That the Dáil agree with the Committee in Resolution No. 1.
I do not know what form it is intended the discussion should take— whether the Resolutions are to be discussed as a whole or separately.
Vol. 44 No. 4
That the Dáil agree with the Committee in Resolution No. 1.
I do not know what form it is intended the discussion should take— whether the Resolutions are to be discussed as a whole or separately.
Separately. There are amendments to some.
On reference No. 16, I should like to ask the Minister if picture mouldings are included.
Picture mouldings of wood, and entirely of wood, are definitely included. There is some question as to plaster mouldings, and I will have an amendment introduced to make it clear that they are not dutiable.
I take it that the Minister means compo moulding?
That, of course, is one section of the picture moulding trade, but it seems a little peculiar to bring picture mouldings under this section. It is, however, for the Minister to say. Does he mean that mouldings that are intended for the making of picture frames will come under this duty?
And that compo mouldings will be exempt?
Of course, the Minister, I take it, realises that I am not talking about what is described as builders' woodwork. There are a lot of these picture mouldings not made in this country, and there appears to be no prospect of their being made in this country. Perhaps the Minister will consider what is the object served in this instance. I am not, of course, referring to anything in the builders' woodwork section.
It is possible that some mouldings—I cannot say precisely what kind of mouldings—will be subject to this duty after the amendment I have indicated has been made, but, in so far as that is the case, it will operate either to induce the use of the other type of moulding, or the position will be that the picture frame manufacturers will still have a protective margin, in so far as the duty on moulding is substantially less than the duty on the completed frame.
Will the Minister inform me under what provision of this measure is printers' material held up?
Does it arise under this?
I refer to wooden type. I am aware that the Minister did not intend to hold up the material I refer to, but the fact is——
To what material is the Deputy referring?
Wooden types. An employing printer in the City of Cork approached me during the week, and informed me that wooden types consigned to his premises by Messrs. Little of Yorkshire, have been held up in the Custom House. There is no authority from this House or from the Minister to hold it up. Notwithstanding all the Minister's protestations, these things are held up by the Customs officials, and we were told, to my own knowledge, that no printers' materials were to be held up. I am speaking of printing materials such as brasses, leads, and what are known in the trade as clumps. This wooden type has been held up for the last week or two in the Cork Custom House and this employing printer is waiting to execute an order, and he cannot do it, and at least one man is being kept out of employment. Would the Minister, now that I have drawn attention to it, give a specific instruction to the Custom officials, with whom I have, in the existing circumstances, a great deal of sympathy, because the list of things that are tariffed is like 16 or 17 litanies, that, in view of the fact that it is not the intention of the Act, or of the Minister, to make these articles subject to duty, this type should be released?
This is the first occasion on which any question about wooden type arose. Wooden type would definitely be dutiable under the section as it stands, but if there is any importation we will have it exempted. It is not intended to have it subject to duty.
I am glad the Minister has stated that. Can I take it that, if I write to this gentleman to-night the goods will be released to-morrow? Would the Minister give an instruction that the goods will be released?
Quite clearly, they cannot be released until the necessary amendment is made.
I think the Minister himself gave an undertaking in the House that printers' material would be exempt.
If it is intended to tax plaster mouldings—wood mouldings covered with plaster for use in picture framing—might I point out that Imperial preference is of no use? These articles come from foreign countries, Italy or Germany, and the giving of Imperial preference is of no use to those in the trade who will be affected. I would appeal to the Minister to see his way to exempt them.
I have just announced that it is the intention to exempt them.
I should like to draw the attention of the Minister to a slight discussion we had on an earlier stage of the Bill. In column 44 of the Official Reports, I asked the Minister "Is this tariff to apply to the component parts of egg boxes," and the Minister replied "Yes. Number 17 imposes a duty upon the component parts (excluding road springs) of all wheeled vehicles."
There is no relation between the "Yes" and the rest of the sentence.
At a later stage in the debate, I thought that the Minister had probably made a mistake, and I re-opened the question, and asked "Did I understand the Minister to say that the duty applied to the component parts of cubicle egg boxes," to which the Minister replied "Quite." Then we went on for sometime and Deputy Dockrell said: "The Minister mentioned, in reference to No. 16, planed flooring boards and mouldings. I take it sawn timber is free." The Minister replied: "Sawn timber is free. Timber that is merely sawn is free." I want to draw the attention of the Minister to the fact that the component parts of egg-boxes are not planed, except on the edges, the same as any plank is finished, but they are sawed, and I would like to remind the Minister of something I reminded him of before, when I raised the question on another matter in the schedule of tariffs on the Budget debate. I asked the Minister if cotton blankets were liable to tariff under the financial provisions of the Budget and the Minister answered: "The tariffs we are imposing are not new tariffs but an increase in the existing tariffs. The Revenue Commissioners have interpreted the old tariffs so as to exempt cotton blankets from duty, and those blankets will remain exempt." These are the Minister's words. Of course the blankets did not remain exempt. I am only pressing the matter now, because the moment he said that on the previous occasion I dropped the question. I am pressing the Minister now for a specific declaration, because I do not wish that there should be any misunderstanding subsequently.
As far as egg boxes are concerned the component parts of them are dutiable, as manufactures of wood, and it is intended that they should be. In connection with the statement made in relation to cotton blankets, at the time the Deputy asked the question we were discussing the proposal of increased duty upon blankets.
On a point of explanation, might I remind the Minister that we were discussing nothing of the kind? We were discussing the Budget generally.
I stick to what I said. We were discussing the proposal of increased duty as one of the references to the Financial Resolution. I stated that the duty on blankets was not applied to cotton blankets, that the increased duty would not apply to cotton blankets, and it does not apply. Subsequently, however, the Revenue Commissioners decided that cotton blankets were liable to duty as sheets. That was not my intention. I propose to introduce a provision to exempt cotton blankets.
Provided the Minister gives that undertaking I do not propose to press the matter further.
I would like to ask the Minister is he prepared to exempt picture mouldings.
I would like to ask the Minister in reference to No. 14 (b) (11) in which brass weights for weighing scales are mentioned,—I do not think the Minister intended that to apply to small weights used in laboratories.
I am endeavouring to get amendment phrases which will exempt small weights used for scientific purposes.
I suggest the exemption of small weights up to 500 milligrams.
I would like to draw the Minister's attention to this fact, that if he insists on bringing the component parts of egg-boxes within the sphere of the tariff it will be impossible to implement his undertaking to Deputy Dockrell to exempt sawn timber. You cannot differentiate between two articles except they are of different dimensions.
On No. 19 I would like to draw the Minister's attention to the last paragraph. He is excluding stone which has been subjected to no process of working except sawing on not more than two surfaces or crushing. Some stone that is imported in the rough state is sawn on one surface or two surfaces, but on the other two surfaces it is what is known as scalpelled, that is, roughly squared. Would that be "labour" within the meaning of this clause?
