Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 2 Jul 1936

Vol. 63 No. 7

Committee on Finance. - Agricultural Produce (Cereals) Bill, 1936.—Money Resolution.

I move:—

That it is expedient to authorise the payment out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas of any expenses incurred in carrying into effect any Act of the present Session to amend and extend the Agricultural Produce (Cereals) Acts, 1933 to 1935.

On the Money Resolution, Sir. The Money Resolution in connection with this Bill is designed to render more effective the remedies at the disposal of the Minister for Agriculture for implementing the maize meal mixture scheme and the compulsory use of home-grown wheat in flour sold in Saorstát Eireann. On the Second Stage of this Bill I referred at some length to the maize meal mixture scheme, and, I think, made an unanswerable case for the winding up of that scheme as a thoroughly unsound experiment that has conferred benefits upon nobody and that has increased the burden on the producers of pigs, live stock, and live-stock products, by 3/- per cwt. on the costs of their feeding stuffs. I reminded the House that, if a contention be made that benefits have been conferred by this legislation on the producers of cereals—a contention which I categorically deny—those who make it must go on to admit that the benefit accrues mainly to those farmers living in Leix-Offaly, North Tipperary, Kilkenny and Kildare, while the burden rests on the shoulders of those farmers who produce pigs and who, according to the report of the Pig Tribunal, live almost exclusively in West Cork, Kerry, Clare, Galway, Mayo, North-East Donegal, North Longford, Cavan and North Leitrim.

That list of areas corresponds exactly with the list of areas described by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance as the list of areas in which unemployment, poverty, and low standard of living are most prevalent in this country. I say that it is a rank injustice to finance any relief which may be extended to farmers living in Leix-Offaly, Kildare, North Tipperary, and the more comfortable parts of the country, out of the pockets of the uneconomic holders in the west and north-west of the country. If we want to subsidise the production of cereal crops in Kilkenny, Leix-Offaly, North Tipperary, and such parts of the country, then let it be done out of the Exchequer and let the whole community bear its fair share of the burden. You have no right, however, to lay the whole burden on the shoulders of the small farmers who are finding it hardest to live in the existing circumstances.

I do not want to trespass unduly on the patience of the House, but it would be possible to expatiate at greater length on the peculiar hardships that will fall on the small farmer who is a producer of live stock, not the fattener—not the person who buys live stock at a low price, and having fed it, sells it at a high price—but the man who is the primary producer of agricultural produce, on whom ultimately the whole burden of the destruction of the agricultural industry falls. It is that class are asked to bear the burden of this maize meal mixture scheme, and I say it is an unjust burden, a burden that is being borne with no good purpose, because no one derives any benefit, good, bad or indifferent, from it. This financial motion is also directed to promote the compulsory use of Irish-grown wheat in flour mills in this country. I entirely agree with the Government, in so far as they take the view that the milling industry should be protected from absorption by any extra Saorstát combine. I think that could be effected much more efficiently by another machine than that at present employed for the purpose. I would be prepared to notify anyone, whether from outside the Saorstát or inside the Saorstát, that if he attempted by trade operation of any kind to monopolise the entire milling industry, the Government would step in and take over the milling industry altogether as a Government concern. I think that would be a very deplorable development, that would react most unfavourably on the community as a whole, but if I had to choose between a monopoly of the flour-milling industry by an individual capitalist and monopoly by the State for the community, then I would choose the lesser of two great evils, and that is monopoly of the milling industry by the community. But I am satisfied that if potential monopolists were given notice, that any attempt to monopolise the milling industry by any individual would be met by the State with resolute and, if necessary, punitive measures, any danger of such would disappear, and we would not be confronted with the danger of a monopoly arising either from a national of this State or someone coming from outside.

I want to ask the Minister for Agriculture this question, and it is one to which I have never succeeded in getting an answer from any member of the Fianna Fáil organisation, from the Minister down to the secretary of a cumann in the country. It is a question that we need not lose our tempers about. It is purely an economic question, a theoretical question, which ought to be the subject of illuminating argument between us. What sound reason can there be for burdening the community with added expense in order to induce farmers to grow wheat? What advantage does the community get from growing wheat in Ireland? I can quite understand the individual farmer, who likes to have a bit of his own wheat ground into wholemeal flour for his own family, growing wheat. Any farmer who does that, does a wise thing. The more wheat that is grown on the individual farm for consumption in the household or on the farm, the better it is for everyone, because there are no transport costs. That is a raw material to manufacture, a process which the farmer carries to completion on his own land. If an individual farmer wants to sow a bit of wheat, and wants to have it ground into wholemeal flour and have it eaten in the household, I think all Parties will take the view that that is a harmless form of agriculture. When we come to the State intervening to induce farmers to grow wheat which is sold and milled into flour, I want to ask Deputies what is the point of it? Why do you want to do it? I remember warning the House many times and often that we are actually paying more for worse wheat when we buy Irish wheat than we would be paying if we bought Canadian wheat. The Minister for Agriculture sternly rebuked me for that allegation, but I challenge the Minister to deny if he can that at this present moment no miller in this country is putting a grain of Irish wheat into bakers' flour.

Heretofore, bakers' flour was made of Manitoba wheat, with a little Saskatchewan, and I believe in some lower grades of bakers' flour, there was a very small percentage, five to ten per cent., of Danubian wheat. My information to-day is that for a certain time the place of that Danubian wheat was taken by Irish wheat, but that now in bakers flour there is no Irish wheat being used at all. It is all Manitoban or Canadian wheat of one grade or another, and the entire production of Irish wheat is being used in shop flour. I ask Deputies to bear that in mind, and to realise that we are paying 11/- a sack more for bakers' flour than if we bought it in Liverpool. I do not want to buy it in Liverpool, but I want Deputies to understand what is happening. Millers in Ireland are using exactly the same wheat that millers in Liverpool are using, but the Irish people are paying Irish millers 11/- a sack more for flour than they would have to pay for it in Liverpool. That 11/- a sack means 1½d. on the quartern loaf for people who eat bread. How on earth can Deputies go on believing that a scheme of that character has any merit, unless they are prepared to say that the growing of wheat on Irish land has some extraordinary merit from the community point of view? I cannot see that it has any merit. The only argument I ever heard for subsidising the growing of wheat in any country in the world was that, in time of war, a country was independent of external sources of supply of flour and bread. There may be rumours of war in Europe, but there were no rumours of war last year or the year before. What then is the point of growing wheat when we are not on the verge of war? Are we forever to insure ourselves at the expense of £1,500,000 per annum against being caught in the toils of war or against having a crop of wheat in the land? If that is not the reason why we are to grow wheat, will some one tell me what is the object of growing wheat in this country?

No rational man will contend that the quality of wheat here is equal to the quality of wheat we could buy in Canada. That is no reflection on the community. It is a reflection of the dispensation of God, Who provided that the climate and the season that obtains in Canada would suit the cultivation of wheat, while the climate and the season in this country suits green crops and live stock. It happens that, in Canada and in parts of the United States of America, they can grow peculiarly fine qualities of wheat sufficient to supply the requirements of a greater part of the world. These countries cannot produce horses of the same quality as we produce. Can absurdity be carried to greater lengths than to suggest that Canada would refuse to buy Irish horses, which are unanimously the best horses in the world, and that we should refuse to buy Canadian wheat? We want good wheat; they want good horses, and we are both sitting at our respective sides of the fence, the Canadian saying: "Although we have wheat to sell and although you have horses to sell, we will not take your horses and you will not take your wheat. Therefore, you may cut your horses' throats and we may burn our wheat, you can go on eating bad wheat and we will go on driving bad horses." That seems to me to carry economic insanity to its wildest extreme. I appeal to the Deputies on the opposite side to examine this question calmly and detachedly, if such an examination be possible, and to see if we can arrive at some kind of rational agreement in regard to it because, if we do, we can save the State an immense burden and we can use the money, that we would have if we were not squandering it on this wheat scheme, for a variety of other most necessary purposes which, I believe, command the sympathy of the Government just as earnestly as they command ours. I invite the Minister for Agriculture to set before the House again why he believes in this doctrine of increased cultivation of wheat, and to state if he cannot see that there is some force in the argument I submit, that the benefits conferred on the community by the scheme are very small and that the alternative of allowing wheat to become an ordinary commodity of sale and exchange in our foreign trade, with resultant savings to the community purse, would enable us to do for the country things that we cannot do to-day. I would ask him to consider whether the arguments I put forward do not outweigh any considerations that he may have in mind in sponsoring this increased wheat cultivation.

Deputy Dillon, first of all, attacked the admixture scheme. He cannot understand why Irish farmers who feed pigs should dream of buying from other Irish farmers oats or barley to feed their pigs. He thinks that it should not be done. Deputy Dillon considers, perhaps, that Irish pig feeders should pay £1,500,000 each year for Indian corn to foreigners instead of purchasing the 300,000 tons of Irish barley and oats that went into the admixture scheme last year. Deputy Dillon, of course, does not want that. Deputy Dillon does not want the poor, ruined farmer—about whom he shed so many crocodile tears last year, the previous year, and the year before that, the ruined farmer who had no market —to have a market for 300,000 tons of grain. What is the position? On a few occasions in regard to this subject I quoted an instance here in this House to show how the scheme was working out and how these poor pig-feeders for whom Deputy Dillon has all the sympathy, are making money. When these poor pig-feeders adopted Deputy Dillon's advice and went across the water to fatten pigs on the Indian meal imported free there, after conducting that experiment for six or 12 months, they came back again to Glanmire to fatten pigs on the 50 per cent. admixture. That is a definite instance I gave here repeatedly. I do not like repeating it too often, but evidently it has not yet sunk into Deputy Dillon's head.

Deputy Dillon attacks the wheat scheme and asks "why should we grow wheat; why should any body of Irish farmers get £2,000,000 a year from wheat? It is a terrible thing." That reminded me of Deputy Mulcahy's proposal that they should send their milk to the creamery at 1½d. per gallon. That is the kind of agricultural policy we get from the people over there. Deputy Dillon asks why the Irish farmers should grow wheat. In the first place we are saving roughly £2,000,000 a year that we would be paying to foreigners for wheat if it were not grown here. Secondly, we are giving that £2,000,000 to the Irish farmer. We are giving him a guaranteed market for his product, so that he knows on the day that he sows it, what he is going to be paid for it.

And the Irish agricultural labourer is getting £1,000,000 less in wages.

I would not estimate the strength of Deputy Mulcahy's Party so highly. I do not believe that Deputy Mulcahy's Party, taking the country as a whole, can control sufficient farmers to make them reduce the wages of their agricultural labourers by £1,000,000 a year.

I have a man at present working for me who told me that you offered him 3/6 per week a couple of years ago.

I would inform Deputy O'Leary that that statement is untrue.

I do not know whether it is true or not, but I can produce him for you if you wish.

I will bet you an even "fiver" that it is untrue.

I believe the man's word is just as reliable as yours.

I can assure Deputy O'Leary that I never paid any man less than 2/- per week inure than the current wages in my district.

A Deputy

The current rate must be 1/-.

I never paid a man a lesser wage than £1 per week. The men working for me at the present time are earning 33/- per week, and I can afford to pay that with this policy.

You cannot.

We will teach ye how to do it. Of course, since St. Thomas went, I do not know who is the war lord across the water.

You will be soon gone, too.

When he is going to war again, he is going to give Deputy Dillon 12 months' notice that he intends to go to war, so that he can plough up his fields and sow wheat. Deputy Dillon is going to get 12 months' notice. I do not know where are the powers who are going to give him that notice that war is coming. I do not know whether Deputy Dillon ate any of the war flour sold in this country in 1917 and 1918. I am sure he had a couple of bags of decent flour stored up for that particular occasion. If he had eaten that war flour, he would have less noise about the bad quality of the Irish wheat. I saw a lot of people like him who were complaining of the bad quality of Irish wheat, and who used to come round to my place at night to get a couple of bags of it to be crushed into flour in 1918, rather than eat the material that was handed over by John Bull at that time for their consumption. These are the stock arguments of Deputy Dillon on all occasions. It is in keeping with his particular policy and with that of his colleagues. They do not want the farmers to have a market for anything. They want to ensure that the farmers are to sell their milk at 2d. per gallon. Deputy Bennett knows that.

When did that happen?

When Deputy Mulcahy tried to drag Deputy Bennett into the Lobby to vote for such a policy, and when the Deputy refused to do so. Deputy Dillon wants that people in Tipperary represented by Deputy Curran shall have no market for their 300,000 tons of grain. He wants all that thrown on the market with no demand for it. The next thing he wants is that the farmers growing wheat in my constituency, in Deputy Curran's constituency, and in constituencies in Leix and Offaly, shall not have a market for their produce. Nothing grown in this country is good enough for Deputy Dillon's appetite. His pigs will die if they are fed on Irish oats or barley, and he will himself get sick if fed on the produce of Irish wheat. That is one of Deputy Dillon's great fears. It is a bad form of disease, but I am afraid, in a few years more, Deputy Dillon will not be able to get any foreign wheat. He will then have to follow some of his friends who went across the water. All this only shows the kind of ridiculous statements we get when any cereal Bill is brought in.

