Committee on Finance. - Vote on Account, 1947-48 ( resumed ).

The Dáil, according to Order, went into Committee on Finance, and resumed consideration of the Vote on Account for the year commencing April 1st, 1947.

The debate on this Vote on Account last night was closed to the minute of 9 o'clock by the Minister for Health. The reason for the Minister's intervention in the debate we can deal with later, but the bald fact is that we have, on the face of the Book of Estimates this year, a sum far in excess of anything ever faced in this country before. Of course, we know that is not the end of the story. I venture to suggest that I would not be incorrect in saying that, before the end of the coming financial year, it will be seen that it cost at least £60,000,000 to run this country. This Government have been in office for 15 years and have been in absolute power for 14 years. They took over a machine which had been created and was running smoothly. All the national services, Army, Garda, Civil Service, and other institutions that go to make up the State, were running well. The sum appearing at that time on the face of the Book of Estimates was, roughly, £21,000,000 or £22,000,000.

The Minister for Health last night set out to try to convince the House and to convey to the country that not only could the increase be justified, but that it was all done in the interests of the country and the people of the country.

Let us examine that for a moment. We have increased taxation by roughly £30,000,000. What results have we got for that increase? In what way has the position of the country improved? The population has definitely decreased and is decreasing. There are fewer people in the country. Production has definitely fallen. That is shown even in the statistics prepared by the Government itself. Not only that but production is continuing to fall. This country is withering. That is the only word that can be applied to it. There are fewer farm animals in the country and even the land itself—of course that has caused a cynical smile but the only thing which has increased in this country outside disease is the Budget, both local and national. So far as the population of this country is concerned, whether of the human population or of the animal population, we are infinitely worse off to-day than when the present Government took over the running of this country. That cannot be gainsaid. Yet Ministers on the opposite benches never cease to boast about many of their so-called social services while it is the greatest evidence that can be adduced as to their failure as a Government. The Minister boasted last night of the amount of money that was available for employment schemes. He talked about the years from '27 to '31, and he said I was always on my feet demanding something for the unemployed and that I never got anything from the then Government. What have we got from the present Government? So far as any effective effort has been made to give employment to the people of this country, certainly within the last ten years, it has been given not by this Government but by a Government across the water. We are in this amazing position that notwithstanding the huge volume of emigration in the last ten years, notwithstanding the millions we are voting here for everything, notwithstanding the tens of millions that have been taken out of the pockets of this country by tariffs, licences, quotas and everything else, the sole justification being that it would lead to more employment, we find ourselves to-day with 76,000 people lining up at the labour exchanges of this country claiming unemployment benefit and unemployment assistance.

The Minister then tells us that we are getting good value for the £54,000,000 or £60,000,000 that it is going to cost to run this country. The Minister said last night that practically all of this taxation was collected from three sources—income, tobacco and drink—and that, therefore, it did not fall at all upon the poor people. Is the Minister so simple as to believe that? £60,000,000! That is more than £20 per head of the population of this State, counting every man, woman and child. Does the Minister for Health want to convey to this House and to the country that the portion which is paid direct by the poor and the destitute of the £60,000,000 is the only part of the taxation that falls on them? Do not we know that the people pay it under other heads, to a very large extent?

Tell us about it.

The people who pay it?

Deputy Allen is not as simple as he pretends to be.

We would like to hear it.

I know it is a bit hurtful.

Not a bit.

The Deputy, I am sure, will also accept the statement of the Minister that there was a tax on sugar during the Fine Gael time but that there is no tax on sugar to-day. The Minister did not tell us what was the price per lb. of sugar in the Fine Gael days and what is the price per lb. to-day. The Minister, of course, will say and the Deputies over there will say, that the price has nothing to do with the tax but the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Industry and Commerce know quite well that it has. The prices of articles, whether they be sugar, drink, tobacco or anything else, are fixed largely on the amounts that the people who produce and retail them have to pay in taxation and the person who goes and pays for them at the counter has to pay the cost. I am not an economist or a financier; neither am I a fool. I know that something goes to make up the price of an article. I know that if you increase taxation by £30,000,000 on a population of less than 3,000,000 people, the people will have to pay in proportion to their means and the poorer people and the more destitute will contribute much more in proportion to that gross sum for taxation.

