Committee on Finance. - Financial Resolutions (Resumed).

Debate resumed on Resolution No. 11:—
That it is expedient to amend the law relating to customs and inland revenue (including excise)) and to make further provision in connection with finance.

We have no less an authority than that of the most distinguished mathematician on the Front Government Bench, President de Valera, for the proposition that the taxable capacity of this country compares with that of Great Britain as does 66 to 1, and I would remind the House that to question any of the obiter dicta of that important person is high treason. In fact, it is forecast in the leading article of the Irish Press that anyone who criticises that gentleman or his policy would, in any other country, be adjudged guilty of sabotage and deserve to be tried for a criminal offence. I do not know whether this is a shadow forecasting a coming event, but that distinguished journal over which the President presides so effectively calls on this House and the country to institute the Soviet system of sabotage trials for anyone who contradicts him. Bowing before that mighty sanction then, I adopt the 66 to 1 and, on that basis, our expenditure for Supply Services and Central Fund services this year amounts to £2,219,184,000, and our poor and decrepit neighbour, Great Britain, is managing to struggle along on £900,000,000.

That figure is in itself astonishing, but, under the modern Budget practice of this country, we have taken to accumulating Budget surpluses by the dexterous device of borrowing so much as is necessary to produce the desired result, and this year we are informed that we propose to borrow £1,970,000. Let me here again apply the yardstick of 66 to 1. I imagine that the audience of Mr. Chamberlain in Westminster would be somewhat dismayed if he announced that he calculated on having a surplus and then added in parenthesis: "After I have borrowed £130,020,000."

I can conceive the confusion that would break out in the French Chamber of Deputies if the French Minister for Finance got up and said he was glad to inform the House that he had a comfortable surplus, paused, and then added, "After I have borrowed 13,000,000,000 francs." Nevertheless, we are called upon in this country to join in the universal rejoicing when we make our proportionate borrowing here. We have a surplus, and will have a surplus, to rejoice the multitude when we have borrowed the Irish equivalent of 13,000,000,000 francs. However, this borrowing is a harmless thing, we are told. This borrowing is to finance export bounties, a non-recurrent item, and, therefore, something which may be properly borrowed for and treated as a capital item in our account.

My mind goes back to the happy days of 1933 when unemployment was a nonrecurrent item. We all remember it was going to be done away with. It was urgent that we should start housing schemes wherein to house the returning emigrants as they rushed back from the United States of America to share in the universal prosperity here. Last night, that budding statesman, Deputy Smith of Cavan, turned in anger on the Labour Party and said:

"We cannot solve the unemployment problem. How could you solve it if you had to do it?"

If unemployment, which was merely a passing symptom of the unhealthy state of the nation, resultant on the inability of Fianna Fáil to administer our affairs up to then, has not proved to be a passing fancy, are we not wise to contemplate the permanence of export bounties in our financial system? The plain fact is that unemployment continues and grows as a result of Fianna Fáil policy, and export bounties continue and grow as a result of Fianna Fáil policy. If the Fianna Fáil Government were to remain a permament factor in our affairs, this borrowing could not be justified, and we have to judge this Minister on his own record and on his own claims; but it is quite as true to say of this borrowing —if we assume, as I think we must assume, that the Minister had in mind that he intended to return to office— that he is borrowing this money to finance the reductions he has made in the food taxes.

This House will remember that the food taxes which the Minister proposes to remove were put on by the Minister not many years ago. He now proposes to take them off, and he proposes to take them off, because it has been driven in upon him that it is impossible for the people to continue to pay them. Are we not forced to a desperate expedient in this country when, in order to keep food in the mouths of the people, we have to borrow money? The sum the Minister intends to borrow is about the same as that which he proposes to take off in food taxes—4d. a lb. from tea, 10½d. a cwt. from flour, ¼d. a lb. from sugar, and 2d. a lb. from butter. I have referred to the export bounties, and I have suggested that if we assume that this Government were to continue, and God forbid that it should, we would be obliged to assume that these export bounties were a permanent charge. So far, the only transaction which this Government has made with a view to removing penal tariffs on our exports has been to induce the British Government to remove the tariff on horses. That was a concession we all welcomed, but our welcome became tempered when we discovered that the real effect of that concession was to remove the penal tariff from the horse on to the hen. Now, when we come to examine the concessions made in food taxes, we discover to our amazement that the taxes which have been taken off are the taxes which the Minister himself put on not very long ago, and that, as he makes the gesture of taking them off tea, flour, sugar and butter, he puts them on again on bacon.

The Deputy would be talking through the top of his hat, Sir, if he had one on.

We heard about that hat before.

And the Minister in putting this tax on bacon, just as he reduced the old age pensions by a subterfuge, attempts to put the tax on bacon by a subterfuge. Bacon to-day is making in the British market, about 90/- a cwt. Bacon is being sold to the Irish consumer at about 120/- a cwt., and the Irish producer is getting for his pigs an average price of 67/- a cwt. On the basis of 67/- for pigs, a bacon curer would make a comfortable profit, not to speak of paying his expenses, if he sold bacon at 95/- a cwt. They are getting an average of 120/- and, for smoked bacon, they are getting up to 130/- per cwt. from the consumers in this country. That is being done in conspiracy with the Minister for Agriculture in order to relieve the Exchequer of export bounties which the Minister would otherwise have to pay and for which the Minister for Finance would otherwise have to provide money. The Minister for Agriculture protests ignorance of this deception. I now say that this transaction is carried on with the knowledge and connivance of the Minister for Agriculture and the Minister for Finance in order to relieve the Exchequer of bounties that would otherwise have to be paid on exports of bacon to the British market. By raising the price of bacon to the people, the Exchequer is relieved of that burden, while the relief thus obtained is flourished about this House as a concession in respect of food taxes. Every Deputy who comes from the country knows the relation that bacon bears to fresh meat in the diet of the people——

Would the Deputy be good enough to tell us what revenue account secures any gain from bacon prices?

I shall tell the Minister very quickly. The Minister is trying to fool his own Party and he may succeed, but he will not fool the intelligent section of the House. The fund in which this money should appear but does not appear, because the Finance Accounts are at present being drawn for the purpose of deceiving the people, is the export bounties fund. On the other side, there ought to be an item of revenue or an item of deficit. The item of revenue or of deficit is out of the accounts and the amount that ought to appear as export bounties is out of the account.

The Deputy is talking clotted nonsense.

We had two hours of it yesterday.

It is an interesting fact, to which I draw attention, that the observations which I have been making have drawn the Minister into disorderly interruption after I have been speaking for only ten minutes. He spoke for two hours and seven minutes yesterday, weaving his web of deception. Now, when the exposé comes, he cannot keep quiet for ten minutes. I ask the House to pay special attention to that fact, and I ask them to investigate this matter as closely as possible so that the truth can be established beyond all doubt or question. The bacon curers are being aided and abetted by the Government in charging the consumers of this country an excessive price in order to compensate themselves for the failure of the Minister for Finance to provide money to pay an export bounty on the bacon which his colleague, the Minister for Agriculture, requires and compels them to send to the British market every month. Remember, every bacon factory in this State applies for a bacon quota and is given a quota in Great Britain. It has got to fill that quota in the British market, fair weather and foul, no matter what price it gets. And if it does not fill that quota, its business is whittled away and given to somebody else——

This is surely an attack on the administration of the Minister for Agriculture.

——so that the bacon is sent to Great Britain by order of the Minister for Agriculture. The loss is made up partly out of the hypothetical Prices Fund, which belongs to the producer and which is being robbed from him, and, partly, from the excess price charged to the Irish consumer of bacon. This problem is going to be covered by a campaign of confusion and a smoke-cloud of misrepresentation for the reason that bacon is a commodity that is sold in many forms. You have salted bacon; you have green bacon; you have dried pale-cured bacon; and you have smoked bacon. All these bacons are susceptible to different cutting and different preparation for the market. Each cut and each quality has a different price. In rural Ireland, a large proportion of the bacon consumed is salted bacon. In the cities and towns, part of the bacon consumed is green bacon, but most of it is pale, dried bacon, and the smoked bacon, cut in what is called the Wiltshire cut. The net result of all this is that the people of this country are paying, as I reckon, about 3/9 a stone, or 3½d. per lb., more for their bacon than they would have to pay if the exports to Great Britain received their bounty from the Treasury and not out of the pockets of the producers or consumers of this country.

I have tried to find out from small farmers, and workers in this city and elsewhere, how these food taxes react on their personal home accounts because I want to bring this business down from the headlines of the Irish Press to the dinner tables of my own neighbours in County Mayo and the workingmen and women of this city and the other cities of the State. Take the case of a man living in a labourer's cottage who might buy two stones of flour, ½lb. of tea, ¼st. of sugar, 7lb. of bacon and 1lb. of butter. Before these amendments were made in the taxes on these foodstuffs, that parcel would have cost the workman about 16/5. That would have been the cost about a month ago. Since then, the price of bacon has steadily risen and I do not think I exaggerate when I say that the average price of bacon would be about 1/3 to-day. I believe that it is substantially more than that. That man would get 1d. a stone off the flour—2/2 a sack. He would get 2d. off the ½lb. of tea, 1d. off the ¼st. of sugar, and his bacon would be increased about 1/3 for the ½st., while his butter would be 2d. per lb. cheaper. He would, therefore, be paying about 17/- for what cost him 16/5 a month ago. Every 1d. conferred upon him by these reductions of taxation is more than eaten up by the increased cost of bacon brought about by the subterfuge which I have described. Assessing that in terms of actual facts, we find that a man is paying a comparatively large sum on a very modest purchase of food. On 2st. of flour he is paying about 9d. That arises in this way: that there is only one miller in this country who is milling flour in Ireland and in England. The House will excuse me if I mention the name of the firm, for that is a thing that is not customary here. I refer to the name of Messrs. Rank. If Messrs. Rank buy a cargo of wheat 30 miles from Limerick, they order that vessel to put into Limerick and discharge half the cargo there, and then they order it out and to put into Liverpool and discharge the other half of the cargo in Liverpool. What happens? The wheat mills in Liverpool will sell that wheat as flour 10/- a sack cheaper than the flour from the same class of wheat milled in Limerick. The man to whom I refer, a workingman living in Dublin, will pay 10/- a sack more for the flour milled in Limerick than the workingman in Liverpool will pay for flour milled in Liverpool from the same wheat and by the same firm. This concession—taking the tax off the wheat—will reduce the price of the sack of flour by 2/2. That represents a concession of 10½d. a cwt. on flour or a reduction of about 1½d. or 1¼d. per stone. I put the reduction at 1d. per stone, because I do not believe that the millers will pass on the whole benefit to the Irish consumers.

On the ½lb. of tea there is about half the duty taken off because the cheaper tea, Java tea, bulks largest. Java is a low-grade tea. The Assams and other teas from the Commonwealth of Nations are a higher grade. Java tea is lower. I assume that the cheaper tea consists of the lower-grade Java or Sumatra tea. A ½st. of sugar will cost 7d. in taxation; 7lb. of bacon will cost the workingman about 1/3 additional. The tax on his butter is being reduced. Here we have a man who is purchasing 17/- worth of food and we find that that man will have to pay at least 3/8 in taxes out of that 17/-. I do not know whether such an arrangement commends itself to the Deputies here. If you have a man who is earning 21/- a week being called upon to pay 3/8 taxes on his food— never mind what he is paying on clothes, household utensils and everything else taxed by the Government— you must admit that that tax is inequitable, unjust and oppressive. The Minister, however, does not seem to think so. He speaks with exultation of the increased yield of taxes. Since when has it become a matter of congratulation in any sane country in the world that the rate of taxation is rising——

Not the rate, but the yield.

No, excuse me, it is the rate that is rising in a most extraordinary way, or to paraphrase the matter, in a Fianna Fáil way, which means the same thing. But it is impossible to explain that to the Minister. The Minister for Finance said yesterday that the operation of many customs duties stopped imports altogether. The Minister for Industry and Commerce said these duties stopped the influx of commodities altogether and that they yield no revenue; that the tendency was to wipe out that revenue from the duty. Grant them that and turn to the yield of customs and you find that the revenue on what is still coming in is £1,750,000 greater than it was. When that is known we can see in a greater or lesser degree how we are making contributions to the revenue. The Minister himself admitted yesterday that he is collecting an immense revenue on plate glass alone——

Would the Deputy tell the House the amount of revenue I collected from plate glass?

There are 86 pages in the Minister's Budget speech and surely he does not want me to wade through all that now.

The Deputy quoted me as saying that I collected an immense revenue from plate glass. Will the Deputy refer me to where I made that statement?

The Minister boasted about getting an immense revenue from plate glass. The Minister for Industry and Commerce himself boasted that he put a duty on flannelette; that the revenue coming from that would go into the Exchequer and that if I did not like it I could jump it.

When did I say that?

The Deputy is in a greater confusion of mind than is customary even with him.

The revenues collected— more than £10,000,000—come entirely from the pockets of the people of this country. Over and above that, we know that tariffs of 50 per cent., 60 per cent. and 70 per cent are keeping out large quantities of merchandise. The consumers are being compelled to pay the manufacturers inside this country a charge that they allege to be an economic price for the products of their factories and the increased cost of all this has to be borne by the people. We are told that the revenue from tobacco has greatly increased. I would refer the Minister to a speech made on one occasion at a general meeting of the Imperial Tobacco Company in which the chairman of that company pointed out that one of the most remarkable facts was found by them to be that the more intense unemployment became the higher went the sales of tobacco. That is not a difficult thing to understand——

Not for the Deputy.

But it is a fact. It is a well-established fact and it is perfectly natural that the tendency of men who have nothing to do and nothing to occupy their time will be to smoke more tobacco during the day than if they were at work. That is an established fact. Motor taxes, the Minister tells us, have produced an increased yield. I would ask Deputy Brian Brady how many farmer constituents of his in West Donegal bought motor cars in the last 12 months? Does any Deputy in this House who represents a constituency populated mainly by small farmers accept the statement of the Minister for Finance that increased revenue from taxes is an indication of increasing prosperity throughout the country? I would remind the House that the best estimate of our national income is £150,000,000 per annum. Now, the Government is spending £35,000,000 and the local authorities £5,250,000. That makes an annual charge on the people of £40,250,000, while our national income is about £150,000,000. Is that a state of affairs which leaves the Minister for Finance satisfied in his mind as to the economic condition of this country?

The great trouble is this, that the Minister for Finance and most of his colleagues have made their residence in the City of Dublin for the past five years and they are steadily, as is the fate of such men, getting out of touch with the country, the affairs of which they are supposed to be running. They are deceived as they see crowds standing twirling their canes in cinema queues waiting to get in to a crowded cinema or a crowded restaurant in our city, forgetting that the vast majority of our people do not patronise the O'Connell Street cinemas nor yet the down-town restaurants. Ministers are greatly impressed by the fact that Dublin is not as hard hit as people would suggest the country generally is. That is not a strange phenomenon. The same thing happened in Australia. If these people would take counsel with the economists who saw Australia when she was breaking up, they would be told that while the rural part of Australia was withering and dying and the country starting on the road that led to eventual bankruptcy, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and the other great cities of Australia appeared to boom.

That was due to two reasons. As the country withered, the cities began to grow. The people fled from the country into the cities and, as the people came into the City of Dublin and the City of Cork, as we know they have from the census returns, Henry Street grew no longer, Talbot Street grew no longer, the shops in South Great George's Street did not get any bigger, but there were more people buying in them than bought heretofore. As they grew the shops in the rural towns began to close and the small towns of Ireland began to dwindle. Those who are living in those small towns and those who frequent the small shops see them perishing, while the Minister makes his contribution to the prosperity of the cinemas and the restaurants of Dublin. It is poor consolation to them to be told that Dublin is doing very well. They may take that as a factor, and I think it is comparatively true, but it does not alter the fact that the people in the country are doing very badly.

I do not know if the Minister in his literary excursions has had recently brought to his attention a book called "Gone with the Wind." There is in that book the philosophical rumination of an adventurer who is asked what brought him to Georgia in the throes of the civil war, and his reply was:

"Young lady, as you grow older you will come to learn there are two times when men can make money; one is when a nation is building, and the other is as it sinks into decay."

There are plenty of people at present flapping their way into this country from foreign climes to share in the spoils of the decay of the country, and if there may be a spurious prosperity in some of our cities while our country decays, that ought to be no consolation to responsible men or women in this House.

It is the duty of men and women here, who know the true condition of the country, to tell our metropolitan Minister for Finance that all is not so well in Ballydehob as it appears to be in O'Connell Street. Does the Minister for Finance ever consult his colleague, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, when he contemplates the economic welfare of our people? Does he ever ask him are the people buying more stuff? Are the essentials that our people ordinarily use being used in greater quantities than before? Surely that is the true barometer of how the country stands? If he had asked that simple question, I think the Minister for Industry and Commerce would have given the Minister for Finance some surprising information. He might have told him that in 1935 our people used 168,000 pairs less of shoes and boots than they used in 1931. Does the Minister for Industry and Commerce deny that?

The Deputy obviously does not understand the matter.

Observe that while the Minister for Industry and Commerce does not attempt to challenge that figure——

In 1935 there was a quota put on boots and shoes and particularly rubber soles.

I am talking of the consumption by our people of shoes manufactured in Ireland.

Made of leather?

I am talking of shoes manufactured in Ireland, plus shoes manufactured in Great Britain, of all descriptions, and I say that the reduction in consumption of shoes imported and manufactured in Ireland by our people amounts to 168,000 pairs. There was that number less in 1935 than in 1931. Now let us turn to wearing apparel. What about wearing apparel—are they using more of that? The Minister for Industry and Commerce, if his capacity to blush survives, would blush becomingly and say, "No, we were using £594,000 worth less apparel in 1935 than we used in 1931." I ask Deputies to note this, that while I am in a position to quote the number of pairs of shoes and boots, when I speak of wearing apparel, the only figures available to me are the figures relating to its monetary value. I submit that the cost of wearing apparel in this country has substantially increased, so that the bulk of the wearing apparel consumed by our people is very much more reduced than those figures I have given would suggest.

There are Deputies living in the country who know from their own observation that what I say is true. Anyone living in the West of Ireland to-day who sees respectable men and their families, who were a few years ago comfortable and prosperous, coming in in second-hand clothes and raggedy garments that they would not have dreamt of wearing to a market five years ago——

How much of the imports of 1931 were second-hand?

——realises the conditions to which our people have been reduced. The Minister knows so little about the ordinary, everyday life of our people that it would really be a kindness if he would not attempt to interpret what is happening in rural Ireland at the present time. He knows as little about it as he knows about what is happening in Peking.

Apparently the Deputy knows all about second-hand clothes.

I know a good deal about them. I have seen my neighbours driven into them by the Minister for Industry and Commerce.

Their importation was stopped in 1932.

I have seen the Minister for Industry and Commerce and the Minister for Finance laughing as they heard of my neighbours, the people who live about me, being forced from decent garments into second-hand clothes and into the rags they are at present wearing. It is nothing to laugh at if you see these things on the backs of people who were accustomed to be decently dressed, on the backs of people whom you have known since you were a child. It is nothing to laugh at at all, and I am glad to see there are Deputies on the Government Benches who do not laugh at it. There are Deputies here who live amongst the people in the country, and I am sure they take no pleasure in seeing those people driven back to the poverty out of which our fathers took them 50 years ago.

It took Fianna Fáil Ministers and the likes of them to drive those people back to the level that had been reached when our fathers drove the landlords out of the country and made the people independent in their holdings. It is the ambition of the present Government to make peasants of the children of people whom our fathers rescued from peasantry. The small farmers of Ireland were peasants. We made them farmers, we made them independent landholders. The Fianna Fáil Government are now driving their children back to peasantry, and they will not succeed in that business if we can stop them.

The income of our farmers has dropped in the last four years from £64,000,000 to £40,000,000. Those are the figures published by the Minister's Department. In face of all those facts, we have two gentlemen who know as much about rural Ireland as they know about Peking, gentlemen who spend their lives and substance in the city, jeering from their Front Bench here at the condition of the people whom they have reduced to the state of poverty in which they are living. I notice with satisfaction that there are some Deputies sitting on the back benches of Fianna Fáil who have at least not sunk to the indecency of jeering at people whom they are reducing to that condition.

When we laugh at the Deputy we are supposed to be laughing at the people.

The Minister can laugh and laugh well. I regret I have not with me an article written by a detached observer who went to see the condition of the people in Bantry, County Cork.

The special representative of the Irish Independent?

Yes. I will quote for the Minister, not the representative of any newspaper in this city, but a Deputy from his own benches, representing the constituency of West Cork, who got up in the town of Macroom and said publicly that the people in the hillside country around Macroom were starving and that something would have to be done for them, and he never denied it. He said it at the Ard Fheis of the Fianna Fáil organisation, and there was not a single man or woman with the brazen-faced audacity to get up and contradict him.

Was the Deputy there?

No. God forbid that I should be, but I read it in the kept newspaper of the Minister and his Party, and it was there that I saw it.

Did the Deputy ever read about Adrigoole?

Yes. The Deputy read about Adrigoole, and he read the cheap and fraudulent falsehoods that were published about Adrigoole. He heard the falsehood nailed, not once, but half a dozen times in this House, and the Deputy is still waiting for the present Minister for Local Government and Public Health, who now has all the files and all the information at his disposal, to repeat that slander, even once, since he came into office, but the Minister for Local Government and Public Health has never dared to do so. I challenge him now to produce the files on Adrigoole and, with his present responsibility as Minister for Local Government and Public Health, to repeat the allegations, now that he is a Minister, that he made as a Deputy, and I will bet that he cannot do it because he has got the information now and dare not now attempt to put that fraud over on the people again or, if he did so, he knows that he would be held up to be something that I hope he is not, and that is a fraudulent liar.

Why were not those files produced at the time?

Let them be produced now. You have got the files now.

The Deputy, possibly, was more mature then than he is now, and it would have done no harm to produce them.

What was the Minister doing then?

He was reducing taxation by £2,000,000.

I want now, Sir, to say a word about the condition of people in this country who, carrying on that good tradition of pride that was handed down to them, are now living in many cases, I believe, under conditions of as severe privation as those described in Bantry, but who are too proud to let their neighbours know of their position.

If things are as bad as the Deputy says, why did his Party not move the writ for the by-election?

I know of people in this country who are poor and who have been hungry, but who do not care to have it said by their neighbours that they are on the rates or objects of charity.

Why did you not move the writ for the by-election? What are you afraid of?

If Deputies or Ministers opposite want to speak afterwards, they can do so, but they cannot break me off the line of argument which I am going to pursue to the end, by interruptions of that kind. We will face an election very shortly——

But not in Bantry.

—— and when we do, I trust that the people will give the verdict that I anticipate they will give. I have drawn the attention of the Minister and of the Government to the condition of the people in this country generally, outside O'Connell Street and its immediate neighbourhood. I now invite the Minister's attention to the fact that, from the railway station of Ballaghaderreen alone, there have gone, in emigration since Christmas, an average of 80 boys and girls every week. They have gone from one small sideline station alone since Christmas—80 a week—and that is being reproduced in railway stations all over the Province of Connacht, all over the west of the Province of Munster, and all over Donegal. I direct the attention of the Government to the fact that, although our population is falling, our unemployment figures are higher by thousands than they were when the Minister came into office.

Nonsense. They are less than half.

I direct the attention of the Minister to the fact that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance is at present defending in this House the voting of the greatest sum ever voted in this House, in the history of Saorstát Eireann, for the relief of urgent unemployment. I cordially endorse that attempt to solve the problem, and I am satisfied that every penny is urgently necessary, but I wish to direct the attention of the House to the fact that to-day, five years after the plan was put into operation, more money is more urgently required to provide for a larger number of unemployed in a smaller population, with a greater tide of emigration flowing, than has ever been the case since Saorstát Eireann was established, and while the Minister was trying to tear it down.

Do those facts bring any light to the mind of the Minister for Finance? Side by side with those facts, I want to put the galling circumstances in which the small farmer of this country at present finds himself. When I speak of the small farmer, I mean the three-cow man. During the last few weeks the price of cattle has improved and one would have expected the small farmer to come out with his beast, glad of the opportunity of getting some return on his labours at last—only to be told that the cattle which should now be selling as profitable two-year-olds are rotting as calves into the graves prepared for them by Doctor Ryan, the Minister for Agriculture. The cattle are gone. Gruesome as it may be for the Minister for Industry and Commerce and disagreeable as it may be to his fastidious nose, it is tragic to the people who cannot get the profit on those cattle to pay their way. Eggs are selling in rural Ireland at the present moment for 5/- the long hundred, while Indian meal is costing 10/2. Pigs are selling at 67/- a cwt., while bacon is fetching up to 130/- a cwt. from the bacon curers of this country.

I say now, as I have said before, that while every other country in the world is growing richer, this country grows poor. This country grows poor in the vast majority of its population. While every other country in the world is learning, or has learned, the lesson that economic self-sufficiency means a reduced standard of living for the people and eventual disaster for the country that attempts it— while every country in the world is working with their neighbours to release themselves from the toils of that accursed doctrine, this country is gathering that doctrine to its bosom and is trying up the limbs of the whole State with it. Economic self-sufficiency is the mad hatter of modern economics, and it is not surprising to discover such a thing as a mad hatter in economics presiding at the Executive Council tables of the Fianna Fáil Government. So long as this Government continues along the line of general policy which it at present pursues, no frantic attempt on its part, by borrowing or by other subterfuge, can effectively stop the holes in its crazy path. The country can be kept afloat from year to year, and every rational man knows that it takes a long time to dissipate the accumulated wealth of any country.

At the present time, all the symptoms in this country are of decreasing wealth and of future hardship. We have, I suppose, £300,000,000 invested abroad. It will take a long time to spend that amount of money, but I say that the productivity of this country is being steadily reduced, and I say that the inevitable consequence of the present line of policy pursued by the Government will be to drive our people back to a peasant standard of life, and I say that, rather than do that, any remedy should be resorted to. There is only one effective remedy for the present situation. We have got to get a market for our agricultural products. We have got to secure, for the people who live on the land, a profitable market in which to dispose of their agricultural surplus. Out of the profits thus derived, we have got to secure a fair wage for the labouring man on the land and a pool out of which industry can draw a fair profit for the products it is equipped to produce. We cannot have industry in this country, as we ought to have, unless the agricultural community have money wherewith to buy the products of that industry. The situation in the boot business and in the readymade clothing business is evidential of the growing incapacity of our rural population to buy our industrial products. If that develops, it will do untold damage to the industry of this country because if the industrialists of this country once learn the lesson that even with a prohibitive tariff, that even with quotas, industry can go bankrupt for want of an internal demand, you will so intimidate industrialists, that it will become virtually impossible to get anybody to risk their capital and their time in promoting industry which is so vitally necessary to the healthy life of the country as a whole.

There is no use imagining that we can build up industry by strangling our international trade alone. You cannot build up anything in this country by strangling international trade. Deputies ought to face the problem as to whether they are prepared to defend tariff walls with dead bodies or not. Rearmament, I think it is universally agreed, leads to war. I say that the doctrine of economic self-sufficiency must lead to war as well. If economic self-sufficiency is to become the order of the day all over the world, war is as inevitable as dawn is after night. We ought to make it clear that we are not prepared to co-operate in a world conspiracy to maintain prohibitive tariff barriers by the system of strangling international trade with the dead bodies of Irishmen or men of any other nationality. There is no other means of producing real economic self-sufficiency except by being ready to maintain tariff walls with bayonets and dead bodies. Unless we are prepared to face that, we cannot work out in this country any sane economic programme at all. If we are prepared to face that, we can devise a method of using the tariff instrument in such a way as will not destroy international trade but as will make it possible for decent industry to be established in this country and eventually to take its place as part of the exporting business as well as supplying the home market.