There is just one thing that I want to warn the Minister about and that is price. The Minister should see that a proper price is fixed, an economic price and a price that will give a profit to the farmers. These are the men whose interest is worth watching. I wish to point out, from my own knowledge, that as far as pig breeding is concerned, those engaged in it are making money and not losing money as has been contended by Deputies opposite. These men are making money out of this scheme which Deputy Dillon condemns. I have given instances of large pig breeders who are definitely opposed to me politically, and I have given their statements quoted in the public Press. These statements bear out my contention that the pig feeder is making money and fairly big money out of this scheme. So far as wheat is concerned Deputy Dillon will not be able to stop it. He and his colleagues on the benches opposite will not prevent Irish farmers growing wheat so long as they get an economic price for it.

I find myself following Deputy Corry, once more, in this House upon this question. He seems to make the same speech upon this subject every time he stands up and makes the same claim that he knows the farmers of Cork. Well I have a letter from Ballingeary, County Cork, from Mr. P. Sweeney. I expect that Deputy Corkery, Deputy Moylan and other Fianna Fáil Deputies, living in that area, have got similar letters. This letter shows up the humbug that Deputy Corry talks on this question. I propose to read this letter and I am sure it will be in order——

If it refers to maize meal mixture or wheat.

It does and it just arrived this morning in the nick of time. It is as follows:—

"D. O'Leary, Esq., T.D.

A Chara,—At a meeting representative of all Parties—Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour—held in Ballingeary on Sunday, the 15th instant, a copy of the following resolution, passed unanimously, was ordered to be forwarded to the Irish Press, the Cork Examiner, the Southern Star, and to all T.D.s concerned, and their kind co-operation solicited:—

‘That we, the people of Ballingeary and district, request that, owing to the enhanced cost and inferior quality of the meal admixture, the Government discontinue the meal admixture scheme as applicable to this district and substitute one placing at our disposal qualities of pure maize meal of proved value and at a reasonable cost.'

You are kindly requested to use your utmost efforts to this end as I feel you recognise the urgency of the request."

Is not that an answer to Deputy Corry? Will Deputy Corkery or Deputy Moylan contradict the statement in that letter. I have been an advocate of the principle mentioned in this resolution since the Minister introduced his mixture policy. Before the Minister ever came into office I protested against it, when it was brought before our Party, and as long as I am a representative of the people I will continue to protest against it. I believe, as I said in the last fortnight, that it is a crime to inflict such hardships upon the poor people living in the wildest parts of this country. Deputy Flinn must have been interesting himself in relief schemes in the area and must be aware that people have been driven into the position in which they are as a result of the policy of the Government which has put 3/- a cwt. or 7/6 a sack more upon them, in the cost of this mixture than they would have to pay for pure Indian meal. Deputy Corry talks of the people who had no market for 300,000 tons of grain. When was that?

When the Deputy's Party were in office.

Deputy Corry wants to provide a market for that. But is the Minister for Agriculture not driven to desperation in his efforts to find a market for the surplus barley that he has on hands. Why is that? Because he destroyed the market that people had for their grain, which they were able to feed to pigs and cattle and dispose of in that way. Deputy Corry talks about pig-feeders making money. I would like to meet the pig-feeder who is making money to-day. They must have been millionaires in the past if they are able to make money to-day.

Ask Dring?

Dring might have got homesick as many a man who left the country before did. Surely to God he did not come back to the Free State to pay 3s. a cwt. more or 7/6 a sack more for his feeding stuffs.

He went over to the other side to try the market there and then came back again.

I have tried to make the true position clear to the Minister on more than one occasion and I ask him now to set up a commission to inquire into the position of these people. Deputy Dillon pointed out that we are paying 11/- a sack more for our flour than they are paying in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which means a burden upon the people of this country of £1,650,000, but Deputy Corry says that we are keeping £2,000,000. In order to do so apparently we are paying this huge tax. There is one consolation in all this, and that is that the Government have not been able to bluff the people of Dublin with their free beef and free milk; and when the people of the country get an opportunity they will very soon put the Party opposite where they ought to be.

Do not be in a hurry. The Deputy will never get back again.

I am quite sure I will get back. I have not the least doubt about it, but I have very great doubt about Deputy Corry getting back.

Deputy Corry probably looks upon himself as a great expert on agricultural matters. He was kind enough to refer to the county represented by Deputy Curran, Deputy Séamus Bourke and myself. He said he was concerned regarding the disposal of the 300,000 barrels of grain from that county. Deputy O'Leary answered him fairly effectively. May I remind Deputy Corry that, before Fianna Fáil came into power, we were able to dispose of all the grain we grew. Before Fianna Fáil came into power, the farmers of Tipperary had not to dispose of their white oats at 8d. per stone. Let the Deputy remember that, notwithstanding the absence of an admixture policy in 1930 and 1931, the farmers of Tipperary, Cork and Wexford were getting as good prices for their barley as they got last year. The Deputy suggests that we want to deprive the farmers of the only market they have got. Who is responsible for its being the only market they have got? The Deputy and his colleagues.

The Deputy is concerned about the 300,000 barrels of grain. Would the Deputy concern himself with the live stock. He tells us that pig feeders are making money while using this admixture. I doubt that they are, but let us assume that they are. May I suggest to the Deputy that, if they could buy feeding-stuffs at 3/- per cwt. cheaper than they are getting them at present, they would make a lot more money? Deputy Corry talks about the wages paid, about the £2,000,000, and about the market. What he says, in effect, is that farmers like him whose lands are suited to the growing of wheat and beet are able to pay wages because they are paid doles by the State. Wheat can be grown only in certain counties, and only in certain parts of these counties. It can be grown by only a small number of farmers, having regard to the total number. Yet, the whole of the community is to be taxed to the extent of 8d. per stone on their flour, so that Deputy Corry may level up for the loss on live stock brought about by the activities of himself and his colleagues.

Even those in receipt of outdoor relief and those obliged to apply for unemployment assistance have to contribute that sum of 8d. per stone to Deputy Corry so that he can come in here and boast that he is making money out of the growing of wheat. I should like the Deputy to address himself to that aspect of the question. If he does, he will probably find that his position is not quite so strong as he thought it was. I advised the Deputy last year to keep away from the grain problem. It is a rather touchy problem at present. The Minister would, I am sure, tell the Deputy in confidence of some of the difficulties which are confronting him in connection with grain which he is notable to dispose of, notwithstanding the 50 per cent. I want to emphasise, for the Deputy's benefit, that before ever Fianna Fáil came into power or the admixture scheme was thought of, all the grain grown in Tipperary was disposed of at at least as good a price as, if not a better price than we got last year under the Fianna Fáil Government.

Deputy Corry let drop a remark which I should like to elaborate. He said he hoped the Minister, when fixing the price of grain, would fix a decent price. Let us analyse that. To whom are you going to sell this grain and at what price? You are going to sell it to the farmers of West Cork, Kerry and other parts of the country. So far as the admixture is concerned, I think the question is one of price. The admixture is only a raw material and the price of a raw material should depend, to a great extent, on the price of the finished article. I notice that Deputy Corry is leaving. I would ask him not to go just yet.

I would not waste time with you.

The price of maize to-day is £4 10/- per ton. I am paying for Dr. Ryan's admixture £7 18/- per ton. That is what I grumble at. I do not complain of the quality of the article. I have no fault to find with it. I do not want to disparage the cereal admixture. The admixture is all right; it is the price which gives rise to question. I grow oats and I grow some barley and I shall be compelled to buy the admixture from somebody else. What am I to do with my own grain? If pig production and bacon production are so profitable, why do not barley and other grain growers go into that line and produce the finished article? You are asking the farmers in the poorer parts of the country to buy the admixture. I do not know what price the Minister intends to fix, but I have quoted the price of ordinary maize and, the price I have to pay for the admixture. I say that £8 per ton is a big price.

The reason why there is any problem to solve in connection with grain growing is because the farmers are not using the admixture to the same extent as feeding-stuffs were used, owing to its price. I heard the Vice-President say to-day that times were getting good. I was tempted to ask him "why?" Because cattle prices have improved. We know very well that good, forward yearlings are making a good price. That was because they were scarce, as they were not fed in the same numbers as in previous years, because this admixture was too dear. We ought to realise that the farmer, like anybody else, has to get the cost of production. What he can pay must depend on the price of the finished article, whether it is beef, bacon, eggs or poultry. Owing to the action of the Government in connection with the dispute with Great Britain, farmers are not even yet getting economic prices for some of their products, particularly live stock. I put this point to the Minister as to the relative prices of maize and the admixture. I do not want to dwell at any length on it, but, if the Minister intends to fix a price, due regard should be had to the price of the finished article.

A good deal can be said for and against this admixture scheme. Those living in the grain-growing counties argue in favour of the admixture, while those who do not live in grain-growing counties are very much opposed to it. Before any legislation was passed here in connection with this admixture, a good deal of that admixture work was done in the grain-growing counties. The sort of barley and the sort of oats that were mixed for feeding with maize meal at that particular time were barley and oats of a certain quality. That was used as a mixture with the pure maize meal, and it was used with great success. I know that it turned out the finished article in a shorter time, and it was done with more success than if the animal were fed with maize meal, and on the other hand, if the quality of the food-stuffs fed to the pig was somewhat better, the quality of the finished pig was also somewhat better. As Deputy Curran stated, the worst feature of the admixture is this: that under present conditions the mixing of the barley or oats with the maize meal means an additional price for the admixture, and one wonders where is the profit to come from with regard to any particular animal that is fed. If there is any hope of making a profit, that hope can only be realised by the farmer being able to get food-stuffs that will give him or the feeder a fair return for the money invested and for his time. I think a 50 per cent. admixture of barley or oats is too much. It is much too high. In my opinion, a mixture of 25 per cent. is sufficient to give the results that are necessary to produce the right quality of bacon, and to make a food mixture that will fatten the animal in the shortest possible period.

The securing of an outlet or a market for the surplus corn the farmer has is all right so far as the admixture is concerned; but when one comes back and considers the whole agricultural policy of the Government one is forced to realise that the number of calves slaughtered in the last three years must and will have a very prejudicial effect in the way of supplying a market for the farmers' surplus corn. When one considers the amount of food that would have been consumed by these slaughtered calves if they had been brought to maturity one can see at once that this slaughter of calves puts a very big hole in that market. That is a very big factor in the problem of dealing with the amount of surplus corn that the farmer is produing and in the finding of a market for that corn. I should imagine that we are short in the last two or three years of over 500,000 cattle owing to the slaughter of young calves. That slaughter must result in leaving a certain proportion of corn unsold. In speaking here some time ago, I told the Minister that I thought his policy was wrong from the very beginning. That policy is nothing less than interfering with and mixing up the business of these people. The fact is that the farmers of this country if left to themselves grow what they consider best for themselves and for the country and they know their requirements better than does the Minister for Agriculture, no matter who he may be. A farmer will do better by managing his farm in his own way and using his own methods than he will by being dictated to by the Minister.

With regard to this admixture, I have no hesitation in saying that 50 per cent. is too high. Then, too, the cost of the food mixture supplied to the farmer is too high. If we could buy this food-stuff at a more reasonable price it would leave some profit, and we would have an opportunity of producing a decent class of finished article and get better results all round. As to the subsidy on wheat, a good deal can be said for that. I know that the growing of wheat at a lesser price than 22/- or 23/- a barrel at the moment would be impossible; but to force farmers to grow more wheat and to give them a subsidy for growing it is not a good policy, for this reason that every farmer in the country is limited in the amount of land on which he can grow corn with success and at the same time keep his farm in good heart. If the farmers were allowed to carry on their business in their own way there would be little or no surplus corn in the market. As I have already said we are now facing the fact that there are 500,000 less cattle in the country, and this will influence considerably the market for the surplus of corn the farmer has. I do not know in what way the Minister can deal with that problem.

I would like to question the figures given by Deputy Dillon. The Deputy has stated that the admixture scheme has resulted in increasing the price by 3/- per cwt. I doubt that very much. We have gone into the question and examined it in our county. The millers operating in Tralee are experts in their own business. They understand all about this question and they tell us that the total increase in the price per ton is 15/6. That 15/6 is made up of tariffs, handling, sacking, commission, etc. I, therefore, submit that Deputy Dillon's statement that the cost is as high as 3/- per cwt. is entirely wrong. Then Deputy Curran points out that maize meal costs £4 per ton.

Yes, that is the price of pure maize meal to-day.

Mr. Flynn

And the retail cost is £7 18/- a ton.

What does Deputy Flynn pay for it in Kerry? He might tell us that.

Mr. Flynn

One moment now, Deputy. I would like to point out first that five to ten years ago the cost of meal was somewhat similar, and at that period the retail price of maize meal was £7 to £8 per ton.

We are talking about to-day, not about seven or eight years ago.

Deputy Flynn must be allowed to make his own speech.

