Vote on Account, 1941-42 (Resumed).

Last night, I said that, during the course of the debate, suggestions had been made that there had been no foresight and no planning. The facts will, I think, prove that those suggestions are as unjustifiable as some of the remarks made with regard to special articles such as petrol, wheat and potatoes. There has been planning. A year before the war broke out—in September, 1938—we were so alive to the need for planning, lest there should be a war, that we began to plan then. Everybody knows that, in a situation like this—the situation which we looked upon then as possible—the fundamental question for us was one of supplies. All planning was based on that—all planning must be based on that—the question of supplies for the various industries which fulfill our needs, the various industries, occupation in which enables those citizens so engaged to exchange their services and the goods they produce for the services which are rendered by other members of the community to them in return.

Realising that everything depended upon supplies and that, when a crisis should arise, that would be our principal care, we saw that it would ultimately become the most important Department of the State on the economic side. We saw that the conduct of that Department would require initiative and energy, and, perhaps, a greater staff than many of the other Departments. The first thing was to decide on the person to be chosen to take charge of that most important Department. Obviously, the person who was to take that part was the man who had been associated with the building up of our industries, the man to whom it is due more than to any other one man that we were in the relatively happy position that we have been able to maintain up to the present, the man who was charged with the policy on which we were elected as a Government first.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce, as he was then, knew the industries, he had experience of them, he had been working for a number of years endeavouring to implement the policy of trying to make this country as self-sufficient as possible, and as independent of outside sources of supply as possible. His knowledge and his energy obviously fitted him for that position. But that was a year before the war. We fully realised that, when the war came, it would become a Department of State all to itself, of necessity requiring the full time of a member of the Government, but, as it was a year before the war, we considered that the Minister could prepare by making a special section of his Department do the planning ahead. Then, if the crisis should come upon us, if war should break out, he would be able quickly to take over the specialised staff and constitute a special Department of State. He put the ablest men he had—and they are amongst the ablest officers in the State—on that work, and the planning was begun a year before the war.

The moment that section of the Department was set up—that is, long before the war—there was made an exhaustive survey of our needs. The question of foodstuffs—food for human beings and for animals—was surveyed; and the supplies of raw materials which we could produce and of raw materials we had of necessity to bring from outside were examined. Importers, manufacturers and traders were interviewed and they were urged to accumulate reserve stocks as quickly as they could. People talk about collecting reserve stocks as if that were a trifle, as if it were very easy to collect vast stores and keep them in advance, possibly to meet a war of two, three, four or five years' duration. That, of course, is a complete mistake. The storage accommodation that is available generally is only for a much shorter period than that. Not only is it necessary to have accommodation for these reserve stocks, but there is also the financial side of the transaction to be considered. Our traders and our merchants carry on, expecting to turn over in a much shorter time than that which you have to plan for if you want resources and reserves with which to face a war.

Financial arrangements had to be made to enable them to purchase and hold those reserve stocks. Through the Minister and his Department—or the section of his Department that I am speaking of—arrangements were made with the banks by which credits were given, and substantial reserves were, in fact, brought in. Difficulties of storing were partially solved by urging traders to send down along the line as quickly as possible the goods that came in. The wholesalers were to get their stores at once from the importers and send them down to the retailers, and we tried to help the retailers by asking the private citizen who could do it to take in reserve stores.

At this point, I think I might make an observation. I heard a Deputy here complaining that some people had stores of goods and others had not, and that they were casting jealous eyes on those who had. I want Deputies to look at that for a moment in this connection. Those who bought those stocks at that time did so on the call of the Minister who was responsible for trying to see that we had the largest stocks possible. They obeyed this call and did it without subtracting from any other person's heap. They did not increase their own pile by taking it away from others, and I am perfectly certain that, if some of them were called upon to do so, and there was absolute need for it, they would be willing to make some of those stocks available for general use. It is most unfair, however, to suggest that those who did, at that time, obey the orders or the call which was given were not acting in a public-spirited way. They were, and it is very much better that these stores should now be in the country somewhere than that they should not have been in the country at all, because, as quickly as they went down along the line, they were replaced at the top. There is only one thing that is important in that complaint about people having stores. It is said, and said truly, that many a poor person would have liked to do the same, but could not do it—could not afford it, had not the money. That is true, and as far as the State, as a whole, was able, the State tried to meet that particular case.

I might, at this point, perhaps, also talk of the general policy that we have been adopting, not merely in this crisis but all the time. If any Deputy takes the Constitution and reads Articles 43 and 45 in that Constitution he will see, set out very clearly, the general principles which have inspired Government action from the time that we took office. Deputy McGilligan complained that we have not completely socialised services here as they have done in Britain at the present time. We may have to do it if this crisis continues and if circumstances get so bad that steps like that are needed, but that is not the normal line upon which we have been trying to approach our social problems. We know perfectly well that the present social system has in it grave evils, and we have tried to remedy these evils by acting on certain principles well-accepted by our people. In the Constitution we have acknowledged the right of private property, but we have also pointed out the right of the State, for the common good, to de-limit the exercise and the use of private property, to make sure that it would subserve not merely the individual but also the common good, the good of the community as a whole. We have also laid stress on private initiative and private enterprise. We believe that private initiative and private enterprise will produce a better state of living for our people as a whole than any other method, but, again, the right of the State to direct, and the duty of the State to supplement and to encourage, has been recognised.

When this crisis began, our aim, naturally, was to try to work along these lines, to do everything that the State was bound to do for the common good, without departing from these fundamental principles. It may be, as I have said, that before this crisis is over the State may have to exercise its right to de-limit the use and to direct the use of private property, and to direct private initiative and private enterprise, so as to make them subserve the common good in the present crisis. It may have to interfere considerably, but we regard interference, unless it can be proved to be absolutely necessary, as unwise, because we believe that it creates greater problems than the problem it seeks to solve. Human life, modern human life, is extremely complex. No man, and no group of men, can completely see all that complexity. If you try to do it, you try to do it in the same sort of way, and you make the same mistakes, as those people who take up statistics and try, through some general figures such as average figures, to get from them conclusions about particular cases. It is the particular case—the individual—that matters in the life of the community finally, and if the State takes on more than it can properly accomplish, you are bound to have disaster.

My belief is that this community will be safer, safer ordinarily and safer in a crisis, if, instead of trying to centralise everything, it tries to decentralise to the utmost possible extent. We believe that that is true. We believe that it is the right method of approach, and it has been on that line of approach that the planning which was done by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, in the section of his Department before he became Minister for Supplies, was carried out. Deputy McGilligan asked, was anybody warned or was anybody consulted. That warning and that consultation took place from the beginning. It took place, as I have said, before the war, in trying to get private enterprise to take time by the forelock and look ahead, and it was repeated at various times since the war began. As proof of that, I shall read for you a circular which was sent from the Dublin Chamber of Commerce and the Associated Chambers to all their members. I am going to read this circular in full, if I may, because there are a number of lessons to be drawn from it.

What is the date?

The 1st July, last year.

Yes, last year. I said that before the war a section of the Department was set up and that from that time there was constant warning and constant communication with the private enterprises that carry on our commercial life here in this country. The circular is as follows:—

"At a conference held on Monday the 1st July, in the Department of Supplies, at which the honorary officers of the Association of Chambers of Commerce and the honorary officers of the Dublin Chamber were present, the Secretary to the Department referred to the recent broadcast by the Minister for Supplies and stated that the uncertainty of the future has made it imperative that this country should increase its stocks of essential commodities. Storage capacity can be provided by distributing stocks downwards, eventually making use of the storage capacity of the actual consumers.

"The honorary officers expressed their entire agreement with this policy, and, with the approval of the Secretary to the Department of Supplies, are circulating this memo to all members of the Chambers of Commerce. All traders, manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers should, in their own interests as well as the interests of the country, increase their stocks to their utmost capacity and should impress upon their customers the advisability of doing the same. The consequent dispersal of stocks will release storage capacity in the usual centres and will also ensure that stocks of all commodities will be well distributed. This may prove a great benefit should circumstances arise which might dislocate distribution from the usual supply centres."

Now, I should like you to note the date.

A Deputy


Yes, last year. Everybody knows that the war entered on a new phase last summer. Everybody knows that our difficulties in getting supplies were greatly increased by that change. Everybody knows that the danger to this country from every direction increased at that date. Before that time the Minister had been doing everything possible to get just these things done. That was not the first time he spoke in that sense either to chambers of commerce, to traders, or to manufacturers. He had been doing it all the time. But because of this new danger, this new phase, and this new crisis, he took an opportunity of speaking over the radio, and also took an opportunity of bringing representatives to meet the officers of his Department.

As I have said, we started to plan a year before the war—that planning, necessarily, being centred about the question of supplies. That planning went on till the war broke out. When the war broke out we changed the section of the Department into an independent Ministry and the Minister took over those officers who had experience already of the problems, who had made the surveys already, who knew the difficulties and knew what was to be done, and added to them—sometimes to the discontent of other Departments—other officers of ability who would be able to take on the increased burden which came upon them the moment the war broke out.

But the moment the war broke out, you had a new set of circumstances altogether. Before the war, no matter how much you asked people to take heed, or warned them there was a danger of war, they said, "Oh, that is a chance." Many people said—just as we had Deputies here yesterday saying—that this was all panic-mongering, that it was going to mean loss to the country, that there was no danger. Human beings are by nature only too ready to take the easy course and to say, "God is good for tomorrow," and they did not want the incitement of other people to make them do that. It was hard to stir them up but, when war broke, those who had not taken advantage of the warnings found that they were in difficulties. The nation as a whole was in difficulties.

We are a creditor nation. We have a large sum of sterling assets. They belong to members of our community, but in time of strain, like all private property, they could be availed of to the interest of the community as a whole. They could, if they were liquid, if they could be moved; but the moment war broke out every country, the belligerent countries, and even the neutral countries, began to put all sorts of restrictions in the way so that the claims that outside people had upon them, represented by their money in the particular country, were repudiated. For that is what it meant —a repudiation of the claims. Money is not much good or claims are not much good to you if you are not able to make them effective by getting things that you want. An American millionaire in New York may be able to get all sorts of things for himself, but take that millionaire and put him on an uninhabited island and I think, if he were faced immediately with need for food and so on, his attitude there towards his money would be very much that of the cock in the fable: the grain of wheat would be much more important to him than the precious stones.

We were a creditor country. We had large sums of money invested abroad, representing, as I said, claims abroad. They could not be realised at once. Even in normal times very heavy realisation would mean very heavy loss. The selling out of these and buying goods in return and getting them in large amounts would mean loss. But in this case, you could not do it unless you had the agreement of the countries in which your money was invested. As I have said, all these countries at the beginning of war put restrictions on the sale and realisation of sterling, particularly in foreign exchange. They put on restrictions, not merely in getting foreign exchange for their currency, but they put on restrictions in giving their own actual goods. You had both. What were we to do? Normally, we get from our investments abroad a certain interest or income which we can translate from year to year into goods and which over a long period we normally do, but we could get neither interest nor capital the moment the war broke out, unless by agreement.

We were in the same position with regard to our shipping. We have no mercantile marine of our own. I told you some of the difficulties we would have had if we had a mercantile marine. Our goods were translated here formerly in the main in British ships, but the moment war broke out the British Government had need for all its ships and the use of these ships was regulated by their interest in winning the war. The first thing for us to do, therefore, was to make agreements in regard to some of these matters. Agreements and arrangements were made which were of use to both sides, of mutual benefit, and it was by reason of these agreements that we got most of the things which we got from the time the war broke out—not all, but a good deal.

But again, there are people who talk about war without apparently realising what war means. Our dangers would be much better appreciated by the people if they realised that one half the world is fighting against the other half, that it is a question of life or death for the nations involved, and that because it is so, they will put aside every other consideration except the consideration of trying to bring victory to their own side. Every other consideration goes overboard, and arrangements which were made, and which were satisfactory for a time, no longer obtain. We have a position that was explained time after time, a position in which our dependence must be upon ourselves.

There has been planning. I think the Minister for Supplies was unfair to himself when he said that adequate steps were not taken. I know the sense in which he meant that. He meant to say that the steps which were taken did not, in the event, save us from those things from which we wanted, and were planning, to save the country. I say that nothing that by ordinary human foresight could have been provided for was neglected, and those who take and use a phrase that the Minister used, to try to suggest, as has been done, that there was neglect on the part of the Government or any of the Departments, are acting as unfairly and just as unwisely in the national interest, as the people who took up the phrase of the Minister for the Co-Ordination of Defensive Measures and used it to our detriment in Britain and America. The full meaning was distorted. Surely we have enough difficulties to meet at the present time without having to meet misrepresentation of that sort. I say there has been planning. Everything that was humanly possible in our circumstances, to make provision in advance, was done and the reserve stocks that had been accumulated were of such value that, when the shock and dislocation of the war came, it was hardly felt here. Life was almost as if no such position had been created. It went on smoothly, so smoothly that the danger was that people might not realise that it could not go on like that for ever.

We had to warn the people from the start that during the war it could not be "business as usual." If they did pass over that crisis, which caused dislocation, shock, inconvenience and loss in practically every country, if they passed over it quietly here, it was because of the planning done in the section of the Department of Supplies, which was created a year before the war began. If we have been able to pass for one and a half years through a war of this magnitude, and if we only began to feel it last September, or at the beginning of this year, that has been due to the fact that everything that foresight could do to plan ahead and to make arrangements had been done.

In regard to special commodities which are of particular importance, special arrangements had to be made. Special companies were set up to see that we got our supply of grain, fuel, animal feeding-stuffs and timber. These are fundamental commodities, of such importance that the Minister departed from the general lines we have gone on, of inspiring existing importers and traders to do their work. Special companies were set up, closely associated with the Departments, in order to give whatever influence and direction the State could give, by getting together people who had special experience, knowledge and ability, to try to add to and to supplement what was ordinarily done by private companies. As the Minister for Finance points out these were nonprofit making companies.

I say that there has been care exercised from the very start. It has been suggested that we could have done better before, and that we could do better now than has been done by the Departments in present circumstances, if we set up something like an economic council. You could with a different form of State organisation and a different type of Constitution have such a body. There is no doubt that one could frame a form of government in which you could have an economic council doing the work that it has been suggested it should do, but it does not fit in with our system. In fact, with our system it would be needless duplication. I have many times realised the fact that Ministers' time was taken up, to no small extent, with day to day administrative problems, Parliamentary work and so on. I have thought that it would be a useful thing if, in addition, you could have something like an economic headquarters staff. It was pointed out here by Deputy Norton that I had, actually when I was in opposition, recommended that for that very reason. When we came into office we had a certain programme which we wanted to develop and to carry through, and naturally the same thought occurred to me again, why not have such? I tried to plan it to see how it would work, and how it would fit in with the machinery that already existed, and I found it would not work. I found that there would be duplication.

The main reason why it would not work is that there are Departments which are doing that work, and if you set up any group, such as an economic council of the type indicated by Deputy Norton, you would have the difficulty that, when planning it should plan upon some given policy, and very soon the planning becomes a question of politics, a political problem. They are not in a position to solve these problems. They may make recommendations which the Government sees are out of line with the general policy which it regards as best for the country as a whole and their plans are turned down. Even though they were accepted, there is the question of the execution of such plans. People who plan ought, as far as possible, be given the execution of the plan. If you had a group of that particular kind divorced from the Departments, they would have to depend ultimately on the Departments to carry out the plans, and if the Departments believed that some of these particular plans were not really workable, they would immediately object to them, and leave you in the position that nothing was done. So the first thing one has to bear in mind, in talking about an economic headquarters staff or anything of that kind, is that you must make it possible for those who make plans to operate their own plans.

It is interesting to note that efforts were made in Britain to do the very same thing because, fundamentally, the method of government in Britain, as far as administration is concerned, is roughly the same as our own. There is Ministerial responsibility; there are Departments with Ministers at their heads and having staffs who carry out the policy of the Government as operated by the Minister. The idea of an economic headquarters staff has been tried in Britain over a number of years. Mr. Stanley Baldwin, I think it was in 1925——

Has not this question of an economic council been decided by the House recently?

It was referred to in the course of this debate by at least three Deputies in relation to planning supply.

I am dealing with these.

A motion on supplies was recently decided. Deputies, however, are not precluded from raising it on the Vote on Account in connection with procuring supplies. A motion may not be repeated until after a lapse of six months. Were all reference to such matters ruled out in relation to taxation or expenditure, Deputies might be hampered in dealing with many important aspects of financial policy.

I understand that it has been intimated that it was desirable that on this Vote Ministers should deal with the question of supplies.

Mr. Baldwin when he was Prime Minister set up a Committee of Civil Research in 1925, and the idea was that it was to work on similar lines to those of the Imperial General Staff. The idea was that what could be done in the case of planning ahead for the Army, should be also possible in the case of the civil Departments. That was a failure. Mr. MacDonald set up an Economic Advisory Council when he was Prime Minister, about 1929, and that was a failure. There was an Economic Survey Staff set up some time ago of which Sir Josiah Stamp, Professor Clay and others were members and that also has disappeared. I suggest that bodies interested—and I believe the Labour Party are interested—in this whole question, seeing how impossible it is to make this idea fit in with the working of Departments as we have them here, should read a book by Laski. Deputy Norton said he is a Communist. I do not mind what he is; he is a professor of political science in the University of London and these are studies of the working of these institutions. Deputies need not accept anything he says if they think it is Communistic. All I am asking is that they should simply read that work as an interesting analysis which shows up, no matter what may be said of the idea by itself or in connection with a different form of government, how impossible it is with our form of government to get such a plan to work.

There is always going on under our system of government just that planning which Deputy Norton wants to have adopted. I have told you how planning for supplies was being done by the Department of Supplies. A section of the Department of Industry and Commerce, when it was doing that work, had constant touch with the people in the particular businesses concerned—people who know their own business as experts know it. There is constant consultation by the various Departments with the interests concerned. There is constant planning going on. The Minister for Industry and Commerce and his staff are constantly in touch with industry and with commerce. The Minister for Agriculture is constantly in touch with the agricultural industry and planning is done there. Sometimes it is necessary to get a special group of Ministers to meet as a sub-committee of the Government to deal with certain problems. These sub-committees meet and they discuss problems which are common to them. For instance, the duties of the Minister for Supplies, when he took over that office, clearly could be divided into two categories—getting goods from outside, and getting goods produced here. The question of getting goods from outside, the commerce side of it, touched on the work of the Department of Industry and Commerce, and the Minister for Supplies was naturally in touch with the Minister for Industry and Commerce in regard to certain of the matters connected with supplies. In regard to getting goods produced here, he was also in touch with the Minister for Industry and Commerce. The Minister for Industry and Commerce was the active agent in trying to establish substitute industries or in arranging for a changed production by our industries to meet the needs of the new situation.

In connection with the question of food, the Minister for Supplies had to go to the Minister for Agriculture. These three Ministers are naturally closely related in this whole question of supplies. Recently the Minister has with him a sub-committee of the Cabinet, an economic sub-committee, with Ministers such as the Minister for Industry and Commerce and the Minister for Agriculture, in order that problems of general interest would be discussed and dealt with. So that you have planning going on in the separate Departments, and then you have planning by means of sub-committees of the Government and by the Government as a whole. If you try to introduce any other planning group, except those which in a particular way are related to each other, you will have not merely a fifth wheel on the coach, but you will have something worse. It would be worse than useless.

I have been asked, looking ahead, what are we doing. The most important thing we have to fear in looking ahead is, that we shall not have food enough. That would be the greatest of all our calamities. People died from starvation in this country before. Perhaps it should be said that the war would have to last a very long time indeed before our people would starve. If they were neglected, they might. If we take care now and be timely about it, they will not. I do not want to go back again to the question of bread which I dealt with rather fully last night. But, I would again urge every Deputy, when he gets back to the country at the week-end and, indeed, until the sowing season is over, to urge the farmers to increase their tillage and particularly to sow those crops which are needed for human food.

Will the Taoiseach guarantee that there will be sufficient seed?

The Deputy was answered before about seed by the Minister for Agriculture and told that there was sufficient seed. There can be economy in the use of seed as in other things.

I accept the Taoiseach's assurance on that.

I am telling the Deputy what the Minister for Agriculture told him on a previous occasion.

I heard differently since, but I accept the Taoiseach's assurance.

I cannot myself go round and find out every store in which there is seed, but I am telling the Deputy what the Minister for Agriculture said on former occasions when this question of seed came up. There may be some difficulty, I believe, about an adequate supply of Spring wheat— I am not sure of that—but that was the only thing in regard to the vital matters of food that I have heard any question about. But there can be economy in the use of seed. I remember listening to one of the Ministers, I think it was the Minister for the Co-Ordination of Defensive Measures, pointing out that beet seed is usually sown in a long line and then thinned out, and that if you are short of seed you can make it go much further if you put two or three grains here and two or three grains there. In that way you will not be wasting the seed. I know that at one time the usual method of sowing wheat was to carry it in a sheet and fling it around in every direction. I do not think that is practised to the same extent now and in that way there is an economy in the use of seed. Economy in the use of seed and indeed in the use of all materials is most important at present. That applies to very many things. We have been quite wasteful in our methods because we had not to be economical. Now we have to be economical and every man who makes one seed do the work of two, if you can imagine that, is a creator and a saviour at the present time.

On the question of seeds, is the Taoiseach aware how absolutely essential it is that provision should be made immediately by farmers for the production of seeds for root crops for next year, and will he ask the Department of Agriculture to take steps in that matter? I am informed by county agricultural instructors and others who know all about this business that it is essential, if root crops are to be provided next year, that steps should be taken during this month at the latest.

One of the troubles we have is that when Ministers speak in the House all the Deputies are not present, and Deputies do not always read the Official Reports, so that things which are dealt with by Ministers are not known about or are forgotten about. I was not in the House myself, and I am not sure if he did, but I am told that the Minister for Agriculture dealt with that question in detail. I know from looking at the reports and getting an idea of the work being done by the Department of Agriculture that the Department have had this whole question of seed supplies very carefully under consideration and I have no doubt that any steps necessary to warn farmers about what they are to do will be taken.