If you want to sell abroad you have got to buy abroad. That is just as true of Great Britain, America, France or Italy as it is true of Ireland. You cannot sell abroad if you do not buy abroad; you cannot buy abroad if you do not sell abroad. The prudent course is to do both one and the other in moderation and to bear in mind the economic resources of the country for which we are responsible. Extravagant or doctrinaire free trade is just as dangerous in the present state of the world as extravagant or doctrinaire self-sufficiency. Common sense is the only solution to the problems which at present confront mankind and it is the extremists on both sides who are the danger at present to peace and prosperity, not only in this country but in every country where such extremists are to be found.

What lines of production would the Deputy throw off?

Is the Deputy asking me the highly intelligent question which has been put to me more than once by the Irish Press:“How are you going to settle the economic war?”

Not at all.

The Deputy might tell us.

If the Deputy asks me what particular trade agreements I would make, he might as well ask me what is the colour of an engine driver's beard.

The Deputy likes nothing but rhetoric.

I should like to be fair to Deputy Moore. Would the Deputy be good enough first of all to recite for me, not the terms of the trade agreements that would be made by Fianna Fáil, but the terms of the trade agreements that have been made by Fianna Fáil? That should be an easy thing to do. I am not asking him to think out the terms of a trade agreement and communicate them to the House. All I ask the Deputy to do is to repeat from memory the terms of the trade agreements already entered into by his own Party and for which he himself has voted. That is a comparatively easy thing.

Would the Deputy answer the question put to him?

Will the Deputy do that?

The Deputy is evading my question.

It is silly to ask childish debating society questions in the middle of a debate on a question of this kind. Any rational man can get up and say what are the terms of a trade agreement which he would be prepared to support if they were brought before the House.

That is what makes Deputy Moore's question very fitting to put to the Deputy.

I have no doubt it suits the Minister's limited intellect, but I am treating this matter from the standpoint of a rational man. The Deputy must realise that if you accept the general principle that far from desiring to work towards economic self-sufficiency, you want to work away from it, as far as you can, if your objective is to build up industry and agriculture in this country for the purpose of maintaining, developing and increasing international trade, there is a distinct cleavage between these philosophies. If I say to the Deputy, as I do say, that an absolute essential to improve the standard of living in this country is to improve and expand the national trade, the Deputy will readily point out to me that in so far as he is a supporter of the Minister for Industry and Commerce, he believes that the ideal towards which the State should work is the maximum degree of economic self-sufficiency that it is possible by legislation to attain. That is the difference between us.

I see no virtue in bringing in Polish, Chinese or American bacon.

The Deputy might as well see no virtue in tying a loincloth about his waist and dancing on the hill of Tara. Neither do I, and it seems to me quite irrelevant. I suggest to the Deputy that, unless our objective in trade should be along the lines I have mentioned, the cost of living that our people are at present bearing must be reduced by either of two expedients—reducing the money cost of the goods they have to buy to keep body and soul together, or alternatively, securing a price for the goods they have to sell commensurate with the world price of commodities which they have to buy. I have not said, and I do not now suggest, that it is possible for the Minister for Industry and Commerce to control the price of wheat in Manitoba. What I condemn the Government for doing is that on the top of this burden they have piled on taxes and, while world prices are rising, they, through their political folly, have held down the price of anything that we have to sell to the level which obtained before increasing world prices began. You cannot segregate this country from the rest of the world. If you allowed economic trends to operate here as they operate in the rest of the world, the price of all we had to sell would rise——

Is it not rising?

——in proportion to the price of everything we had to buy. But if you destroy the natural markets in which this country can get the benefit of a rise in price, you have an artificially low price for what we have to sell and the normal rising price for the other commodities in the outside world, always bearing in mind that if our normal markets were left available to us now our products would rise in the same proportion as the other primary products were rising all the world over. That must be perfectly clear to Deputy Moore. When wheat was cheap, hogs were cheap. When corn was cheap in America, hogs were cheap in America, and the world price of bacon tended to go very low. As the price of corn rose, the price of hogs rose and the price of bacon rose, but the economic war went on. The result of it is that you have us operating on a market where we are willing sellers and the other side are indifferent buyers, with the result that they can levy on us every penny of the tariffs they want to get out of us, and consequently reduce the return on what we have to sell. At the same time you had this immense rise in the cost of primary products, and, on top of that, the taxation which is being heaped on this high price by the Government of this country.

I say that the position is like that of the man who is tied to two maple trees by his two legs. He can stand a certain amount of pressure, but if the distance between the tops of those two maple trees becomes wide enough he will be torn in two, and that is what is happening to the people of this country at the present time. There may have been a time in the 18th century when the proletariat could be crucified in the cause of bureaucracy or economics. That age is gone, and anybody who attempts to crucify humanity, in the words of Mr. Jennings Bryan, on a cross of gold—or a cross of politics—is going to precipitate a revolution. The people will not starve in order to carve a political dignity for a political leader, or in order to preserve the gold content of the British pound. The British people learned that; the American people learned it, and the people all over the world have learned that you cannot massacre people in that way. We are the only people who do not seem to have learned it, and it is true that the forbearance of our people so far has been perfectly astonishing. They have pulled their stakes and fled to England to look for work there, rather than clamour for it here or take whatever softness they could get out of the various social services which are provided. That cannot go on for ever, and even if it did it would mean destruction for this country. I think Deputy Moore will agree with that. There is no use in imagining that we can maintain the economic life of this country if we do not import and export to an ever-increasing degree. I say that to-day that is consistent with the healthy development of life in this country. I say that to-day that is going to produce a higher standard of living for our people. I say that to-day that is going to produce larger and better prices for our industrialists, for our agriculturists, and for our labouring men and women no matter in what walk of life they find themselves. The alternative is to continue the same mad course which has been pursued up to now by the Fianna Fáil Government and to make a desert of this country. If you make a desert of this country, as you are at present doing, the result of it is going to be that the people will fly the country or else upset the State. So far as I can see, the trend is going to be that our people will fly the country in despair; that we will have progressive deterioration and diminunition of our population; that the burdens at present being taken on the backs of the community—taken willingly by the community—will become proportionately greater as our population dwindles in the years to come, and that we will slowly get into a steady vortex of declining prosperity, the end of which will be reached when the State is no longer in a position to meet its commitments.

The last word I have to say is this; it will take a considerable time to bring this country to the stage where the State cannot meet its commitments. If that stage is ever reached in this country, no man or no combination of men will be able to get this country out of it. As I reminded the House many a time, Newfoundland reached that position and was able to turn to Great Britain, the mother country, to take her out; Great Britain is now doing it. But this country is a mother country, a sovereign independent State, with no one to turn to but itself. If this country is allowed to go to the stage where the State is unable to meet its liabilities, no man and no combination of men will be able to get it out. It is for that reason that I welcome the general election which is coming on in the course of the next few months, because it will provide the people of this country with an opportunity of taking now the steps that can be taken to make an end of the peril that besets this country, in the knowledge that unless those steps are taken now the people of this country will not be able to take them when a full realisation of the disaster is upon them.

If any serious work is to be done in this country this year, I think it will be necessary to get the general election over quickly, because apparently we are going to be treated to a spate of oratory here on every possible occasion, which will be merely practising for the hustings and have no relevancy to the matters under discussion. This discussion here to-day on the financial statement of the year should be one of the most important debates in the House. It gives us an opportunity of reviewing, in relation to the financial situation, the economic progress or otherwise of the country during the past 12 months. I submit that it is taking the duties of an Opposition much too lightly to skip all that, and to pour out this torrent of abuse, and rhetoric and nonsense which we have just had from Deputy Dillon. I am sure Deputies of the Party opposite, as I said once before, must on occasion be appalled by the position into which they have been led by Deputy Dillon. Their position, in so far as one can understand it from their speeches, is that their electoral hopes are based upon their ability to prove that the economic conditions of this country are worse than they were or, as Deputy Dillon stated, worse than in any other country in the world. Not merely are they content not to explore the facts for the purpose of ascertaining whether there is any justification for their contention, but they are now in a position in which they are hoping—and hoping wildly— that economic conditions will deteriorate, that some national catastrophe will occur, because the electoral prospects of their Party are based upon that.

You are only talking nonsense.

If that is nonsense I shall be glad to be informed by Deputy O'Leary or any Deputy opposite what other explanation there can be for the speech which we had just now from Deputy Dillon, and the type of speech which we get regularly from Front Bench members of that Party. Every fact which Deputy Dillon adverted to was twisted by him in order to support his contention that those appalling economic conditions exist here. In adopting that course, he must have known that Deputies on this side of the House, or any intelligent citizen, can get the facts accurately in official publications or otherwise. He could not possibly hope to mislead the House as to the accuracy of the facts I stated, so that the only conclusion we are forced to is this: that he was resorting to the only method open to him in order to produce here if he could the economic conditions he desires to see; that is, economic conditions so bad for our people that they will be induced to turn against the Government.

Fortunately, at the present time, the Party opposite have no real power to influence the course of economic conditions here except whatever power they may get from their oratory. Whatever damage they can do by their speeches in attacking the credit of the State and misleading the people as to its economic condition, they will use. That is the only power they have, and they are using that power to the utmost limit in the hope that people will be discouraged, that investors will be prevented from putting their money into Irish industry, and that the progress which has been going on for the past three or four years will be slowed up in consequence. That is what Deputy Dillon is aiming to do, and that was the purpose of the speech which he delivered here to-day. He is not likely to succeeded in his aim. He has not succeeded up to this. People found out Deputy Dillon long ago, and they are not likely to be deceived by him now.

Let us, however, for the purpose of completing the process of debunking Deputy Dillon, take the statements which he has made here in the most dramatic tones, with all the rhetorical exuberance of which he is capable and examine them coldly and calmly. Economic conditions in the Free State are, he said, worse than in any other country in the world. I do not know of any easy criterion, of any easily applicable standard for determining the economic conditions of any country, but there are various things to which people advert when they set out to examine these matters. Unemployment is one. The number of persons registered as unemployed in this country at the present time is about 90,000. It is a big number. I do not for the moment propose to examine the cause of the existence of that amount of unemployment. I merely mention it in relation to Deputy Dillon's statement that the economic conditions here are worse than in any other country in the world.

Would the Minister add to the number he has given the number who have emigrated?

I am prepared to take any standard the Deputy cares to suggest, but I am taking unemployment in the first instance. I know that the number of persons registered as unemployed in the 26 countries comprising the Irish Free State, in relation to our population is about half the number registered as unemployed in the six north-eastern countries. If the number of unemployed there is, therefore, to be the standard adopted to judge economic conditions here, we are not half as bad as they are in Northern Ireland, and we are slightly better than they are in Great Britain.

Who is talking the nonsense now?

The Deputy can make the calculation for himself. Take the total number of registered unemployed here and find out what percentage of our total population that constitutes. He can do the same in relation to the British statistics. I saw recently in a paper that one-tenth of the entire population of Canada are on public relief. Some few weeks ago the National Council of the Danish Farmers' Association sent a petition to their Government, on behalf of the 100,000 farmers who are members of that association, in which they described the agricultural situation in Denmark as the worst known there for many generations. In Denmark there is a population only slightly larger than our own, and the number of registered unemployed there on March 5 was 145,000, about 50 per cent. more than here.

Are the figures in relation to unemployed calculated there in the same way as they are here?

I do not think so.

The figures are of no use then.

They are in this respect. I agree that the total number of unemployed here in relation to the total number anywhere else is one that is likely to be misleading because there are classes of people included on our register who are not included on the others, but we will not go into that for the moment. I merely note the trend of events. In each week of this year the number of unemployed in this country has been from 30,000 to 40,000 less than the corresponding week of last year.

How many went to England in the last 12 months?

I will deal with the question of emigration later. In Denmark, the number of registered unemployed on the 5th March was 26,000 greater than in the corresponding week of last year. Deputies can take any standard they like, and by any standard I am prepared to dispose of their arguments.

Hear, hear! Or by any methods.

So far as Denmark is concerned, the facts I have stated—the views expressed by the National Council of the Danish Farmers' Association, and the number of unemployed in relation to population and the growth in the number of unemployed— would indicate that economic conditions there are worse than they are here. There is no economic war on in Denmark or Great Britain. Danish agricultural goods have, in fact, certain privileges in the British market. There are no currency difficulties. In fact, so far as there is a differential in the value of Danish and British currency, it is in favour of Danish exports. Therefore, no arguments can be advanced to explain the economic conditions prevailing in that country similar to the arguments used by Deputy Dillon who, of course, puts the blame for all our evils on this so-called economic war. One can examine the conditions in France, Belgium, and a number of other countries, and he will find by the ordinary accepted standards that the economic conditions in those countries are certainly no worse than they are here: in many cases they are definitely worse, but, taking them on the whole, they cannot be described as better.

We have got to face here this fact, that by every standard and any standard our economic conditions are definitely improving. We have had a lot of talk about emigration. Emigration has been for a long time a serious factor in the economic life of this country. With the exception of a short period in 1931, 1932 and 1933, there has been an outward flow of population, and emigration, though other reasons may also operate, is due to economic causes in the last resort. I do not say that we can regard the existence of this outward flow of the population as an indication that there is some economic evil to be remedied: something wrong with the economic structure which has to be put right. Now, what is the obvious solution for emigration? It is to find more employment, and more remunerative employment, at home for the people who are now emigrating than they are likely to find abroad. I do not say that we will succeed overnight in producing conditions here which will stop emigration, because there are other than economic factors operating. As Deputies are aware, a number of those going to Great Britain at the present time are leaving employment here. No doubt a large number are going in the hope of getting employment. That is due to the abnormal conditions existing in certain respects in Great Britain at the present time. I am prepared to admit, however, that the continuance of emigration is evidence that the work that we set out to do in the improvement of the economic structure of this country has not been completed, and that much more has to be done before we can regard the economic structure as fundamentally sound. But, what is the alternative to the work that we are doing? Emigration existed before Fianna Fáil came into office. In the ten years prior to 1931, 250,000 people left this country according to the statistics, and the statistics underestimated the total, to find—mainly in the United States and also in other countries—opportunities of employment, or more remunerative employment, than they could find at home. That emigration, however, was quite understandable, having regard to the decline in economic conditions here. Remember, our statistics show that, between 1929 and 1931, for the three years immediately preceding the change of Government, there was a steady decline in every type of employment here.

And no emigration in those days.

Precisely. The Deputy himself stated that the number of unemployed at the moment is considerably larger than it was in 1931. A mere reference to these facts will show that that could not have been the case. Between 1929 and 1931 the number of people employed in agriculture declined. Is that fact contested?

The Minister will admit that in these particular years there was a world-wide decline?

Certainly there was.

According to you, Cumann na nGaedheal was responsible for it.

Cumann na nGaedheal or the Government were not responsible for the world depression, but they were responsible for their inactivity in that world depression, for their failure to take measures to protect the people of the country against the consequences of that depression. During that period, and without any action by the Government then in office to rectify the conditions, there was a decline in the number of persons employed in agriculture and in industry. I will remind Deputy Morrissey of something. Does he remember in 1929 there was a Bill introduced by Deputy McGilligan, then Minister for Industry and Commerce, to reduce the contribution payable for unemployment insurance? He and I opposed that Bill—he much more strongly than I did.

Is that possible?

Much more strongly. He contended that, if there was a prospect of a surplus accruing on the Unemployment Insurance Fund, that surplus should be devoted to improving the rates of benefit payable rather than towards reducing the contribution. There was not, in fact, a surplus at the time. There was a substantial debt due by the fund to the Exchequer but, in so far as the debt had been gradually reducing, the Minister for Industry and Commerce at that time, Deputy McGilligan, thought that he could take the risk of cutting the contribution. He took the risk at the wrong time because, instead of employment increasing as he had gambled upon, employment began to decrease, and instead of the debt remaining stationary or becoming less, it increased rapidly, and in 1932 the Unemployment Insurance Fund was heavily in debt and the debt had been increasing rapidly in each of the three years previous to that. In 1932 we increased the contribution but, at the same time, we took from the fund £250,000 as a contribution towards the cost of unemployment assistance. In each year since that, the revenue to the fund has substantially grown. In each year since that, expenditure from the fund for the payment of unemployment insurance benefit has decreased, and to-day we can face a situation when the fund is free from debt, and we can contemplate the possibility of a surplus accruing there at the rate of £200,000 per year for the first time since this State was established. I merely mention that as an indication of how economic conditions have changed here.

To get back to where I was. In 1931 this State was facing a situation in which the value of agricultural exports had declined over two years by no less than £13,000,000. We hear a lot about the fall in the value of our agricultural production between 1929 and 1934. Deputies opposite always ignored the fact that more than half of that total decline took place before the end of 1931. There was that substantial decline in the value of agricultural production and of agricultural exports, that decline in agricultural employment, that decline in industrial production and in industrial employment in 1931. If, at the present time, economic conditions in this country are the worst in the world, as Deputy Dillon contended, they were obviously worse in 1931, because since then there has been an increase in the number of persons employed in agriculture, a substantial increase in the number of persons employed in industry, a substantial increase in the value and in the volume of industrial production, a substantial increase in the volume of many classes of agricultural production. Can these facts be contested? Is there a single statement I have made the accuracy of which can be contested on any grounds?

93,000 unemployed persons will contest it.

If in 1931 there was no emigration, if in 1931 there were decreasing numbers in industry and in agriculture, and if since then there has been emigration, and if since then there has been an increase in employment of about 75,000 persons, is it not reasonable to assume that the number of persons unemployed in 1931 must have been considerably more than the number unemployed to-day? I will admit that I cannot prove that statement because, if there is one thing upon which the Party opposite deserve to be congratulated in respect of their activity while in office, it is the skill with which they concealed the unemployment existing in the country at that time.

They brought you in here anyway.

Deputy Morrissey shakes his head but, when in opposition, Deputy Morrissey, as a member of the Labour Party, continually raised that question in debates, asked Parliamentary Questions, and otherwise endeavoured to extract from members of the then Government information as to the volume of unemployment, but could not get the information. The whole machinery of the employment branch of the Department of Industry and Commerce was so organised, and the information allowed to reach the statistics department was so controlled, that not merely did there not exist an accurate number of the unemployed, but not even the information upon which an estimate could be made. Before 1934, nobody could say with accuracy what the total number of unemployed was. On the basis of the information obtained by the census of 1926 one could make a rough estimate that, if all the persons who are now registered upon the live register had been registered in 1926, all the same classes, and with the same inducement to keep registered, the live register at that time would have been about 200,000. That is a rough estimate—it is my estimate—and I offer it for whatever value can be given to it.

I will again repeat my contention: that if, since 1931, there has been emigration on the scale stated by Deputy Dillon, if at the same time there has been an increase in industrial employment of about 75,000 persons, and if at the same time there has been an increase in agricultural employment, then the number of unemployed to-day must be less than it was in 1931, must be substantially less—it must be less than half what it was in 1931. That is what I contend. However, Deputies opposite will be disappointed and disgusted to hear that there are 75,000 more people in employment than in 1931. I know that is not going to help their electoral prospects. As Irishmen, in the secrecy of their hearts they may rejoice at the information, but as politicians they are disappointed. Look at the smiles on the faces over there, they are so cheerful to hear that 75,000 more Irish people have got work.

It is the humour of the thing that is making us laugh.

Deputy O'Neill is nearly weeping. The fact cannot be contested that these people are paying money into the Unemployment Insurance Fund. A sum of 1/7 per week is paid into that fund by every person employed. Deputy O'Neill, or nobody else, can convince me that people who are unemployed are paying that 1/7 just to keep our statistics up. The money is coming in; it is being paid by people in employment. A stamp has been put upon the card of every workingman for every week's work he gets, and, on the basis of these stamps, in each week of 1936 the number of persons employed in insurable occupations was, on the average, 56,000 greater than in 1931. Outside those employed in these occupations, there are persons employed in agriculture, in domestic service, in railway transportation, and other occupations, and the numbers of such persons have also increased.

Except in agriculture, where the numbers decreased by 2,000.

In agriculture there was an increase as compared with 1931. The number of persons employed in agriculture is counted on the 1st June every year, the figures are published, and the Deputy can, if he wishes, carry out a simple sum in arithmetic and he will find that my statement is correct.

The number of males employed has gone down by 2,022.

I think the Deputy is wrong. I ask him to look at the figures which I gave, and as to the reasonable accuracy of which I am prepared to contend. I admit that the method of carrying out the enumeration of agricultural workers is not so precise that the possibility of error does not exist. The possibility of error is undoubtedly there, but, one year against another, the figures give an indication of the trend of employment, which has been upwards. There are now 250,000 acres under wheat, where previously there were 20,000 acres; there are 80,000 acres under beet, where there were 20,000 acres; and other forms of tillage production have also increased as that is a form of production that gives the most agricultural employment.

There are 2,000 less males employed.

Whatever the trend of agricultural prices may have been, the fact is, that the volume of agricultural production is upwards, and if the volume is upwards, the number of persons employed in effecting that production must also have increased. Agricultural prices fell rapidly from 1929 to 1934. The fall in agricultural prices which took place all over the world was accentuated here by the economic war. Deputy Dillon speaks as if it were he made the discovery that the economic war did us no good. He announced that as a bright idea of his own, as if it never occurred to anyone else.

Did you not say it was so?

No. When the British Government put on punitive tariffs on our exports they intended to wreck this country. They did not intend to do it any good. They intended to do as much damage as they could do to economic organisation, and they thought, as a result of the tariffs, that they could put this country into the position that in a few months we would be compelled to accept their dictation on anything. They were led to believe that from speeches made by Deputies opposite. They were wrong. Even in that matter Deputies opposite could not give sound advice. We were able to weather the storm. We were able to carry on, in circumstances of considerable stringency I admit, but we carried on despite these punitive tariffs, until we got over the worst of that period of reorganisation. From 1934 to this year there has been a steady improvement in agricultural conditions, an upward trend in agricultural prices; a trend which, I grant, has been slower in consequence of the tariffs than it would be but, nevertheless, an upward trend and, in addition, there has been a substantial increase in the production of agricultural goods for consumption at home, at prices guaranteed by the Government. I know that Deputy Dillon objects to that. He tries to argue, as he argued before, that the people of this country are being in some way unduly burdened by the various measures adopted by the Government to secure economic prices for agricultural goods. Deputy Dillon talks here in that strain because his speeches then have some chance of being reported. When talking in the cities he deplores the rise in agricultural prices, and how hard it is on the workingman, but when he is in the rural areas, he deplores the low prices for agricultural produce, and how hard they hit the farmers.

And the consumer.

One cannot raise the price to the producer without raising it on the consumer.

What about milk and butter?

The increased price to the consumer was designed deliberately to make an economic price for the producer, and Deputies opposite who talk about a levy on creamery butter, and how much dearer Irish butter is in this country than in Great Britain, do not dare to go and tell the farmers that they voted against that measure—not all of them. Deputy Bennett and other Deputies representing creamery districts voted for it. The rest, having no interest in the business, voted against it and try to forget about it. We do not see in the published programme of the Fine Gael Party any announcement that the Dairy Prices (Stabilisation) Act will be repealed. Is it the intention of the Party opposite to repeal it if they get into office?

The people will get at least 5d. a gallon for milk.

Is it the intention of the Party opposite to repeal that Act? Is there any Deputy on the opposite benches with the courage to answer that question?

Will the Minister say how far he is going in the present Budget to repeal some of the things that are there, and to replace them with some other kind of machinery?

The Party opposite were giving suppliers only 2d. a gallon for milk.

If Deputies on the opposite benches cannot answer my question without having a consultation, I invite them to have a consultation and to tell the House whether it is part of their programme to repeal that Act, even though Deputy Dillon denounced it so eloquently. We got some type of argument from Deputy Dillon. He talked about a tax on flour. He does not know what he is talking about. The only tax was a very small one, made on imported wheat, and it is abolished from to-day. It will make a slight difference in the price of imported wheat, although in fact, as one miller stated this morning, the day to day fluctuations in the price of wheat often exceed the actual amount of the tax. At present there is no tax levied upon anybody who consumes flour or bread in this country.

No tax? How do you justify the 10/- to Ranks?

There was a difference of 9/6 between the price of straight-run flour, as it is called in Great Britain, and bakers' flour, as it is known here. Deputy Dillon, on his own argument, will admit that the difference should be reduced to 7/- in consequence of the repeal of the duty on imported wheat from to-day.

Let us say 2/-. That will reduce it to 7/6. The Tariff Commission, which was established by our predecessors, examined the flour milling position from 1927 to 1929, and agreed that the cost of producing flour in this country was, roughly speaking, about 5/- a sack greater than in Great Britain, first, because we have to buy wheat in smaller quantities, and also because of the advantage that British millers have in being able to import wheat in the holds of large passenger liners, and also the small size of the units here. There is another difference of 2/6, or some part of 2/6, explainable, because of the additional charges millers have to make in consequence of the regulations made by the Department of Agriculture concerning the installation of storage accommodation and kiln-drying equipment. I am not satisfied that the whole of the 2/6 is explainable by the increased charges properly recovered against the price of flour by Irish millers; but I have to have advertence to this fact, that the great majority of the Irish mills are not making profits of 2/- a sack or anything like it. There was published only a few weeks ago the balance sheet and annual statement of an important new mill established in a midland county. On a capital of something like £60,000 or £70,000, they were able to show a profit of some £200 on the year's trading, and no dividend could be distributed. Another mill in a western county, with which Deputies are acquainted, is making, according to their figures, a profit of not more than 5d. per sack, and a large number of mills are making profits which could not be regarded by anybody as unduly high. There are, however, certain mills advantageously situated, and in a position to get their grain into their machinery at costs lower than those which other mills have to meet, which are possibly making much larger profits, but here is the problem. The problem is how to reduce the price for these mills without putting out of existence all these other mills scattered through the country.

Was there not a proposal put before you?

There was a proposal put forward by the Prices Commission which was that we should impose a tax on the output of these larger mills and use the produce of that tax to subsidise the smaller mills. It was a proposal that did not commend itself to the Government, and I think very few people who gave full consideration to what was involved in that proposal would have supported it.

In other words, a premium on inefficiency.

I do not say that. The location of a mill is often an important matter in relation to its costs, and from the point of view of the national economy, and particularly the wheat policy of the Government, the continued existence of mills in the wheat growing areas is a matter of importance, and a matter of importance to the farmers in those areas. If we were to allow competition to have full play, we would keep in existence only the large port mills and necessitate the closing down of the inland mills and that might be a bad policy. To what extent the price of flour charged by the port mills could be reduced, without wiping out whatever legitimate profit these mills may be getting, I cannot say, but there is a problem there which can be solved only by such an extensive rationalisation of production and central control and ownership of the machinery of production that the problem cannot be easily removed, and a solution applied without very considerable reactions in other directions.