Mr. Flynn

I have mentioned this because in our County of Kerry at that period there was a meal ring in existence and, in our efforts to right the position, we took steps to obtain these prices. I would like Deputies to offer a fair criticism of this measure. In order to show how difficult the position is, I want to point out that even in Kerry one finds that the northern portion of the county is a grain-growing district, while the south and west parts of the county are quite the opposite. In other words, the people in the poorer districts there are subsidising the people in other parts of the county in this matter of the admixture scheme. How can you come down to have a perfect system for the whole country? The people realise that, and they realise that the Minister under these circumstances is doing everything possible to have a fair and just system for all concerned. I should like, if possible, to see special conditions for congested districts where people are going in very much for pig raising and, therefore, have to buy large quantities of meal. The millers supply this commodity and they can only acquire one-twelfth of their requirements in the county; they have to import the remainder from Kilkenny, Carlow and other counties, and through the extra cost entailed in freightage, etc., they have to charge an extra 15/6.

That is what we are saying—that is the point.

Mr. Flynn

In order to counteract that, I suggest that the people in these areas should be subsidised in some other way under some system.

That is a good idea.

Mr. Flynn

The scheme as it exists for the whole country is the best possible scheme that could be inaugurated, because, as was pointed out by Deputy Corry, you are excluding the purchase of foreign maize; you are developing your own internal agricultural system, and encouraging the farmer to produce oats and barley, etc., at a guaranteed price. I am only just making the suggestion to the Minister with a view to drawing his attention to this point. The millers in Tralee state that if they were allowed to have one-fourth of the quota allowed to Messrs. Rank, they in turn would establish flour-milling in Kerry, and thus have less overhead charges and be able to reduce the cost of the meal under this system to the small farmers in the other districts. That may be well worth consideration, and I ask the Minister to consider it.

They go on to say that under the present system they find it difficult to compete against other concerns. They point out that Messrs. Williams of Mallow are competing against the people in Kerry, and they allege that Messrs. Williams are not paying the trade union rate, and that if the system was examined, and the Conditions of Employment Act made operative throughout the different counties, so that all milling concerns would pay approximately the same rate, the price could be reduced by the millers to the consumers and to the people I have referred to. Now that the Minister will have power to purchase grain, an arrangement might be come to by which the Tralee millers would get supplies at special rates on an under taking by them to supply people in congested areas with cheaper meal. In general, the scheme is working out satisfactorily, and I am glad to notice that the Minister proposes to take power to purchase grain. I believe that is a move in the right direction. The merchants of Tralee also referred to the system mentioned here in the Bill, that is, the dehulling of corn. They suggest that under the present system two-thirds of the corn is wasted. Following on that point raised by the millers, I believe that the Minister is quite right in providing for this under the new measure. I just want to make one plea in regard to the two areas concerned. Otherwise, on behalf of the people whom I represent, I can say that we appreciate everything the Minister is doing under this system which will bentfit both the large and small farmers.

I have not had the privilege of hearing the earlier speeches made from this side of the House, so that I do not know the line of criticism taken by the Opposition with reference to the admixture scheme. What I have gathered is that the economy of it is interlocked with the economic war. Leaving aside the question of the economic war, which we on this side of the House chose as a major plank on our platform against the Government, and facing up to the position as we find it, the admixture scheme from what I know of it is benefiting the barley-growing counties and, therefore, I must certainly give it my support. As one who is interested in the grain trade, it may appear that I speak from a selfish point of view. On the contrary, I wish to speak entirely from the farmers' point of view. I quite agree with the remarks I heard from Deputy Curran in respect of the prices which, naturally, are the effect of the admixture scheme, because of the cheap price at which maize could be imported as against the price of the admixture, if barley alone were used. There are, of course, times when maize is very dear and you must go backwards and take the general average price as against the present-day price of barley.

What the Minister was faced with was this: that in certain areas last harvest there were from 90,000 to 100,000 barrels of unsaleable barley. That barley was lying out in the farmers' fields, some in stacks and some in stocks. It was in such a condition that if it was not handled and taken into proper storage, dried and sweated, the crop would have been irretrievably ruined. There was no possible market for that barley— it was a complete glut in the market. No merchant, no miller, no maize admixture miller, and no warehouse man could deal with the situation. That extended not only down to Carlow and to Deputy Holohan's county—Kilkenny—but it also was a problem in Wexford and Tipperary, and in certain other barley-growing areas here and there. If the admixture scheme had not been operating, as far as we could see the Minister could not do anything to deal with the situation last harvest.

Were it not for the method which the Government adopted it would have been impossible for the Minister to deal with the situation that was created by the surplus of barley last year. Some people are of the opinion that 50 per cent. was too high a percentage to fix for the admixture, but after very careful consideration the percentage had to be raised from 25 to 50. If it had not been raised to 50, as directed by the Minister for Agriculture, it would have been impossible to deal with the problem that was there. Merchants would have no use in going on the market, clearing that corn and paying the farmers who saved it, if it could not be used up before the next season's crop came in. I quite agree that feeders and those engaged in the rearing of pigs have a genuine complaint. You had on the one side a crisis as regards the amount of grain that was on offer, and on the other side the unfortunate position that the price had to be raised for those engaged in the feeding of pigs. But, taking the whole agricultural situation into account, the last thing that anybody would desire to see would be to have things made harder for the agricultural community as a whole. In my opinion the problem could not have been dealt with otherwise than it was. Quite a big number of farmers in eight counties benefited considerably by having all the barley cleared off the market. The same applies to oats.

I have studied very carefully the figures agreed upon between the Department of Agriculture and the merchants. From these figures one learns that at one time there were between 200,000 and 300,000 cwts. of barley. You had all that corn lying there to be disposed of. In my opinion, the scheme that was adopted had the effect of saving the farmers concerned from very heavy losses. As far as the admixture scheme is concerned I desire to give it my support. That does not necessarily mean that I agree that it is the only system that should be adopted for dealing with a surplus of grain. I know quite well that, as long as you have grain grown in the country, you are going to have lean years as well as surplus years, so that what we gain in one year on the swings we lose the next year on the roundabouts. As a result of the market becoming glutted with any particular crop one year, you will have people in the following year getting out of that crop. The result is that in the next succeeding year the produce of that crop, whether it be grain or anything else, becomes scarce. There is a scramble to buy it up and prices rise, and following that you have people rushing in to grow it again. That applies to barley and oats and to other crops.

As far as the corn situation is concerned, experience has shown that if we grow about 143,000 acres of barley and about 617,000 of oats we can produce sufficient of both to meet our internal requirements. But nobody can give a guarantee as to how the yield of either crop is going to turn out. Deputies know that in the case of barley we had a most prolific yield last year. I do not think there was ever anything like it in the history of the corn trade in this country. Whereas the average yield is 15 or 16 barrels to the acre, last year the yield was 22 and 23 barrels, and in some cases it went as high as 25 barrels. Taking these facts into consideration one can easily understand how the grave problem which faced us last season arose. If it were not for the fact that, after consultation with the Department of Agriculture, we were able to arrive at agreement and provide machinery for increasing the admixture, it would have been quite impossible to save the farmers in many parts of the country as regards the disposal of their barley and oat crops. The surplus which was there had to be disposed of, and, therefore, in my opinion it was wisely decided to advance the admixture from 25 to 50 per cent. It was the only method of clearing the surplus that was there before this season's crop came in.

On behalf of merchants in many parts of the Free State I desire to pay tribute to the services that were rendered in dealing with a difficult and delicate situation by the officials of the Department of Agriculture. From the very start they co-operated with the merchants. There was no friction. The advice and assistance which these officials were able to give, coupled with the business experience of the merchants, helped to solve a very difficult problem. If it had not been solved, it would have meant carrying over into this season something like 250,000 barrels of grain. If such a thing as that had occurred, a situation would have been created that neither the Government nor the merchants could deal with.

I am afraid that neither pig feeders nor farmers will derive very much comfort from the speech that has just been made by Deputy Minch. I would like to approach this problem from a somewhat different angle. At the outset I want to say, arising out of certain remarks made by Deputy Minch, that no one ever cast any reflection either on the Minister or his officials. They certainly did their best in a very difficult situation, but that is not the question before us now. The question is: Is the scheme with which this Money Resolution deals framed on the right lines? Has our experience of it during the past two years been such as to make us enthusiastic for a continuation of it? On a previous occasion the Minister, when advocating it, emphasised two things which he desired to achieve: one was an increase in the quantity of the grain to be produced in the country, and, secondly, a more remunerative price for the grower. Looking at the scheme from these two points of view, has it been a success? The people of the country were encouraged to grow a larger acreage of grain in spite of the fact that there was only the home market to absorb it. No Deputy in this House despises the value of home-grown grain for feeding. I have said more than once that at home in my own place we not only use all the grain that we grow, but that we buy more. The question for us to consider is, what is the most advantageous way to do that.

Deputy Minch referred to the price which is the ruling factor. Has the price to the grower been increased as the result of our efforts in this House? If we take the average price that growers have received for this year's crop, I think we must admit that the return they have received is a very poor one. Has the feeder got the benefit of that lower price? Deputy Flynn, who has just left the House, questioned Deputy Dillon's figures. He could not understand Deputy Dillon's statement that there was a difference of 3/- a cwt. between the price of the admixture and the materials, taken separately, that go to make it up. There is no difficulty whatever in explaining Deputy Dillon's statement. The price of the material required to make a 2-cwt. bag of feeding-stuff is round about 10/-, while the cost of the admixture is from 15/- to 16/- per 2 cwt. We as farmers are saying: "Is the difference there warranted?" One cannot speak for the miller on this point, because the miller has certainly extra expense. The greater the increase of the home-grown mixture the harder it is to grind; it will cost more, so there will always be a big discrepancy in the price of the raw material and the price of the finished article. We believe that is not justified and it raises matters to the point that it is not economic to feed.

Deputy Corry says that he or his neighbours can make money out of feeding pigs on the present price of the meal admixture and the present price of other components. Perhaps they can. He gave an instance of somebody who left the country and then came back to face the situation here. I could bring Deputy Corry to several people along the Border, Free Staters, who found it so difficult to make money at this business that they have gone across the Border, taken land there and are feeding pigs there. They can buy their meal mixture cheaper and they can get a bigger price for what they produce.

As to the production of oats, I do not consider that it is a well-balanced policy to advocate the growth of oats alone. There may be farms in certain of our counties that can stand bearing oats year after year, but certainly that does not apply to the land in my county. There we believe in a rotation. We believe the growing of grain continuously, without intervening with roots and feeding and manuring the land, will impoverish it. Even suppose that for a few years you can continue growing grain, the question is, are the people satisfied and do they think they have got a fair price for their oats? I am sure the Minister has received a copy of a resolution from the Mid-Monaghan Working Farmers' Association. They did me the honour of sending me a copy and it reads as follows:

"That we call upon the Government to raise the minimum price of oats to 14/- per barrel as the present price of oats is below the cost of production."

If this Bill asks people to grow grain below the cost of production, then surely it is not a desirable object. Deputy Minch told us about the surplus of grain that was in his county and how it could be disposed of. It was after two years of the policy of asking people to grow more grain that we had that surplus on hands. In my opinion we would be safer in these days of so many bonuses to give people a bonus for using a certain amount of, grain rather than to go to all the expense and put 2/6 or 3/- per cwt. on the cost of the stuff to the feeder.

There is another small point to which I would like to call the Minister's attention. As feeders, we are always on the look out for cheaper feeding stuffs, because the lower the cost of our production the better our remuneration. I notice that for a number of years at this time of the year there has been an export of offals, bran, pollard and all the rest of it. Some feeders in Northern Ireland asked us how it was that we could sell our pollard so cheaply and told us that it was offered to them at a certain price. On inquiry, I found that they were able to buy it at nearly £2 a ton cheaper than I could buy it in the home market. There may be some reason why the offals should be exported, but I may say that as feeders we would have been very glad to get an opportunity of purchasing that material at the price at which it was sold elsewhere.

In 1934 there were 14,874 cwts. of corn offals exported and there were 3,049 cwts. in May of this year. If there was any way of lowering feeding costs it would solve our problem. The argument may be used that we are not feeding as much grain to our live stock as in days gone by, but we hope it will not always be so and that there will be a change in that respect. In the meantime we would like to take advantage of such facilities as are going. This meal mixture is one which is causing a great deal of irritation, and I do not know that this present Bill is going to simplify the position. It seems to me to be throwing more difficulties in the way of feeders and millers. All that goes back on the producer. The producer has nobody to whom he can hand his troubles. I am sorry I cannot support this Bill or display any enthusiasm in regard to it. We feel that the thing is altogether wrong.

There, is one aspect of this that strikes me very much. Deputy Corry, with what one might call full-blooded effrontery, painted a magnificent position for the farmers, but I think he was sufficiently dealt with by Deputy O'Leary. He did say that the farmers were getting £2,000,000 a year, which was coming out of this scheme and going into their pockets. Deputy Minch spoke of a particular type of farmer in a particular area, and he felt that this was a very necessary scheme for such farmers and thought that it would be a disaster for them if they lost it. The problem we are concerned with here, taking cognisance of the problems of various sections in the country, is the problem of agricultural well-being as a whole and employment in agriculture. The areas that were dealt with by Deputy Minch did have our very careful consideration and our direct assistance when the sugar beet industry was introduced, particularly for the purpose of assisting the areas of which the Deputy spoke.