I was in the House on that occasion and I heard the Minister's statement on that matter, but the fact is that whatever the plans of the Minister or the Department may be, they are not being carried out in the country, and when this month is over it will be too late to do it.

I know that there is a very big difference between warning people and getting people to accept the warning; telling people what they are to do and getting them to do it. But I do not know of any steps which the Minister can take that he has not taken in that way. He is probably urging the county committees of agriculture and the agricultural instructors to get this done. What can we do if ultimately people will not do it, except we set up a special State section and try ourselves to provide the seed? I do not know what would be the magnitude of that.

Mr. Morrissey

That would be the ideal solution.

I do not know. It may be a big task. In this country we are getting more and more into the position of depending on the Government and the State as a fairy godmother. If we cannot get people to do these things for themselves, the only way to save them from themselves may be to try to adopt some method such as I have indicated. But, do not let us have the people all the time in leading strings, taking them by the hand and helping them along. We must get them to stand on their own feet, and that is the best way in the present situation.

Might I inform the Taoiseach that seed merchants are prepared to propagate seed? Already plots of mangels and turnips have been prepared and others are being made under guarantees given to the farmers by the seed merchants. It would be possible for the Government to help in that matter. I thoroughly agree with the Taoiseach that it is not fair to ask the Government to do things we should do ourselves, but if we are doing them ourselves, I hope we shall get the co-operation of the Department.

Yes. The Deputy has indicated the line the Government usually follows. The method suggested by Deputy Morrissey as being the ideal one would be only a last resort. The best method is that which has been indicated by the Deputy, and that is usually adopted—to go to the people whose business it is to provide the seed and tell them that if it was formerly got from abroad they should make provision now so that they will be able to carry on their business as seed merchants.

I know that it is being done by one of the largest seed merchants.

I said that the Government are only too anxious to help to supplement private enterprise, but we do not want to sap private enterprise. We do not want people to think that they can be saved in spite of themselves by any action which the Government may take; they can only be saved by themselves. Looking ahead, as I said, the first thing we have to provide for is food, and fundamental as regards food supplies are cereals. If we have sufficient cereals, we will be able to prevent a violent dislocation of our food supplies. We will be able to get some sort of bread for the people. If we had to substitute potatoes entirely for bread that would be a considerable difficulty.

As I am talking about food, let me say this again to the farmers. The farmer normally works his farm for his own interest. We want him now to work his farm not merely for his own interest but for the general interest. We appeal to him to put more land under tillage, even though, normally, it is not the way he would work the economy of his farm. By means of guaranteed prices and so on we are trying to make it profitable for him to do so. As somebody said to me the other day: "If you ask the farmers to put an extra acre or half acre of their land under tillage, over and above what they would normally do from the ordinary profit-making point of view; if you ask them to do that from the public point of view and, for the sake of their neighbour, and as I think some other person said ‘for the love of God,' and if they do that it would help us to solve our problems." We want the farmers to approach the matter in that light. We know that our system here is one of small farmers and of small landed proprietors. We want them to keep their farms. If we can help it, we do not want to have State interference with their farms, but they have a duty towards the community as a whole because the land is the fundamental thing on which we live. Therefore, anyone who fails to use his land, as we are urging him to use it, is guilty of a crime, and it is right that he should be punished. We hope that those who commit that crime will be punished in an exemplary fashion.

What about those who will not give their land at £6 an acre so that it may be tilled?

Not merely do we want the farmers to till their land, but we want everyone who has land, cottiers and others, to do so. Take the cottiers. I know the country well and I know that, for reasons which may appear good to themselves, their plots are not tilled. Let us see no cottiers' plots untilled this year. We know that the farmers will help them. If they are anxious to till their plots the farmers, who live beside them, will help them to a certain extent. They used to do it in the past, and I believe they will do it again by way of putting in a plough and a pair of horses to help to lighten the labour there would otherwise be in preparing the plot for a crop. As I am talking about cottiers, let me urge on every local body through the country to go out for giving allotments to the fullest possible extent. Everyone in the country who can get a plot, in which to grow food, should strive to have one. The local bodies should do everything in their power to make such plots available. We cannot have too much food, but we can very well have too little.

Now next to food, there is the question of fuel. Arrangements were made about getting in coal, but these arrangements can no longer be depended on. They have already broken down, so that the fuel, like the food, must come from within the country if we are going to be sure of it. Our coal mines would supply but a very small proportion of the coal that we require. They should certainly be developed to the fullest extent possible, but even that would not be considerable. It would be helpful and should be done, but it would not be considerable. Our great reliance for fuel must be upon turf. It is the great alternative that we have. We want two or three times the amount of turf that is ordinarily cut, cut now. Just as this is the sowing season of the year, it is also the time when preparations have to be made for the winning of turf. The Turf Board, with its mechanical appliances, is trying to do what it can, but it is organised to do more than win turf by mechanical means.

An effort is being made to try to organise the getting of hand-won turf, and we have got to a situation in which we will have to reserve for the areas which are far away from the bogs, and from the large centres of population, whatever supplies of household coal will be made available. The rest of the country, the towns, have bogs near them, and it will not require tremendous organisation in order to get the turf cut. There again, just as in the seed question, probably the best way would be to organise those who normally supply fuel, the coal traders and coal merchants, and try to get them to make arrangements to secure supplies of turf instead of coal. The local committees, the parish committees, should try to assist. If we can get local initiative in regard to this matter, local enterprise, we will probably do very much more and very much better than if the State were immediately and directly to take over the actual work of trying to get production. There is organisation being done by the State; there is encouragement being given by the State. The Turf Board has got a task to do, and is trying to do it, but the time is very short. We must get to work now. The Department of Lands has come in to make available bogs which have not been used, and so on, and all that the State can do to see that we will have the necessary fuel will be done.

With regard to clothing, we ought to be able to manage fairly well. Most of those who were able to get expensive cloths in the past will have stocks or will be able to have supplies at any rate to last them through the crisis. They may not look as well dressed as they did in the past, but they certainly will not be cold. But there are people in this country who have not been able to get expensive clothes. There are people who have not two or three suits of clothes or more, people who have only one suit, and that threadbare. Those are the people who are in danger as regards clothing. Every effort is being made to see whether Irish wool, of which we have considerable quantities, can be used. Unfortunately, the plants which are used for spinning and weaving worsteds and so on are not capable, or so I am told, of using Irish wool, but every effort is being made and will continue to be made to try to utilise Irish wool for the making of clothes. If we have a standard pattern or some style that is unusual we must just put up with it so long as it keeps us from the cold. Those are the fundamental things.

Transport is essential too, because there is no use in having goods in one part of the country and needing them in another part if you are unable to transport them. The complete failure of petrol supplies, which may happen, would be a serious dislocation at the present time. We know that we were able to have our transport in the past before there was petrol. We have the trains. The trains want coal, but they can be adapted—I do not know whether it can be done quickly; it has been done in the North—for the use of turf, if we have it in sufficient quantities. We have to use our railways to a greater extent than before. Where there are horsedrawn vehicles they have got to be used, and every one of us must be economical in the use of liquid fuel in transport. If we do reconcile ourselves to those changes which will necessarily come about, we will find in the long run that we will not be very much worse off. Our difficulties then, the vital ones, and they are considerable, can be overcome to the extent that would enable us to continue to have a reasonable standard here, if only we can deal with the question of distribution. We have to try to give to individuals the right to get and the method of getting their share of the goods that are in the pool.

We are going to have considerable unemployment here in this country, and it cannot be avoided. Bit by bit, our industries are likely to have to stop, a number of them, for want of raw materials. We must try by every possible device, to stretch out the period during which those raw materials can last, so as to prevent the unemployment which will come if a number of those industries close down. I am afraid that a number of them will close down ultimately, but let us try to put off the evil day as far as we can by devices of various kinds which may be resorted to. There will be a new type of unemployed. Formerly the people who were unemployed were, in the main, people who could have been put on unskilled tasks of various kinds. Very many of the people who are going to be unemployed now will be quite incapable of doing the ordinary labourer's work. We will have a number of unskilled workers who will be unemployed too, a much greater number than there was up to the present, and we must try to find occupations for them. There has been a section dealing with the problem over a number of years; we are fortunate in that we have a section, with a Parliamentary Secretary in charge, who has long experience of this problem. The effort to find occupation for those who become unemployed is constantly being made, and a review is being taken at present of the possibilities of finding employment, but remember that, in the areas in which there had been unemployment in the past, that effort over a long period of years has practically exhausted the immediately useful work, work which is valuable to the community when you take into account the value of the work that is done and the cost of doing it. The amount of work with a large labour content, work of real value, has been greatly diminished.

The unemployment problem is going to be somewhat the reverse of what it used to be. Our unemployment now is going to be mainly in the large cities and industrial centres. In the past, there was a good deal of unemployment in the West of Ireland and elsewhere. There will be some of that still, but there is useful work for a large number on the land, producing the things that we want, cutting the fuel and sowing the crops. In the cities, we are going to have a much more difficult problem of unemployment than we have had in the past. Some of it we will be able to relieve, as I have said, by schemes which are under consideration, but unfortunately the number of them will be relatively small, in comparison to the number who are idle. What is to be done with the administrative classes, the executives? What is to be done with the skilled technicians, the craftsmen, and so on? That is another difficult question. It will be almost impossible to find useful employment for them, but they must live, and an effort must be made to give them their share of the pool. As I say, that is under active consideration at the moment. The first thing is to try to delay as far as possible, by various devices, the unemployment of this class of workers who cannot be put at the type of manual work, and so on, which we have been able to make available, to a certain extent anyhow, for the unemployed in the past. The next step must be to try to get, from the pool of works which have been under constant examination, those works that would be of some value, but we will have to be content with a smaller labour content in those works and a smaller general community value in the future than we have been in the past. Things that we would not have attempted in the past, as being quite uneconomical, if I may use the word, will have to be undertaken now in order to try to get occupation for those people who, in increasing numbers, will be available for work of that particular kind.

On the question of distribution then the whole point is to get the people having a right to claim—and secure them a claim, if possible, by getting services from them in return—a share of the goods that are in the pool. Another part of the distribution is to see that they get a fair share of the pool. That brings in the whole question of rationing. I have already spoken at considerable length, and if I were to deal satisfactorily with the whole question of rationing, its difficulties, and what has been done, I am afraid I would have to make a speech as long as the one I made last night or the one that I have made this morning, so I am afraid I will have to leave it over to be dealt with by another Minister.

The Minister for Supplies has already dealt with it, but apparently it is necessary for us here to repeat and repeat and repeat; otherwise we will be told there is no thought given to the difficulties and problems ahead, that there is no attempt to plan, and you will have all those phrases which are very easy to put in tabloid form, but it is quite a different thing when you have got to point out, as we have to, the variety of circumstances that come in when dealing with any of those complex problems, because they are complex, and do not lend themselves at all to be dealt with in tabloid form. I will end then by saying that everything which it was reasonable to do has been done, that the Government are not prophets, that they are not people who can, by a wave of a wand or a conjuror's trick, end blockades, get goods from people who are not prepared to bring them, transport them over the seas, and so on. Everything that men could do has been done with care and energy, and anything that has not been done or any of the difficulties that have been encountered are facts of the situation over which neither we nor any other Government here would have control.

If the Taoiseach says it is the desire of the Government, not merely to ensure equitable distribution, but to give every person a right to what is available for distribution, a right to something that is in the pool, will he say why a declaration of policy of that kind is followed by an order sweeping 60,000 people off the fragmentary unemployment assistance they have been getting?

One of the things we want to make sure of is that there will be available for work on the land during the season when the land has to be tilled an adequate number of people and that these people will not be attracted off the land into work which is not nearly as important for the community as is work on the land. That is one consideration. Accordingly, we have to see to it that there will be people available for work on the land and that there will be every possible attraction to bring people back to the land. People have been coming into the city within recent times, coming off the land, and if work was made available for them on the land they would be prepared to go back there rather than stay in the city. We want to do everything in our power to relieve the problem that confronts us in the cities and in that connection work on the land would be very helpful.

But they cannot get work on the land.

Does the Taoiseach believe that, by rationing food, the poorest sections of the community will get their just share if the Government do not at the same time in some way ration the purchasing power of money? Does he believe that the interests of the community will be properly safeguarded if certain industries and services are permitted to be operated by private individuals for shareholders' profits? The industries I have in mind are the flour-milling and bacon industries, and I have also in mind such things as banking and credit.

The Deputy has raised a number of questions which would require a long debate here to deal with, and he knows that.

I could say a good deal more to the Taoiseach about private interests and private profits.

If I were to go into all the matters raised by these questions, I would have to spend a very long time. It is not a matter that could be dealt with merely by way of an ordinary answer.

I could say quite a lot on the subject of private profit and the public welfare.

I thought it would have been unfair last night to ask the Taoiseach, with only a few minutes to go, to explain to the House the position with regard to bellmen's coal. Perhaps it was unfair to the Taoiseach that I allowed him to complete his speech to-day without reminding him of his ambition in that respect last night. I think the question of coal is the real point that shows up the present situation. Therefore, I should like the Taoiseach to view one or two matters with regard to it before he makes any attempt to give an explanation of the situation. There is this to be said about coal, that it is not a question of going back into the past and in that respect it is not like the question of tea. Coal is an entirely different question; it is only a question of to-day and of the last two months. In view of the importance attached by the Minister for Supplies to the coal situation, in view of the explanation he has given about the way he treated coal in the fixing of prices, and in view of the extraordinary reaction to my simple question the other night, I think it is a thing that requires to be most calmly and carefully considered.

The Minister for Supplies, on the 12th March, when starting to deal with the general question of supplies, held up his hands to the House and said he wanted to approach the discussion of supplies in the calmest possible way in order to give the greatest amount of information to the House. He dealt exhaustively with tea and coal, but does anybody know what the position is with regard to supplies of tea or coal following his very long statement? Deputies do not know whether we imported more tea in 1939 than in 1938, or whether we got more coal in 1940 than in 1939 or 1938. I want to make the point later that so far from the national interest being injured in any way by the people knowing the amount of coal and tea we got in within the last two years, the national interest has been very badly served by the withholding of that information.

As to tea, I asked the Minister for Supplies whether he was not aware that the price at which tea was imported in 1938 and 1939 was 1/6 a lb. That amount, I submit, covered the buying of the tea, the transport charges until it reached the ship and came alongside the quay in Dublin, or wherever else it reached here, and the cost of all insurance and freight, even the excessive war insurance charges. In the year 1940 the import price was 1/7¾, 1¾d. up. I asked why, in these circumstances, and in view of the fact that there was not a shortage of tea in this country last year as compared with previous years, such an extraordinary rise took place in the price of tea. The Minister explained that he could have standardised the price of tea but that would have been unfair to the poor. The Minister must not know anything of the position with regard to tea and the poor at the present time. The fact is that there has been an enormous rise in the price of tea, particularly for the poor. We were told by the Minister that the poor used to pay 2/- a lb. for their tea and, in fact, were able to get tea at 1/4 and 1/6. At the present time the poor are paying 2½d. an ounce for tea, or at the rate of 3/4 a lb.

As regards people in a better position, I heard of one lady who went to a shop after her friend told her she got tea there at 2/8 a lb. She asked to be supplied with tea and the shop assistant wanted to know "Is it the 4/8 or 5/- tea you want?" Naturally she was shocked and she asked was it not a fact that they were selling tea at 2/8 and was informed that they were, to their old customers. The poor are actually paying 2½d. an ounce, or 3/4 a lb., for their tea and the better classes are being asked by reputable houses in the city "Is it the 4/8 or the 5/- tea you require?" I think it was Deputy Colonel Ryan who told the House about someone travelling in County Tipperary offering tea wholesale at 4/- a lb. at a time when the cost of tea alongside the quay, when there was an adequate supply imported here, was up by only 1¾d. The Minister gave a very lame excuse as to why he could not control that, and then, when Deputy Byrne or Deputy Norton asked some other question, the Minister said: "Let me proceed with my speech without interruption", and that the explanation of why he was going to proceed with his speech without interruption was that he did not accept my statements as facts. I want the House to realise that it is a fact that, in 1940, the import price of tea, with every charge, insurance, freight and cost, paid up to its landing on the quay at Dublin or elsewhere, was 1/7¾ per lb.

Surely the Deputy understands that the average price for the year has nothing whatever to do with the price prevailing now? The price could fluctuate from the lowest to the highest point in the course of the year, without altering the average price.

The Minister can give a serious explanation of that to the House, and I believe it is wanted.

I invited Deputies to arrange for a debate on prices. They told me they wanted a debate on supplies and I objected to other questions being brought in when I was speaking on supplies. If Deputies want a debate on prices, it can be arranged. I am quite willing to discuss prices.

I think the Minister's polite words were "to let people go on telling lies about it".

I am quite sure that will happen, too.

That was in respect of coal. I cannot dissociate the question of supplies from the question of prices, and I do not know whether anybody in the House does, because what is it that regulates the question of supplies to the working class but price? The Minister tells us that he is going to introduce orders by which, if a policeman sees one throwing a crust of bread to a dog, one may be arrested, so precious is bread. If bread is precious, surely what buys bread is precious, and there is this drain of 3/4—an increase of 1/4—per lb. to the people who are buying tea in the poorer parts of the city. It is spread over the whole situation. The Minister will not tell us that the tea being sold to-day, and which has been sold at this price for some time, is tea imported in January and February at the increased price.

The Taoiseach then intervened. He apparently saw that there was some kind of difference between the question of price and the question of supply, and he said that the question of supply can be dealt with. I should like the question of price to be dealt with, even as regards tea, but as regards tea the damage to a large extent is done. Whatever dislocation of distribution has taken place has raised the price and has brought about the conditions I mention throughout the city. Other people know the position in the country. I suggest, however, that the position with regard to coal prices is not irretrievable, and I ask the House to consider in what way the Minister himself regards the question of coal. When dealing with the proposal for an economic council—I am quoting from the unrevised Dáil reports of 11th March, column 407— on the general question of prices, the Minister said:—

".... the Prices Commission is not functioning at the present time in relation to the day-to-day control of prices.

He added that he was.

Read the whole thing.

The Minister said:

"The Prices Commission is not functioning at the present time in relation to the day-to-day control of prices. I am functioning through a section of my Department. The powers conferred upon me by the Emergency Powers Act are much wider than those conferred by the Prices Control Act under which the Prices Commission was set up."

At column 408, he said:

"The prices branch of my Department, acting upon my instructions, is endeavouring to ensure that the price of any commodity will not be increased except in consequence of some increased cost arising outside of this country."

He was dealing there generally with prices, and he then proceeded immediately to particularise the position with regard to coal. I propose to quote a number of extracts to show how elaborately and clearly he wanted to set this price principle out. He said:

"I do not know if I have made that clear. When one sets out to consider the prices that will be permitted to be charged for coal, one decides that there has to be allowed in the price any increase in the wholesale price of the coal and any increase in the price of the transport of coal to this country."

He then said, at column 409:—

"I say here that in every case where a price was fixed for coal by my Department regard was had to the stocks in existence at the time, and the price which might have been directed in consequence of the increased price of coal abroad or the increased cost of transportation was reduced to ensure that no additional profit would be taken on existing stocks."

There may be some correction required there, but I think the general intent is clear. At column 410, he said:—

"I say there has been no increase in the price of coal with the consent of my Department except in consequence of an increase in the wholesale price in England or an increase in the cost of transporting it from England."

Further on, he said:—

"... whatever price the Mines Department fixed for the coal to be supplied to us is the price we have to pay. That price had gone up and up as the cost of production in England has increased. Furthermore, the cost of importing that coal from England has increased considerably because transport and freight charges have risen, and risen considerably in the case of ports like Cork, and others which are farther away from the ports of shipment in Great Britain. All those increases have had to be reflected in the price."

At column 411, he said:—

"When increases in the pit-head price in Great Britain or in the cost of transporting coal to this country took place, my Department took under consideration the extent to which retail prices here should be increased, and, in deciding on the extent to which they should be increased, they had regard to the quantity of coal in stock purchased at a lower price, and fixed a price which was firm, having regard to that increase in the pit-head price and to the quantity in stock. At least that is what they set out to do."

Following this statement of the principle governing him in dealing with prices, and following the statement that he had very considerable powers, which implied all the powers he wanted, we are surely given the impression that the coal situation has been particularly examined, with these fixed prices—the price to bellmen, 63/- per ton, being a satisfactory guide—and one would imagine that, with that examination, the situation was clear and perfect, and that the Minister would be able calmly to give information to the House that would show that there was necessity for such a charge and that would allay the feelings which he thinks Deputies are stirring up by asking questions with regard to the position. The Minister dealt exhaustively with coal. Deputy McGilligan, on the previous night, had made the point that the Minister for Industry and Commerce had intimated that, in January, the import price of all coal was 44/8 and, in February, it was 45/11—an increase of 1/3; and that the price being charged to bellmen was 52/- on 10th January, 58/- on 18th January, and 63/- on 11th February. That is, the price charged per ton to bellmen rose between 10th January and 11th February by 11/- per ton, although the import price has risen by only 1/3.

The Deputy is again making the same mistake. What has the average price over the whole month to do with it if the price goes up in the middle of the month?

Then it should be cheaper at the beginning and dearer at the end?

The average price over the whole month has nothing to do with the price now.

I will take the Minister back and ask him if the average price of coal over the last six months of last year has nothing to do with the price being charged for coal to-day. We got in six months' supply in six months of last year. What is the average price for that? Has it anything to do with the price charged to-day?

If you take the price paid for a ton of coal, you cannot regard that as the average price; it is the price for the ton.

The average price at which imported coal is sold to people must be related to the average price of the coal.

