer at the moment has had his home prices depressed on account of the undue competition, or the unfair competition, commonly called "dumping," but never proved to be such. But once dumping is lifted, what is going to be the natural result? The price of the Irish manufactured article is going to go up—there is no reason why it should not—and the Irish manufacturer ought not to be in business if he does not raise the price on any really well-adjusted tariff to the full height of the tariff, just remitting so much of it as will enable him to outsell the person operating against the tariff. But to say that in a tariffed industry, where the tariff has been put on because the stress of competition from outside has depressed the price of the home manufactured article, that the price of that article should not go up when the article which depressed its price has stopped coming in, betrays a complete misunderstanding of the economic position.

The Irish manufactured article is the one that will go up. It will go up definitely and has got to go up. It will go up because these people have got first of all, even if they cut their supposed losses in the past, to sell at what they consider to be an economic price which they considered they were not getting in the past. In addition they are going to pile on a little extra, either by reason of the fact of the putting on of the tariff or as a recognition of their case that their prices had been unduly depressed. Therefore, they have got something recognised as a severe loss and to make up for that they will raise prices not merely by starting anew from the date on which the tariff came into operation, but to get something back of what have been proved and admitted to be losses of an unjustifiable type.

I was glad to hear the Minister for Industry and Commerce defend the increases in connection with the boot industry. If I understand his figures aright there are now employed in the industry 1,205 persons. That includes men, women and children. Formerly, we are told, 250 were employed in the industry. Consequently, we have an increase of approximately 1,000 persons: of men, women and children. According to the figures for last year, we find that in order to provide employment for these additional 1,000 hands the State was taxed to the extent of £254,682. In other words, for every man, woman and child in that industry the cost to the State was over £5 a week.


Is that sound economics?

Might I put this question to the Deputy? What does he think happened to all the money which was collected as a result of the boot duty? What happened to it? Of course, it went into the Exchequer, and went to meet the ordinary cost of Government. If the money had not been raised in that way it would have been raised by means of income tax.

That is quite another question, the proper means of raising revenue which we can discuss on another occasion. But what I am asking the Minister is: does he think it right that every user of boots should be taxed to the extraordinary extent that I have indicated? The Minister says that the tax is not passed on. I am afraid that he must be living in the air.

Read the newspapers.

We all know that the cost of boots in the Free State for children is 3s. in the pound more than what they can be purchased for in Belfast.

What astonishes me is that the Minister will not let this infernal cat out of the bag and let it leap around at its leisure. Obviously, these tariffs are going to raise the cost of living, and there is no use in dancing on a tight rope trying to persuade everybody that they will not increase the cost of living because money has got to be spent to provide the revenue that would have to be raised otherwise. The plain fact is that tariffs are going to raise the cost of living and everybody knows it. The only question is: can this be defended on the ground of emergency? If it can, then let the Government come out and say so. But what I want to say is, that nobody can put up that defence so far as the Financial Resolution imposing a tariff on clogs is concerned. According to the Minister, that tariff is designed to protect the Irish market for a thriving clog industry. Anybody who knows anything about the clog industry knows that it is dying and dying very rapidly. There is a small section, the poorer section of the agricultural community, who use clogs. They use them because they get the benefit of the surplus production of the old Lancashire factories that were designed for the production of enormous quantities of clogs for the Lancashire market. But anyone acquainted with the industry must know that in ten years' time there will be no clogs bought here.

I submit to the Minister that while this tail-end of clog consumption continues, our people should not be deprived of whatever benefit they can get from the purchase of cheap clogs, and these should be specifically excluded from these financial resolutions, now or hereafter, because their inclusion is simply raising revenue in a most undesirable way. I am not going to follow Deputy McGilligan, after his loud protestations that he would not deal with policy at this juncture, into the question of policy, or anything else, but I do think it would help these discussions a great deal if the Minister would come out, plump and plain, and say that these tariffs are going to raise the cost of living, and that he believes it is the right thing to raise the cost of living.