When we are discussing a measure which is gravely criticised from many parts of the country, and when we hear Deputy Minch speaking enthusiastically in regard to his part of the country, we naturally turn to the agricultural conditions in his part of the country to see what they are. If we take Carlow, Kildare, Kilkenny, Offaly, Wexford and Tipperary, the areas that perhaps he speaks most about, in every single one of these counties there were less permanent agricultural labourers employed last year compared with the year before Fianna Fáil put its political hand to the farmers' plough and said it would help them. In Carlow the fall in the number of permanent agricultural labourers was 81; in Kildare it was 180. The position was worse in Kildare, in that the members of farmers' families engaged on agriculture had also been reduced by 148. In Kilkenny there was a reduction of permanent agricultural labourers to the extent of 249; in Offaly, 144; in Wexford, 28, and in Tipperary, 490. It is very hard for the ordinary person, particularly in the city, to whom the Cereals Bill is reflected as an increased price for flour and an increased price for bread, to understand why they should pay those increased prices when the policy that is being pursued is reducing the number of permanent agricultural labourers employed in counties that particularly ought to benefit by the scheme. There is that to be taken into account when considering the enthusiasm with which Deputy Minch approaches the scheme.

On the question of the agricultural position with regard to barley, it is very hard for people not deeply involved in the barley industry to understand why there should be such a terrible crisis in connection with barley in 1935, when we grew only 23,000 acres of barley more than was grown before Fianna Fáil went in to assist the farmer, and when there were 8,600 less acres of oats grown. On the claim which Deputy Corry makes that £2,000,000 are going into the pockets of the farmers, we have absolute and clear evidence that, however they are managing to get that money—if they are—it is not doing them any good, because we must take as one definite criterion of the well-being of the farmers the position of agricultural labourers in the country and the pay they get. When we take the country as a whole, there were 617 less permanent agricultural labourers employed in 1935 than in 1931, and there has been a grave reduction in their wages. It has to be pressed home on every occasion that there is a decrease in agricultural wages, on the figures quoted by the Minister for Industry and Commerce alone, of £900,000, as compared with the year 1931. But when we go further than that, and take outside opinion as distinct from statistics that are built up on the cream of agricultural labour in the country, the position is infinitely worse. Only 12 months ago, speaking at this time of the year, and no doubt referring to the circumstances around him in Cork County, the Bishop of Cork stated, as reported in the Press of 18th June, 1935, as follows:—

"There is one class with which I should like to express my sympathy, and that class is the farmers' labourers. I am not speaking with any political motive, and when I single out farmers' labourers I should like to say it is not the farmers' fault that the labourers are not paid more. The farmers are unable to pay any, more. It would be well for the Government to realise that there are many labourers with families who are not getting more than 10/- a week."

When we consider the proposals that are put up in measures like this as a change and extension of proposals already discussed by the House and already looked very much askance at by the House, we should not close our eyes to the fact that it is possible for authoritative opinion living very closely in touch with men like the farmers and the farm labourers to point out such facts as are stated here.

Repeatedly, I have drawn the attention of the Minister for Agriculture himself to the fact that in his own county at the beginning of last year the County Committee of Agriculture in three months running discussed the position of agricultural labourers. The motion to be discussed at the first meeting was:—

"That we call on the Minister for Agriculture to set up at once a wages board for agricultural labourers."

The motion to be discussed at the second meeting was:—

"That the Government be called on to subsidise the present wages of agricultural labourers so that they will receive a living wage."

We had a Kerry Deputy here a few moments ago asking that the small farmers in Kerry be subsidised in order to help them to bear the burdens resulting from legislation such as this. At the discussions of the County Committee of Agriculture in Wexford it was emphatically stated by one member and not repudiated by any person —their whole discussions and all their recommendations made to the Ministry at the time were based on such a statement as that—that the average wage of the married agricultural labourer in his area was 8/- a week and his support. That was reiterated by another member; in the second month of the discussion about subsidising the existing wages of agricultural labourers another member said he would like to include in his motion a request that the wages be brought up to 14/- a week. The proposal was that the Government should give 6/- a week subsidy, in order to add that to the 8/- they were getting and make it 14/- a week.

It may be that a scheme like this is necessary to fill in a gap because of the general conditions in the country, and the general position to which agriculture is brought by the Minister's policy. Owing to the conditions indicated here in the homes of agricultural labourers and in the homes of small farmers in Kerry, the Government inevitably is driven, by force of circumstances, to go into the homes of the agricultural labourers and into the homes of small farmers in the Ballingeary district and the Kerry district to help them to run their places. What chance is there of any Government helping an agricultural labourer who has wages even as high as the Labour Party quoted— 14/-, 15/-, 16/- or 17/-? What chance is there of any Government or Government Department going into a home where 14/- or 15/- are coming in, and helping the man of the house and the woman of the house to run that home? It cannot be done. The sooner a situation is brought about that will enable the big farmer in Kildare, in Carlow and in Tipperary to run his business more along the lines that he would be inclined to run it if he were left alone, the sooner will we have a situation where the agricultural labourer will be able to run his business and rear his family and run his home without there being strong pressure on the Government to send relieving officers and inspectors of all kinds into the homes of the poor classes who are dependent upon agriculture for their living. While we may sympathise to some extent with the ideas that are put forward by Deputy Minch with regard to those larger farmers in larger areas, the fact that must strike us in the face is that even in counties where there are those big farmers who are getting this assistance, there are less agricultural labourers employed to-day than before ever they hoped or looked for or wanted the type of assistance they are getting under this Bill.

This debate to-day has been rather pleasant to my hearing, because so far six or seven Deputies have spoken, and it is the first time that I heard a measure of this description debated so long without our being told that bankruptcy was only three or six months ahead. So far, it was not mentioned to-day, and I am glad of it.

Dublin will see about that!

It was not mentioned to-day; it may be yet. When this Government is anxious to at least try to have some token of self-sufficiency I wonder at some of the Deputies talking there about maize meal when we are trying to promote the growth of what will support this country in the case of any emergency. There is no use in telling us about all the trouble and about Canada, and so on. There is no use talking about it. What we should be talking about is how we are going to conserve the food supply of this country in order to be able to feed the inhabitants of the country. That is the position to be faced, and I say that this Government is trying to face up to that problem so that in case of any emergency of that sort we will at least be in some position to try to supply the needs of our people here.

Deputies here on my left have spoken on this matter. Some of them do not see eye to eye with me as to the nature of the problem. Deputy Minch has praised this much more than, perhaps, I do. Deputy Holohan told us that the admixture produces a better article than the maize meal. That is true. We are trying to fix the price of bacon and if we had not the article we could not do it.

There is a difference in the prices.

I admit there is, but what are you going to do? There was a time when our youth used to go out of our country to America and other places in thousands, and now it is being cast up to us that they go to the neighbouring country. That is the thing that is being cast up to us now. Is not that the one thing Deputies opposite are trying to make capital out of?

I think the Deputy has lost all sense of shame.

That is the one chance you have. All you can do is to try to cast that up against us. Now, it is the duty of the Government to try to provide employment here. Take the case of the cattle trade and its connection with the economic war. I am a farmer myself and I feel that, perhaps, certain better arrangements might be made in the line of trying to solve that problem, but I think that any Deputy will agree that, at any time in this country we had a boom in cattle, we also had a boom in emigration. Is not that so?

Some of the Deputies here have made suggestions and I only wish that at least four or five of the Deputies who have spoken were as much in agreement with the Government on certain other matters. Some of them have made helpful suggestions, and I am very proud indeed that so far in this debate I have not heard anything about tins alleged bankruptcy of the country we are accustomed to hearing so much about. We are told that agricultural wages have gone down, and I will say that they did fall somewhat two years ago, but I think that Deputies will agree that agricultural wages are at a higher level now than they were, say, 12 months ago. We are also told that even though there is more grain produced in the country there is less employment. Well, we all know—any of us who are practical farmers—that farming methods are more up-to-date nowadays than they were some years ago. I can see it myself in my own part of the country, and I see that a man is able to do more with a pair of horses than he or I could have done years ago, because methods are very much improved. In that respect, it could be quite possible that although we had more production there might be less employment.

Would the Minister take a note of that?

I do not want to deny the position at all, but I ask that Deputies, when they stand up to criticise a measure, would try to criticise in a proper and helpful way. As I say, this debate, so far, has been conducted in a reasonable way and I think that the reason for that is that no lawyer has spoken on it so far.

Until Deputy Victory had spoken I was of the opinion that the economic war had been won, but I gather from his remarks that there are still some difficulties. Furthermore, I gather from Deputy Victory's remarks that the trouble in this country is not to get rid of our produce but to try, as he says, to conserve the products of the country to protect the people. I always thought that the economic problem in tins country was that we had a big surplus of our produce that we could not get rid of. Accordingly, I find it difficult to get at the mentality of the Fianna Fáil Party in a matter of this kind. Deputy Victory also spoke about world conditions. I think that we, as farmers, should have first consideration for the people of our own country, of our own world here, and I should like to speak in this connection, on behalf of my own constituency, which is one of the biggest in Ireland. It is a very remarkable fact that it is the only constituency in Ireland that has not a Fianna Fáil representative. That is a very significant fact. It is the only constituency that has not a representative of Fianna Fáil, and I am of the belief that if there were an election in the morning there would be very many constituencies in the country that would follow the lead of West Cork in that respect.

Deputy Corry told us about what the Government had done for the people. He told us of the thousands and thousands of pounds the Government had put into the farmers' pockets for their crops. Well, take it from the point of view either of the grain-producer or of the feeder. I do not think either of these has got any money from the Government. The man who produces grain, or grows wheat, if you like, in connection with the wheat scheme, gets his money, not from the Government, but from the increased cost in the price of bread. In a short time we will be discussing another measure in connection with the control of the price of bread, which is about 10d. per 4 lb. in this country, and I say that only for the Government's schemes bread could be sold, at a decent profit, at 8½d. per 4 lb. As a result of the Government schemes the price is 10d., and the difference of 1½d. comes out of the consumers' pockets to subsidise the wheat-growing scheme, and not out of the coffers of the Government. The poor people in the towns are paying 1½d. more than they ought to have to pay, and that is the fund from which the subsidy comes. It does not come from the Government.

Now, with regard to the maize meal mixture scheme, all my life, ever since I was born, I have been familiar with milling, and I have come to the opinion that, in balancing up things, it would be better for us if we had never stopped or lowered the importation of maize into this country. I was always a believer in Irish Ireland and always held that this country should be as self-sufficient as possible, but I am afraid that a country that has no raw materials will never come to be on a self-sufficient basis. We shall always have to import something, and if we can import certain commodities advantageously and sell our own goods advantageously, if the balance is in our favour it would be better to export the things that we can export advantageously and to import the things that we can get at better advantage by importing them. So far as the farmers are concerned, the average price of oats in this country for the last four or five years has been about 5/-, and I say it would be better to throw it away at a 2/6 or so a cwt. and buy at a proper price.

I come from West Cork. Now, the eastern side of it is mixed tillage, but the western side is all small farmers who cannot grow these subsidised cereal crops. They simply live on their little sucklings and yearlings and on their pig trade. At the present time those people are buying the native grain in places like the midlands and around the Pale and in some parts of East Cork, and paying a very high price for it. They are not getting any advantage from the growing of any of the crops that are being grown in this country. They must pay for what they buy, and that is something over £8 a ton.

There is the further disadvantage that this mixture takes at least a month longer to fatten a pig with. So that, not only is there an increased cost on the farmer but there is an increased period in producing the finished pig, and even then, with the increase of a month in time, I do not know if it is a better pig than the pig that is fattened completely on the pure maize meal. Maize meal in its purity could be sold at a good profit by millers in this country to-day at £5 a ton—or £5 10s. 0d., at all events —as against the £8 for the mixture. I need not point out to the House the difference between paying £5 or £5 10s. 0d. for a proper article and paying £8 or £8 10s. 0d. for an inferior article. That is the position in West and North-west Cork. They are small farmers who live on rocks and who are known as "rock farmers."

Deputy O'Leary produced a resolution that was passed by a party that is not a political Party. I have also got copies of resolutions from Labour people, Fianna Fáil, and from extreme republicans who have to live on these holdings, asking me for God's sake to try to have this admixture scheme done away with, as it is ruining them. I implore the Minister to see the wisdom of getting away from that scheme. He is subsidising a very foolish scheme that is costing more and more every year, and that is inflicting more and more injury on these unfortunate people. Every farmer who goes for tillage derives his profit from what walks off the land. The only profit this class of farmer gets is from what walks off the land on four legs. The Fianna Fáil Party tried to get away from that system, but now they see, notwithstanding all the talk, that employment on the land is decreasing, that farmers are getting less profit, and are in a position to pay less labour, at a time that more cost is being put upon them. They are selling at a disadvantage while everything is costing more and more to produce. As there is no Fianna Fáil T.D. in West Cork, I make a special appeal to the Minister for these people who have no T.D. in Fianna Fáil to make representations. I speak on behalf of the Fianna Fáil Party in West Cork and ask the Minister to consider the position of the people in that district. If the Minister knew how these people try to exist he would be moved by their condition. I appeal to him to do something, even if necessary to bring in an amending Bill so that there could be exceptions made to the general rule, and that these poor people who are trying to eke out an existence would not be treated as they are treated under the present system. I make that appeal earnestly on behalf of the best people that we have in the Fíor Ghaeltacht in mid-Cork and West Cork, as they deserve more consideration from this House than they have got up to the present.