At the most, at the very most, the unexplained item in the cost of flour is 2/- a sack. It is not more than that. At the present time, it cannot be contended that any part of the increased cost of flour is due to the wheat growing policy. The guaranteed price for Irish wheat is 27/6 a barrel. The price of Australian wheat is about 30/-, and of Manitoba about 34/-. The circumstances which induced the Government to guarantee a price for wheat, and to set up a machinery to ensure that the farmers got that price, have been completely reversed during the course of the past year. At the time when the wheat growing scheme was embarked upon, and the guaranteed price first fixed, the price of foreign wheat was in or about 13/- or 15/- a barrel. It was almost half what we regarded as the minimum price at which it would pay to grow wheat here. At the present time, the price of foreign wheat has risen so sharply and so extensively that it is, in fact, dearer than Irish wheat, and, in the course of the present year, if that situation should continue, the minimum price for Irish wheat will in fact be inoperative because our farmers will be getting the economic price of their produce, that is, the price which would represent its true value in relation to world prices for imported wheat.

The Minister did not sow any of it this year by any chance?

I am not going to deal with the purely technical end.

I thought the Minister might have grown some in a window box.

There are four factors which might operate to raise the price of flour. There is the price of wheat; there is the cost of production; and there is the cost of labour. The price of wheat has risen, and risen very sharply. Every increase in the price of flour, every increase in the price of bread during the past 12 months was due to one cause, and one cause only, and that was the increase in the world price of wheat. That increase was occasioned, so far as one can judge, by two main causes, firstly, an actual scarcity, or rather, fears of a scarcity, following upon bad crop reports from South America and other countries and, secondly, the large purchases made by Italy and Germany as part of their war preparation plans.

They burned the wheat there just as you killed the calves here.

That does not explain the scarcity this year.

They went against nature and burned the wheat.

There is the actual higher cost of production here than in Great Britain, put by the Tariff Commission at about 5/- a sack, and it is probably somewhat more than that now because of the additional obligations of the millers in the matter of storage capacity and kiln-drying equipment. There is the cost of labour. The standard rate of wages here is higher than in Great Britain, but I do not think a mere statement of that fact would give a true picture of the situation, because the workers in the English mills have certain advantages, certain facilities and conditions of employment which the workers in Irish mills do not get. In any event, the labour cost in the production of a sack of flour is quite small, as Deputies are aware, and it would take a very substantial rise in wages or increase in labour costs to affect seriously the price of flour.

There is the fourth factor—the possible excess profits which certain millers are taking. Three of these factors were steady and only one factor has been variable, that is the price of wheat, and to what extent that rapid increase in the world price of wheat which occurred during last year is likely to continue, I can offer no opinion, but at the moment the indications are that it will continue, and in these circumstances, some special action may have to be taken in order to prevent an undue increase in the price of flour; but if, on the other hand, the indications to which I have referred are misleading and the price of wheat should fall, the full benefit of that reduction in the price of wheat will be passed on at once to the consumers of bread, in consequence of the controlled machinery which has been set up, and it is in operation under the Bread (Control of Prices) Act.

The statement has been made here that the consumption of certain classes of goods is declining and that that declining consumption is proof of deteriorating economic conditions and reduced purchasing power amongst the people. We can examine that contention from two angles. In the first instance, we can ask ourselves is there any evidence of reduced purchasing power being available to our people. All the evidence is to the contrary. It is true that there was a decline in agricultural prices, a decline in the reward secured by farmers for their labour, and consequently there would have been a substantial diminution in the purchasing power of the farmers, if other factors had not operated. These other factors are well known. The land annuities were reduced by half—the rent which the farmer had to pay on his land was cut by half; in addition, there was an increased contribution to the agricultural grant. Certain outgoings of the farmer were, therefore, reduced and, consequently, his costs of production were lower, enabling him to get the same return from the same production, even though prices were reduced. I agree, however, that there was a diminution of purchasing power amongst the farmers.

But the increase in the production of industry has more than offset that. The total production of goods by industrial concerns has increased very substantially since 1931 and the total output of the country—industry and agriculture—has not diminished. As I have pointed out, more people are employed in agriculture and in industry than were employed and, judged by any other method, there is no evidence which would lead one to conclude that there has been a diminution in purchasing power. Whether that purchasing power is being used for the purchase of boots and shoes, readymade clothing, tobacco, beer or motor cars is another matter.

Even if one turns to the figures showing the actual consumption of certain of these products in specific years, one can find no evidence to support that contention. I admit at once that it is entirely misleading to examine the figures for one year and put them against only one other year. All sorts of factors operate to influence the figures for imports or production in one year as against another. One cannot say what stock of goods was carried over in shops or warehouses at the end of the year as against the stock of goods carried forward at the beginning of the year. One cannot know to what extent purchases in one year were influenced by a favourable market position or the fear of increased Government imposts or something of that kind. In 1935, for example, restrictions were placed upon the importation of rubber-soled boots and shoes—what are called the primsole or sand shoe. Those goods had been imported in very considerable quantity in previous years—to such an extent that they were interfering considerably with the sale of boots and shoes made from leather. They were imported mainly from Japan and sometimes they were imported at extraordinarily low prices.

When the Minister says "in previous years," he means in one or two years prior to 1935.

Right back to 1931. In 1931, of deliberate policy, the import of these goods was restricted so that the demand would be turned, to some extent, to the boots and shoes of leather which were being made here. In that year, we were not making these rubber goods for ourselves. Rubber-soled boots and shoes of Irish manufacture can now be procured. Owing to these circumstances, the figure quoted for the total number of pairs of boots and shoes imported has no significance unless related to that fact. If Deputy Dillon took, as he should have taken, the imports and production of boots and shoes of leather and compared them with the figure for 1931, he would have got a different result. In one year as against another, there would, undoubtedly, be a fluctuation but there is no evidence of any decline in a consumption of those ordinary classes of goods—boots and shoes, wearing apparel, and things of that kind.

And there is evidence of increased consumption of certain luxury products like tobacco, beer, motor cars—although I do not suppose the number of persons who actually "consume" motor cars is very high— while there is also evidence of increased attendance at cinemas, football matches and similar sports. Over a wide range of revenue figures, there is to be obtained evidence of increased expenditure by the people. The increased expenditure has, in fact, made possible the reductions in taxation being effected this year. It is because the existing taxes, levied at the same rate, gave more last year than the previous year and are estimated to give more this year than they gave last year that a reduction in the rate of taxation was made possible.

Deputies know how the reduction was effected. It was considered by the Government—I think most people will admit that, in this matter, the Government were right—that the whole benefit of the surplus which was anticipated to accrue should be given for the purpose of reducing the cost of living, because it was felt that, in that way, every class of the community could be benefited and, particularly, those classes of the community who were likely to be hardest hit by the rise in prices which took place during the past 12 months and which may continue during the course of the present year. I am not going to deal with the question of bacon prices. The Minister for Agriculture is concerned with the position that has arisen and is taking certain action. What that action will be or what the results of it are likely to be, I do not know. In any event, it is necessary for the Dáil to face up to the fact that if pig production is to be made economic for farmers and is to be fostered and encouraged amongst farmers, then measures will have to be adopted which will secure to the farmers an economic price for their pigs. There is no way by which there can be secured that economic price while, at the same time, the price of bacon to the consumers can be brought down to the levels which it once reached. When bacon was at its cheapest here, pig production did not pay and the farmers were getting out of pig production. In fact, we were not able to fill the export quota secured by trade negotiations. It is desirable we should keep up our exports and fill our quotas because we can always increase production but, if we let our exports fall off and fail to meet our quota obligations, then these quotas may be reduced by the importing countries in succeeding years. It is good business policy to provide for the future, to keep up exports and to encourage increased production when increased production can be put, as it is now, upon a paying basis to the producers. Deputies on the opposite side are talking with two voices. They go to the town dweller—the purchaser of bacon—and they deplore the price. They go to the producer—the seller of the pig—and say he is getting too little. They make these two contradictory types of speeches in the vain hope that the town dweller will not read the speeches they make in the country and that the dweller in the country will not read the speeches they make in the town. In fact, they do and, because they do, they are not likely to be taken very seriously one way or the other.

From a number of other angles, there is evidence that the economic strength of the country has increased, that the structure upon which our future prosperity must be based is becoming stronger, that our resources are being enlarged, that the ability of our people to meet the cost of enlarged social services or more adequate provision for various classes of public work of one kind or another, is being increased. That evidence is available in the statistics published by the Government. I do not think that the accuracy of these statistics will be challenged by anybody——

Except by yourself.

We have, in fact, an excellent statistics branch——

Hear, hear!

It is able to provide with very limited resources, made available by the Minister for Finance for that purpose—which, I hope, will be increased—a good deal of statistical information about conditions in this country of such accuracy and so presented that the praise of statisticians all over the world is forthcoming for it. That information is available to Deputies. But side by side with that there is other information. There is information available from the banks, the railways, and the ordinary industrial concerns in the country. I invite Deputies to have regard to these facts supplied from an unprejudiced source before they make their speeches here. In the face of these facts they must come to one conclusion only and that is that the economic conditions here are getting better. There is no doubt about that. They are not as good as they will be when our programme has proceeded further. They are not as good as they might have been if conditions had been easier than they were in the course of the last three or four years. It is our aim to make the economic conditions better. They can be made better. Each year records a certain amount of progress achieved; a certain number of men taken out of the ranks of the destitute and put into the ranks of those who are able to support themselves. That is an achievement of which the Government justly feels proud. We might at one time have hopes of making more rapid progress than has been accomplished. We could not have foreseen the difficulties which arose in the course of the past four years. Achievement always falls short of anticipation. We anticipated more than we achieved. But we have achieved so much that there can be no two minds as to the wisdom of the policy pursued by us. It is because of the wisdom of the policy pursued by us that we have now the spectacle of the Party opposite becoming the most vehement advocates of that policy. They have committed themselves to that policy if by any mischance or any error on the part of the people they should be returned to office. Side by side with their advocacy of that policy there is in their election programme a lot of nonsense, but Deputies opposite should avail of this occasion to give us a lot more information concerning that election programme of theirs.

Or concerning the Republic?

They are not interested in that. They have made a promise to derate agricultural land——

So did the President.

They have promised to reduce the age for qualifying for the old age pensions. They have promised a large number of other things, the total cost of which will be £17,000,000.

Will not the Minister save that speech for the elections?

The Minister for Finance says that all these things will cost about £8,000,000. Let us take that as the amount which all these will cost. They have added to that this promise side by side with it to reduce taxation. This is now a golden opportunity for them to tell the House how that is to be done. They are in duty bound to give the House that information, not that it will make any difference in the election but for the sake of fact that if they have any vital secret now as to how that can be done they should tell the House what that secret is.

This is hardly relevant.

But it is good election stuff.

Very well, if election speeches are irrelevant I will cease but if I were at the present moment in the position of the Opposition——

You will, very soon.

——discussing a Budget statement made by the Minister for Finance and if I disagreed with anything in that statement I would not merely express that disagreement but put forward alternative constructive proposals and endeavour to show how those proposals can be given effect to. That is what the Opposition should have done but the Opposition have been a much greater failure as an Opposition than as a Government and that is saying a lot. If they want to retrieve their failure as an Opposition so that they may hope to get back in the next Dáil, even as an Opposition, they should put forward constructive proposals and not mere abuse of Ministers. They should put forward an alternative policy and a practical policy to that of the Government. I know their £17,000,000 policy is a policy which nobody will take seriously.

Deputy Dillon said that the Minister for Industry and Commerce was ignorant of the conditions in the country, outside the City of Dublin. Having listened now to the Minister's speech I do not think the word that should be applied to his speech is the word "ignorant."

The Deputy is right there.

The Minister should have come to this House, speaking on the last Budget to be introduced by the present Government, to apologise to the House and, through the House, to the people of this country and in particular to the unemployed. The Minister, in the most cynical way, with a complete disregard for truth and with a complete disregard for the misery he has brought upon thousands of unemployed in this country, tells us that the country is going from prosperity to prosperity. This country is immeasurably better off to-day, he tells us, than it was five years ago. There is less want, there is less unemployment and there is less destitution, he tells us. Does the Minister realise that this country is so prosperous that 80,000 people have fled from that prosperity in the last four years?

There was double that amount of emigration when Deputy Morrissey's friends were in office.

Listen to the Minister's statement this evening. He talked about 75,000 people being put into employment. He said that more people have been employed in industry and more people have been employed in agriculture and that the agricultural output is greater and agriculture more prosperous than it was. The man who is primarily responsible for the task of looking after unemployment in this country, the man who told the people of this country that he had a plan to completely absorb the unemployed in this country, that that plan had been scrutinised and examined in detail, gave his personal word and guaranteed that if his Party were returned, not only would he absorb the unemployed but the exiles would have to be brought back from America to fill the vacancies in agriculture and industry.

Is the Deputy quoting that as my statement?

Yes, a statement made in York Street in 1932, a statement made in the Minister's own constituency. Does he deny it?

I deny it.

The dogs in the street know that.

In one respect the Minister is unequalled by any person in this House—in his complete and absolute brazenness and in his complete and absolute disregard for the truth.

The matter can be easily settled by producing the quotation.

The Minister must sit down and keep order. The documents will be produced.

Will the Deputy produce them?

This is hurting the Minister because he is hearing the truth and because he is being brought back to a sense of his responsibilities and because he is going to be faced with those statements of his that are absolutely untrue and that are untrue to the knowledge of everybody in this House.

Deputy Morrissey should address the Chair.

I am talking about the Minister's statements.

Talking to him.

Is it within the capacity of the Chair to keep the Minister for Finance in order? I know it is a difficult task. The Ministers for Finance and for Industry and Commerce are annoyed because they know the facts. The Minister invites us to consult the banks as to this alleged prosperity, as to the fact that there are more in employment, and as to the fact, as he says, that the number of unemployed in this country are fewer by half than they were five years ago. I invite Deputy Corish who is closer to the unemployed and who knows more about them than the Minister to support the Minister in that statement. I do not suggest to the Minister that he should go to the banks, to the railway companies and to industrial concerns to find out about the unemployed. I suggest that he should go to his own labour exchanges; I suggest that he go to the queues of unemployed who are lining up there morning after morning.

In order to get the unemployment assistance which they could not get in 1931.

But why should they want unemployment assistance if they are in employment? If these people have so much employment why should they have to go to the labour exchanges to draw unemployment assistance?

There are still 90,000 unemployed.

The Minister said he put 75,000 additional persons into industry. Deputy Hugo Flinn claims that there are 45,000 people on rotation work. I observe the Ministers having a consultation on this—it must be serious. We have, therefore, 75,000 persons, 45,000 persons and 80,000 persons who, in four and a half years, have gone to Great Britain. I do not know how many thousands have been laid off on unemployment assistance as a result of the Minister's First Period Order of this year. In addition, there are still 93,000 signing —and all that with a falling population. If, and I do not think it is seriously contested, 80,000 have gone in the last four and a half years to Great Britain, if there are 75,000 put into industrial employment over and above what were already there, if there are more employed in agriculture than there were five years ago, and if there are 45,000 on rotation work, where does the Minister get the 93,000 that are still signing, on a falling population?

That merely proves how great a number were unemployed in 1931.

The Minister has sought to accuse me of inconsistency on this question of unemployment. The only thing the Minister can allege against me is that in this matter I have been perfectly consistent both during the period of office of the present Government and the period of office of its predecessor. Never in his wildest days while in opposition did the Minister ever allege there were more than 70,000 unemployed. The Minister knows as well as I do that in the census the number shown was 78,000. Does the Minister contest that?

I do, of course.

What was the number shown?

If the Deputy wants to get the figure which will compare with the present live register——

I am not on that point, and the Minister knows I am not. I do not agree that the method used for compiling unemployment figures shows the true facts. Indeed, at one time the Minister declared that the statistics were prepared specially in order to shield the actual figures. The Minister has changed the method of compiling those figures very considerably and very often during the last five years. I want the Minister to get his director of statistics to give him an answer to this poser. According to the Minister, he has put 75,000 people into industrial employment; there are X additional thousands engaged in agriculture; there are 45,000 engaged on rotation work; there are 93,000 odd signing the register for employment and 80,000 have left for Great Britain. How many altogether would that mean?

About 350,000.

I will accept that figure—350,000 on a falling population. How does the Minister reconcile those figures with the existing position in the country? The Minister's plan was right, but something went wrong because, according to the Minister's statement, coupled with the statement of the Parliamentary Secretary, there is no need now to send to America for the emigrants, as he has already filled more jobs than were supposed to be vacant in this country.

Who supposed it?

We will leave all the supposition to the Minister. He is quite capable of supposing anything. I want him to face this fact. In a country where, according to him, industrial development is going ahead so rapidly, where employment is opening up so quickly and where prosperity has come upon us so suddenly, why did 28,000 people leave for Britain within the last 12 months? Were they fleeing from prosperity—running away from it? Yesterday, Deputy Kennedy, who apparently completely misconceived what I was at, said that I had not heard of the number of those people who had to come back from Great Britain because they could not get work and I had not heard of the number remaining in Great Britain on relief. Then the position is that they preferred to go to Britain and take a chance of getting employment there or, having got there and failed to get employment, they preferred to remain on outdoor relief in Britain rather than stay at home and share the national prosperity we are told about by the Minister. I have seldom heard such absolute nonsense, such bunkum, such bosh, and the Minister knows well it is that.

The man responsible for all that, after five years, instead of admitting he has not been able to grapple with the problem, that he has not only not succeeded in finding employment, but that he has actually increased unemployment to the extent of tens of thousands of persons, has the effrontery to tell this House and the country, to tell those living in poverty and misery, that they are more prosperous and better off than ever they were before. He actually denies —and I am not surprised at the denial, because it would not surprise me what the Minister would deny—that he ever told the people that he had a plan that would absorb the unemployed. The President told them the very same thing and, when it was pointed out to the President that no country in the world had succeeded in completely wiping out unemployment, what was the President's reply? He said:—

"But we have a solution for the problem of unemployment such as no other country in the world has, and if there was a Christian Government in office in this country there would be no unemployment."

Of course the Minister, as usual, went one better than that. He has been five years in office and he has succeeded in driving out of this country more people than were unemployed when he came into office.

By putting 75,000 extra into work?

He may have put 75,000 into work, but he must have put 175,000 out of work in order to get the figures we have here.

The number engaged in industrial employment has increased by 75,000.

The man who is prepared to state here that there are only half the number of unemployed now in this country that there were in 1931, to state that the farmers are more prosperous to-day than they were in 1931, to state that there are more people employed on the land than in 1931, is either completely ignorant of the position in the country or he is a complete and absolute liar.

Does the Deputy deny that these people are employed?

I deny absolutely and emphatically the Minister's statement. I say that the Minister is either absolutely ignorant or he is deliberately lying to the House.

Will the Deputy answer this question?

I will insist on making my speech. The Minister spoke for considerably over an hour.

Subject to considerable interruption by the Deputy.

The Minister, considering the type of speech he made, was listened to with remarkable restraint in this House. If the Minister attempted to make that speech to the unemployed in Gardiner Street or outside some of the labour exchanges, he would get more interruptions than that.

I am prepared to go down any day with the Deputy and we will see who will come off best.

Perhaps the Minister would have a better idea and more practice in stirring up intimidation than I would. We are told about more prosperity. Where is the prosperity for the man with a wife and four, five or ten children getting 12/6 a week unemployment assistance? When this House fixed that rate Deputies will remember that flour was only 1/6 a stone, while to-day it is from 2/8 to 3/2 a stone in the country. Will the Minister deny that? Does he deny there has been a very substantial increase in the cost of living over the last four years?

Not over the last four years.

Perhaps the Minister will agree with this——

It is a hopeless task to keep the Deputy right.

The Ministers themselves are apparently feeling the breeze, because they are coming to conclusions completely different from the opinions they held in 1931-32. Then they were perfectly satisfied with the low cost of living and that Minsters could carry out their duties and do their jobs perfectly at £1,000 a year. Now they are satisfied that, as a result of the increased cost of living in this country, Ministers' salaries must be increased.

That has nothing to do with this matter.

The increased cost of living has nothing to do with it?

No, not with the present subject.

Well, then, I can only say that the Minister is in a very fortunate position if the increase in the cost of living does not affect him. Probably he is the only person in this State whose financial position is such that he is not affected by the increased cost of living. In this connection, however, let me say at once that I do not at all object to the Ministers being paid decent salaries. I never did, and if the Minister brings in a Bill to-morrow to pay adequate salaries to Ministers, I can assure him that he will have no opposition from me. I do not want anybody to suggest for a moment that I am trying to make capital out of that point. What we have to advert to, however, is the fact that the Minister and his colleagues—every one of them, and the Minister himself in particular —for a period of two years, at every cross-roads in this country, vilified and blackguarded the Ministers of the previous Government on account of what was being paid to them in the way of salaries. The Minister and his colleagues talked about the measures they have taken to protect the farmers. He has been talking about the rising prices in the country and the prosperous prospect that is before the farmers of this country. Well, I was talking to three farmers in the County Waterford on last Sunday, and they were giving me some idea of what agriculture has gone through for the last four years. I said to those men: "After all, there is a good price now for sheep, and a good price for cattle." What was the answer I got from one of them? He said: "You might as well tell me that there is a good price for gold, because we have not the sheep or the cattle." Let me give the Minister another idea with regard to the prospects of agriculture. There is a gentleman in my own constituency—I shall give his name and address to the Minister afterwards, if he wants it— who has 800 sheep.

This is not one of the Waterford men to whom the Deputy referred?

No, this is in my own constituency.

But the men in Waterford have no sheep, according to what the Deputy said.

Now, that shows how much the Minister is affected by the position in the country. It just shows all he knows about it.

Does the Deputy ever study the agricultural statistics? He will find there the number——

The trouble with the Minister is that he is living in Merrion Street and that he probably would not know the difference between an acre of mangolds and an acre of turnips, or an acre of wheat for that matter. The Minister is living in Merrion Street, but I am living amongst the farmers and meeting them every day in the week.

In Nenagh?

Yes, in Nenagh. I suppose the Minister thinks that it is as rare to meet a farmer in the streets of Nenagh as it is in Dublin.

Or in Merrion Street or Merrion Square?

Well, apparently, the Minister does not want to hear what I have to say. I am glad to see that his colleague is coming in. I am prepared to give the name and address of the gentleman to whom I have referred to the Minister or to anybody else. This man has been buying sheep—speculating in sheep, or gambling in them if you like—for the last eight or nine months, and he told me last year that he had over 800 sheep. I asked him: "How are you feeding them?" He said: "On turnips." Now, it takes a lot of turnips to feed 800 sheep. I asked him where he was getting the turnips, and he said that he could get sufficient turnips to feed 5,000 sheep if he had them. He finished the story by saying that he could get the turnips almost for a song. Now, does the Minister realise what that means? It means that there are farmers who have turnips growing in North Tipperary fit to feed 5,000 sheep, but they themselves have nothing to eat the turnips. They have no stock of their own.

Did not that happen under the régime of other Governments?

It may have happened under other Governments, but the Minister says that we are prosperous now, and therefore it should not be happening now. Does the Deputy not believe me? I am prepared to bet him an even pound, and I shall produce the name and address of the gentleman concerned for him. If necessary, I shall produce the gentleman himself.

Turnips for 5,000 sheep? Not at all.

Will the Deputy accept the bet?

Nonsense.

The Deputy knows nothing about it. He may know something about Kilkenny, but not about North Tipperary. Perhaps he will agree with the Minister for Industry and Commerce that the farmers in and around Kilkenny are more prosperous than they were five years ago—that they are better off?

I would not say that.

The Deputy would not agree with the Minister about that, because he knows a lot more about it than the Minister does and he knows that the unemployed and the poor of this country were brought nearer to the starvation level last year and that there was more widespread and actual poverty in the towns in this country last year than in any year in my memory.

Nobody died of starvation.

What does that mean?

Dr. Ryan

They died of starvation previously.

Dr. Ryan

In County Cork.

It would be better for Deputies to get away from that matter.

Wexford and Galway are two agricultural counties, and what answer did they give you at the by-elections?

The Minister says that people died of starvation in previous years in County Cork. Does he deny that there was more actual and widespread poverty in this country last year than in other years?

Dr. Ryan

I was attending more important business last year than listening to the Deputy.

Look at the answer that Wexford and Galway gave last year, and there will be no doubt about the answer they will give at the next election either—speaking for Galway, at any rate.

I suppose the Deputy has to make the best use of his tongue that he can for the short time he will be here.

If I were to abuse my tongue as the Deputy abuses his, I would be in a bad way.

I suggest, Sir, that if this Deputy has anything to say, he should make a speech.

I shall make a speech if I want to.

Deputy Morrissey is entitled to make his speech. He has been subjected to a regular fire of interruptions, and I think it would be much better to allow him to make his speech.

I want to call your attention, Sir, to the fact that the Minister for Agriculture said that persons died of starvation in the County Cork. That is a damnable statement and the Minister knows it is untrue.

The Deputy should not say that the Minister knows his statement is untrue. I take it that the Deputy is withdrawing that remark.

But, Sir, the Minister——

There can be no qualification. When a Deputy says that another Deputy in this House makes a statement that he knows to be untrue, that should be withdrawn.

What is untrue?

It is not in order for one Deputy to charge another Deputy with making a statement that he knows is untrue. The Deputy should withdraw the statement.

Very well, Sir, I withdraw, but at the same time I want to draw the Chair's attention to the fact that a very serious statement was made here to the effect that people died of starvation in County Cork, and that statement is untrue.

Dr. Ryan

Let us hear what Deputy Morrissey has to say.

We will meet the Minister at the cross-roads.

I suggest that we should adjourn the whole debate out to the cross-roads.

Does the Minister still persist in saying that persons died of starvation in County Cork?

That was the finding at the time.

It was not.

I am on my feet, and I will not hear any Deputy while I am on my feet. This is a place to make serious statements, and if the Minister made it, the Chair has no control over that. Deputy O'Neill can make a statement after this in direct contradiction of that statement.

The statement has been made by a man who claims to have some responsibility as a Minister.

There is no harm, in this case, in the interjection of the Minister for Agriculture. The Minister for Finance was challenged here in the House, earlier in the afternoon, to bring in the Minister for Local Government and Public Health, who had the files in that matter at his disposal, and get him to say it here in this House.

Were not those files produced at the time?

I must ask you, Sir, to see that I am allowed to make my speech without this continued interruption. I have been subjected to a great deal of interruption. I am not surprised at it, of course, because the Ministers opposite and their back benchers find it very hard to listen to the truth.

I am listening to it with great patience.

I must confess that the Deputy has what is sadly lacking in most other members of his Party— patience and a sense of humour. I might add that the Deputy probably knows a good deal more on the subject than either the Minister or most of the back benchers.

Dr. Ryan

Go ahead and we shall try to have a sense of humour.

The Minister wound up his speech by telling the people that the Government were justly proud of the results of their five years' work. It is easy to make the Minister proud apparently. He is proud of the fact that they have imposed a burden of taxation on the poor people of this country never before equalled. Even after this Budget becomes law the poor of this country will bear a greater proportion of national taxation than ever they bore before. Every article that goes into a workingman's house is taxed to-day.

Nonsense.