I would ask the Minister to include in this category shoes from size 13 to 1, at least for a temporary period of six months. If I understood him correctly, I think that when the manufacturers appeared before him it was also running in his mind that they should concentrate on the production of rubber goods. We will not open that up now, as this resolution has to go through, but I think that, seeing this tariff will, at least in the immediate future, be a tax on the people generally, with regard to the actual use of shoes, this temporary exception of shoes from size 13 to 1 should be included. That would cover children under 10 years of age, and it should be done, because it is an abnormal burden on the fathers and mothers of families to impose this on them as a tax. If these sizes were included in this exception order for six months, it would give the Irish factories an opportunity of getting largely into the manufacture of this class of shoes, which have, in the past, been made principally abroad. It would be a great boon to the people, and I think the Minister should agree to their inclusion. This arrangement in regard to the size of 7 to 1 is really infinitesimal. It is worth nothing, because these things are made out of cloth, rubber and all sorts of shoddy. Anything will suit a baby who is, most of the time in a pram, and for practical purposes, it is useless. The really effective thing would be to include boots and shoes used by children, from ten years down, at least for a period of six months, until the Irish factories got into a large way of producing these things at an economic price for the public.

I took a note of the Minister's statement in opening this matter, and it has disappointed me, I must say, very much. If I got his figures correctly, he said that the output of the boot factories was increased approximately three times, and he also said, if I took him up rightly, that the staff was increased six times. I am sure the Minister will be able to explain that in some way, but if that statement is given without any explanation, I see very little future for the boot industry in this country.

I wonder could the Minister tell us why this size 7 was selected in this order?

The existing factories are making children's shoes from size 7 up. They have not been making them from 0 to 6. The factories that are at present engaged in the manufacture of children's shoes are proposing to make from size 7 up.

This particular decision to select size 7 as the size where the tariff should begin strikes, especially in the city of Dublin, and I suppose in the country also, the people least able to bear the tax—the poor people. As Deputy McMenamin said, the remission of the tax on these boots and shoes between size 7 and 0 is really very little relief. To increase by sixpence in the lb. the tax on tea will also hit the same people and will come unduly severely, coupled with this increased tax. Perhaps the Minister is not aware that these children's shoes are imported in very large quantities into this country and sold for very small sums of one shilling and two shillings. They are rubber shoes and rubber material mixed with cloth, and so on, and that very cheap shoe or boot was a boon to the poor, especially, as I say, those who cannot afford to meet the increased tax, and I think the Minister should seriously consider the proposal put to him by Deputy McMenamin to extend the size from 7 to some size like 13 to 10, or whatever it would be, but at least to the size at which a poor man sending his child to school up to the age of twelve or thirteen would not be asked to bear this extra tax.

For the information of Deputies, there is no extra tax at all on children's shoes of size 7 up, or on rubber shoes. The old tax is being left unchanged, but we are abolishing the old tax on shoes from size 6 down. There is no extra tax at all on the articles referred to by the Deputy.

There is a tax from size 7 upwards.

The old tax.

A tax of 25 per cent.

No, 15 per cent.

Fifteen per cent. was the old tax.

And is still.

But this is 22½ per cent.

Twenty-two and a half per cent. with a 15 per cent. preferential rate.

The Minister in his remarks referred to new factories, and I sincerely hope that in regard to their policy on new factories the Government is not losing sight of a number of towns in the Free State which will contribute very largely to this new tariff, and that he will see that these places are not neglected when people approach him for sites. The Minister should inform these people that there are other than in Dublin sites available, as they, I am sure, will go to the least trouble to find that out. There are a lot of towns at present which have no industry whatever, and it will require the Minister's constant attention to see that they are not neglected.

I would like to know if the Minister is quite satisfied that these restrictions on rubber goods are a good thing for the national health. I have been told by medical men that these goods are detrimental to the public health. National health is a very important matter in this country, and I am not so sure that you are doing a good thing, from the point of view of national health, in encouraging the wearing of rubber boots or shoes. I have no personal knowledge on the matter, but medical men have assured me that the wearing of rubber, in any form, has a very detrimental effect on health, and if that is so, it is an aspect of which the Government should not lose sight.