I am intervening to ask one question arising out of the onslaught by Deputy Dillon on the growing of wheat on a commercial scale in this country. The events of the last few days have perceptibly brightened the prospects of the United Ireland Party being in power in 12 months' time. The question I want to put is one that ought to be answered. With regard to the wheat scheme, I want to know whether or not it is the intention, on the part of the Opposition, to drop it if they come into power.

If the Deputy will give way I will be glad to answer. It has been repeatedly stated in public that it is not our policy to drop the wheat scheme instantly, it being our view that revolutions in agricultural practice of that kind are calculated to do nothing but harm. It is quite clearly our policy to tell our people that, in our opinion, the production of wheat is hopelessly uneconomic, but still we would continue the present guaranteed price for wheat in the event of our forming the Government of this country, lest those who have adapted their husbandry to wheat production should suffer unduly. We consider, however, that at that price wheat will no longer prove an attractive proposition when a far better price could be got by using the land for other types of agriculture, founded on production of live stock and livestock products.

I take it that the answer can be summed up as meaning that the wheat scheme will be gradually abandoned.

Not if the farmers want to keep it.

I commend the helpful and the fair contribution that Deputy Minch made to the debate. As would be expected from one who is intimately associated with the grain trade, and one who understands the position, the Deputy had the courage to come here to say what he thinks. The burden of his speech was one of agreement with the policy of the Minister and with the officials of his Department, for the very effective manner in which they handled the grain problem that confronted this country last year. As Deputies who represent grain-growing constituencies know what that position was——

Deputy Gibbons is now congratulating Deputy Minch.

I think a great meed of praise is due to the Deputy, and, as a rule, I say what I think of people inside as well as outside this House. I remember quite clearly the position that confronted tillage farmers when the change of Government took place. I know that the acreage under tillage was on the decline. I know the difficulty there was in obtaining a market at any price for cereals. I know that, in 1931, farmers in County Kilkenny who produced barley had to sell first-class malting barley at prices ranging from 11/- to 12/6 per barrel, while the lower grades could not be sold at all. Oats was selling at what might be described as scrap-iron prices and farmers here had to compete with the famous subsidised German oats and Canadian oats that were being imported and sold on the market at prices with which they could not compete. The inevitable result was that the land was going out of tillage, and there was a spirit of hopelessness amongst working farmers. The admixture scheme preserved the home market for the home producer.

That was the basis of the scheme, and the basis of Government policy generally in regard to it. The admixture scheme has resulted in an increased acreage under tillage. The acreage under barley has considerably increased, and the yield of barley last year was 40 per cent. better than the yield in a normal year. While the percentage was increased, it was not sufficiently increased, in my opinion, before the new crop went on the market. Most of the grain grown in the Midlands, especially barley, would be left with the farmers, and would be unsaleable but for this scheme. This year the admixture percentage was increased to 50 per cent. While I have no definite information about last year's percentage, I understand that pressure was brought to bear on the Minister by the maize millers to leave it as it was, and that they assured him all the grain that was available would be cleared before the new crop came on the market. It was not cleared, and as there was a good deal left over, there was difficulty after the threshing season in selling the new crop, which was an abnormally good one. As many millers had considerable quantities of barley and oats on hands, they were then unable to take large supplies from farmers in some districts at the start of the usual buying season. All that trouble has now practically disappeared as a result of the Minister having increased the percentage of the admixture to 50 per cent. and having adhered to that. By the time the new season's crop will come in, there will be no surplus grain. That answers pretty effectively the suggestion made by Deputy Holohan that the percentage should not be raised over 25 per cent. What are we going to do with the remainder of the grain if the percentage is reduced to 25 per cent.? We know the position that existed in 1931. People were getting out of tillage because they could not sell their grain in the country. Deputy Holohan, in contradistinction to Deputy O'Neill, stated that the quality of bacon produced from pigs fed with the admixture was better than the quality produced from pigs fed on pure maize.

I believe that.

That has been proved by a number of experiments which have been carried out. Instructors under the committees of agriculture in various counties, particularly in County Kilkenny, carried out a series of experiments a few years ago and proved that a balanced ration of maize and home-grown grain produced much better bacon than pure maize.

I made no reference to the quality.

The Deputy made various statements that could be proved inaccurate.

I said nothing about quality.

I take it that there is common agreement that bacon produced from the admixture is a better article than that produced from pure maize?

I do not dispute that.

From a 50 per cent. admixture.

I certainly say it is not.

The money formerly expended on importing foreign grain now goes into the pockets of the tillage farmers of the country as a result of the increased tillage necessitated by this admixture and we no longer see the export of several thousand pounds per annum from this country for foreign grain. That money now goes to provide employment on the land.

Deputy Victory says it is giving no employment.

You are wrong about the employment.

I know areas where there is pretty intensive cultivation and mixed farming carried on and I can say that the employment in these areas has not decreased. In fact, it shows an upward trend. Neither has Deputy Mulcahy's contention, that the wages of agricultural workers have decreased, been borne out as far as my district is concerned. Some slight upward tendency has manifested itself particularly in the last 12 months.

In what part of the county?

I come from North Kilkenny as the Deputy is aware, and I know the district well. If there is a difference in price as between pure maize and the maize meal mixture, that is neutralised by the fixed price of pigs. I know that the bacon industry—both the pig feeders and those organisations which handle the bacon such as the Waterford Co-operative Society—are in a better position than in 1931.

The curers?

I know that this year the Waterford Co-operative Society of which the Deputy is a Director made the substantial profit of £15,000.

They are getting it at the expense of the feeder.

That is not much consolation to the poor fellow who is feeding pigs.

I am in contact with feeders as intimately as any Deputy in this House and I know that they say the present position is quite satisfactory, that it is infinitely, better than before Fianna Fáil came into office.

I can say from my experience of the Waterford Co-operative Society that the producers are not satisfied with the price they are getting.

They are never satisfied.

The Waterford factory was one in which we were all keenly interested when it was first established on a co-operative basis. We are all interested in it and worked hard to get it under way but it is only in the last few years that it has turned the corner. Will Deputy Holohan deny that it was losing money up to the last couple of years?

When did it turn the corner?


Order! Deputy Gibbons is entitled to be heard. Any other Deputy who wants to reply to his arguments can make his contribution afterwards.

I would have brought in the balance sheet to the House if I had known my statement would be controverted.

If the Waterford society is paying it is due to our efforts and not to the Government.

For years you had a continuous loss.

Fianna Fáil did not help us.

Deputy Holohan said that the usual mixture with maize, before this scheme was enforced, was of inferior grain. If the inferior grain at that time proved so satisfactory in the admixture, surely, now that better corn is being used and that a good price is being given for it, the admixture must be much more satisfactory? Deputy Curran, like every other member of the Opposition who spoke in this debate, had something to say about the economic war. Deputy Curran, who, I am sorry to say, is not now in the House, is connected with a big creamery organisation which has a number of auxiliaries. I make the statement, and I am sorry that he is not here to listen to it, that that co-operative society is in a very much better and a much more secure position than before Fianna Fáil took office. The same applies to other co-operative creameries in County Kilkenny. Of course we know Deputy Dillon's attitude regarding wheat. Any doubts which remained in the minds of the people as to his attitude have been dispelled by his considered answer to Deputy MacDermot. We seem, according to the Deputy, to suffer or to be afflicted with such a terrible dose of original sin in this country that we cannot grow wheat. We grew it for generations, just as well as the Canadians did and we had an exportable surplus.

And we had a famine too.

The men and women who inhabited this part of the world at that time were of splendid physique. We have certainly not improved in that respect since we ceased to grow wheat and mill our own flour. Our climatic conditions, I suggest, are just as good as those of any country from Scandinavia to the Equator. If Deputy Dillon has not been convinced that wheat can be grown in this country by the splendid crops which have been produced for the last three years, I think it must be very hard to convince him. If the past three years have not convinced him, he will see a splendid crop growing this year, a crop equally as good as that grown in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and those other places with high-sounding names. The people of this country, I maintain, are solidly behind the Government in its agricultural policy.

Ask Deputy Tom Kelly if that is true.

When the proper time comes we shall ask the people about it. I join with Deputy Corry in urging the Minister, when fixing the price of barley and oats to fix a remunerative price for these cereals. Deputy Haslett read a resolution in regard to the price of oats in the County Monaghan, but there will be plenty of time for consideration of that later. I would urge the Minister to see that the farmer gets a remunerative price for his oats, barley and other crops and he will certainly do a good day's work for the tillage farmers in this country. Were it not for the special measures that the Minister has taken the land of Ireland would practically have become a prairie instead of showing an increase in cultivation. Were it not for that increase, going on from year to year, and were it not for the policy of self-sufficiency in agriculture, the prospect before the working farmers in this country would be hopeless indeed.

Deputy Gibbons has given us his views as to the position in the County Kilkenny, but his colleague in the representation of that county did not agree with him. The farmers in the County Cavan are opposed to this whole scheme. Cavan is not suitable for extensive tillage. The farmers there have tilled all the land they could, and they do not need to be pushed any further. They feed all they can to pigs and cattle, and they supplement their home-grown supplies of feeding stuffs by Indian meal. Now they have to pay 4/- or 5/- per bag extra, and there is general complaint of the quality of the grain supplied them. It is sometimes no better than sweepings from lofts. Farmers, faced with this position, will have to get out of the pig breeding business altogether. They bring bonhams to the market and they find there is no one to buy them. From every point of view, the Minister's scheme is detrimental to their best interest. They always believed in feeding what they grow to pigs and cattle, and selling these to the best advantage. They never relied upon selling their grain to their neighbours or selling barley for malting purposes.

Deputy Gibbons said that the farmers in County Kilkenny could not sell their barley in 1931. What was to prevent them in 1931 feeding their barley to their live stock, and selling their live stock for which there was then an unlimited market? There was no limitation upon the exportation of pigs and cattle at that time. They could also sell their barley to the people in other counties who went in for pig feeding. The Minister should give consideration to other counties in Ireland than the grain-growing counties. The County Cavan and the County Leitrim cannot go in for extensive grain growing. The whole scheme is against their interest. They are paying extra for their flour and for their feeding-stuffs, and, notwithstanding the increase in the price of pigs, they find very great difficulty in disposing of their pigs. When they sell them they get worse prices than the people across the Border who buy their feeding-stuffs several shillings per cwt. less than the people in the County Cavan. In view of these things, farmers in the County Cavan have become so restless that they have been criticising, not only the Fianna Fáil Party, but all Parties in this House. They seem to think that we are more or less approving the Minister's scheme. Of course we are not. But it is hopeless, speaking to the Minister and to the empty benches behind him, to effect any change. I have been disgusted trying to convince the Minister of anything. The Minister will not be convinced and neither will Deputy Corry. The Minister lectures the farmers from time to time as to how they should do their business. Lately he went to Limerick and told the farmers there that they were not managing their farms as they should do.

I can tell the Minister that we have good workers in Cavan, I do not know about Limerick, but I am sure all the same they know how to make proper use of their land. They have lived on the land and worked the land as did their fathers and grandfathers before them. For one thing the Minister cannot accuse the farmers of Cavan of being lazy; they are a very industrious people and grow all they can. They want to get a chance of carrying on their work in the way that pays them best. They cannot go in for wheat growing. The land is not suitable and the climate is not suitable. Some of them have grown wheat but it did not compensate them for the loss they incurred in other directions. They could never go in for growing wheat for sale. They grow some wheat, and use it, for their own purposes. But the quality is such that they can only use about 5 per cent. of it to mix with their flour. That is all the use the wheat scheme is to them. All they get in return is extra taxation. They have to pay extra for their flour in order to benefit the grain-growing districts.

The same applies to the meal mixture. Instead of buying Indian meal, at the same price as the farmers in the County Fermanagh, they have to pay 4/- or 5/- a cwt. more for it and they have to sell their pigs at a loss. They are living in impatience. I am not in the least surprised that they are biding their time waiting for the opportunity to come. Unless the Minister changes his policy he need not come to Cavan to ask the farmers there to support his Party. I hope the Minister will consider mitigating the worst hardships of this scheme and will give some consideration to districts that cannot take advantage of it. In the West of Ireland this scheme is very unsuitable and is doing serious injury to the small farmers there.

The motion before the House, dealing with this particular Bill is, I think, the very best illustration we could have of Government interference in legitimate, well-established business of the people. Once a Government starts tinkering with an old-established industry, run by people in the best way they consider it should be run, they cannot stop themselves from continuing to interfere. This is an illustration of it. The Minister has my sympathy in trying to deal with this problem. The Bill we are financing by this motion is, I understand, a necessary adjunct to previous legislation of that kind. The Government started on the absurd lines of an anti-live-stock-cereal-policy. Deputy Corry told us of the wonderful efforts the Government had made to provide a market for grain in this country. What market did they provide? Did not the Government go out on an anti-live-stock campaign? If you have an anti-live-stock policy, what is going to consume your cereals? What are you going to do with the cereals?

You are hopeless.