The mere fact that the Minister says "nonsense" only goes to prove that what I have said is true. The Minister is proud of the fact that 80,000 of our boys and girls have had to fly from the prosperity in this country, to offer their services to the enemy on the other side. Many of them, according to Deputy Kennedy of the Fianna Fáil Party, prefer even to get poor relief in Britain than to remain at home to partake of the prosperity that Fianna Fáil has brought to the country. And the Minister is proud of it! There are 93,000 people on the unemployment register in this country notwithstanding the operation of the Period Order, notwithstanding the thousands that are employed on what is called their rotation scheme, but which could be more aptly and correctly named the starvation scheme. The people are happy and prosperous according to the Minister for Industry and Commerce on two days' work per week, three days' work per week, and four days' work per week, at rates which vary from 11/6 per week to 19/- and 20/- per week on rotation work. The unemployed are so happy in this country, and employment is available in such a measure, that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance was able to say here in this House two years ago that any member of this House who dared to stand between an unemployed workingman and a wage of 21/- per week would be torn limb from limb. Nobody in this House ever uttered such a condemnation of the Minister and his Department as is contained in the phrase that the unemployed have been reduced to such a condition that if anybody attempted to stop them from working for 21/- per week he would be torn limb from limb. That is the prosperity that this Government has brought to us, and the Minister who, I say, is primarily concerned, has fled so far from his promises that not only has he failed to keep them, but now denies that he ever made them. He has the audacity to say in this House that they never told the unemployed of this country that they had a plan for the solution of unemployment.

I did not deny it.

The Minister did not deny it? The Minister denied at the beginning of my speech that there was a plan to solve unemployment, that he had promised to find employment not only for all those who were idle at home, but to provide so many jobs that he would have to call on those who emigrated.

It is that part of it, about the emigrants, that I deny.

So the Minister, after having had an opportunity of consulting with his colleagues, is trying to mend his hand.

They are not interested.

This, no doubt, comes from the Minister's close association with the President for the last four years, but the Minister has not the President's technique for leaving a way out at both ends. At the end of a period, after consultation with his two colleagues——

The trouble about Deputy Morrissey is that he gives himself away in the middle instead of getting out at both ends.

The contempt which I hold for the gentleman who has just interrupted could not be given full expression to in this House. I do say, Sir, that the Minister for Finance is given a liberty in this House that at times almost develops into licence.

The Minister for Finance gets no more liberty than any other Deputy.

A Deputy

He asks for more, anyway.

There is no power in the Chair to give any more liberty to the Minister than to any other Deputy. There are, of course, limitations to the observation of the Chair, but, as far as the Chair can carry out the Standing Orders, the Chair gives no more latitude to the Minister for Finance or to any other Minister than to any Deputy.

I did not intend to imply any partiality on the part of the Chair. Nobody realises more than I do the impossibility of getting the Minister for Finance to have respect for any forms of decency in this House, or outside it, for that matter. Fortunately for you, Sir, whilst it is the duty of the Chair to preserve order, the Chair is not called upon to be a judge of what is decent or what is in good taste. I am entitled to give expression to my views in this House. That is a right that I have availed of both in the House and outside. Neither the sneers nor the intimidation of Ministers or anybody else have prevented me giving expression to these views.

On a point of order, may I call attention to the fact that the Deputy has reflected on the decency or otherwise of conduct outside this House. Is that in order?

The Minister for Finance never seems to be able to get the faintest idea of the contents of the book of Standing Orders, although he has been studying them for the last five years.

Let us get away from the Minister and on to the Budget.

With all your power, Sir, you could not put me sufficiently far away from that gentleman.

We shall do our best in a few months' time.

I know you will. You have always tried to do it, and so did the Minister for Finance. You have been doing it every time you went to my constituency. You have tried it on every occasion, but if it is any interest to the Minister, you are not going to succeed. I hope to be in the country, and to meet many of the Ministers. I hope to have the pleasure some time of hearing the Minister for Industry and Commerce telling the people in Tipperary that they are more prosperous than before he came into office; telling the unemployed at the labour exchanges that they are happy and prosperous; and telling those who are on the rotation work that themselves and their families can get enough to eat on 13/7 per week. Of course, the Minister will not tell them that.

It would not be true, and, therefore, I cannot tell it to them.

Mind you, if I had known that, I would not have said that the Minister would not tell them. That is the only chance they have of hearing it, because there is one thing which the Minister will not tell them, and that is what is correct and true.

Dr. Ryan

They will not hear it from either side then!

Whatever else we may enter into competition with you on, we will not enter into competition with you in regard to promises and misrepresentation. We would be hopelessly beaten from the start.

After that election programme? After that £17,000,000? Do you expect us to do better than that?

That programme and that policy have given you a lot of worry. I would agree that the Minister has good reason to worry; before three months are out he will have far more reason to worry. I would offer the Minister a friendly advice; it is this—that the sooner he goes to the country the better for himself and his Party.

Is the Deputy in earnest?

Absolutely, and I challenge the Minister to go to the country within the next month or in June.

Or to-morrow. We are ready.

We would beat you too much.

Let me tell the Minister that he has no hope, fortunately for this country, of coming back here whenever the election is held, but he has less hope the further off he puts it. You can go on for a certain time deceiving the people, and you succeed up to a point, but mind you the people have found it out. Deputy Jordan of course has not found that out yet, and, while I hope for the defeat of the Fianna Fáil Party, personally I do not hope for the defeat of Deputy Jordan. He would be missed from the House.

Thank you very much. I am sorry that the ruling of the Chair prevents me from saying a few things to you, but I am grateful for the compliment you have paid me.

The Deputy has often said a few things to me—perhaps not in the House—that I do not think the Chair would pass. I do suggest to the Minister for Industry and Commerce that at least he ought to tell the truth when he comes before this House on an occasion which he himself, in starting off his speech, told us was a serious occasion and should have been so treated by Deputy Dillon. The Minister indulged in a tissue of mis-statements from the beginning to the end of his speech, and he knew that he was not putting a true picture before the House. He coloured that picture as far as it was humanly possible to do so. I will grant him this, that when it comes to audacity and misrepresentation and the complete ignoring of facts there is not a man in this House who could hold a candle to him.

The Deputy is trying hard.

I am a long way behind the Minister.

A Leas-Chinn Comhairle, when the Minister for Agriculture came into this House about ten minutes ago he made the grossly untrue statement that people had died from starvation in the County Cork. There is no truth whatever in that statement. Nobody at any time since the famine years died of starvation in West Cork, but I do say that at the present time there are people in West Cork who are nearer starvation than they ever were since black '47, owing to the operation of the Fianna Fáil policy. I cannot help thinking that the Fianna Fáil Government was influenced by the condition of affairs prevailing in places like West Cork, West Kerry, and along the western seaboard generally, in framing this present Budget. This is a Budget which has been framed to deceive the eye with regard to the elementary necessities of life. This morning we could all see that this Budget was placarded in some of the newspapers' posters as a bread and butter Budget; in other words a Budget which was going to bring relief to the poorest of our people. I see before me here a heading in the Irish Times which says:

"Welcome Relief to Harassed Housewives."

That makes us think that there is something very substantial in the reliefs boasted of in this Budget statement. Let us study them in relation to facts, and particularly in relation to figures. The Minister for Industry and Commerce, speaking in the House this afternoon, said it was now a fact that there was no tax on bread in this country.

I do not know exactly what a tax means. There is nothing which comes directly into the Exchequer as a result of the price of bread, but I think if we examine closely the price of bread in the Free State to-day it will be seen that in hidden taxation on bread alone there is more than five times the amount of the whole of the relief afforded in the Budget reductions on sugar, tea and butter. The price of bread in this country to-day is 2d. per 4lb. loaf higher than it is in Great Britain. In this country we consume 2,600,000 sacks of flour each year. Roughly, the consumption of flour is about one sack per head of the population per annum. Twopence on the 41b. loaf means 15/- on the sack of flour. I think, if you take 2,600,000 sacks of flour and multiply that figure by 15/-, you will come to the conclusion that the poor people of this country are paying on that one staple commodity, bread, over £2,000,000 more than they should pay or more than is paid in Great Britain for the same amount of bread. I submit that that is very serious taxation on the staple food of the poorest people of this country. Here, according to this Budget statement, the reduction on tea is going to mean £325,000; the reduction on sugar, £121,000; and the reduction in the wheat tax, £170,000; making a total reduction of £616,000. At the same time this country is paying over £2,000,000 in increased taxation on bread alone.

How does the Deputy make that out to be taxation?

It is taxation of the people, because it is 15/- per sack on 2,600,000 sacks of flour.

Does the Deputy know the meaning of the word "taxation"?

You can call it "taxation" if you like. As I said, it is not tax gathered in by the Minister for Finance.

But it is increased cost over and above what the people should pay.

So that is the value to be put on the Deputy's statement? His words do not mean what they are intended to convey?

It is no comfort to a poor person in West Cork to tell him: "You are paying 11½d. for your batch loaf here, while the working man in England is paying 9½d. It is not a tax of 2d.; it is an increased price." What comfort is that to him?

Will the Deputy tell us what the margin was in 1927, 1928 and 1929?

I am dealing with the present day Budget introduced by the Minister last night, and I am not deviating from that.

I thought the Minister said that should be past history, because we could quote some of his statements at that time?

This is a very serious matter indeed. It is a matter which has not yet fully sunk into the minds of the people of this country. They do not realise what they are paying for this whole wheat policy, for this whole milk policy; they do not realise that they are paying for it at the rate of over £2,000,000.

It is a very serious thing that the Almighty put the Irish Sea there, so that we would not all be living in England and getting their bread 2d. per 4lb. loaf cheaper.

I want to take some of the gilt off the Minister's gingerbread. The Minister is allowing the people the wonderful concession of £170,000 by removing the tax on imported wheat. What does that mean? It means 1/3 per sack in the cost of flour, or 1/3 per 99 pairs of bread.

Dr. Ryan

That is not right.

I have been told by a very good milling authority that this concession only means a reduction of 1/3 per 20 stone of flour.

Another authority, probably a better authority than the Deputy's, says 2/-.

Dr. Ryan

I just want to put the Deputy right. Does the Deputy not realise that 20 stone of wheat will not make 20 stone of flour?

Dr. Ryan

Well, it would have to to bear out the Deputy's argument.

Deputy Dillon says 2/2½d.

There is a mixture of Irish wheat in the grist.

Dr. Ryan

That does not make any difference at the moment.

They told me in Cork, and we have as good millers in Cork as you will get anywhere, that at the present time it only meant 1/3 per sack. The main consideration for the people of this country is that they are paying for their 4lb. batch loaf 2d. per lb. more than they should be paying. They are paying 11½d. for a 4lb. batch loaf. Even at that price the bakers are not making a profit.

Dr. Ryan

I accept that as a fact, but what is the cause of it?

I have asked time and again what is the cause of it, and I can get no answer from the Government. Deputy McMenamin refers me to a question which he addressed to the Minister for Industry and Commerce yesterday. He asked the Minister:

"Whether in view of the difference between the cost of bakers' flour in Great Britain and the Irish Free State he will state how this difference, in terms of shillings per sack, may be attributed to the higher cost per sack, due to (1) admixture of Irish-grown wheat, (2) import duty on overseas wheat, (3) higher port charges and loading costs in Irish ports, and (4) to the higher wages paid to Irish mill workers compared to mill workers in Britain."

The Minister replied:—

"It is not possible within the compass of a reply to a Parliamentary Question to furnish detailed information on the points to which the Deputy refers, with an adequate explanation of the various factors which should be borne in mind in the consideration of this subject; but I would refer him to the report of the Prices Commission on their investigation into the prices charged for wheaten flour by persons manufacturing such commodity in Saorstát Eireann."

That does not give us very much information. I am not the Government, I am not the Prices Commission, I am not either the Minister for Agriculture or the Minister for Industry and Commerce, and I have not any access to what controls their minds. I speak as a man coming from the country, from what one may call the hinterland of West Cork, living there amongst very simple people. They, through me, would like to ask the Government, and it is the Government's business to explain, why they have to pay for their 4lb. batch loaf 2d. per lb. more than they should be paying for it.

Dr. Ryan

I thought the Deputy was going to explain it. That is all right.

It is not all right.

Dr. Ryan

I only wanted to find out what the Deputy was going to say. If he wants to adopt that particular attitude I will tell him whether it is all right or not.

What I want to come to is this, and I think I am making a very good point——

Dr. Ryan

I do not think you are.

In respect to foodstuffs, the Minister is supposed to be giving remissions under this Budget totalling £616,000, but for bread alone the people are paying £2,000,000 a year more than they should be paying.

Dr. Ryan

Who is responsible for that?

I am asking the Government to explain.

Dr. Ryan

What point is the Deputy making?

I am holding the Government responsible.

Dr. Ryan

I was thinking that you were going to hold the Government responsible.

I and everybody else in the country will hold the Government responsible for it.

Dr. Ryan

It took me a long time to get that answer, but I have got it.

And this is called a "Bread and butter Budget." I will make this admission to the Minister for Agriculture, that the 2d. per lb. off butter is a really good concession. I for one welcome that. I do, however, want to deal with the Government's fictitious and flagrant claim of making a reduction in the cost of foodstuffs. There is ¼d. a lb. off sugar. I want to tell the Minister that I will come back to the bread business again.

Dr. Ryan

I wish the Deputy would.

The high cost of living is going to blow the Government and the Ministers out of their places.

Dr. Ryan

Would the Deputy like that?

And in spite of all that the people are not dying of starvation.

Dr. Ryan

They will be there again to vote for us.

They will, and well you will know it.

Dr. Ryan

They did not get a chance of voting in West Cork lately.

I would ask the Minister not to worry about West Cork.

Dr. Ryan

Who did worry about it?

I think it would be better if we listened to Deputy O'Neill without interruption.

I think I have made the position clear with regard to bread.

Dr. Ryan

I do not think you made it a bit clear.

I repeat again that the people of this country are paying for their 4lb. batch loaf 2d. per lb. more than they should be paying. That is what they have got under a Fianna Fáil Government with its wheat schemes, prices control and all the rest of it.

Dr. Ryan

What is the argument?

The argument is that on bread alone you are taxing the people to the extent of £2,000,000 more than they should be paying while posing that you are taking the miserable sum of £170,000 off in the case of a tax on imported wheat. The Minister has taken 1/4d. per lb. off sugar. That represents a sum of about £120,000. How much sugar do we use in this country in a year?

Dr. Ryan

100,000 tons.

The Minister boasted yesterday that when Fianna Fáil came into power we were importing 80,000 tons of sugar and producing 20,000 tons, but that now we were producing 80,000 tons and importing 20,000 tons. Up to yesterday the price of sugar in this country was 3¾d. per lb. I take it that, with the Budget concession, the price to the consuming public will be 3½d. The price the working man has to pay for his sugar in England is 2d. per lb. Even with the Budget concession, the people here will have to pay 3½d. per lb. for their sugar.

Dr. Ryan

That is a profiteering price.

I do not think it is. I am looking at the net cost to the consumer. The price will be 3½d. per lb. How much a stone is that? Roughly, 2/-, or 16/- per cwt. That is £16 a ton on 100,000 lbs. of sugar. That is a nice tax on the people of this country—£16 a ton on 100,000 tons of sugar consumed in this country every year taken out of the pockets of the consumer.

Dr. Ryan

I deny that the way the Deputy built it up is right. Multiplying anything by four is different from multiplying it by two.

It is £16 per ton of sugar.

Dr. Ryan

Not at all.

I am taking rough figures. At all events, it is certainly over £1,000,000 per year. With £2,000,000 for the increased cost of bread, over £1,000,000 for the increased cost of sugar, sugar and bread alone are costing this country over £3,000,000 per year more. That is the bread and butter Budget which gave the poor people concessions on tea, sugar and wheat amounting to £616,000. I do not want to pursue the matter further. I simply got up to show the bunk and humbug and the fraudulent claims made by the Minister for Finance in introducing the Budget and telling the people he was going to reduce the cost of living and the cost of food to the poor people. The cost of food in this country is greater than ever it was since the highest peak point of the war. In these two staple articles of sugar and bread alone the people are paying, on my computation, more than £3,000,000. There is another matter which closely concerns this country, and which chiefly concerns the poorest of our people, because they are the best of our pig producers. What is the price of bacon to-day? It was quoted by the Cork curers last Monday as a sum of 146/- per cwt. for smoked middles. In the London market the Irish Wiltshire side—there is very little difference between them—was quoted from 90/- to 95/-.

Dr. Ryan

That is the whole side.

As sold to the provision merchants by the curers.

Dr. Ryan

Was it not the whole side was quoted?

That is to the wholesaler.

Dr. Ryan

You are talking about middles.

Middles and Wiltshire sides are practically the same.

Dr. Ryan

Did you take the shoulders?

Dr. Ryan

That makes a very big difference.

7/- or 8/-.

Dr. Ryan

I would not say 7/- or 8/-.

It is not fair to be interrupting the Deputy like this. The Minister will have an opportunity of answering later on. You cannot discuss a matter like this across the floor of the House.

Dr. Ryan

I do not think it is fair, really.

I agree, but Deputy O'Leary is not at all immune from interrupting, or his colleague. I suggest that Deputy O'Neill be allowed to continue his statement without any further interruptions.

I am not immune from interrupting, but I paid the penalty for it if I have interrupted.

The point I want to make is that the price of bacon quoted to me last Monday was 146/- per cwt., and that the price of the smoked side in the London market from Irish curers was from 90/- to 95/- In other words, roughly 56/- per cwt., or 6d. per lb. in favour of the English merchant as compared with the price quoted to me only a few miles from the factory in Cork. How is that possible? Is it fair that the persons to whom we sell bacon in Cork have to pay 6d. per lb. more than the Cockney has to pay to the provision merchant in London? Perhaps the Minister will tell us what the farmers in West Cork got for the bacon quoted to me at 146/- per cwt. Did he get 67/-? He was very lucky if he did. I think these matters of prices are very important factors and matters which very properly should be raised in connection with the Budget, especially when the boast is made that we are reducing the cost of living to the poor person. Sixpence per lb. is put on the bacon sold to the person buying in Cork as compared with the person buying in London or Birmingham. That is a very serious matter, especially when you consider that the best of that bacon is bought from the Irish farmers at a sum not exceeding 67/- per cwt.

These are problems which the Government ought to take charge of. If we are going to have concessions, do not let us have concessions, such as are boasted of, in matters of small amounts like those here. Having taken control of the ordinary daily trade of the country, let the Minister see, if food is going to be produced, that it is produced at the lowest possible price for the people in the country. If there are any higher prices to be paid, they ought to be paid by the people outside with whom we are at war. Imagine fighting an economic war with an alien race and sending them over the best Irish mild-cured bacon at 6d. per lb. less than we are giving it to our own people at home! The whole position is very ridiculous. This grand bread and butter Budget resolves itself down to the fact that the people are taxed more than ever they were for ordinary elementary food items. I have shown in regard to bread, bacon, and sugar, that this country is grossly overtaxed and that this Budget, instead of giving any relief, continues and aggravates a condition of affairs which is adding very much to the cost of living and which is becoming daily more serious. As far as I can see, it is going to have a very serious effect on labour conditions in this country and on the general standard of living of our people.

It is a pity the Minister for Agriculture was not here when the Minister for Industry and Commerce was endeavouring to explain the difference between the price of flour across the water and the price here, because the Minister for Agriculture might be able to assist the Minister for Industry and Commerce in some way. It would certainly be an enlightenment for the Minister for Agriculture to hear the Minister for Industry and Commerce endeavouring to explain away the difference. At any rate, it would obviate the necessity of the Minister for Agriculture trying to get the information from Deputy O'Neill across the floor of the House. The Minister for Industry and Commerce was not able to explain the difference, notwithstanding the fact that the Minister for Agriculture thinks that Deputy O'Neill should be able to tell the House what is the cost. The Minister for Industry and Commerce could not tell the cost. He gave us a figure of 5/- and said it always cost something like 5/- more here. Eventually, he brought himself down to 2/6, and then bungled and could not get any further, so that the whole thing remains where it was.

There is certainly something wrong with the Fianna Fáil policy. It was very evident when the Minister for Industry and Commerce spoke to-day. The Minister for Industry and Commerce always speaks with a certain amount of arrogance and assurance which was sadly lacking to-day. There was, however, one characteristic note in his speech to-day. The Minister in his speeches usually says: "These are the facts which the statistics reveal; I have not got the statistics, but you can get them in the Library." The peculiar thing is that he never brings the figures with him into the House. He quoted certain figures to-day which were contradicted from this side of the House. We have the figures here. The Minister quoted figures which were not correct. That is his usual role. He says:

"That is the position; that is what the figures reveal; you can go to the Library and find them; the position is that my Department is continually turning out statistics; but you do not pay any heed to them."

The Minister for Industry and Commerce stated to-day that there were fewer unemployed in this country than in 1931, and that there was more remunerative employment to be had now. Deputy Morrissey met him fairly on that point. Last night the Minister for Finance told us that the position existing here is a very happy one. If that is so, it is an extraordinary commentary on such a statement, that the House immediately afterwards settled down to discuss unemployment relief schemes and rotational schemes. That was a sad commentary on the Fianna Fáil plan. When introducing his Budget the Minister as usual surrounded his speech with verbosity, some of which was very hard to understand. Perhaps I often tried, and possibly got away occasionally with an impromptu joke but, on a serious occasion like the introduction of a Budget, how the Minister could endeavour to tell in this House what he thinks are jokes and to laugh at them himself beats me. Seriously, I think the Minister ought to drop that habit because it does not shed any lustre on the Minister or on the House. Mind you, they were very crude jokes, and if the Minister realised how little appreciated they were, even on his own side of the House, he would drop them.

Come to finance now.

In part of his speech the Minister commented a good deal on the administration of the last Government. He stated that certain sums had been paid to England that need not have been paid. He mentioned certain sums that he said might have been saved to the farmers if the previous Government had refused to pay the annuities to Britain. Let us consider that statement. What assurance has the Minister in 1937 that if a previous Administration took the steps that Fianna Fáil has taken, the result would not be the same? Can he give us any assurance that the British would not have collected all the outstanding amounts as they are collecting them to-day? The Minister went along glibly and stated that if these payments had not been made since 1922 £47,839,000 would have been saved. How does he know that? If we go on the basis of what has happened since Fianna Fáil withheld the annuities, to the £47,000,000 would have to be added what is being paid by way of subsidies and bounties since this Government took office. The President boasted at one time that his Government started the economic war by firing the first shot. Since then, as the Minister boasted last night, subsidies and bounties have cost £10,889,000. Supposing the economic war was started in 1923—and the Minister regrets it was not started then— and if the British Government had collected the unpaid annuities as effectively as they are doing it now, and if the Government had to provide bounties at the same rate as the Minister is providing them in order to get into the British market, then instead of £47,000,000, an additional £30,000,000 would have been paid under that heading, making £70,000,000. That is the kind of loose talk the Minister comes along with on the eve of a general election.

I would like the Minister to take himself away from the surroundings of Dublin, from Leinster House or Government Buildings, and to go down amongst the small farmers. Let him come down to a fair or a market in County Roscommon any day he likes and tell the farmers that they are better off than ever and that there is evidence of prosperity all round them. If the Minister comes to that part of the country I will introduce him to people who were supporters of his three or four years ago, but from whom I am afraid he would want to have protection to-day. There is no use in the Minister for Finance coming here and saying that the housing problem could be solved if we had all the money that Deputy Cosgrave's Government paid to Great Britain. Since the Minister retained the money the British have been collecting every penny of it, and not only collecting it but, in the words of the President, doing so in a way that causes greater hardship. The Minister still thinks that it would have been good policy to start that racket in 1923, and that the housing problem would now be solved, despite the fact that we would have to pay £10,000,000, as has been done within the last three years, in bounties and subsidies. The Minister has a short memory when it suits him. He did not tell us about the £35,000,000 that the civil war cost. His memory is short about that.

Dr. Ryan

Not a bit. What did it cost?

The Minister ought to find that out from the files. He should not be asking me. He is a member of the Government and the responsibility is his. I think it is bad taste on the part of Ministers to ask ordinary Deputies what are the figures for this or for that purpose. The Government has all the information. I am entitled to ask Ministers for it and they should be able to give it.

Dr. Ryan

We know about it.

This does not arise now.

I read one of the most extraordinary statements that I remember for a long time recently in a lecture delivered by the Minister for Agriculture. It was not an impromptu statement. A man might make a statement in that way that would not be correct. Very often people say things impromptu that would be better left unsaid, just as they often omit things that should be said. The Minister is reported in the Irish Press to have delivered this lecture in Wynn's Hotel. He was speaking of grain growing and went back to 1840. He stated that Great Britain removed the Corn Laws and made it an absolute economic impossibility for our country to produce grain; that the people then turned to live stock and live-stock products which they could produce in competition with the world. Was there ever a greater condemnation of the Fianna Fáil Party?

Dr. Ryan

Why?

In 1840 it was found absolutely uneconomic, even with transport communication then in such a backward state, to produce grain in competition, but there was one thing the Minister said they could do—and he was right there—and that was to produce live stock and live-stock products with any other country. That was economic and the people found that out. I would like the Minister to make a comparison of the standard of living of the people then and now. Would the Minister try to root that up? Does he want to bring us back to what was found to be absolutely uneconomic and to get away from what we are able to produce in competition with the world? It was a remarkable statement.

Dr. Ryan

It was perfectly true.

The Minister should let that sink into his own mind, and should try to influence people like the Minister for Finance, because he stated last year that a better market than ever was opening for us in Great Britain, a market for store cattle.

Dr. Ryan

It is a pity the whole lecture did not sink into the Deputy's mind.

I will be able to quote it for the Minister on another occasion. Any member of the Fianna Fáil Party who talks of increasing tillage, or endeavours to show that the store cattle trade is better than the fat cattle trade, does not know what he is talking about. That is what the Minister for Finance thinks about it and that is the type of thing that has put this country where it is. Mind you, it does not matter what the Minister for Finance thinks, what the Minister for Agriculture thinks, or what questions he puts to Deputy O'Neill, the difference of 2d. in the price of the 4lb. loaf has not been explained to this country. The Minister does not think Fianna Fáil is responsible for any of it.

Dr. Ryan

No.

Notwithstanding the fact that the Minister for Industry and Commerce admitted here that there were mills in this country that were not producing economically and that were not showing a profit commensurate with the profit they should be expected to show, the Minister says he could not see what steps could be taken to remedy the situation.

On the whole, I have not any evidence that there is prosperity in the country. I saw in Roscommon last week what I did not see there before— the sheriff's posse gathering in cattle for the annuities. The Minister, in his Budget speech, tells us that the Government has been very kind and, as it were, very lavish with the local authorities, and he mentioned certain sums of money that had been made available to local authorities, amounting, I think, to £4,011,000. He draws some extraordinary conclusions from this. For instance, he said that sums of £1,616,000 and £1,844,000 were advanced from the Exchequer to the Guarantee Fund to relieve local authorities of an embarrassing situation—a situation which Fianna Fáil and nobody else had created. He goes on to say that advances of £550,000 were made on the security of the funded land annuity arrears, and that he was now taking in that total sum of £4,011,000 as an asset to the Government.

Further, he said that the Government's liabilities have been enormously increased by the fact that they had undertaken the halved annuity. Of course, they have, but the Minister did not tell us that they have the revenue of the other half. Is that not right?

Is that not set out in the White Paper?