I would not like to answer that question without notice. It is definitely intended that the stone should come in as it is sawn out of the quarry.
May I remind the Minister that there is a considerable quantity of Portland stone comes into this market, as he is aware. It is roughly squared. It comes in in blocks, is worked here, and it is roughly squared; in other words, it is scalpelled on the different surfaces. It may be sawn in some cases, but in most cases it is only scalpelled. Would that be labour within the meaning of this clause?
I do not think so.
Could the Minister make that clear, because the decisions that are arrived at in the House are not always carried out by the Revenue Commissioners, and we would like to have that point made clear, so that we will not subsequently find that scalpelling is "labour" within the meaning of this particular clause.
The duty applies to stone which has been dressed, polished or otherwise worked. The stone to which the Deputy is referring is exempt from the duty.
I agree with the Minister. I think the intention is to exempt it, but it is badly expressed, if I may put it so, because it is a form of labour—even if a very rough form of labour—which might be brought in under the clause as it is worded at the moment.
If there is any doubt on that score I will have the wording amended.
I would like to ask the Minister, in connection with a question asked the last day as regards the imports of rope and twine for salmon fishing, is he prepared to exempt them in view of the fact that that particular style of cordage is not manufactured in this country?
It was not our intention that that cord should be made subject to duty, but it was impossible to get a definition of it by which it could be specifically excluded from duty by the terms of the Resolution passed in the Dáil. Consequently we have been operating the licence provision in order to allow that cord in free of duty.
Would the Minister say what he is prepared to do in regard to twine, in view of the fact that quite a few of the manufacturers import it?
The only difference that is arising in connection with that cord is that the licence provision merely authorises us to allow in the cord, when required by the manufacturer in the process of manufacture. That has caused administrative difficulty, because those fishermen usually import their cord through a merchant and consequently it has necessitated the signing of a requisition by a large number of fishermen to allow the cord through to a particular merchant. It is suggested to modify slightly the licence provisions so that we will be able to operate them without difficulty and allow them in where it is defined that they are intended to be used for this purpose. If we could get a definition which would apply to that cord, and no other cord, we would exclude it from the scope of the duty. We are operating the licenced provision to get over the difficulty.
If I can get a definition with regard to the particular class of twine, are you prepared to exempt it?
I would be glad to hear the definition the Deputy produces.
Might I refer to No. 21, if the Minister would allow me? It is roof felting and felting substitutes and other like substances intended for use as roofing material. I take it the composition of asbestos would not come in under that wording.
It is not a new duty. It is precisely the same wording as was inserted in the Finance Act— merely a duty has been increased by this Resolution.
It does not include, as far as one knows at the moment, the composition of asbestos.
A Chinn Comhairle, I ask your indulgence to mention a matter I was unable to mention earlier, because I had not got a copy of the Resolution before me when this discussion began. I want to refer briefly to Ref. No. 1, a matter the Minister may have overlooked. On the western seaboard of Donegal and all through the Gaeltacht, one of the most fruitful sources of employment in the cottages is the spinning of knitting yarns. From merchants in England, through an entrepreneur in Donegal, they give out that yarn to the girls. The girls knit it into jumpers or hose and it is returned to England. The yarn never becomes the property of the entrepreneur or of the girls. It remains the property of the merchants in England, and the girls simply get paid for knitting. If the Minister could take steps to admit that free it would save these people a really serious hardship.
I referred to that matter when the Resolution first appeared. It is intended that such yarn be allowed in free of duty. There was, in fact, a difficulty created in that particular trade. That meant postponement of a decision upon this application from May last until to-day; but when we went into the matter in detail we found it was possible to get over the difficulty by a licensing provision, because the type of yarn imported has peculiar qualities which enable it to be distinguished and, in fact, the necessary steps have already been taken to ensure there will be no delay and the full quantities of yarn normally imported in that trade will be allowed in free of duty.
Would the Minister say whether he will permit any merchant in England who wants to send in yarn to get it knitted here to get a licence?
The licence will be issued to somebody here, not in England.
The Minister has not taken the licensing powers in this Act?
We have the general provisions.
On Reference No. 1, I did not vote for this individual tariff because I felt it did not go far enough; and I think I indicated to the Minister clearly that it did not go far enough. I have on more than one occasion drawn attention to the fact that it was recommended, even by the Commission who sat on the application for a tariff on woollens, that the spinning end of the industry gave more, and would give more, employment than all the other processes put together. Now, sir, we have the imposition of a tariff on "yarns (other than white yarns) wholly of wool or worsted or of a combination of wool and worsted which are imported otherwise than on bobbins, cheeses, cones or cops." Knowing some little thing about that industry from investigations made on the spot, I know that there are mills in this country which can, if they wish to do so, manufacture all their own yarns. I am aware that a certain type of yarn— worsted yarn—cannot be made in all the mills but at least it can be made in two or three of the mills in this country, and so long as these manufacturers can import the yarns from foreign countries—France and Belgium to wit—at a cheaper rate than you could produce at home so long will they be allowed in, and in spite of the patriotism of our people that exploitation does not begin or end in mere flag waving. But they are emptying the pockets of our people by the imposition of these tariffs and at the same time emptying the pockets of the ordinary working-class people of the country in permitting these people to import yarns. Now I suggest that the Minister, and I give him credit for every good intention, should at least see that these tariffs are imposed so that the persons who have to earn their living in that industry should at least share in the profits or in any help that may accrue to the industry by way of extra profits —the workers in that industry should at least partake in those profits. I will have something to say later on in another stage of this Finance Bill with regard to the conditions that operate in some of these factories, and they are anything but creditable because overtime has been worked by half the staff while the other is on short time, and so on—all to save some few pounds in national health and unemployment insurance. I asked the Minister would he not consider it advisable, in the interests of the people of the country, and particularly in the interests of those who have to make a living in that industry, to include foreign yarn and not to have it confined merely to white yarn.
Deputy Anthony says he will have something to say later on. I don't doubt that he will, but he cannot talk down the fact that he voted against this duty.
And he may remember when going upstairs into the Division Lobby with me—I think he will have a lot to explain to the workers of Blarney as to why he voted against this duty. It is quite evident, of course, that the people of Blarney have been expressing their opinions to him—that is the reason of his speech here to-day.
He says now that it did not go far enough—in so far as it did the Deputy did not try to stop it. He tries to prevent additional work going to his constituents engaged in yarn spinning. That is what the Blarney workers want an explanation of.
They do not spin their own yarns. It is the one mill in Ireland that can spin, if they have the will to do so.