I agree it is hopeless. Deputy Corry thinks that it is a very fine thing for the Government, having reduced the live stock and the live stock remaining not being able to consume the home production, to step in with this admixture scheme. The Minister for Agriculture himself told us not so long ago that we might have to content ourselves with a lower production of live stock. What would happen the admixture scheme, then? Are not live stock the basis of the whole scheme? Deputy Gibbons has, as a sensible man, tried to talk on this subject in a very sensible way. He seems to be honestly convinced that this is a good attempt to deal with the situation. Possibly, it is the only attempt that could be made in the circumstances but it ought to be a warning to the Minister and to those who will follow the present Government—that may happen very soon — that tinkering by legislation with a legitimate, well-established pursuit of the people leads you into a morass.

Once you fix a price for grain, you must fix a price for the miller. You must also fix a price for the man using the finished article. You must fix a price for the wholesaler and the retailer, and you must fix the wages for the labourers and for the people who have to buy. The Government have a very good lesson here. The more they can keep their hands off agriculture, which is our main industry, the better not alone for themselves but for the industry.

One would imagine from some of the speeches delivered here that a desperate situation confronted the Government, that the country was flooded with cereals which it could not get rid of, and that, as a result of Government policy, we had during the past few years an enormous increase of tillage and an enormous increase of cereals, which must be got rid of. I am sure Deputy Gibbons was honestly convinced of that. At all events, he gave me the impression that he was However, the figures do not bear that out. I have them before me. In 1931, there were practically 623,000 acres of oats. In 1935, there were 614,000 acres. which was a drop of about 9,000 acres in oats alone.

What about the others?

In barley, in 1931, we had 115,000 acres, and, in 1935, we had 138,000 acres, an increase of 22,000 acres. There was a reduction in the acreage under rye of 1,324. I leave out wheat because it is not a cereal used in the admixture.

It is a cereal.

It has nothing to do with the admixture scheme.

Surely, we are not growing wheat at a subsidised price which the poor people have to pay in order to provide an admixture?

It is information that wheat is not a cereal.

I did not say that. I have endeavoured to deal honestly with Deputy Gibbons's argument. He ought to give me, at least, the same consideration. I am dealing with the admixture scheme and the basis of any market you will have for that admixture is live stock. Barley, oats and rye are the only crops concerned with the admixture scheme. They are the crops which we have to deal with. There is subsidisation to the extent of £3 10s. 0d. per ton for this admixture scheme.

Perhaps the Deputy will permit me to interrupt him for a moment. The House knows that there is a subsidy of 5/- a cwt. given to the English farmer, with the result that the price of stores has been higher for the past 12 months than the price of beef.

What conclusion does Deputy Gibbons expect me to draw from that? Does not Deputy Gibbons and every sensible man know that the fact that that subsidy is given in Britain has increased the market for us?

For store cattle?

Yes, and the more forward we have our stores, the better for ourselves. I remember Deputy Matt. O'Reilly speaking from the opposite benches recently and saying that one-third of the Irish cattle were not fit for sale at all. That was what Deputy O'Reilly thought. I remember that Deputy O'Reilly was introduced, to a meeting at a by-election in Galway, as a man who knew more about farming than the whole Cumann na nGaedheal Party put together. That was the opinion of Deputy O'Reilly as regards our cattle. There is no use in pretending that Fianna Fáil had a desperate situation confronting them and that they solved it by this admixture scheme, which is costing the people an enormous amount of money. All they have got to deal with are 13,000 odd acres. That is the only extra cereal production, outside wheat, which we have had since Fianna Fáil came into power.

Outside wheat.

Yes. Does Deputy Corry say that the people ought to be mulcted to the extent of 11/- per sack for wheat in order that it should be used in an admixture for feeding animals?

Are you dealing with the matter from the farmers' point of view or the shopkeepers' point of view?

Deputy Corry endeavoured to convince the House that the Government were faced with a desperate situation and that they solved it in this way.

You are an admixture yourself.

No case has been made for the admixture. Deputy Holohan said that, in his opinion, it produced better bacon than did maize meal. Possibly. I would not set myself up as a judge. I feed pigs mostly on what I raise on my own farm. I grow wheat and I was growing it long before I heard of Fianna Fáil. The price charged for the admixture must lessen the return to the farmer for his live stock. I do not think that Deputy Gibbons should put it to the credit of Fianna Fáil that the bacon-curers of Waterford have made enormous profits since Fianna Fáil came into power. I do not think it is to the credit of Fianna Fáil that they have done so. If they have made these profits, it has been at the expense of the producer.

It is a farmers' co-operative factory.

I think Deputy Corry has experience of a similar project in Cork, which he trots out occasionally, and we have heard of another type of co-operative factory which has also made enormous profits.

What about the non-co-operative factories?

What about the 3/- per cwt. for bacon in 1931?

This is the very best illustration you could have of the result of Governmental tinkering with industry. Once a Government—it does not matter, whether it is a Fianna Fáil, a Fine Gael, a Labour or Republican Government—commences to fix prices, it has to go to the end. This sort of amending Bill is the natural result of the other Bills and it ought to be a lesson to Fianna Fáil and those who will come after them.

I probably grow as much cereals as any farmer who has spoken here to-day and I should like to make a few comments on this Bill, though my contribution to the debate will not be a very long one. I regard the wheat policy of the Government as a useful one. I have one complaint to make in regard to it. That is, that it is costing the consumer more in the price of his bread. Twenty years ago, I was growing wheat. I did not commence to grow it when Fianna Fáil came into power. I was growing wheat ten or 12 years before Fianna Fáil came into office. I grew luxuriant crops of wheat and very bad crops. I suppose I was not any more unfortunate than other farmers in having to plough up many a crop of wheat owing to the inclemency of the weather. Wheat is a "chancy" crop. Farmers like myself get a certain benefit by growing it. But at whose expense do we get that benefit? At the expense of the consumer. I am a grower of 14 acres of wheat at present. I expect it will pay me as well as oats or barley but the consumer who has to pay 11/- per sack more for his flour in order to provide the subsidy has some cause for complaint. When we were growing oats and barley before the Fianna Fáil Government came into power, I never heard of these big surpluses lying over. What is the reason for the change now? Until Fianna Fáil started this economic war, we had a market for our live stock. Farmers like myself could feed our cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry and we had not to be looking for a market for our surplus grain. We could feed it to our live stock and sell them in the English market. I am not ashamed to repeat that we could sell in the English market. What was the price of cattle in the Dublin Cattle Market in 1931? The price in the Dublin Cattle Market at that time was 41/- per cwt.

What was the price in 1921?

What was the price in 1932 and in 1933, after Fianna Fáil came into office? The price was 22/- per cwt., live weight, or a reduction of 19/- a cwt. in two years. What wonder is it that the feeders of this country are not able to make agriculture pay. Could any man now feed live stock and make it pay? No, and the reason is because of the economic war that was started by the Fianna Fáil Government. Their policy has finished the farmers of this country. Before Fianna Fáil came into office there was one way of getting rid of agricultural produce and that was to feed it to the live stock on the farm and make it walk off the land in the form of cattle, pigs and sheep. These were sent direct to the London market. That was the market after which the whole world has been "galloping." But that was the market that our Government wanted to get rid of. We were such big fellows that we wanted to get rid of the British market. They told the people that we would produce our own stuff and eat it ourselves and we were going to have bellies on us as big as John Bull himself. At the present moment we see that the Fianna Fáil Government is engaged in trying to find how they can retain the English market. They are paying subsidies now in order to get into it. They did not see their mistake in time. They see it when it is too late. We heard the cry "do away with the English market." They forgot that the English market is the only market in the world that was freely open to us. It was open to us until the Fianna Fáil Government started off with their foolish ideas. That is what the country has gained by the policy of the Parties opposite.

We had Deputy Martin Corry here to-day telling us about the campaign of Fianna Fáil. He told us about the millions of money that are going into the farmers' pockets. If that is so, how is it that the farmers are not getting rich? How is it that we find the sheriff in my locality at the farmers' houses every day? It is not now a monthly visit to the farmers' houses but a weekly visit. We find them going around from door to door gathering up shillings, if they cannot get pounds, anything at all for the time being. We are told there is an increase in employment in this country. But so far as Leix is concerned the people there have a fair idea of what the increase in employment is.

The position there is only like what it is elsewhere amongst the agricultural community. The Fianna Fáil Party tell us that their tillage policy is bringing more employment to the agricultural community. Well, we have the Government statistics, and the Minister for Agriculture has them before him. What is the position? In the case of Leix, there are 177 less labourers employed in agriculture now than in 1931. In Offaly, there are 144 less labourers now than in 1931. But we are supposed to have an increase in tillage. How is it then that there are less labourers employed? We have an increase in tillage, but who is carrying on the tillage? The farmer himself, especially the small farmer, with his own sons and daughters. These are the people who are carrying on the tillage. As a matter of fact, I must tell the House this much: that it is shameful when travelling along the roads of the country to see housefuls of little girls out in the beet fields weeding the beet, and up to their knees in wet and earth, thinning beet. I know one parish in Leix where two or three schools have been closed for the last three weeks. And for what purpose? That the school children should be kept at home to aid their fathers in going out working in the beet fields. That is the result of the policy of the Fianna Fáil Government. Now, if this beet were a paying proposition, would not the farmer be in a position to pay labourers? The farmers of that area always paid labourers. They paid them an honest, decent, good wage.

Hear, hear!

At the present time there are farm labourers working down the country, and I know it, for little or nothing. Some of them are working for their board, and many of them for their board and tobacco money. There are labourers there who are getting only a couple of bob a week. Before this Government came into power, no farmer could think of offering a labourer less than 25/- or 30/- a week, and no labourer was working for less. That was the general rate of wage there. Now we have labourers going around from door to door seeking work at any sort of wage. The trouble is that the farmer needs the services of these men badly, but he is unable to employ them and pay them a decent wage. What happens then is, rather than ask a man to work for him for a few shillings a week and his board, he lets the man go and does the work himself with the assistance of his little children. And, in face of all that, we are told that the growing of beet and wheat is a great advantage to the agricultural labourer.

I am sorry to see the position in which agriculture is to-day because for the last 35 years I have been working a big tillage farm. I have always tilled about 40 acres. I never found it hard to work it or to employ labour or to get on as long as we had a live-stock trade. Then we had the policy of the present Government and the economic war. The economic war ruined the farmers. It ruined the live-stock trade, and when it ruined the live-stock trade, it ruined the only hope the farmers had. As long as you have live stock you cannot have too much tillage on a farm, because you can feed all the cereals off that farm to the live stock and you will be paid for it. I was paid for it in the past but not at the present day. I knew a man who when malting barley was making 14/6 per barrel, kept 50 or 60 barrels of malting barley every year, sent it to the mill to be ground, and fed it to his live stock. At present we are selling barley for 10/- and 11/-. The farmers in my area were only too delighted to get rid of it at that price. After the last harvest they went around begging people to take it at 10/- per barrel.

In Leix and Offaly.

When 14/6 was the price.

When did that price come in?

Early in October.

It did not come in early in October. There are Deputies here who can tell you that the general price for malting barley in Tipperary was 11/- per barrel.

That is wrong.

It is not wrong. The Deputy maintained that malting barley down the country only made 11/- and 12/- per barrel.

I am a long time growing barley. I am probably a more extensive grower of barley than the Deputy.

I doubt it.

I am. You do not live 100 miles away from me. Why not come down to my place and see what farming is? Although you are of different politics, I shall entertain you for the evening. I never sold a barrel of malting barley for the last 30 years at less than 14/6—not even in 1930 or 1931—any year you wish. Last year the farmers had to go round the country looking for feeders to buy their barley at 10/6 or 11/- per barrel. I hope that a similar crisis will not arise this year. I should like to be able to congratulate the Minister on making a price for barley and oats this year. If he does not take steps in time before the harvest, it is my opinion that a similar crisis is going to arise this year. It is all very fine to talk about this meal mixture. I do not approve of it for one. I would sooner have the old way. I may be wrong or I may be right, but if I had my way, I would feed my live stock with oats and barley grown on my own farm, and it would cost me 3/- per cwt. less to get it ground and use it in that way than if I sold it and bought it back from the merchant. If I was not able to make money by feeding my own corn to pigs or cattle at 3/- per cwt. less than I can buy it, how can the farmer who has to go to the retailer and buy it at 8/- per cwt. make money or live? It cannot be done.

I ask the Minister to take these things into consideration. I like to do what is just. I do not want to put up a case for which there is no foundation. I should like to argue on a straight issue. If you want to buy a ton of pollard I am sure the first place you will make for is the place where it is cheapest. If pollard is being sold in Rathdowney for £8 a ton, in another town for £7 a ton, and in a third town for £6 a ton, surely I will go where I can get pollard at £6 per ton. I think that this campaign of trying to get offals is very bad policy and a poor one. There is only one way to end this policy and that is for the Government to finish the economic war and let the people get the price for live stock that they formerly got. If I could get 41/- per cwt. for cattle to-day, which I got some years ago, I am sure I would not be sowing wheat or beet. I could sow cereals and root crops in rotation and give more employment by feeding that stuff to live stock and I would be doing a better day's work for myself and a better day's work for my employees.

Has the price of beef not come down since 1931?

Yes, since the economic war.

What was it in 1931?

