Committee on Finance. - Vote 55—Forestry.

Debate resumed on the following motion:—
Go ndeontar suim ná raghaidh thar £98,743 chun slánuithe na suime is gá chun íoctha an Mhuirir a thiocfaidh chun bheith iníoctha i rith na bliana dar críoch an 31adh lá de Mhárta, 1939, chun Tuarastail agus Costaisí i dtaobh Foraioseachta (9 agus 10 Geo. 5, c. 58; agus Uimh. 34 de 1928), maraon le Deontas-i-gCabhair chun Tailimh do Thógaint.
That a sum not exceeding £98,743 be granted to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1939, for Salaries and Expenses in connection with Foresstry (9 and 10 Geo. 5, c. 58; and No. 34 of 1928), including a Grant-in-Aid for Acquisition of Land.

Gearóid Mac Partholáin

Badh mhaith liom cúpla focal a rádh i dtaobh foraoiseachta. Níl mé dhul a chur síos mórán ar cheist An Chnuic Bhuidhe. Tá a fhios ag chuile dhuine nach bhfuair an áit sin seans ar bith le tairbhe a bhaint as an obair a rinneadh ann. Chuala mé féin gur dóghadh na crainnte óga seal gearr tar éis a gcur. Níl aon mhaith dhúinne a bheith ag dul chomh fada sin siar agus níl aon mhaith don Roinn a bheith ag dul chomh fada sin siar agus níl aon mhaith don Roinn a bheith 'ga thabhairt mar shómpla dhúinn agus mar leith-scéal nuair nach ndéanann siad aon dul-chun-cinn i gConamara i gcur na gcrann. B'fhearr liom agus b'fhearr dhúinn uilig tabhairt faoi'n gceist le aire na Roinne a dhíriú ar na háiteacha gur féidir, do réir tuairme gach duine i gConamara, crainnte a fhás.

Mheabhróchainn dhon Aire gur dhubhairt sé anuraidh gur cheap an Roinn go bhféadfaí obair mhaith a dhéanamh i gCeanntar Sraith Salach agus go rabh sé ag súil go dtosóchaí annsin gan mórán moille. Níor tosuigheadh fós ann. Badh mhaith freisin a chur os comhair an Aire gur gearradh anuas go leor crainnte aimsear an Chogaidh Mhóir in áit a dtugann siad Seecon air in aice le Uachtar Ard. Níor ath-phlanndáladh é. Tairgeadh an talamh céadna dhon Roinn agus ní thuigeann muinntear Uachtair Áird tuige nach bhfuil obair déanta ag an Roinn san áit seo. Déanaim tagairt freisin dho áit i gCeanntar Ros Muc a dtugann siad Cnoc an Daimh air. D'iarrfainn ar an Aire a chur ina luighe ar an Roinn go gcaithfear tosnú i gConamara go luath; go bhfuil an iomarca faillighe déanta cheana; agus go bhfuil chuile sheans go mbeidh toradh maith ar obair a déanfar ins na trí áiteacha a ndearna mé tagairt dóibh.

I do not wish to repeat the references that were made to the failure of one afforestation experiment that was carried out 40 years ago. Reasons have been adduced for that failure, one reason being that as considerable damage was done by fire the plantation had no chance of succeeding. It would serve no useful purpose to hark back to that now. Many places in West Galway were mentioned as suitable places for planting where land was offered for that purpose. I was instrumental in having many places put forward and I went to the trouble of having a committee selected. I asked them to consider the possibility of getting suitable land but a great many of the places suggested were turned down. However, some places in Connemara area have not been definitely turned down by the Department. I remember that last year the Minister stated that some good work might be done in Recess and I was hoping that some scheme of planting would be undertaken before this Vote came on. I draw the Minister's attention to the references I made to Recess last year, and I ask the Department to consider the possibility of having some planting done. It is very close to Ballinahinch where trees have been grown successfully. I also referred to Secon near Oughterard. As the wood was cut there during the Great War the extraordinary statement was made to me, that the fact that trees grew there before was no guarantee that they would grow there again. It is hard to get the public to accept a statement like that. The place is well sheltered. I think the Department should pluck up courage and consider planting at Recess and Secon. I also wish to bring to the Minister's attention a place at Rosmuck known as Crockadav or Ox Mountain. It is not my intention to hurl complaints at the Department but to ask that these three places be considered for planting. The general opinion in Connemara is that trees can be grown there. I ask the Minister to take particular notice of these places with a view to having something done there.

I have not had the advantage of reading the book that was referred to in such terms of praise by Deputy Dowdall. The fact that the Deputy is a commercial man and interested in the production of wealth means, I have no doubt, that it is deserving of all he has said about it. Deputies who spoke on this Vote emphasised the value of considerable expenditure under it. Considering that it is the only Department of State that is engaged in active production, it is a surprise to me that the Minister has seen fit to reduce his Vote instead of increasing it, considering that in his Department he has officials who are very well versed in the carrying out of a great industry. Every country practically in the world to-day has developed the question of forestry and has done it successfully, except this country, and I would remind the Minister that there is a huge area available to him, not alone all over the whole Irish Free State, but particularly in County Cork. It was referred to by one Deputy as hundreds of acres. I say thousands of acres are available. Before this country took up the reins of government, private enterprise dealt very exhaustively with this particular class of industry and did so successfully. I can refer to one particular landowner, Sir George Colthurst, in the City of Cork, who had developed the timber industry almost to a regular business. He had a rotation estate where he planted and cut timber, and as soon as ever he could-after a very short interval—he planted again. There are places of that description available to-day. Owing to the economic position of affairs in this country, landowners cut down their timber and they did not plant again.

I suggest that a recommendation made by Deputy Brennan on a former occasion here is deserving of the consideration of the Minister, not in the small way that it was put by the Deputy where he suggested that four or five acres should be planted on the farms by the State, but it would be very well worth the while of the Minister to take up these unplanted lands or land where timber has been cut and for the sake of giving employment, for the sake of adding to the wealth of the State that he would plant them with timber. There are further aspects centring round the question of forestry. There is its great commercial value; there is the vast field that it gives for employment and productive employment—not perhaps in some directions where there is no productive value to be derived—and it is a class of employment that I think would be very favourably entertained by those who require employment, that is in rural areas. I say that is a vast field for the Minister to consider. The Minister has promised to plant a very slightly increased area on his reduced Vote but we cannot ignore the fact that the Department which he controls is very conservative in their attitude with regard to the acquisition of land for forestry purposes. In agriculture we found good land and we found bad land and even the very worst land is found and a living is derived from it provided there is adequate capital and experience. The same can be got in forestry. You can plant a class of trees that are suitable for an inferior class of land, even if you have a very prolonged number of years before you get results. At any rate to plant these lands and bring them into production is a very essential thing for the Minister whose special care the production of land properly is.

Now we cannot ignore the fact that there is a very small staff employed by the Forestry Department and I suggest that, having regard to the fact that the Minister has a very skilled staff in his Department it ought not to be difficult to train extra hands. Reference has been made to the difficulty of procuring trees. Well I am told that we have in the Cork County a nursery established and run by the Cork County Council. It is not the business of a local authority to run a thing of that kind. It is the business of the Minister and I suggest that the proper course for him is to take over that county council nursery and run it for the advantage of land holders in County Cork or the Southern area and also because it is in a very central position it is a land that is very suitable, and I am sure by the supervision which the Minister's department would be able to bring to bear that there is no question that that nursery could be run on up-to-date lines and on lines that would carry out the intentions of the Forestry Department. I suggest to the Minister that those people who ran all this kind of thing as private enterprises in the past did not question or did not look to whether the land was very suitable for it. They simply planted it because they had the land to plant and I suggest that these lands are going waste and that it is up to the Minister to take up that particular side of it and to give consideration to the possibility of widening the scope of the activities of his Department and planting with the avowed object of giving the necessary employment which is so urgent in this country to-day and at the same time bringing into production those lands which in the past have been found absolutely suitable for plantation and which will be providing a great source of national wealth. Restrictions could be placed upon these people to prevent them cutting them down but as they are waste at the present moment I do not think that that is necessary so long as they give a guarantee to care these lands and to look after them and not to cut them down. I do believe that that side of the question is worthy of the consideration of the Minister.