You cannot explain it away by talking. Before the Resolution is passed there are a few general remarks I would like to make. During the discussion on the Resolution on the last day, Deputy McGilligan made a statement that two-thirds of the estimated yield of the new protective duties and the increase on the existing duties, had already been secured within six months. The estimated yield mentioned during the Budget discussion was £910,000. The statement made by Deputy McGilligan was very inaccurate, and if allowed to go uncorrected might be repeated and false arguments based upon it, so I think it is necessary to make the position clear here now. As some Deputies opposite are aware, after the passing of the Finance Bill in each year the Accountant-General of Revenue revised the Estimates of Revenue yield in the light of changes effected during the progress of the measure through the Oireachtas, and also in the light of any other yield of the duties during the interval. That revision was made in August of this year, and the revised estimate for the group of duties to which the original estimate of £910,000 related is in the neighbourhood of £300,000. That very drastic reduction in the Estimate was not entirely due to the fact that indications had been received that the protective effect of the duties was going to be extensive. It also took into account the various concessions of one kind or another which had been made during the passage of the measure, and the possible effect of the operations of the licensing provisions contained therein. The loss of duty arising out of the operation of the licensing provisions up to date was only £16,000.
After, however, all possible allowance has been made for the calculations based on the concessions inserted in the Bill and the licensing provisions, it is quite clear that the protective effect of the duties was estimated as being very extensive indeed. As I have said, the estimated yield was reduced from £910,000 to £300,000 but despite that reduction in the estimated yield, it is now quite possible that even the revised estimate will not be secured. The yield of the duties, to which the original estimate of £910,000 related up to the 15th of the month, was only £50,000. To that there must be added a sum of £50,000 in respect of deposits on goods in regard to which the exact amount of duty has not yet been determined. That will give a yield of £100,000 for a period of five months. The greater number of duties did not come into operation until the 12th May. The unexpired portion of the current financial year is five and a half months so that the full yield of the duties is not likely to exceed £200,000. I think that the source of Deputy McGilligan's error is obvious. He estimated that the payments into the Exchequer in respect of Customs duty was £680,000 in excess of the corresponding period last year and he made the unjustifiable assumption that this increase arose from one particular block of duties. It is clear that is not the case. The major increases of revenue were secured from beer, tobacco, tea, the package duty and to some extent, of course, the emergency duties. I make that statement in order to prevent any misunderstanding being created concerning what the effect of the protective duties was and to prevent Deputies being misled by any wrong reading of the receipts into the Exchequer.
I shall reiterate that statement in order to make the matter clear. We estimated when we came to the Dáil originally that the total yield would be £910,000. In August, after the passage of the Finance Bill, when it was possible to get a clearer picture of what the probable effect of the duties would be, that estimate had to be revised and in fact, had to be substantially reduced from £910,000 to £300,000. Since then it has become clear that even that £300,000 is an over estimate so that in fact the tariffs which we imposed last May are not yielding in revenue much of consequence to the Exchequer. The protective effect has come into operation already. That effect is indicated also by other signs throughout the country that increased production of the articles concerned is taking place now.
On Resolution 7, I suppose to ask the Dáil to reject any of these proposals now, when the House has accepted the Budget, would be like asking them to refuse to swallow the gnat when the camel had been swallowed. This set of taxes has not the same importance as those contained in the main Finance Bill, but there are a number of increases, including increases for which no justification whatever has been offered. The policy of the Government as shown here, in regard to tariffs, seems to be to listen to any deputation representing any industry or activity— even though it is so small that it can scarcely be called an industry—and if a case is made that a tariff, no matter how high, would put one, two or a dozen people into employment, then to come to the Dáil and impose that tariff. It is impossible for proper investigation to take place. Even in the case of a relatively small industry, there are very often great complexities involved. It is often extremely difficult to see all the reactions of a tariff, and it is impossible to find out, in fact, what height of tariff would be justified. The Government put forward this tariff policy, this policy of taxing everything where the imposition of the taxation can possibly give any employment, as a means of solving the unemployment problem. I think they are going nowhere towards solving the unemployment problem by this means and that they will get nowhere. I think it would be much preferable, from the point of view of employment merely, if a certain, selected series of industries were tariffed, even at a very high rate, and even if there were certain increases in the cost of living because of these tariffs.
We would have some idea of what they were costing if the tariffs were limited to a number of important industries. We would then be able to feel more easily the main reactions of the tariffs. But now what is happening is that with all these multitudinous increases, the cost of living and the cost of production are going up. I am aware that possibly the cost-of-living index figure will go down. When I say that the cost of living is going up what I mean is that it is going up relatively. The full fall that ought to have taken place in view of the decrease in the prices realisable for our primary products is not being allowed to take place. Consequently having regard to the national income and the resources of the country and having regard to the sums available in wages or in profits the cost of living is going up. We have in these numerous small tariffs the position you would have with regard to an industry where there was rust on the wheels and where every movement in the nature of progress was being impeded.
The Minister talked a few moments ago about the yield of certain tariffs. I think that the Minister's statement was a very remarkable one. It is a statement which deals with a matter that requires a good deal more explanation than the Minister has offered. The various officers who are engaged in that work in the Revenue Department are fairly expert and are very experienced in the matter of making estimates of the yield from tariffs or from new taxation of any sort. It seems to me that it is a little more than extraordinary that an estimate of £910,000 should be made in May, and that that estimate should have since to be revised downward to £300,000 and that it looks as if now it must be reduced down to £200,000 or perhaps a little less than £200,000.
There were very many tariffs involved in the list which was expected to bring in £910,000. It was certain that there would be errors in respect of many of them if they were all new estimates, but it has happened many times that the errors which would occur in such cases would cancel one another out. What has occurred raises one or two questions:—First, the Minister for Finance in view of the policy of increased expenditure by the Government found that he had to impose a considerable number of new taxes, and even when he had made these great increases in taxation he found he was not going to have enough to balance his Budget. So he turned as it were to the Minister for Industry and Commerce, and he said to himself that, fortunately and quite apart from the necessity for balancing the Budget, the Minister for Industry and Commerce has taken steps which are going to give us the exact sum that is required to fill this gap.
I would be curious to know whether this estimate of £910,000 was made in the ordinary way by the Revenue Commissioners or whether the estimate was made by the Minister for Finance himself. Was it an estimate framed on generous lines by the Minister in order that he might balance his Budget? If there was no swelling of that or no increase in the estimate supplied by the Revenue Commissioners at the time the Budget was before the House, then we can only conclude that some effects of the tariffs policy and the general fiscal and constitutional policy of the Government are more serious even than would have been expected.
