Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 14 Nov 1934

Vol. 54 No. 1

Private Deputies' Business. - Unemployment Problem

Debate resumed on the following motion:—
That in view of continued widespread unemployment the Dáil instructs the Executive Council to make available forthwith sufficient money to permit of the carrying out of large scale schemes of public works, so as to relieve the distress caused by unemployment—Deputies William Norton, William Davin, Timothy Murphy, Richard Corish.

In the course of the debate on this motion, before the adjournment of the House last August, several suggestions—most of them helpful and calculated to solve, at least partially, this problem of unemployment—were made. The suggestion that appeared to receive most support here and—I say authoritatively —that has received most support in the country was that an earnest and consistent endeavour should be made to arrive at an honourable settlement of the economic dispute with our neighbours across the Channel. The continuance of a war of attrition of this character——

The Deputy should make his speech and not read it.

I shall hand my notes to the Minister if he wishes. This dispute is disastrous alike to the Irish Free State and to Great Britain. That, I think, is acknowledged even by a Minister of such small intelligence as the Minister for Finance. Of course a suggestion of this character would be regarded by the super-patriots as one that emanated from an enemy of the Free State and a friend of Great Britain. We would be told that, in making a suggestion of this character, we were playing England's game. It should be remembered when discussing the problem of unemployment in this country that to the depression in agriculture is mainly due the depression in the industrial market in the cities and towns of the Free State. Lest there should be any doubt in the mind of the Minister or his Government, I shall quote figures from the official returns relating to unemployment issued by the Department of Industry and Commerce from April 3, 1934, to November 5, 1934. On April 3, 1934, there were on the live register— that is, the register to which the Minister for Industry and Commerce so frequently refers when he is endeavouring to explain away unemployment and also when he is endeavouring to show that employment is on the increase and unemployment is decreasing—92,817 men.

There were 101,730 persons signing the register on that date but that figure included women and juveniles. On the 16th April, 1934, there were 88,367 men on the live register. The total, including women and juveniles, was 96,987, which shows a decrease of roughly 3,000 or 4,000 persons. On September 10, there were 94,439 men on the live register. The total, including women and juveniles, was 104,260. On the 24th September, 1934, there was 100,087 men—mark the progressive increase in the number of unemployed —signing the live register, the total, including women and juveniles, being 110,186. On October 1st, there were on the live register 102,932 men—I leave out for the moment the total increase in women and juveniles. On October 22, there were 105,575 men, and on November 5, the latest date for which figures are available, we get the enormous total of persons signing the live register in the official figures supplied by the Department of Industry of 108,742 men. On that date there was a total of persons including women and juveniles of 119,428 persons. Yet we can be very glibly told by the Minister for Finance, and occasionally by the Minister for Industry and Commerce that though the volume of unemployment has increased the number of persons unemployed is greatly lessened. His own figures, as given on 5th November, are 108,742 men signing the live register.

In Cork—and these are also official figures—on the 26th March, 1934, there were 4,900 persons on the live register, of whom 1,858 were in receipt of unemployment insurance benefit, some of this number being also in receipt of home assistance, as the Minister will readily understand. On the 13th October, 1934, the last day for which figures were available, there were 6,804 unemployed as against 4,900 on the 26th March. Of that 6,804 persons, 3,309 were in receipt of unemployment assistance. The figures I have given to the House make it manifest that so far from employment being found for increased numbers of persons, reducing to some appreciable extent, the number of persons unemployed, notwithstanding all the talk about new factories—and some of them have been referred to by Deputy Norton as "baby factories" or something of that kind—the figures I have quoted show that unemployment is on the increase.

The motion on the Order paper was put down so far as my memory serves me as long ago as last February or March. The terms of that motion were "That in view of the continued widespread unemployment the Dail instructs the Executive Council to make available forthwith sufficient money to permit of the carrying out of large scale schemes of public works so as to relieve the distress caused by unemployment." Today, as I have just shown, conclusively I think, unemployment is continuing and increasing. This is shown by the figures I have quoted, the latest available showing a huge increase.

The President in one of his pronouncements, some year or two ago, declared that the problem of unemployment was more easily solved in this country than in any other country. I am not quoting his exact words, but these are as near as I can go to them, and I do not think the President would question them. If that is true, if unemployment is more capable of solution in this country than in any other country that President de Valera knows of, I am wondering how it is that instead of showing a decrease in the figures of unemployment in recent months there has been a huge increase.

What about the ratio in regard to the population?

We will come to that.

Tell us something about it.

We heard something about the ratio of those persons unemployed to the population. The ratio to-day is greater than ever it was in this country. The Deputy knows that, and he also knows that from Fianna Fáil platforms, all over the country before the last general election, Ministers, and many of their followers, told the people that they had stopped emigration. As I pointed out before, they did not stop emigration. It was Uncle Sam stopped that. The Deputy may laugh, but he knows as well as I do that many a young Irishman would be glad enough to go to America to-day if they only had the opportunity.

Not at all. They are coming home from America.

That is the mentality of the Deputy. He believes his party stopped emigration, but, as I told him, it was Uncle Sam stopped it. Under Fianna Fáil administration unemployment is worse by many thousands than ever it was before in this country. We were told that with an intensified campaign for tariffs we would have factories in every town and village that would absorb most of the unemployed people. Certainly some attempt has been made to create factories and new industries and to foster some of the old ones. But what do we find as a result of this enterprise? We find in nearly all cases these factories give employment to juvenile persons under the age of 16. When they reach the age of 16 and become insurable they get their marching orders and further child labour is exploited. Let us come down to brass tacks in this matter and what do we find?

We find Fianna Fáil spokesmen before the elections, during the elections, and even up to now, making the claim that they would reduce taxation by many millions and increase employment by many thousands. The figures I have just read out negative that statement of that promise which Fianna Fáil held out to the electors of this country when they were seeking their suffrages at the last general election. I would ask the Minister and his Government to accept this motion and to make a serious endeavour to grapple with this question of unemployment. It is not by the creation of these little twopence halfpenny factories that give employment to a few little girls, whilst their parents are walking unemployed around the streets of Dublin, Cork and of other towns, that the industrial arm of this country will be built up. We had it on the authority of many of the Ministers that after a few years of Fianna Fáil government, not alone would we have reduced taxation, not alone would we have created further employment for the people, but that we would have reduced very considerably the personnel of the Civil Service and that we would have reduced very considerably the amount expended year after year in administrative expenses. What do we find? We find that every other day you are adding to your permanent officials. You are creating new posts for civil servants every other day of the week. I recollect in answer to a question put down here, I think it was last session, that the Minister admitted that appointments had been made in one branch of the Civil Service which meant an increase of £63,000 per annum on the national expenditure. Not later than a few weeks ago, another army of inspectors were engaged to go round the country to tell the farmer when to sell his cattle and when to hold them back.