Why does the Minister for Supplies base the increase he is going to charge people for coal on the increase arising out of the import price of coal? I shall state my position simply. The price charged to bellmen for coal—which coal, as the Minister indicated, is 20 per cent. of all cargoes taken into Dublin and dumped in the pools at the quay—has to be related to the cost of the coal when it came alongside the quay.

To the cost of the coal in these dumps.

I admit that there are charges for taking the coal out of the ship and putting it on the quay.

Substantial charges.

There is no question of 18/-. The cost of that coal, c.i.f., is not 45/-.

It was 45/11 in February and 44/8 in January and, for the six months ended 31st December, 1940, it was 39/4.

The Deputy does not seem to understand what an average price is. I am prepared to intervene and deal with the matter if the Deputy gives way. If the price of an article at the beginning of a year is £1 and at the end of the year is £5, the average is £3. But that does not make it the average over the year.

When the Minister was on his feet, I put him a question. I asked him to explain why, when the average price of coal in February was 45/11, when bellmen took the coal away from the quays they were charged 63/- a ton.

They were never charged 63/- for coal which was 45/- c.i.f.

Or 45/11 either.

Perhaps they were charged 63/- on the 11th of February for coal that came in in January at 44/8.

They were charged 63/- for coal that came in at 52/6. That was the c.i.f. price of the coal in the bellmen's dumps.

Which is 20 per cent. of all cargoes.

Yes, and they are getting coal more cheaply than anybody else is getting it.

If that represents 20 per cent. of all cargoes and the average price of the coal taken in in February is 45/11, how does the average for the 20 per cent. work out differently from the average for 100 per cent.? The Minister thinks this is an important question. On the 12th March—again quoting from the unrevised records—when the Minister had spoken a lot about coal, I asked him if, before he passed from coal, he would deal with the question raised the previous night. I said "The Minister for Industry and Commerce said that the import prices for coal in January and February were 44/8 and 45/11 per ton, respectively, but the bellmen are being charged 63/-. There is also the point that the import price rose between January and February by 1/3 per ton but between the 18th January and the 11th February the increase to bellmen was 11/- per ton." The Minister had indicated that he would allow no increase except in so far as it was an increase in the cost outside or transport or insurance charges——

I am prepared to give the Deputy the complete cost of a ton of bellman's coal.

I want to be allowed to state the matter simply when the Minister stops interrupting me. The Minister said he was not concerned with the figures I got from the Minister for Industry and Commerce as to the cost of coal delivered in the country, that he was not going to explain the figures because he had not examined them, that he had fixed the price of coal "on the basis of information supplied by the accountants upon my staff who examine the cost of importing coal and relate that cost to a reasonable retail price". He complained that I was trying to relate one set of statistics to another, that I was doing it in order to confuse the public and to cause discontent, and he went on:—

"If the Deputy believes that, he can do his damnedest to try to cause discontent amongst the poor in Dublin. He can go out with his red flag to cause revolution if he likes.... Everybody knows what Deputy Mulcahy is up to. He is taking a figure supplied by the Trade and Shipping Statistics, which has no relation to the price of coal delivered to a merchant's yard.... The price of coal to bellmen is being subsidised and he can tell what lies he likes."

The Taoiseach sometimes suggests that he likes Deputies to take an interest in things and that this helps. He seemed to suggest that it was not satisfactory to have information withheld which might be given. He undertook to give the House information with regard to potatoes and butter. I think the Taoiseach might check up the figures he gave the House last night with regard to potatoes. However, I want to deal simply with coal because it is important.

If the Minister tells us that he is not going to allow prices to increase here unless in respect of increases outside, will he give us a chance of examining the figure he is considering as bringing about the increase outside? I cannot bring my intelligence to understand that the price charged for bellmen's coal in December, January and February has not some relation to the cost of buying the coal in Great Britain, bringing it over here, and landing it at the docks. I cannot understand that the cost of buying it, transporting it across the seas, insuring it across, and landing it alongside the quays here, which includes taking it out of the mines and loading it into trucks, bringing it to trains and loading it in ships in Great Britain, is not a substantial part of the cost of the coal.

It is, of course. But the cost at the beginning of January does not determine the price now.

The money that was paid out for all the coal that is landed alongside our quays in the six months from July to December, if paid for at a flat rate, would come to 39/4. The total amount of money that was spent could be obtained by multiplying the amount of coal that came in here by 39/4 a ton. The January tonnage coming in was related to an import price at 44/8 and in February, 45/11.

The price of bellmen's coal in January was not 63/-.

The price of bellmen's coal from the 11th February was 63/-. Does the Minister disagree with that?

These are the prices: 39/4 up to the end of December, for the whole period; for the month of December, 41/6; for January, 44/8; for February, 45/11. Yet the price that bellmen paid for coal was 50/- in December, 52/- from the 10th January, 58/- from the 18th January, and 63/- from February 11th. People are entitled to ask why there was a jump from 52/- to 63/- between the 10th January and the 11th February and on what that is based.

It is based on an increased c.i.f. price of coal.

By 11/- per ton?

On coal which increased 1/3, if we take the increase from January to February, 4/5 if we take the increase from December to January and which, over the average for the six months ending 31st December last, increased by 6/7.

I think the Deputy's average figure is misleading.

Last night the Taoiseach took up a lot of his time dealing with the question of potatoes and butter and the export of those commodities. He talked about how exasperating it was that people should misrepresent facts and said that by misrepresentation the public passion and anger were stirred up, with possibly great danger to public order. He said that, at any rate, it prevented people from going about on their ordinary business with their usual energy and full goodwill. There would have been none of that if these figures had been published over the period. Now, here we are and the Minister for Supplies thinks that I am having a very bad effect on the people of this town, that I am confusing them, that I am causing discontent among the poor, that I am putting on the red cap of revolution, and that the Government will have to go to the trouble of exposing my tactics and prevent me from succeeding. That is not the way to do the business as we want the business done. From the Chamber of Commerce in Cork, the Minister appeals to the trade unions in the country to resist the tendency to increase wages, as it would react on prices and react again on wages. I submit that here, in the price of coal to-day, there is a glaring scandal. I know enough about adding two and two together to be utterly unpersuaded by the suggestions that have been made in interjection by the Minister.

The Deputy does not wish to be persuaded.

I suggest to the Taoiseach that it is important enough to be put down on a sheet of paper and read out here in the House and printed as a White Paper or as an official statement from the Information Bureau. It should give the basis upon which the price of coal is computed at the present time. I submit that it is of the greatest and most urgent importance to do that.

In three days' debate it could have been given.

Not in three days' debate on a different subject. I could give it in 30 seconds.

Could it not have been given, then?

Yes, on half a sheet of paper.

And was it not important?

I was not asked for it.

If the Minister has it on half a sheet of paper and has anything to say, I am certainly willing to listen.

The margin between the c.i.f. price of coal sold to bellmen and the price charged to them was normally 14/- a ton. That was made up as follows: discharging the coal from the ship, 3/- per ton; payment of harbour dues, 6½d. per ton; cartage of that coal from the quayside to the merchants' yard, on the average, 2/- per ton; an allowance, considered reasonable, of 1/2 per ton in respect of short weight; and an item of filling and "topping off", 1/10; making 8/6½ as the total of these costs. The difference between 8/6½ and 14/- is 5/5½. That is the allowance to the merchants for payment of rent, rates, taxes and office staff, as well as profit. Since we made this present arrangement in respect of bellmen's coal, the margin between the c.i.f. price and the price charged to bellmen has been reduced to 10/6. That is the element of subsidy to which I refer.

How is it reduced to 10/6?

The price is now fixed.

What was the reason for the reduction?

The reason for the reduction was that we were allowing the merchants to sell at a slightly higher price to other people in order to sell at a slightly lower price to bellmen.

What about the 2/- charged from the quayside to the merchant's yard?

Has it not to be carted to the dumps?

The Minister said "to the merchants' yards." Does he mean to the dumps.

He said "landing on the quayside, 3/-; and from the quays to the yard, 2/-."

There is no cartage from the dumps to the yard.

The margin is now 10/6.

Is that for coal that has been shipped from England in the past couple of weeks?

Yes, there is no other coal being sold.

How can the Minister justify stocks in last August being sold at various prices to-day in Cork?

I would be prepared to sit down now for another three or four minutes and listen to the Minister explaining why—when I ask, on the c.i.f. price given by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, why an increase there of 1/3 makes an increase of 11/- to bellmen—I should be told that, by relating one set of statistics to another, I am confusing the public, causing discontent—doing my damnedest to cause discontent—among the poor of Dublin, putting on the red cap of revolution and telling lies?

The Deputy knows quite well that the average import price of coal for the month of January has nothing to do with the price at which coal can be sold now.

So little do I know about it that I am going to ask the Taoiseach to give the House an opportunity of understanding this question better. I think it is most important that the House should understand this question better, because the question of prices cannot be left in the position in which it is, either with regard to tea or coal, or some other things, for the future. I say that the present position with regard to coal—what we are discussing now with regard to coal—is part of a present, a very vital present, that bears on the future. We are told by the Minister what the line is going to be with regard to control of price plans in the future. That is in columns 408 and 409. Deputy Corish said that he had put forward a suggestion to the Minister, which would help, and that it was turned down—a suggestion for controlling prices. The Minister replied: "I am going to do better than that." Deputy Corish then said: "I hope so." The Minister then said:—

"I am going to arrange that every retailer selling a commodity in respect of which difficulty has arisen or may be anticipated will be registered, and that it will be a condition of registration that reasonable prices are charged, so that a retailer who is proved to have been guilty of a gross over-charge will be removed from the register, and by removal from the register kept from engaging in that business so long as that condition of affairs exists."

If that is the machinery that is going to be set up to control prices in future, and if the Minister for Supplies is going to be the person who will say: "Your licence is to be taken from you", then I suggest that it is of the greatest possible importance that the House should be given a formal opportunity of having more confidence in what figures are being manipulated to decide what a reasonable price is. I want to say no more about coal now. I hope I have impressed the matter sufficiently on both the Minister and the Taoiseach to make them realise that it cannot be left there and that, if it is left there, then the responsibility for what may happen or what will happen, and the responsibility for the misunderstandings that arise here and that will continue to arise, will rest on the members of the Government and particularly, I think, on the Taoiseach.

In addition, I would suggest that there are certain classes of imports and certain classes of exports that are vital to the maintenance and subsistence of the people of this country, that a list of these should be made and that the regular monthly statistics of imports and exports, and their prices for these things, should be given. I do not understand—and I am prepared to have it explained privately or in any other way—why it is that we cannot have our export lists published, but where it is possible to have the complaints and exasperation, where it is possible to have the charges that we have had, arising out of things like coal, butter and potatoes, I think we ought to have it clearly explained what are the dangers of publishing these things so as to give us an opportunity of knowing whether the dangers of keeping them quiet are not very much greater. If the Minister for Supplies was not simply play-acting about the red flag, disturbances, and so on, the other night, then I appreciate that there must be a danger there. I do know that there is a serious danger that if the present prices of coal and tea are going to continue in the poor districts you are going to have to deal with the question of how these people are to subsist at all. That is all I want to say on the supply question, although there are some other things that it might be desirable to say, but I prefer to keep my general remarks for the Central Fund Bill. I do appeal, however, to the Taoiseach to see that these things are brought more clearly home to us, and I ask the Minister for Supplies and the Taoiseach not to resent the opportunity that I propose to give them to examine into the whole question of coal.

I have listened with a certain element of disturbance, not so much to the facts, as to the atmosphere of the discussion which has taken place in this matter. I certainly do not desire to say, in relation to it, one word for controversial purposes. I think that discussion of this kind on supplies, and on all the surroundings in relation to preparation in this matter, is a discussion which should be one of co-operation. This Dáil, although it is divided into two or three Parties, represents, through all these Parties, all the people in this country—all the people of very different opinions, of a very different segregation of interests, people who, in many cases, have not recognised in the past a commonalty of purpose: men, for instance, in farming, who represented half a dozen different types of farming, whose interests were so separate and different and in some cases contradictory that this divergence has been probably at the basis of the fact that there has not been and, in all human probability, never will be a Party which, as such, will represent farmers and be allowed to speak in their name. It represents also the opposite side of life, in the new industrial organisation—the largely new industrial organisation—which has been built up and in relation to which there has been, necessarily and naturally, a difference in interests—with propaganda on one side or the other, where the farmer might think he was being exploited for the purpose of introducing artificial industry, and the industries complaining that they were not receiving that support which they might from the farming consumers. In the same way, there have been all sorts of diverse interests in this country represented, on the one hand, by the people on the bottom end of the unemployment assistance register in the boroughs; represented, on the other side, by people of wealth and substance, with access to culture and access to amenities of a kind which simply do not come within the purview at all of these people.

Why I have emphasised all of that difference in the composition of the electorate of this country and of this Dáil, which represents it, is because at this moment a condition has been produced in which it does not matter whether a man is on the bottom end of the unemployment register or the governor of a bank, whether he is an industrialist or whether he is a farmer, or what kind of farmer, because they are all facing a common danger in an enclosed space which covers nothing but themselves and the productivity of their own land. I feel that in facing problems of that kind every co-operation, not merely of word, but the cordial co-operation of spirit, will be necessary in order that we may avoid the dangers which face us, which may be only sparks in wet thatch if we do what we ought to do, but may otherwise be the seed of a conflagration which will involve this country in all the social and revolutionary consequences that are going to fall upon the rest of the world, and which we by taking thought now and by having charitable co-operation with one another may just avoid in this country. I think that a good deal of the cross purposes, the cross-firing and the recrimination which occur sometimes in discussions of this kind do not really go as deep as they appear upon the surface. But they have immense news value. A little cross word in this House which those who have been concerned in it have forgotten at once, in the next day in the Press may seem the whole principal work of a meeting of the Dáil. And very much in the same way, some odd word of that kind which passes backwards and forwards here, one word borrowing another, a spark borrowing a flame, has more to do with interfering with the validity and the use of discussion than almost it is possible to exaggerate.

I would like to feel that there was nothing kept back. I would like to feel that the Opposition had perfectly sound grounds for feeling that there was nothing kept back or that the explanation of the reason for keeping back was in their possession. A suggestion made by Deputy Mulcahy that private discussion, that personal conference, should be used as a preliminary to debates of this kind in this House, for the purpose of enabling that heat of suspicion and criticism to be avoided, would, I think, be a suggestion which was worth carrying out. I personally have had experience, in relation to matters in my own Department, which could have been subjected to misrepresentation.

May I suggest to the Parliamentary Secretary that we did not get much encouragement from the Minister for Agriculture in regard to that?

If it came to that, I would say the Minister did not get any encouragement, that is, if we were to start being controversial. I am perfectly sure that in one minute and in one word I could have this House in uproar—and everybody knows it—by merely choosing the word which would incite, the angry word which would answer the interruption which I might regard as impertinent. I have had cases in my own Department which would have been liable to misrepresentation upon which, in ignorance of the facts, men could have properly put an interpretation which would not have been a correct one, and when these matters have been brought to my knowledge previous to a discussion in the House and when I have asked the Deputies concerned to come into the office and to examine the files confidentially, not merely has there been no such misunderstanding but in no single case has there been anything, as far as I know, in the nature of disclosure of the material. I know certain Deputies in this House who make it a rule never to put down a Parliamentary Question until they have raised the question with the responsible person. I think that is a very sound practice. What I am suggesting is that in those matters, whatever they are—and they may be many —about which the members of the Opposition may feel there is some explanation or something which they want, the first thing to do would be to write down: "The following is alleged to me; the following is the position as it is represented and,prima facie, appears to me. I would be glad of an explanation in that matter.” If that opportunity were given to the ministerial and governmental machine, whether either by interview, by explanation, by exchange of memos or whatever it is, I feel that when the two sides came to discuss it in the House they would be discussing it as two persons both of whom recognised the good faith and good intention of the other and in the knowledge that the difference would be a difference of opinion in the matter of judgment, not a matter of morals. I suggest, to any extent to which that is possible, machinery of that kind might well be used.

Turning to the general question —and again I want to say that I do not desire to take up any matter in any purely debating sense—I think if a debate of this kind were used in a way in which men frankly and without attempting to cover themselves in any way from the debating consequences of the thing, were to express their own simple opinions, a great and valuable contribution might be made to the solution of this problem. The real difficulty that we have to face at the present moment is not, in my opinion, the lack of prevision but fundamental changes which have been made which prevent that reasonable prevision, made upon one basis of fact, being effective in a different and a new condition. I do not believe at the present moment that there are two Governments in Europe—that there are two Governments in the world—who, if they came together to exchange the whole of the knowledge they possessed, could give a reasonable prophecy of what is going to happen in the world in relation to this war in the next six months.

I am perfectly sure that there is no Government in the world which, looking back over the last 18 months, must not have on its files, as the expert opinion of its most informed advisers, a picture of the future which is hopelessly outside what has, in fact, happened. I can give a very good example of that in the origin of the phrase "the phoney war." That comes from that nation of extraordinary ingenuity in phrases—America. It came from America in these circumstances. At the beginning of the war it was recognised that machinery, and above all reproducing machinery, was at the bottom of all production for the purposes of the war, and particularly the highly specialised machinery for machine tools. The whole American machine tool industry descended upon Englanden bloc looking for orders, and after some months they went back to America. It was they originated the phrase “the phoney war.”“It is a phoney war. We cannot sell one single machine tool in England.” That was the origin of the phrase, and that represents the knowledge and the outlook, backed by the whole of the information that the British Government had, in relation to the war. When the Americans offered increased machine tool production, they were told that machine tools were not wanted. At the same time, I know from very highly developed industrial firms in England, who went into the market to provide munitions for the Government, that the contract prices were so keen, due to the lack of demand for these things which are now matters of life and death, that these highly developed and efficient firms could not get any contracts.

If that is the position in relation to the inside knowledge of one of the principal contestants in this war, what is to be thought of the limitation of knowledge of anyone outside? What are the limitations of the reaction of that knowledge on public opinion in a country like this? In practice, the effect, as far as we are concerned, of what I am saying is this: What was the backing of public opinion? What was the knowledge distributed throughout this State? What was the backing of public opinion behind that knowledge, which would have enabled the Government to do, if it chose the drastic things that we are now told it should have done? This country was in the position of a family or, if you like, a business which has had the whole of its free assets, the money and reserves which were not directly involved in the carrying out of its business on its then basis, invested overseas. The money did not belong to the State, but broadly speaking to banks and others not responsive to a public opinion which would be represented by the Dáil or by the Government. If you go back for a little time to the Report of the Banking Commission you will find that that Commission showed, through its majority, that monied opinion, people who were entitled to speak for those whose reserves were invested overseas through the banks and otherwise, were hide-bound—I am not using the word in any sense that is meant to be offensive, but simply as a strong word. They were rooted implacably and unbreakably in the belief in sterling balances that the continuance of that investment overseas, and the maintenance of the currency in which that investment was made, was an essential of security to this country. Responsible monied and commercial opinion, bankers who could advise their depositors, or those responsible for their deposits, were unbreakably of opinion that Irish money should remain locked up in sterling and in overseas investments.

I am speaking to some extent against myself in the matter, because I would have been fairly reckless in an attempt to do something, but all responsible opinion was on one side. At no time, at which it was possible to convert any large proportion of the assets into essential goods for re-import, was the public opinion of those who control the sterling assets ready to accept the idea that the Government should exchange them for something else. The time passed, and now there is a fairly wide range of growing recognition by those who were dyed in the wool of another opinion, that had we attempted to straddle between dollars and sterling, or attempted to convert those savings of generations into consumable goods, on the whole, we would have been wise. But at no time at which it was possible to do it did that opinion exist.

I want the House to look at the question of how far it is possible to convert. Unless the conversion was on a large scale it would not be worth doing. I want to look for one moment at the question of how far it would have been possible to convert the only things with which we could buy goods, into a promise, a free promise to pay, which would have enabled those goods to be bought. We have anything from £100,000,000 to £200,000,000 — nobody knows exactly (and I say deliberately that the Government should know exactly)—invested in these securities. Nobody knows exactly how much is invested in industrial securities of various kinds in England — semi-gilt edged, realty, industrial, and so on. The price in the market for those securities is just a nice balance between the number of people who are prepared to buy and the number of people who are prepared to sell. That is what keeps the balance. A very small excess on one side or the other will drive the price up or down. The reasons which make people sell are fairly well known to those who work in such a market. If Irish investors, as part of a policy, through their banks or otherwise, had gone into that market to attempt to sell, in any given time, any considerable quantity of those investments, the fact that they were doing that and the reason why they were doing it, would be well known— in other words, that the liquidation was for a purpose and that that liquidation would come to an end. The effect of the liquidation in the ordinary way would be to tear down the prices, and the knowledge in the market that it was torn down as a consequence of an act of ours which was going to stop at a certain time, would have meant that those who are in the market would be aware that that was a temporary happening and that they were perfectly free to scandalise that market if they chose. Any attempt at any large-scale realisation would have meant that we would have borne in the price of our securities, not merely the ordinary loss of a forced sale, but something very considerably more than the ordinary loss of a forced sale.

When we turn to sterling, we turn to something upon which, immediately we touch it, the whole money machine reacts. It would have been made quite clear, by those who are interested in the maintenance of standards of that kind, that the goods which we bought would reflect the price of any action which we took in that matter. I do not want Deputy Hickey to interrupt me. I am speakng to a certain extent for Deputy Hickey. I am speaking for the honest, though I think quite erroneous opinion, in relation to money matters which Deputy Hickey represents, an opinion which is very widespread, an opinion which in my view has to be fully taken into account. If I start answering the Deputy's questions we should not get very far. In practice, sterling and securities, if we had attempted to use either of them, would have re-acted against the purposes for which we were going to use them. That is my reason to some extent for being less sure than I otherwise would be, that any good could have been achieved. I know that advice was given that the Government should buy many millions of dollars. I know that advice was given that securities of one kind or another should be bought. I know that advice was tendered that goods of one kind or another should be brought into this country. In principle, I believe that advice was good but I am very doubtful now as to how far it would in fact have been effective if it had been taken. The one thing of which I am absolutely certain is that the responsible commercial and monied opinion, which owned, or which advised those who owned, securities, and, through the banks, sterling in England, at no time at which it would have been possible in any significant amount to convert these securities or sterling into goods, would have been prepared to back the Government in any action of that kind.