I have no belief at all that there was any fair weight given to all the factors that should be taken into account in estimating how much revenue these tariffs would yield. The great error of estimating three or four or perhaps almost five times as much as was likely to have been yielded might have been made in 1922 or 1923. But since 1923 a great number of tariffs of all sorts have been imposed, some of them on a fairly stiff scale. The Revenue Officers have had an opportunity of seeing just how quickly there was increased production here as a result of the tariffs. They have an opportunity of seeing what decrease in consumption was likely to be caused by a stiff increase in tariffs. They had the experience necessary to enable them to take these factors into account and to see how it was going to affect approximately the importation which was going to take place in the various tariffed goods. If their estimate, as distinct from the estimate which the Minister put before the House officially, was so far wrong that he has got it reduced from £910,000 to £150,000, then we must conclude that in respect of a great many articles tariffed there has been—not because of the tariffs merely, but because of the general policy of the Government—an enormous decrease in consumption. Some of the tariffs are undoubtedly, and to the knowledge of nearly everybody, the cause of reduction in the importation. The consumption of some of these home manufactured articles has declined very rapidly. I think this is due not merely to the tariffs, but to the general policy of the Government in producing that position where the purchasing power of the community is being reduced in a way that it ought not to be reduced, and in a way in which it need not be reduced.
Certain people who have had the advantage of these tariffs say that the tariffs have been practically of no good to them; because the consumption of these goods has fallen so much that in spite of the fact that they are protected to a very much higher rate than before, less of the goods is sold because the purchasing power of the people is lower. In respect of other tariffs we have been informed that while the manufacturers can get perhaps plenty of orders, still they do not see the prospect of getting cash for their goods. The result is that they are not able actually to obtain the theoretical benefits that these tariffs could give them. The policy of the Government is to make everything dearer to the consumer, and make it dearer to that main body of consumers, whom, they would confess, I think, themselves, they have not been able to help in any way yet, and whom, I think, their plans are not at all likely to help substantially. The very industries which were originally tariffed, and which enjoy the prospects of continuous extension from the more moderate tariff policy that was in force, are being injured by these new tariffs. Every new impost that makes their raw material dearer, makes building dearer, makes any of the charges connected with the industries heavier, is going to rob them of some part of the tariff which they already had.
It is always extremely easy when you have a tariff policy to yield to some noisy group. It is always possible to get half a dozen people who will make a great deal of row and to yield to them, and to give them protection to enable them to carry on, perhaps, in full employment; to carry on without very much effort; to carry on without the adoption of modern processes, or the installation of modern machinery, and to point to the people who have been put into employment or who have been kept in employment by the tariffs. It is much more difficult—it is impossible, in fact—to say, in respect of many individual tariffs, where the damage done by those tariffs lies. It is impossible often in respect of a tariff which deals with a relatively small article, a relatively unimportant commodity, and which raises the cost of that commodity, to say whether people were put out of employment by that, but it is quite possible to say how a combination or a number of those tariffs are affecting the community. It is quite possible to see that people in the distributive trade are having to dispense with employees, are having to create unemployment amongst one particular class of workers. It is possible to see how profits are being brought down, how extensions are being prevented, how domestic expenditure is restricted, and how, in that way, again, more unemployment is caused.
It is, of course, entirely useless to suggest that the Government should modify, in any way, their general tariff policy. They are prepared occasionally to exempt some individual article, or type of article, from the scope of the tariff, but they are not prepared to consider the suitability of industries for the country. They are not prepared to consider the possibility of particular industries becoming so efficient here that they will supply their goods as cheaply as those goods can be supplied from outside. Instead of trying to get an economic type of industrial development, they are looking for chaotic development. They are looking for the preservation of industries which, in many cases, we ought not try to preserve. The effects of their policy as a whole are being seen. In spite of denials of various sorts, unemployment is going up. A supporter of the Government—one of the Deputies by whose vote the Government is kept in office—said here last week that, in his constituency, unemployment is getting worse. The experience of that Deputy is the experience of many other Deputies, some of whom, perhaps, are so zealous in support of the Government that they would not admit it. The increase in home help is also telling its own tale. The country is mainly, as a result of Government policy, facing a winter of greater hardship than it has ever faced.
If the Government would cast aside their doctrinaire policy, if they would set out, not on some theory that brass work and coffin plates and boot heels ought, as a matter of national principle, be made here, but on a policy that would give most employment here without imposing an absolutely unbearable burden on the agricultural community, they could do something that would be of benefit, and, at least, they could easily prevent, even in the present world slump, which the Government has recently discovered, unemployment increasing. Every one of these tariffs in the present state of affairs, whatever they might be if agriculture was more prosperous, if the primary industries of the country were more prosperous, and if there was greater purchasing power, is going to make the situation worse instead of helping it, and, if the Government got on, and if the Government are enabled to go on for a period, what they are going to achieve at most is a very substantially reduced standard of living in this country. They are going to throw the country back a whole generation, from the point of view of the standard of living, and I think that, in the interests of some theory of national self-sufficiency, it is not right, and it is certainly not worth while, from any point of view, to punish the people as the present Government, apparently, intend to punish them.
I thought so. They fold up their tents like the Arab and silently slink away. No doubt, for the last quarter of an hour, Deputy Blythe has appeared to himself as a Daniel come to judgment. In fact, he has appeared to those of us who have had experience of his own financial probity merely as Satanus rebuking sin. He reminds me of a churchwarden transported suddenly to the questionable publicity of the Divorce Court. He is repudiating all the things in other people that he himself has made a practice of here in this House—special devices to balance the Budget. He suggests that, in his extremity, the Minister for Finance came to the Minister for Industry and Commerce and asked for a tariff. Has Deputy Blythe forgotten the deficit of £250,000 he had on a Budget, and the fact that he dropped in a woollen tariff exactly at that moment of exactly the amount required to balance his Budget?
When he is speaking of devices and attributing dishonesty in the use of devices in the balancing of his Budget to the Minister for Finance, has he forgotten that to balance his own Budget, he imagined a payment he never got, on an award of the British which the British have never paid, and put it into his Budget and said: "That balances it"? Has he forgotten that, when it suited him, he anticipated the brewers' credit first by one month, and then another, just to balance his Budget? Has he forgotten that he anticipated income tax for a year almost—in the total, a full year, and which he put in in order to balance his Budget? Has he forgotten that, after coming down to this House and saying that the one thing that could not be used to balance the Budget was what he was going to get from the British for token currency, as soon as he found that he was in the glue-pot, the very thing with which he attempted to balance his Budget was token currency money from the British—Satan rebuking sin, a Daniel come to judgment, a churchwarden in the Divorce Court?— the morality, the financial morality, that Cumann na nGaedheal has practised all those years when it has fooled people in the matter of balancing its Budget. Has it not had sufficient consideration given? Three years he gave the one tariff, while the industry which he was supposed to tariff was being wiped out in the process right under his eyes. There is a poem about it: "Let us sit down and think which way to tarry and how to pass love's long day."