The Minister has said that there are 33 pupils for forestry purposes. Well considering the area of Éire that is an absolutely inadequate number and I would ask the Minister to seriously consider the question of increasing that number with a view to increasing the production of his particular Department. In County Cork there is in the neighbourhood of Glengowan and Carrignavar at least a couple of thousand of acres that are absolutely suitable for planting and there are other parts of the country adjoining the mountain formerly occupied by the Duke of Devonshire, which have been planted and in the immediate neighbourhood there are other areas which I have brought to the attention of the Department, notably Moville and Dungarvan, and also an estate that was mentioned by Deputy Corry here the last day, that is the Rostellan estate. The Department of Lands has contemplated the division of that estate but, as apparently they cannot make up their minds as to its suitability, I suggest that the Minister would take over the whole of that estate and plant it. The land is not exactly over good— it would not be exactly prized by those amongst whom you would divide it— and I suggest that it is eminently suitable for the planting of forest trees, and having regard to the very large area that is available in the County Cork and the big tracts that are suitable for this particular purpose, I suggest that the Minister might extend his Department to a very much larger degree than what he is doing at present. Instead of curtailing the Vote I suggest that he should increase it. It is a Vote which, as I say, is the one which is likely to make for a direct production in the country, and as the Minister is controlled by a staff which probably comes to a good deal of money he might as well increase their activities without increasing the overhead expenses of his Department.

I intervene in this debate only to make a plea for the wide opportunities that the constituency of West Cork—the County of Cork generally—but particularly that remote portion of the county which is included in the constituency of West Cork—offers to the Minister for an expansion of forestry operations. A beginning has been made in the county, the western portion of the county, and a very modest beginning indeed. I would urge the Minister that the wide opportunities that are there by reason of the large amount of land that is suitable for purposes of this kind should be a reason why this work could be expanded very considerably in that area. Now I think we have a special claim in that area. We have not had any of the benefits in the way of factories or industries of the policy of the Government. In fact the only State employment that is available there is the amount of work that is provided in the way of one relief scheme or another, and I think our location and the nature and description of the land available make the constituency eminently suitable for an extension of this work.

With regard to the plantations that exist and that are being carried on, I may also point to the fact that peculiar circumstances in the matter of wages will now exist. Since the main Vote for the Minister's Department was before the House a change in agricultural wages has taken place, and the position now would be unless the wages of forestry workers are revised immediately farmers will be compelled to pay, and properly compelled to pay, at a higher rate than the State Department pays for forestry work. That is a very peculiar position, and I bring the matter to the notice of the Minister in the hope that an early announcement will be made indicating an increase in the wages of the forestry workers. There is in the area of which I speak as well as in other areas some objection to the acquisition of the land on the ground that it is unsuitable.

I sometimes wonder whether it would be a practical suggestion that in the event of the land being found unsuitable for a certain class of timber, it might be possible to find another variety of timber not so valuable that would be suitable for planting there. I put that suggestion forward in the hope that it may be considered as a good suggestion. I will not now urge the value of forestry. There has been an emphasis during the course of this debate and indeed every other debate for the last 15 years on the importance of forestry. The force of that is accepted and there is now no need to take up time unduly emphasising the importance of forestry. What we do want is an extension of the very worthy operations of this Department that are now carried on on a very small and inadequate scale. We ask for a fair revision of the workers' wages and a continuation and an extension of the forestry policy as far as possible. I do not think I should sit down without expressing my own appreciation at the courtesy and efficiency of the officials of the Department. Anyone who has met the officials of the Department of Forestry has always found them courteous and helpful and most efficient in their work; it is a great pleasure to me to say so on this Vote.

When the Minister was introducing this Estimate, he stated that forestry operations are now being carried out in 24 counties. I happen to be one of the representatives of a county where no forestry operations have so far been undertaken. That is rather an unenviable position in which to find oneself. The Minister stated that in the near future he would be able to extend operations to the other two counties. I admit that in Meath we have no large tracts of land for forestry purposes. We cannot speak about tracts of land of 2,000 to 3,000 acres being available. We have at least put forward three schemes where we consider the land suitable for tree planting and unsuitable for tillage or pasture purposes. I might specially mention Ballynabracky, Collon and the Nobber areas. The only other areas that we offered to the Forestry Department comprises cut-away bog. I understand that the experts who have examined these sites have turned down cut-away bog as unsuitable soil. In connection with this matter, I wish to ask the Minister if investigations have been carried out in regard to the future possibilities of the bogs for forestry purpose, and whether any research has been made in connection with the treatment of uneconomic soil. If these cut-away areas could be planted with timber, it would be of inestimable value to the countryside and be a great national asset.

I believe, in cases where a licence-has been granted for the cutting down of timber, there has been a general disregard of the policy of replanting. I understand that where a licence is given to a farmer to cut down trees, there is a stipulation that the place should be replanted. I fear that rule has not been enforced. I find in a great many places where timber has been cut away, there have not been trees planted. I would like if the Minister would say if there is any penalty for this transgression, or if the penalty is being imposed. I know there is a penalty for cutting timber without first securing a licence. I do not know whether there is a penalty where the owner will not replant the cut-away area. I would also like to know, where there are small plantations planted as a result of such an order, if there is any supervision afterwards to see if the trees are being attended to in a proper manner.

I am mostly concerned with the future of the furniture industry in County Meath. We have an old-established furniture industry in Meath and that has been very progressive in the past few years. That industry is expanding and is giving a great deal of employment. It is absolutely essential for its success that the raw material should be in close proximity to the centre of the industry, so that there should be no diminution in the supply. After all, we are only custodians in this regard; the wealth of timber in the country should be preserved. This property has been handed down to us, and the least we might be expected to do is to see that there would be no wastage and that the trees cut down should be replaced. We should in no way reduce the potential value of this wealth. I believe that the conservation of the timber stock in the country is of great importance, not only to the furniture industry, but to the nation as a whole.

The scheme whereby a subsidy of £4 an acre is given by the Department to a farmer who plants five acres of ground, or where two or three farmers combine together to plant five acres between them, has not proved successful. I think it will be found on examining the plan that the initial outlay is too much. I refer to the outlay in preparing the site, purchasing the trees and planting them. The outlay is too much for the farmer who plants any considerable area under trees.

All, of course, we could expect to secure as a result of this subsidy would be the plantation of shelter belts. I do believe that there should be some co-operation between the Forestry Department and the Department of Agriculture in connection with the planting of trees. In County Meath, under the Department of Agriculture, we have a scheme whereby a subsidy is given to farmers to a maximum of £3 for planting trees. Last year some £420 was paid out in subsidies on that scheme. The horticultural instructors ensure proper planting and treatment, and they act as foresters, or, at least, they supervise for some period afterwards. Here, again, however, you can only expect farmers to plant shelter belts. One cannot expect that they will go in for very large planting operations. Consequently, you find that mere shelter belts and other necessary timbers are being planted by the farmers for their own use. I would suggest that there should be some extension along those lines, or, at least, that it is worthy of the consideration of the Minister and his Department.

The machinery of the Department of Agriculture, through its county committees, could be very usefully employed. What I want to emphasise is that small plots should not be despised. At the moment we are not able to put up 300 acres, or, at least, there are only very few such tracts of land. Practically every farmer, however, could devote a small acreage to forestry—from one acre upwards. I know that the Forestry Department will not tolerate anything under the five acres for which they give a small subsidy. However, I do believe that, with the co-operation of the Department of Agriculture, some scheme could be devised under which such small plots from an acre upwards could be taken over, and even though they would not become State property afterwards, possibly the land owner might be released of all charges for some years. In regard to the planting of such crops, possibly the co-operation of the Board of Works could be obtained. Through its unemployment scheme, possibly it would be in a position to have the ground cleaned and planted. Afterwards, of course, the committee of agriculture could supervise the growing of the trees, to see that they were being attended to properly. One of the horticultural instructors could act as forester, at least until such time as all the small plantations in the district would become so numerous that they would warrant the appointment of a full-time forester.