The solution is Government control.

If the Deputy could make a better speech on his side than I am doing now, he will not be doing badly. The fundamentals may be the same, the conclusions may be entirely different. However, for whatever reason, that period passed and we reached a stage in which sterling could not be converted into dollars. Securities, if they are now sold, or the interest upon those securities as it accrues, cannot be converted into goods. Yet people feel even now that they might sell securities and take their money back. It will have no effect except to dilute the value of goods and property in the country. Assume for one moment that I were to sell £10,000 worth of English railway stock, and that I got in return for it a cheque from the new owner on an English bank. That would be a promise by that English bank on behalf of the community to redeem that money in goods or services or something of that kind. As a piece of paper, it is of no use whatever. It is a promise to exchange that for something of value and, as far as we are concerned, the only things that are of any value to us now are consumers' goods. I cannot exercise that claim in England. I cannot get coal for it in excess of the amount which the maximum efforts of the Government are getting in. I cannot get beyond that an ounce of rubber, copper, timber or wool. I cannot get any of the things we want. That claim is sterilised and cannot be exercised. It is a promise in the name of the stability and the security of English commerce to be redeemed in goods. That claim is, in effect, repudiated. It is inoperative and, so far as we are concerned, it is repudiated.

I just want to carry this one step further so that the House will feel that there are not any loose strings to it. I deposit that cheque in the Munster and Leinster Bank and what happens? A book entry is made that the Munster and Leinster Bank is prepared to pay £10,000, balanced by a promise to pay by that other English bank to the Munster and Leinster Bank £10,000, a promise to pay which the bank cannot exercise, and which I cannot exercise in any overseas goods. But I can go out into the market and buy somebody's farm, and when I have bought his farm, what happens? Remember this is £10,000 of goods due to me, a cheque on a perfectly reputable bank in England. You may have it in bank notes if you like, you can put it as far up as you like from the point of view of security. I can go out and buy somebody's farm. The farm is there all right, and the man who owns the farm and its productivity has transferred that farm to me in return for a promise to pay which he cannot execute.

Why I have gone to that elaboration is because I want the House to feel the genuine feeling of disturbance which anyone ought to feel—the head of a house, or a family, or a business, or a State—who finds that that small picture I have given represents the whole of the free savings of this country for generations in so far as they are outside this country. In a moment of disturbance, loss of work, accidents in the House, or anything of that kind, a man turns to his reserves, he turns to his money in the bank. All our money in the bank, every resource that we have that is free, over and above the things that are required for the continued operation of our business as it is outside this country, is inoperative, is sterilised, and, so far as we can see, for the duration of the war must be left out of our calculation.

That is what I meant when I said that, with all the differences there may be in this House, the position in which we are now is that every man, with all those differences and all those interests, is faced by the common fact that he is inside a wall around his own country in which for everything that he eats, for everything that goes into his life, he must look to the productivity of his own soil and to the existing resources of this country.

I agree with you.

That may or may not help me. In regard to the facts, Deputy Hickey, and a great deal of the disturbed opinion in the country in relation to financial matters, and myself, are in agreement. It is when you begin to reason from those facts as to what the remedy is that we may find ourselves in dispute.

That was not realised all along.

What I do say, and I say it at once, is that in this emergency, faced by that fact, by that common necessity of all of us, it is the duty of this State to regard every resource in the State, every piece of property, and every man as having a common duty to the whole; and that, to the extent to which it is necessary, the State and the people not merely have a right, but they have a duty to exercise their claim upon that property to see that during the duration of this war no person, except by his own fault, will suffer in any way in which the full use of these resources will render unnecessary.

Quite naturally, people are thinking in terms of taxation, of loans, of restricted profits, and all the rest in relation to how that problem is to be dealt with. What I have been at some pains to show is the complete unreality of any such consideration as taxation, loans, grants or anything else of the kind. The things that matter are the stocks which we have of consumable goods, the productivity of agents of production which we have in our hands, the men or other resources which we are prepared to use to get out of those stocks and out of those productive capacities a continuing production to maintain our people. Taxation, loans, and all the rest, must simply be regarded as manipulative machinery by which the intention of the State to use its resources for the purpose of its people is carried out.

That has been happening in certain countries pre-war. The whole control of the use of money, of the use of credits, of the routing of goods and so on, in what we might call national socialist countries, for some years has been strictly controlled for a purpose of that kind. A man might own £100,000 and have it in the bank. He might be a big manufacturer employing 4,000 men; he might be making umbrellas or motor cars. A time came when he sent a cheque to his bank in favour of X. What happened then was that his banker asked him what X was going to do with the money and what that cheque was for; if it was for iron, what the iron was to be used for; if it was not for iron, why it would not be used for iron, because the buying of iron was what was required in the national interest at the time. Taxation was put on, taken and removed from one person to another. Loans were made purely and simply as an alternative to ordinary legislative action in deciding the movement of trade. In exactly the same way, whether we call it taxation or loans or anything else, anything that we do will be simply disguised machinery for doing that. In many ways that machinery was more efficient, more effective, more flexible and more intimate in its use than any legislative machine could be.

There is the old saying that "hard cases make bad law." Any ordinary code of legislation, drawn up for the purpose of doing that kind of work, was bound to take that into account, and was bound to leave on the edges of it hundreds of border-line cases and, under any barrier put up, gaps through which men could pass under this method of legislation for the control of industry, it was possible to meet all those cases, and to close those gaps. I have no doubt that there were grave abuses under a system devised to meet difficulties which could not be met by legislation.

I was talking to some responsible banking people some time ago, and they were quite satisfied that loans would have to be raised. They seemed to be quite willing that loans of an adequate amount would be raised. When I asked them how they were going to get those loans, the answer was they were going to get them in the ordinary way: that is to say, the people with surplus money would loan it. People cannot give in loan what they already are using, or, if they do, they do just as much harm as if they did not give at all. Therefore, they must give their surplus. In the ordinary way, when a loan is put on the market, the man who has money in the bank draws it, the man who has securities sells them, and both put that money into the new loan. If I have £10,000 on deposit in a bank in Ireland at the present moment and I give the Minister for Finance a cheque for it, the bank has to sell the sterling or other securities which it holds against that deposit. If I try to sell an Irish security I am merely transferring from one person in the country to another the obligation, and the effect is that you simply carry on again. The bank has to do the same thing for me. If I attempt to sell overseas sterling securities I find myself in the same position: that of getting back into the possession of the bank, for the purpose of lending to the Minister for Finance, a promise to pay which is as inoperative as a call on sterling.

Therefore, if a loan in this country at the present moment were to be raised on the basis of selling £10,000,000 worth of sterling which backs a deposit in the bank, and £15,000,000 worth of industrial securities held overseas, the effect would be that the Minister for Finance would get £25,000,000 worth of promises to pay which he could not exercise. No doubt just in the same way, as I have told you, that I could go out into the market and buy a farm with a £10,000 promise to pay which was inoperative. In the same way, to a certain extent, the Minister for Finance could do likewise. Any loan which is raised at the present moment. to be effective for the purpose for which we want it, must be made by someone who has command over and above the amount which is required for his own consumption of stock of goods here, or a capacity to produce them. In other words, again you have reached the position in which every loan has to be an exchange of existing goods, services, stocks, or capacity for consumers' production. I think if that position is recognised, the House will begin to recognise how great is our difficulty and how complete must be the co-operation of all kinds, and among all classes, in order that transferences of this kind may be made without friction, may be made efficiently and for the benefit of the public.

You come into exactly the same atmosphere when you come to the question of food. There is in this country at the present moment a three years' stock at least of cattle for ourselves and of cattle in preparation for export. You have the cattle which should go out this year, the cattle which should go next year, and you have the calves coming on. You have a very considerable area of this country at the present moment under those cattle or under food for them. and in addition to that, due to the change which has taken place in recent years in which people have gone over to a certain type of tillage production, there is a stock of other food. Therefore, anyone surveying the whole area of this country and its productive capacity, and taking into account the population which would be dependent for food on it, and regarding it simply as a farm whose purpose was to produce some good food for the whole of that population would say, without any hesitation whatever: "This land can produce that food."

I think that is the first thing that has to be quite clearly understood. You may not have oranges, you may not possibly have tea. You may not have a grape fruit or various other things which do tend to brighten the daily menu, but in the essentials: in butter, eggs, bacon and in good bread, in meat and in things of that kind, the totality of continuing production, looked at over a period of three years ahead, is certainly adequate, even allowing for the fact that there may not be that maintenance, up to full standard, of the productivity of the land, due to certain shortages of manures. There are certain areas in this country too rich to be tilled at the present time, or almost too rich to be tilled. The wheat campaign, and the change in the specialised types of wheat that have been used for those specially good areas, have shown that it is possible to grow cereals even upon land so extremely rich. When you allow for the land which is above the average and the land which is below the average, even allowing for the falling away of manures, there is no question at all, envisaging at any rate a period of three years, that the population of this country could be maintained, in frugal comfort at any rate, on that land.

Therefore, if in fact within that period there is not enough food, then it is due to the lack of the use by the Government of the resources which the people of this country are prepared to put at their disposal, or the lack of co-operation by the people with the Government in exercising those powers which the people have given in trust to the Government. Now in the event of a bad harvest or a bad season, allowing for a year in which it is difficult to make preparation, there would have to be adjustments. People may have to eat things they did not normally eat, or they may have to eat in different proportions and different circumstances things which they did normally eat, but, if there is that co-operation between the Government of this country and the people, which in the interests of the people they ought to give, and which in this emergency the Government have a duty and a right to insist upon, then I see no reason whatever why there should be, as far as food is concerned, a shortage in this country, even though there may now be a visible shortage of wheat between this and next November.

I turn now to a point which will undoubtedly become a matter of much more aggravated difference and discontented comment in the future. What I am aiming at all the time is to see that, if possible, we would build up that atmosphere in which those difficulties will be faced as common tasks and not as matters of controversy. With the freezing of our external assets, and with the physical blockade which is exercised over us in co-operation by both sides, there has been cut off the vastly larger portion of the specialised raw materials upon which manipulative industries and especially newly built-up industries exist, and it is not possible, broadly speaking, to extemporise new raw material which will meet that difficulty. There may be some in which a considerable amount of extemporisation is possible, but, even in the industries in which the larger part of the raw material may be available, there are often critical bottle-necks of small amounts which are going to be very difficult indeed to replace. Remember that for 100 years at any rate a highly competitive examination has been made of industrial processes in the hope of improving them, in the desire to use substitutes of one kind or another for raw materials, and it is not reasonable to expect that even under the pressure of this necessity the inventive power of our chemists and our engineers, more particularly when they are bereft of essential tools, especially raw material, can be stimulated to produce miraculous results of the kind which would be necessary. For that reason we have got to face the fact that, whatever amount of co-operation we receive from the manufacturing industries, to whatever extent the different manufacturers may be prepared to meet each other in the exchange of tools, in the exchange of knowledge, in the exchange of materials or anything else, and to whatever extent we may stimulate invention and all the rest of it, as far as industries which have been dependent on specialised raw materials are concerned, very definite unemployment will exist.

As far as those people consist of unskilled labourers, there are certain works which may be done, and the question of whether they should be done or not I am going to submit quite frankly to the consideration of the House. But in relation to tradesmen who have been used to working in wood, smiths who have been used to working in iron, and operatives who have been used to working in rubber and its derivatives, it is not possible to use these men without the provision of the materials which have now disappeared, and a good deal of the previously highly paid and comfortable class in this country may find themselves experiencing some of the hardships which have previously been confined to the very poor. It is a very difficult problem from the social point of view to have a lot of people who have not been accustomed to hardship, and who have not been accustomed to privation, suddenly thrown into that condition, as compared with other people who have undoubtedly, in many cases over their whole lives, been trained into that amazing and unbelievable patience with which the poor do endure them. When it comes to finding actual works, you have to face the fact that you must not use up in any of those works any raw material which could be used for the consumers' good. Let us take the very simple case of roads. The raw materials of roads are tar, stone, gravel, sand and cement. In relation to a particular scheme under a local authority which was asked to find £200,000 of work, in which the labour content would have been I think only about 40 per cent., I was told they could do that work if I could find them 60,000 gallons of petrol, but without the petrol the work could not be done, because transport was an essential vitamin of that work. Take another case, the case of cement—cement is manufactured here at the present time, and is capable of being manufactured in very much larger quantities. I want to regard that as a home produced raw material which I can use. When I come to investigate it, I find that its wages content is only about one-third of its fuel and power content. Power content is a continuous process, which runs throughout the day, and therefore, having regard to the falling off of available water power in the summer months, to the extent to which it is electrical power, it must be run on coal or other fuel of that kind.

In other words, in dealing with the question of whether and how you can use the segregated amount of resources that you have in the country for this purpose, you turn to one of the particular elements that you thought you had free and you find that, in a very large proportion, it consists of an imported element. Those cement factories are all outside the turf area, I think, and as soon as I begin to transport turf to them I find myself up against the same position. Why I say that to the House is because I want them to face the fact that in laying out any unemployment works we have to recognise that it is not the money side you are concerned with— you can forget that for the moment— but it is the question of the irreplaceable and otherwise necessary raw material which you are going to absorb in the process.

To some extent, as the Taoiseach said, the position in regard to distribution is fortunate. The whole of the unemployment works for the last four or five years, 80 per cent. of them at any rate, have been west of the Shannon. The unemployment in this country, as those familiar with the coloured maps which we sometimes lay out for the knowledge of Deputies are aware, has been largely concentrated west of the Shannon. This new artificial employment will take place largely east of the Shannon and largely in districts which previously did not have it. To that extent the position looks favourable, in the sense that useful works will not have been so completely exhausted; but, unfortunately, the segregation of the people who are concerned in particular areas is such as to make the provision of work for them very difficult. To deal with the whole of them, or any large proportion, having regard to the fact that there is a high proportion of women, will be difficult. To deal with any proportion of them at all by this method is not going to be easy. Even the extent to which it would otherwise be possible this segregation in particular places is going to make it difficult.

I am telling the House this so that when we do come to deal with it, to the extent to which we succeed or to the extent to which we fail, we will be entitled to ask the co-operation of people who know exactly the difficulties and the nature of the inescapable limitations with which we are faced. If any man were gifted with prophecy, even the prophecy of between now and to-morrow, he could make a fortune on the stock exchange. If a Government, or those who control a Government, were gifted with prophecy in relation to what is going to happen, even the ordinary day-to-day happenings for the next six months, we could set out a plan within those limitations. Anyone who has any glimmering or idea of what is going to be the position of humanity when this catastrophe has come to an end, would be in a position now to do things which, in the light of our present knowledge, would be reckless. No member of the Government, no member of this House, and no member of the community, has been gifted in that respect. We have got to reason from the best knowledge we have, and the best guess we can make in relation to this catastrophe.

All the House is bound to expect of the Government in relation to those matters of which it can have knowledge is that it will show a proper judgment in using its resources. Nobody knows what is going to happen. All we do know is that altogether, and as one unit, we are up against a very difficult problem, a problem the little elements of which being exaggerated or misrepresented or misunderstood, may be capable of building up a disturbance in the public mind which will gravely interfere even with the relatively small manner in which we may be able to solve it. I hope, in relation to that problem, we will all recognise the common nature of the task and that we will pull together to any extent we can by co-operation, by the interchange of views and ideas and by frank expressions of the kind I have made, in an atmosphere of a non-controversial character.

We will have to pool our knowledge and experience so that when this is over and this island has survived that struggle—and this island, which I regard as the most stable social, political and economic unit in the world at present, which in my belief has a better chance of surviving it, as an untortured human entity, than probably any other place on the earth—we will all feel we have co-operated to bring the maximum possible common effort to its service.

I hope the Minister for Finance will let his bewildered anxiety over the last speech be indicated to the House and that he will tell us if he understands it and has any plan formed arising out of the problems the last speaker has propounded. I am not at all interested in those large problems of domestic finance complicated by international affairs which the Deputy touched upon, but I do say that if an American newspaper reporter were asked to set a headline for the speech we have just heard, it is in this way he would set it: "If the Axis beats Britain, Éire is bust." That is what that speech comes to.

That is right.

I did not say that; I did not even suggest that.

The Deputy ought to read his speech; he ought to send himself a marked copy of it and read it and, if that does not emerge, I do not know what does. I am interested in the more mundane matters we have been discussing, far away from those high flights in which the Parliamentary Secretary indulged. I am appreciative of the Parliamentary Secretary's comments on the effect public opinion may have on criticisms in this House and his desire that everybody should get together. I was amazed to find that there is a limit to the supply of vegetable oils coming into the country and that some have to be given to those manufacturing soap and some to those manufacturing margarine. As long as the Parliamentary Secretary is about, we will not lack one of these essentials. Does the Parliamentary Secretary understand what happened here last week when, on the eve of a debate which was going to be critical and which might easily have affected the public mind in the way he detests, a Deputy from this side visited the Minister for Agriculture and forewarned him of all the matters agitating the minds of the public as far as we could get a warning, and put him wise to what was going to be said? The gratitude we got was a speech which wound up with the phrase that the whole effort here was political bluff. That is the type of mentality we have to deal with.

I think the Parliamentary Secretary has blundered into one good thing. He indicated that the situation facing us in this country is enveloped in conditions which are likely to have disastrous effects. We are faced still with a Party Government. In those circumstances people, I think, are entitled to demand that not merely should the Dáil meet more frequently, but that it must meet in such an atmosphere that good can come of its meetings. No good can come of its meetings unless there is information readily at the disposal of Deputies, and unless those in charge of information on the other side are frank with regard to the facts they know. I complain bitterly of the treatment accorded to us in all these matters. I could take up from these benches statistics given confidentially to people on this side. They are not to be quoted, but there is nobody who reads them can believe in the speeches made from the Government Benches last night. There was a statement made with regard to the export of potatoes and the export in 1939 as opposed to 1940, and the Taoiseach yesterday gave a figure of a variation of between 100 and 1,000 tons. I suggest that if he looks at the confidential trade report given to people on this side, he will find that he has completely misstated the position, and that there was a vast export, amounting to ten times or, at least, nine times, what there was in 1939.

What are we to believe of the information then which we cannot check up by this particular type of document sent to us when we find blatantly announced last night so crude a misstatement as that? I think we are entitled to information. I think people feel that we have some work to do here, and if there was any sort of combination of forces, they would have the belief that, in any event, representative people, having different viewpoints, were hammering out their difficulties around a Government table instead of here; but as that situation has not developed—and I do not think very many people want it—the other situation would be better, that is, that we should have the free play of criticism here, but that criticism is not going to be any good unless it is founded on fact.

Again, coming round to the very specialised and mundane matters, I want to analyse what has happened with regard to three or four of these things of which we have some information. So far as petrol is concerned, petrol in the life of the community possibly means very little in the end, but it may be symptomatic of what was happening in Government Buildings. Right at the beginning, there was a suggestion made and quite definitely made—and that it was made can be backed by documents—that there should be increased storage in this country. That matter was threshed out as between the petrol distributing companies and the Government, and for some reason—we do not know how —it came to nought. The situation that then emerged was that there was very limited storage accommodation in the country. If that was the situation, and if that was known to the people in charge of that matter, surely they should have been alert to arrange that, in the particular month in which the sinkings of boats of all types increased, they would at least diminish the quantity being supplied to consumers.

There is no necessity to recite the facts so often gone through here. All of a sudden, as between the forenoon and the afternoon of Christmas Eve, a serious situation developed and as an excuse—and it cannot be too often repeated here—in respect of the situation which then developed the Minister blandly asks if he could have been expected to know that tankers would be sunk. It is all very well, in answer to that, to have the statement of the Parliamentary Secretary in his speech that nobody can foretell from day to day what is going to happen. This was the big aspect of the war that jutted out to anybody's notice when the war started—that it was a war which was definitely going to be conducted, so far as one side at least was concerned, on the lines of attempting to sink every vessel that floated, and if anybody, being anxious about the petrol situation and knowing that supplies were dependent on overseas trade, had simply taken a chart of the rate at which sinkings were increasing, there was at least a warning conveyed there.

It is no answer to that general picture that must have been before the mind of anybody who talked at all about the war to say that nobody could have foreseen the amazing changes that developed over the year 1940. The one thing that stood out to the notice of anybody, who knew anything about the last war, or who read anything about the threats in connection with this war, and saw the progress of those threats towards reality, was that unrelenting attacks were going to be made on everything sailing the seas and that these attacks were becoming more and more successful in certain months of the year. Yet it took until Christmas Eve, and some statement from London, to get the Minister here warned that a serious situation, not was developing, because that knowledge should have been present in his mind before that, but had developed to such an extent that a definite emergency was on.

The petrol situation to some extent, although, by itself, it may not rank as a very essential commodity, is bound up with the food situation, and, with regard to wheat, the position developing in Government Buildings as presented to the minds of people outside must have been something like this, that we had a Minister for Agriculture who must have known that the reserve of wheat at any time in storage was something in the neighbourhood of 67,000 tons. There was no higher ration than 67,000 tons, which does not do for every long, but, with that, he had whatever supplies were coming in, and going through the country, all of which could be consumed in a certain limited period. The man who knew that his carry-over, in the sense of a real reserve, was 67,000 tons must have had ever present to his mind certain months in the year. The months had different relations to this particular situation, but that Minister for Agriculture, knowing anything, must have known that if he let a particular period of the year go past in which only the normal sowings of wheat were going to take place, and if this failure to get ships, which, luckily for us, happened before Christmas, had happened in January or February, the situation was going to be even desperate.