We are to sit down and wait and let the whole thing simply die away so that Deputy Ernest Blythe will feel perfectly satisfied that the fullest possible consideration has been given to a protected industry, which in the process has disappeared. Now what is his complaint? His complaint is that these tariffs have been too successful. I remember we had the opposite complaint. The late Minister for Industry and Commerce was here the other day to say they had not been successful, that we got too much revenue out of them—that we got more revenue than we estimated. That was a matter for complaint, and when it is shown that they have been successful for the purpose of protecting industry—for the purpose of getting people to make the things here instead of importing them —we get the other complaint. Which of them are we going to stand? Those people spend their time attributing to their opponents all the faults which are their own. They remind me of a story which this House had better get into its mind. It was of a man who came up from a rather backward part of the country where they had no wireless, no looking glasses or no things of that kind. He went into Woolworth's and took up a mirror—a small picture as he thought—and when he looked at it he said, "Me ould father; me ould father." He bought it for 6d and brought it back to the part of the country where he was. At odd intervals he used to inspect it, until his wife became suspicious as to what he had been doing in the great City of Dublin. When he was not looking she went to his coat, took out the picture, looked at it, and said, "Well if this is the ould divil he is after he is welcome to her." Now, Deputy Ernest Blythe had better take that lesson to him. The "ould divil" in the mirror is himself. He is attributing to other people the defects which are in his own record. He is trying to show in the conduct of the Minister for Finance and of this Executive exactly the same qualities which have been in his actual and customary practice, but he will not get away with it.
Does the Dáil agree with Resolution No. 7?
Before the motion is passed I would like to say just one word on the subject. We have heard something about tariffs from the last speaker, but in the last Dáil I could never make up my mind as to whether the Deputy who has just spoken was a supporter or otherwise of the tariff policy. As far as I am concerned, a Chinn Comhairle, I think there is no doubt at all in the minds of the Dáil about the policy I advocated right through from the time when tariffs were introduced into this House in 1924. There was then put forward a selective provision of tariffs—put forward for a certain purpose—and when enquiry was made into these tariffs some years subsequently we found that instead of achieving the object with which they had been introduced, that was to provide employment, they have failed hopelessly to provide additional employment. Take the boot tariff, if one likes to have an example, which has been several times discussed in this House. When attention was drawn to the advisability of dropping these tariffs we found that they had produced a very considerable volume of revenue, amounting to roughly about one million pounds. The Minister then said to us: "If I take off this tariff, where am I to get the revenue?" But the point I want to make is this— that the selective tariffs were introduced not to produce revenue but to produce additional employment, and they failed hopelessly. Well, now I have opposed the different tariffs that have been brought in by the present Government, and I think the position to-day is that instead of providing additional employment, we find unemployment more rampant than ever. I can speak of one industry at all events of which that is true, that is the building industry, and I am sorry to find in this Resolution that is now before us, a Chinn Comhairle, that the building industry has been selected as one to which additional tariffs are to be applied. Now I have pointed out several times that this industry is depressed at the moment because of the particularly high cost of building in the City of Dublin and other towns in Ireland. I need not at the moment go into the reasons for this high cost. The cost of building is higher in Dublin than it is anywhere else that I know of in these islands, and I have heard it alleged that the cost of building is higher in Dublin than it is anywhere else in Europe. One reason why trade is depressed in the building industry is because the cost of building is so high. This then is the moment, and this the particular industry, that is selected by the Minister and by his Government to impose additional burdens. It is quite obvious to anybody who has any knowledge of industry that these burdens in such circumstances are bound to cause further unemployment.
Now let me take one or two examples in connection with these proposed additional tariffs of the Minister's. There is one particular item there that is going to add a very serious burden to the building industry. At present, as most people know, floorings are imported here dressed. Large quantities of sheetings, extensively used in building, are imported worked. Now those are becoming the subject of heavy tariffs, with the hope that this labour in machining and in sawing will be done in Dublin. Of course it could be done in Dublin, but not at all as reasonably as it could be done elsewhere. May I point out to the Minister that the particular timber from which these floorings and sheetings are manufactured is not imported into this market at all? He may answer and tell me they can be manufactured in deals. They can, but the quality will be quite different, the lengths will be very much shorter, and the expense of using will be very much greater. Where these sheetings and floorings are manufactured they are made from small timber, in long lengths, which is not imported into this market at all, so that that particular item in itself, which appears under sub-section (16) of this Resolution, is going to add considerably to the cost of building. Now what does this mean? It is a reaction. It means that owing to the uneconomic state of the building industry at the moment the State, and the local authorities by reason of assistance from the State, are compelled to embark on housing to an extent that would be unnecessary if housing were economic, and the citizens and the ratepayers are taxed in order to subsidise this industry. Now instead of the Minister adding, in such circumstances, to the burdens of the industry his policy ought to be to lighten those burdens, and I would really invite the Minister, even at this stage, before this matter goes any further, to consider—and to seriously consider—as to whether this industry can at this stage carry these additional burdens. I would like him to go further, and consider the whole circumstances of the industry and to say whether it is wise to put these burdens on the industry at the moment.
I have always supported any tariff that has been introduced into this House, when I felt that the imposition of a tariff would mean increased employment in the industry covered by that tariff. But an examination of the facts, as recently revealed, goes to show that in many cases the tariffs have operated in a way which I feel the Minister himself did not contemplate. Now, sir, in the City of Cork, in common with other cities and towns in the Saorstát, there is a good deal of depression. I am not going to suggest that all that trade depression, economic depression, call it what you will, is due to the present Government, or to the activities of the Government in relation to tariffs or other phases of their policy. I think it would be unfair and unjust to any Deputy in this House to attribute all of the blame to the present Government, but there is no question at all about it they are in a measure to blame for much of the economic disturbance and loss of trade which this country has suffered as a result of their policy No. 1 and No. 2. I include in that policy their system of tariff or tariff policy. Now I find as a result of many of these tariffs that two very important sections of the community have been hit, and hit very badly. The distributor has been hit, and such persons as drapers, drapers' assistants and various people engaged in other work, and last but not least the dockers, who, as will be admitted, are a very deserving section of the community. I have not heard anything in this House, even from persons who are supposed to officially, at any rate, help this section of the community—a very humble section, no doubt—but notwithstanding a very useful section of the community, namely the dockers. In Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford possibly with the addition of Wexford they have a very large docking community——
Yes, and Galway and other waterside labourers, the amount of employment at the moment obtaining in this particular section of the community is abnormal, and that is attributable in a very large measure to the operation of these tariffs, and also to the present Government policy in relation to Britain. Now the Minister took exception to a short statement made by me within the last hour or so, when I suggested that in one section, or at least in one portion, of this Bill— the portion dealing with the tariff on imported yarns—that I must have had a rub over the knuckles from some of my constituents. I can assure the Minister I have not, and even if I had I am always prepared to take a knock and give another one in return.
You can not explain that away.