The Minister said, to use his own phrase, that more boots had been consumed in Ireland than previously. There are only two reasons for that— that the country has increased in prosperity or that the quality of the boots has depreciated, and considerably depreciated. Some exception was taken here to the term vested interest. I say that any manufacturer who has got a promise of limited competition, and who has a guarantee that certain competition in a particular line would not be allowed, has got a vested interest, signed, sealed and delivered, and there is no question about it. It is all very well to say that there is a promise to erect a factory, or that a factory is about to be erected, but I think that, until a factory is in full swing, the duty should not take effect.

It will not.

I hope that is right, but I accept the Minister's word. If that is the position, my argument is not necessary, but the Minister should insist that no duty would be put on, in any direction, unless a factory was in full working order, and was fairly efficient. People did not mind so much the tariff on adults' boots, but the new tariff on children's shoes has left housewives in an extraordinary position.

I met a lady a fortnight ago who went into a shop to buy boots for children, but she had to come out without buying them as she could not afford to pay the price of the boots for three or four children. This tariff is going to hit very hardly the people as a whole. I do not see any reason why a tariff should be imposed on children's boots of which there is no production in this country. The Minister ought to have some regard for the public.

Deputy Gorey said that there is no reason why this tariff should be put upon children's boots. The fact is that we are taking the tariff off children's boots of a certain size which was imposed by the late Government.

Then the shopkeeper is putting it on.

It was on up to to-day. There has been a tariff upon children's boots and shoes up to a certain size imposed in 1924 by the late administration. As far as boots and shoes from size 0 to size 6 are concerned, we are taking that tariff off.

Then, I think, the Minister ought to open some of the jails and take in some of the shopkeepers.

As far as sizes 7 up are concerned, we are not making a change, but there may be, and probably will be, some decrease in the price of these shoes because we are taking the tariff off the parts of such shoes for six months. On the point raised by Deputy O'Sullivan, I am prepared to look into the advisability of taking the tariff off children's shoes from size 7 up, not of leather, that is, of rubber, and other materials. We will have to consider, however, the reaction of such action upon the leather shoe industry. Deputy Gorey is very keen that we should keep out rubber boots. In that matter, he is in close accord with the boot manufacturers, who are pressing very strongly for an almost prohibitive duty on the rubber boots of various kinds which are coming in from Japan and China at amazingly low prices. I agree that they are bad for health, but I decided to leave that question over for the present, because certain discussions are going on, and we hope to have a factory for the manufacture, if not of rubber boots, certainly of rubber and canvas shoes, established at some time in the comparatively near future. The question of the duty upon rubber boots however, will have to be considered, if the importation of these Japanese cheap rubber boots increases, to any considerable extent, or to the extent that it is going definitely to hit the one end of the leather boot trade which our factories are able to supply. The cheap price of these rubber boots coming in in the same shape as leather boots, although quite cumbersome, may make them a serious competitor to the leather boots for people who are not prepared to advert to the health aspect referred to by Deputy Gorey. There is just one other point. Deputy Beckett referred to figures. I am afraid I left him under a misapprehension. The figures I gave relating to output of Irish factories were for dozens of pairs. The increase was from 19,666 dozen pairs to 58,166 dozen pairs in 1930. That does not affect the Deputy's argument, but I think I left the House under the impression that it was that number of pairs, not dozens of pairs.

Will the Minister state that in another way? What did that production amount to as a percentage of the entire consumption, and what does the new production amount to as a percentage?

Not at the moment. As far as the heavy leather boot is concerned, the boot in respect of the production of which the home factories were effectively protected by the 15 per cent. duty, the factories are probably supplying 50 per cent. at least of the market at present. That does not apply in relation to different classes. The question of a possible segregation of different classes of boots is being examined.

I want to get the figure, because Deputy Norton, I think, completely underestimated the increased production of the home factories since the tariff went on.

Will the Minister say if there will be repayment of any duty already paid on children's shoes?

It is repayable.

Will there be any repayment?