Can the Deputy relate the increase in the Civil Service to the spread of unemployment?

Yes, Sir, with all respect. I want to pay a most subtle compliment to the Minister, who is certainly endeavouring to create employment in the Civil Service and thereby to solve to some extent at least the unemployment problem.

Does the Deputy ever read the records of the House? It was stated here a short time ago that there are fewer individuals in the employment of the State than there were when we took office and that the Civil Service is costing less.

I suppose you fired a lot of people on the other side. We were told that expenditure would be reduced. It is my belief, it is the belief of any man who gives any serious consideration at all to the financial position of this country, that we are fast reaching the stage when 40 per cent. of the population will be supporting the other 60 per cent., and at least 20 per cent. of that 40 per cent. will be civil servants. The length of time that that 40 per cent. will be able to support the other 60 per cent. will be measured by the length of time they are able to hold out. I am aware that this question of unemployment is not very easy of solution. I do not suggest for one moment that, with one wave of the pen, any Minister or any Government could settle this problem, but at least a decent attempt could be made to settle it. It is a problem which is giving very grave concern to heads of governments in other countries. Other countries are endeavouring by all means at their disposal to overhaul their whole economic system—a complete overhaul as far as possible.

That is what we did.

If the complete overhaul which the Deputy has in his mind means making dearer for the consumer of the country everything he wants to consume, and that everything he has to sell has to be produced at a loss, that is not the kind of economic change I want to see brought about. The farmer has to pay more for what he buys in the cities and towns and he is getting less for the produce that he sells off his own farm.

What about the worker?

The worker has suffered as I have endeavoured to show to the Deputy. If the Deputy wishes to get the figures I shall hand them to him and he can verify them in the Department of Industry and Commerce. That is a complete answer. That is where you get away with it at the cross-roads and the chapel gates. You go down to the chapel gates on a Sunday morning and you tell your gullible followers that you will bring about a new heaven, a Utopia and they believe it.

What about the poor fools you let in for it in Cork?

They would never believe it in Belfast, anyway, where you came from. They are too canny.

What about the poor dupes——

I want to hear this. I generally get the better of these exchanges. I would much prefer that he were allowed to have his say. This will appeal even to the Northern intelligentsia—the figures which the Minister for Finance so very kindly quotes in the Dáil and the figures of his fellow-Minister, the figures coming from the Department of Industry and Commerce. Again I suggest to the House that no serious attempt is being made to solve this unemployment problem. Deputy Norton made some strictures upon the Government's attempt to solve this problem. So far he has not been effectively answered. Nobody who stood up on the other side has controverted the figures he gave to the House relating to the wages paid in some of the factories—for child labour in most of them.

What about the beet factory?

Yes, but look at what the beet factories are going to cost the country? Surely you must remember that the people are going to pay through the nose for them? When Deputy Cosgrave's Government was in power he was told by Deputies opposite that the beet factory was a white elephant. You cannot have it both ways. I should like to meet the Deputy down the country on any platform.

I would be delighted.

While the good old Cork accent is understood in Donegal, I am afraid that we could never understand the Donegal accent in Cork. I can always deal with cross-fire, but I still feel this is a matter that should be approached in the most serious vein. I have suggested that the Fianna Fáil Government never made a serious attempt to grapple with the problem. I have also said that I feel that to some extent at least there should be an overhauling of the economic system in this country. I admit that certain attempts were made, but these attempts were, in my view, begun at the wrong end. I would much prefer to see established in this country an industry giving employment to 100 men than to see five little factories springing up giving employment to 500 underpaid girls and boys. I do not want to detain the House at any great length, but this motion has been on the Order Paper for very many months.

Personally, I would like to see the motion disposed of this week or next week so that we might get on with the other important motions that are on the Order Paper. I sincerely hope that Government Deputies as well as the members of the Government, when asked to vote on this motion, will go into the lobby with the movers and supporters of it.

If we were to accept as true what is fundamentally false there would be no answer to the case which has been put forward by the Opposition. The fundamental contention of the Opposition is that registrations for employment, that the total number of people who indicate in some regular and accepted manner their desire and willingness to take work if it is offered to them, is an indication of unemployment and of the distressed condition of the country. If we accept that, then there is no answer to the question. All you have got to do is to get the figures and the case is proved. Our difficulty is that the whole of the evidence in our possession is entirely the contrary to any such contention. The evidence in our possession suggests that the actual number of people on the unemployment register at any two periods is not a comparable measure in any sense of the pressure of unemployment, but merely of the degree in which the total of all the people who might be put upon such a register has reacted favourably to the various artificial stimuli which have been used to induce them to register. There is a fundamental difference in outlook upon these figures. One says, if the figures go up by ten thousand then it means that there are ten thousand units more of an indication of economic distressful conditions; and the other says if it goes up by ten thousand let us enquire why it has gone up by ten thousand.

I want Deputies to go back in imagination to the unemployment figures, as they were called, previous to the coming in of this Government. You will find, if you take them year by year, that every year they rose slightly as a total, but every year they maintained precisely the same seasonal characteristic. There was always a peak somewhere between January and February. There was always a hollow in June and July; there was always again a peak coming on to Christmas, and each year that characteristic remained. It was what we have come to call in this House the seasonal characteristic of the unemployment curve. Now, at that time the maximum figure attained —the two peaks—was somewhere in the neighbourhood of thirty thousand, but these were thirty thousand people registering under a particular stimulus, a very limited stimulus. They were people registering who had no real reason to believe that registration, as such, would bring them employment at all. They registered largely as part of the machinery by which they paid into, had accumulated for them and drew out of an unemployment insurance fund the contributions of labour, employers, and of the State. As far as the body of what you might call unskilled labour, or casual labour at any rate, was concerned they registered in the knowledge that no man who did not come under a specified, a segregated, category could get employment through that particular channel. As, in my opinion, having regard to all the circumstances and for a brief time possibly, a justifiably economic sanitary expedient, it was arranged that the large number of people artificially recruited into the National Army and as artificially demobilised should have a preference in employment, and a register was compiled of people who either belonged to insurable employment or a very small proportion in addition of casual labourers who had been members of the National Army and who had a privileged position in employment in virtue of that fact. In addition to that, registration took place at places widely distant from one another. In some cases, it was necessary for men to travel fifteen and twenty miles if they did, in fact, desire to register.