There is just one other point to which I wish to refer, namely, Arbor Day. I cannot see why we should be confined to one Arbor Day in a matter of such tremendous importance as that of forestry. We are not far removed from the time when we had an Irish Week, when it was considered patriotic to buy all Irish goods during one week of the year. Our commonsense now dictates that we should always buy Irish goods. That has been made possible by Governmental action. Something similar should take place in connection with forestry. We should not be confined to one day in the year. It should not be considered merely patriotic to plant trees on one day in the year. It should be considered a commonsense thing to plant trees every day during the planting season. We cannot, of course, plant trees every day of the year but we could plant them certainly on every day during the planting season. I think that by Departmental action farmers could be placed in that position that they would consider it the proper thing to do if they were given proper facilities and if it were brought home to them that they would benefit as a result.

I think it is necessary that a publicity campaign should be started. Other Departments have had their publicity campaigns. You had "Grow More Wheat" and "Burn More Turf" and other such slogans. Now, I suggest that the Forestry Department should institute one more, "Plant More Trees." I believe that, if we point out to the community their responsibility in this matter and point out to them the advantages to be gained by this country as a result of such planting, the response would be very big indeed. I think it is necessary that you should win over public opinion in favour of going ahead with an afforestation scheme. If you do that, at least you ensure in the country districts that you will have no illegal cutting of timber. You will also ensure that where trees are planted they will be attended to properly. The movement would be widespread; it would not be confined to restricted areas, or to Arbor Days. I believe there is a big push forward necessary especially in counties where there are no large tracts available for planting but where small plots could be secured. I believe there are three adjuncts necessary to the promotion of these schemes. You must win the sympathy and the co-operation of the people. Then you must be prepared to take over all the small plots offered for planting and you must have the co-operation of the other Departments, the Department of Agriculture and the Board of Works.

I did not intend to intervene in this debate until I heard the statement made that the great difficulty experienced in the experts' department of the forestry section was that they found that the lands which were offered to them were unsuitable. As the debate has developed practically into a parish affair, I think I might as well intervene, because if the royal, rolling plains of Meath want afforestation, I am afraid our barren waste lands of North Cork need it far greater. I shall make a fair sporting offer to the Minister. If he considers that there is no suitable land for afforestation, I offer him land of two types, land that has not in either case grown pine or fir, but hard wood, for the last 30 years. In the first case, there are large tracts of land on which timber was cut down during the Great War. I do not think any expert could argue that they would not be suitable for afforestation. In a large area from Mallow to the Kerry border, huge tracts of forest timber were cut away during the Great War, to the terrible loss of the countryside, not alone from the point of view of their value as shelter, but also from the point of view of the appearance of the countryside. There is quite a large area there which I do not think anybody could question is eminently suitable for afforestation.

There is also a second type of land I do not think the experts could say is unsuitable for timber growing. That is the large tract in North Cork where the timber was burned down by the British military during the Anglo-Irish War. That area has been left practically derelict. I think that if the Minister's experts could inspect these areas they would be satisfied that they are suitable for afforestation. The areas I mention are a low line of hills running from west to east.

If reafforestation schemes were carried out there, it would be of great value to the countryside, particularly from the point of view of shelter, because the countryside has become very barren and practically all the shelter that was there, shelter from the prevailing south-west winds in that area, was taken away when those woods were cut down. I want to refer to one other point, which I think was mentioned by Deputy Kennedy. I am very much inclined to agree with him that the Department should consider growing something else besides ordinary soft woods like fir or pine. I believe that if we did go in for hard woods, even though you might not have the quick result which you would have from the other type of plantation, you would probably have better value in the long run. I would also suggest that one of the great drawbacks about the type of planting which is done by individuals in this country is the fact that when they plant shelter belts, when they plant two or three acres of waste land of their own with pine or fir or something like that, there is no great attention given to it after the original planting. Instead of being properly thinned out when they are growing, the trees are allowed to grow to a certain height until they are of absolutely no value at all. There is great lack of attention to a real knowledge of forestry purposes amongst individuals in the country. I myself believe that there is no use in any Deputy saying there is not plenty of land available for afforestation purposes. From every point of view, if I were satisfied that a great number of people could be put working on reafforestation schemes at decent wages, I would regard those schemes as of great national benefit, not alone from the point of view that you would be creating a national asset but also from the point of view that for the expenditure of a little extra money you would be giving work to people who would otherwise be idle. That would be of great value to the State.

Another matter to which I should like to refer is the question of cutting down and replanting. As far as I understand it, I am inclined to agree with Deputy Kelly that while there are penalties for the cutting of trees without licence, there does not seem to be any compulsion on people to replant. Everybody seems to be satisfied that there is a means of compelling them to replant, but, to my mind, it is never done. Some people seem to have the idea that there is not enough land available for afforestation. I am perfectly satisfied that there is. As I said, if the Minister sends an expert into the area I represent I will show him the two types of land which I mentioned— areas where trees were cut down during the war, when timber was valuable and a great lot of money was made out of it, no trees having been planted there since, and other areas where timber was cut down by the British military after ambushes, nothing having been planted there since. I think if the experts look along those lines of hills they will be satisfied that the country would be deriving great benefit from the replanting of those areas.

There are one or two points to which I should like to refer on this Estimate. Deputy Linehan has referred to the question of the experts, and their reports so far as our county is concerned. Some years ago forestry inspectors visited certain areas in Kerry and furnished adverse reports on them. They reported in one case that there was acid in the soil, while in another case they reported that the areas were wind-swept, and therefore unsuitable for reafforestation purposes. In two of those areas when the Director of Afforestation appointed by our Government carried out a second inspection he approved of those areas as being suitable for afforestation purposes. That is one instance where we are shown the fallacy of those experts' findings and reports in so far as our county is concerned. We believe that we did good work in obtaining that decision, and roughly about two years ago the Forestry Department did their utmost to press the matter to its conclusion. They asked the Land Commission to co-operate. Some difficulties had arisen in regard to title and that kind of thing, but the Land Commission, I think, did not even reply to us. There was no co-operation whatever. The officials in the Forestry Department went all out to put the scheme into operation. Although the scheme had been sanctioned, there was no co-operation on the part of the Land Commission, whose duty it was to facilitate the forestry section in regard to the transfer of title, the carrying through of agreement and so on. Nothing has been done in that regard.

I should like to make a suggestion, the adoption of which I think would be a big step forward, and I should like the Minister to take a note of it. I would suggest that in any future inspections by the Forestry Department, an inspector representing the Land Commission should co-operate with the inspector from the Forestry branch. In that way you will have cohesion. Each inspector will represent a different type of administration, and both of them would have first hand knowledge of the difficulties confronting them. That is a suggestion which I think should meet with approval both from the Minister and his Department. In regard to commercial timber, I think the big snag at the moment is that the forestry section are concentrating altogether on the growing of what they call commercial timber. They hesitate to approve of any area except one where an afforestation scheme will result in the growing of commercial timber, timber which will pay for itself within about 15 years. The sooner the Department gets away from that line of action the better. I would suggest that instead of concentrating on certain areas for the production of commercial timber they should extend their operations into those places which are referred to as wind-swept areas. There are areas in South Kerry which, in my opinion and in the opinion of people who have some knowledge of afforestation, are second to none in the country—areas from Caragh Lake and Glenbeigh on to Caherdaniel. Those areas are naturally suited for afforestation. Their location, their southerly aspect, lends itself to a type of afforestation which would be of great benefit to the State. Deputy Linehan referred to the advantages of afforestation from the point of view of the scenic beauty of the countryside. I entirely agree with him, in so far as it is true that most areas in Cork and Kerry have been deprived of that great attraction. During the Great War period large tracts of trees were cut down and the countryside destroyed. If the Forestry branch would review the whole question as it concerns us, I am sure that the people of Kerry will be able to prove that these areas are on a par with the areas I refer to, that is the areas where the Director of Forestry proved that the inspectors were incorrect. The inference, of course, would be that the officials of the Department did not have expert knowledge. In my opinion that is not so. It could be explained in this way, that the inspectors who had heretofore carried out inspections probably did not intend to extend, and that is why they issued adverse reports in regard to the areas that were subsequently approved of by the Director of Forestry.