I say again that any Minister who saw the two things: the date at which he must get going if he is to have increased sowings of winter wheat and the fact that he had something less than 70,000 tons of wheat as his ration, should have been specially anxious and alert, should have been scanning the papers and listening to the wireless, getting any information he could, secretly or openly, to find out what was the situation with regard to the possibility of cargoes of wheat coming in here around about the months of July, August and September, and if it meant nothing more than looking at a chart of the sinkings, he should have been alarmed and alert at that particular period. If he and the Minister in charge of the supplies of petrol had happened accidentally to meet and the talk had accidentally turned to the question of wheat, and the Minister for Agriculture had said, in an offhand way to his colleague: "Remember that if there is going to be extra farm work done, there will be extra petrol required", then there might have been a conjunction of the two people, one concerned about his day-to-day petrol supplies, because we are obviously living in a hand-to-mouth way, and the other with the matter of getting increased sowings, if it emerged that no ships were going to sail the seas with cargoes of wheat for this country. If they had happened accidentally to meet and talk on the matter, they were two people who should have been gravely alert to the danger of the situation as it was developing.

In any event, so far as we can gather from these inconsistent statements made from time to time, they apparently did get a precise and definite warning somewhere in the month of November, to the effect that it had been found impossible to charter a single boat to carry wheat to this country for some weeks before. The month of November was a critical period. In the month of December, the situation became even more critical, and the only warning we get of any serious situation developing is when the Prime Minister of the country goes to the wireless to address the Americans, and not the people of this country. He addressed America and says to the Americans: "If the situation gets worse, see that we get supplies of wheat." The Prime Minister must be attentive to the implications of a speech like that. People would listen to it here and would say that there is no demand for increased tillage here, that there is no urgent problem presented, and they would probably more or less begin to wonder what he was at in talking to the Americans about sending us wheat. They would, probably, begin to wonder why he was talking to the Americans about sending us wheat because no rumour had crept out to the people here about any serious situation at that time. The fact that he addressed America and not his own people would have lulled them into a false sense of security. The fact that he used the phrase "if the situation gets worse" would have deepened the wrong sense of security that was bound to be generated by his method of address.

We were told last night—it was the first time an attempt was made to meet this point—that speeches had been addressed to the farming community and others in October, November and December. If that contention is to be persisted in, I shall have to ask to be told the dates on which these statements were made. From the official record, I find that the Minister for Agriculture addressed the people over the wireless on the last day of last year, and one of his opening phrases was: "The time of hesitancy is now past." That is his first emergence before the public as a messenger of bad news and it was not very seriously stressed at that particular time. It was not until about ten days later, when the Minister for Supplies sent us a note saying it was the duty of all of us to go out and campaign to get more wheat sown, that it became apparent that some emergency situation regarding wheat had arisen. I have recited these facts again and again. We are asked: why have all these post mortems, why debate what is past? The reason is that, if there is going to be Party government in the country, if we are to continue to entrust our fortunes to a group of people elected on a peculiarly Party basis, the use of criticism is to see that policy will be put right. If criticism makes its case, if it particularly makes the case that certain Ministers have failed in their duty, have failed to show that little bit of foresight which circumstances demanded, we ought to stress that again and again looking to either of two results—that the two Ministers who have erred in this particular matter will be changed for somebody else or, else, that we shall get some recognition from them that they have learned the lesson and that a similar set of circumstances, developing hereafter, will not be messed in the same way. I say that there is no excuse for what happened in regard to wheat if taken by itself. There is very little excuse for what happened in regard to petrol—for the sudden emergence of the situation— and there is no excuse for these two things emerging at that particular time together.

The other two matters discussed here have been discussed in the absence of any special information except what we were able to get by way of questions to the Government. I refer to tea and coal. This matter of coal was pushed further to-day and we got certain figures. These figures can be analysed and criticised afterwards. It appears that, although there is a charge made for taking the coal off the boat to the side of the quay, there is an additional charge of 2/- a ton, which is paid by the bellmen and others, for carting the coal from somewhere to the dump. What the necessity for that charge of 2/- a ton is I do not know. How it relates to the charge allowed for carting coal which has to be taken to the coal merchant's yard, I do not know either. These are things which we shall have to deal with later. One matter which still emerges causes me some difficulty. We have prices here for all-coal and for household coal and we have the charges made to bellmen. Take the case of all-coal, because the particular matter to which I shall refer arises on either. In January, the import price was 44/8. In February, it moved up to 45/-. That was an increase of 1/3 in the c.i.f. price at Dublin. The price to the bellmen in January was 52/-. and in mid-February it was 63/-. There was an increase in the c.i.f. cost of 1/3 as between these two months, but the increase in the charge made to bellmen amounted to 11/-. I know that the figure we had this morning—12/- or 14/—is included in the difference between 44/8 and the 52/- charged to the bellmen in January. That is carried forward in this move-up from 45/11 to the 63/- charged to the bellmen in February. Coal moves up by 1/3 as between these two months and the charge to the bellmen moves up by 11/-.

The question of tea we can only pursue a certain length. We must refrain from quoting the statistical information given to us in a confidential way. One can get the same information in conversation with any of the wholesale tea merchants. More tea— talking of quantity—was imported, by a considerable amount, in the year 1940 than was imported in 1938 or 1939. The difference in price-average, as between 1940 and 1939, is 1¾d. It can justly be said that cheap tea has disappeared out of this country. Why? If more tea was brought in and if the difference in price-average is less than 2d. per lb., why is it that there is no cheap tea available to the people who want cheap tea at the moment? The Minister for Supplies rang the changes on this matter of averages. His argument is something like this—that an article which would cost £1 at the beginning of the year might go to £5 at the end of the year and the average for the year would be £3. Apply that standard to this matter of tea. If he means that tea over the whole year had risen 2d. per lb. but had risen considerably at the end of the year, then there was some period in 1940 in which the price of tea was well below the average of 1939 and, at some period of the year 1940, tea should have been much cheaper than it was in 1939. Was that so? I can find no record of it.

As between two motions, this Vote on Account and the Central Fund Bill, we have had three days' debate. Petrol, wheat, tea and coal are the four things which have occupied a considerable amount of time in these three days. Can anybody go off to his constituents and say he has a clear picture of what has happened in regard to coal and tea, that he can explain the amazing increase in the price of coal, particularly to the poor, that he can explain this increase of 1/3 in the c.i.f. price and the increase of 11/- to the bellmen, or can he say that he can explain to the community, to whom he has to render some account, why there is no cheap tea to be had at the moment? If we cannot explain that, it means that we have not got the information from statistics. Either they have it in a way in which it cannot be disclosed or published or for some reason or other they have determined not to give the information. There is, of course, a feeling growing in the country that there is any amount of tea here, that people are being allowed to hold it, until they see a definite increase is likely to be allowed by the Government. These merchants who have held and hoarded tea were overloaded and complaints were made, as Deputy Hickey has made with regard to coal, and they will never be answered.

We will have a different situation later with regard to tea. Deputy Hickey apparently has complained that coal brought in last August at a relatively low price is being sold at the price that obtains at the moment. The situation hereafter will be that, somewhere in 1941, tea imported either early in 1940—when, on the interpretation of the Minister's interruption, tea was relatively cheap—will be sent out to the public at an extravagant rate, on which the merchants will get an immense profit. These are matters which could have been dealt with here by a mere parade of figures, statements as to quantity and prices, as to the average prices per month and the quantity imported per month.

Again, we are told that it is not in the public interest to say what supplies of tea were brought in. That brings me to another point. I remember the time, early in the war, when questions were put down as to the number of persons in the Defence Forces, and the Minister for Defence said that it would not be in the public interest to disclose that. A little later, in public debate, when we were discussing the question of supplies for the Army, we were told—definitely warned off, and we took the warning—that we should not, in too much detail, develop this matter of the armaments in the country, as it would be injudicious and lead to harmful results. We accepted that viewpoint. At times questions have been put down which were inquisitive on this matter of armaments, and we were again warned—and the warning was again accepted—that it was dangerous. But, when it suits the Government's purpose, the Prime Minister of this country can go to the radio station and broadcast to America asking them to help us in the way of providing armaments. Now, if any Deputies had dared to suggest, a week before that, that we were looking in any way for arms, that we had not all the equipment we needed, they would have been shouted down from the housetops as traitors. Then we were told that the Minister for the CoOrdination of Defensive Measures who, about three years ago had assured this House that there was no State better equipped than ours in its defensive armament, had now set out, apparently uninvited, on a long journey across the water to the United States, and one of the things he has to get is arms and military equipment.

I put down a question in November regarding ships sunk. A correspondent wrote to me on that point and it seemed a proper question to put and one on which one could expect reasonable information. He asked me to find out what ships carrying cargoes to this country had been sunk, how many were in convoy, how many were flying the Irish flag and what was the particular type of cargo they carried. Immediately there was a flurry and a fluster in the background of the Government when the question appeared, and I was asked if I would remove the question from the Order Paper, and I said "certainly." I was told then that I would be given certain information for my own use. That, of course, was of no value to me. I was dealing with a correspondent who wanted to be in a position to use that information. I was told that it was not desirable to give it. I got a memorandum which I was not allowed to reveal to the individual—a man occupying a prominent position in the business life of the people.

Within a fortnight the question of the mercantile marine came up at a meeting of the Federation of Irish Industries and the Minister for Industry and Commerce, who had refused the information to me as being undesirable, went down to meet that argument for the mercantile marine and used the information which it was not desirable in the public interest to give to me in the House. I cannot see that a fortnight meant all the difference between the matter being fair for him to divulge and unfair for a Deputy to get for a correspondent. I have no doubt that, sooner or later, but at the time at which it becomes of value to the Government, we will be told what supply of tea was brought into the country in 1939 as compared with 1940. This pretence that it is not in the public interest to give the information will be kept up until it serves some Government purpose to change it. We could have been given certain small items of information, certain details and figures such as those which were extracted from the Minister for Supplies to-day. These could easily have been given earlier in this debate or in an earlier debate, and further comments could have been made on them, and in that way the truth could have been made clear to the public. Instead of getting detailed information, we got two statements so big and so general that they must, of course, be received with suspicion immediately.

The Minister for Supplies has boasted here in the House, as he has boasted to two audiences outside, that the fact that after 18 months of war the situation in this country is as easy as it is in the matter of supplies is due entirely to his Department. That, of course, allows nothing at all in the way of credit to the industrialists who have attended to their ordinary work, I suppose, in that time, or to bankers who have given credit facilities, or to anybody else. The whole work of the community, in so far as it has resulted in a relatively easy situation in the matter of supplies 18 months after the war started, is put down as being to the credit of the Minister and his Department. The mere fact that he makes such a claim puts it out of court. It would not bear examination for a second. Stated as broadly as it is, it condemns itself as a gross exaggeration. Even if it were made by a person less inclined to exaggerate than the Minister for Supplies, it would not be credited.

Further, he was asked in the debate yesterday, if he had done anything in the nature of credits for those bringing in supplies, for those who had foreseen the difficulty and, that being so, who would be inclined to buy, but found themselves without the financial resources to meet the burden. In two debates that particular question has been posed time and again, without a definite answer. But, in an interruption yesterday, he told us that he had provided credits for all industries and had done it nine months before the war broke out. No doubt, we will see repercussions from that statement when we get publicity for it. The situation now is, in so far as the Irish industrialist complains that he is short of raw materials and says that he knew there was going to be a difficulty about getting raw materials and tries to excuse himself on the ground that he had not the resources himself and could not get credits to bring the goods in, that man is not telling the truth, if the Minister for Supplies is.

The Minister stated that he had arranged with the banks to give credit for Irish industries. He made no limitation on the range, whatsoever. He said it applied to Irish industries generally. I know, with regard to one industry, the timber importing industry, one of the biggest importers in the South of Ireland had himself, of his own initiative, persecuted the Department of Supplies on this important matter of credit and urged them to get credit and put it at their disposal, to get the banks to loosen up and make credit easier. The result of his persuasion and persecution was that, two days before the war broke out, he got a letter from the Department of Supplies to say that the Government had now arranged credits so far as his particular business was concerned. Two days before the war broke out most of the value that could have been attached to an earlier easing of credit had gone. Notwithstanding that, the Minister tells us here that he had arranged credits and puts that down to the activities of this Department.

In a debate on a motion we had here lately before the House, a demand was made that the Government should now reveal what their plans were to deal with unemployment and cope with consequent distress. We got no answer during the course of the debate which ranged round that matter in another motion. We have a Vote on Account being taken here under which very heavy financial sacrifices are being demanded from the community, and I want to ask Deputies in this House: Do they think they could come away, after listening to this week's debate — and this week's debate, no matter what particular motion was before the House, ranged around this whole question of supplies—could any Deputy of this House now, after all this debate, go before a meeting of his constituents and tell them what definite plans the Government have to deal with supplies and to relieve the distress that exists in an acute form at the present moment and that will be more acute in the future? I suggest that no Deputy could, with any degree of equanimity, meet a group of his constituents believing that he had been given any ammunition as a result of this week's debate that would enable him to inform those who are querulous in that matter as to what is in store for them.

Two things emerged in that debate. Public attention was directed or concentrated on two special points. One was rationing and the other, which is essentially tied up with rationing, was price control. As far as price control is concerned, the Minister told us that he had one section of his Department functioning on that particular matter. Now, many Deputies have spoken on that, and I think that most of us are impressed rather with the lack of activity that there is on that particular side rather than with any undue hardship that has been caused by a too harsh pressure of the Department in connection with prices. The Minister referred also to a stand-still order that he made shortly after the outbreak of the war—on the 7th December, 1939. I had previously asked two Ministers here to tell us to how many things these two orders applied originally and to how many did they now apply. There may be some of these Emergency Price Control Orders of which I have no record, but I have a number of them —up to No. 74, of January, 1941. In looking through these orders I make out the result to be that the original stand-still order applied to 36 classes of goods—most of them were in this No. 1 Order—starting off with tea, coffee, cocoa, sugar, butter, margarine, bacon and hams, fresh meat, fresh milk, fresh fish flour, bread, lard, and so on, down. There were originally 36 classes of commodities. By degrees, other orders then came out saying that a particular stand-still order shall cease to apply to a named commodity. On going through these I find the result now is that the stand-still order was withdrawn in respect of from 28 to 30 of the classes to which the order originally applied. So that, out of the groups to which it recently applied, only six remain. One of these is flour and the other is bread, and that is because the price of the loaf depends upon the fixing of a price for flour; another is milk, and that was raised over a big number of these orders. In addition to the six outstanding from the original order, four others have been added in respect of certain commodities, including scrap iron and motor spirit. Although the Minister attempted to fix prices covering 36 commodities, he very soon withdrew his orders in respect of between 28 and 30 of them. Sometimes it is not possible to get a complete classification, because the thing varies from time to time, but there is the attempt to control prices so far as stand-still orders are concerned. They are put on and then withdrawn by degrees, with the result that first there were 36 commodities in respect of which it was thought worth while to put on a stand-still order at the beginning, and then a relaxation came, the orders were withdrawn, and the consumer was left at the mercy of the manufacturers who sold these products.

The Minister added to the idea of rationing the question of price control. For the life of me, I cannot see, and I still have to be convinced, that there is any great argument against setting about here and now the adoption of a system of rationing. The Minister told us that it is going to be expensive. No doubt it will. He told us that it will take time, and that is the worst of it. In the Seanad, the Minister who was substituting for the Minister for Supplies, said that it would take 12 months to do it. I cannot conceive that it would take so long, particularly in view of the meticulous way in which the Statistics Branch keep all their records; but even if it were to take six months, or even a more lengthy period than a year, the sooner the attempt is made the better. How can anybody believe—as Ministers, apparently, want them to believe—that the view Ministers have is that the war is only beginning, that it will go on for a long time, and that, as it goes on, more and more restrictions will have to be imposed on the people here, that commodities will be short in supply, prices will rise, and unemployment and distress will grow, when they see the attitude Ministers are adopting? They tell us all that, and, at the same time, they ask: "How can you get a fair distribution of restricted supplies except by a coupon system?" And they cannot give an alternative, or make an alternative suggestion, that commends itself to anybody.

Now, Ministers pretend here to be astonished that their words do not carry more weight with the public. How can they? Anybody who reads the newspapers knows that a quite ordinary feature of life in any of the beleagured countries at the moment, whether they are belligerent or neutral, is that they are short of certain things, and I know of no country that has not either adopted a full system of rationing or is struggling towards it through a series of intermediate steps. When Ministers speak of the serious situation that confronts the country at the moment, and endeavour to paint a gloomy picture, one thing that would impress people that a serious situation is impending would be to see Ministers setting about the establishment of a rationing system. Otherwise, we must only believe that they have reached a certain degree of complacency. They see a situation developing in which foodstuffs are going to be scarce, and that scarcity, they must know, will mean a scramble for the purchase of these commodities, and, in that scramble, unless there is some control, then the people who are able to afford the best prices will beat those who have not the same amount of cash.

People know that, in these conditions, the only plan that the wit of mankind, all over the world, has been able to devise is to parcel out these foodstuffs according to the number of mouths that have to be fed—which is all the more easily done in the case of a small country such as ours—and that that is done by means of a register and a system of rationing, depending upon family strength. People, knowing this, are naturally incredulous when they are told that the Government contemplates a great scarcity of certain foodstuffs and takes no measures to see that the restricted quantities will be distributed equally. They are incredulous and, of course, it is only natural when they see the slackness that there is in the attempt to control the prices charged to poor people for certain things that are really necessaries. Coal becomes of special importance in that regard.

People also think of this: The cost of living figure is taken by the State, and that cost of living figure increased very heavily in the last two quarters of last year, and the only response the Government have made to that is the adoption of one definite slogan: that they will allow no increase in wages to the wage earning section of the community where the demand for that increase is founded upon an increase in the cost of living. The background of that is the danger in this country, and in every other country, that if you start that particular game you get this terrific spiral of increased prices and increased wages and further price increases and further wage increases being demanded. While recognising that principle, I should have thought the best way for the Government to achieve the stability they seek would be to adopt a different slogan, and that would be that they would allow, and even look for, an increase in wages if the cost of living increased, and would take steps to see the cost of living did not increase, that they would give themselves the stimulus of saying to the community that the Government recognised the justice of the claim for increased wages where the cost of living had gone up—certainly where it had gone up in a big jump. I would expect them to keep prices low by saying: "That is the situation, and the only way we can prevent the spiral rising is by keeping the cost of living down."

People have got beyond not being impressed with these matters. People are growing quite cynical. I have asked here in a general way why is there not some attempt made to control the cost of living, and why, in particular, is there not some attempt made to control the extravagant prices that are being charged for certain things. The public have before their eyes every day things that show that the profiteer is rampant in our midst. They know that there have been favours from the Government in the past. They know that certain people have been allowed to feather their nests, very comfortably indeed, out of Government schemes, but they thought, once the emergency and critical period of war came, that these people would have their wings somewhat clipped, that their profits would be restricted and that they would be brought down to an ordinary standard of business in profiteering or profit-taking. We know the Ranks business is still going on. Whatever profits they made-and they have been gross and have been commented on in Government reports prior to the war-they have not been restricted in their activities to this moment.

The Minister, in a debate in January last, referred to Grain Importers, Limited, who have been set up to bring grain into this country. One of these days Parliamentary Questions will be addressed to him-but I have no doubt that the answer will be that it is not in the public interest to reply—to find out who are on the board of Grain Importers. As I understand the matter, it was proposed to allow on that board only those who qualified as importers by having imported, over three years that were taken, not less than a certain amount of grain and then it suddenly emerges there are people on that board who did not qualify under that description, and it emerges further that they were put on the board on the express direction of one of the Ministers.

Questions have been put about these Grain Importers, Limited, and to them, as to what they make for bringing in grain for the community. So far, all that has emerged is one figure, that they got about £250,000 a year which has to be divided between certain special expenses of bringing in grain and, whatever the rest is, remains divisible as profits between them. That body was described as a non-profit-making concern, in the debate on the 15th January. There is that board. Two special friends were put on that board at the express request of a Minister, and on the amount of grain that is brought in and the method by which they are allowed to make their charges, a calculation has been made that there is £250,000 in the balance. Why would the Minister not adopt with regard to that what the Minister for Agriculture has recently been forced to adopt in conection with the people who are purchasing meat for the city—he promised their accounts would be audited and the public would be allowed to know what they did get and how much of what they got was necessary expenses and how much would be for themselves? People have to be paid for their services, but the public would like to know the remuneration they got.

Deputy Dillon on a recent occasion referred to one test case. He took, in connection with this matter of prices, particular mills in Clare which got a monopoly for the making and sale of elastic. The prices were looked into, and it was considered that the prices were fair and reasonable. Owing to things which are the subject of proceedings elsewhere, a particular year had to be left out of account, but in the last year for which we have accounts, the published accounts of the company show that they made £25,000. That was a concern having a monopoly and, therefore, subject, I should imagine, to vigilant and close scrutiny by the Controller of Prices. That concern had its prices investigated and they were passed as being fair and reasonable. In a war situation in which unfortunate wage earners are not being allowed to get increases owing to the increased cost of living, the proprietors of a monopolistic concern in the country are allowed to get £25,000. I opened the paper to-day and found one bacon company talking of its last year's profits which they announce are just £12,000 up on the year before—£12,000 up. We know that the question of the dividend that was paid by that other very nearly monopolistic concern, the cement company of the country, was raised here. Certain criticism was expressed of them here, with the result that they lowered their dividend from ten to eight per cent. It was not that they had not the ten per cent. to distribute but the little bit of criticism that was made here with regard to the ten per cent. made them quote, in any event, the dividend declared to be eight per cent.