That is not so.

All right; I will get the Deputy the figures. As a result, when we came to use that unemployment register, as it was called, as the only State evidence which was in our possession for the purposes of the distribution of unemployment relief upon a logical and fair basis, we found that it had no reality or validity at all along those lines. As regards the money which is provided by this House for the purposes of unemployment relief—I am only bringing this in because it is in relation to this that we had carefully to analyse it—the idea is that that money shall be used in those places and for those people where there is distress and for people who are in distress, but when we came to plot the whole record of the unemployment register on a map for the purpose of the distribution of the relief given by this Dáil to the people who really were in distress, we found that not one penny practically of that money, if distributed upon that basis, would have gone to any single poor district in the whole of the Saorstát. I will give the House a map at a later date. I will give the House a poverty map of the Saorstát calculated on an investigation of the conditions of every separate one of the 3,000 electoral areas in the Saorstát. I will give them that in the form of a coloured map which will indicate to them the degree of poverty and distress normal to this country over that area. In order to illustrate the particular point which I have now, I will indicate upon a similar map, side by side with it, the distribution of unemployment as indicated by the pre-existing unemployment figure. What you are going to find is an absolute reversal of conditions. If the pre-existing unemployment figures are to be taken as an indication of distress in this country, then they are going to prove that distress and poverty exist in every rich area in Ireland, and that comfort and prosperity exist in every district in Ireland which other indications will prove to be poor districts. In other words, the fundamental basis upon which the whole of the argument in relation to the use of the unemployment figure is based goes by the board. The original figures as a datum on which to work and as a basis of calculation are useless, and I need hardly tell any logically-minded person in this House that all calculations on a basis which is false must necessarily be false in their conclusions.

May we hope, sir, that the Deputy will now come to the motion?

I intend to stick, until I am satisfied with it, to the question of the unemployment returns which Deputy Anthony was so good as to introduce to the House to-night, and make strictly orderly as a basis of discussion. I am grateful to him.

Read the motion.

Now what happened? In 1932 this Government, when it came in, announced that it would fundamentally alter the basis and the purposes of unemployment registration. The original purpose of unemployment registration was to find for a willing commercial employer labour which was value for money to him; in other words, to provide the commercial employer with desirable commercial employees. It was to do it only in segregated and defined classes, and under conditions in which there was no general inducement to register. The Government decided that they would see that the registration in Ireland was convenient to everybody. Instead of widely distant places of registration they arranged for registration at every post office, at every Gárda barracks—at every place which was available. It became far easier to register than not to register. That was number one. The second step was that they invited people to register who were not in those segregated classes. The third thing they did was to offer an unemployment grant of £2,000,000 for the purpose of employing people who were in distress. They required as a necessary qualification for enjoyment of that fund that people should under those new facilities register themselves for employment. Further, they announced that the distribution of the £2,000,000 Unemployment Fund would territorially be upon the basis of registration in those areas. As soon as you compare the figures under the old basis and the figures under the new basis you are comparing glasses of milk and elephants—two things which do not vary merely in degree but things which vary in their fundamental nature. Instead of the employment exchanges being for the purpose of finding men for commercial employers on the basis of their commercial value, they became predominantly places of registration where men would get from the State unemployment benefit on the basis of their necessity. Is it seriously suggested that two things so fundamentally different and contradictory in their nature are capable of comparison?

What was the result? There should have been no result if the contention is that numbers registered are an indication of economic conditions. There could not be any wild change in economic conditions overnight. If the contention which has been put forward here to-night, and which is fundamentally the contention all over the country in relation to those figures is correct there should have been no response to that stimulation. But what was the result? The result was that registration, without any change of conditions, rose like a wall. We have the registration before the stimulation took place; we have the response of the registration to stimulation. It should not have arisen at all if the general contention in relation to the meaning of unemployment registration is correct. It rose from 34,000 at the end of May to 80,000 at the end of July; then it resumed the seasonal characteristics. Where did that registration take place in the register which it is suggested should be regarded as comparable with the pre-existing register? Did it take place in the same classes that were registered? Did it take place in the same areas?

The pre-existing registration took place in all the rich districts east of the Shannon. The new registration took place entirely in the poorer districts west of the Shannon. The pre-existing registration took place in the boroughs and in places where industrial employment of one kind or another had an existence. It took place in the more prosperous towns, in trades of a specific kind and of an insurable character. The registration which now took place raised the register from 34,000 to 80,000 in nine weeks, and took place entirely in the area of the non-industrial, the non-wealthy and the non-insurable classes. The total having been multiplied by the amount of the stimulant the pool again resumed its natural seasonal characteristic. It remained so until it reached a total of 105,000 before Christmas week, 1932.

The same stimulated condition of extra registration, the use of the employment exchanges for the purpose of providing employment for people who were registered, and the distribution of unemployment relief on a perfectly fair basis, on the ground of unemployment, and the old character of which I have spoken—I do not know whether the eye of the House is good enough to see the diagrams— remains. I live with these diagrams and am perhaps more familiar with them. The actual seasonal characteristic was then resumed, dropping at the beginning of the year, and rising again in the winter. All that had happened was that the total had been increased in answer to the stimulant, and the old law of seasonal change was resumed. That went on until the end of 1933. There was introduced into this House on August 9th, 1933, the First Stage of the Unemployment Assistance Bill, which was completed in November, 1933. At the end of 1933 it was announced that this new Act provided unemployment assistance for able-bodied men who were in necessity who would register. On January 1, or approximate thereto, the unregistered pool of possible registrants at labour exchanges was informed that it would come into operation on or about April 1. In other words: "If you want unemployment assistance, register." That was a new stimulant. If the contention of the Opposition is correct, that the mere number of registrants is an indication of the economic and distressed condition of the country, there should have been no response, and the seasonal characteristic with which we are familiar, which had survived the stimulant of 1932 and which proceeded all through 1933, should have continued. A seasonal drop should have begun in January and should have continued until July. But did it? It did not. I have taken out of these graphs the actual difference between what it would have been, if the contention of Deputies opposite was correct, and what it is, and I defy anybody to find a more complete mathematical proof of any general contention than the proof they will find in these papers, that the increase of registration, the artificial upsetting of the seasonal characteristic, was due to specific stimulation. On January 1 it started rising, and the difference between what it should have been, and what it is, rose every week until it reached a maximum at the date which was set down as the date when this particular Act would come into operation. There were 34,000 more people on the register on April 1 than would have been if the characteristic had been adopted. That was the date at which registration was to come in, and then the seasonal characteristic resumed control again. The big rush and stimulant had absorbed the wise people—the maidens who had their lamps trimmed.