Exactly, but the Minister did not set it out in this speech. This speech endeavoured to show us that the Government had taken on a certain liability which was never theirs before, and one would imagine from reading it that they had nothing to meet that but ordinary taxation. Of course, they had. They took the halved annuity responsibility, and collected the other half and held on to it and passed an Act to ensure that they would do so. There is no point whatever in endeavouring to show to this House and to the country that a new liability has been taken on when an equal revenue is availed of against it. On the whole, we have nothing to be grateful for in this Budget. I do not know whether the people in the country were expecting any reliefs, but, considering the promises which the Minister for Finance made before he became Minister and the way in which the people were let down, I do not suppose there will be anybody disappointed over it, but it is certainly a very sad commentary on the Fianna Fáil plan. Our taxation has gone up and prices have soared for every commodity the people have to buy. While the manufacturer has the statutory protection of law with regard to quotas and tariffs, the purchaser has absolutely no protection, and, even though at the moment live-stock prices are good, the people are not able to buy as much as they were this time 12 months ago. I think the Budget, on the whole, disappointing, and I think there are no people in the country to whom it is more disappointing than the Fianna Fáil people themselves.

Some three or four years ago, when the economic war started in this country, we heard from Deputies opposite that the country was going completely bankrupt within six months. We were told that there would be no hope of any finances being collected, no hope of anything being done, and that the country was going to go bankrupt. What is the position to-day? Despite enormous expenditure for social services that were completely ignored during the term when the Party opposite were in office, despite enormous expenditure in the shape of provision for housing and restoring the old age pensions that were stolen from the people, we find ourselves in this position to-day, that we are able to give a reduction of 4d. in the duties on tea, to reduce the duties on sugar by £12,000, to abolish the customs duty on wheat costing £170,000 more, and to provide £200,000 extra for widows' and orphans' pensions and other social services. That is the position to-day, and it is on that that anyone must judge the financial position of the country to-day. If Deputies opposite wish to come nearer to it, I will take the financial position in Cork County. The position last month with regard to rate collection in Cork County was that we had 8 per cent. more of the rates collected than we had last year, and, in addition to that, we had £20,000 more of the arrears brought in. To put it precisely, we had £48,000 more collected on 20th March, 1937, than we had on 20th March, 1936.

That is the actual situation so far as the ordinary people down the country are concerned. When I look at the amazing promises made by the Party opposite, I am taken back to the 1932-33 election when we had similar amazing promises made by Deputy Cosgrave and his Party. They were going to reduce the annuities by half and, not alone that, they were not going to demand them for five or six years in order to enable the people to recover from the six months or nine months of the tough time the farmers had gone through up to then. They were able to promise because they knew well they would never be asked to keep their promises, and because they knew that the people of this country had such experience of them that they were finished with them. When I turn to the Fine Gael programme of to-day. I wonder which of the policies and which of the programmes is going to be adopted. If, by any miracle—and it would take a miracle to accomplish it— the Party opposite came back to office, I wonder whether it is Deputy Dillon's policy of abolishing the wheat and beet schemes that is going to be carried out, or the policy of those Deputies who do not agree with him. Deputy Dillon, at the Fine Gael Ard-Fheis, said that wheat and beet were all cod and should be done away with, but there happened to be a few farmers there, which is rather an extraordinary thing, and one of them immediately stated that he disagreed entirely with Deputy Dillon as regards beet. He was Colonel Wemys Quin, of Wexford, and he said that the farmers in his part of the country were "yowling" for beet, and would grow twice as much if allowed, that it was a paying concern, that he could not get the acreage but that, if he could not get the acreage, he would grow it. That was a statement made by one of the few farmers who happened to be there. Then they are going to fix 5d. a gallon for milk.

It is Government policy that is now under discussion, not Fine Gael policy.

I am making a comparison.

What we are discussing now is the policy of the Government. The policy of other Parties does not arise for consideration on this Resolution.

I am only giving a comparison between the Budget and the alternative put forward by the Party opposite.

It may be interesting but it is not relevant.

I agree with you that, considering that they will never get an opportunity of putting their programme into force, it is not worth considering their policy. It is rather peculiar that the Party who were satisfied that the farmers should get 2d. per gallon for their milk and that voted in favour of giving the farmer only 2d. per gallon two years ago should make such an amazing change of front as to guarantee him 5d. per gallon on condition, of course, that he will work for them in the election. The Party opposite are now in favour of complete derating of agricultural land. Yet, they published the report of this Commission of Inquiry——

Would you not be in favour of derating?

I got a better thing; I got the annuities halved.

I thought you could do with a little more.

We will take all we can get but there is no use in blowing hot and cold. There is no use in your saying that you are going to give complete derating and, at the same time, packing a jury of very important men and paying them for six months out of the public purse to bring in a report that derating was absolutely useless to the farmers.

Did not the Fianna Fáil Party move a motion here in favour of derating?

It did and we corkscrewed £750,000 out of Deputy Cosgrave and his Party—more than the Party opposite has accomplished since they went into opposition.

Do not run away from the farmer.

There is one matter on which I should like to be enlightened, since the discussion has concerned itself so much with the growing of wheat and the price of bread. How is it that the Dublin millers are able to put in tenders for contracts at lower prices than those at which, apparently, the Cork millers could afford to sell flour? I should like to hear some explanation of that in view of the statements we have heard regarding the cost of milling flour. I am also grateful to the Minister for Finance for the abolition of the levy on farmers' butter. It was about time that was done. That is a relief to small farmers who have no creameries in their areas and who are working under hard conditions. If there is relief to be given in any direction, it should be given to that particular class of farmer who cannot avail of Government schemes.

During the last four months we have been listening to statements as to the ability of the country to carry on and pay its way. We can now compare these statements with the working out of the accounts for the past 12 months and with the manner in which relief can now be given. We hear complaints as to the enormous burden of taxation, but I did not see a Deputy on the opposite side on any single occasion on which increased social services were proposed, which certainly meant an increased burden of taxation, standing up to oppose them. When we hear Deputies complaining of the burden of taxation, I wonder how they are going to get the £17,000,000 which it will cost to put their programme into operation and clap that on top of the existing taxation. I wonder why Deputies on the opposite side had not the courage to vote against these increased social services when the motions to establish them were brought in. I did not hear any Deputy calling a division on the Widows' and Orphans' Pensions Bill. I did not hear any Deputy calling for a division on the motion to provide increased money for housing. They were all delighted. Every Deputy who spoke on these occasions—and they were rather long-winded—thanked the Minister for bringing in the proposals and spoke about benefits being conferred on very deserving classes of the community. They were all, apparently, very grateful that the agricultural community and, particularly, the worst paid class of that community—the agricultural labourers—were at last going to get from a Fianna Fáil Government what had been denied them for ten years by Cumann na nGaedheal. Every one of them came along to vote that the unfortunate agricultural labourers should get, at least, a decent house in which to live and that the Government should contribute 60 per cent. of the cost of this house and an acre of land. Surely, if they have any sense of responsibility, they took into consideration the cost of that proposal. Surely they knew that a Government could not provide 60 per cent. of the cost of these houses without finding money somewhere. They were equally delighted in regard to the Government's proposals for grants for reconstruction of houses. They were equally delighted in that particular thing. The Government proposed to give farmers £40 of a free grant towards reconstructing their houses—a thing that had been refused to me on several occasions when I was on those benches over there and when Deputy Mulcahy was over here as Minister for Local Government. Deputy Mulcahy would not dream of doing it at that time, but Deputies opposite were very glad when it was done, and each one of them praised the Minister when these proposals were brought in here.

As far as we can judge by the returns, the country has not been bankrupted by looking after the poor a little better than they were looked after before. The country has lost nothing by it. In fact, we did so well that, as I have pointed out, we were able to reduce the taxes which, again, fall on the poorer classes of the community, namely, tea, sugar and butter. We were able to reduce the taxes on those commodities by a considerable amount, and we hear any amount of talk about the high cost of living and what it is costing. We were told here a couple of years ago that the wheat scheme would bankrupt the country. What do we find to-day? We find that the foreign wheat which is being brought in here at present is thought less of than the native wheat produced here, for which we were able to pay our farmers and from which our farmers got some benefit. In plain language, our insurance policy in respect of wheat is paid. Deputy Dillon, of course, at the Fine Gael Ard-Fheis said that the wheat policy was all "cod" and that you would not find any farmer who was growing 200 acres of wheat, and that they would get out of it at the first opportunity. We wonder how many Deputies opposite agree with him. We wonder what Deputy Minch would say to that. Deputy Dillon also spoke about the beet question. Well, Deputy Dillon never grew it. He has no knowledge of it. His proudest boast in this House is that he never grew either wheat or beet. It would appear that he never grew anything. Apparently, he did not even grow brains.

When we examine that position of affairs, I wonder if we had not the wheat schemes and if we had not the wheat and beet policy, where would we find ourselves? We would be dependent on a foreign market for anything we grow. That evidently does not agree with Deputy Dillon's policy as he outlined it here to-day. We wonder which of the Parties opposite is going to succeed. Is it Deputy Dillon's Party or Deputy Minch's Party in regard to wheat, or how many different Parties are going to form the new Government when they come along? Are they going to last as long, or are they going to have as many defections from their ranks as they have had in the last two or three years? Are we going to have Deputy MacDermot joining them to day and running away from them to-morrow, and somebody else coming in immediately afterwards, and so on?

That is miles away from what we are discussing.

I admit, Sir, that it is somewhat away from the subject, but perhaps I might be allowed some latitude in view of the hopelessness of the alternative that has been offered to the people by Deputies over there. I am very glad to see that Deputy Mulcahy is here, but it must be remembered that he led Deputies over there and walked boldly into the Lobby and demanded a division on a programme that 2d. a gallon was enough for the farmers to get for their milk two years ago. Apparently he was present at a famous Ard-Fheis that was held last month at which they solemnly declared they would give 5d.

The Deputy cannot get away from the matter before us. It is Government policy that is before us.

I know, Sir, that we are discussing Government policy, and I am only making a comparison between the Government policy as it has been outlined and the alternative that has been put up by the Party opposite.

There is no comparison.

I admit that. There is no comparison at all.

Did the Deputy hear the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Industry and Commerce say that the farmers were better off to-day, even in Cork? Would he deal with that?

I regret that Deputy Mulcahy was absent when I did deal with it. I pointed out that our rates position—and he should know a lot about rates considering that he was for ten years Minister for Local Government—was better in Cork by £48,000 than it was before.

That is good.

Surely to Heaven, that position has not come up out of the stones? The annuities position also in Cork County, despite the efforts of General Mulcahy and the rest of them, and all the generals in the job, past and present, improved so well that we were able to reduce our rates by 8d. in the £. That was a big change. It was a rather astonishing change in the condition of affairs in Cork. I notice that Deputy Mulcahy is leaving the House. I suppose he could not wait any longer, but perhaps he may return. However, when we do get down to this position and when we realise the way things are, it is foolish for the people opposite to talk in the way they do. For instance, I have often been challenged by Deputies over there in words to the effect that they would like to hear me make such-and-such a statement at the fair. I have not any objection to say those things at the fairs or anywhere else. The price of cattle is better than in 1932. I am sure that the farmers in Midleton Fair on the last fair-day, for instance, realised the success of our policy. I do not think we gave them any special subsidy coming on to the election in order to drive up the price of cattle by £3 or £4 a head, or was it a dispensation of Providence that did it? I suppose it must have been a special dispensation. When we get down further to the position and examine the condition of affairs that did exist here and that, admittedly, existed here and that Deputies opposite, or ex-Deputies, as they now are, opposite, did admit existed, in their constituencies in 1929, 1930 and 1931, the true position can be seen. For instance, we had Deputy Carey coming down to Midleton at that time and moving a resolution to be sent up to the Minister for Agriculture in which it was stated that the Minister for Agriculture should collect no further rates in that constituency in 1929 because the farmers could not pay them. In 1929, the farmers in East Cork were bankrupt and could not pay their annuities. If we are to accept the statement and the resolution passed by the Midleton Urban Council and sent up here to the Minister at that time, the farmers were ruined at that time. I represent the constituency and I have a fairly good knowledge of it. I have a fairly good knowledge of the condition of things that existed there at that time.

Let us take the condition of affairs in regard to barley. I remember, in 1931, being brought down with the President to Bennett's mills in Midleton. There were over 80 farmers with their horses and carts loaded with barley, and they were told to take the barley home, that there was no market for it, that Mr. Bennett did not want it. In 1936, what was the position? The moment the old engine whistled in the haggard you had three or four motor cars up to the door. You were asked, "Have you any barley, and what is your price?" The visitors proclaimed themselves to be buyers, and they assured the farmer that they would send bags and lorries to take away the stuff from the yard. Why, they would almost thresh it for you! That is a big change in the position of the farmers, and it makes a big contrast with some of the statements we heard from the Opposition to-day.

If Deputies opposite had any honesty they would admit the facts. Can they ever agree upon a definite policy? I do not believe you could get four of them to agree on any particular policy. You will never get Deputy Dillon and Deputy Minch to agree in regard to the growing of wheat, and you will never get Deputy Bennett and Deputy Mulcahy to agree on what should be done in relation to milk. Deputy Bennett showed his independence on a famous occasion when Deputy Mulcahy wanted to bring the price of milk down to 2d. Deputy Bennett walked into the Lobby with us and he said he could never face the Limerick farmers if he agreed to pay them only 2d. a gallon for milk. I am glad Deputy Bennett has driven the would-be Government so far as to get them to guarantee 5d. for milk. I am sure the Deputy will get extra votes at the election because of his attitude.

There has been a most amazing change of front on the part of the Opposition in regard to derating. I have here the report of the Derating Commission, signed by ten most worthy gentlemen, who considered the question over a period of four or five months at the request of the Cumann na nGaedheal Government. They tell us that derating would be absolutely useless for the farmers. It is really a most astonishing document and I observe that Deputy W. J. Broderick has appended his signature, thus giving in black and white his then opinion. I wonder what attitude he adopts towards derating to-day? I think Deputies Cosgrave and Mulcahy should have enlightened those who were at the recent Ard-Fheis when the famous resolution about the derating of agricultural land came on. They should have made some reference to the report of the commission they set up.

We hear people complaining of over-taxation. Deputies opposite also complained of it, and yet they tell us that if they were in office they would put £17,000,000 additional by way of taxation in order to meet, I suppose, derating and other things, and they suggest that the country could bear it. Where is the use of talking that kind of trash and then telling us in the next breath about people being ruined and robbed? Three years ago they said the people were bankrupt. Their latest proposal is a testimony to the soundness of the financial position. Three years ago Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney was telling us that we were sure to have a bad harvest. We had definite statements about the bankruptcy and the ruination of the country. Even last year we were told there was no hope of collecting the amount we required. This year we are able, not alone to increase our social services, but to reduce taxation. Deputies opposite are now so assured of the financial soundness of the country that they maintain we could collect £17,000,000 more for the purpose of carrying out their new programme.

I can heartily congratulate the Minister for Finance on the manner in which he has worked out the finances of the Free State during the last four years and on the reliefs he finds himself now able to give. If the position were otherwise, I would tell him just as quickly. I wish Fine Gael Deputies would talk a little sense. Deputy O'Neill complains of the price of bread; he says it is too much for the poor. It is rather a peculiar condition of affairs to have him saying that, when one recollects the letters he has written to the Press within the last three months encouraging the bakers to organise to look for more. Apparently that is part of the job. I suggest that Deputies should not carry on with that kind of humbug.

The speech to which we have just listened compares very favourably with the speeches of the Minister for Finance and of the Minister for Industry and Commerce in the House to-day. Deputy Corry's speech, however, was a general attack on this Party for what they did and for what they did not do. I would advise the Deputy before he starts to criticise our policy to give some thought to the plan that his Party were to bring into operation after the general election five years ago. At that time they went to the people of this country and promised them a reduction of £2,000,000 a year in taxation and 52 weeks' work per annum for every unemployed man in the country. What is the position to-day? We had the Minister for Industry and Commerce, when speaking on the unemployment question, making comparisons to-day between this country and Denmark and some other countries. I hold that no comparison can be made as to the position of unemployment in this country with the position in any other country. You have a state of affairs in this country for the past four or five years, a state which is inflicted by the Government of the country on the people of the country. You have the economic war with Great Britain which has resulted in the destruction of the agricultural community. That so-called economic war has destroyed the means of living of the agricultural community and the agricultural workers. The state of the country was never so bad economically for the last 50 years as it has been since 1932. Yet, after that period of five years the Minister for Finance, opening his Budget statement, says:—

"At the date of last year's Budget I should have been well content with a total revenue from taxation and otherwise of £30,191,500, but as in fact £31,034,710 poured into us, I cannot be blamed if I find the retrospect over the past 12 months a not unagreeable one from the Exchequer standpoint."

Why have those enormous sums over the estimated amount poured into the Minister for Finance? It is because every article that the people of this country have to buy now is taxed by the Government. There is an exorbitant tax on commodities, and this year again more tariffs are coming on. I agree with the industrial side of the policy of this Government, but I hold that it is not right that the people of this country should be asked to pay considerably more for the products of new factories in this country than they had to pay for the imported article before these industries were established. I think that is very unjust.

We are very thankful for the benefit gained by the small farmers in the remission of the tariff or levy on farmers' butter. No doubt it will be a great help to the farmers this summer as will also be the remission of the levy on creamery butter. But what is the position of the ordinary workers of the country to-day with regard to the plan put before the country by Fianna Fáil? On Monday evening last I was speaking to some men employed on relief schemes at 19/6 per week. Out of that 19/6 they have to maintain a wife and family and pay rent and rates on their houses. I wonder how it is that the Government can imagine that the workers of the country are able to maintain themselves and their families on such a deplorable wage? I know these men are working on a relief scheme. But even so, the Government should give some headline as to the rate of wages to be paid in the country. The rate of wages paid their workmen by the Cork County Council is 35/- a week. But side by side with that wage of 35/- a week, workers on relief schemes are getting 19/6 for a week of five days. I think it is a disgraceful state of affairs that any worker in this country should be asked to work five days for £1 less 6d. stopped off that for insurance, leaving the man only 19/6 to maintain himself, his wife and family for the week.

We hear a good deal of talk about the great volume of housing that the present Government are carrying out. We are told over and over again that the workers of the country had to wait ten years for those houses to be built for them. But when people speak about that I would ask them and Deputies on the other side of the House to cast their minds back to the time when the Party on this side of the House were establishing law and order here and when the men now on the Government side put this country to the enormous cost of the civil war which inflicted a loss of £45,000,000 on the country. The Cumann na nGaedheal Party coming into office had to build what the members of the present Government had been destroying. Surely if things like housing and other matters of that kind were not tackled the Government of that period were not to blame for that. After ten years of the Cumann na nGaedheal Government we had the Fianna Fáil Party coming in here five years ago. This State, which had been put into a good financial position by the late Government, was handed over to the Fianna Fáil Government in 1932 in a sound and healthy state. What has Fianna Fáil done with it since? Fianna Fáil in 1932 went to the country with a policy and a plan. They proposed to retain the annuities and to do lots of other things. They were not long in office when the economic war with Great Britain broke out—as a direct result of the Fianna Fáil policy. After 12 months we had another general election in 1933. In the course of that election the Fianna Fáil Government promised that if they were returned to power, the economic war would be settled in a very short time. I think that period was fixed by some of them at three weeks. That is now over four years ago. The economic war still goes on, and, judging by the replies given by President de Valera to Deputy MacDermot some days ago, no one need hope for a settlement of that economic war by the present Government.

There is one section of the people the licensed vintners, whose case I wish to bring before the House. I suppose it is hardly very popular to say anything in favour of that section of the community, we hear so much about temperance in these days. I am very sorry that the Minister for Finance could not see his way to ease the burden on these people, especially in view of the fact, as he tells us, that the country is now so prosperous and that revenue is pouring in to the Exchequer in such large amounts. Some relief should be given to that section of the people. The licensed vintners are composed of very hard-working, industrious people who earn a very hard-won living. Then, of course, there is the case of the poor, hard-working man who likes his pint of stout at a reasonable price. He has now to pay 9d. for it. I suppose it is unpopular now to take any kind of liquor, but I think the Minister would be doing a great day's work if he gave some little remission of this tax. After all, the poor man cannot afford to drink refined liquors such as whiskey, brandy and wines, and he likes a pint of stout. I think he is entitled to it. Why should he not have a drink as well as any other man in the country? He cannot afford to have it at the present time when the price is 9d. I think the Minister should have given some little remission in this tax.

In conclusion, I wish to say that I consider this a bad Budget. We have a total bill of something like £35,000,000 which the people will have to find for the next 12 months. Never before in the history of this State were the people taxed as they are at present. On the eve of a general election I thought that we would have received more in the way of remissions from the Minister for Finance. I hope that when, next year, Budget-time comes around, the people will have in office a Government which will bring in a Budget in accordance with the capacity of the people to pay.

Whilst no doubt this Budget could be criticised strongly from many aspects, taking all the circumstances into consideration, my personal opinion is that no impartial man could vote against it. I do not intend to say very much, but as Deputy O'Neill raised some important questions, I think it only right that they should not be allowed to pass without some analysis in any case. He made one good point undoubtedly in regard to the pig and bacon industry, that too much control was given to the factories. My personal opinion is that the factories are really laughing up their sleeves at the farmers and are taking advantage of the Minister's order.

They are taking more than an advantage.

I also hold that the best friend the farmer has is the ordinary buyer at the country fair. I have personal experience of sending pigs to the factory. I was not expert enough to mark them for such-and-such a grade, but the results I got were appalling. I asked two special friends afterwards to come and mark them, and after that I got somewhat better results. The colossal profit which the factories make, when one considers the price which the farmers receive for their pigs, is something that no Government could stand over. The Minister's intentions were undoubtedly good, and my personal belief is that the Minister is a man who would give his life-blood for the farmers. He has, however, set up boards to administer this scheme, and the control is out of his hands. Someone may say: "Why not put a man in every factory to supervise the scheme?" but can any man define once and for all what the profits should be? That is a question upon which many men will differ. Say, for instance, that the State takes over immediately all the factories of the country. At what price, then, do you think the bacon could be put on the breakfast table? That is a very interesting question.

As regards wheat production, I upheld the wheat scheme on a great national principle. In one sense, if we deny our ability to grow wheat, we deny our ability to provide for our own existence. Deputy O'Neill is very well up in questions concerning the price of bread, and farmers in West Cork understand that thoroughly. If, however, no wheat were grown in Ireland this year, can anybody guarantee that the price of bread would be lower this time twelvemonths? Then is the country not faced with a far greater danger? We live in a country which is an island, and nobody knows what to-morrow or the next year may bring. I am sure many Deputies while at school studied Professor Baldwin's book on agriculture. He laid down as the ideal system of tillage four acres of wheat in each 100 acres of land. That would provide the full quota for 6,000,000 people. The position is that at the present day some farmers with 100 acres of land grow 20 acres of wheat. I personally have 110 acres, and I have 22 acres of wheat. I admit that my land could not stand the growing of wheat at that rate, but if I only grew four acres per annum it would stand it. We must establish an equilibrium in tillage, and you can then guarantee a wheat scheme.

To go back to the last administration, I said on one occasion when I was a member of the Fianna Fáil Party that if the Government at that time had adopted one-quarter of the principles outlined in Professor Baldwin's little book on agriculture, it would be very hard indeed, apart from the main political issues, to get them out of power at all. The one mistake they made was this. I travelled over several parts of the country, part of Tipperary, most of West Cork and North Cork, and to my mind 1928 was the last good year in which a farmer could say that he was able to put £50, £60 or £100 aside in the bank. From 1928 onwards I found that there was a certain amount of grumbling amongst the farmers. The depression had set in, as it were. In 1929 or 1930 the price of black oats had fallen to 3/6 per cwt. At that time there was much grumbling throughout the country. The natural instinct of the farmers is to ask: "Can we do any better? Will we chance another Government?" That will always be the position. At that time I was of opinion that if the then Government encouraged the cultivation of more crops it would be much harder to upset them than it was in 1932. To my mind, there are bigger questions to be tackled than have been outlined by many Deputies, ex-Ministers, and, possibly, Ministers too. The greatest food for thought is provided by the statement of the Minister given on page 52 of the manuscript of his speech:—

"The foreign assets of our banks are, as far as I can judge, the only reliable thermometer of national wealth and, as revealed by the Currency Commission Report, they are down by £11,000,000 in the last five years."

There is food for thought in that sentence. The ordinary man in the street will ask himself "does this mean that we are still in the hands of the old moneyed interests, or does it mean that those interests are turning out to be more Irish than the Irish themselves, and keeping their money here?" If it does, we shall all take our hats off to them and welcome them in, because I hold that there are only two courses to take—to invite them, through patriotic motives, to bring back here the money that was invested abroad, or else to create a new system. Further on in his Budget statement the Minister says: "Shall I be accused of facetiousness if I remark that at this period ‘the only really reliable thermometer of national wealth' must have been in grave danger of bursting—or perhaps it was merely the fantastic thesis which exploded." That is correct. Early in 1922 I knew pretty wealthy men who at that time took their money out of this country. I asked them why. "How," they said, "can we trust the wreckers and breakers of the Civil War period?" I said: "The nation must come first. We will leave the rest to history. There is no question about it that in the past there were great men on both sides." I, personally, differed from one whom I now consider to have been the greatest revolutionary leader of all time—the late Michael Collins. I said to those people: "Is that the reason that you desert Ireland?""It is," they said, "until we see further." Taking the land of Ireland, its value in pre-war days was given by a great authority at £1,000,000,000. I wonder can any speaker say how the wealth is divided. I have gone, for instance, to 22 or 23 farmers in my parish, and tried to ascertain from them whether they had any money in the bank or in investments. My calculation was that no more than five out of the 22 or 23 had any, and their amounts would be small.

Another factor which had a great bearing on the position of lands in good areas was the financial swindle after the Great War. We all realise that in 1920 the farmers were wealthy; they were at peak point. A good sow and a litter of bonhams would make £40, and a cow £60, and the unfortunate thing was that it was easy to get money to invest in land. What happened next was that those men found themselves in the position that they had to pay back £ for £. That, in my opinion, left the farmers in parts of Cork, and in Tipperary and Meath, in a bad position. Those are really the things which we as a nation should consider. I believe that we all, irrespective of Party, stand for Ireland as a nation. I could give instances of areas near Bandon where the farmers are in that position, and they have been struggling ever since. The capital is not there. My point is that the farmer is the people; he is the nation. If he fails, the whole country fails and the nation goes down. We may speak about dictators in foreign countries. On the Alps I remember a time when a farmer or a peasant had not a cow or a horse. There was one condition laid down: "Will you work?" If he said "Yes," everything else was supplied, and in that way the country was raised from a seventh or eighth rate power to be a first rate world power.

In regard to the question of unemployment, a good deal has been done; the intention was good, but I would say that unemployment assistance has been the curse of this country. Everything possible should be done before creating around the people an atmosphere of idleness. An active man does not really want that, but, if you give him unemployment assistance and leave him alone for a few years, he will get into an atmosphere of idleness and sit in the corner. How can that be remedied? Let us be reasonable? It would be an utter impossibility for the Minister to do so with the resources at his disposal. Is there any possible hope? I say that there is. Let there be one system or another. Let the £9,000,000 or £11,000,000 that came back since 1932 be thrown into the country in a patriotic way. Then every farm in Ireland which is to-day employing one or two men can employ five. I refer to farms of 100 to 150 acres.