All this about Ranks, about Grain Importers, about the Clare mills, about the bacon company whose accounts were revealed to-day, and about the cement company, is happening. They are allowed to get away with these enormous profits and apparently no real attempt was made to restrict them. I understand that some definitely wrong construction was put upon a point I made here as to what had happened in England. I said that England, criticised by wireless propagandists as being the home of plutocracy, the last resort of the plutocrats of the world, had turned itself over to being a completely socialised State. Apparently that was taken as meaning that I was proposing that that should take place here too. I think if my words were read with what immediately follows, it will be found that it does not mean that I was proposing that that should take place here. In England, with all its tradition and its respect for property, they did that in the particular emergency, and it was not merely in order to get control of people; it was not merely to control man power. They have 100 per cent. taxes on what they call excess war profits, and they have other taxes, not of the excess war profits type, which are also imposed on their people. The Minister who introduced that measure, the Emergency Defence Bill, on the other side, in May of last year, told the community that the headline was that nobody was going to be allowed to make extra profits out of the war or during the war.

We face here a situation in which we are told the outlook is gloomy, that restrictions will come and limitations will have to be imposed on people. Notwithstanding that, you can pick up a newspaper at random and you will find that there are certain people who certainly are not attentive to the directions of the Government about restrictions and limitations.

The old game of profit-making is going on as merrily as ever. The result is not entirely due to that but is partly made up by it. As soon as there is an increase in the cost of living the wage earner is not to get any increase if a demand is made based on the fact that the cost of living has increased. I stress, and I will have to stress again and again, that the only way to deal with a situation of scarcity here is to approach it from two angles, by something in the nature of a rationing system, so that the poor will not be lost in the scramble for the restricted amount of goods for sale, and something to enable people, when they can reach the price, to know that there will be reserved for them an amount of particular necessities, that whether it is a matter of subsidising or not, as far as certain necessities of life are concerned, they will get them at such prices by a rationing system that will not be a complete farce; that they will get them at such prices against coupons corresponding to the strength of their households, and that they will have sufficient money for that purpose. Until we get to the region of a rigid system of rationing by coupons, a system that is seriously meant, and in order to prevent any evasion of trying to jump such prices, there will be no question of proper supplies.

We have been warned of the danger of misleading the population. Deputy Mulcahy was told about the danger of the red flag of revolution, and was asked if it was wise to introduce certain elements into the debate. A certain amount of that was empty rhetoric for use as argument. Will more harm be done by all the talk of Deputies in these debates than by the simple reflection that must inevitably occur to the people in poor streets, that at this particular moment they are not getting even a particular share of the unrestricted amount of foodstuffs available? I should say that the resentment that would be bred by that reflection at this particular stage is likely to breed far more angry feelings than anything heard for months. They should pay attention to the other angle. At some point they must ensure to those who have not much in the way of money that, in any event, they will be able to get, at something like a price which they can afford, a sufficiency of the goods for which they are clamouring.

All we got from the speech of the Parliamentary Secretary was a warning of the difficulties and the inescapable limitations of the situation. He is the member of the Government responsible for relief schemes. If any provision is required this year to ensure an increase for relief schemes he is the person in charge. The great part of his speech to-day was not very helpful. It holds out very little in the way of prospects for the poor. First of all, through a mistake on the part of someone, we were told that large balances were invested outside the country that might have been repatriated and put to lucrative use here, and that in any event we have limited resources. That is a changed tune. We were told that we have difficulties and inescapable limitations. The Parliamentary Secretary then went on to point out, in dealing with the international situation, that while we have enormous balances abroad which represent a promise to pay, we cannot cash them. We could demand goods, but the demand would not be met. During the whole course of the speech never was there any implication about the position of the country internally. We are guaranteeing farmers prices for various things that they are asked to produce. We are apparently running into a situation when supplies of manufactured goods are going to be scarce, and without any definite price control are going to be dear. But farmers may sit back one of these days and ask: "What is the good of these guaranteed prices? What will be open to me to buy internally, and how far will I get things at a rate that I can afford?" That may produce in the minds of farmers a feeling that guaranteed prices are a bit of a sham.

A Book of Estimates has been presented to us for a huge sum. It is more of a sham than even the Parliamentary Secretary's description of the international situation. If I tear out the pages dealing with the Army, is there anything in it to show that we are living surrounded by war conditions? If you cut out defence and the money spent on the Army, is there anything to differentiate between this Book of Estimates and the Estimates that we got in 1934, 1935, 1936, and 1937? Not a thing. There is some small amount for emergency research. The book is an entire sham. The burden of all the talk has been along the lines that there is going to be more unemployment and more distress, but the Estimates show a reduction of £400,000 on the amount previously voted for relief schemes alone. How can anyone consider that we are facing realities by dealing with a particular set of Estimates in the present crisis in that way? If there was any meaning in the Minister's words, I think it was transformed by the figures. We were told to prepare for an increase in the numbers unemployed at one time by 40,000, and at another time by 70,000. If 40,000 or 70,000 are contemplated, what provision have we made for them? Does the Book of Estimates indicate that there is going to be any tension in the business world? Is there anything to show that Ministers have foreseen difficulties with regard to suplies? If they have foreseen rocketing prices, what are they going to do to arrange that people will get supplies at moderate rates?

Is there anything to show that there will be subsidies to help other businesses or industries, or the farming community, beyond what was given in ordinary times of peace? If not, must we not come to the conclusion that these Estimates are only a first presentation and that eventually we will have a good number of supplementary estimates for heavy amounts? I do not think the people will be shocked even at that situation. As long as you present a Book of Estimates such as that, and have speeches introducing it as if it were not for the increases in the Army, the Estimates generally would be down, Ministers need not complain if they are told that hard times are ahead. So far as we can get from the extraction of information in the ordinary parliamentary way about a serious situation, there was a complete failure in three Departments of Government that should have been most active in the matter to foresee the consequences of the war and the things that would occur to the ordinary mind. I do not regard it as any argument that the situation with regard to France was so stupefying that nobody could think of meeting that circumstance. When the war started early in 1939, questions were asked and answers were given stating that as far as our interests were concerned we had reached some degree of self-sufficiency in raw materials that we required, in semi-manufactured goods, replacements, supplies and some other things. That is what was required on the industrial side.

So far as foodstuffs were concerned it was a fact that should have startled anybody, that was very clear-cut, that we relied upon big importations. With regard to such things as petrol, there was again the question of trading overseas. That was quite clearly before the minds of most people at the start of the war but in these circumstances, apparently, Ministers were content to toddle along without any attempt being made to get extra storage facilities. No attempt was made even at the start of the war when supplies were fairly plentiful and the question of transport was not such an insuperable difficulty, to lay in stores. No attempt was made even to eke out the small supplies there were in the country for which we had any storage so as to be prepared when critical times emerged. There was no attempt, apparently, to read the newspapers and no attention was paid to the losses that were occurring at sea. In these circumstances we drifted into the particular emergency in which we find ourselves at the moment. If we harp on all that has happened in the past, it is because we feel that so long as the Ministers who were at the head of the particular Departments concerned when these things happened, remain in office, there is a likelihood that the same thing will happen again.

Mr. Brodrick

Last night and this morning the Taoiseach stated that his war cry in this House had to be: "Repeat, repeat." I wonder what he meant by "repeat". The only meaning I could draw from it is that he was again calling for greater production from the farmers and for harder work from the working classes of the country. If that be so, I think the word is more applicable to his own Ministry and to his own back benchers than to the farmers and workers of the country. It so happens that we have had a repetition of speeches from the Opposition benches within the last three days, but the one idea at the back of these speeches was to try to put the serious position of the country before the Ministry. That was the one desire that animated Deputies upon the Opposition benches. The Taoiseach even now, in the month of March, 1941, tells the farmer: "If you did not sow winter wheat, you have got to sow spring wheat." If the Taoiseach were in touch with conditions in the country, he would know that from the middle of last December up to the last week in February, it was impossible to put a plough into the soil. I know that that has been the case in the West of Ireland at any rate. It is all right to say to the people that they must till more and work harder. Last year a similar appeal was made to the people. It was a reasonable year for crops. The weather was good and the farmers did their work reasonably well. Taking the West of Ireland alone, in County Galway there were 26,000 acres more under tillage in 1940 than in 1939. Now the people are asked for even a greater amount of tillage notwithstanding the fact that the great cry down the country is for manure. The 26,000 acres of extra tillage which was produced last year was carried out with practically half the amount of manure available in the previous year. This year the farmers are asked to increase the amount of tillage once more, with only 50 per cent. of the manure they had last year.

I should like to ask the Government what benefit it will be to the country if a man, who used to till three acres when he had sufficient manure, tills four acres if he has insufficient manure? Last year in the West of Ireland the crops were up to the average, but this year, when the amount of manure available has been reduced to 50 per cent. of that supplied last year, what kind of crops are you going to have? I should like the Government to take serious notice of that question.

There is no use in the Taoiseach telling Opposition members who have spoken in the last three days that they are playboys. I say that even the strongest Fianna Fáil supporter down the country believes that the only playboys in this country at present are the Fianna Fáil Government and their back benchers. What contribution have the Ministry or the back benchers made to this debate? None whatever, because they know very well that Opposition Deputies are speaking the truth, that they are speaking the mind of the people down the country and showing what these people think of the Government.

The Minister for Agriculture, when he was cornered in a debate here the other night, said that it was for political reasons that we were carrying on the debate. I should like to remind Dr. Ryan of the voting strength of the respective parties in the last election. The Fianna Fáil Party polled something over 600,000 votes and the Opposition Parties, including Labour, polled something over 500,000 votes. I put it to any man in the country, are not the interests of the people who supported the Opposition Parties as important, if not more so, as the interests of people who supported the Fianna Fáil Party? The members of the Opposition Parties have at least as great an interest in the welfare of the people as those who have been "blabbing" around the cross-roads for a number of years. It is most unfair that statements such as that made by the Minister for Agriculture should be made in this House.

We know that big changes have been made in the Government. What was the reason that the present Minister for Industry and Commerce was taken from Finance and placed in charge of Industry and Commerce? Then a Ministry of Supplies was created. I do not know is there anyone in this House who takes the work of the Minister for Supplies seriously except himself. I know that the people down the country do not. I doubt if he takes it seriously himself. I would say that he is one of the greatest playboys at present in this country. In regard to the position of fuel supplies, last year we had a full supply of turf in the West of Ireland. There were farmers there who made three cuttings of turf. We had a full supply last year but yet we were told by the Government to put in supplies of coal. Go down to any bog in the West of Ireland at the present time and you will not see a bit of turf on it. It is practically all used. Having regard to the fact that we are asked to produce more tillage this year, and that on that account labour will be scarce, it will not be possible to cut the same amount of turf as was cut last year. Again we may not have weather as favourable this year. Then we are asked to cut our coal requirements down to 25 per cent. of the quantity we used last year.

In East Galway, which Deputy Beegan represents, there are a few thousand acres of turbary, but it is practically useless as it is either in the hands of the Land Commission or of landlords and the turf has to be bought by the tenants. There are no accommodation roads into the turbary and no drainage work has been carried out. The Government will want to be up and doing, because from what I know of the West of Ireland it will not be possible to produce the amount of turf that will be required if we only get 25 per cent. of last year's coal supply. It is no use for the Government to be talking about what they are going to do, they must get down to their work.

As to the tea ration, there is to be an allowance of two ounces for each adult. Reference has been made to the different prices at which tea is sold. Would it not be a more practicable and reasonable way to fix a limit of, say, 1/- for each adult for the purchase of tea? I think it would be more reasonable for the whole population, because you have tea being sold at 3/- a lb. and at 5/- a lb.; perhaps there may be some sold under 3/- a lb. It is well known that two ounces of tea at 5/- a lb. would give a much better return than two ounces at 3/- a lb. If you fix a limit of 1/- or 2/- for each adult, you will have a more reasonable distribution. Those who are able can buy tea at 5/- a lb., and those who have to fall back on the cheaper tea will get value for their money.

So far as the food question is concerned, no matter what acreage we may till I believe that the position is going to be very serious in June, July and August both for human beings and live stock. It is said that there is a fair amount of foodstuffs in the west, but, if that is so, it is being used up, and has been used up much faster during the last three or four weeks than anyone expected. That is due to the fact that, owing to foot-and-mouth disease, the live stock are left on the hands of the people, and the little surplus there was of foodstuffs is being used up to keep the live stock alive. For that reason I believe that in June, July and August there will be a great shortage of foodstuffs. Therefore, the Government should be on the watch and see what can be done to meet that situation.

The Minister for Supplies in his speech mentioned the matter of credits for industrialists. Is it not possible to provide credits for farmers? Are they not harder workers and of greater benefit to this country than industrialists? I do not mind credits being provided for industrialists, but my point is that farmers are better entitled to them. The vast majority of the industrialists have only come into existence within the last five or six years, and, as Deputy McGilligan said, some of them have made huge profits.

The farmer, however, is left in the same old groove all the time. I therefore appeal to the Government to see what they can do in the matter of credit for farmers. As we know, farmers last October or November sold oats at something like 9d. per stone, and the price now for seeding purposes is up to 2s. 2d. per stone. There is a similar situation in regard to wheat, barley and potatoes. I think those people who have done the extra tillage required are entitled to get some credits. They have always been the chief mainstay of the country; they have worked hard, and they should at least get the same consideration as the industrialists.

I would also appeal to the Government to see that sufficient manures are provided for the production of the crops this year. Some 13,000 acres of beet, I believe, went into the Tuam factory last year. Those who produced that beet are afraid that the quantity of manure they will be able to procure this year will not be sufficient, and for that reason there is a grave danger that they will not be able to carry out contracts for beet this year. That will be a very serious matter. In Meath and Westmeath, and other counties in the Midlands, where there is fertile land which has not produced crops for a very long period, they will probably be able to get manure, but the farmers with small valuations on the poorer lands of this country are entitled to greater consideration in that respect.

I also ask the Minister to consider the coal and turf situation. Even with favourable weather, I doubt that we will get sufficient turf cut this year. Last year the people made two or three cuttings of turf, but in order to meet the fuel situation this year it may be necessary to have at least five cuttings, and in my belief the people will not be able to do that.

Ní raibh fúm tada a rá gur dhubhairt an Taoiseach go mbeadh go leor leor díomhaointis sa tír agus go raibh faithchíos air narbh fhéidir na daoine uilig a chur ag obair. D'fhéadfaí go leor daoine chur ag obair faoi láthair thart faoi na cladaigh le haghaidh leasú a chruinniú —leasú duthasach na tíre. "Briseann an duthchais tré shúile an chuit." Cho cinnte is go mbriseann briseann duthchas na feamuinne thríd an talamh, mar is le n-ár n-aghaidh sinne a cuireadh ag fás annsin í. Nuair a bhí an Griffith valuation á dhéanamh fadó, agus ceaptar gurb í is dírighe a rinneadh ariamh, mar tá sí chó díreach indiu is a bhí ariamh, chuir sé seo valuation faoi leith ar thalamh ar bith a raibh an fheamuinn isteach leis. Spáineann sé sin go raibh meas aige ar an bhfeamuinn mar leasú dhóibh féin agus le díol.

Cuimhnighim go maith nuair a bhí mé in mo lad bheag gur tháinic comharsa isteach, lá, agus go raibh sí féin agus mo mháthair ag caint faoi'n bpraghas a bhí ar cheilp an bhliain sin. Bhí an cheilp seacht bpunt an tonna an t-am sin. "Anaí," deir sí, "tá lása óir thimpeall Chruach na Cora." Tá an lása óir sin ann indiu cho maith is bhí an lá sin, ach ní ar cheithre phunt ná ar chúig phunt an tonna—nuair atá a cheithre luach air chuile rud—is féidir feidhm cheart a bhaint as an lása seo. Mar sin, ba cheart don Rialtas breathnú isteach sa gceist seo. D'fhéadfaí na mílte duine a chur ag obair agus páighe chothrom a thabhairt dóibh. Dhéanfadh sé sin maith do dhaoine isteach faoi'n tír freisin mar gheobhaidis leasú maith.

Tá an Rialtas a rá linn tuille mónadh a bhaint. Is amhlaidh atá an scéal againne i gConamara go bhfuil neart mónadh ar láimh againn ach nach bhfuil deis againn le n-a díol. Cén mhaith dhúinne bheith ag baint mhónadh nuair nach féidir le lucht lorries in Uarán Mhór, i gCinn Mhara agus in áiteacha chó fada ó bhaile le Inis a theacht agus i cheannacht uainn?

Is truaighmhéalach an scéal é luach do shaothair fheiceál ar thaobh an bhóthair agus gan luach céad mine ná unsa tae agat ach thú ag braith ar ghrádh-Dia daoine eile. Ní chuirfe na daoine suas leis seo mórán achair eile, mar nuair a theannfas ocras leo is deacair milleán a chur ortha faoi céard a dhéanfas siad. Tá a saothar fágtha annsin agus gan fear a fhiafruighe ann.

Tír mhór fhairsing í Conamara mar is eol díobh. Tá sagairt is dochtuirí annsin agus gan tríú cuid a ndóthain petrol aca. Sé an t-allúntas céadna petrol atá Sagart Rosmuc, nó Chárna, nó na Ceathrún Ruaidhe fháil is atá sagart istigh i lár na tíre nach bhfuil ach paráiste beag faoi n-a chúram. An scéal céadua maidir le dochtúirí. Tuige, agus an méid cainte atá ar an nGaedhilg agus ar an nGaeltacht, bhfuil leath-chuma á dhéanamh orainn? Na daoine is mó cáil sa tír amhduigheann siad uilig go mbeidh deire go deo le Éire Ghaelach ná fhaghann an Ghaeltacht bás. Anois atá againn ár ndeis aimsiú. Má bítear cneasta le fear na Gaeltachta déanfa sé féin beart. do réir a fhocail. An tAire Airgeadais atá sa Rialtas anois, agus an tAire Airgeadais a bhí sa Rialtas a bhí ann roimhe seo, tá fhios ag an saol gur cáirde maithe don Ghaedhilg agus don Ghaeltacht iad, agus má chuireann na hoifigeacha ceannais tairiscint chóir rathúil os cóir an Aire ar mhaithe leis an nGaeltacht táim cinnte nach í an chluas bhodhar a gheobhfas siad.

Níor thainic mise os cóir an Tighe seo ariamh le béal bocht ná ag iarraidh déirce. Nílim iarraidh ach an ceart. Rud ar bith a fuair muintir na Gaeltachta ariamh d'áisíoc siad go maith é. Níl uatha ach treoir agus congnamh ón dream a bhfuil cumhacht acu an treoir agus an chomhairle a thabhairt; agus racha mise faoi dhíbh nach ag treorú an daill a bheas siad. Bhronn Dia fiír na maitheasa ar fhear na Gaeltachta—rud a chruthuigheador le allus a gcnámh, ní amháin ar chreaga loma carraigeacha an Iarthair ach i dtíortha i bhfad i gcéin. Marach gur bhronn cén chaoi a bhféadfaidís maireachtáil ar lag-phortaigh a chuirfeadh scoilteacha ar naosc? Agus tá fhios agamsa nuair a bhí obair na Sionainne ar siubhal nach raibh aon dream is fearr agus is cneasta a rinne obair lae na muintir Chonamara.

Mar adubhras cheana ní raibh fonn orm mórán a rá ach nuair a sheasas duine suas agus mian aige an fód agus an ceart a sheasamh dá mhuintir féin, sé a dhualgas a dhícheall a dhéanamh agus an gad is goire don scórnach a réiteach ar dtús.

It is with great reluctance that I intervene in this debate. I do so only for one reason, and that is because the main Opposition indicated that the principal subject for discussion on this Vote on Account would be supplies. I have spent two, or I might say three, days listening to speeches on that matter, and it is because I feel I can add something to the information of the House on the subject of supplies that I take part in the discussion. It has been suggested from the Labour Benches that we should have a mercantile marine. It has also been suggested that because of our position, because of our frozen assets and sterling, we cannot get the supplies we require. The Taoiseach and other speakers on these benches have ventured, as they are quite entitled to do, into high politics as regards belligerency and neutrality. I will not touch on those things. What I want to speak about is this, that, supposing we got into this country all the supplies we could lay our hands on, how are we going to keep them?

Some Deputies seem to forget that there is between this State and the Six Counties of Ulster, which is under the jurisdiction of the British Parliament, a land frontier extending for about 390 miles. It is with the conservation of supplies and not with the getting of them that I am mainly concerned. I represent a Border constituency, and to my own knowledge every day and night in the week there is a serious leakage of our supplies across that Border. Sugar, tea, and tobacco are being smuggled almost every minute at some place along that Border. It is not the fault of the Customs staff, and it is not the fault of the Department of Supplies. The Customs staff is entirely inadequate to stop that traffic, and the Department of Supplies, apparently, is not too concerned about it, as it is not really their job. It is their job to bring in the stuff, and it is the job of the Revenue Commissioners and the Customs staff to see that it is kept here.

I am satisfied that we are simply wasting our time talking about bringing in supplies if we cannot keep them here for the use of our people. I venture to say that within ten miles from the Border every household in Ulster has at the present time a supply of sugar, tea, and tobacco that should really belong to the people of the Twenty-six Counties. I ask that additional men be put on the Customs staff in order to enable them to stop the nefarious traffic that is being carried on by certain merchants in my county. No doubt they are making money. There can be no question that where they got one or two chests of tea each month two years ago, they are now getting ten, and there can be no question that their butter supplies have been enormously increased. The Department of Supplies and the Revenue Commissioners should co-operate in order to stop that traffic, because it can certainly be stopped. There are four Customs men in my town, whereas three years ago there were six. On the grounds of economy they removed two. The loss of those men is serious, not from the point of view of the revenue, but from the point of view of keeping our supplies for the use of our own people.

We grow oats, potatoes and flax; we do not produce butter or beet in my county. If this traffic is carried on for any considerable period it is quite possible that in that constituency we will find ourselves short of butter and sugar and tea, although we may have ample supplies of oats and potatoes. I suggest that there should be some co-ordination between the Department of Supplies and the Revenue Commissioners. Supplies are not being kept in this country for the use of our people, and that state of affairs will continue until there is such co-ordination as I suggest.

