I gave notice this evening that I would raise this matter on the adjournment, because of the very inadequate answer I received to what I regard as a very important question, important from the point of view of the individual concerned, Mr. Swann, who has lost heavily as a result of this transaction, as well as the people associated with him; important from the point of view of the town of Tipperary, which has been shamefully let down in the whole business, and important from the point of view of the country as a whole, because it is bound to suffer in a loss of confidence in the business capacity of the Irish people, as a repercussion of this unfortunate transaction. The individual prominently concerned, Mr. Swann, is a businessman in this city, a man of enterprise and initiative, who has made a success of a business which might have been paralleled with that which he proposed to establish in Tipperary. Being a man of imagination as well as a businessman, Mr. Swann saw the possibility of helping to implement the programme of the Government in building up industry by establishing a factory in the town of Tipperary for the manufacture of springs for motor cars and other vehicles. Having gone into the matter fully, as a practical man, he realised that he could not make a success of the business unless a tariff was imposed by the Government and, in conjunction with his solicitor, Mr. Joseph Dixon, they called on the Department of Industry and Commerce. After several conferences they arrived at the conclusion that if Mr. Swann was in a position to turn out sufficient articles of this kind to satisfy the market, the implication was that a tariff would be imposed. Fortified with that information Mr. Swann went to Tipperary.
It was intimated to him that it was Government policy to decentralise industry, as far as possible, and not to have it all concentrated in Dublin. Tipperary having been decided upon, Mr. Swann got into touch with a local solicitor. Articles and Memorandum of Association were drafted, share capital sufficient to carry on the enterprise was raised, a site was selected in the ruined military barracks, and negotiations were entered into with the Office of Public Works and practically concluded for the purchase of the site. Negotiations were also entered into with the Great Southern Railways to have a siding put in in order to facilitate the working of the factory. An eminent architect was brought down from Dublin to draft plans. Legal costs, and a considerable amount of money were expended and a good deal of time was lost by Mr. Swann and his colleagues in trying to launch this company. When they had reached the stage at which this work was almost completed they were informed by the Department of Industry and Commerce that another company—it is at present an English firm, although it may sail under other colours later on—was going to get the licence and, accordingly, they found it impossible to proceed any further with the scheme. As regards the town of Tipperary, the people were certainly very pleased at the thought of having a factory there, because, unlike most of the Fianna Fáil factories, it was going to be a real factory, not one that would employ a number of little boys and girls at very small wages. This was to be a factory which was going to pay good wages and to train the people employed in it. Any man who could gain experience in such a factory, after a few years would be capable of taking up a position in similar firms in any part of the world. For various reasons, that I do not wish to go into now, Tipperary is a town that suffered certainly as much as any town in Ireland during the Black and Tan régime. It suffered even still more as a result of the attentions of certain gentlemen with whose activities the Minister is probably more familiar than I am. The military barracks in the town which was, perhaps, the finest in Ireland, was burned; Cleeves' factory, which was unique of its kind, was also burned, and the business of the town was almost completely ruined. In these circumstances, the people of Tipperary felt that as a result of their sacrifices they should have some claim on any native Government established here. Even apart from that, leaving whatever claim they had on that score out of consideration, on the grounds of ordinary justice, a town that had suffered so much was entitled to some consideration. Unfortunately, Tipperary never received any consideration but was left there to mourn in its ashes, a kind of cinderella of the towns of Ireland.