The Resolution says: "That any duty which has been paid before the passing of this Resolution on any article which is exempted by virtue of this Resolution from such duty shall be repaid."

Any duty paid on these children's shoes that are now exposed for sale will be refunded?

No. When we made the Provisional Order we could not remove this duty. Any duty which was paid, and which would not have been paid if the Order originally made had contained the modifications which we are now putting in, will be repaid.

It is a little bonus to the shopkeepers. I do not suppose the customers will get it.

Why should they not? After the incitement from Deputy McGilligan to the shopkeepers to raise prices, we are going to have the jails quite full.

Does the Minister believe that if the retailer gets back whatever money is to be paid as a result of this modification he is going to seek out the customers and repay them? It is nonsense.

I do not intend to enter at very great length into the fiscal side of this motion, but I think that if anybody ever paid a visit to Messrs. Dwyers' boot factory in Cork and saw the employment that has resulted from the 15 per cent. tariff, they would say that the tariff had been justified. I have been informed by the heads of that firm that from the time the tariff was imposed some years ago the factory commenced to go ahead and prosper. When we take into consideration what would be the result of the shutting up of that factory, and the hands that would be let loose on the City of Cork unemployed, I, for one, look upon the 15 per cent. tariff as being justified. It is a moot question, however, whether the increase of the tariff is necessary when the factory is going at full-time, and when, before the imposition of a tariff, it was working with a very much less number of hands at half-time. I think that the 15 per cent. tariff has justified itself. How far the increase in the tariff is justified is a question which I, for one, think is open to question. When factories prosper on a certain tariff there is no question about it that an increase in the tariff will result in an increase in the price charged by any further factories set up. A point has been raised in connection with rubber boots. Having regard to the climate we have to contend with, I think it is very essential that we should have a large supply of these boots at our disposal. Nothing will conduce more to health than saving our people from wet and cold feet. There is no doubt that there is a very big justification for the manufacture of that particular cheap boot here, or, failing manufacture here, allowing it to be imported.

The Minister has referred to the question of the training of young people. I understand there is a certain restriction on the training or taking of apprentices in these boot factories at present. I would direct the Minister's attention to that particular side of the question. Any new factory set up will either have to import operatives to carry on their work or else any restrictions, no matter how imposed, will have to be removed at once. Reference has been made to the heavy imports of boots after the increase of the tax. These were probably imports of the lighter type of boots used by the younger generation in this country, who are really very much on the increase owing to the stoppage of emigration. They are in favour of a light shoe of that class, and they are not favourable at all to the use of heavy shoes. That would possibly account, in some small degree, for the use of that particular boot and the increased imports of that article not manufactured in this country. I think those who imposed the fifteen per cent. tariff are justified in view of the increased employment that resulted, and in view of the increased output. We have five times the number employed as the result of the tariff, and we have three times the output of boots irrespective of the fact that we have no factory turning out the particular article most in favour in this country. We will probably have another opportunity of discussing this at greater length so that I shall not keep the committee any longer at present.

I think this particular tariff is a very valuable one to discuss in detail. We have got to know a lot of facts about it, and as it has an educational influence as enabling us to consider the effect of other tariffs, I think that we get a lot of light from this particular tariff. Now, as the last Deputy has said, those living in the immediate neighbourhood of the place where employment is given must think the tariff is good. I want to consider the general aspect of the matter for a moment and to go back to the point Deputy Good made. This tariff cost the country last year a quarter of a million pounds roughly. Now whether it were better to raise that quarter of a million by direct taxation, on a certain section of the community, in a way in which every person in the country would have to bear his share, is one separate question, and a very arguable question, and I think a lot could be said upon either side. But it has nothing to do with this particular point as to what this giving of work to a thousand men has cost the country. I see no way of getting over the fact, that in order to give employment to a thousand men, the country had to spend a quarter of a million or £5 a week per man, as Deputy Good has stated. The conclusion to be drawn is that, so far as we can learn from the boot and shoe tariff, the giving of employment by a tariff is an expensive plan.