Judging by the state of things that exists internationally, anybody who has given thought to current affairs must admit that this little country is in for a very serious time. For that reason I think it is incumbent upon all our people, and especially upon Deputies, to do what they possibly can by mutual cooperation and good-will to prepare for the storms and difficulties that undoubtedly lie ahead. I used to hear it said that a man could be a great man for 20, 30 or 40 years, but that once in a man's lifetime he is up against the acid test, and if he fails that test he fails for ever.

What may be said of the individual can also, I think, be truly said of the nation. We have never been tested until now. We are up against it. For the past number of years, and especially since the signing of the Treaty, we have been having a good time here. Nobody can deny that. We have taken things easy. Although the Government had a difficult time at the formation of this State, after a few years they found that things went fairly smoothly. The present Government came in and things went very well, with a few nasty interruptions now and then to which we shall not refer. We have had a good time and now we are up against it. What are we going to do about it? I do not want to be offensive in any way, but we have always been swelling our chests and saying that we were ready to lay down our lives for Ireland. I put it to you now that we want men to live for Ireland and to make some little sacrifices. I have listened to this debate for the last few days and, candidly, I am disappointed from one angle, that is, that in every speech delivered by a Minister or any prominent member, not the least reference was made to the plight of the unemployed, and what is more serious still, no reference to what may be the position of those who at the moment are employed, but who, for reasons already stated, may find themselves disemployed in the near future.

I listened very attentively to the speech of the Parliamentary Secretary. I will pay him this tribute that he seems to have studied the subject matter of his speech. He is a man with command of language, very grammatical in its form, and it was fairly well put from an elocution point of view. The speech, of course, was fairly long, but he sustained himself with an occasional draught of cold water. To my simple mind—I am not a financier, but I have a certain amount of common sense and a quick way of seeing into things—the real meaning, if any meaning is to be attached to it, of that speech, in which he dealt with high finance, was that the industrial policy pursued by the Government for the last ten years was a wrong policy, because he said that no matter what money we had in the banks in this or any other country, we could not at present get in the raw materials essential for the carrying on of the industries set up here.

He went further and said if we were to realise these assets we would lose a good deal because of forced selling and, in addition—I cannot give the exact words but this was the effect of them—we would lose more because certain financiers would resent our action in disposing of our sterling assets. The Parliamentary Secretary further gave me the impression that money does not count at the moment and that even if we had the money, we would not be in a position to give the employment we should like to give because we could not afford the necessary raw materials. He was unfortunate enough to select an example which, if he were serious in putting it forward, gave me the impression that the sooner we threw up the sponge and recognised that we were not able to exist, the better.

Take, for example, he said, the making of roads. If there is any work that could be carried on at present and for which this country can produce the raw materials, it is road-making. We have gravel, sand and cement. He said that the question of petrol came into it. I understood that we were in an emergency and that if, perforce, we have to do without petrol, we have to do without it. What about horses and carts? Did the Parliamentary Secretary ever hear of what the old blacksmith said when the steam engine refused to move? "Go on," he said, "you puffing so-and-so; I walked before you were born." Are we to understand from his speech that we cannot undertake any work at present, that we cannot even undertake road-making for which we have available all the necessary materials? If it were necessary to maintain our people in employment and give them some little thing with which to sustain themselves, if we left out the horses and carts we could get down to the human chain system to carry sand, as did the Egyptians of old when building the Pyramids. They had not all the fine scaffolding we have at present.

The impression left on my mind by the speech of the Parliamentary Secretary was that the future position of the people of this country is hopeless, and I hope that is not the mentality of the members of the Government. He went on to say that hardships will be inflicted on certain types of people. That is quite true, and the types I have in mind are those who have built up this nation, the rural population—the peasants, a nation's pride, when once destroyed, can never be supplied. The Parliamentary Secretary gave no hope that these people would find employment in the near future. Take, for instance, the people who previous to the outbreak of the war found employment of a fairly continuous nature in the building trade. As anybody knows who is conversant with that industry, and especially so far as it affects urban areas, there has been very little employment given in that industry for the past four or five months. I can readily understand why that is so. I am not one of those who believe in the impossible. I have never believed, and never will believe, that it is possible to bring certain things into being and start the wheels of industry overnight.

The fact remains that unemployment is on the increase in that particular branch of industry. If one may judge by the signs of the times—again, I am taking my cue from the international position as it exists and the difficulty of getting supplies that are ancillary or essential to the building of houses— one must come to the conclusion that the future holds very little hope for that large section of hard-working, decent, honest men who formerly found employment in that industry and who are now unemployed. There is this significant fact in connection with that particular section—that for the past number of years they have been accustomed to a certain standard of living, due to the fact that their average weekly earnings ranged from £3 to £4 10s. Od. a week. Even on a sum of around £4, they found it difficult to maintain themselves and their families. Now, as if overnight, they find themselves reduced to from £1 to £1 6s. Od. a week. If they are fortunate enough to have stamps on their unemployment cards, they receive 15/- for themselves, 5/- for their wives and 1/- or 2/- for the other members of the family. The maximum would be about 26/- a week. That is a great hardship but when you consider the increasing cost of living, you must excuse these men if, at times, they give expression to sentiments to which, in normal times, they would not give expression.

That position is one which I should like to impress upon the members of the Government. It will be necessary, no matter how, to hold out some hope to that type of person. The Government should say that they will leave no stone unturned until a very considerable section of these people, if not all, are re-employed. I do not ask for the impossible. The Minister and the Deputies on this side of the House know that it is not to-day or yesterday I warned them that we were living in a little country. Ten years ago, I warned the people here that this little country of ours could give a certain standard of living to the majority of its people but that it could not give everything that the people wanted. At present, something apart from the normal must be done. If the Minister for Finance would take his courage in his hands and make an appeal to the people, I am sure that, in a very short time, he would be able to raise a loan of from £5,000,000 to £10,000,000 at a very low rate of interest, as has been done in England. Across the water, it is well known that people have advanced money to the Government free of interest in order to tide the nation over its present difficulties. We have no difficulties here that approach the difficulties confronting our neighbours on the other side. War has not, thank God, made its ugly appearance here. If the Government, backed by Deputies of all Parties, made an appeal to the people for a loan of a few million pounds, I am sure the money would be forthcoming and that would enable us to give employment to those who, at present, are unemployed.

So much has been said about coal, tea, and other commodities, that I shall simply content myself with saying: if the Government think the time has arrived when there must be control of the prices of essential commodities, then go ahead and put price control into operation and not have this never-ending criticism of overcharges in respect of commodities extensively used. There is one little matter to which I should like to draw the special attention of the Minister. It is a pity that the Minister for Supplies is not here. This matter has already been referred to by my friend from Donegal. He told the House of what is happening along the Border. There is no doubt about those happenings. Still, I think my friend from Donegal must admit that there is another side to the story. There is what might be called "reciprocity" in this matter, and cattle and other things are sent across from here. I think the time has arrived when some little brake should be put on the export of butter in this way. A good deal of it has been going, surreptitiously or otherwise, to the other side of the Border during the past couple of months. Without being offensive, my experience is that most of the people engaged in that trade are people who shout "Up the Republic!" and who engage in cursing the Orangemen. They would take every bit of stuff, even to the last head of cabbage, across the Border if they could get a farthing more in the Six Counties than they could get here. They are the people who are always throwing out their chests and talking about the patriots they are. They would take all the supplies out of the Twenty-Six Counties and hand them over to the Six Counties.

I did not distinguish between one section and another. I referred to merchants who would do this for lucre. I do not know what their politics are.

I know their politics. I know they have great influence, and the people I refer to are merchants. I could give their names. They make many journeys up to the City of Dublin. I have my eye on them.

We have another difficulty along the Border. The Minister for Supplies has made an order that the bread manufactured in the Twenty-Six Counties shall consist of at least 80 per cent. extraction of wheat. It was only last week or the week before that he stated that, owing to the shortage which would occur, possibly, from July to September, that extract of wheat might perforce have to be increased to 95 per cent. or 100 per cent. That is an Order made by the Minister for Supplies which will be obeyed or will not be obeyed. At the moment it is not being obeyed. I want to know what steps the Minister is taking to see that, when he makes an Order which is applicable, not to a particular area but to the whole Twenty-Six Counties, it will be carried out faithfully by the people to whom it is directed.

I think everyone must agree—no matter whether we disagree with the Government that is in power or not— that, unless we want to have anarchy and chaos and confusion all over the country, when an Order is made by the Government it must be obeyed. An Order has been made, but it has not been acted upon, with the result that it may lead to unemployment, in the first instance. Undoubtedly, it will be calculated, secondly, to upset the equilibrium of the whole business with which that Order deals. I refer now to the bakers in big towns along the Border. Here you have a position where one firm faithfully carries out the Orders as issued by the Department of Supplies, while another firm does not. You have practically a white loaf, or a certain number of white loaves, baked by a particular baker, and they are sold on condition that so many brown loaves are bought, and you have a firm that faithfully carries out the Orders of the Department, losing their trade. That is a thing that the Minister for Supplies or the Government must deal with. We know that the Minister for Supplies cannot watch everything, but that cannot be hidden. Everybody knows that it is occurring and can see the difference at once.

If that state of affairs is allowed to continue, and Orders made by a Minister are treated with contempt, there is no use in making preparations for the terrible times that, on the words of Ministers themselves and of the Taoiseach, this country must face. I think everyone must agree that it is only by faithfully carrying out the Orders given by the Minister for Supplies in the interests, not of a section or of an individual but in the interests of the nation at large, that we can hope to make progress. These Orders should be obeyed implicitly. For that reason, I hope that the Minister for Supplies will take action in connection with that particular matter. I hope, too, that in regard to the question of unemployment something will be done in the near future to give employment to those who, at the moment, through not fault of their own, find themselves unemployed.

Of the three Ministers who have spoken in this debate the Minister who, perhaps, had most to say for himself made the shortest speech. This Book of Estimates gave rise to very great suspicion at first, on account of the apparent care that was taken by the Department of Finance in its presentation. For the first time, I think, since this Government came into office, it shows that there is no marked increase in the personnel of the Civil Service. Whether it is that the criticism that has been levelled at the Government during these last few years has borne fruit or that they themselves have got a little sense, we will leave to time to decide. At any rate, the Minister did not honour the House with very many sentences in its introduction.

I followed a good example in the Deputy himself. I looked up all the debates since the first Vote on Account was brought in here and the shortest speech of the whole lot was made by Deputy Cosgrave.

It is a pity that some of the Minister's colleagues would not follow the good example.

Then we would have been spared a lot of time to-day. The biggest item is the sum of £8,000,000. When we look over these two very long speeches that we have heard, and a third from the Parliamentary Secretary, all of which, at some point or other in the speech, pleaded for a spirit of co-operation, one is inclined to wonder why the leader of the Opposition or the leader of the Labour Party was not furnished with something more than a mere bald statement that it was proposed to spend £8,000,000 on the Army. It is a very large sum of money, and certainly warranted some effort at co-operation on the Government's part if they desired to get any facilities in connection with this whole business.

There has been a great deal of talk about planning since this debate started. As far as I can make out, the Government had one plan since they came in here in 1927, and that was to get into office. They had no other. If we examine their policy, we find that it is reflected in a continually rising cost of government. Taking their tariff policy, as they have called it, in their wheat, beet——

Deputy Dillon could inform Deputy Cosgrave regarding wheat. He said he would not be found dead in a wheat field.

——and industrial alcohol policies, on examining the results and contrasting them with those of their predecessors from 1927 to 1932, we find that, every year, from the most exact calculation that could be made, 11,000 persons were added to the numbers paying National Health Insurance —11,400 annually. Up to last year, with all this extra money that was being taken from people's pockets, with the great scheme for growing wheat and beet for all the new industries that had been built up, with the huge sums of money that had been spent in connection with the building of houses, and the huge sums spent in connection with sewerage and water and other schemes of that sort, and the huge sums spent for hospitalisation, they were not able to keep up to that record, not within 2,000 of it. The numbers that have been added during those years amounted only to 9,300 annually at the most. That is the plan—the plan which has searched the people's pockets and now emptied the cupboards, and which has left us in the position that we are asked, not only by Ministers, but by Deputies on the far side, to co-operate —not to mind about the past—in telling them what to do in the future.

Only this week, in answer to a question by Deputy Mulcahy, we learned that not only was there no addition this year to the number of persons registered for National Health Insurance—even of the 9,000 or, on the level of last year's addition to it, 1,000 —but they are actually down 11,000 persons. To make, then, a correct comparison between the situation now and that of two years ago, instead of having 9,000 this year, we are down 11,000 —or 20,000 to the bad.

In the face of that, this planned Book of Estimates that we have got presents us with a sum of £400,000 less for giving employment this year than last year. If we are asked to place any trust in the sincerity of Ministers, if we are asked to take their word, when we examine the basis upon which we are to do it we find no justification for doing it—none whatever. That is why one has a suspicion with regard to the presentable appearance of this Book of Estimates in the circumstances.

The Taoiseach here this morning gave us a number of figures in connection with the export of potatoes, both seed and table potatoes. I have checked the information that he has given us with information that has been given to me in confidence and which I have signed to preserve as confidential—with information that I have endeavoured to get in another quarter, but could not get unless I signed for it as confidential. I said that it would be confidential. Now, I cannot reconcile these two sets of information—the information that the Taoiseach gave us and the information that was given to me from other sources. I shall go no further than that. I cannot reconcile them and, in the circumstances, I do not, cannot, and will not accept the figures that were given to us in connection with the export of potatoes.

That brings up the question of the censorship. We are told that it is in the public interest that figures in connection with our imports and exports are not now being published. They are given to Deputies in confidence and to certain people if they sign to treat them as confidential. We have asked for an explanation of that particular line of policy and have not got any satisfactory explanation of it. On another occasion here, we have expressed our very great concern about the manner in which the censorship has been used. We are not against the censorship. We realise its importance and the necessity there is for it in a time of war. We realise, in addition to that, the necessity of utilising it in a constructive and proper manner. Its exercise, if one were to take a severe view of it, has been to publish everything that a Minister says, to publish whatever a Minister says on any occasion, to limit and, if possible, prohibit from circulation most of what other people say, and to keep from the public every possible scrap of information, thus giving rise to rumour, to uncertainty, and to apprehension. From the very first moment that there was an indication of a shortage of any commodity, it was advisable, and not only advisable but almost a rule of law, that the public should have been taken into confidence, should have been told, and if that were done you would get a far greater amount of co-operation and much more help, not only from the public but from public men.

Listening to the speeches of the three Ministers since this debate started, the House was invited to believe that there was a plan: a plan for dealing with the emergency, not a plan—let us not mix them up—to get into office and to remain in office, but a plan to deal with the position which would arise directly we had a war situation. We are invited to understand that the Ministry was not a collection of prophets. We knew that. We are asked to understand that they are not omnipotent. We are thankful for that. We started to plan a year before the war—that is the statement from the head of the Government. Further, "I say there has been planning." The Minister for Supplies told us, when he was acting in another capacity, that he had set up a section of his Department to deal with this matter, and that the planning started in 1938. We are told by these two Ministers, with much more elaboration by the head of the Government than by the Minister for Supplies, that this policy went on since 1938. Let us examine the results. I have here the Statistical Abstract for 1940, and on page 87 it describes the value of the imports into this country. For the year 1937—a year before the planning took place—the imports into this country were £44,108,332 in value. In 1938, the year in which the planning began, the imports are down to £41,414,051. So, not in that year did we see any fruition of the plan. In 1939 the imports amounted to £43,415,139 in value—no indication of a plan there—and it is quite evident, on hearing the speech from the head of the Government here to-day, that it was an argumentative speech, a speech based upon arguing rather than upon facts. Going deeper into the matter and taking out some of the items, we imported 25,000,000 pounds of tea in 1937, and in no year since have we gone within 2,000,000 pounds of that import. It is quite true that in the case of coal a few hundred thousand tons more were imported in 1939 and 1940 than previously. But one can see at once the negligible value of any particular increase in the incidence of one item as against another.

Nobody in the country outside the Government had any information as to the possibility of hostilities breaking out in 1939. If that information was available to anybody, it was available to them. Nobody was taken into their confidence in connection with that matter. They had all the information that was available in Europe, or outside it, as to what possibilities there were of war. Any information we got here in this House would not lead one to believe that we were up against a war situation. Ministers complained that they would be criticised if they were to bring in proposals. They never at any time approached us with a view to informing us as to the danger that was facing the world, and facing this country as well as the rest of the world.

Their plans, as far as we can learn here, were to set up a sub-section of the Department of Industry and Commerce to deal with this situation. It subsequently became the Ministry of Supplies. They tell us that they had inaugurated a wheat policy in order to make this country more self-sufficient. How did they do it? Mainly as a political platform cry. They spoke in public; they went on the radio and they published advertisements in the newspapers. That was their contribution.

What might we have expected from them in a situation of that kind? We were approaching war. They could not exactly prophesy that there was going to be a war but they knew what the situation was. They ought to have known that in the event of war it would be difficult to get in superphosphates. They could have stocked them up. There is no use in telling us they had not the money. They had £500,000 to throw away upon industrial alcohol development, considerable sums of money to throw away on non-profit undertakings such as the peat fuel business, to which we are subscribing something like £54,000 now. They knew, or they ought to have known, that this country would require wheat, and their contribution was to make speeches in favour of growing wheat, to make it a political catch-cry. Did they concern themselves with what concerns other countries—to see what were the most useful seeds for wheat, what was the best possible quality seed wheat to sow? Not at all. I remember some years ago a case in which the Ministry of Agriculture recommended a certain spring wheat which did not fructify and, as far as we have ever learned, the people who lost their money in connection with that sphere of activity got no consideration from the Government in connection with it.

However, we approached the war situation without any extra stocks, without any extra phosphates, with no provision whatever for dealing with a situation in which an agricultural community would require very much larger supplies of manures. That is their contribution. Is it to be wondered at that we are now asked to close our eyes to the past and to give them some advice as to what should be done in future? We have been advising them about public policy for many years. They do not seem to be paying very much attention to our advice.

In a debate of this sort we got such a contribution as was made by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance, in which we are told that, being a creditor country, our credits are now frozen. Other countries had credits outside of Great Britain. They had them, as the Minister said, in dollars. Have they been able to use them? On certain conditions. It so happens, not only with regard to creditor countries, but people who have credits, that the creditor position is always one in which a greater loss can be sustained by the person in that position. Assuming that we were in that position, who should have known better than the Government that, approaching a war situation, we were likely to be up against a shortage of commodities

They have been able to get money for practically anything they required. There was no limit, for mines, peat or bogs, or industrial alcohol, or any purpose. Now we are approaching a difficult situation. What is the plan to deal with it? We get, perhaps, the very best stereotyped civil service excuse you could possibly get. They have skimmed the cream of all the useful public works they could engage in. They are now approaching the time in which a big labour content is not possible. And so on. There is no doubt whatever about it, this Ministry has gone stale, if it were ever fresh.

The Deputies opposite are getting fresh.

The sooner the Ministers rest themselves the better. They are tired, fatigued, spent. All they have left is their tongues, and it would be much better if they were to lose those, too.

Some of the Deputies opposite are fresh enough. Some of them are too fresh.

For the Minister.

I listened to one statement here this evening—or was it yesterday—which, if it had been uttered some 20 years ago would have been very much better. A certain gentleman said that he did not want any more of the civil war—no more civil war here. Mind you, if he had said that 20 years before it would have been much better for this country. I have not committed myself to that statement. The civil war was a severe lesson. It will not be forgotten.

I hope the Deputy will not forget it either. He has enough to remember it by.

I can tell you, the little Minister did not suffer much in it.

I did my share. Perhaps not as much as the Deputy. I did not deserve to suffer as much.

Outside of a feather bed, I suppose.

I did not shoot anybody to start a civil war, or murder anybody.

The Vote on Account does not go back to the civil war.

I raised no question here that was not raised before I commenced to speak. This Government has not got the constructive ability or the courage to deal with the present situation. It has not got the balance that a Government requires in these times of difficulty and stress. It has failed in its job. It is unequal to the task confronting it, and it is unworthy of the confidence of the people. The Book of Estimates shows completely and absolutely in regard to the events mentioned, and of unemployment, that they do not realise what they are up against at the moment. No reliance, judging by what has transpired in the debate, can be placed on any statements made as being statements of fact, while their arguments have disposed of themselves.

It is not a good note for the Deputy to end on civil war in a debate of this kind and it is not a good note for me to begin on. I will not begin on it but I can tell the Deputy that any time he wants to discuss it I will give him his bellyful. I will say no more.

The Minister would not like to fight it over again?

I will fight it out with the Deputy any day of the week, and I guarantee my backers a good profit on their money. Is anybody ready to take up the challenge?

Let us hear about this war.

That is what I would like to talk about. It shows the rotten case Deputies opposite had when they had to take two and a half days to try to make that case against the Government, by trying to dig up the dead of a civil war. The reference to a civil war last night came about because of talk here of revolution. If people who talked that way thought a little more carefully about what they said, they would not have adopted that line. I was surprised at Deputy Everett, and also Deputy Murphy, whom I regarded always as levelheaded, sane, sensible citizens talking about revolution.

Deputy Everett talked about guns that are in the country, and that were handed round to men to defend it, being used, not against invaders, but against somebody in this country. These were not wise words. I judged, when Deputy Everett was talking with feeling about unemployment, that the correlation of these two ideas, the unemployed and their sufferings, the use of guns and the word "revolution", which was used by another Deputy on the Labour Benches, was not wise in present circumstances. That is what dragged in the subject of civil war.

I am afraid the Minister's ears were not quite fully tuned to the words of the Taoiseach last night.