I was not going to relate to the House any conversation I had with the Minister going up the stairs, but if you want the conversation to be further amplified I would suggest the Minister challenged me going into the Lobby about my vote. He said he hoped he would see me in Cork about it, and suggested I should vote with him. In that respect I said "No damn fear." That is the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and I have stated my views to-day in this House. I am rather curious to know what benefits, and I would like that the word benefit or benefits be very liberally translated, this country has derived from these tariffs. Undoubtedly some of the tariffs have operated to the advantage of the community, but let us take the woollen industry to which I referred a short while ago. I find there that we have an abnormal amount of overtime worked and not a very great number of extra persons employed as a result of that tariff.
About 12 months or so ago I asked a question in this House with regard to the number of persons employed before the operation of the tariff and after the operation of the tariff, and I find there were a lesser number of persons engaged in that industry at the time I asked the question than there were before the operation of the tariff. Well, in my view, seeing that I had suggested that the acid test I applied to all of these tariffs is, what extra employment will be given to the workers of any given industry, the woollen tariff has failed to justify itself. Now the importation of "yarns other than white yarns wholly of wool or worsted or of a combination of wool and worsted which are imported otherwise than on bobbins, cheeses, cones or cops," will be permitted. Does not that negative the very thing the Minister seeks to achieve, because the natural answer to that kind of legislation or that kind of tariff would be that if I were an importer of yarns into this country I would see to it that they would come in on bobbins, cheeses, cones or cops. Now, again, I must advert to the report of the Tariff Commission on woollens, where in a report it was shared by every member of the Commission, and it was suggested that any tariff on woollens, unless accompanied by a development at the spinning end of the industry, would be of little use and of little value as an asset in this country and what do we find?—that in nearly all cases these yarns are now imported, whereas it was better, according to the signatories to that report, that the spinning end of the industry would give more work than all the others put together.
We find that whilst there is increased production in the manufacture of woollens, the conditions governing the industry have not at all improved. Rather have they disimproved, and we find that in certain cases one portion of the staff is kept working overtime and the other half of the normal staff is unemployed. I understand from information I have received from some of those operatives that that is done for the purpose of saving money by way of National Health Insurance and Unemployment Insurance contributions. It was never intended, I am sure, by this or any other Government which would pass legislation imposing tariffs on imports of this character that it should react in that way on the workers in the industry.
There is another matter which I would ask the Minister seriously to consider and about which I would ask his Department to get busy. I want to know what factory inspection, if any, has been made in connection with these recently established factories. Have any reports been received from factory inspectors in relation to the conditions that operate in those factories—arrangements concerning hygiene, ordinary cleanliness for workers engaged in these tariffed industries, sanitation and other things? Even during the British tenure in this country ordinary workers in any industry which came under the Factory Act were entitled to at least some measure of cleanliness, a certain amount of ventilation and other hygienic conditions which workers were supposed to enjoy under the operation of these Acts. I am rather concerned to find out from the Minister's Department what factory inspection, if any, has taken place since the establishment of some of those new factories—factories so-called in my estimation—which have been established in some parts of Dublin anyway.
I should like to find out from the Minister the hours worked by the operatives in those tariffed industries, the conditions under which they work and the wages which they are paid. It would be illuminating and enlightening and I am sure the members of the Labour Party would be as interested as I am in getting these returns. The reason I ask for that information is that given in my opening remarks, that I have supported certain tariffs and shall continue to support tariffs in certain directions where I find that the operation of the tariff will mean more employment and not alone the giving of more employment, but what to me is just as important, the establishment of workshops and factories in which workers and operatives will share at least in the good fortune of that particular industry, and will get what is known as a living under reasonable and proper conditions.
From the point of view of employment we find that in some industries undoubtedly there has been a fillip. A number of extra persons may be taken on, but the fault I have to find with most of the tariffs is that they give employment to a number of very young boys and girls, particularly girls. It is rather regrettable that in our economy we cannot evolve some scheme of tariffs which will mean employment, not for little girls and boys, but for grown-ups, adult males preferably employment for men over 21, married men who have to support families. I do feel that there is something wrong in the economy of any country which suggests that a number of boys and girls will be employed in these little industries, such as the manufacture of sweets, caps, coffin plates, and other things of that character, whilst the fathers of these children are walking the streets of Dublin and Cork, and the other large centres of industry and commerce in this country. There is something radically wrong, I suggest, in any system which permits that state of affairs. I do not want to suggest that we should get immediate and happy results from all tariffs, but certainly when I examine the question—and I have examined it at close quarters in my own city of Cork—I find there are more people unemployed in Cork City now after the imposition of tariffs than before the imposition of these tariffs, so that all the flowery promises made and the great anticipations which we cherished—I cherished them myself—with regard to the extra employment that would follow tariffs, have been very much dissipated.
I would ask the Minister to take note of the objection I raised in regard to Item No. 2 in relation to imported yarn. I would go so far as to say that where any manufacturer has not the plant for making his own yarns that time would be given, any number of years the Minister himself would name, to these manufacturers to instal plant for the making of their own yarn. Some of these mills, to their credit be it said, are manufacturing their own yarn. I personally take very great pride in being able to say that everything I wear is of Irish manufacture, and has been ever since I was able to purchase anything, but it is a very little source of satisfaction to me to know that the Irish tweed I use in my suitings is made of yarn imported from Belgium, France and such places. I suggest that the Minister should see that we manufacture the yarn we require for the making of tweed in our own country. As I have said, some of the mills in the Free State are doing so, but others, and the most important, are not doing so.
Like Deputy Anthony, I have been an advocate, in the past, of certain selected tariffs. It is a matter of regret that the Government has launched its tariff policy at a period when the conditions of the world are absolutely unfavourable to success. Tariffs enable reciprocal treatment to be given as between countries. But they also serve as a means of retaliation such as we are experiencing at present. It is quite possible that these retaliatory measures, which are doing so much harm to agriculture at present, would not have arisen if it were not for the overwhelming tariff policy launched by the Government against imports. After all, it is impossible for one country to buy the products of another unless there is a certain exchange of production. Unfortunately, the tariff policy of the Government has been launched not alone against ordinary imports but against the means of production here, such as manure, agricultural implements, meal, and various articles in the hardware line, the price of which to the farmer has been increased. I shall not speak of the cost of materials used in connection with housing. These have been enumerated by Deputy Good. There is nothing which will do more to injure the constructive proposals of the Government in regard to housing than the raising of the costs, which is being done by the imposition of duties upon various articles which go to the construction of a house. Unless there is a modification of these tariffs, I feel that there will be a tendency by manufacturers to raise the price to the full amount of the tariff. For that reason I supported the Control of Prices Bill, and I shall support any measure which will keep down not alone the cost of living but the cost of the raw materials of production in this country. Unemployment is rife at present, and in no place is it more rife than in the country districts. That shows that the high tariffs have not been productive of good results.