As to the extent of the areas for planting, I could never understand why the Forestry Branch decided on 300 acres; why blocks of land comprising less than 300 acres could not be considered. Both from the economic and administrative points of view, I think that something less than 300 acres would suffice. In the areas I refer to you could easily make it up by having a central plot of 50 or 100 acres and develop from that centre by having 40 or 100 acres, as the case may be, inside a radius of four or five miles. I believe that that type of scheme would lend itself to the mountainous areas to which I refer. I also suggest in connection with this afforestation scheme that there should be co-operation not alone between the Land Commission and the Forestry Branch, but between the Forestry Branch and the Board of Works as well. The Board of Works could co-operate in so far as certain preliminary work is concerned. Fencing and clearing and all that kind of thing could be carried out as minor relief schemes in the different districts. It may be pointed out that one Department is responsible and that it would be difficult for another Department to work in that type of development. However, I make the suggestion with a view to voicing the opinion of the people in the rural districts and also my own views in regard to extension of the operations of the Forestry Branch.

The main reason why I refer to shelter belts is that not alone should the Forestry Branch make it possible for operations to be carried on in certain scheduled areas, but they should also at the same time carry on extensive operations in these areas. Why not go in for the planting of all types of timber? If it is a State charge, why concentrate on a certain output per year? As was pointed out by Deputy Dowdall the other day, it would take another 50 years before you get into your stride, before you reach the peak point in development. If you concentrate on 1,000 acres per county this year and no more, you are still only on the fringe of the development of afforestation. The main thing I want to impress on the Minister is that areas that might be rejected as not being suitable for growing commercial timber should be utilised for other types of afforestation which would beautify the countryside and give a good lot of employment and which would assist the people to develop their own districts. I hope that any remarks that I have made will be found helpful and that they will get consideration by the Department.

I had not intended to intervene in this debate were it not for the statements made by Deputies, or rather lack of statements. Most Deputies who have spoken come from the country, and I was never so amazed in all my life as I was when I listened to Deputies from the country and found that they knew so little about timber. One thing which caused me to intervene was the statement made the other day that there were two schools of thought in the Forestry Department with regard to the classes of timber which should be planted—one school which favoured resinous or soft timber and another school which favoured hard timber. If there are two schools of thought, it is time that the people here who are responsible to the voters made up their minds as to what is the right policy. If we are going to have hard timber planted in the country it means that we must devote to the planting of hard timber good deep arable land. You will not grow hard timber on any land except good land. You will not grow oak, although it will stand more moisture than most of the other timbers, because it must have good heavy land. You will not grow elm except on exceptionally good land. You will not grow beech or any of the other hard timbers except on good land. We have not any good land in the country to devote to hard timber. The hard timbers we are dealing with now were planted from 90 to 150 years ago to meet what men thought were the necessities of that day. When we go back 100 or 150 years and realise what was in men's minds at that time and how much these ideas have worn out we will find that there is no use now for the stuff these people planted. Times have changed altogether and, in my opinion, there is no use whatever for hard timber in this country. There will always be enough to meet the necessities. There will always be enough hedge timber here and there.

I had occasion a few years ago to sell timber—about 300 ash trees, 100 oak trees, and some sycamore. These trees were lying for two years on the railway bank in Kilkenny and I could not get a market for them. I venture to say that some of it was the best ash in Ireland with regard to strain. I think the Minister will admit that I know something about ash. He will remember the old days. Very few people in this House, or in any other House, know more about the quality of ash than I do. What is beech worth a ton to-day? Can it be sold at all? I would sell 1,000 tons of beech if I could get 4/- or 5/- a ton for it. There is no one to buy it. The bobbin trade for which it was intended is gone. A certain amount of ash will always be in demand, but enough will be grown in the hedges to supply shafts and handles. The fact is that I had timber lying at the railway siding for two years but no Irish firm would take it. It was hoped to get a trade for it in England, but the market went down because of the economic war or something like that. The timber was lying there until I got the railway company to buy it for building carriages. The railway company also took oak for sleepers but principally for making frames for wagons. Otherwise, the only demand for oak would be for coffins. That demand is met by white elm and brown elm.

It is ridiculous to talk of planting hard timber to any extent in this country, because the market is gone, and the land that would grow it could be devoted to other purposes. There is nothing left except resinous timber for which there are two or three markets, for pit props, wood pulp and for ordinary house building. There is always a market for soft timber which comes in in a short time and gives a full return. There is another timber to which I direct the Minister's attention— Spanish chestnut. This timber is of great value, and as it lasts longer it is better than ash for stakes. It is next to pitch pine in that respect. It may have some faults and be easily split. On going through England it will be noticed that copses that were planted ten or 12 years ago have been cut down, having realised from £60 to £70. Young Spanish chestnut saplings are planted to meet the English trade. All the hampers, packing cases and fences around bungalows are made from split sweet chestnut timber. There is an everlasting market there for that class of timber, and I ask the Minister to turn the attention of the Department in that direction. He should be well advised on this question. It is his duty to know that he is being well served by the advice he gets. I think the Department was responsible, since this Government took office, for the division of an estate at Castlemorris. Some of the finest land in County Kilkenny was then planted with hard timber. I had grazing there, and the only trouble with regard to the fertility of the grass was that it was a bit sour. It produced the heaviest hay in County Kilkenny. I do not know why that land was put under hard timber. A few of the workmen got four acres each, but that was in the boggy portion of the estate. There is no going back on that now, but I think it was an undefensible policy. I could not understand why it was done.

There is another market for ash if it is skilfully grown. The best market is in this country for the making of hurleys. I do not care whether it is grown on the flat or on the sides of streams, there is more value in young ash than in any other timber that can be grown. I have seen ash that would make ten hurleys, about 10 to 15 inches square, sold from £1 to 30/-. No other timber except walnut will give such a return for hurleys. The soil, of course, has a considerable amount to do with the quality of timber, but strain has much more to do with it. As I made more hurleys and won more championships than anyone in Ireland, I say that strain has a great deal to do with the quality of timber. I have seen trees grown on the same fence, and while one would be the best in its class, the rest might be useless. Strain has everything to do in ash. I do not know anything about pollination. The Minister would be well advised, wherever he is planting hard timber on banks or on streams, to concentrate on ash. I do not promise that all he plants will be collected. It would not in my time. England is a country similar to this, but more timber is grown there. To a considerable extent it is brain work there, and it is made the business of a man on an estate to be responsible for planting. That man is thinking of nothing but of making the estate profitable. It would be well worth while sending an expert over to see what is being done in the way of planting. If Deputies do not agree with what I am saying about plantations of sweet chestnut, they would be surprised by what an expert could tell them of what is being done in England.

Now, I know that there is a lot of influence brought to bear on the Department. I know that a few people here interested in the timber trade have had a royal time in the last few years. They have had businesses set up for them, plans set up for them, and their advice will be very prejudicial advice, and I warn the Minister to be very chary before he would accept it at all, and have it well examined. I will not mention any names. The Minister ought to know himself. On the question of hard timber—what does he get for hard timber, where can he sell it? Take an estate in my county, the Desart estate, sold to a merchant— McAnnish—I want to say, in passing, one of the decentest men in the trade, perhaps the decentest man in the timber trade—but there are other types in the timber trade I would not like to meet, who would take three or four years to settle their account. What was realised per tree or per acre for the Desart property that was sold? And what was the length of time since they were sold? I do not suppose he knows, but if he could get definite information he would find it was a hundred years since those trees were sold. I would ask the Minister to pay no attention to this campaign for hard timber. There is no market for it, no use for it; its day is gone. There is, no doubt, a market for soft resinous timber, two or three markets for it, a market for ash, there is always a certain market for ash of a good quality, a good market for oak and a small market for elm. But that can be found in the hedges. We will get enough off the hedges to bury all the people that we have. There is very little left for the Minister except to turn his attention to the timber that can be sold in the free markets, for pulp and building material, and ash, and I think if he concentrates on that he would be doing wisely. Our object is to get the most out of production, and you will not get it growing hard timber, and all the land that it is occupying for a period of 100 or 150 years is waste land. Beech never gave a return. We are selling it now at 2/- and 3/- and 5/- a ton. It is useless. The land it has been occupying for 150 years has been waste land, and not only that, but it is poisoning the country with its leaves. When people here give advice they ought to know something of the advice they give and the value of it. As I said before, the Minister would be well advised in a big campaign like this campaign for afforestation to have the best expert advice he can get, no matter what he pays for it, and no matter what trouble he goes to to get it. At least it is his duty to know when he is well served in that, and if he is, forestry may be left in his hands.