There was one point made in the debate which was rather interesting. We heard a lot of talk about the increased importation of boots. Deputy Good and Deputy Thrift referred to the increased importation and Deputy Gorey referred to the increased consumption of boots. I suggest the particular reason for the increase has been because of the more inferior article imported compared with what was imported previously. I have seen these imported boots brought home by some of my own men; the moment they went into the wet fields with them the heels fell off and the soles soaked up and they were perfectly useless. What I suggest is that when it is said that we are importing more boots that sell at a lower price, that means that actually more brown paper is being used and less leather.

Deputy Minch wanted to have factories scattered here and there through the country. I wonder had he the permission of Deputy McGilligan for suggesting this decentralisation.

He had not.

I am glad of that. Deputies from the back benches of Cumann na nGaedheal are not prepared to follow Deputy McGilligan's lead as regards one big factory at each port. One other matter I would like to allude to is that of rubber boots. I am very glad to hear that there is going to be a factory started in this country for the production of these rubber boots. I would like to impress upon the Minister that rubber boots are largely used by fishermen who are rather poor men and who are particularly badly hit at present, and I hope he will take their case and the boots they wear into consideration when he is considering the whole problem. These fishermen are poor men who make their livelihood in a very hard way. I suggest to the Minister that if he considers putting a tariff on rubber boots and shoes coming in here he should give special consideration to the type of rubber boots used by fishermen.

A remark by Deputy Gorey, and referred to by Deputy Corry, recalls to me the fact that not only from rubber boots, which I believe also to be unhealthy, is there danger to the health of the people of the country but there is danger in the use of other cheap material in boots. I know something about boots and I believe a very considerable number of people have their health impaired owing to wearing cheap boots imported into this country for years past. I have seen not merely men's boots but, what is far more dangerous, children's boots that are unhealthy. I have seen children going to school in these boots with water soaking through them, yet the children wear them on their feet all day. I have seen these boots stripped. There is an outer sole, heavily nailed, made from what is known in the trade as the shoulder. Inside that is an inner lining of brown paper. The heels of the modern ladies' cheap shoes are made of compressed paper and some of them are timber. The cheaper class of children's boots and ladies' boots used in the country are a danger to health. After a short time in use the boots are not only no protection but they are far more dangerous than if the wearers were standing in their bare feet. I think that whatever we do in this country we should endeavour to see that the boots made for our people are not boots that are going to occasion damage to the health of the people. I believe some effort should be made to see that the use of brown paper or any sort of paper filling in boots made for our people is not permitted.

In any country in the world in which tariffs are imposed as has been pointed out the people for a time at least should be prepared to make some sacrifice in order to help the industries of the country. We are not denying that.

Is the Deputy aware that this tariff is in force for eight years? I quoted the figures for last year.

We never pretended to the people that the imposition of tariffs was going to lower the costs.

You did not tell the people that owing to this tariff every additional employee is costing the State £5 per week, while the employee probably gets something like £1 a week.

That is an absurd argument. Let it be that it will cost the State something but it is absurd to say that because of that each employee is costing the State the same thing. If we talk in that strain it does away with the argument for protection altogether. If we admit that there is no argument for protection and if protection of any industry should not be imposed then that would settle the question and admit that our industries ought to be swept away.

Before the motion is put I would like to mention one matter. I have received various protests that no protection has been given to the leather working industry. I want to explain that it is the intention of the Government to assist that industry, not by way of protection but by way of a subsidy on output, to ensure that there will be adequate supplies of Irish leather available at a cheap price for boot repairers and manufacturers. The decision to assist the industry by way of a subsidy on output rather than by protection is to ensure that no damage will be done to those engaged in the manufacture of boots by hand. We are anxious that handicraft work of that kind should not be impeded and it is intended consequently to introduce in the Dáil in the near future proposals for legislation which will give us the necessary power to assist the industry in the manner I have indicated.

The Minister stated that he had received protests that there has been no protection given to the leather working industry. Will he say if any of the protests came from boot manufacturers?

Not at all.

Resolution agreed to.
The Dáil went out of Committee.
Resolutions 2, 3, 4 and 5 reported.