I advocated a tariff on barely and malt. The prices have not been increased. It may be that if it were not for the tariff the prices would have fallen. At the same time we must admit that it is very difficult for trade to respond to tariffs at the present time. Tariffs tend more to make for unemployment by forcing manufacturers to reduce their staffs. Agriculture is the only source of wealth which we have and the Minister should avoid any increase in the cost of production to the farmer, particularly as the costs of his products are being so materially reduced. I appeal to the Minister to modify the excessive tariffs imposed which, so far as I can see, will result only in ultimate misery to the people.
I think those people interested in commerce are fully aware of the colossal task in front of the Minister for Industry and Commerce. Where tariffs will create new industries and provide additional employment, the Minister will get the support of the commercially-minded people of the Saorstát. The great difficulty in connection with the big tariff policy of the Government is to know whether a tariff will bring employment or whether it will only make the lot of the community harder. I am not going to endeavour to analyse the position from this bench, but there is in this country capital ready to go into industry if industry is given a chance of succeeding. I do not refer to the City of Dublin. I do not like to see factories going up in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway or any of these large towns while the small towns are really the sufferers. It is the small, country towns which require attention. Where protection will give industry a reasonable chance, we are prepared to help the Minister, while doing our jobs. Yesterday, a large deputation of unemployed waited on Kildare County Council. A question was raised there about foreign investments. Where can one invest money in this country at present? Protection might make industrial investment in the small towns attractive. The opportunity is all that is required. If the Minister will consider the country towns as well as the cities and give us encouragement, we will not be accused of not doing our job.
I do not think that any useful purpose would be served by a discussion upon the general merits of a protection policy as against that of the late Government, in so far as it was a free trade policy. This Government came into office pledged to a protection policy and it has been operating that policy. It is unfortunate that the policy for which it stood and the policy on which it was elected should be given trial here during a period in which the whole commercial structure of the world is rocking to its foundations and many people believe that civilisation, as we have known it, cannot survive. It is unfortunate, because the immediate results that can be produced here by development of industry have not become as apparent as they might otherwise have been. But we have got to consider the effects of that policy in relation to what might have been if that policy had not been adopted or which would follow if that policy were now abandoned. We have had speeches from Deputies opposite about unemployment. We are told that unemployment here is worse than it was at this time last year. That may be true or it may not. It is not possible for anybody definitely to make that assertion, one way or another, because there is no possible means of getting information of what the measure of unemployment was last year or what it is at the moment.
You can get it on the streets.
We have got in this country more people than we had last year. During the period the late Government was in office the unemployment problem was eased for it by the fact that some 25,000 people left the country every year to find in the United States the employment they could not find at home.
How many years is it since 25,000 people emigrated?
The average emigration for the past ten years was 25,000.
What was the last year 25,000 persons emigrated?
I am giving you the average figure for ten years. Three hundred thousand went during those ten years, in any case. That has stopped now and, undoubtedly, the stoppage of emigration has aggravated the unemployment position, because the majority of those who emigrated were young people who were at that period of their career when they were endeavouring to obtain a trade or livelihood for themselves. They are here now intensifying the competition for the work available.
There are other causes which have possibly aggravated the position also, but I do not think that it is correct to say that unemployment is worse than it was this time last year. In any case, whether it is or not, we have got to face up, not to the causes of that unemployment, but to the remedies for it. The question we have to ask ourselves, the question the Dáil decides upon these Resolutions is, how is that unemployment position to be dealt with?
Are we going to lessen unemployment by ceasing the attempts we are making to revive particular industries in this country? Does any Deputy opposite believe that there is any possible solution for the problem of unemployment other than the revival of industry? Are there any means of getting these unemployed men into work except by the revival of industries which will provide them with work? Is there any way of getting that result except by making for ourselves the manufactured products that we formerly imported? Is there any way of getting these manufactured products except by taking whatever action is necessary in order to break from the old habits that existed in this country of turning our attention to importation and distribution? Is there any way except by turning ourselves from being distributing agents to endeavouring to do what we can to make this country itself the source of supply of these articles?
The late Government operated what they called a policy of selective protection. The whole tenor of the speeches made by Deputy Blythe and by the two Deputies in external association with Deputy Blythe's Party, Deputies Anthony and Brasier, means that if tariffs must be imposed they must be placed at a minimum. Deputy Blythe, of course, pleaded for long consideration. Deputy Blythe, undoubtedly, during the period he was Minister for Finance gave every application for a tariff very long consideration. We have Deputy Anthony talking about the tariff on woollens. We can take that tariff as an example of having a tariff very long under consideration. It was under consideration during the régime of the late Government for five years; from the day on which the application was lodged until the Financial Resolution was considered by the Dáil three years elapsed. Did that three years consideration obviate the possibility of mistakes? Quite the reverse. The Minister for Finance, Deputy Blythe, came five times to the Dáil with amending legislation in respect of the original legislation on this subject of woollens.
The net result of all this delay was that by the time the tariff began to operate on the industry the industry was nearly wiped out. We had Deputy Anthony saying that the number of persons employed in the industry after the tariff had been in operation was less than before the tariff had been imposed. That particular matter had been considered during five years; it was amended five times, and it nearly destroyed the industry. We had to change that system. We increased the tariff and we ruled out the defects. Last week I met the woollen manufacturers of this country, and they assured me that they were getting more orders than ever, and that their industry was dispatching to the export market in which they had a former trade more of their goods than they had been able to sell for years. They are contemplating not merely the establishment of themselves here, but the regaining of their lost export trade in Canada and elsewhere.
Reference was also made to the boot tariff. That is another case in which it is possible to demonstrate that the policy of minimum tariffs must be sparingly applied if much more detrimental effects are not to ensure than from the tariffs proposed in the manner in which we are proposing to have tariffs applied. Since May of this year, when the new tariff came into operation, the output in the boot industry showed that the total number of persons employed increased by 500. Three new boot factories have been established and there is another about to be established. We have got more development in three months in the boot industry than was achieved in the previous five years on the inadequate protection which was designed merely to irritate the consumer and to produce no effect on the industry concerned.
We have not imposed a general tariff. That fact is perhaps not realised by some of the Deputies who spoke upon this matter of tariffs. Tariffs, wherever imposed, have been imposed in relation to a particular commodity and designed to protect a particular industry. There is not a single one of those tariffs that cannot be justified if it was the only star in the tariff firmament, if it was the only one in operation. There is not a single one of these tariffs that can be removed without causing greater unemployment here. We are told that these tariffs might indirectly create unemployment in one quarter while creating employment in another. That is, to some extent, true. If we make for ourselves the goods formerly imported there are numbers of persons formerly engaged in loading the goods at the docks and in distributing them about the country who would be disemployed. But for every one man thus disemployed 100 people will be placed in employment.