Badh mhaith liom rud a rádh. Dubhairt an tAire go raibh sé sásta leis an obair a bhí á dheanamh. Ní dóigh liom féin go raibh an t-ádh leis agus an méid sin a rá. Is beag duine a bhí sásta sa tír. Ach, táimid i bhfad níos fuide chun cinn ná na daoine roimhe sin, is dóigh. Níor dheineadar thar 3,000 acra a chur ach deir an tAire go bhfuil anois timcheall le 10,000 acra á chur gach bliain. Ní dóigh liom féin gur leor san. Deir na daoine is fearr atá againn go bhfuil trí milliún go leith acra oiriunach san tír seo. B'fheidir go bhfuil. Leis an dul chun cinn atá á dhéanamh fé lá thair tógfa sé 200 bliain chun an tír seo d'ath-choilltiú. Ní dóigh liom féin go bhfuil san go sásúil ná go maith. Tá ní eile gur mhaith liom labhairt ina thaobh, sé sin, áilneacht na gcoillte. Bhí teachtaí ag cur síos ar scillingí agus ar phinginí agus mar sin de. Is mór is fiú don tír seo coillte agus crainn, ach taobh amuich dhe sin, tá áilneacht agus uaisleacht ag baint le coillte Deineann an bhreághthacht san snaidhm do-cheangailte idir an duine agus a áit dúthchais. Tá gádh leis sin. Ba chóir dúinn é seo a thabhairt fé ndeara: san 17adh aois bhí meas ag na daoine ar na crainn. Dubhairt an file san dán sin Cill Chais:“Cad a dhéanfaimíd feasta gan adhmad. Tá deire na gcoillte ar lár.” Agus i Seán O Duibhir an Ghleanna:“Scáth mo chluas dá ghearradh”, agus mar sin de. Ins an leabhar san ar stair na hÉireann—Forus Feasa ar Eirinn—sé an chéad abairt atá ann ná: “An chéad ainm tugadh ar Éirinn, ‘Inis na bFiodhbhadh,’ eadhon Oileán na gCoillteadh; agus is é duine do ghair an t-ainm sin di, óglaoch do mhuinntir Nín mic Béil tháinig uaidh do bhraith na hÉireann, agus iar dteacht innte dhó, fuair 'na haon doire coille í, acht Magh nEalta amháin. Trí huaire, iomorro, do bhí Éire na haon choill, do réir an tsean-fhocail seo atá san seanchus: ‘Tri huaire do chuir Éire trí monga agus trí maola dhi.’” Tá sí maol go leor anois agus má leanaimíd den fhuadar atá fúinn beidh sí maol ins na blianta atá le teacht agus i bhfad 'na dhiaidh sin.

Tá ceist agamsa ar an Aire mar a bhí ag Gearóid Mac Párthaláin agus Teachtaí eile, sé sin, cad fáth do dhaoine, eolaithe no "experts", dul fén dtuaith agus a rá ná fuil an talamh oiriúnach do choillte. Sin rud ná tuigim-se. Nuair a bhíos im' gharsún scoile is minic a chonnac 20 trucaill lán d'adhmad ag dul an bóthar. Tá an áit sin maol anois. Do thug na heolaithe tuairim ná raibh an talamh oiriúnach do choilltiú. Nach é an talamh céanna é, agus ná fuil na gaoithe céanna ann; agus, má fhás coillte san áit sin 40 bliain ó shoin, cadé an fáth ná fasfaidís ann arís? Sin ceist agam ar an Aire. Tá an cheist sin ag déanamh imnidhe dhom. Nuair a bhíos im' gharsún scoile chonnac crainn ag fás i gCathair Saidhbhín. Níl crann anois ann, agus deireann na heolaithe seo ná fuil sé oiriúnach. Cionus a thárlann san? Ní thuigim-se an scéal san. Aontuím leis na teachtaí adubhairt ná fuil dóthain suime á cur san scéal. Is fíor é sin. Níl ina bhun ach fó-Roinn de Roinn mhóir agus molaim-se don Aire duine éigin fé leith a chur i mbun na h-oibre seo. Tá Rúnaí Páirliminte aige cheana féin, An Teachta Seán O Grádaigh, ach tá a dhóthain fé n-a chúram aige sin. Molaim-se dhó duine éigin a cheapadh i gcóir na hoibre agus é fhágáint fé sin agus fé sin amháin. Molaim-se dhó é sin a dhéanamh, Ceapadh sé coiste no comhairle no coimisiún no duine no dream daoine go mbeidh mar chúram air no ortha an tír seo d'athchrannú. Ba mhaith liom go neosadh an tAire dhúinn cadé an fáth go n-abrann na heolaithe nách féidir crainn a chur ins an áit inar fhásadar 30 bliain ó shoin agus molaim dhó duine no dream daoine no coiste no coimisiún a chur i mbun na hoibre seo agus gan aon chúram eile ortha ach ath-choilltiú na tíre seo.

On listening to this debate, it is clear that there is one thing that is perfectly obvious, and that is that there is extraordinary unanimity in this House amongst all members and Parties that a forward movement in forestry is necessary. I am wholeheartedly in favour of such a forward movement. I would like to say that I think the only reason why such a forward movement is not in progress in this country at the moment is because of the fact that the general public have not been educated up to the value and the importance of reafforestation.

Tá an ceart agat.

There is no doubt about it that the officials of the Department with the limited resources at their disposal have done everything that could possibly have been done to forward the interests of the forestry movement and in reafforesting this country. Before we can get anything done, it is necessary that a healthy public opinion should be created. The place from which that healthy public opinion should be commenced is, I suggest, the Department Estimate with which we are now dealing. From day to day we are discussing in these Estimates various sums of money for which we vote for the public good. I divide these Estimates into two classes: (1) that class of Estimate which is introduced for the purpose of paying for certain services in respect of which there is no financial return, such as the Gárda, or officers of that kind in the State. On the other hand, you have Estimates which are voted for the purpose of services which do give a return, namely, the Post Office service, and services of that kind. But there is practically no money voted in this House which is going to give a return in the future as great as that of the money voted for forestry. The Minister and the Deputies, I think, are in agreement with what I am saying now, and it is very necessary that it should be appreciated that the wealth that forestry can produce can not give a return in our generation. We are dealing with a particular crop and a particular type of substance that grows in our soil, and which cannot give a return in this generation. Therefore, no particular individual, be he ever so earnestly interested in the subject, is going to go out of his way to replant his land or to store up this wealth for the future. For that reason, this is a matter which should be the direct concern of the State, which never dies and which knows no generation. We have all kinds of suitable timber that can be grown in this country. I listened just now to what Deputy Gorey said, and I am very sorry to have to differ from him on one or two matters. I do believe that there is a good market for certain types of hard wood in this country.

Which of them?

I will tell the Deputy afterwards. This is a matter which can be dealt with by experts. Fortunately, in the past six months I did not have the same sad experience in the marketing of timber that Deputy Gorey has had. I will not discuss that with him here; I will give him the particulars outside. But having some slight knowledge of the matter, having marketed timber myself recently and growing timber at present, I know that there is a market for certain types of hard wood. There would be such a market in the future for certain types of hard wood which are suitable for growing here. The importance to the State of the reafforestation is this, that it is building up wealth for the future. They do not expect any immediate return from it. The reafforestation of the land should be taken altogether out of the hands of private individuals and should be placed in the hands of the State. It should be placed in the hands of a very large and substantially manned Government Department with enormous resources behind it. Certain of our moneys and, if necessary, large sums of our moneys can be invested in it. I suggest that should be done and, if necessary, the money can be raised on loan. It will repay the money many times over and will repay it even with compound interest. In investing money in the reafforestation of the country you are doing two things-you are building up wealth for the future and you are not asking the future generation to pay for it. In addition to that, if reafforestation is carried out on very large and very substantial lines, you will be placing a large number of people in employment throughout the country. In that respect you get an immediate return for the investment of public money, and you will be building up resources which, in a generation or two, will be useful as security for loans if you want to raise money then for other purposes.