The first rush came in and exhausted itself on the very date on which it had been arranged the Act would come into operation. There was then a lull period before the unobservant virgins decided to trim their lamps. The end of February was the date of the first applications for certificates. In the month of March, in response to this stimulant, 115,000 people came forward and made applications for registration certificates. By the end of April the number had reached 175,000, and it is now somewhere about 225,000. People came forward to register and applied for certificates, knowing that not one of them can actually get advantage out of any of these certificates unless they are upon the register as people who are unemployed and people seeking unemployment assistance. The highest previous figure we ever had was 105,000, and to this there has been added an undiscovered pool, making a total pool of 220,000 people, who are capable of seeking to be on the register and everyone of these has a statutory inducement to put his name upon the register, and yet we are asked to believe that nothing of any kind has happened but a change in economic conditions in order to induce people to get upon the register. How any man, knowing these figures, having any idea of the existence of a condition such as this, can make the contention that is now being made, and make it honestly, passes my comprehension.

I get back now to the first statement which I made. The evidence at present in our possession would suggest that the actual number of people on the unemployment register at any two periods is not a comparable measure in any sense of the pressure of distress or unemployment, but merely of the degree in which the total of all the people who might be put upon such a register has reacted favourably to the various artificial stimuli which have been in use to induce them so to register. But you can go a lot further and you can find from the register which of the registrants have been registering regularly before the date in question, and which are fresh comers. If, for instance, you found that there was a large increase in strange faces in any particular gathering you would say that something was happening. In the same way if you find a large number of people who have not registered before and who are of the nature and quality that did not previously register, you would say that there has to be some new kind of explanation for it.

Take the quarter ended 1st October, 1933. The number of fresh registrations was 32,000—I am giving round figures— and the number of old registrations was 68,000. If you take the quarter ended 7th October, 1934, the number of new registrations was 77,000—against 32,000 —and the number of old registrations was 60,000—against 68,000. In other words, while the number of old registrations was practically normal, the number of new registrations had risen from 32,000 to 77,000, or by 45,000, and the actual increase in the number of people on the register at that time corresponded exactly with that figure. In other words, the actual increase was 45,000. There is an old saying that he who proves too much proves nothing, and I was not satisfied that the increase of 45,000 in new registrations would give anything like that increase, and, therefore, if the theory upon which we are working is sound, there must be other new registrations, and going back to the first quarter of the year, I find that there are those new registrations there to explain the whole of the difference.

In addition to that, the people have varied in condition. It is not the people who have previously registered. The vast majority of the new registration is coming from the poorer districts, from the uneconomic holders in the west and in the south. It might be suggested that the mere fact that those people have now come upon the register is a proof of a disimproving economic condition in the western and the congested and the poorer districts of Ireland, and that is a contention which would have to be examined, but the answer, unfortunately, is complete. The people who are stimulated to register are the people who, in rural districts, have less than £39 and, in certain urban districts, less than £52 a year. Anyone who knows the West of Ireland; anyone who knows Connemara, Mayo, Donegal, West Clare or the Dingle peninsula; anyone who has even the remotest tourist knowledge of them; anyone who has gone through them at 60 miles an hour, knows that there had not to be a change in the conditions of those districts, not in living memory, not in a long way back from living memory, in order that the average income of the adult population should fall below £39 a head.

The registration is taking place in the unknown Ireland. The register to-day is not a picture of the unemployment condition; it is not the total of men normally seeking paid employment who are unable to get paid employment. It is the exposure and the development of the picture of deep, grinding, almost abysmal, endemic poverty which has existed in the memory of the oldest of us, in the memory of the grandfathers of the oldest of us, in the western and south-western, and in some of the north-western, districts of Ireland, and it is good that by these figures we who live in the more prosperous portions of Ireland, we individuals, among the people of Ireland, who are more prosperous than the average, should be shocked publicly into a knowledge of the existence and the nature of the poverty problem as distinct from the unemployment problem of this country.

If these large figures which are now coming out—if the heavy figures of unemployment assistance which will eventually become so familiar to the people of this country—perform no other purpose than to remind the Twenty Six Counties as a whole of the obligation and sense of undischarged debt that they have to the Western people, to the poorer peoples of this country, the register will have performed a duty which is worth all the money that has been spent upon it. But that is what it means. The veil has been torn aside. The silly, mad idea which was represented by a 30,000 registration, wholly and completely in the richer districts of Ireland, has been blown to atoms with the registration of 119,000—the larger portion of which is made up of people who have never registered for unemployment before; who have never been employed persons in the sense in which that term is commonly used; who have been people struggling manfully to maintain their existence under conditions which required a faithfulness and a heroism and a strength of mind and courage and abilities which I think, have never been matched in the history of the human race. These are our poorer people on the Western coast of Ireland.

On a previous occasion, as the House knows, I have exposed all the information in our possession in relation to the way in which we have discharged the duty the House has given to us in the matter of unemployment relief. In the same way, I hope to put in the possession of every honest student of these things in this House the facts and figures as we are getting them. There it, at the present moment, a most persistent and energetic study taking place in relation to the new facts in connection with Irish economic life which are being exposed to us for the first time in the results of the unemployment assistance register. I think that when those are fully analysed, we will be in a position to give, in relation to the economic life of practically every individual in this country who can be said to be in a state of necessity, more accurate particulars in relation to that life than any other country possesses, and I hope that the House will diligently study those when they get them and use them as a basis for a policy by which help will be deliberately brought to those more unfortunate, and, I think, far more noble of our own people.

That being the position, as far as I know it, in relation to the actual figures, all the evidence officially in the possession of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce point to the fact that there has been no increase of unemployment throughout the country. As you know, we have given on previous occasions the general statistical figures in relation to that matter, and, as part of that investigation last year, we did approach deliberately individuals in this country who had expressed strongly pessimistic views with the suggestion that they had behind them certain facts. Now, it was not a case, as far as I am concerned, and as far as this investigation was concerned, of trying merely to find the facts. It certainly was not a case of trying to find the favourable facts. The whole of the indications of formal statistics were favourable. What we went out to do was to search in the highways and byways for the unfavourable facts which had not come to our knowledge. While, therefore, we have failed, frankly, to get those figures, in two or three cases, where we received the information which was at the back of a man's mind in making a particularly pessimistic speech—the information he received from this place and the other place—on examination they proved to have no basis whatever. For that reason, I am satisfied that whatever degree of distress and unemployment there is in the country, that it is not an increasing condition of distress and unemployment. But that does not touch or quarrel with the fact which is exposed by this extraordinary total of 225,000 people who apply for registration certificates for unemployment assistance and 170,000 who get registration certificates. It means that there is that pool of poverty in the country, from whatever source it has come; and until we are in a position, by development of industry or whatever it is of a formal and permanent character, to absorb these, there has to be relief of an emergency character.