Many men will say that it is not the Governments but the great financiers who can really tell you what employment you have, what factories you have, and, in fact, how many children you are going to have. That may be laughed at, but deeper thinking men than I am would not laugh at it. Even Lord Beaverbrook in England has written on the subject. Was not that the explanation why every Labour Government which sat in England was overthrown at elections? The people of this country should not get it into their heads that any republican movement is going to injure their property. The other opinion should exist, but unfortunately the statement given in the Budget outlined a position which really was not true. There are many things which it is not necessary to go into. In any case I am not capable of going into the figures, but there is one question to which I would ask the Minister to give special attention, and not to be unscrupulous about it. There is no earthly doubt about it that the farmer to-day is—I would go the length of saying—robbed by the factories. It is not directly the Minister's fault, it is the machinery they are taking advantage of.

Deputy O'Neill made a great case in regard to bread, but when that is analysed I think it will be seen that he was taking a bit of an advantage, having regard to the present world price of wheat. My personal opinion is this: that you are going to have Armageddon sooner than many people think. The die is cast, and one system in Europe must kill the other. There is going to be a re-marking of Europe, and it will come to the point how are we going to fare when that takes place? The nationalists of this country are looking forward to that day. The one great hope for the country is that we should all pull in the one direction. Let us have healthy criticism, but at the same time let us all stand united for the nation that was and is and will be.

I am sorry the Minister for Finance is not present in the House because I would have liked to congratulate him on the complacency with which he has persuaded himself, if nobody else, that this is a satisfactory Budget. I admit it is a balanced Budget. According to the Minister, it has been balanced three times. There is first an apparent balance given to us in the figures: Revenue, £31,034,710; expenditure, £31,227,688, showing a deficiency of £192,978. These are the first figures that the Minister gives in his retrospect on last year's working. Later, he gives what he calls an adjusted balance. After certain adjustments he arrives at a surplus of £1,144,523. Lest perhaps that figure might appear too good, he proceeds to make a third balance, what he calls a clear surplus, which, after making provision for certain items of borrowing, etc., is £464,844. Now, I presume there could be a fourth balance, which some people might call the true balance, cr there might be a fifth balance which might differ from the first four balances. It is possible that I myself, with the figures, could make a sixth balance, and that we would still have a balanced Budget, but, despite that, it would have no bearing whatever on the condition of the people in this State. Successive Ministers can go on balancing their Budgets as long as we are in a position to borrow, when necessary. Some wiseacre said many years ago that you could almost prove anything by figures.

The Minister in his Budget statement said: "The condition of the people has improved steadily so that to-day we are much better off than we were five years ago." If the conclusion of the Minister as regards the solvency of the country and our capacity to bear taxation is based on no better foundation than that statement, then many people in the country will be sceptical of many of his other Budget statements. Let us for a moment look back over this wonderful era of prosperity that we are supposed to have lived through during the last five years. Can we be told what section of the people it is that has become prosperous so suddenly? It may be that, in the City of Dublin, where you have so many of the professional classes, many foreigners and others, you would find some people who might be called prosperous, but if you go 20 or 30 miles outside Dublin and, in a haphazard way, meet a native of this country and ask him "Are you fairly prosperous?" I venture to say the reply will be in the negative.

The farmers, I suppose, comprise the biggest section amongst our people. The Minister, in his Budget statement, dealt at some length with the question of the annuities and other matters that concern farmers. This question of the annuities has a very big effect on a farmer's prosperity, as well as what he has to pay in the way of general taxation. The farmer's position is something like this: A certain sum of money was due by him. The payment of it was disputed, and as a consequence of the dispute certain issues were raised which I do not want to go into. The sum in dispute was in or about £3,000,000. The Minister says that he has improved the farmer's condition tremendously, and that the country has prospered tremendously because of the improvement in the farmer's position since he, or somebody on his behalf, ratted in the payment of the £3,000,000. Since that dispute started the farmer's position has been this: He has been discharging his obligations in respect of that disputed sum of £3,000,000; in addition, he has been discharging obligations which he himself did not enter into but which somebody else entered into in the way of local loans, pensions and other payments.

The farmer has been directly discharging these combined liabilities to the tune of about £22,000,000 over the last four years, while at the same time he has been paying into the Exchequer here interest on money which neither the Exchequer nor this Government lent to him, and which, at the farmer's expense, appears to be a lucky windfall for the present Minister for Finance. Prior to 1923, the Government in this State never lent the tenant farmers of Ireland as much as one halfpenny, but other people did. We refuse to pay the other people. They are taking it off us, and this Government which did not lend us any money asks us to hand into their pool a sum which they say is only half of what was due to other people. We are asked to pat the Minister on the back for all that.

Deputy Corry referred to the wonderful price paid for cattle recently, due, he said, to the Government's policy. That, of course, was by way of emphasising all that the Minister for Finance had said in his Budget statement about the prosperity of the country. The Deputy said that he was at Midleton fair the other day, and that a farmer came up to him and said that the price that was being paid for cattle was top-hole. I admit that cattle prices have improved lately, but I am not thanking the Minister for Finance for that. A couple of farmers came to me, as they came to Deputy Corry, and I think they also were inclined to praise the Minister for Finance for the improvement that has lately taken place in the prices offered for cattle. One farmer said to me, "Prices have gone up. Is not £8 a great price for that beast?" I said it was, but that £11 10s. would be a better price. That was the price that should be in his pocket if the £3 10s., which went to other people in lieu of a debt, was taken off the farmer's cattle.

There has been a good deal of reference to farming economy. I was glad to hear Deputy Hales candidly admit that there was a danger in the wheat policy, which is so frequently spoken of in this House. Deputy Hales is in the happy position now that he can speak with an open mind, although he is probably in more intimate association with the Government Party than any Deputy outside that Party. I expect that there is really very little difference between Deputy Hales' real opinions and the Deputies of the Party with which he is in what I might call some sort of association. I believe myself that his views are practically the views of that Party, and that if there was any difference of opinion between Deputy Hales and that Party, it was on a very minor matter. Deputy Hales was honest enough to point out to Ministers to-day the danger of that particular policy: that it was not as feasible as the Minister for Agriculture would seek to persuade us suddenly to go in for any extensive growing of wheat.

That is probably not particularly apropos to a Budget discussion, but it has been referred to by other speakers. The Minister himself, in his Budget speech, did, if one might say so, temporarily depart from the usual practice of Budget speeches by referring to matters which really were not financial. Therefore, it may be permitted to an ordinary Deputy to a small extent anyhow, to speak of general policy which may not be actually financial. We were forced by the speeches of the Minister and others to get on to the subject of wheat. Deputy Hales said he could not grow wheat. He said he had 20 acres of it, and he candidly admitted that he would have to stop it—that four acres would be sufficient, as his land would go out of condition. On many occasions here we have been told of the number of acres of wheat grown a hundred years ago, how the people were fed, and the money that was made.

Somebody has already remarked that nothing was said about the conditions of the people who grew the wheat. If we go back into history, we will find that when wheat was grown at the fairly good price of 2/6 per stone, when people were burning the sods of the land to produce the wheat, many of the growers of wheat were living on potatoes and milk. Their produce of wheat was being exported and therein lay the success possibly, if there was any success, in the growing of wheat at the period —that we were exporting it.

There must be an export for any agricultural produce in this country if we are going to make a success of it, because our consumption of anything we might grow is comparatively small. In certain circumstances, we can increase our production in everything. We have fertile land which is only half developed; no Government has fully developed it. Production can be raised all round, but we must have an export trade, and we will never export wheat. If there was a lesson to be learned from growing wheat, it could have been learned from the people a hundred years ago. You have only to go to my county, which was in two divisions, one contiguous to the market where wheat was easily marketed, and another portion far removed from the market, where wheat was not grown to such an extent—in fact, in some places it was not grown at all. Even the Minister for Finance, who, I suppose, will not claim to be an expert on land, can go down to the County Limerick and see the land on which wheat was grown extensively a hundred years ago and the land on which wheat was not grown to any extent, and I will guarantee that he will be honest enough to say that he could see the difference even now in the land. We are in danger of the same thing happening again. Deputy Hales was honest enough to admit that.

So that the Deputy is opposed to wheat growing?

I am not opposed to growing anything or producing anything that can be more economically produced than other things. As far as wheat growing is concerned, I certainly have no objection to it. In fact, I would help any farmer to grow wheat who wants to grow it and who thinks it is a better paying proposition than any other item of agriculture. But I do say that, if it had not been for the interference of the Government in our old economic system of agriculture, there would not have been the tendency to grow wheat that there has been, even with the subsidy. The subsidy would not be sufficiently attractive, if things were normal, to persuade any number of people to go in for wheat growing. I say definitely that if cattle prices were normal—they are improving in price—and if the British tariff were taken off cattle, so that people would get the real world price, which is the British price, your acreage of wheat would fall off next year; because there is no farmer who would not see clearly that one item of agriculture pays him better than another, and it is not wheat. In answer to the Minister, I say that I am not opposed to the growing of wheat. Possibly in my time I have grown more wheat than any other Deputy— but not in this country—and I know a lot about growing it.

I know that it is not an economic proposition to grow it in this country, as against other things that we can produce. As the Minister admitted, I know that there was an era of depression over the world a few years ago, and that we felt that depression less than the majority of countries. One of the reasons given for our immunity from the full consequences of that depression was that our agricultural policy was founded upon the principle of live stock. That made us more secure than other countries from the effects of the depression. We had the Minister for Agriculture speaking last week almost blessing the fact that we were short of cattle, and that we had not sufficient for the British quota.

The economic position does enter into the question of taxation and expenditure, but matters that properly arise on an Estimate should not be debated in detail on the Budget. There will be an opportunity of addressing remarks to the Minister for Agriculture on his Department within a week or so.

I agree, Sir, and I will get away from that subject. I will have an opportunity of discussing it with the Minister on another occasion. The Minister for Agriculture was here a short time ago, and we had quite a pleasant conversation between himself and Deputies on this side, discussing some of the good things in this Budget. As I am discussing wheat, I might as well come to the remission of the duty. There is a remission in this Budget. It is one of the things we are thankful for, but that we are not gloating over. The remission of the duty on wheat will cost £170,000, seeing that the import duty of 6d. per cwt. or 10/- a ton comes off. I have been endeavouring to arrive at the effect of the remission, and various estimates have been made. One Deputy put it at 1/3 per sack, but the Minister contradicted that. I am going to put it at 1/3 per sack of flour.

I do not think Deputy Bennett was in the House when his leader, Deputy Dillon, was speaking. Deputy Dillon said it made a difference of 2/2½ a sack.

I am not concerned with what Deputy Dillon said. He may be right or he may be wrong, but, from any information I can get, and any calculations I made, I think about 1/3 per sack represents the benefit given by the Budget. The Minister sometimes congratulates me on my calculations. The Minister, like myself, is pretty good at mental arithmetic, and I make it out at about ¾d. a stone, or 1/3 per 20 stone.

No. I am taking Deputy Dillon's figures.

Will you take my figure of ¾d. a stone or 1/3 a sack? I believe that that figure will be borne out by all authorities. When the poor housewife down the country, who is paying 8/- for a stone of flour, is handed back d. change, she will be told that the Minister for Finance gave her that, and she will say: "God bless him; is he not a grand man?" Some of them will say that. That is one effect of the remission. I do not know how it will affect the loaf. I cannot divide ¾d. on a stone of flour to get the effect on the price of a loaf. I can dissect one portion of the cost of the loaf, but the rest is beyond me. While I can make secret calculations it surpasses my ability to say how it will affect the price of the loaf. Deputy O'Neill made some interesting calculations about bread and flour generally, and Ministers entered into the jollity of the exchanges, because they thought they were getting "one over" on someone on this side. When Deputy O'Neill said that the difference between the price of bread here and in London was 2d. in the 4lb. loaf, the Minister for Agriculture agreed with him. The admission that the loaf was 2d. dearer here than across the Border was a good one to have from the Minister. The only difference between them was what it meant in millions to the people of this country.

The Deputy is making such an excellent speech that I would like him to be absolutely correct. I think the difference between the London and the Dublin prices was 2d. It was not the difference between prices this side of the Border and the other side.

It is one side of the Border, as London is outside the Border. The Minister is now admitting that the difference between London and the Dublin prices is 2d. per loaf. It would nearly pay a man with a family to go for a week-end to London and save the 2d. in the price of the loaf.

Is that what the Deputy used to do in 1928?

In 1928, sometimes during the course of the year, I was able to spare the cost of the third-class fare to Euston and have a little money for a holiday for 16 or 31 days. I have not been able to do that latterly.

Did the Deputy do that in 1928 when the British loaf was much cheaper than it is now?

How much cheaper? I do not know how many loaves are consumed and I do not know what the loss to the State would be. It is commonly said that we consume 2,600,000 sacks of flour in this State. If we relate flour to bread the loss of 2d. a pair on bread is equivalent to 15/- on a sack of flour.

The price is on the 4lb. loaf.

That is equivalent to a loss of 15/-, and if we relate that to sacks, 2,600,000 of which are consumed here, what is the resulting sum we pay over and above the price paid in London? I am leaving the Border out because the Minister does not like it. A comparison between London and Dublin is good enough for me. Taking 2,600,000 sacks at 15/- a sack, that would represent nearly £2,000,000 that we are paying for our daily bread over what is being paid in London. It may not be as much as that, but that is the position relating the cost of flour to the loaf. In the Minister's favour I should mention this, that some people convert the bag of flour into bread with rye and other mixtures. The difference may not be so great in their case, but it certainly is a big sum.

But the Deputy is already beginning to see how fantastic Deputy O'Neill's logic was.

I do not see the fallacy of it. The Minister might help me like the Minister for Agriculture helped me. He at least agrees that there is a difference of 2d. in the 4lb. loaf.

And that is equivalent to 15/- a sack, but there I stop.

The Minister agrees that that is the equivalent of 15/- a sack, and there are 2,600,000 sacks used in this State. If my powers of calculation have not departed from me, having agreed that there is a difference of 2d. in the 4lb. loaf, that that is equivalent to 15/- a sack, and that we consume 2,600,000 sacks, that surely means that we are at the loss of £2,000,000, less some little sum.

I should like to help the Deputy. If the Deputy's powers of cognition can grasp this, he will agree with me that at least 2,600,000 sacks of flour are not made into baker's bread in this country, and that is where his calculation breaks down.

I will leave that to the Minister. I said, when I started my remarks, that there was a certain section in the country who did not eat baker's bread.

More than half the people of this country.

I am satisfied. Half the people eat baker's bread, so that they lose only £1,000,000. The Minister agrees that that £1,000,000 is gone?

Oh, I am not going so far. Anyhow, the Deputy has dropped £1,000,000.

The Minister agrees that half the people eat baker's bread, and there is a difference of 2d. in the 4lb. loaf which meant 15/- a sack. He agrees that there are 2,600,000 sacks used here. That is pretty close to the £2,000,000, if they all eat baker's bread, but they do not. Only half of them eat it, so I give the Minister his £1,000,000, and we are losing £1,000,000 straight away. The unfortunate people who cook in a range or bastible are losing the rest. I gave that point to the Minister before he thought of it. I said that there were some people who did not eat loaf bread and that their loss was something less than that of the people who eat loaf bread. There is something less than £2,000,000. We will have the £1,000,000 for argument's sake and say £1,500,000. I will take another £100,000 off and say £1,400,000. Will that satisfy the Minister? The loss is there and admitted by two Ministers in this House.

The Deputy will soon be giving me the whole £2,000,000 if he goes on.

I think I have got enough out of the Minister's admission that there is £1,000,000 and the best part of another £1,000,000 of a difference in the price of bread made from flour here compared with London. We are thankful for the remission. It is something. It means 1/3 a sack, or ¾d. a stone, and we are thankful for every small help we can get; but, as I say, we are not gloating over it. There is still a difference of 2d. a loaf, representing a couple of million pounds over what it ought to be.

As regards the 4d. off tea, it is a big remission and most people are grateful for the concession. It will not be the Minister's fault if it does not add to the general prosperity which the Minister says exists. Personally, I do not believe it will add much, but I am thankful for it. I think, however, that the Minister might possibly have helped us as much by remitting the duty on something else. I am being candid with the Minister because he has been fairly candid with me, and I say that I and most other people are very grateful for the remission, but I do not believe it is going to add to the prosperity of the people to the extent that the Minister intended. I know that he is perfectly honest in his intention, but, even after the announcement of the remission, we see already the tendency on the part of people selling tea to explain their position to the people. They have practically prepared the people not to expect too much. The Minister is not to blame for that. We all know the tendency of such people and I hope the Minister will be able to counteract it in some way. There is a general practice amongst people in the country to buy tea at a certain price. They have been accustomed to buy tea at 2/-, 2/6 or 3/- and the curious thing is that, in some of the poorer parts of Connemara and Limerick, it is the very poor people who buy the 3/- tea. This will not make a bit of difference to them, because they will still ask for 2/-, 2/6 or 3/- tea, and it will merely be a matter of blending.

I think the Deputy must have read my speech on the 1932 Budget.

Probably I did, and I agree with the Minister. The Minister and I, although on opposite sides, have often agreed on things, and I am sure that if we were not so politically averse from one another, we would probably agree to a much greater extent than people think. The Minister agrees with me as to the £1,000,000 in respect of flour, and I am inclined to agree with the Minister that this remission could have been made more usefully in respect of other things.

What I am going to suggest to the Deputy is that he did not believe what his Party was saying then, even though he voted with them.

I am not good at ancient history. I can think quickly, and my mental calculations are sometimes quick, but I am getting old, and my memory is not as clear as the Minister's. I will admit that I do not remember things that happened five or six years ago as clearly as I ought to, and I am not going to argue on the things I am not perfectly clear on.

The Chair does not grieve at such forgetfulness, and wishes it were more prevalent.

Everybody will be pleased at the concessions which the Minister has made, particularly in regard to the reduction in the price of butter. This is the one real tax the remission of which I believe will reach the consumer, but I should like the Minister for Agriculture to relate some other time what effect it will have on the producers of butter. I do not believe it will have much effect, but some people think it might.

I do not think there are any more items on which one might comment favourably, except that I might, at the risk of wearying the House, comment on some of the things that make up the balancing of this Budget. The Minister was not here when I said that he had balanced it three times in the course of his statement. I suggested that it might be balanced four or five times, and that even I, or anybody else, could make a balance.

Anybody could balance that Budget.

The Minister was good enough to quote what I said last year —that the farmer did not desire that any assistance offered to him should be handed on to posterity. I repeat that statement. I see that provision is still made for borrowing in this respect. The Minister took my hint last year. The Minister and I are getting on—he actually took the hint I gave him and did not use that money last year. He found he could do without it, and he did not charge us anything for the subsidies. He proposes to do it this year, and, in case he might, I am going to draw his attention again to the fact that I do not think it desirable to borrow £1,269,000 for subsidies for the farmer. While it is, and must be, desirable to try to keep him on his feet in certain circumstances, I would remind the Minister that there is a balance still in his hands out of what the farmer is paying which would help him to pay these moneys.

I do not suppose the Minister desires me to enter more fully into the question of the annuities and whether or not the farmer is getting the best end of the transaction. Having had such a pleasant interlude with the Minister during my remarks, I close, as I commenced, by congratulating him on the complacency with which he has tried to persuade us that this is a satisfactory Budget.

This Budget will, I think, be recognised as a sound Budget. The proof of that is that the Minister for Finance has been able to reduce taxation. We have, for the past five hours, been listening to the wails and lamentations of the Party opposite on the cost of living and, especially, on the cost of flour and bread. I wonder what the lamentations of Deputies would be like if Irish-grown wheat were responsible for the price of bread to-day. I am sure they would have torn down this House before now and driven the Government out of office if Irish wheat were 34/- a barrel. Deputy Morrissey, Deputy Mulcahy and Deputy Dillon have been complaining about this matter for four years, since the Minister for Agriculture brought in his wheat-growing policy. They have held that the growing of wheat in Ireland was responsible for raising the cost of living. We have heard Deputy Dillon particularly dilate upon that. I wonder if Deputies opposite would be satisfied if the Irish farmer were getting 34/- a barrel for his wheat. We know they would not. Two-thirds or three-fourths of the Deputies on the opposite benches would not be satisfied to give the farmer an economic price for any of his staple products. They were not satisfied five years ago when the Minister for Agriculture introduced a measure to give a fair, economic price to the farmer for his milk and butter. They split on that. One-third of them went into the Lobby with Fianna Fáil, and the remainder followed Deputy Cosgrave into the Lobby against that Bill. That was their policy at that time and I am sure it is their policy to-day. They are not satisfied to give the farmer an economic price for any article he produces—whether bacon, butter, wheat or even beef. There is a wail already in certain sections of the Press which support the Opposition that beef is costing too much because the price of cattle has gone up a few pounds per head, or a few shillings per cwt. What would have happened if Irish cattle had been the same price during the past few years? We were getting beef here for some years at much under the cost of production. New, cattle are paying the cost of production and, as soon as they reach the world price in this country, a wail is started. The only argument the Opposition have been able to fall back upon for the past four or five years is that the cost of living was going up. Their one objection is to the farmer in Ireland getting an economic price for what he produces. It does not matter what price the Canadian, Australian, New Zealand or Argentine farmer gets in this country for his produce. There is no objection to that by the Party opposite. The Minister has, this year, produced a Budget that will meet with general satisfaction. The proof that the country is in a sound economic position is the fact that the Minister is able to reduce taxation and is raising less money for the service of the State than he had to raise last year. He needs less money and, knowing the state of the revenue during the last financial year, he is able to give certain concessions to the taxpayer this year. He has proved, if proof were needed—as it is not—that the policy of this Government has been a sound policy and has put this country on its feet.

I have been listening for some months to Deputies on the Opposition Benches talking about the great time we had before this Government came into power. They say that there was prosperity in the country in 1929, 1930 and 1931. In one part of their election programme—I do not know whether it is permissible to mention their election programme or not, but I shall only advert to it for a moment—they propose to raise £3,000,000 as a recovery loan and lend it out at, I think, 3 per cent. That is a confession on the part of the Party opposite that the total damage done to the farmer is £3,000,000. Previously, we heard it estimated variously at from £100,000,000 up to £1,000,000,000. Now we find it is only £3,000,000, and they are going to lend this money to the farmers at 3 per cent., which is 2 per cent. less than the farmers can get money at the moment. That is one of the concessions they are going to give the farmers —£3,000,000 for all they have lost. They talk about the prosperity in 1930 and 1931. I should like Deputy Morrissey or some other Deputy to tell us about the prosperity of 1930-31 when the then Minister for Finance had to bring in a Supplementary Budget. What went wrong with his finances then? What went wrong with the machinery of State when his Estimates, introduced in March, proved so disastrous about October of that year that he had to come in here and look for another half million pounds? He had to increase the income-tax and put on a petrol tax in the middle of the financial year. It is an unheard of thing to have a Supplementary Budget in any country. The reason for that course was that there was no prosperity at the time. That was due to the fact that the economic policy of the Government at that time was a wrong policy. The taxes were not yielding the income the Minister estimated in March. We want no further proof than that. That is why this Party are the Government of the country and that is why Fine Gael are in the position they are now in—a position in which they will remain until they reverse their policy. We had not all the prosperity they try to lead the country to believe we had in those years. We all remember that very well and we know what these people were during those years. There is no use in reverting back to that now. If proof were needed, every one of us can produce proof of the economic conditions that existed at that time. It was mainly because of those economic conditions that this Party was put into office as a Government and the Party opposite was thrown into the wilderness and outer darkness. That happened mainly for the reason I have stated. I think the Opposition will want to change their policy and their programme before the people of this country will give them any support in the future. Deputy Dillon was wailing here to-day about the condition of the country. I believe myself that every single word of his speech was deliberately meant to injure this country. He could have spoken as he did for no other purpose except to injure the country in every possible way. That is what the speaker meant to do. It is time he stopped that. Deputy Dillon ought to know that no sensible person in the country takes any interest in what he says. It would be much better for the Deputy's Party and for the Deputy himself if he talked less than he does. I would like again to congratulate the Minister and to assure him that the general opinion in the country is that his Budget is a sound one.

I am not going to indulge in any wailings about the state of the country, and neither do I intend to introduce any matters that would be more appropriate to the Vote for Industry and Commerce which will come up for discussion at a later date. I want first to say, by way of preface to what I intend to be a very short speech, that I cannot understand the mentality of persons such as Deputy Allen, who has just spoken, and stated very deliberately that Deputy Dillon's comments on this Budget were deliberately framed to injure the country and the credit of this country. I know Deputy Allen is a Deputy of very fine and decent feelings and I feel sure he does not intend to convey that the only meaning he can read into these remarks of Deputy Dillon was that the Deputy had set out to injure the country. This is either a deliberative Assembly or it is not. This country can be ruled by either of two methods —by constitutional methods or by force of arms. If you stop up the safety valve of constitutional agitation and discussion in a legislative assembly, then your next step is dictatorship or the rule of the gun. The latter two are, to me, very distasteful and I will never be found advocating either of these two methods. I am sure that neither would Deputy Allen.

I listened very carefully yesterday to the whole of the Minister's speech introducing the Budget. Amongst other faults that I found with the speech was where he intentionally kept the whole House waiting for considerably over two hours before letting us know exactly what the proposals in his Budget were. To me, it appeared a good electioneering speech—nothing more or less. Apart from his methods of delivery which, in my view, were conceived more to irritate the Opposition than to do any good for the country as a whole, there is in one portion of the Minister's statement, page 42 of the typescript, this peculiar passage:—

"Yet the condition of the people has been improving steadily; so that to-day they are much better off than during the five years which preceded the advent of the present Government."

Now that is a statement which I think should be carefully examined not alone by Deputies of this House but by every thinking person in the community, by every thinking person whose vote sends a Deputy to this House. The evidences of prosperity given by the Minister are not, in my view, in any way convincing. He may, of course, convince a number of persons in the country that there is increased prosperity. But these persons are, in the main, people who have some capital invested in the highly-tariffed new industries. Undoubtedly, there has been an increase in the sales of high-priced motor-cars. If that is taken as an indication of prosperity one must go further into that phase of the prosperity or alleged prosperity of which the Minister speaks, and examine it. Who are the persons who are purchasing those cars? Who are the persons who by the way are purchasing what might be termed other luxury commodities? It will be found that the general mass of the people do not share that prosperity of which the Minister speaks.

Would the Deputy mention some of the luxury commodities he has in mind?

Motor-cars.

What are the other luxury commodities?

The Minister will tell us all about that when replying. When I am finished the Minister can speak. The Minister has got away with it all through this debate, but I am not going to give way to him now.

I do not want to see the position misrepresented. I want Deputy Anthony to tell me what are the other luxury commodities about which he speaks.

The evidences of prosperity given by the Minister in his Budget statement are not, to my mind, convincing. They are convincing, perhaps, to certain elements in the community, but not to 75 per cent. of the community. They are convincing to the 25 per cent. of the community who are getting rich at the expense of the other 75 per cent. In other words, the poor are getting gradually poorer and the rich are getting gradually richer. That 25 per cent. of people with money and interests in tariffed industries are certainly getting richer. I ask the Minister for evidence of prosperity. Are we to take as evidence of prosperity, the butter or bacon or the other commodities used in the homes of the working-class people? Are we to take it, for instance, that the numbers of strikes and other labour disturbances in the country are evidence of prosperity? To me, and to every thinking student, or to any person who gives the matter any thought, the high prices of those commodities used on the tables of the working-class people, and the efforts of the working-class people to get level with soaring prices, are not evidences of prosperity. These prices are rising day by day in the case of the commodities I have mentioned.