Better than now. As far as I can see, you are not interested in what the price is. Policy is the only thing that interests you. You are living on policy. That is the whole trouble, so far as you are concerned. I did not intend to intervene in this debate at all, but as a grower of cereals for so many years I thought it my duty to put my ideas before the House. I think I have put the matter clearly and upon a sound and straight basis, so that neither the Minister, nor Deputy Corry even can contradict me.

We have been told by the Fianna Fáil back benchers that the bacon curers of the Free State have had a good time. They have had a good time, a very good time, at the expense of the consumer and the producer. The constituency which both the Minister and myself represent is a tillage one. Labour, however, is not paid very well there. The majority of the labourers have 10/- per week and their support. When a labourer's wife goes to the country shop to lay out these few shillings on a Friday or a Saturday and asks the shopkeeper what is the price of bacon, and she is told 1/2 or 1/3 a lb., she says: "I must go home without any." That is what is happening. We are told about the prosperity of the bacon curers. They may thank the Pigs and Bacon Board for that. This system of grading is unprofitable for the pig breeder. I have often been asked, and I have often asked the question myself: "Where is this third-grade bacon sold?" Poor people come to me and say, "I had a couple of pigs for sale and was cut 14/- or 15/- per cwt. in the price because it was said the pigs were too fat, but when I went to the shop to ask for that fat bacon I could not get it." So that there is something wrong, and very wrong in the whole system.

I would ask the Minister to see that, if a pig producer is cut from 10/- to 12/- and 13/- per cwt. on the pig that he has to sell, he will get the benefit of that loss in cheap bacon. We have been told that we can use up a lot of barley in pig feeding. As a pig feeder, it is my opinion that barley is not a profitable meal to use for pig feeding. If you use 50 per cent. of it you will lose money in the production of pigs. Before the Pigs and Bacon Marketing Board was established, I went in in a small way for pig feeding, just as I engage in most other branches of farming. I go in for mixed farming. When I was turning out pigs with my own mixture, that is, balancing my own ration, I was able to produce a pig weighing 16 stone live weight, at six months old. If I were to do that to-day I would be cut 13/- per cwt. on that pig. It now takes eight months to turn out a 16-stone pig. Surely, no Deputy will deny that an eight months old pig will eat more. and, therefore, cost more to the producer than a pig that you can fatten in six months. Deputy Gibbons told us about all that the Government have done for the pig industry. My answer to him is that it has killed the pig industry. It has made the bacon curers rich and the pig producers poor. There is no man in this country to-day who can feed a pig for eight months at the present price of meal, sell that pig at the fixed price and make money. What is happening is the pig producers are losing money.

We were asked what was the price of cattle in 1921 and in 1930. My answer is that, in 1921, we were getting the world's price for our cattle. To-day we are up against the British tariffs. I am not going to argue now whether that is the fault of the British Government or of the Free State Government, and I am not going to enter into a discussion as to who fired the first shot in the economic war. But I do say that the sooner the economic war is ended the better it will be for the country. Let us get back to sanity again. It is a shame to have things going on as they are. As I was saying, in 1921 we were getting the world's price for our cattle. We are not getting that to-day. There is a British tax of £4 or £5 a head on the cattle that we are sending out of the country. We had no tax like that in 1921. That is what the present Government have done for us. They told the people that they would get alternative markets for them, and that the British consumer would pay the tariffs. They told the people everything but the truth. It is about time, I think, that the people of this country wakened up, and especially the farmers on the Fianna Fáil Benches, and asked themselves this question: how long is this kind of thing going to go on?

In 1931 we had not flying squids going around the country looking after the interests of the farmer. He was able to pay his way then. He did pay his way, and was only too happy to do so. The Government, by their policy, have deprived the farmer of the way of making a living, and they have left the agricultural labourer in a worse position. He is in the most pitiable position of any man in the world. He is working long hours and getting bad pay. He is not too badly off if he is employed by a farmer who is giving him his support; but think of him when he goes home to his wife and family with his 7/- or 8/- or 9/- a week. The whole thing is ridiculous in a Christian country.

May I ask Deputy Gibbons a question? The Deputy congratulated himself and the Government on the fact that the co-operative bacon factory in Waterford and the co-operative bacon factory in Cork are making greater profits now than they ever made before. Does Deputy Gibbons realise that those two factories between them do not produce much more than 5 per cent. of the total amount of bacon produced in this country, and that the rest of the bacon is produced by privately-owned bacon factories? Does Deputy Gibbons seriously congratulate himself on this, that the bacon factories of this country are making greater profits to-day than they ever made before in their history, and, if he does, can he tell us at whose expense are they making them?

I stated a fact when I informed the House that the Waterford Co-operative Meat Factory, a farmers' co-operative organisation, made a substantial profit this year. It made some profit last year, and in previous years, during the very long term of its existence, it was working almost entirely at a loss. That statement was in the form of an interrogatory to Deputy Holohan as to whether the Waterford Co-operative Meat Factory had been doing well. Since the price of pigs was fixed, pig producers in my area say that they are doing comparatively well, particularly as compared with the position in 1931. These are incontrovertible facts, and Deputy Dillon may inject the word "congratulations" or whatever else he wishes into them. I have made a statement of fact. We have had the Deputy's considered attitude towards wheat growing. We find that his whole attitude, and that of Deputy MacDermot, is one of asking us to look across the water for guidance, etc. Is it not a remarkable fact that the English Government is subsidising wheat growing, and is carrying on an intensive campaign to increase the area under wheat in that country at what the Deputy would consider an unremunerative price? But if wheat growing is a bad policy here, it is surely a bad policy there, and yet it is being done there.

And I say that it is.

Dr. Ryan

Some Deputy said that this debate had been rather helpful in many ways because it had been carried on on more constructive lines than is usual in the case of such debates. I think that is true. As a matter of fact, I think there were very few destructive arguments used by the Opposition that were not answered by other members of the Opposition. Some of the Opposition talked about the inferior quality of the maize mixture. One was Deputy O'Neill, but he was effectively answered by Deputy Gibbons. Deputy O'Neill started off by saying that he was a Sinn Feiner all his life, that he was always in favour of Irish products, and then proceeded to tell us what an inferior article Irish grain was as compared to foreign grain. We had the usual assertions from Deputy Dillon. One was that the farmer is feeding his pigs either on a pure maize meal mixture or pure meal. He then talked about. the extra cost of 3s. I pointed out on the Second Realing that any farmer would naturally mix the feed in order to get a balanced ration. In order to get the cheapest and best value in his ration, he would, of course, have to use a certain quantity of bran and pollard. In fact, to have a balanced ration at all you would have to use a certain quantity of bran. To get a good balanced ration he would have to use bran and pollard and meat meal. By using a complete mixture of that kind, in comparison to the mixture that is fed to pigs in England and in Northern Ireland, there would not be a difference of 3s. per cwt.

Deputy Curran, in order to try and prove that there would be a difference to that amount, talked about maize being worth £4 10s., and said that a maize meal mixture is worth about £7 18s. I give that as a type of the comparisons we get in debates of this kind. The price of maize in the port of Dublin, before it leaves the ship, is £4 10s. As a matter of fact I think it is a bit dearer now, and that the price would be about £4 15s. There has to be added to that the cost of transporting the maize from the port of Dublin to the mill in Tipperary, and the cost of grinding it before we can know what the actual price of it is. When all that has been done, the price will surely be a good deal more than £4 15s. before it reaches Deputy Curran. If a fair comparison were made, I am certain that the difference would not be anything like 3s. per cwt. I am afraid, no matter what I say or what proofs I give, that the members opposite will stick to their ideas and go on maintaining that there is a huge difference. Therefore, I think I may leave that for the present.

Will the Minister be good enough to say what is his estimate of what the difference would be?

Dr. Ryan

I think the difference between the maize meal mixture and pure maize would not, at the outside, be more than 30/- a ton. If you take the balanced ration for the pig, maize meal, pollard, bran and meat meal, and put them together, as compared with the price in England, the 30/- a ton would be very much reduced, because our bran and pollard, as a result of our milling on a larger scale, are cheaper than they were before the cereal policy and the flour-milling policy were taken up, and our meat meal is also cheaper than in England. On the last occasion on which I took the prices in Liverpool, as published ex-mill in Liverpool, and the price ex-mill in our own returns, the difference would be 15/- a ton for pig feeding, and that is the outside.

Deputy Dillon wanted the big reason we have for burdening the community with extra cost in order to induce farmers to grow wheat. It is part of our protective policy. I defy Deputy Dillon or anybody else to take charge of the Department of Agriculture and drop protection. I believe there is not a single thing that our farmers are producing that they could continue to produce if we allowed free imports into this country. For instance, we have a tariff of 6d. a lb. on mutton and lamb, and, in spite of that, lamb was imported last year for a short period. It shows the extent to which they are able to jump in regard to some tariffs. We have 6d. a lb. on bacon, and the same amount on beef. I believe if these tarifis were dropped on beef, mutton and bacon, it would be impossible for farmers in this country to exist. In fact, although Deputies opposite are not satisfied—and I admit I am not satisfied, either—I believe that the present prices for meat—I would like to see them higher—poor as they are in the eyes of Deputies opposite, would be much worse if we allowed free imports of beef, mutton and bacon. Protection is a thing that, whether we like it or not, has to be adopted. If we adopt it in the case of meat, in principle, at least, I do not see why we should not adopt it in the case of wheat.

I do not agree with Deputy Dillon that we do not grow as good wheat here as they grow elsewhere. We do I and a good many people agree that the bread made in a person's own house from home-grown wheat, or a large proportion of it, is much more tasty than the bread made at home from imported wheat. If that is true in the case of home-made bread, I do not see why it should not also be true in the case of bakers' bread. We carried out a series of experiments. We had home-grown wheat milled into flour and bakers' bread was made from that. It was 100 per cent. Irish-grown wheat. Certain people were asked to report on the flavour and the appearance of the bread. They reported that the flavour was excellent, and the appearance was not quite as white as would be the case with bread made from imported wheat, but otherwise it was quite attractive.

Is it not true that the millers are not putting Irish wheat into baker's flour?

Dr. Ryan

Deputy Dillon alleges that the millers are not putting a grain of Irish wheat into baker's flour. That is not true. I asked for information on that point some time ago. I have not got the exact percentage with me, but I know that some millers, for a period last year, when the home-grown wheat was coming in in large quantities, milled as high as 50 per cent. of home-grown wheat in their flour for bakers and they got no complaint. It must be remembered that baker's flour does not usually contain more than 40 per cent. of Manitoba or strong wheat. It usually contains 60 per cent. of the weak wheats, Pacific, Australian and wheats of that class. Our wheat can replace these weak wheats quite well and we will have no difficulty, with the varieties of wheat we are now growing, in meeting all household requirements with our own wheat and supplying up to 60 per cent. of baker's flour. It will not be very noticeable, I hold it will be an improvement. Even if people's tastes differ, there will not be any noticeable change in the flour.

We have been experimenting on strong wheats in order that we could, if necessary, later on replace also the 40 per cent. of strong wheats which are at present found in baker's flour. We have grown the Manitoba varieties here with success in certain classes of land. As time goes on we will get more information and we will get to know better the class of land where these wheats will succeed, the way they have to be tended, the time of sowing, and so on. After a few years, when we have experimented further, we will have no difficulty in growing these strong wheats in this country. One difficulty at the moment is that they are more addicted to certain diseases than the varieties we have been growing so far, but where we have a scientific investigation department, a very good department, in the Albert Agricultural College, I do not think we will have any difficulty in getting over that point.

I do not know whether Deputy Dillon is right or not in saying that the sack containing 20 stone of flour is 11/- dearer here than in England. There is a Bill coming forward later on and it will be more appropriate then to elicit that information. So far as home-grown wheat is concerned, it could not possibly make that difference. I think we have not exceeded 25 per cent.—21½ per cent. is about the percentage this year. If we take it even at 25, the price of Irish wheat, on the average for a few months back, was about 8/- more than imported wheat. If we take three barrels of imported wheat and one barrel of Irish and put them together it means that the whole lot is increased by only 2/- a barrel. You get only 70 or 72 per cent. of flour from wheat and on calculation it will be found that the increase due to the admixture of Irish wheat works out about 3/- a sack at the outside. That is the increase that can be ascribed to the admixture of Irish wheat. There is a Bill coming on after this which will deal more intimately with the price of flour and bread.

I was asked by certain Deputies, when fixing the price for barley and oats, to fix it so as to give the farmer a good return. Every Deputy realises that it is obvious that, if we fix the price of oats and barley too high, that has to be passed on and the price of the mixture becomes dearer to the consumer than it would otherwise be. That renders it very difficult for the consumer to make any profit on the feeding of pigs or cattle, and might eventually have the result of cutting down the amount of feeding-stuffs used; in that way it would react against the grower. A certain balance has to be kept in mind when considering this matter, in order to see what would be fair to both the grower and the consumer. It is not true that, as Deputy Morrissey has said, I am driven to desperation in any way to find a market for grain this year. We had quite a large amount of grain, as explained by Deputy Minch, because, although our acreage was not very much up, the yield last harvest was far in excess of the average yield. We had, therefore, far more grain to dispose of than we had expected when a census of the acreage was taken. That became apparent as soon as the harvest came in and threshing operation commenced, so we had to consider what was going to be done: Eventually we had to increase the percentage of home-grown grain in the maize-meal mixture. As a result of that increase it will at any rate be practically all absorbed by the end of August, and possibly all absorbed. There will certainly be no more carried over than there would be in an ordinary year, that is a few tons by each maize-meal miller to carry him into the new season. As far as that goes, there will be no problem in regard to surplus grain by the end of August before the new crop comes in.