Now, what we did in that particular matter was that, first, we used our own limited brains and our own limited but increasing knowledge of the possibilities of artificial employment. Through that we gathered together from all the departments and places concerned, all the schemes which their most ambitious hopes would suggest as possible to deal with unemployment relief over a period. These schemes are all now being critically examined by a committee of whose energy, initiative, and enterprise I cannot speak too highly. In addition to that, we are making an appeal to all the brains and all the initiative of all the people in this country to find for us, if they can, the things that we do not know. The House will remember that I once appealed to the massed intelligence and enterprise of 152 fellow-members of this Dáil, and asked them to send me the expressions of their genius in the solution of this particular problem. Modesty, no doubt, has prevented the output being up to expectation.

It may have been contempt.

I did not hear the Deputy.

Deputy Rice suggests that it may have been contempt.

Contempt and Deputy Rice are bedfellows. If, therefore, anyone in this House knows now of any proposals, outside the conventional forms of proposals, which have a definite labour content and which are capable of being used in the areas in which distress and unemployment are rife, we will be very glad to have them. In addition to that, any scheme which is put forward by any person outside, no matter who he is and no matter what it is, we will examine it and see if we can get some good out of it. When that mass of material has been got together it will be dissected and examined and put, to some extent, in the categories both of value and otherwise. When that mass is complete, then we will try and work out of it some scheme by which, in ordered progress over a considerable period, public works can be done. The ordinary schemes with which you are all familiar—public health work, drainage, forestry, etc.,—practically the whole of these are now being fully examined by the committee, but there may be other kinds of work of which we do not know which can be used. All I can say is that, to the extent to which these are made available to us, the extent to which they have value, the desire will be to use them for the purpose of dealing with what, I repeat to the House, is not in its largest sense an unemployment problem, but endemic poverty in this country, which is three and four and five times as onerous and as heavy a problem as the problem of unemployment. Both the unemployment and the poverty problems we will, as far as the resources of the State allow, attempt to deal with as and when we have completed the investigations now in hands.

I think it is rather unfortunate for this House and for the unemployed that this debate should have clashed with the Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis and whatever social functions are attached to it. I take it that if it were not for the Ard Fheis the Minister for Industry and Commerce and, perhaps, the President, would have been here to deal with this matter to-night.

Might I point out that when the Deputy was not here to deal with it, the Minister for Industry and Commerce spoke in the debate?

I was here and had the greatest possible pleasure in listening to him. However, we were informed two and a half years ago by the President that he was appointing Deputy Hugo Flinn as the unofficial Minister for Employment. We have listened to the Parliamentary Secretary for over 50 minutes. It reminded me of another occasion when I listened to him, when he was not a Deputy, lecturing upon the abolition of income tax. He made the same play with figures to-night. The Parliamentary Secretary tried to put himself right in the middle of his speech, but unfortunately he did not stay right. He said that he who attempts to prove too much proves nothing. If it is any consolation to him, I think that is what he has succeeded in proving to the House—nothing. Rather he succeeded in proving that if there is any man in the Fianna Fáil Party competent to solve the unemployment problem, the Parliamentary Secretary is not. The Parliamentary Secretary has made an absolute confession of failure. He was appointed Minister for employment. We all know the Parliamentary Secretary's opinion of himself and of his abilities and capabilities, and I think we know, to a certain extent, the opinion which members of his own party hold of his abilities; but I am afraid that even his warmest admirer in the Fianna Fáil Party will admit that he has not covered himself with glory in this particular debate.

The Parliamentary Secretary tells us that there is less destitution, less distress in this country now than there was at any time. He tells us that because the figures have gone up to, roughly, 120,000 they do not mean an increase in unemployment. His case, in effect, is that if they had gone down it would have meant an increase in unemployment; but the fact that they have gone up proves the opposite. I am prepared to confess that if the figures had gone up, say, to 200,000 early this year I would not have been surprised. It would be understandable, because we know that in this or in any other country if people think there is a chance of getting money for nothing they are going to try and get it. If the figures had gone up with a jump, say, up to July, it would be understandable. But I would ask the Parliamentary Secretary, or the Minister for Industry and Commerce, or the President, or anybody else, to explain the steady increase of between 2,000 and 3,000 per week between July and the present date. A jump of, say, 60,000 between April and July would be understandable and could be met by saying: "These are new people coming in who are registering in the hope of getting unemployment assistance." But it is not so easy to wipe away the figures of the steady increase over a number of months. The Parliamentary Secretary was talking about a seasonal increase. Does he ever remember the figures before eclipsing the peak figures for any other year in the months of July, August, September and October, which are normally the busiest months in this country and when normally there is greater employment than at any other period of the year? It seems to me that there can be only one explanation.

I am not going to say to what extent employment has been found in the new factories, because frankly I have no detailed information beyond what I heard in the ordinary course. I am satisfied, however, that there has been a very great reduction in the number of men finding employment in the rural parts of the country, and there is not a member in this House—I do not care whether he sits on the Fianna Fáil Benches or this side of the House—but knows quite well that that is so. It is perfectly clear to everyone here that the ordinary farmer is not able to employ as many men as he employed before or to employ even the same number of men for the full period. That is quite evident to anyone. Deputy Flinn seems to be amazed. I forget his exact words, but I think the gist of what he said was that you had a new type of person registering. Of course you have. All over the country to-day you have farmers and farmers' sons signing on for work on the roads, on drainage schemes and on relief works because they are compelled to do it. They would not dream of signing on for these works four or five years ago.

Did they never do it before?

They were never compelled to do it before because they had employment on their own farms— because their own farms were able to pay. Now they are forced to go into competition for what one might call, for want of a better word, legitimate work. Very few Deputies are living in rural areas. Deputy Flinn, of course, has the usual sneer that we expect from the Deputy. I assure him it is very becoming indeed to him. The Deputy, I think, had the same sort of expression on his face about 12 months ago when he was justifying the cutting of wages in half and when he told us that he could put two men where one man was employed already. We know how that scheme succeeded. It succeeded to such an extent that the figures for unemployment have steadily increased, notwithstanding the Deputy's juggling with them—and I admit the Deputy is an expert at juggling, and he can juggle more than figures. The fact remains that the official figures published by the Department of Industry and Commerce show that the number seeking employment in this State is greater than at any period in its history. That is a fact, and one that cannot be got away from. There are now 120,000 unemployed, and probably it is more than 120,000 this week. The Deputy tells us that we ought to be content, that that is no indication whatever. He tries to make play with that 120,000 and the figure of 30,000 some years ago.