All commodities used in the household have risen. Yet we are told by the Minister that people are better off now than they were during the ten years or the five years which preceded the advent to power of the present Government. That statement of the Minister's is a statement I challenge, and it is a statement that will be challenged by any housewife. If the Minister moves around among the working classes, or even amongst the middle-class people, or if he asks any housewife what she thinks of the prosperity of which he speaks, he will know the true position in the country. The housewife cannot balance her budget in the legerdemain way in which the Minister has balanced his.

The Minister's Budget reminds me of the case of a man who, on Monday morning, had 20/- in his pocket. Of that 20/-, 19/- was extracted by a thief, and the man finds himself poorer by 19/- on Tuesday morning than he was on Monday morning. On the following Wednesday or Thursday the thief restores 2/- of the stolen money. The person from whom it was stolen is by then certainly 2/- better off than he was on Tuesday morning. That is the process of legerdemain in which the Minister has indulged in framing his Budget. If there is one citizen in the country who can give the Minister a better explanation of his Budget, it is the ordinary housewife in this country. When the housewife goes in to purchase flour, bacon, butter, eggs, fowl, or any of the other things that we can purchase in this country, she will find that she will want not only a supplementary budget like the one of which Deputy Allen spoke, but she will need several supplementary budgets from the person who provides for that working-class home.

I have to ask the Minister: does he consider it evidence of prosperity to find in the City of Dublin and to find in the City of Cork—for which I can speak with more authority than for Dublin—and not alone in those two big cities, but in every portion of the country, strikes taking place every day? I ask him again is it because of pure cussedness on the part of the working people that they are going on strike? Is it for the fun of walking the streets of Dublin, Cork, Limerick or Waterford that they are going on strike? Is it not rather that economic circumstances are forcing them to look for higher wages? Do they not need higher wages in order to meet the increased cost of living? My view is that it is not for pure cussedness that these men are on strike. It is because, as I have just indicated, that owing to the policy of the Government, various commodities have gone up in price until they are now almost outside the reach of ordinary people to buy. I am speaking now for fully 75 per cent. of our people.

We heard figures given by the Minister for Industry and Commerce and with them he apparently intended to prove that there were never so many persons in employment and never so small a number of persons unemployed in this country as now. The evidence of my eyes alone shows me that in Cork City there are queues upon queues of men lining up every day at the labour exchanges and thousands of men walking the streets unemployed. I have never seen so many persons walking the streets of Cork City unemployed and depending for a meagre existence, if one can call it such, on the money paid by way of relief schemes and through unemployment assistance. The Minister must be aware that numbers of persons are applying daily in Dublin as well as in Cork for home assistance. They find that unemployment assistance does not suffice to buy even the necessaries of life.

The Minister claims that in certain avenues of industrial activity the people's status as a whole has been improved. What I have said ought to convince the Minister, if he can be convinced at all, that in that connection he is sadly mistaken. Five or six years ago we were better off than we are to-day. Deputy Allen spoke of promises set out in some election literature distributed by the Fine Gael organisation, and he said that these promises could not be fulfilled. How could he be so shamefaced as to forget the famous Fianna Fáil plan? The last people in this House who should talk about promises are the members of the Fianna Fáil Government. Being slightly optimistic after reading that famous plan, I almost got weak sight watching out for the ships that were going to bring the emigrants back to Ireland, going to bring back those who were leaving the Western States of America and the bigger cities, such as New York and Boston, in order to be absorbed into employment here, in addition to the number of people who would be ordinarily employed before their arrival. We were told that all of them, including, no doubt, the 93,000, would be absorbed into employment. Therefore, I think the less said by anybody on the Government Benches about promises and plans, the better.

I have seen no general evidence of prosperity. I will admit that here and there we can see increased activity; it is in patches, but there is no such thing as a general revival in trade. There never can be such a revival until there are further developments of the pacts that have taken place recently between this country and Great Britain. Any apparent prosperity that there may be has been brought about as the result of these pacts. I submit that it is because of these pacts that the apparent prosperity exists. How much better would it be if the Minister came to the House and said that he was in favour of dropping our piecemeal pacts and had now decided to arrange with our neighbours for a full and complete settlement of the trouble that has landed this country where it is to-day. I commend that suggestion to the Minister.

If he does come back to office, which I very gravely doubt, and I humbly say God forfend, because I do not think the country will be able to last another five years with that kind of Government—indeed, I can see the crash coming—but if he does come back, I hope he will take to heart that advice coming from Cork, to be a whole-hogger in making a decent, honourable and lasting settlement, and then he can with justification say to the House that he has been enabled to produce a Budget which could not be done by the Fianna Fáil Government in 1937.

I would like to say a few words about this Budget. I did not take the Minister seriously in his Budget statement, not as seriously as some other Deputies seemed to take him, for the reason that to me the Minister did not appear to take himself seriously. He was simply smiling as if he were aware he was humbugging the House with the fine face he was putting on a very bad job. He has got the country into a ruinous state and he made a great attempt to prove that it was the other way about. He cited many instances, such as the prosperity of the banks. The banks are, of course, prosperous. They do not throw away their money just because there happen to be a few bad years. But if the farmer went to these banks to look for a loan, I know the kind of reception he would get. They will advance no money to the farmers at the present time. If there is a great deal of money being spent on cigarettes and motor cars and such things, it is because, as Deputy Anthony has said, some 20 or 25 per cent., or perhaps less, of the people are profiteering and, therefore, they can afford to spend money on luxuries. That is what is happening, and the more extravagant they are the shorter will be the period until the crash comes, and the greater will be the crash when it does come.

The Minister does not seem to know how the country people are living. I doubt if any of the occupants of the Government Front Bench understand the position. They go by some signs of prosperity on the part of the banks and the profiteers. I do not say that the bankers are profiteering, but they are careful men and they are sure to take care of their institutions. There would not be so much money lodged in the banks if they were lending the same as they used to lend to the farmers. They are not advancing money to the farmers. The money, therefore, is lying there. It has always been a sign of bad times when money is left lying in the banks. When the farmers and people who have been working on the land are flying away from the land as fast as they can, I wonder will the bankers and the profiteers keep the State going? Where is the money coming from? It can only come out of the pockets of the poor people. It is they who will have to supply all this Government expenditure and all the means of maintaining this apparent prosperity of which the Minister boasts. That cannot go on for all time.

The Minister referred to the credit of the State and the instance he gave us was the small yield on investments, on Government loans and things of that kind. I agree with the Minister in regard to that matter, but financiers are very cute men. They know that the present orgy of expenditure will not go on for ever. They know that Fianna Fáil will not be in office for ever, and they know that when they go there is a chance that they will become a decent Opposition and that there is not one chance in a thousand they will revert to the gun and that they will try again to upset the State. They know that once that Party has started to advance in a certain direction, they will be inclined to move further in the same direction. I wish to congratulate the Minister on the fact that his Party are moving along that road. It gave confidence to the people, even though the country is suffering, and the result is that everybody has more confidence to-day than when the country was prosperous. That explains why Government funds are higher in price now than they were some years ago. The people did not know what was going to happen some years ago when the Minister and his colleagues were out to upset the State. Everybody is looking forward to a change in that direction. Everybody feels that the country is going to settle down, that the country will learn from the mistakes that have been made for the last few years and that they will change things in future. Unless there is a change, the prospect looks very black for the country.

The Minister credits as assets to the State what he has taken from the farmers. He is taking away certain liabilities from the State and he has transferred them to the farmers. They are being collected in the shape of penal tariffs on the produce of the unfortunate farmers of the State. These moneys the State always formerly paid, and should always pay, unless the Minister made some arrangement that nobody should have to pay them. He should have come to the aid of the farmers seeing that they have been compelled to pay this money which was a liability of the State. How can he credit that as an asset to the State? To make the matter more glaring, the Coal-Cattle Pact, the Horse-Sugar Pact, and all these other pacts, simply mean that the Government has agreed with the British Government to collect the annuities from the farmers. By what right does the Minister seek to collect any part of these annuities, which the British have already collected from the farmers twice over? That item helps to swell his Budget, too.

I should like if the Minister would tell us what moral right he has to collect that money and how he claims any credit for that as an asset to revenue. That £2,000,000 was simply filched from the farmers. They paid this sum twice over in British tariffs, and then because the money that is collected by our Government is spent in one way or another and because other people are spending it on luxuries, the Minister holds up that fact as a proof that the country is prosperous. The sort of prosperity that is being shown in the country to-day is a prosperity that will bring about the ruin and downfall of the State if it is not changed. The sooner the Minister realises that the better. The sooner he brings an end to the economic war the better for the State and for the Government. Every year that this economic war continues will cost the country dearly. It will take seven years at least to repair the damage of one year. Farms have been left derelict and all our good cattle have been sold. There is nothing left only trash, because the people had to live and they had to sell every good beast they possessed because they could not find sale for the poorer animals. Even this year they could not sell anything except the pick of the cattle, and in a few years they will have nothing left to sell.

I need hardly refer to the cost of living, because it has been dealt with extensively already. I happen to live convenient to the Border and I could give the Minister very enlightening figures if I wanted to go into them. It is sufficient to tell him that the only industry that we have along the Border is the smuggling industry. It was never thriving so well as at the present time. In face of that fact, how can anybody get up and say that the cost of living is no higher here than elsewhere and that we are getting as high a price for our produce as farmers are getting elsewhere? If these were the facts the smuggling would be all the other way. Everybody is smuggling out what they have to sell, and smuggling in what they have to buy. What does that prove? Would these people take the risk attached to smuggling if they did not stand to gain substantially? The Minister knows the risk that is attached to smuggling. He knows that people will not take the risk unless they hope to have some gain and the gain must be very substantial when they are prepared to take such a serious risk. That, of course, proves the truth of the arguments put up in this House from these benches. Necessaries of life, clothing and everything else, are being smuggled in over the Border. Why should they not be smuggled in if the people have not sufficient money to pay the prices which are charged in the Twenty-Six Counties? It is not right to expect that they should go naked.

The Minister also helped to increase his Budget by going back as far as the year 1914 to collect arrears of income-tax. A sum of £1,200,000 was collected in arrears away back to 1914. That was given as proof of the prosperity of the State, owing to Fianna Fáil policy. Did Fianna Fáil do anything for the State away back in 1914? If £1,200,000 has been collected for arrears of income-tax due away back in those years, what right has Fianna Fáil to claim credit for that or to claim that they have a surplus because of that? The Minister cannot count on that £1,200,000 as an annual revenue to the State. In preparing his Budget he should take these things into account. Money has been raised in many ways, but the sources from which this money is being extracted are being dried up and they will not be available in future.

The Minister also claimed that he could borrow for bounties. That question is arguable. He might be able to borrow on certain conditions. If the economic war were going to be a temporary matter, he would be entitled to borrow. If, on the other hand, it is to be permanent, how can the Minister continue borrowing? How can the State continue to borrow year after year for something which is regarded as normal revenue? Supposing Fianna Fáil are to remain in office. I would like if the Minister would tell us what their policy is in regard to the economic war. Do they propose ever to settle it? If they do not propose to settle it, what right has he to say that they are entitled to borrow in order to pay bounties to offset to some extent the losses which the people are suffering through penal tariffs? It is apparent that there is no justification for borrowing if the economic war is going to be a permanent feature. The Minister might at least tell us what their plan would be with regard to the economic war if they were again returned, which is not at all likely. If the economic war is to continue, perhaps he will tell us how he would be justified in borrowing money for those bounties.

The Minister put the best face possible on his Budget, but when examined and analysed it will be found that there are many weak points in it. The country knows the position. The country is in a bad plight. Some people are doing well, but I do not think it is anything to take pride out of that some people are prosperous and spending money on luxuries. It would be much better if the people in some parts of the country had the necessaries of life and were not starving. It would be better if the people of West Cork, and, indeed, the people of West Cavan, had the necessaries of life, and had the necessary food for their children. That would be much better than having extravagant spending going on. It is nothing to boast of that certain financiers and certain profiteers are prosperous. That is no sign of general prosperity in the country. Those people will not keep the nation going if the people on the land are driven off. The people on the land are flying away in their thousands—away to Scotland, England and even to Northern Ireland, and the Minister is aware of it. The movement of the people shows where prosperity lies. The people of this country do not hate their own country. They do not fly from it because they dislike it, but in order to escape poverty and depression.

The people on the land see no hope. There is no hope, except one—that this economic war will end. Personally, I do not mind much who ends it. If the Fianna Fáil Government ended it before the election, I would not mind which Party was returned. But they have no intention of doing so. They never gave any indication of having any good intention with regard to this economic war. The country cannot prosper until that war is settled. Neither wheat nor beet is any substitute for mixed farming. We have been told about the promises given by the Fine Gael Party. I should like to congratulate the Fianna Fáil Party upon showing at least some responsibility. There was a time when they showed very little responsibility; it is a good thing to see that they are developing some kind of conscience, and do not like to see wild promises made.

They like to forget them.

The Fine Gael Party made no promises which they are not able to carry out. They have examined their programme carefully, and they will be able to give effect to it. Money will be spent in the right direction, and in the way which will give the greatest benefit. Money which is being wasted now will be saved; there will be less expenditure because there will be no foolish expenditure. When the Fine Gael Party comes back, they will not have to be challenged about their promises, because they will carry them out. They will not stand up and tell the people on the other side of the House that these promises were only statements. I hope that the Minister, when he goes to the country this time, will make no election "statements," but will regard his promises as binding.

The Minister, in his Budget speech yesterday referred to the tax remissions granted last year, and claimed that the total revenue is explainable only on the basis of a general increase in prosperity. He said:—

"This view is strengthened by the fact that in general the returns from the duties and taxes greatly surpassed our expectations. Thus, tobacco duties gave £4,422,000 against an estimate of £4,240,000; the beer duties produced £3,219,000, the highest for a number of years."

Mind you, I do not take that as a sign of prosperity, because I always heard that when people are in trouble they smoke more, and as a rule they take an extra drink. I think the Minister might look at it from that point of view —that that is exactly what is taking place in the country. I am sure the Minister will not deny that, because we have been listening to it for years. I should like to invite the Minister to any fair in the country to discuss the question of the prosperity of the people of this country. I should like to know, from him if he would go down to any fair in the country and tell the farmers there that they are more prosperous to-day than they were five years ago.

I quoted here the other night the case of a farmer who came into my shop in Cork within the past three weeks to cash a cheque for £4 10s. I asked him what the cheque was for. He said it was a Government cheque, and was a free grant for draining an acre of ground. I met the chap's mother afterwards. They have two mountain farms, and I asked her how many cows they had. She said they had 20 cows between the two places, 11 on one and nine on the other; in addition they kept dry cattle and sheep. Is not that an instance of Government policy, that they send down their inspector and allow those people £4 10s. of a free grant, while as a result of the economic war they are robbing those unfortunate people of £4 5s. on every beast over two or three years old that they sell? A great many people really do not seem to realise what is happening; others do recognise it. This chap seemed to be delighted because he got a grant of £4 10s., but when I drew his attention to the fact that he was losing £4 5s. on every beast over two or three years old he began to think.

How many beasts over two or three years old would he sell?

If you will set up the commission which I have been asking you to set up during the past two or three years I will get you that information on oath. I am sure the Minister would agree that that would be more accurate than anything I could tell him here?

Yes; certainly.

I would say at least ten beasts.

How many beasts did the Deputy say they had on that farm?

Eleven cows on one farm, and nine on the other.

And ten were over three years old.

They might be over ten years old.

All right.

In any case they had 20 cows. If you wish, their ages might be anything from three to 20 years.

And they lost £4 10s. on the 22-year old beast.

The Minister misunderstands me.

That is a joke. You misunderstand him.

I will get him to understand me before I am finished. Those people who had 20 cows would rear at least ten to 15 cattle every year, and as the years went by they would probably have from ten to 15 cattle for sale each year. As a result of Government policy, those people will be losing £4 5s. on each of those cattle. Does the Minister understand that?

I am always willing to learn.

The debate should be carried on in the third person.

I was making my speech and the Minister interrupted me. Is the Minister satisfied now with my information?

I think I have got enough out of the Deputy.

Talking about the prosperity of the farmers, on Tuesday last I met a farmer who lives four or five miles from my place. He voted Fianna Fáil at the last election.

We heard about that fellow before.

He will not vote for your Party at the next election. This man happened to be at a funeral after the last general election. He met a few friends, and after they had a few toshiní he got soft and made an open confession! He said to a friend of mine: “I voted against you at the election.” My friend said to him: “Take care, Jerry, that it was not against yourself you voted.” I met poor Jerry in Macroom and I said to him: “Jerry, did such a thing happen?”“Yes,” he said, “and I have lost at least £100 over it.” If the Minister doubts my words I can give him the man's name, and have him examined before that commission that I have been asking the Minister for the last two or three years to set up to inquire into the conditions of farmers in the Gaeltacht.

With regard to the cost of living, the cry everywhere is that people cannot carry on. Everything going into their homes is taxed to the very limit. At the general elections in 1932 and 1933 the allowances paid to Ministers was one of the planks in the Government programme. Now the Ministers have come to this House and have asked it to set up a commission to investigate the allowances which are payable to themselves. At one time they considered that £500 a year was more than anyone in this country was worth, but the Ministers themselves have £1,000 a year, free of income tax, plus other concessions. But now they are looking for £1,700 a year. I am not going to discuss the justice or the injustice of that, but what I do want to say is that when politicians go before the people they ought to be honest with them. When they make promises to the people they should fulfil them.

The Party opposite talked a lot about the 1/- that was taken off the old age pensioners by Mr. Blythe, but, as has already been explained in this House, the increase in the cost of living that has come about since the present Government came into office has meant a greater loss to the old age pensioners than the 1/- that Mr. Blythe took off. We have had the experience of the poor people of this country getting free beef. That is now being taken from them in order to find the money to pay Ministers increased allowances. Deputy Hales spoke on the question of wheat growing. I am one of those who believe in mixed farming. Deputy Hales made it clear that he was growing wheat, but said that he could not continue to grow 21 acres of it. Those who have had experience of wheat growing know that the land will not stand the growing of wheat unless it is properly manured.

My point was that if every farmer with 100 acres grew four acres of wheat it would fill the quota.

What Deputy Hales said on that has been misrepresented by Deputies on the opposite side just as Deputy O'Leary is misrepresenting it now.

I do not want to misrepresent anything in this House.

The Deputy has misrepresented the question with regard to Ministers' salaries.

The Party opposite have not been honest with the people, and that is what is going to put them out of office. Deputy Hales said that he was growing twenty-one acres of wheat but could not continue to grow it. No farmer could continue to do so unless he was in a position to manure the land. That is the argument that has always been put up from this side of the House. The present Minister for Agriculture used that argument when he sat on these benches. He said that you wanted the cattle to consume the surplus grain. What is the position now with regard to the grain market which the Government, with a great flourish of trumpets, set out to create? It is this, that the Minister for Agriculture has to admit that they are not in a position to supply the British market which they said was gone, and gone for ever. Is it any wonder, in view of the fact that for three years the Government put into effect the policy of slaughtering calves. In the last three years they gave a bounty on 500,000 calf skins. If those calves had been reared in the usual way they would be three-year old cattle now, and would be worth at least £15 each. What a loss the slaughter of those calves has been to the people of this State!

The Party opposite deceived the people at the last general election. They told them that the British market was gone and gone for ever, and that the Cumann na nGaedheal Government was depending on one market. The Government Party have now to admit in this House that the British market is the one and only market that offers any hope to the farmers of this country. A gentleman who has retired from politics and found a comfortable job for himself as the result of his political activities said on one occasion that it took 100 years to build up the cattle industry in this country but that it would not take 100 years to destroy it. Now the Minister says that the cattle industry must be preserved in this country. But there is a sum of £80,000 provided in the Estimates this year for the bounty on calf-skins. I suggested to the Minister for Agriculture that he should withdraw that bounty so as to discourage the people from killing calves, and I think that is a reasonable demand. At one time we used to be described as the dumb-driven donkeys on the back benches of Cumann na nGaedheal. If there are no dumb-driven donkeys on the back benches of Fianna Fáil to-night it is because there is nobody on these benches. During the election in 1933 the Government said that if they got a majority over all Parties they would settle the economic war. The President stated in Galway during the election: "Give us a majority and we will make a good settlement." Will the President come into the House to-night and tell the people what he has done to bring about that settlement? He was on a visit to Great Britain some time ago and met a British Minister there. Did he tell the people of this country what happened at that conference? No, he did not. The only thing we found out was that there was a concession of £50,000 given with regard to horses. But until it was found out, the President did not tell the people that the British Government were going to take that £50,000 from the poorer people here out of the butter and eggs which they send to Great Britain.

At one time, when there was much talk of secret agreements, I asked the President who was responsible for the Coal-Cattle Pact and who signed it. He said nobody signed it. Fancy the President of this State standing over an agreement which nobody signed. I ask him now, who was responsible for this settlement? Will he take the responsibility for it? As has been stated by Deputy Cosgrave, when our people went across to make a settlement they stood over and took the responsibility for it and did not throw the responsibility on anybody else. That is an old game of the President's. He sent over people to negotiate an agreement and when they came back he turned round and charged them with being traitors to this country. But to-day the Minister for Finance and others quote those people, some of whose lives they have been responsible for taking. I have talked so often on this question that probably I might be accused of taking up the time of the House. I again make the appeal which I have made for the last three or four years, an appeal which has been made from my own parish by supporters of the Government when they sent up a document to the Minister for Agriculture some time ago asking him to set up a commission. The only thing the Minister did in reply to that statement was to acknowledge it. I ask the Minister for Finance now to investigate the facts set out in that statement and in the correspondence sent by the parish priest of that parish to the Minister for Agriculture, and then he will be in a better position to judge of the conditions which they have brought on the farmers of this country.

To my mind, this Budget is a very bad Budget. We have heard it stated this evening by Ministers and Fianna Fáil back benchers that the country is more prosperous than it was five years ago. I beg to differ with that statement. I have as much experience from going through the country as any Minister or Deputy and, like other Deputies, I have letters coming to me daily asking: "What is going to happen to the farmers and the agricultural labourers?" We have been told by Fianna Fáil back-benchers that cattle are now selling at good prices, and that there is a big change in the country. Before the election in 1932 I happened to be in a country fair when supporters of the Fianna Fáil Party came before the people asking for their votes. In that fair stall-fed cattle were making 38/- per cwt. To-day, in County Wexford, the average price for stall-fed cattle is 32/-. At that time feeding stuffs could be bought much more cheaply than now. The people were able to get maize and other foreign feeding stuffs much cheaper. Now we are told that 32/- per cwt. is an economic price for stall-fed cattle. I tell them now what they told the people then. They told the people then that farmers were slaves to produce beef at 38/- a cwt. "Put Fianna Fáil into power," they said, "and we guarantee that we will provide markets where you will get 50/- per cwt., live weight, for your stall-fed cattle." That promise, like many other Fianna Fáil promises, has fallen to the ground.

Deputies are aware that County Wexford is a tillage county. I, myself, as a farmer have forgotten more about growing wheat than many of our Ministers will ever learn. I am not against the growing of wheat, but I am against people racking their land for two or three years. To grow wheat you must have rotation of crops. You must be prepared to follow the wheat crop with a green crop. You must go in for mixed farming and have cattle to eat these roots, and you must have a market for these cattle. If it were not for the policy of Fianna Fáil, two-year-old cattle would be £4 5s. per head more than they are to-day. Whether it is the fault of the Free State Government or the British Government, the tariff on cattle over two years old is £4 5s. When I asked the President to settle the economic war, he asked me did I want to surrender. Now he has surrendered. He made a coal-cattle pact with Great Britain, and made it much easier for them to collect the money in dispute. Before that we used to see on all our dead walls and the hoardings in our streets, "Burn everything British but British coal. No surrender."

They surrendered when they made a trade agreement. They then made it much easier for Great Britain to collect the money in dispute. Now we are told by Fianna Fáil that but for the Opposition the economic war would be settled long ago. That means that the British take advice from the Fine Gael Party. In 1933, we were told by Fianna Fáil that they started the economic war, and that if again returned to power they would make a settlement. They have been five years in power, but they have made no settlement. They made another trade agreement with Great Britain some time ago, the new Coal-Cattle Pact, and the British tariffs were taken off horses. We were glad of that, but we never expected that the poor, hard-working farmers here would be asked to pay other tariffs. The sooner the Government recognises the necessity of settling the economic war the better for themselves and for the country. It has been stated that the country is very prosperous. Farmers in the Fianna Fáil Party know as well as I do that it is not prosperous. When the farmers are not prosperous they are not in a position to pay a living wage to agricultural workers. If the staple industry in the country is not prosperous, the country cannot be prosperous. We would all like to see the new industries thriving, and to give them every assistance, but new industries cannot be built up in a bankrupt country. There has been a lot of talk about the new houses that have been built. We give them credit for that. But what is the use of putting tenants into these new houses at rack rents? Where is the wherewithal to come from to pay a rent of 2/4 a week for a house when agricultural labourers, in many cases, are only getting 9/-, or 10/- a week? When these people get the necessaries of life they would want houses free of rent.

This Budget is not giving any relief to the working man. To take 6d. a cwt. off foreign wheat is not going to make the poor man's loaf cheaper. We have been told by Fianna Fáil that Irish wheat is cheaper than foreign wheat. How is it that the 4lb. loaf is dearer here by 2d. than it is in Great Britain? The Government should see to it that the people of this country get a living in their own land. In connection with the new industries, we were told that when Fianna Fáil was returned to power the exiles would be brought home from England and America. Very rosy promises were made, but we know what is happening—that our people are still going to England. Why are they going? Is it because the country is prosperous? No, they are going because they cannot get a living in their own land. I ask the Government to give this country a chance. It is not necessary to be a lover of England to trade with England, or to be saying that if there is another round we will starve them out. When this country was at its best, and when our surplus produce was going to England, we could not send as much of our produce as would give London two breakfasts a week, not to talk of starving it out. During the debate it was stated from the Fianna Fáil Benches that the English farmers were badly off, and that the British Government had to give a subsidy of 5/- per cwt. on home-fed beef while the farmers wanted 10/- a cwt. If English farmers are badly off, then God help the poor Irish farmers, who have to foot the taxes on their produce in the shape of tariffs. The sooner the Minister for Finance realises that this country cannot stand the strain that is being imposed upon it the better it will be for all concerned. We are not better off than we were five years ago, but we are better off than we were two years ago, because we are getting better prices for our stock, although we are not getting the cost of production. Pigs seem to be making a fair price, but any man who feeds a small number of pigs and keeps a correct account of the cost, knows that there is no money to be made from pigs. Why? The cost of offals is too dear. When we milled our own offals we were told by Fianna Fáil that we would have cheap feeding. Offals are now much dearer. When replying, I hope the Minister will tell the people what he intends to do for them.