This is entirely a matter for the State and particularly for the Government and the Minister who has charge of this Department. It is for him to consider whether in the near future the Government will not embark on a much larger scheme than is compassed by their present policy. There has been some criticism from all sides of the House as to what class of timber should be grown and what sort of immediate return there is for the various classes already grown. That, I submit, is a matter for the Department and their advisers. Once the general public realise the importance of reafforestation the experts will be in a position to give their opinion as to the most suitable class of timber for our soil. Some experience in my own constituency in one or two reafforestation schemes shows that very good work is being done. That is only a beginning.

A Deputy on the Government Benches made a very sensible suggestion. He referred to places where portions of the land available for tree planting are near the foothills and the mountain ranges. He spoke about such places in the West, places of the same nature as we have in County Wexford. There are portions of land there which are eminently suitable for the growth of timber and unsuitable for farming purposes. This is a work which should be undertaken by the State. The reafforestation of the country does not appear to have been treated by any Party as a main plank in any of their platforms during the last two elections when appealing to the people. I think this is a matter which should be beyond Party politics. It concerns each and every one of us. It is a matter which the country, if it wakened up to the possibilities of the situation, would readily adopt. If people began to realise that large sums of money could be raised and that these sums could be secured on the value put into the soil, it would be found that the people would come forward willingly and subscribe to a loan based on the amount of national wealth represented by our State afforestation schemes.

Anyone who looks up history books, will realise that our climate and the climate of a country such as England, was suitable for the growing of a large variety of trees in the old days. In fact the original condition of the country was that of a forest. These countries were covered by forests which, in the course of time, were cut down. As a result of experiments since carried out, our native timbers have been supplemented by a large variety of other timbers with the result that to-day we have a choice of a very large number of different types of trees which could be grown here. Some of them might be ready for sale in the next generation and others the generation afterwards. If the Government Department concerned is prepared to advocate, as a matter of Government policy, a very big expansion in afforestation in this country and if they educate public opinion up to the desirability of that situation, I think that there will be very little opposition from anyone who has the real interest, either present or future, of this country at heart.

Deputies who have listened to the reply given by the Minister on the previous Vote can understand why I feel so nervous about again intervening in any debate in which the Minister for Lands and Forestry is interested. I feel doubly nervous because I listened and read the rather able speech which was also delivered by my colleague, Deputy Finlay. I should like to say one thing about Deputy Finlay. In that reply Deputy Finlay suggested that I had run away from the debate. I should like to inform him that I was not very many yards away from him when he was delivering that eloquent speech which I, for many reasons, do not like to interpret. I raised a number of points dealing with forestry administration on the previous Vote of the Minister and I can readily understand the reasons why he was unable to reply to some of the points. I have also received from the Minister's office to-day a number of letters replying to most of the points raised by me during that discussion. There is one point upon which I should like to encourage the Minister to put his views upon the records of this House. I suggested— and I think it is on the records of the Department—that it is very desirable to recruit workers for employment in forestry schemes through the medium of the Labour Exchange. If the Minister will give me a positive assurance that, in future, that procedure will be rigidly adhered to, I can assure him that I shall have no cause for complaint in the matter of the recruitment of labour for forestry schemes, whether under him or any other Minister.

On the 27th April last I addressed a question to the Minister on that matter in regard to a forestry scheme at Clonaslee. The Minister assured me then that, with one exception, all the workers had been employed through the medium of the Labour Exchange. It is quite true that I have never adopted the practice of taking upon myself the work which should be normally done by the officials of this or any other Government. I have made it a practice since I became a Deputy to pass on any communications of importance addressed to me to be dealt with by the Government Department concerned. That I have always done in connection with land questions and I challenge the present Minister or any other Minister to say that I ever went into my constituency in advance of a Land Commission inspector or that I ever made arrangements to meet a Land Commission inspector or ever accompanied a Land Commission inspector in connection with his work in my constituency. I have never interfered in any way with the activities of Land Commission officials. I have taken the trouble, however, in view of the Minister's definite announcement on a previous occasion to make personal inquiries regarding the complaints that the Forestry Department were not recruiting local workers through the medium of the Labour Exchange. The complaints were sent to me and some of them were passed over to the Land Commission. This practice is not being adhered to on the schemes at Kinnity, Stradbally, Emo, and Clonaslea. There is a very definite way of disproving these allegations. If the Minister would get at a particular period the list of workers recruited at any of the forestry stations, and compare it with the list compiled by the manager of the local Labour Exchange, he would be able to check, as I have been able to check, the accuracy of the replies in these matters. I think that the Minister if he would look up his files in connection with these cases will find that his inspectors have admitted that the procedure has not been rigidly adhered to.

Mr. Boland

In the Forestry Section?

Yes. I assure the Minister that if he makes further inquiries he will find that one man in the case of Clonaslee—not the forester in charge —left his employment and walked into forestry work on the following day. Naturally, in that case the man could not be employed through the medium of the labour exchange because his name was not on the books of the labour exchange. I assure the Minister that he cannot dispose of these complaints to the satisfaction of the local people by just merely saying that they are without foundation. I am quite prepared, now that the Minister has given his replies, to place these replies in the hands of the local people. The local people are better judges than either the Minister or myself as to where truth and accuracy lie. If I find out on inquiry that I made any allegation against the Minister or anybody else on any occasion that could not be substantiated, I have sufficient courage to come in here and apologise to the Minister for doing so. I drew the attention of the Minister to the delay on the part of the Forestry Department in acquiring lands in Leix offered to them by certain landowners. In connection with offers made with landowners of this kind in the Midland counties, I should like to ascertain from the Minister—I am sure he has the figures and can produce them— what is the average price paid for lands suitable for afforestation purposes in the Midland counties—in Leix-Offaly, Kilkenny, Westmeath, Carlow and Kildare. If the figures are available the Minister should produce them for the information of the House. I am speaking of places where land was offered without any condition as to price. Many people would like to know what is the price paid for land said to be suitable for afforestation purposes in the Midland counties, as distinct from some of the Gaeltacht counties.

I agree in the main with the speech made by Deputy Esmonde. I travelled in a number of continental countries, and on a number of occasions I took advantage of those visits to visit the forestry stations there. I would seriously suggest to the Minister for Lands that he should not decide his future policy on the basis of what he may read in books or what some other bookworm may put up to him in connection with the development of forestry schemes in this country. If the money is available, and if the Minister could see his way to get the authority of the powers that be, he would be well advised in sending the heads of the forestry department to visit the forestry stations in some of those continental countries. I think it would be found that their experience in those countries would be far more useful to them than what they may read in books or what may be put forward by some other bookworm in connection with forestry matters.

There is one other point to which I should like to refer. Since the debate took place in connection with the rates of wages and the conditions of forestry workers in my constituency, I am very glad to notice, and so is everybody sitting on these Benches, that the Agricultural Wages Board have decided to bring into operation a new rate of wages for agricultural labourers as and from 23rd May. That will provide a very curious picture for the farmers of my constituency. In two forestry stations in my constituency the position from 23rd May will be that while in the Clonaslee area forestry workers will be paid at the rate of 24/- a week, as they are being paid to-day, unless the rate is changed, and in the Kinnity area of Offaly the rate—unless it is changed in the meantime—will be 25/-, so that the farmers in those areas will be in a position of being compelled, by the operations of the same Government as is responsible for fixing forestry workers' wages, to pay agricultural wages at the rate of 27/- a week. Will any Deputy in this House representing an agricultural area say that the farmers in this State should be compelled by law to pay their agricultural workers at a higher rate than the Government of the country, which should be the best employer in the country, is paying their forestry workers, or those employed on minor relief schemes? I hope the Minister will take immediate note of the action of the Agricultural Wages Board, and that without any further action on the part of the Wages Advisory Board, he will fix the rate for forestry workers, not alone in my constituency, but in every other constituency, at the proper figure, that is, above the rate to be paid in the future to agricultural labourers.