I notice the Deputy did not make any reference whatever to the figure which his Party gave a couple of years ago. I refer to the figure they gave when in Opposition. That was the figure for the number of persons available for work—the figure that was secured as a result of the census. Does the Deputy remember that figure? I do not think he was in the House at the time. But Deputy Lemass, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, knows a good deal more about that figure than does Deputy Flinn. When in Opposition Deputy Lemass was fond of playing with the 78,000 unemployed—then an enormous figure.

Does the Deputy know what the live register was at the time?

Yes; does the Minister know it?

The figure in the live register was 22,000, while the census showed 78,000. That ought to show the Deputy what his argument based on these figures is worth.

The Minister is making my point. When on this side of the House, Deputy MacEntee worked himself into hysterics about the awful position of the unemployed then and when Deputy McGilligan tried to explain what the Minister is now trying to explain—that it was not a genuine figure—we know what Deputy MacEntee then said. We too remember what Deputy McGilligan said at the time. But of course times are changed. The then Deputy MacEntee is now the polished suave Minister for Finance, the man who controls the moneys of the nation. He is the man who agrees that 24s. a week is the highest rate to be paid upon relief schemes. Deputy Flinn puts the figure at that. The Deputy I know does not like to be reminded of some of the statements made by him in the past about the live register; he tells us now that it does not matter about the live register.

Tell that to Deputy Anthony.

Deputy Anthony could not possibly throw so much cold water upon the Minister's Department as the Minister for Unemployment has done. He has proved what the statistics of the Department of Industry and Commerce are worth. If we are to believe one word that Deputy Flinn applied to them in his speech—and he used that one word 18 times in the course of the first few minutes— these figures are "fundamentally" wrong. The Deputy is fond of using that word. It is he who is fundamentally wrong. But then if your figures are fundamentally wrong for goodness sake abolish your statistical Department altogether.

I did not say the figures were wrong. I said the arguments from the figures were wrong.

Therefore the Minister was condemning his Department. This Government when seeking the suffrages of the people in 1932 talked about their plan. Deputy Donnelly who was interrupting my friend Deputy Anthony so much during his speech, knows more about that plan than anybody on these benches. I ask him now to produce the plan.

Deputy McGilligan has it.

At that time the Party who are now the Government tabled figures to show that the development of a few industries would absorb 86,041 unemployed people. The President himself said it would be a comparatively easy thing to end unemployment in this country. We were promised that when Fianna Fail were in power there would be no destitution and no poverty in this country. We were told by the President that if we had a Christian Government in this country there would be neither poverty nor unemployment.

He said the same yesterday. He said it to 3,000 delegates.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce went further. Mr. Lemass said that Fianna Fáil had a plan for dealing with unemployment and that they would find employment for so many additional people here that we would not have enough to fill all the vacancies and that we would have to bring back our people from America to fill them.

And they are coming back.

A Deputy

Yes, to claim pensions.

They are coming back to add to the 120,000 unemployed in the country already. Deputy Lemass in 1931 said that if Fianna Fáil were returned to power they would abolish unemployment altogether. He said they would do it in six weeks. He himself I am sure did not believe that, but many of those who voted for him believed his Party were going to make a determined attempt to reduce unemployment. Instead of being reduced unemployment has increased. I want to pay a tribute to one Department of the State that has done something not only to give work to the workers but to house the workers. That is the Department of Local Government and Public Health. If the other Departments of the State would tackle the schemes within their spheres as the Minister for Local Government and Public Health tackled housing schemes, I am satisfied that the unemployment figures would be far different from what they are to-day. So far as the Government policy or want of policy is concerned I must say that it has led to a vast increase in unemployment and I am afraid that that increase will go on increasing. I say this for the reason that you cannot sabotage the main industry of a country without bringing destitution not only to the farmers but to those dependent on the farmers. This means destitution for the agricultural workers and almost all the workers employed in the provincial towns of this country.

Like the previous speaker, I had almost lost the trend of the motion in the wealth of figures that have been put before us by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance. The Parliamentary Secretary put before us so many kinds of figures that if he had only gone on and if we had only waited for 15 or 20 minutes more it looked as if the unemployment problem would have completely solved itself. I would ask the House to get back to the motion before it and to scrap the figures which the Parliamentary Secretary has given us. The figures have been naturally inflated because of the provisions made for the unemployed and for which we are thankful. But we have to get away from all these figures and from the fact that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance seems to be under the impression that there is no unemployment in this State except along the western seaboard. The only experience I have of the western seaboard is passing through it at 60 miles an hour. I hope there are no Civic Guards listening because I was possibly exceeding the speed limit. But I will ask the Parliamentary Secretary to go through the country at less speed than 60 miles an hour. If he does so he will find that unemployment is as rife in the industrial centres as it is in the places of which he speaks along the western seaboard. When we see in the City of Limerick a little scheme of work being carried through with the maximum capacity of absorbing 70 or 80 men, and when we find 2,000 applicants for work on that scheme and the list of names growing every day, then we can understand the conditions of unemployment in this State. The same thing applies to every job that has been carried through in every part of the State. This shows clearly that the men who are looking for work do not want to live on doles but to get work at which they can earn a decent wage.

We have been told that there is no unemployment, comparatively speaking; that there is no great increase in unemployment; that the big numbers on the list are mainly drawn from the western seaboard. On that point I immediately join issue with the Parliamentary Secretary. I may inform him that that is not the position in my area, which may be classed as an industrial area. The City of Limerick possesses old-established industries and a considerable amount of building is taking place in the area; yet all that can be done in the way of local enterprise, backed up by the efforts of the Local Government Department, is not by any means capable of making even an appreciable improvement in the unemployment situation there.

The motion that is under consideration reads:

That in view of continued widespread unemployment the Dáil instructs the Executive Council to make available forthwith sufficient money to permit of the carrying out of large scale schemes of public works, so as to relieve the distress caused by unemployment.