I want to say, on behalf of the Labour Party, that we are thankful for the reductions in taxation, so far as they affect food, but, at the same time, I say that the reductions have only touched the fringe of the ordinary man's household expenses on necessaries. Deputy Norton referred yesterday to the price of bread, coal, bacon, beef, mutton and necessaries of that kind, and I suggest to the Minister that very soon the Government will have to do something to enable the prices of these things to be reduced. The high cost of living is being felt all over the country by the working classes, and particularly by those who are unemployed or in receipt of unemployment assistance. After all, if the Government can pass legislation through this House to enable a certain price to be obtained for the produce of the farmers, I suggest that they can also do something to prevent middlemen from making profits at the expense of the working people. I wish to apply my remarks to that part of the Minister's Budget statement which deals with the growing liability of local authorities, and I want to say at the outset that I do not agree that the question should be dismissed so lightly. I am prepared to admit that a good deal of the liability that local authorities undertake to-day arises, as he said, from housing, but I suggest that there are other liabilities of local authorities which have been increased because of Government policy. In the course of his remarks the Minister stated that local authorities had increased liabilities in recent years by practically £9,000,000; to be correct £8,863,186.

The Minister stated and, of course, he was correct in doing so, that the Government are contributing to the sinking fund and interest for a good deal of that sum. That is quite true, but he continued:

"Furthermore, the increase in net liability is not an increase in dead-weight debt. It is offset by the value of the rents which the local authorities derive from their house property. Even if these do not cover quite all the outgoings, there is a balance left after defraying the cost of repairs, insurance and management, which is available to reduce the amount that has to be found out of rates to meet the net charges on the loans. Capitalising the rents in question on a 35-year basis at 4 per cent., the increase since 1932 in dead-weight liability due to the Housing Acts is approximately £1,400,000."

I do not think the Minister knows the real position, but his colleague, the Minister for Local Government, does, and I think if he were in a position to examine the exact position as far as local authorities are concerned he would not have made a statement of that kind. I am prepared to admit that the Government have been pretty liberal as far as housing grants are concerned. Their contribution on the average house in an urban area would be about £11 a year, but the Minister is evidently not aware that a good many of the urban authorities, if not all, are making a contribution of from £3 to £5 per house per year. That is a pretty high impost on local authorities, especially on small local authorities.

They own the houses.

I admit that, but they are incurring a great liability, because, as his colleague, the Minister for Local Government, knows, local authorities are experiencing great difficulty in collecting rents from numbers of people who have been transferred from slum areas, because, in a great many of cases, the people who lived in slum areas up to the time the new houses were built were paying an average rent of 1/6 to 2/- a week. The average rent now in towns similar to some of the towns I am identified with is 4/- to 4/6 per week. A number of those people are unemployed, and they find it very difficult to get the difference between the rent they were paying and the rent they are now called upon to pay, so that, along with the fact that local authorities are making a contribution of £3 to £5 per house per year, they are also faced with arrears on these houses which are growing rapidly. That is a matter that is engaging the attention of, and causing a great deal of annoyance to, local authorities at present, and, while a contribution of £11 might be a small matter to the Government, a contribution of £5 per house in an urban area, where a penny in the £ would realise about £40 or £50, is a very serious matter.

The town of Wexford, with which I am identified, had a scheme of houses last year. They were good houses, built under good conditions and built as cheaply as they could be, and that one scheme alone, apart altogether from the schemes that went before it, is costing the Wexford Corporation 9d. in the £. That is a very serious matter for a local authority. It is all very well to juggle with millions here, but when a local authority has to put on an impost of 9d. in the £ in the rates for the year, the local ratepayers never think of looking up the Budget statement of the Minister for Finance to find out whether they were paying £10,000,000 or £1,400,000. I do not think, therefore, that the Minister was right in dismissing it so lightly.

Another impost on local authorities within the last year is the question of the provision of employment under the rotation schemes. That is also a very serious matter and one might say that the local authority is being, shall I say, intimidated so far as that is concerned. That may be a strong term to use, but I cannot think of any other for the moment. An intimation is sent down to a local authority that a certain amount of money is available for them provided they put up a certain amount. That is all very well. No local authority which has the interests of the unemployed at heart, and I suggest that every local authority is anxious to do all in its power to help the unemployed, can refuse a grant of that kind, even though the acceptance of it is certain to put a large impost upon the local ratepayers. Take the town of Wexford. Last year our commitments in this direction cost us 5d. in the £. That was for a loan over a period of five years. Quite recently we got an intimation from the Minister for Local Government that another amount of money would be available during the present year, and that for that we will have to raise a sum in the rates of this year. That sum that was mentioned is going to cost the Wexford ratepayers 7d. in the £, so that, between housing and our contribution to help to relieve unemployment, the town of Wexford will be saddled during the present year with a sum of 1/9 in the £.

That is not the end of the story. Wexford town, being over 7,000 in population, has also to contribute to the unemployment assistance fund, and might I say, in passing, that notwithstanding the fact that the Government have reduced that Vote by over £500,000, none of the contributing bodies has got any relief in that connection. The amount of money which Wexford has to contribute is 9d. in the £, and it really works out at 10d. in the £ because we have to pay that on the gross valuation of the borough. There are certain reliefs given by way of local taxation, so that a 9d. rate would not bring in the amount of money required by the Minister for Industry and Commerce. It is, therefore, necessary to strike a rate of 10d. in the £ so that, for employment and housing, the amount paid by the Wexford ratepayers totals 2/7 in the £ and that only covers a period of one or two years. I suggest to the Minister that that is a rather high impost.

There are certain ratepayers, of course, able to meet a demand of that kind, but when one considers that every increase in rates is promptly passed on by the landlord to the tenant, I think the Minister will admit that it is something which the ordinary working man or ordinary person cannot meet. The amount received from local bodies all over the country last year as a contribution towards the unemployment assistance fund, according to statistics published, was £197,260 3s. 7d. I suggest that, in view of the new policy, that is the rotation policy, adopted by the Ministry, that also is a contribution towards the employment of these people on rotational schemes. I think that local authorities should get some consideration in so far as this rate for unemployment assistance is concerned, and I would ask the Minister to consider it. After all, if the fund is being relieved in consequence of the rotational scheme, and if, in order to relieve that fund, the local authorities have to pay a contribution over and above the 9d. rate, surely there should be some relief, and surely the local ratepayers should get the same relief in proportion as the Government gets through the medium of the unemployment assistance fund.

I listened to the Minister for Industry and Commerce this evening talking about unemployment, and I am prepared to admit that a number of men have been put into employment in consequence of the Government's policy, but I am not going to accept the figure he gives of 75,000 men having found employment within the last year or two. I should like to know where they have been put into employment, and I think we ought to have more particulars than the Minister was prepared to give this evening. I do not think anybody would swallow that story that 75,000 people had been put into work. It appears to be judged by the amount of contributions that have been paid into the unemployment insurance fund, but we all know that a large amount of that has been contributed to by men who have been on one day's, two days' or three day's work during the past couple of years.

I do not think the Deputy——

I may be wrong, but I am not misstating it deliberately.

I am anxious to put this to the Deputy for the purpose of securing any information he may have on the matter. I do not think there has been any person employed for one day.

Perhaps that was an exaggeration.

We will find out where the 75,000 came from.

That is what I am really anxious to know. I would be just as glad as the Government to know that that was the fact, but I do not know from what angle we can examine it to find out where they went. From the remarks of the Minister which led up to that statement, we were led to infer that he was calculating that figure on the amount of money paid into the unemployment insurance fund, and if that is so, it has been contributed to largely by people on relief works who are working only two days or three days a week, and I do not think that by any stretch of the imagination the Minister can put that forward as putting men into industry.

I have nothing else to say, but I would suggest to the Minister that he should not continue to ask large contributions from local authorities to finance the rotational scheme. I want to say this, on behalf of the last Government, that they gave grants freely without any contribution from local funds. I think it is only fair that that should be said. They did that repeatedly. I know that in the last few years of their existence they did not give any grants, but when they did give them, they gave them without putting a large liability upon the local ratepayers.

The difference between the two was this: £150,000 in 1931-32, and £1,500,000 this year.

There were other differences.

I admit all that, but, after all, the Minister, in his Budget statement of last year and other years, and members of his Ministry in the course of certain statements made by them, stated that they have set out to cure the unemployment situation. I think the local authorities are doing just as much as, if not more than, the Government itself to appease the unemployment situation, because the amount they are asked to contribute is out of all proportion to what they should be asked to contribute. The contribution of the Government is infinitesimal compared with the amount of money the local authorities have been called upon to put up. People may think that statement—that the amount of money is infinitesimal—a bit of an exaggeration, but I am speaking by comparison. After all, if you put 5d., 6d. or 7d., or, as in the case I have quoted, 1/- on the rates in one year to help the unemployed, I think that is rather a large impost. Nobody expected, when Fianna Fáil set out to cure unemployment, that local authorities would be asked to contribute an amount of that size.

Speaking in an impartial spirit, I should say that this must be a wonderfully great little country that is able to produce a revenue of well over £31,000,000. I think that is very creditable indeed. Of course, one must consider, at the same time, that expenditure is equal to, if not greater than, the revenue, and when you consider the resources of the country and the position of the people, it certainly displays a great spirit. Sometimes I wonder how it comes, judging, say, by the figures of the last election—I think 700,000 votes for Fianna Fáil and something like 560,000 for Fine Gael—those 500,000 people are so loyal that they carry out their civic duties to such an extent as to be, in a large measure, responsible for producing such a revenue. Considering that such taunts as "West Britons" and "traitors" and such terms have been hurled at these people, it is a great tribute to their civic spirit that the Minister for Finance has been in a position to realise such a revenue. I hope the Minister and the members of his Party will take note of that fact, and that any speeches they make in the future, especially during the approaching general election, will be tempered by the spirit of charity which we hope to see developed a little more within the ranks of that Party.

Other Parties should have it, too.

Of course, you people were the pioneers of it, and the older cock-birds amongst them were the worst. With regard to the position in general, I should always like to view a Budget in an open way. I am one of those who know what this country can do and what it cannot do. I am not one of those who ask the impossible, and I think the time has arrived when a limit should be put to what the people of this country are to be asked to subscribe. When one goes through the figures that make up this £31,000,000, one is almost surprised at the enormous amount the Minister has got during the past year by way of customs duties imposed on articles imported into this country. If my memory serves me right, the amount is almost one-third, or more, of the total revenue. That means that every article imported and used in this country carries with it an extra tax, and that, of itself, goes to increase the cost of living, goes to increase the expenses in running industries, and goes to increase the cost of the most necessary service at the moment which the Minister and his Government have in view, the provision of good housing accommodation for the people.

Dealing with the whole question of expenditure, I should like to say that this country is fast approaching the day when there will be very few people in the country who will not be dependent on the Government for their living, to a greater or lesser extent. That is an aspect of the situation that does not appeal to me. It is a position which is the very negation of the war-cry of the old Sinn Féin Party, "Ourselves alone." There is not much self-reliance when such a policy is allowed to develop as it has been developing during the last three or four years, and it is one which, unless it is arrested, will have a very bad influence upon the morale of the people. There is no doubt that there is a very large percentage of our people in that position, and that percentage is increasing every day in the week.

With regard to the statement of the Minister as to unemployment and the amount of money voted for unemployment assistance, housing, etc., I do not want to delay the House too long in dealing with that aspect of the Budget, but this I do say, that the Minister and the members of his Party claim that they have provided certain sums for the relief of unemployment, and they have undoubtedly provided large sums of money. They must, however, admit, as Deputy Corish has mentioned, that they have imposed a duty upon the local authorities to provide a very substantial sum for the purpose of contributing towards the relief of unemployment. Take, for instance, the £2,000,000 which the Minister has given for relief schemes. It would be interesting to know what percentage of that amount finds its way back into the coffers of the national Exchequer by the savings effected through the Unemployment Assistance Act. The Minister and the members of his Party make great play with the amount of money they give in respect of relief grants, but everybody knows that the conditions governing employment on these relief schemes are, firstly, that the persons in receipt of the largest sum by way of unemployment assistance have prior claim to work on these schemes. Now let me make myself clear on this matter. I do not want to put the Minister in a false position; if I am wrong I would be thankful if he would correct me, and if I am right I would like the Minister to admit it. Let us assume, for the purpose of argument, that when certain of these schemes down the country have been passed they are then proceeded with. Now, take one scheme of minor relief works. There are probably 50 men on that scheme, 30 of whom might possibly have been drawing 10/- or 11/- a week under the Unemployment Assistance Act. Now under the rotational system at present in vogue these men get three days' work a week which, at 4/- a day, would amount to 12/-. Of course, in an urban area the figures would be different from a rural area.

The Deputy is wrong in his figures.

The Minister for Finance, let us say, pays out that 12/- a week, but he gets out of paying the 10/- or 11/- because of the fact that he is no longer paying benefit under the Unemployment Assistance Act. In addition to that saving, there is the amount of the stamps on a man's card, because if a man works only one day in the week his card has to be stamped. In that way the Minister actually gets increased revenue by way of the stamps plus the 25 per cent. contribution by the local authority. I understand these grants are conditional upon the local authority subscribing at least 25 per cent. of the money required to carry the scheme through. I think that in the initial stages of the minor relief schemes the amount which the local authority had to contribute was 50 per cent. This was subsequently reduced to 33? per cent., and now I understand the figure is down to 25 per cent. of the cost of carrying out the scheme. For that reason, it could be argued in a great many cases that the Minister is actually making a saving on these schemes, and the £1,500,000 or £2,000,000 which the Minister talks about spending on minor relief works is not the great Government contribution at all that the Minister makes it out to be, because of what has to be provided locally. There is a saving to the Minister under the Unemployment Assistance Act. That reinforces my argument that, instead of these men being given three days a week employment, they should be given a full week's work.

The Deputy's figures are all wrong.

Is the Minister denying that in an urban area where the wages are £2 8s. a week or 8/- a day he gets three days' work under the rotational system and all the man receives for the week is 24/-? Now, that man who gets the 24/- is a married man with a wife and perhaps four or five children, say, under the age of 16 years. Under the Unemployment Assistance Act such a man would receive, I understand, in an urban centre over 16/- a week.

Not at all.

I am speaking of an urban centre like Dundalk where the population exceeds 7,000. In such areas he will get 1/- or 2/- per head for each child. The whole benefit added together will realise, according to the number in the family, from 20/- to 25/- a week.

Not in a small urban area.

I am speaking now of an area like Dundalk with a population of over 15,000. There are men in Dundalk who under the Unemployment Assistance Act are drawing from 16/- to 20/- a week. I am arguing that whereas the whole of the 25 per cent. contributed by the local authority comes out of the funds of the area, the moneys advanced by the Minister in some way find their way back to the Exchequer through the savings effected under the Unemployment Assistance Act and the stamps.

I am simply telling the Deputy that if he is basing his case on the figures he has given to the House now, his figures are hopelessly wrong and his case falls.

Let me now take the case of the rural areas. A man living outside an urban centre who has occasion to make application for relief, is entitled, if he has a family of three or four children, to something ranging from 11/- to 12/- a week. The Minister must admit that. But if that man gets employment for three days a week he will only draw 10/-.

I am telling the Deputy that no person receives relief at 10/- a week in a rural area. Under the rotational system such a man must get more than 14/- a week. That is more than three days' work.

Even so. Take the Minister's figure at 14/- a week, the Minister gets 10/- of this saved under the unemployment Assistance Act, and then there is the stamping of the man's card plus the 25 per cent. subscribed by the local authority.

Not at all.

I am not going to argue that with the Minister now. I want to say this—that I do not want the members of the Executive Council and the members of the Fianna Fáil Party during the coming general election to go about the country telling the people what they have done to relieve unemployment. They have not done what they promised to do nor what they were supposed to do. I am one of those who is always ready to give credit where credit is due. I appreciate any good work done by the Government. I also realise the difficulties faced by those who set themselves out to find a solution for the problem of unemployment. I remember that during the last two general elections when the Minister and the members of his Party were telling the people that they could easily solve the problem of unemployment, getting up and telling the electors that no Government could solve it. I went so far as to say that it was not the duty of any Government to solve it, because where governments tried to solve unemployment they rather made it worse. All we hear about this £2,500,000 for unemployment does not make such a rosy picture as Fianna Fáil would make it out to be. The Government are imposing very big burdens on the local authority. They asked them at the initial stage of these schemes to subscribe 50 per cent., then 33 per cent. and now 25 per cent. of the cost of the schemes. Those offers of relief schemes have been hurled at members of public bodies in the hope that these local bodies would refuse these grants. That would give the Fianna Fáil Party good election propaganda. But that sort of thing is really nothing short of intimidation. Those public bodies always came to the rescue of the unemployed, independent of any action taken by this or any other Government. Are we to be told now that the local authorities are not doing their duty?

I am not now going into the question of housing or the points brought forward by Deputy Corish. It is a bit unpopular at present to criticise in any way the housing policy of the Government. I know this question is receiving the serious attention of the Minister for Local Government and Public Health. Deputy Corish told us that the housing schemes are all right. In spite of that, I am afraid that during the next four or five years there is going to be a heavy load placed on the local authorities as a result of the tenants of those houses not paying their rents and not being in a position to pay them. I know that at the present time there is being intimidation used by the Ministers themselves who are trying to get the local authorities to let houses at a certain rent. Certain people would give away houses for nothing. Anything to get votes! I am not one of those who want to impose obligations on the workers in the hope of securing a few additional votes here and there. Where there is hardship to be borne, I am one of those who would spread that hardship or burden over as many shoulders as possible.

Now, as regards this question of the revenue of the country and the position of the country, I want to refer again to the fact that, notwithstanding all the boasting of the Fianna Fáil Government, from the President down, the last 12 months, in my opinion, have convinced the members of the Government that this country cannot carry on successfully unless we preserve a good trade relationship with our neighbour across the water. All the talk about the economic war being over and won is all moonshine. The fact of the matter is that the Government have had to come down from their high horse and make a settlement with the British Government. I do not say this is any tantalising way, and I am not out to belittle the efforts of the Government, but I do say that what the Government have done during the past year could equally have been done during previous years, and thereby save the enormous losses that have been imposed upon a very considerable section of our people.

I believe the President, the members of the Executive Council and the members of the Fianna Fáil Party have a terrible responsibility on their shoulders for the losses, the hardships and the miseries they have wantonly inflicted upon a very large section of our people. I am one of those men who believe that no hardship that can be avoided should be inflicted for the mere sake of inflicting it. Therefore, seeing, as the Government has now seen, that it is in the best interests of the people of this country that good trade relationship should exist between the Governments of the two countries, there is no reason why this Government and the English Government could not make a decent settlement of the whole position that has existed for the past four years.

If the Government have found it necessary to make the latest Coal-Cattle Pact, whereby the British have taken more cattle and we have taken more of their coal, and if they found it necessary to make an arrangement whereby the ‘British will allow our horses in free for certain other concessions, surely it should be possible to make an agreement that would cover everything? At the present time the position is somewhat Gilbertian: it is amusing if it were not so tragic. The position is somewhat akin to that existing during the Great War, when the British people themselves had to line up in queues to get a little sugar and other necessaries of life, while we in this country enjoyed everything to the full. The position seems to be reversed by reason of our Government's policy. Mr. Englishman can get a pound of prime Irish bacon or prime Irish butter at very reasonable prices, while Irish Paddy in his own country has to pay an excessive price, and if Irish butter is not there, he has to do without butter of any kind.

Under the agreement made by our Government with the British Government in regard to the filling of quotas of bacon and butter, we have to supply the British market with the best Irish bacon and the best Irish butter to the exclusion of our own fellow-countrymen. That cannot be denied. Everybody knows that some four or five weeks ago in certain towns in this State there was not a pound of Irish butter to be got. I am aware that in my neighbouring town of Newry, only ten or 12 miles away, a man could get plenty of pure Irish creamery at 11d. to 1/- a lb. whereas the people in the Free State, where the butter was manufactured, could not get it for 1/5 a lb.—indeed, could not get it for love or money.

If that is fighting the enemy, if a policy of that nature is fighting the enemy—as the saying goes, starving out John Bull—then it is the newest way of carrying on a war that I ever heard of. Yet, that is the position. I maintain it is a humiliating position, especially when one considers the record of the President. He never surrendered, we are told. As a matter of fact, he has been surrendering every year for the past four years. He and his Party have made surrender after surrender, and I am not blaming them. Greater men than they have had to compromise. I do not agree with the statement of the President when he says that compromise means surrender. It does not. I think the leader of the Labour Party will bear me out in that. For instance, there was never a strike yet settled without a compromise. The employers did not take up the attitude that the President has taken up. They never said: "If we compromise it means surrender." The Labour leaders have never said: "If we compromise it means surrender." Like wise men, they know that if they do not compromise it means that they are going to inflict untold hardships upon those whose interests they have been selected to safeguard. No matter what the Labour leader may say in public, when it comes to a question of safeguarding his fellowmen who have selected him to look after their interests, he always chooses the lesser of two evils and compromises without any serious loss of honour to himself or those whose interests he is looking after.

There is no use in the President saying that compromise means surrender. It does not. Already he has made agreements with the British Government and there is no reason why an agreement should not be arrived at in regard to cattle and all other agricultural produce that at the moment carries penal tariffs before entering the British market. We have carried on very well under such adverse circumstances and the fact that we have carried on so well is due, in my opinion, to the loyalty and co-operation, in the main, of those who are politically opposed to the present Government. That cannot be denied. Although many people are opposed politically to the Government, yet they have such a sense of civic spirit that, whilst they criticise the Government, they nevertheless are prepared to carry out their civic duties.

We have been told by men of the type of Deputy Corry that certain of us have advised the people not to pay and to endeavour to thwart the Government. That comes badly from any member of the Fianna Fáil Party. For years we have been sick listening to the propaganda carried on by Fianna Fáil when they were skulking outside the doors of this House. Deputies on the Fianna Fáil Benches, display a very poor taste in some of their statements when one considers the co-operation that the present Government are receiving from those in opposition. A tribute was paid to Opposition supporters by the Minister for Industry and Commerce about a month ago when he stated that were it not for the loyal co-operation received from those politically opposed to the Government, it would be impossible for the Government to carry out the industrial schemes that they have carried out during the last three years. The Minister's supporters would do well to ponder over that statement.

I say here and now that I am not one of those who would like to decry a Government that is in power. I am not one of those who go out on a platform and declare something terrible is going to happen this country. I know this country has great resources, that the people can suffer and have suffered in the past. They can endure much whenever a principle is at stake, but let it be an understandable principle. There is no principle at stake now. Seeing that the President has made so many agreements with the British, there is no reason why he should not make the one that will finish once and for all the existing outstanding differences between the two countries.

I should like, before I sit down, to refer to the question of bacon as it affects the people in the town adjacent to the Border. There is no doubt about the fact that at the present time that whole trade has gone away altogether. Were it not that the farmers in those areas are not absolutely at the mercy of the factories, were it not for the fact that there do exist, fortunately for the farmers there, people known as pig-buyers—a very decent class of people, who have got a very bad "hunt" for the past four or five years—were it not for those people going around to the farmers and buying their pigs and giving them fair value, I do not know what would happen. Where only the factory is concerned, the pigs go to the factory and the farmer is at the mercy of the factory. The farmer has nobody to look after his interests. His pigs can be graded, according to the advertised prices, as Grade A, Grade B, Grades C, D, E, and so on—the whole 26 letters in the alphabet, one might say —and there is nobody to see to the farmer's interests.

I do not think the Minister for Finance is responsible for the factories.

Well, Sir, it is one of the things that come under the head of bounties and subsidies.

I see no bounty for bacon in it.

Well, Sir, I submit that it is ancillary to the question—incidental to it.

It is ancillary to eggs.

At any rate, the factories would not be much good if you had not the export trade. I think it is the duty of the Minister for Finance to do something to ease that situation. Now, with regard to the reliefs that have been given, we were all delighted, naturally, about the 4d. a lb. off tea, and about the duty off the farmers' butter. There again, however, one does not like to speak too plainly, but everybody knows that the greatest farce that ever was invented was the levy of 4d. a lb. on farmers' butter. What it amounted to was that the law-abiding people suffered. The man who wanted to obey the law suffered, but the clever fellow, who wanted to evade the law, managed to get over it. That is one of the greatest grievances I have against the present Government—that, having passed Acts of Parliament, they have not got the courage to enforce them. The decent man gets fleeced, and the other fellow gets away. The law-abiding person paid that 4d., and the other gentleman, who wanted to evade the law, managed to get over it, and it usually happened that when, once in a blue moon, the honest man tried to get away with that 4d., he was immediately pounced upon and taken to court.

It is a good thing, at any rate, that that was done away with, because it seems to indicate that the Government has gone back to the principle of self-reliance. What better industry can there be than the industry of the farmer working in his own home? What greater industry could you have than the farmer working in his own home? The Minister is very interested in having factories established all over the country, but the farmer who made his own butter was engaged in an industry, and every farmer's house was a factory in that sense. As I say, it is a good job that the Minister has taken that thing away, because it was one of the things that has imposed great hardship on people who were ever ready and willing to earn an honest living without Government assistance and, above all, without Government interference; and I am sure that the members of the Government themselves have realised that it was a good thing to remove that 4d. a lb.

Again, one might consider this Budget as a "wind-up" Budget. One may take it that the Government have been listening to the vox populi, as they say. The different Fianna Fáil clubs all over the country must have been sending in some letters, during the last three or four months, to the members of the Executive Council calling attention to the state of public opinion in the country and calling attention to the rising tide of public opinion against the high cost of living, and I am sure that the voice of the people, in that sense, has been ringing in the ears of the Ministers, day and night, during the last couple of months. There is no doubt about it, and I think that that has been, in the main, responsible for this policy. It has been due to the main Opposition in this House and to the speeches delivered by the members of the Opposition and, if I might say so, also to the speeches delivered by the members of the Labour Party up and down the country. That is what brought the Government down from their high horse and made them shell out a little of the loot that has been gathered from the people in the last four or five years. They remind me of the people in a ship with a mutinous crew: no matter what happens, they must be mindful of the loot, and to pacify the mutineers, they must give away some of the loot. So it is with the Government. They have now to give back to the people of this country a little of the loot they have taken from the people in the last three or four years. The cry of “Up the republic” has no effect to-day, and the cry of “Down with England” has no effect on the working classes in the last few years. You have had your innings, and we will get our turn now; and all I can say is that, undoubtedly, we will not rub it in to you as you have rubbed it in to us.

If Galway and Wexford are any indication, you will not be here to do so.

There is a change coming, and the Government has been wise in time in taking off the 4d. from tea, the ¼d. off sugar, and reducing the price of the butter to the people by 2d. In that way they will satisfy many of their supporters in the country and, possibly, reduce some of the cost of living. I would like to speak for quite a long time, as Deputy Anthony has said, about the question of strikes in this country—about the question of strikes and the cost of living and so forth. I should like to speak about it for a long time, but I hope that in the future, wiser counsels will prevail, and we hope that the Minister, should he be Minister for Finance in the next Government, will be in a position to state to the House that his revenue has gone up over £31,000,000 and that the people are in a position to make up that revenue, but again I say that, personally, I am rather apprehensive with regard to the growing number of people in this country who, at the moment, have to depend for a living on the Government. They are the biggest employers. If I wanted to go into the figures quoted by the Minister for Industry and Commerce when he spoke about the 75,000 people in employment, I think I could show that the Minister is the biggest employer himself. I think that about 25,000 are engaged in housing and relief schemes, and, although I am personally interested in house building, still I do not think it was ever looked upon as industrial employment in the ordinary sense of the word. I move to report progress.

Progress reported, the Committee to sit-to-morrow.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until Friday, 16th April, at 10.30 a.m.