Níl rún agam cur isteach ró-fhada a dhéanamh ar am nó ar obair na Dála acht ba mhaith liom an deis seo a ghlacadh le n-a thabhairt os comhair an Aire na baintáistí nó na tairbhí a bheadh le athchrannú a chur ar siubhal i nGaeltacht Thír Chonaill.

Seo ceann de na dóigheannaí, sé mo bharamhail-se, 'na dtiocfaí na hoibreannaidhe a théigheann go hAlbain agus go Sasain achan bhliadhain—ar lorg oibre—a chongbháil sa bhaile go tairbhe díobhtha fhéin agus san am chéadna bheithí ag deanamh obair fhóghanta na mílte acraí de thalamh a chur faoi chrainn atá 'na luighe gan mhaith fá láthair. Ba thabhachtach an rud é da dtiocfadh leis an Aire an obair seo a chur ar siubhal agus deireadh a chur leis an imirce bhliantamhail atá ag gabhail ar aghaidh san Ghaeltacht le seal fada.

Is truagh liom go mór go gcaithfidh mé a admháil go bhfuil daoine i bhfad níos tugtha do chrann a gheárradh anuas nó tá siad do chrann a phlandáil. Mar sin de tá sé de dhualgas ar an Stát an dearcadh ceart a spreagadh ins na daoinibh, go háirid páistí scoile, maidir le fás crann agus san am chéadhna cuidiughadh achan duine a chuireann spéis ins an cheist náisiúnta seo a iarraidh le n-ar dtír a dhéanamh níos áluinne agus níos saidhbhire.

In moving about the country I think everybody can see for himself in his own way the enormous tracts of land which are available for one thing and one thing only, and that is timber-growing. I do not know whether previous speakers referred to one very important thing, and that is the question of game in association with young forestry. If the Land Commission, through their Forestry Department—I am sure they have done so—would investigate the revenue which is to be secured by reason of the plantation of young forestry in conjunction with game, they would find that they were adding a very big advantage indeed to the country as a whole. I think everybody here knows that young game thrive where there is young wood. Even in the infant stages of young wood, it forms the greatest possible cover for the protection of different types of young game. I do not know what the value of game in this country is from the point of view of revenue, but I do know that game has very considerably diminished. Shooting rights are very valuable indeed for letting or renting to those who come to this country for that purpose, just as they come for fishing and other purposes. If we let our mind's eye travel to the different parts of any constituency represented by any Deputy here, we will find ideal places which the Land Commission could step in and purchase for the planting of young trees, appointing a gamekeeper with a knowledge of forestry. There and then you have a guaranteed revenue, and an added beauty to the country. That is the first point I would like to stress. Secondly, I do not know what influence the Forestry Department has with the Department of Education, but I should like to say that a love of trees should be inculcated in the young, and I am sorry to say that a certain amount of vandalism takes place in the most remote country districts. In the schools we should inculcate in the young a love for trees, and a love for the scenic beauty which trees bring, as well as a knowledge of their wonderful utility. I am satisfied that if the Forestry Department realised the importance of this matter from an educational point of view they would, through the Department of Education, ensure that it should receive the attention which is its due, and which has been neglected in the past.

Is maith liom focal a rádh faoi'n gceist seo atá faoi na coillte. Bhí mé ag éisteacht le Teachtaí ag ráidh nach raibh go leor talamh i gcuid de na conndaethe arb as iad le tabhairt do choillte. Ins an gceanntar arb as mise tá na céadta mílte acraí nach bhfuil i ndon tada eile a fhás ach coillte. Ins na portaigh agus lag-phortaigh ins an gceanntar arb as mé tá crainn le fáil atá o fiche troigh go dtí deich dtroithe fichead ar fad. D'fhás na crainn sin ansin agus níl a fhios agam-sa cén fáth nach bhfásfadh crainn ins an áit seo anois arís, agus dá gcuirtí crainn ann anois thiúbhradh sé saothrú mór do na daoine bochta sa gceanntar, áit a bhfuil siad ag fáil airgid faoi láthair gan saothrú.

Mr. Boland

One thing evident from the debate is that the country is becoming forestry-minded. Apparently, there is no disagreement, and I have been rather put in the dock. The attack was led off by Deputy Roddy, who complained about the little headway we are making. He, apparently, has been reading the same book as other Deputies, or, if he has not, he has been reading the articles in the papers. He started off by telling us that experts had agreed that 18 per cent. of a country should be under forestry. I have been asking experts about that, and what I mean by an expert is not what Deputy Tubridy said—a man who, when a Government does not want to do a thing, tells them it cannot be done. That was an unwarrantable and unjustifiable attack on the Government and on me. The fact is that the people I rely upon are those who have given their whole life to this subject. Deputy Davin thinks we should go to continental countries and other places where trees are grown on a large scale. That has been done. The principal people in the Forestry Department travelled in these countries and worked and studied in foreign forests. The Director of Forestry who was here for a short period was a foreigner, and had a wide experience of forestry in several countries. None of these experts has been able to find out what authority there is for saying that 18 per cent. of a country should be under forestry. There is no such accepted percentage of forestry.

I did not say that 18 per cent. should be under forestry.

Mr. Boland

I understood the Deputy to say that 18 per cent. is the accepted figure.

I said that that is about the normal acreage in other countries.

Mr. Boland

I thought the Deputy said that. I think Deputy Dowdall said the same thing. There are countries which have 18 per cent. under forestry, but there is a difference in every country according to the requirements. I am not a forestry expert, and I have to rely on those who are, and I am going to rely upon them as long as I am satisfied, as I am satisfied, that they know their job. There is no good in listening to people who have read a book by some person who takes an interest in literature and other things and who has a superficial knowledge of forestry. I am not going to take my information about forestry from such a person. I have to rely on those who have been able to deliver the goods and who have given their whole life to forestry work, and I think anybody else if he were in my position would do the same. I am informed by these experts that there is no such thing.

I am also satisfied that we have made very considerable headway. We have got very little thanks for the work we have done, and I think we have done amazingly well. During Deputy Roddy's time in the Department it was not the policy, if I may put it that way to go ahead in a quick way with afforestation. Deputy Roddy must admit that. Since 1933 we have advanced from planting 3,500 acres, which was the figure then, to 8,500 acres lasy year. When people consider what that means, they will have to admit, if they have any idea of what it means, that that is considerable progress.

Complaint has been made that we have reduced the Vote this year and that that means we are falling back. As a matter of fact it is not an ordinary Vote. This is a Grant-in-Aid, and money that is not expended in one year is carried over to the following year or the year after. When it is a Grant-in-Aid it does not go back into the Exchequer. This is a Grant-in-Aid and there was bound to be sufficient money for our purposes in hand from the previous years. In one year there was a sum of £109,000 as a Grant-in-Aid. It was not found possible to expend that money that year and it was carried over. After a close estimate this year it is believed that the £5,000 provided, with what is in hands from the previous years, will be sufficient. If it is not— and I hope it will not—then we will come to the Dáil for more money. But for more money than we are able to spend. In 1931-32, £64,588 was spent on afforestation; last year the amount voted was £152,788. As I say, the acreage planted has gone up from 3,500 to 8,500, and this year we hope to reach 10,000 and not to stop there, according as land can be got.

The gentleman who worte this book which was referred to apparently does not see any difficulty in evacuating whole communities. The fact is that the Forestry Department finds the utmost difficulty in persuading people to give up land which the Deapartment wishes to acquire for afforestation purposes. As a matter of fact, where the Department have acquired land, claims have been made by certain people to grazing and turbary rights. In one case something like 3,000 yards of fencing wire was pulled down by people claiming those rights. These are some of the difficulties with which the Department has to contend. It is easy to understand that people who have been living there and keeping their families on the proceeds of the grazing of these hills are not prepared to give them up without a lot of protest. One of the things that could be done by the society suggested would be to try and inculcate a better spirit in regard to reafforestation. Undoubtedly there is opposition almost everywhere. Practically everywhere we go we get opposition, and, in some cases, from quarters in which you would not expect it. Deputy Tubridy, who was so kind as to say man that the Department simply sent a man down to an area to give us the advice that we wanted, to tell us that we could not do what we did not want to do, knows himself from personal experience of the opposition there is in part of Connemara to afforestation. He was present with a deputation in my office when the strongest disapproval was expressed of any forestry work being done in a particular area. They all want it done in some other place.