I am, of course, quite accustomed to statements being made by members of the Opposition that we have destroyed the market for bacon, beef, and so on. The strange thing is that if any Deputy opposite, in the interests of truth, wants to look up the matter and see how much bacon was exported last year, as compared with a six- or seven-year average before we came into power, he will find that, between the increased consumption at home by shutting out foreign bacon, and what we exported, we had a larger output of bacon in 1935 than we had for the average of six or seven years before 1932.

What about exports of pigs?

Dr. Ryan

I am taking all that into account—live pigs, pork, bacon and all. I am taking our output. Our output would mean what we consumed at home and what we exported. I think 1931 would be higher than 1935 because it was a very high year, but taking the average of five, six or seven years before 1932, it will be found that 1935 was as high or a little bit higher, and this year it appears to be higher still.

But the Minister agrees that 1931 was higher?

Dr. Ryan

Yes, I think 1931 was higher; it was abnormally high. As the Deputy knows, you have cycles in pig production, and that was the top of a cycle.

Prices were very low in 1931.

Dr. Ryan

That is true; prices were extremely low at the end of 1931. The same thing applies to cattle. If we take the number of cattle that we consumed at home in the ordinary way —for free beef, tinning, canning and for meat meal — and the number exported, it will be found that our disposal of cattle also in 1935 was as good as in any four or five years average that might be taken.

Does the Minister include the slaughtered calves?

Dr. Ryan

No, because they have consumed practically no food. I am talking about the disposal of grain and so on. Another thing I might mention is this, that taking the year —I am referring to the cereal year now because it gives a better idea of the matter—commencing 1st September last, if we go on milling as we are doing at the moment—which is not too optimistic, because usually milling increases a bit in July, August and up to September—the output of the maize mills will be as high in this cereal year as it has been for the last three or four years. Unfortunately, in that connection, I cannot give a comparison with a pre-Fianna Fáil period, because we have not got the returns. The allegation is made here that, because of the high price of feeding-stuffs and because of the poor price for cattle and pigs, there were less feeding-stuffs used this year and that that is why we have surplus grain. That is not true; there has been the same output from the mills this year as for the last three or four years. I do not think it is true to say that we were able to dispose of our grain before Fianna Fáil came into power. There was quite a lot of agitation and, as a matter of fact, as a result of that agitation the last Government had to set up a commission to investigate this maize meal mixture scheme and see whether it was advisable or not. That particular commission did not favour the scheme, and I am only quoting that because a Government does not set up a commission unless there is some reason for it—unless there is some agitation amongst farmers showing that they cannot get rid of their grain. I myself remember attending meetings in the Mansion House and other places about that time—1929-30 I think it was—and there were a number of Cumann na nGaedheal Deputies at those meetings who were very strong on having something done to get rid of the grain. Where was the necessity for putting a tariff on oats in 1931 if everything was going splendidly in that year? Again, I say that a Government—and above all the Cumann na nGaedheal Government—would not keep on a tariff unless it was absolutely necessary.

Was there not dumping going on from the East of Europe then?

And Russia?

Dr. Ryan

It brought down the price. There was a very poor price for oats and barley at that time. Since that time the suggestion has been made that we could get rid of oats and barley in the British Market. There is only a small tariff as a result of the economic war, but even if that tariff were gone what would we get? If we take up any of the farming papers which quote those prices it will be seen that week after week for the last 12 months the price of imported feeding barley in England was about 10/6 a barrel and the price of oats would amount to about 5/- per cwt. That would certainly have been a much worse price for us for oats and barley if we had exported it there. From the point of view of the grower at any rate he would not have done as well, so that from his point of view the scheme has been a success.

Does the Minister know what is the price of oats in Northern Ireland?

Dr. Ryan

I cannot say at the moment. I would think it is about 5/- per cwt. Deputy Holohan—Deputy Gibbons has already dealt with the point—thought it was necessary to incorporate some home-grown grain in order to have good-quality bacon. He said 25 per cent. was sufficient for that. I think perhaps he may be right there. It was quite sufficient with maize, barley, bran, minerals and all those things that are required, but it is not true to say—as I think he said—that if takes longer to fatten a pig on the mixture rather than on pure maize. We have carried out many experiments on that. Lest Deputies should think there is any prejudice in the matter I would ask them to look up the reports of the Department of Agriculture for 1929, 1930 and 1931. They will find there that those experiments which were carried out under the last Government proved that with a certain mixture of oats and barley—sometimes barley; sometimes oats; sometimes both—the pigs invariably did as well on the same quantity of feeding with 100 per cent. replacement of maize by barley, and with, as far as I know, 40 per cent. replacement of maize by whole oats. The pigs fattened on the same quantity, and, therefore, at the same cost. It is true, as Deputy Gibbons said, that when those pigs were killed and graded in the factories the bacon from the pigs fed on home-grown grain was graded higher in every case.

Deputy Flynn made a suggestion which I am afraid could not possibly be considered—it is really not a matter for my Department; it is more a matter for the Department of Industry and Commerce—and that was to grant an extra licence for flour milling in the town of Tralee in order to enable the people there to give better value for maize meal. It is not true to say that in the dehulling process of oats two-thirds of the grain are lost. About 30 per cent. at the most would be rejected, and perhaps it is not certain that it is altogether lost, because there is a very little feeding value in the hull and if the remaining oats are left it is not right to say that it is reduced by 30 per cent. in value. It is only a very small percentage.

Deputy Minch, I think, put it very well. The whole thing is that it is very hard to get a perfect scheme. Deputies may criticise the scheme, and I do not say that it has no disadvantage. It would be very hard to get any sort of scheme dealing with this problem, or dealing with any other problem in farming or industry, that would not have some disadvantage. As I say, it is very hard to get a perfect scheme, but if the advantages of the scheme are greater than its disadvantages, that is perhaps as much as we should claim, and I think we should be satisfied if we can establish that much. In any case, however, I should like to know from the Deputies who criticise the scheme what would be their alternative to it? I understand that their alternative is that we should let this grain be exported, but I want to point out, as I have pointed out before, that the prices would be extremely low in that case and it inevitably would lead, I am afraid, either to people going out of tillage altogether so far as the surplus is concerned at any rate, or lead to a very insistent demand for some sort of bonus or subsidy in order to bring the price of their grain up to a level at which they could continue to carry on.

Deputy Haslett mentioned the question of the export of offals. I think it is not true that wheat offals were exported last year. I have power, under legislation, to prohibit the export of offals and that power has been used, I think, for about two years. Some offals were exported about two years ago, but none has been exported since then. I think this question of the reduction in agricultural labour is on a par with the question of the increase in employment in certain other industries since 1931. Certain schemes have come in whereby a person must register as unemployed in order to benefit by these schemes, and I think that some of those people, who formerly described themselves as agricultural labourers, have taken themselves off the list of agricultural labourers in order to benefit by the other schemes, because it is true, as Deputies know, that there is an increase in the sale of insurance stamps. I think that any reasonable person would be convinced, on going into the figures very closely and looking at the thing properly, that there is no reduction at least in the stamping of agricultural labourers' cards. In fact, I think it would look as if there were an increase.

Not a very strong case by the Minister.

Dr. Ryan

Well, I would ask the Deputy to go into the figures himself, and I am sure that if he approaches the matter with an unbiassed mind and examines the figures closely, he will find that there is not a reduction. At any rate, agricultural labourers' cards are being stamped all the time.

Deputy Victory says that there is a reduction.

Dr. Ryan

There may be something in the point made by Deputy Victory to the effect that nowadays one man or two men can do more than they could some years ago, owing to the development of machinery. Deputy Mulcahy, of course, is quite entitled to quote the Bishop of Cork, and the Bishop of Cork is quite entitled to make a political speech, if he wants to do so, but I suggest that it is only a joke when Deputy Mulcahy says that the Bishop was speaking without any political motives. Deputy Brennan wants the Government to keep its hands off agriculture. Well, of course, that is really nonsense. There is no use in going into the implications of that, because every single day, committees of agriculture, county councils, T.D.s, and so on, are coming along and asking me to do something for agriculture, to interfere with agriculture in some way, whether only to get rid of rabbits or something else. In the same way, on this question of interference, Deputy Dillon and some of the other Deputies appear to adopt a Pontius Pilate attitude, and wash their hands of responsibility in regard to the Pigs and Bacon Bill, and they try to put the blame on me for everything. However, when that Bill was going through the House, I do not think Deputy Dillon had any objection to it. I think Deputy Dillon agreed with the whole principle of the Bill, and advocated its passage. Now, however, of course, when some of his political adherents are complaining, he says, "Blame the Minister for Agriculture."

Every amendment to the Bill that I proposed was rejected at the Minister's instance.

Dr. Ryan

At any rate, the Deputy agreed with the principle of the Bill at that time. As a matter of fact, we shall have an amending Bill in connection with that Bill probably in the near future. However, with regard to the Deputy's point, what amendment did he propose that would have made things right? As a matter of fact, the reason I have to bring in the amending Bill is to knock out one thing which Deputy Dillon insisted on, and which is making the scheme unworkable.

What about the economic price for pigs?

Dr. Ryan

The economic price is being followed by the board. As far as the price goes, I do not mind what the Deputies opposite say, because they always say that it is not paying the farmer. I feed pigs myself, and I know others who feed them.

Is the Minister satisfied with the price?

Dr. Ryan

Yes, quite satisfied, and I know others who are satisfied. Deputy Finlay says that he never sold malting barley before 1932 for less than 14/6, but the price of such barley was always right. The whole trouble with barley was that the farmer sold a certain amount to the maltster, and that he could not get rid of the remainder. This scheme was brought in in order to deal with a surplus over what was required for malting. There was never any trouble about the barley required for malting, but there was a surplus to get rid of. Now, I do not mind talking about the economic war at all, but there is no use in thinking that, if the economic war were ended, this grain question would be ended. It has practically nothing to do with the economic war. If the 10 per cent., or whatever it is, on oats and barley going into England were removed, it would not solve our problem in the least in regard to oats or barley, or even wheat. Some Deputy says that the housekeeper goes in to buy bacon, and that, when she sees the price, she goes home.

Well, as far as I have been watching the allocations for home killing since the board was set up, there is no decrease in home consumption of bacon. It is a pity that Deputy Keating found it necessary to go away, because one would imagine from him that everything was going splendidly with agriculture up to 1931, and I was anxious to remind him that he and I spoke from the same platform in 1927 at a place called Ballycullane. We were not members of the same political Party, but we were friends and we used the same platform.

Did the Deputy lend the Minister his policy, or did the Minister lend the Deputy his policy?

Dr. Ryan

No, only the platform. However, as far as I remember, Deputy Keating's speech on that occasion was one of the finest criticisms of the late Government for their agricultural policy. If Deputies had been listening to him on that occasion, they would wonder how any farmer could possibly exist then under the conditions as he outlined them.

Question put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 52; Níl, 35.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Carty, Frank.
  • Cleary, Mícheál.
  • Concannon, Helena.
  • Corbett, Edmond.
  • Corish, Richard.
  • Corkery, Daniel.
  • Corry, Martin John.
  • Crowley, Timothy.
  • Davin, William.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • Flinn, Hugo. V.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Geoghegan, James.
  • Gibbons, Seán.
  • Goulding, John.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hayes, Seán.
  • Keely, Séamus P.
  • Kehoe, Patrick.
  • Kelly, James Patrick.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Kilroy, Michael.
  • Kissane, Eamonn.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Maguire, Ben.
  • Maguire, Conor Alexander.
  • Moore, Séamus.
  • Murphy, Patrick Stephen.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O Ceallaigh, Seán T.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • Pearse, Margaret Mary.
  • Rice, Edward.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Victory, James.
  • Walsh, Richard.


  • Anthony, Richard.
  • Beckett, James Walter.
  • Bennett, George Cecil.
  • Brennan, Michael.
  • Burke, James Michael.
  • Cosgrave, William T.
  • Costello, John Aloysius.
  • Curran, Richard.
  • Desmond, William.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry Morgan.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Fagan, Charles.
  • Finlay, John.
  • Fitzgerald-Kenney, James.
  • Haslett, Alexander.
  • Hogan, Patrick (Galway).
  • Holohan, Richard.
  • Keating, John.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • McGovern, Patrick.
  • Morrissey, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, James Edward.
  • O'Donovan, Timothy Joseph.
  • O'Leary, Daniel.
  • O'Neill, Eamonn.
  • O'Sullivan, Gearóid.
  • Redmond, Bridget Mary.
  • Reidy, James.
  • Rice, Vincent.
  • Roddy, Martin.
  • Rogers, Patrick James.
  • Rowlette, Robert James.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Smith and Beegan; Níl: Deputies Doyle and Bennett.
Question declared carried.