That motion has been on the Order Paper for the last eight or nine months. We ought to approach it in a reasonable frame of mind, leaving aside all party spirit. This is a subject that does not call for party spirit in any form. It is too serious a question to be making party play with. We should ask ourselves, has the position materially improved since this motion was first submitted? In this matter every Deputy should scrap the returns submitted by statistical departments and should instead use his own common sense. I am sure there are few Deputies who have not observed the great distress in every county in the Free State. Notwithstanding the efforts made by the Government to remedy the position — and I will admit that they are doing a good deal in that direction — the existing conditions are still very bad, and the point is, are the Government doing what is commensurate with the gravity of the problem? That is all that we are asking for in this motion. I do not think the production of figures such as we have listened to for an hour or more this evening is going to lead us anywhere. The main point is, are the Government doing all they are capable of doing in order to remedy the serious position in relation to unemployment that exists to-day?

When this motion was moved by Deputy Norton he elaborated in great detail certain schemes that would undoubtedly be useful in giving remunerative employment, and he put forward suggestions to grapple with this most serious problem. Unemployment is not only a great problem in the Free State, but it is also a great problem with most other countries in the world. The intelligence and abilities of leading statesmen the world over are concentrated upon the problem of unemployment. We believe that in this country a lot of leeway has to be made in the building up of social services so as to bring them on a par with the social services of other countries. Money could not be better spent than by bringing our unemployed into work and training them for the time when the industrial schemes promised by this Government will materialise. We all look forward to a great period of agricultural and industrial development when the Government's schemes reach the period of fruition. But in the meantime our boys and girls are leaving school and there are few avenues of employment open to them. Unemployed educated boys might well be a menace to the State, and any effort on the part of the Government to accommodate these boys with employment would, I am sure, be well repaid. There is no question that many people are in a state of absolute destitution in every city, town and village in the Free State.

The most hopeful part of the Parliamentary Secretary's speech was contained in the last few phrases when he mentioned that schemes were being carefully examined with the object of extending employment. Might I suggest that those who are examining the schemes should have some regard for the urgent need that exists in relation to their operation? I hope they will not be quite so long-winded or so slow as the Parliamentary Secretary was when making his points. Perhaps we could have some assurance that this examination of the schemes will not be the be-all and end-all, and that in the very near future some of them at least will be put into operation for the benefit of the country as a whole.

Perhaps I will be allowed to give the Deputy the figures for which he was asked? I do not happen to have the figures for Limerick City separately, but I have figures for the four county boroughs. In Dublin in March, 1932, there were 11,000 unemployed; and in October, 1934, there were 13,000; in other words, it had increased by 18 per cent. The increase in County Donegal was 2,100 per cent., and in County Mayo it was 2,500 per cent. The figures for Limerick cannot be very different from those of Dublin. I will look them up and I will get them for the Deputy. The average for the four county boroughs was an increase of about 24 per cent. I am putting to the Deputy the extraordinary discrepancy in the rise of figures in the different areas.

That is, on the register?

Deputies on the opposite benches have made great play with the increase in the number of registered unemployed. We are quite satisfied that the numbers of unemployed have increased because of the inducements held out to people to register at the employment exchanges. No such inducements were held out by the last Government and, in consequence, people were forced to starve. Those who went to register at that time were compelled to go to the Labour Exchanges week after week and month after month and finally they were told that they were not entitled to receive any unemployment benefit. We realise that we have not arrived at a final solution of the unemployment problem. We do not hide the fact that there is unemployment, but we tell the people that we are prepared to deal with that problem and we are prepared to put a solution into operation. We have a plan and we have told the people about it. Even though Deputies opposite may sneer at the idea of a plan, we tell them that we have that plan and it only requires a short time to put it into full operation.

Deputies opposite have very short memories. They seem to forget that when Fianna Fáil got into power they received as a legacy from the Cumann na nGaedheal Party 90,000 unemployed and we now have 20,000 people, who under ordinary circumstances would be forced to emigrate, added to the list that the Government must provide for. In that way we get a figure that would be many thousands beyond the figure of the unemployed at the present moment. We have less distress than we had two years ago; that cannot be denied. Even though we have unemployment we have not the same misery or the same distress in the workers' families as we had two years ago. They had a better outlook now. They know there are schemes being put into operation by the Government that will alleviate their difficulties. They have a more optimistic outlook and they know they can put their confidence in this Government to carry through schemes that will tend to ameliorate existing conditions.

We have plans for housing of which you are all aware. The Minister for Local Government has stated that it is the duty of public bodies to go ahead with housing and that the money will be provided, no matter how many houses may be required, until all the people who require houses are provided with decent habitations in which they may rear their families in comfort. That is one thing this Government is doing and is prepared to do. Land division is another item that will absorb a number of the unemployed. When these ranches are broken up and given to men who are prepared to till them and carry out the full policy of the Government to the best of their ability, then a number of men will be taken off the list of unemployed. Up to the present time we have had these unemployed people going around the country districts and looking across the fences at the bullocks grazing and fattening on these fields, while the children of these unemployed people were in a state of semi-starvation at home. Like Tantalus, they were up to their eyes in plenty while they were unable to taste of that plentifulness.

We must not forget that there is an industrial revival here and, no matter what sneers may be indulged in in respect of that revival by Deputies on the opposite benches, I am satisfied that not alone will it employ child labour, as it is called, but that it will extend so that it will give employment to adults, as it is doing at present. I am satisfied that the larger schemes of industrial development which are to come will employ adult labour to a much greater degree than it is employed at present. Could we have industries started when we had those in opposition crying out that there was no stability in the country and that this Government could not retain office? How could we expect expansion of industrial activity while we had that kind of propaganda? As a result of the recent county council elections, we shall have a great quickening of activity in the industrial field. We shall have men coming in prepared to invest money in our industries, men who no longer believe the false propaganda which emanated from the Opposition Benches. These men see now that the people are determined to stand by the industrial policy of the Government. Their will was declared in no uncertain way at the county council elections. Some of the Deputies on the opposite side seem to forget these things. They remind one of Rip Van Winkle. They have been asleep from the time they went out of office until the present time, or, if they have not been asleep, they have conveniently closed their eyes to the facts that are staring them in the face. Although I believe with the Labour Party that it is our duty as a Government to use our utmost endeavour to solve the unemployment problem, I am satisfied that the Ministry have given evidence, week after week, of their desire to do so. Many ameliorative schemes have been put into operation and it is the intention of the Government to put further schemes into operation as occasion arises. I believe that the solution of the unemployment problem will not be much longer delayed. If those people who are followers of the Opposition Party, who shout so loudly about unemployment, and who have money invested in foreign stocks and shares, were prepared, as patriotic Irishmen, to take that money home, now that we have stable conditions in this country, and invest it in Irish industries, it would do much to solve the unemployment problem. If the Party opposite believe in their own words they should tell their followers to take that money home and not be merely drawing dividends and giving employment to foreigners.