Deputy Mongan and other Deputies from Galway talked about a speech which I made at the Ard Fheis in connection with a forestry scheme carried out some years ago in a place called Knockboy. I only mentioned that as an instance in which a very determined attempt w as made to plant in that area. Unfortunately, I was wrong in the figures I gave. I was given them in good faith by a junior offcial at that time. The cost was not as high as I thought. Deputy MOngan said that I was wrong and that I was insulting Connemara and all the rest of it. That was merely political talk. He knows well that I would not insult Connemara of all places in Ireland. Then fact is that there was something like £9,000 spent on that scheme and, unfortunately, it was not a success. It is not to be assumed because I referred to that case, or because that scheme was not a success, that the Department has not made every effort to get suitable land in the Gaeltacht for forestry. It is one of the things about which I am most anxious and about which the Department are most anxious. I can assure Deputies that the officials in charge of forestry are just as keen as any Deputy, but they are not going to plant scrub, and I am not prepared to ask them to do that. I think that the money we spend ought to be spent on work that would give a good return.

Deputy Flynn suggested that we should have more regard to the amenities than to the commercial value of the timber. That may be work for another Department, but the Forestry Department is concerned with the raising of commercial timber, and I think that is what it should be confined to. If it is the wish of the Government or of the Dáil at any time that some other sort of work should be undertaken, like the growing of bushes and other things like that, that is another matter. It is not forestry work. I am not going to ask people who are experts and who know the proper sort. of timber to grow in different places to try to plant trees where they are not s atisfied, after very careful investigation, that the trees will be a commercial success. I have been asked by several Deputies how it is that lands which grew trees that were cut down during the Great War will not grow trees now. I am informed that any land which has grown trees so recently as that, or up to, say, 100 years ago, will very likely grow trees again on a commercial basis. But where you see old stumps that peat has grown over, where the land has deteriorated, that land very often will not grow trees.

Of course, every area is examined and reported on by people who are competent to give an opinion. I do not know where you are going to get a Minister who will set himself out against the considered opinion of men who have given their lives to a study of this subject. If Deputy Dowdall were looking for advice in his business, Nothing else can possibly be done. If it is accepted that the Government is alert to the position, or if Deputy Tubridy's statement is accepted, that they are simply humbugging and do not wish to do anything, I say that once people know we are anxious to go ahead as quickly as possible with afforestation schemes, it may be taken that the officials will co-operate—as they have co-operated wholeheartedly —in that respect. I am quite satisfied that we have made very considerable progress and that we will continue to do so. Deputy Dowdall said that we should have a survey made. We are told that something like 3,000,000 acres are available. No one knows the amount definitely. I would like to have a survey, but I remind Deputies that that would require an expert staff of people who know all that there is to be known about forestry. Their time would have to be taken up on that work. Deputy Dowdall wanted a survey to be made rapidly. It cannot be done rapidly. It must be done carefully. When the survey is made the land would have to be acquired, so that we would only be starting where we are now. In fact, we would not be as far advacned.

I think the policy that has been adopted is a much better one. Where we have been able to get land suitable for the purpose, we got it. I think we have done very well, indeed. If some land has not ben inspected, that is because the Department has not been able to reach on it. The estates mentioned have ben examined, and when the results are obtained, it will be found that if the land is suitable it is taken. I remind Deputies that they cannot have compulsion in the taking of forestry lands, for reasons that I indicated. In several cases immense damage was done by people whose good-will we had not got. It is not like taking land for the purpose of putting people on it. That land could be taken compulsorily. If you take land for forestry against the will of the people, very often they come in the middle of the night, or when there is no one looking, and the fences will be pulled down or burned. As that class of land is always in remote places, we want to avoid anything like that occurring. Compulsion in the main is unthinkable.

Is the delay due to shortage of staff?

Mr. Boland

To great extent it is. It is not easy to train a staff. To get a man sufficiently trained to be what is called a foreman would take at least three years, and it would take six years before he is a full forester. We have 33 students at present. That is the full capacity of Avondale. We will keep up that number , which is considered to be sufficient for the amount of land we are likely to get. I am satisfied that it is. Personally, I take a very keen interest in this matter and I think it is rather hard to bear the Department, as I have so often said attacked as it has been. It got practically to credit for the big increase that has taken place. I think that increase will be more rapid in future. One of the greatest difficulties was in acquiring land. Last year we took over an experienced Land Commission inspector who is accustomed to dealing with the problems of title and other matters. We hope to be able to get land more quickly as a result of that inspector working for the Forestry Department. I am sure that will be the case. Our nurseries have also been very much increased. We are supplying a lot of our own requirements now in plants and increasing the amount of seedlings.

Compared with last year there is only an increase of two in the staff.

Mr. Boland

Two in the trqained staff. We have 33 students. We will have 12 coming out next year. It is not easy to get trained personnel for a service like this. The labour question was raised again by Deputy Davin. I can only reply that I have not get the report yet, but I am doing my best to have it expedited. I was not able to give an answer on the Land Commission Vote.

May I put it to the Minister that the position created by the Agricultural Wages Board makes it one of urgency?

Mr. Boland

I am well aware of that and, as far as I can get a decision Quickly, I will do so. Deputy Davin asked about the average price per acre. It is about £3 7s. 6d. for the whole country. Deputy Gorey told us about the different kinds of timber that we could grow and that would be profitable. That matter is being attended to by people who are thoroughly competent and who have studied the timber requirements of the country. They have an intimate knowledge of the requirements of modern industry. As experts they studied the question. Generally speaking, I think they will be in agreement with Deputy Gorey. About 10 per cent. of the trees grown are hard timber, and that is considered sufficient to meet our requirements. The rest is soft timber for the English market. I cannot deal with all the points that were raised now, but I am satisfied that very good work has been done, and that it compare with what was done before. I am glad of the change in the Opposition. Compared with what was done in the past, we have done very well indeed, and I hope next year that we will have 10,000 acres, and that, having the Land Commission inspector detached for the work, we will be able to go ahead more rapidly. If it is possible at all to get land in Connemara and the Gaeltacht it will not be my fault or the fault of my Department if we do not get it.

Go raibh maith agat.

Mr. Boland

If the people who are most competent say that this land is not phantable I qam not going to insist. In some cases that will occur, and I am sure that the people are broad-minded enough to know that there may be a chance in some cases; there may be a toss-up and it would be well worth trying experiments in certain parts of the country. I can assure the Deputies that the Gaeltacht areas are the ones we are naturally most interested in. Dirriculties are very great there, and I think Deputy Mongan himself will know that a lot of the land that would be suitable for planting would be very hard to get. I should draw the attention of Deputies to this: that in this country a lot of land that in other countries would have been under timber has been used by the people. It is due to our history. The good lands . as we all know, were cleared of the people and they were made go out and exist on lands that in other countries would have been considered only suitable for forestry purposes. Everybody knows that there are crowds of people where there would have been in normal countries only timber. I do not see how we are to get over it, to change that whole situation. It is very, very difficult. All I can say is that, in the circumstances, the Department is doing all it can. It cannot rest on its oars and it will not, but it certainly cannot do anything like what has been asked by the writer of that book and these articles. That gentleman really is in the clouds altogether. That is about the easiest way I can let him down.

Corcaigheach é.

Mr. Boland

He may get his 3,000,000 acres there, but if he tries evacuating populations as he suggested in one of his lectures, he will find it a bit tougher than he anticipates.

Will the Minister give consideration to my suggestion on the question of a gale in regard to timber?

Mr. Boland

Yes, we actually do that. I did not reply to all these points. I intend afterwards dealing with them. I was only dealing with the general matter. As a matter of fact that is done, and advertisements are issued every year, telling of the lands that are available for gale, and that matter is having attention. I am not dealing with all the points raised; there was such a long debate I could not possibly deal with every point, but I will have the Deputies' speeches examined and if there is anything that calls for attention we will have it attended to and the Deputy communicated with. I think that is the best way of dealing with it.

Question put and agreed to.