They were fully tuned. I sat here throughout the debate. I only missed one speech to-day, and one speech yesterday, but I have a careful note of all that was said. We are going through difficult and dangerous times. They are difficult times, particularly for a Minister for Finance, and dangerous times for the country as a whole, as well as for those responsible for leading the people. It is a time when, as Deputy O'Higgins suggested, we should be careful to keep a grip on our tongues. These were Deputy O'Higgins's words. He said that he was going to be careful to keep a grip on his tongue, and to be careful of what he was going to say, but he then proceeded to pour out a stream of abuse that has not been surpassed in this House for a long time. That was the way he interpreted his own advice, that these were dangerous and difficult times, that people should be very careful of what they said, and should keep a grip on their tongues. I read over his speech this morning. I am not going to trouble the House with it now. Most Deputies heard it or read it in the newspapers. It was a speech that was unworthy, one that contained abusive adjectives of every kind towards the Government and every Minister, and it came from the gentleman who expressed the hope that people should keep a grip on their tongues. What could he not have done if there was no grip on his tongue? I doubt if he could have made a worse effort. It was not creditable to him, or to the Party in which he is a leading spokesman, when opening this debate on Wednesday. That was the leadership he gave. Thank God it was not followed by Deputies in opposition. Generally speaking they were not abusive and vilifying, but for a few words used by other Deputies, that were much better left unsaid, particularly those I referred to as having been used by certain Deputies on the Labour Benches. I know that these Deputies as calm, sensible, levelheaded men when they read their speeches again, will regret some words they used.

I was told by two or three Deputies in Opposition that I was too brief in my opening statement, and that, partly because of its brevity, and partly for other reasons, I was dishonest, or that the Book of Estimates was dishonest. I told Deputy Cosgrave, when he made the same remark, that I followed a good lead in being brief in introducing the Estimates. On the one occasion that he introduced them he spoke one column. I got it looked up and measured on account of the criticism. He was criticised by Mr. Johnson, who was then leader of the Opposition, for his brevity and lack of explanation. I have all the particulars tabulated, and if I leave out one or two speeches that might be regarded as record-breaking in the introduction of the Estimates, speeches that were made by my colleague, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, who was then Minister for Finance, which amounted to 14 columns one year, and to 11 columns another year, the thanks he got from leading spokesmen in opposition for all the trouble was that he was too voluble and tedious. It is very hard to know what to do.

A happy medium is best.

I think I struck it very well. When Mr. Blythe, who was for a long time Minister for Finance, took one column only on two occasions, and on two other occasions he talked about the same length as I did. I do not think there is much real foundation for the suggestion that I failed in my duty in not speaking at greater length. My answer is that, as long as my voice and strength will hold out, I will talk as long as anyone else, if the occasion arises, or the matter justifies it. I will probably make a long statement when introducing the Budget, when these figures and the necessity and justification for the sums set out in the Book of Estimates, as well as other sums that have to be met, will be again gone into in great detail. That is one reason I am sure why my predecessors in this office on similar occasions were oft-times briefer than I was in introducing the Book of Estimates, knowing that they would have to go into them in greater detail at a later date. I suggest that there is nothing dishonest about the Book of Estimates. It contains all the details of the expenditure of the various Departments. They are set out there in so far as Estimates could be made up over the preceding months in which the Departments were occupied in compiling them.

It is suggested that the Book of Estimates, in its details, and perhaps in the complete form in which it is issued, is dishonest because it does not expose the complete expenditure that may be necessary before the 31st March next year. Was that ever exposed in the Book of Estimates? Is it right for Deputy Morrissey to say that it is dishonest because it does not include Supplementary Estimates?

Mr. Morrissey

It surely is not honest in representing that the necessity for unemployment schemes is less by £400,000 than last year.

That is one of the most honest things in the book for which I am responsible. I am not going to fill up the book with inflated Estimates for works on which money is not likely to be spent.

Mr. Morrissey

Is there less unemployment this year than last year?

I did not say that.

Mr. Morrissey

The Estimates do.

The Estimates do not say that, and it is wrong to impute dishonesty in the preparation of the Estimates when the Deputy is not in possession of the facts. When I was handed figures in relation to unemployment schemes showing that there probably would be £500,000 or £600,000 handed back at the end of the year in respect of moneys voted last year——

Mr. Morrissey

I am not talking about employment schemes. I am talking about unemployment assistance.

I am talking about the £400,000 reduction in the Estimate for employment schemes. Last year £1,400,000 was provided for that purpose. This year only £1,000,000 is being provided—£400,000 less than last year. Is that what the Deputy is referring to?

Mr. Morrissey


There is £400,000 less, because on the 31st March, this year, there will remain unspent more than half a million of the money voted for this purpose last year. I was not going to put into the book this year Estimates for works which were not likely to be started. There are schemes being examined at present for finding employment, and, if I am satisfied that proper employment can be found, I shall not stop at the £1,000,000 that is now provided in the Estimates. I shall come to the Dáil and ask for a Supplementary Vote. I am not, however, going to put fictitious figures into the Book of Estimates to inflate the Estimates. If I am not satisfied that the moneys will be required and will be spent I shall not include them in the Estimate. Is that honest or dishonest?

Mr. Morrissey

It may be honest but it is not a very pleasing prospect.

It is not good politics, if you like, and that is what Deputy Morrissey would like me to play at.

Mr. Morrissey

It is 1,000 miles removed from the facts of life.

It is not 1,000 miles or even one mile removed from them. I am facing the facts. I face the facts when I say that I shall not put into the Book of Estimates £400,000 which I am satisfied is not going to be spent.

Mr. Morrissey

Wait and see, as a famous man once said.

Let us wait and see. I want to satisfy this House, Deputy Morrissey included, that there is no dishonesty in that at any rate. It may be bad judgment, or it may not be good politics, but it is not correct to say that we are going to spend £1,400,000 on employment schemes when, in fact, the schemes I saw could not cost more than £1,000,000.

Mr. Morrissey

Some other Department has fallen down on the job so.

No. There is another explanation which will be gone into at the proper time.

Mr. A. Byrne

Why do you not increase the amount of unemployment assistance, if you have a reserve of that kind?

Other Deputies have referred to a decrease of £144,000 in the amount provided for unemployment insurance and unemployment assistance.

Mr. Byrne

There has been a big increase in the cost of living, and why not increase the benefits if you have a reserve?

That is a different point. Deputies who refer to the decrease of £144,000 in that Vote forget that in the Budget for the current year there was a reduction of £125,000 on the Estimate for last year. The reduction in the coming year, therefore, in reality is only £19,000 which is more than accounted for by appropriations-in-aid which amount to a total of £31,000. In reality, therefore, that Vote instead of being decreased by £144,000 is increased by some £12,000 odd.

In the same way, a number of Deputies have criticised the decrease with regard to forestry. I believe that the fact of £400,000 being cut off in the Employment Schemes Vote will not mean the displacement of one man. The same is true of the decrease in the Forestry Vote. There is an accumulation of funds for the purchase of land in the hands of the Forestry Department. They bring over a credit, an unexpended balance, of £10,000, a Grant-in-Aid from last year, into their Vote. They have not been able to get in the last year or two as much land as they had money to purchase. They still have that money. They have an unexpended balance for the purchase of land and the apparent decrease shown in the Book of Estimates does not mean that there will be a single forestry worker displaced. I hope they will be able to buy the amount of land which the amount of money in hands enables them to buy, and that they will be able to employ additional forestry workers, but that apparent reduction does not mean the disemployment of a single individual.

The Government realises the difficult economic position that the country is facing, and the difficult times the country has gone through since the war began. Things are going to be more difficult as time goes on. I need not go into the facts of rising unemployment, which have been stressed by Deputies on all sides of the House. That is a thing that is bound to happen. The Government want to be able to find suitable employment for the men and women who will be disemployed. There are certain trades and certain highly-skilled occupations in which, because of the scarcity of raw materials, men have been put out of employment. They will perhaps lose employment in increasing numbers this year or next year.

Deputies realise that even with all the finances of the Government and all the sterling assets that Deputy Hickey knows so much about, if we had them all here, we could not find suitable or adequate employment for all the skilled men and women who have been disemployed or will be disemployed in the next year or so. For certain classes and for certain numbers the Government hopes to be able to get employment at useful work, and we are not losing sight of that.

Building is one of the activities I have been interested in for a number of years, but whether we will be able to do much in that direction I do not know. Deputies have reminded us that for road-making and building operations we have most of the the materials in this country. We have most of them here, particularly cement. It is due mainly to the activities of my colleague, the Minister for Supplies, that we have in this country cement in adequate quantities and of as high a grade as can be got in any part of the world. Even though we have those materials, it does not altogether follow that we will be able to carry on building operations, or to encourage builders to carry on their operations, as much as the Deputies would like, or perhaps as much as the Government themselves would desire.

There has been a considerable drop in employment in the building trade; but I think Deputy Norton was rather inclined to exaggerate the decline in building operations for the last year as compared with other years. I have the figures here from 1935 to January, 1941, with regard to unemployment in the building trade, excluding office staffs. I have the figures that Deputy Norton gave yesterday with regard to the unemployed in the building trade in June, 1940, October, 1940, and January, 1941. I do not think I need go into the figures in detail as Deputies heard them. The figures are taken from the statistics of the unemployed in the Twenty-Six Counties and in Dublin, and for the dates selected by Deputy Norton, compared with recent years when building was flourishing as never before, they do not show such an enormous increase as I thought they would show.

Because most of them have gone across to Great Britain during the last two years.

Perhaps we can find that figure; I do not know whether we can get that figure or not, but I should like to get it. I think 1935 was a good year for building.

The years 1936, 1937 and 1938.

They were better years. The 1932 Housing Act was in operation two-and-a-half years in January, 1935. The number of unemployed in the building trade in January, 1935, was 7,578; and in January, 1941, 8,708. In June, 1935, the number was 6,295; and in June, 1940, 6,285. That is a surprise to me, as I thought the number would be much greater.

Mr. Morrissey

It would be, but for the emigration to the other side.

I am not so sure that that would make a great difference. I will not contradict the Deputy, as he may perhaps know more about it than I do.

How were the figures compiled?

From those registered as unemployed in the building trade.

Was any account taken of the number of operatives working?

I am comparing like with like. Deputy Norton gave the figures of unemployed in the building trade in certain years, and I got the figures for the other years to compare with them.

Could the Minister give the figures of those who are working?

I will get any figures which the Deputy wants.

Could you give the figures for those working?

I can if the Deputy asks for them, but I cannot give them now. Deputy Norton selected certain figures, and I am answering his figures with others. I do not want to make anything out of them, except that I do not want the position to be made to appear worse than it is, as it is bad enough.

I am as surprised as the Minister at these figures.

If anybody wants the figures for the other years I will give them. The years 1936, 1937 and 1938 were better years, from Deputy Norton's point of view, as there were fewer unemployed in those years. However, I do not think it is necessary to go into them.

There was a strike in 1937.

Then we had the old hoary argument about the civil war that Deputy Cosgrave raised here to-day when he was in a sorry plight to find some argument. He referred to the national health insurance figures. I threshed that matter out with Deputy Cosgrave and Deputy Mulcahy before, and I complained then that they were not comparing like with like. It was the same to-day.

Nonsense. The Minister forgets.

I do not. We went into the matter fully. If they want a full-dress debate on it again, I am willing to have it at any time.

As far as Deputy Cosgrave was concerned, he gave the exact figures. When I was dealing with it, I showed that the situation would be worse if the number of people engaged on housing and relief schemes were taken into consideration.

I dealt with Deputy Cosgrave's point about the £400,000. I think Deputy Cosgrave's remarks on the censorship were most unjustified. The suggestion was that the speeches of Ministers were reported practically in full, and that Opposition speeches were cut down to the minimum. That is the substance of what he said. That is not true, as far as the censorship is concerned.

Mr. Byrne

It has been my experience.

From my experience of newspapers, extending over a long period, the editors exercise a very severe censorship, and they were there long before there was any censor appointed by the Government. They usually size up what the remarks of an individual are worth, or what it suits their own political views to publish, and they act accordingly. That is being done to-day by all the newspapers. Part of the common work of subeditors on all daily or weekly newspapers issuggestio falsi and suppressio veri. If any time Deputy Cosgrave has anything really worth publishing, I am sure even the Irish Press will publish it, though he claims it is a Government organ. Any time he says anything here, or anywhere else, that is worth a headline, I am sure he will get it. I do not think that the gentleman who is acting now as Chief Censor, in the absence of the Minister for the Coordination of Defensive Measures, or any of his staff—I am sure the staff would not—would act in that way. I am certain that no Minister would dream of conducting a censorship on the lines suggested, and very wrongly suggested, by Deputy Cosgrave.

We had very properly a long debate on supplies during the last few days. I have no objection to that. Essential food supplies of all kinds were debated at great length. The debate on Tuesday on the question of an economic council largely resolved itself into a debate on supplies. That was repeated on Wednesday, Thursday, and again to-day. I do not think it is necessary for me to go into that now, and to answer the statements made by Deputy Cosgrave.

That is the line of least resistance.

They have been answered very well, in advance, by the Minister for Supplies and by the Taoiseach, who spoke on the question of supplies last night, and at considerable length this morning. I was interested to hear Deputy Cosgrave talk about wheat and peat, and say that they had been used as political catch-cries. Of course, "holy Willie" never had a political catch-cry in his life. The halo of political honesty descended on his head, and on his head alone. Mr. Simon Pure. He would not know what a political catch-cry was only some less discreet Deputy near him told him that was the right appellation for these aims and objects of the Fianna Fáil Party. Without political catch-cries, how else could any political party propagate its views? If a party has any aim, or policy, to put before the country it must do that from political platforms. That must be done by a political party. The aim of the Government, he said, was to get into office. Of course, he has no such aim. Far be it from him or his Party. He and his Party are thousands of miles away from anything so impure as the idea of ever getting back into office. I think they can give up the idea, because they never will get back. They know there is not much use in their trying. Wheat and peat and other things formed part of our programme of self-sufficiency. That was our catch-cry, and, thanks be to God, the country adopted that political catch-cry. It has given us wheat that is going to save us from starvation in the crisis and emergency that is before us. We will not have enough maybe, but, God help us, if Simon Pure were in office—we would be out on grass, like Deputy Belton's cattle.

How is tillage going down Wicklow way?

I do not know much about it. Those are the gentlemen who talk about wheat and peat as political catch-cries. Would it be any harm to remind them of the report signed by three of their own Front Bench members, two of them members of their Government, which said that wheat could not be grown in this country? One day they tell us that wheat cannot be grown, and the next day it is a political catch-cry. Thanks be to God we will have enough of this political catch-cry to feed the Deputy, his family and friends, and keep them from starvation after next harvest. He will be very glad to have the wheat then.

Mr. Byrne

Will we have enough?

I think we will. We would not have enough if the efforts of the people opposite had been successful. They did their damnedest to discourage the people from growing wheat while we were encouraging them to grow it. Where would we be to-day if the people had not followed our advice? There are many things that we will want and that we will have to do without, but thanks be to God, the people had sense enough to swallow that political catch-cry, and, as a consequence, will have a little wheat to swallow along with it, despite the best efforts of Deputy Cosgrave and of all his Party, or nearly all. I think Deputy Belton had to leave them because he was a supporter of the idea of growing wheat and other foodstuffs. Maybe that was why they got rid of him.

Is that the reason why the Minister's Party got rid of him?

Mr. Brodrick

He made your Party come in here in any case.

Is that why you put him out?

You were very grateful to him so, because you opened your arms to take him in.

Mr. Brodrick

He made you come in here when you were trying to fool the people outside.

I think we might get on to more serious things.

I hope Deputies will do their utmost to impress on everyone the importance of tilling every inch of land they have, and of growing some kind of food. Deputy Cosgrave said: "We have been giving the Government political advice for a number of years which has been ignored." Thanks be to God, it has, and the people will have something to remember.

They will—120,000 unemployed.

That is true, and there will be more. I am quite willing that those figures should be known, and that the size of the problem we have to face should be understood.

The Minister should try to equalise the burden.

The burden is a heavy one—£35,000,000—and that is not all. This is the Estimate for public services. Deputy MacEoin, who spoke yesterday, said that it was a colossal burden. I do not think that was too strong a term to use. It is a colossal burden for this country: for a small population to have to bear a burden of nearly £36,000,000, plus the other services that will have to be added to it before the year is out. As we have been reminded, we shall have, later in the year, Supplementary Estimates. What they will amount to I do not know.

And an increase in unemployment. How will it all be met?

By reducing the Estimate. That is the Minister's way.

The unemployment situation is being considered. It will have to be faced. Money will have to be found to keep those people from starving.

Mr. Byrne

Is that all—only from starving?

We will give them a gold chain.

Deputy MacEoin in the course of his speech the other day—it was a very sensible speech if I might be permitted to say so—referred to civil servants, and expressed the hope that they would do their work faithfully, and well, and spend their time profitably in their offices. As I have got to know them, since I became Minister particularly—I knew many of them before that; many of them in days long gone by were good friends of mine, and those that are left still are—my belief is that there is no more hard-working body of men than the civil servants in general. There are no more loyal servants of the State, hard-working, intelligent, energetic, with initiative and knowledge, doing good service to the State. That is my experience of them. Most of them, especially those in responsible offices, work early and late.

They are courteous too. Do not forget that.

They are. They are working from early morning till late at night, and many of them, those occupying the more responsible positions, do not even cease their work for the Government or the nation when they leave their offices. I think there is not a Deputy in the House who will not agree with that. Deputy Morrissey discussed the question of the national register. We had that discussed here, and we will have it again, I am sure. It has been considered, and considered more than once by the Government. If it is necessary to have it, it will be put in operation, but I, as Minister for Finance, hate to think of it, because it will mean adding thousands of civil servants and adding an enormous additional weight to the amount which must be found to meet the cost. However, if it is necessary to meet the emergency it will be done.

Is it a fact, as was stated in the Seanad by a member of the Government, that it would take 12 months to compile a national register?

I do not know how long it would take.

It would not take that length.

Mr. Morrissey

Can the Minister give us an estimate as to how long it would take?

I think it could be done within 12 months. It took 12 months in Britain.

Mr. Morrissey

Would we not want to be thinking about it now?

We have been thinking about it. We have been doing more than thinking about it.

Mr. Morrissey

If we do not come to a decision that it is necessary, we are going to be 12 months late with it.

The matter has been frequently the subject of examination. I was amused when Deputy Morrissey said that listening to the Minister for Supplies had shaken any little confidence he had in the Government. I could not help but laugh. I did not think any such thing existed in the heart or mind of the Deputy as confidence in this Government.

Mr. Morrissey

I can assure the Minister that it would take much less than the Minister for Supplies to shake whatever little confidence I have in the Government. The Minister was not one bit more amused than I was.

I was very amused, I must say. The Deputy was serious, I think, and intended to be taken seriously, but I must say I took it as a joke.

Mr. Morrissey

Unfortunately, for the Government, people who had a lot more confidence in them than I ever had have been losing it.

I listened with interest to my colleague and Parliamentary Secretary, Deputy Flinn, on the question of sterling assets. I know that it is a subject in which he takes a great interest, but I cannot say that I altogether agree with his view. First of all, I do not believe it is true that our assets are completely frozen, because we get a considerable amount of interest on those assets, and with that interest are paying every year, even now, for our very heavy imports from Britain. I will go into that, I hope, in more detail at a later date, but I wanted to make that remark. We are paying the very heavy costs of imported goods and other stuffs out of those sterling assets, even to-day, and, therefore, it is not true to say that our credits, arising out of those sterling assets in Britain, are frozen. If we had not those sterling assets to pay for those imports, we would require to export a great deal more than we have been exporting in recent years.

We need not have so many of them.

There is another matter which, perhaps, I might mention now about those sterling assets. I looked into the history of how they arose—I am not going to go into it at length now—and I want to say that those sterling assets were at one time regarded as domestic assets, that is, before we had our institutions set up here and our independence established. They were domestic assets at that time, because we were part of Britain, part of the political institution of Great Britain and Ireland. Then they were domestic assets. When the break came they became external assets.

Not all of them.

Some of those so-called external assets are Irish assets. Let us take one or two examples. Take Dunlop's, for instance; Dunlop's was founded here. Dunlop's was financed, and, up to not so very long ago, Dunlop's was practically wholly owned in Ireland. They could be regarded, not so much now, but at that time, as an Irish asset. The same is true of Guinness's. Guinness was Irish, so to speak, born and reared, built up, and Irish owned, and is preponderatingly Irish to-day. In that respect, it is still Irish. Having headquarters in London, Dunlop and Guinness are not now calculated as Irish assets.

What about the Minister for Finance's assets across the water?

I wish I had a little more of them.

I know the Minister has not any personally, but what about those assets which he has on behalf of the State?

I wish we had a little more of them, because we are still earning profits on them.

If they are frozen, what good are they to you?

My view is that they are not all frozen. I know that many of our own assets here at home at present are frozen.

That is not a comparison.

We cannot realise our assets in Britain.

Let us hope for the best.

We are going through very trying and difficult times—they are trying and difficult times for the whole country, and I hope that the spirit of co-operation that has, generally speaking, existed here over practically the last 18 months will continue. We have our flares-up occasionally. For instance, there was a little flare-up here to-day between Deputy Cosgrave and myself, but that does not matter; that will blow off, as others have blown off before. Other Deputies and other Ministers will have, if I may use vulgar words, their "scraps," fights, arguments and rows.

But fundamentally we have carried on here with goodwill and worked harmoniously. We will have to try to continue doing so as long as the danger lasts. There is grave danger to our position, grave danger internally as well as externally if the situation is not handled with prudence, with good heart, with Christian charity and kindness. As Deputy Hickey says, we must try as far as we can to have an equal burden placed on the community as a whole.

Everyone having an equal share.

We must try to be fair to all. I am sure that anything I will do will not satisfy everybody, but we have a very heavy burden to meet financially. We may have, at the end of the year, a deficit. That will have to be faced and means will have to be found to meet it so as to enable us to carry on.

At the end of the current year?

Additional burdens will have to be borne and we will have to try to spread those burdens equally all round. We shall have to see to it that while there will be very few, if any, living in luxury in this country, there will certainly be, with God's help and the goodwill of everybody, such a condition of things that nobody will be allowed to die of starvation.

Question put and agreed to.
Vote reported and agreed to.