I notice that when the company promoting the sugar industry published a prospectus recently, the issue of shares was over-subscribed. Other issues placed on the Irish market are also being subscribed and over-subscribed very quickly. That is an indication of what the people believe the policy of the Government will lead to. As patriotic Irishmen, these people are prepared to invest their money at home. They know they will get a return for their money. They know that the market for the commodity in the development of which they are investing will be protected and that they will not, as under the old régime, be faced with the possibility of losing their money. They know that they will get their dividends. They know that they are helping to build up this country, now that it has won the economic war, now that it has withstood all the shocks and the batteringrams England could employ against it. The people feel now that they have at least the security they were looking for, that the native industries will be protected, that there will be no more foreign competition, so far as this Government is concerned, and that they can invest their money safely. No better means could be found at present of securing employment for our people than by having industries established here so that all the goods that we are or were importing can be made here. I believe that, in the near future, we shall have this unemployment problem solved. I know that, up and down the country, the people have faith in the present Administration. The workmen believe that the present Administration will solve the unemployment problem and I am satisfied that they will.

I heard Deputy Kelly make the statement that we had won the economic war. I hope the Deputy will not be annoyed if I relate some of my experiences as a farmer who tries to give as much employment as possible. I should like to tell him of my experience at Blessington fair yesterday, to show the effects of the economic war and how impossible it is for farmers to carry on and give employment as they did in the past. I had four calves, of about a fortnight or three weeks old, at the fair. Three years ago, such calves would be worth from £3 to £3 10s. each. I send milk into Dublin. It is not my policy to rear calves but I have an objection, on principle, to killing them. I never killed a calf.

On humanitarian grounds?

I found it impossible to dispose of these calves yesterday. I asked a man if he would take them and he said he would like to have a look at them. He had a look at the calves and then he offered me £1 for them. The position is that these four calves which would have brought £12 a couple of years ago would only now fetch £1. Deputy Kelly tells us of the way we won the economic war. Was there ever such nonsense talked by any responsible person? I would like to give the House another experience that I have had. I had two cows to sell. I was asked what I wanted for them and I asked a "fiver." The buyer said he would give me £1 for one and that I should give him the other for luck. Eventually he offered a half-crown so that I had to part with the other cow for a half-crown. I am in a position to prove these things. The economic war is not over. I tell Deputy Kelly and those associated with him that the economic war is at the root of the plague of unemployment in this country. No farmer is in a position to-day to be able to employ and pay labour as he was three or four years ago. The result is that the labourers are driven from the rural areas into the towns and villages where they come into competition with the local people. There is no use talking of relief schemes. The policy of the Government is that they are going to put people back on the land. My experience is that they are driving people off the land. I could give an instance of a man in my own village brought up in the most industrious school who cannot make a living at the present time. That man's father often got up at 2 or 3 in the morning to cut turf. Recently I offered a labourer 3s. a day to dig potatoes. He said "No. If I dig your potatoes I will lose my unemployment assistance benefit." Is not that an unfortunate position to have the workers of the country in? They want decent employment but instead of that they are treated as paupers. I have experience of men who left their employment in order to secure unemployment assistance. When reference was made to me about one of these men I put the real facts before the Minister and his officials and the man was refused assistance. That is the attitude that should be adopted. I have the greatest respect for any man who is willing to work. There will be a procession in Blessington to-morrow to the Labour Exchange. I ask the Minister to send me ten men to give me a hand to dig my potatoes. In that I would, of course, be taking a risk because to spite me they might leave the potatoes in the ground. Deputies opposite know that that is really the true position.

What kind of a country do you live in?

I live in the Free State governed by you. Deputy Kelly talked of the facilities afforded to men to-day to put their names on the unemployment register as compared with three years ago. That is not the point at all. The Government promised when they were trying to get into office that they would find employment for over 86,000 persons. They said they had a plan, and at the Kildare by-election they were asked to produce it but they did not do so. It does not matter what Party is in power if the country is prosperous; that is what we want. The President at the Ard-Fhéis said that there would be always a fringe of unemployment in this country, but he said on another occasion that this was the easiest country in the world in which to find employment for the people. The Minister for Industry and Commerce told us that the people would be coming back from America so great would be the demand for employment. What is the position to-day? The unemployment figures were never so high, and before the winter is over they will be higher still. Many farmers will be compelled to allow their men to go for the winter.

There is a great deal of talk about industries being set up. Deputy Norton described some of these industries as "sweat shops" and "baby farms." It is the men employed on the land who are going to make this country prosperous, and it is up to the Government to find a solution of the agricultural difficulty. Let there be no quibbling about this. The problem is there. No matter how the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance tries to prove that it is not the case he will not be able to do so. Facts are facts, and the fact that there are 119,000 persons on the unemployment register proves the case I am putting.

Deputy O'Leary rushed into this debate with his head full of the economic war——

Deputy Kelly introduced the economic war before I did.

This motion before the House has been so pulled about that one does not really know where to take it up. Deputy Anthony, like Guy Fawkes, started with that critical date, the 5th of November, and having stolen their thunder from the Labour Party, he found that his arithmetical gunpowder was too wet to go off. In reference to this unemployment problem, the first thing to do in order to find a solution for it is to find out exactly what it is. That is what this Government set out to do. They cannot cloak the fact that there is an unemployment problem and so they try to find out the extent of that problem. Ever since they came into power they have sought by every means to find a solution or several solutions for that problem. They got no help from any of the Opposition Parties of this House when facing the fact that there is such a problem. A very prominent member of the Opposition, speaking at the Cork County Council—the premier council of Ireland—called it the Parliament of Munster. Yet when any public work is mooted before the Cork County Council it is immediately put aside on the ground that money must be saved as there is an economic war on. We are told that the farmers are seeking work on minor relief schemes. Deputy Morrissey called the labourers the legitimate workers in such schemes. I suppose the farmers are the illegitimate workers. The trouble about farmers looking for work on the roads is the same trouble ever since I knew the roads. It is possible to keep rich farmers off the roads and to prevent them from taking the bit out of the poor farmers' mouths. I hope that in the administration of the relief grants the Parliamentary Secretary will take effective steps to prevent work on the roads being done by rich Blueshirt farmers who want to take the bit out of the mouths of the poorer men.

I move the adjournment of the debate.

Debate adjourned to Friday, 16th November.