Figures which will indicate the increased employment in tariffed industries during the past six months are being collected. It will be some time before they are ready, but I am satisfied from the reports we have received that they are going to show that a remarkable increase in employment has taken place. We have only barely begun. It is only last June that these tariffs were discussed in this House. They brought into operation immediately industries which can be rapidly and easily established, and these industries were ones in which it was not a case of giving employment to juveniles, to young boys and girls. That is not the type of employment that we want to foster here. We aim at fostering industries that will employ adults. These are the industries that would make the biggest gap in the ranks of the unemployed. There is not a day or week in which we do not make some progress towards the establishment or development of new industries in this country. We have been treated by Deputy Good to a lecture upon the building trade. Deputy Good, I take it, is not asserting that the fact that building costs are higher here than elsewhere is due to anything which happened since this Government came into office. That situation existed already.
Why make that situation worse?
Deputy Good asks why make it worse. How do we make it worse by compelling the trade to manufacture their boards in this country?
By making it more expensive to build a house.
They manufacture boards in Belfast. Has the manufacture of boards in Belfast made building costs more expensive there? They manufacture them in Cork, in Limerick and in other towns in this country. It is only in Dublin that the persons engaged in the industry have not equipped themselves to engage in the manufacture of these boards. Every big town in Great Britain makes its own boards, while at the same time these towns maintain a lower cost in building. Why should it not be possible to get the same results in this country? At the same time in no case has the imposition of duty upon plainly dressed boards tended in any way to raise building costs.
I listened with considerable interest to Deputy Blythe. I am becoming quite amused with the efforts which prominent members of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party resort to in order to maintain their reputation as prophets. We had Deputy Anthony here explaining why it was he voted against the tariff on knitting yarns. No doubt he will make many more speeches to us on that subject, and, no doubt, he will have to make quite a large number of speeches in his own constituency on that subject, but he will not be able to get away from the hard fact that he voted against the tariff. We had Deputies opposite trying to explain why their particular prognostications in relation to the tariff policy have not been fulfilled. May I remind Deputies opposite exactly what they said was going to happen when this tariff policy came into operation, not what they said two years, or five years ago, but what they said last June, and what some of them said last week? They said it was going to increase the cost of living. I am quite certain that there is not a Deputy on the opposite benches who, at some cross roads in the country, did not tell the people listening to him that a tariff policy was clearly going to increase the cost of living. To-day we had Deputy Blythe telling us that "it is quite true that the cost of living has gone down, but it has not gone down enough." Once they come up against the concrete fact that the cost-of-living index figure shows quite a substantial reduction in the cost of living, during the past six months, the boot is immediately on the other foot. They abandon the old argument that the cost of living is going to go up, and resort to the new one, that it is not going down fast enough. All I can say is that it is going down faster this year than it went down in any similar period during their régime.
We were told that the cost of production was going up, and again we come up against the concrete fact that, in respect of quite a large number of commodities to which tariffs were applied, the costs have gone down since the tariff went into operation. That applies even in respect of boots and shoes. It is possible to buy boots and shoes here now more cheaply than they could have been bought before the new tariff came in. It is possible to buy quite a number of these tariffed articles at a price cheaper than that at which they were available before the new policy was operated. The main point, however, on which Deputies opposite relied was that the tariff policy was not going to succeed, and only last week, as I have already pointed out, we had Deputy McGilligan rushing into the House and producing a cutting from a newspaper relating to the Revenue position, and saying: "At last, it is proved that the policy has been a failure and that these tariffs you imposed, instead of producing more employment in the country, and industrial development are, in fact, only producing revenue for the Exchequer." Deputy McGilligan misread the figures, and to-day, because of his blunder, it was necessary for me to state the true position. The correct position is that the tariffs which were imposed did not yield even the revenue we anticipated they would yield. They have produced in five months £100,000, whereas, when the Budget was under discussion, we had a figure of £900,000 under consideration. It is quite true, as Deputy McGilligan noted, that the yield from Customs Duties has been in excess of last year, but he made the mistake of assuming that the entire increase arose out of the particular block of tariffs we discussed under the Finance Act. They did not. The tariffs imposed by the Finance Act did not yield the anticipated revenue, because their protective effect was greater than we even dared to assume at that period. I will admit that, to some extent, the decline in imports may be due to a reduction in consumption in the country, but, in a great part, it is due to the fact that our people are now drawing from Irish sources the goods they formerly drew from abroad.
I do not think it is necessary for me to deal with any of the other arguments that were advanced. We have been told that we are facing a harder winter than anything we have known so far. Whether that is likely to prove as true as other Cumann na nGaedheal prophecies or not I cannot say, but I hope Deputies realise that, if that situation exists here, it exists in countries other than this, and it may be due to causes which are not within our control, but in so far as these causes are within our control, we are going to ease that hardship by calling on all the resources of the State that we can command, if necessary, to ensure that work will be available for those who are urgently in need of it. We are going to provide that work, in so far as it is possible to do it, in protected industry—permanent employment which will have a long run, as well as an immediate effect. We are going to provide it, in so far as the resources of the country will permit, in useful schemes, designed, not merely to get useful work done, but, particularly, to tide us over the present emergency, and I hope that we are going to get the co-operation of Deputies who are foretelling this hard winter, in any measures we have to resort to in order to prevent that hardship weighing too heavily on our people. If Deputies will concentrate their minds on that problem, they will be doing much more useful work than in making false deductions from the present position in relation to the policy the Executive is administering.
We cannot possibly lessen that hardship by destroying our industries. If there is any logic in the speech we heard from Deputy Blythe, that is what he was advocating. In so far as these tariffs have produced industrial effort here, and given employment to anybody in the country, even though they may be juveniles, they are an asset in the present situation. If we remove the tariffs and let the industries go, if we take these people out of employment and put them into the ranks of the unemployed, we will not lessen hardship. That is not the way to tackle the problem. The way in which we have to tackle the problem is by standing back on our own resources, and the resources of this country are quite adequate to provide a decent living for everybody in it, but they have to be developed, and we have got to get the necessary machinery that will enable us to develop them and the necessary organization to ensure that, when developed, it is the people of this country, and the people of this country who need it, who are going to get the benefit of it.
I, for one, am more than satisfied that the policy we have been operating is the only justifiable policy in this country in present circumstances. We can easily imagine conditions under which a modification of that policy might be wise. We can easily imagine circumstances arising in the future when even those who are advocating that policy now might be coming to the Dáil and urging that it should be amended in particular respects, but, as things stand at present, and in the light of the possibilities which world conditions lead us to expect in this country, there is no other policy for us except the policy that we are operating, and, consequently, I have every confidence in recommending the Dáil to give whole-hearted support to the proposals contained in these Resolutions.
Resolution agreed to and reported.