The speech last night was a Fianna Fáil speech. The Minister who made those comparisons sees as clearly as I do what the actual position is. The people of this country are entitled to ask what results the community are getting for the expenditure of this money. Are they to be satisfied with the statement made by the Minister for Health, that if it was not for the X millions out of this sum which go to subsidise free milk, free fuel and free food to a certain extent, a big section of our diminishing community would die from starvation? Have we reached the stage here, after 15 years of Fianna Fáil, that we can only keep the life in a considerable section of our community, that has been reduced to such a stage, by giving them subsidies or charity? That is the Minister's case.

The Minister tried to suggest that the increase of £2,500,000, over 50 per cent., for education was due entirely to the recent increases granted to those engaged in the teaching profession. That is not so. The Minister wanted to know where was the money to come from. We hear that year in and year out. I hope we will be able to point out on the Estimates this year where a very substantial sum can be saved without in any way, to use the phrase originally coined by Fianna Fáil, endangering the efficiency of the services of this country. Surely if, after careful examination of the Estimates of 1930 and 1931, Fianna Fáil were able to discover where they could save £2,000,000, at least, without endangering the services in any way, out of a bill of £54,000,000 or £60,000,000 they ought to be able to save at least £10,000,000.

You could save £10,000,000 now on the same basis.

The Deputy does not like to be reminded of these things. The people who discovered, or said they had discovered, a way of saving £2,000,000 out of a sum of £22,000,000 ought to be able to save substantially more when the bill is £50,000,000 to £60,000,000. You have a picture there on one side of £60,000,000 and on the other side you have a country that is withering, a population decreasing, unemployment not decreasing, destitution increasing and even the land itself suffering. I do not want to say that the Government are entirely blameworthy so far as the land is concerned, but certainly so far as the other things are concerned they are entirely to blame.

Even when dealing with the destitute, the blind, the lame, the hungry and the cold, the Minister for Health had to play politics. He chose his time to announce the increases which are to be made in the social services. He chose his time deliberately for the purpose of trying to throw a smoke-screen across the discussion on this bill for £54,000,000 or £60,000,000. I have a long experience of this House, but I never knew of an announcement of importance being made in such a manner or at such a time as that announce ment was made last night. Not only was the day upon which it was made specially selected, but the actual hour, the actual minute at which it was to be made was chosen. In so far as it will go to relieve those people, I welcome it, but it will still leave them worse off so far as the purchasing power of the money they get is concerned. Not only will they be worse off than in 1937 or 1939, but they will be worse off than they were under the British Government.

Does any Deputy on any side of the House believe that an extra 2/6 to old age or blind pensioners over and above the 10/- they were getting is equivalent to the increase in the cost of living within the past ten years? No one in this country believes it. Does anyone believe that an increase of 50 per cent. in relation to national health insurance will be adequate? Not likely. Of course, the time had to be chosen and what was the time chosen, apart from the fact that the Minister wanted to use it as a smoke-screen? It was not at the beginning of a hard winter, two years after the war ended. It was not to help the people through the severest period that probably some of them ever suffered in their lives. This was brought in at the end of that period.

Another reason for bringing it in last night was to forestall any possible chance of motions dealing with these various matters, in the names of Private Deputies, motions which were on the Paper for months, being reached before the Minister could bring it in. Not even the blind, the lame, the hungry and the destitute come amiss to Fianna Fáil to be used politically when it suits them. The Minister may well smile.

The Deputy's reference to the motions on the Paper are appropriate in that connection.

Have they no political motive at all?

They are on the Paper, but why have they not been taken? It was not because there was not plenty of time available. The Government had weeks, much less days, in which there was no business to be considered.

Probably it was because the Party opposite asked for certain motions to be given priority.

I am glad the Minister reminded me of that. Let me read for him a letter addressed by Deputy Mulcahy to the Chief Whip of the Government Party, a Parliamentary Secretary, on the 29th October last:—

"When the Dáil re-assembles on the 6th November, we expect that it will continue to sit every week until close to Christmas. We have a very large number of Private Members' motions to discuss, some of which are of urgent importance.

I attach a copy of a motion regarding Old Age Pensions, which is submitted by Deputies Morrissey, O'Higgins and Coburn. I desire to ask that Government time be provided for the discussion of this motion when the Dáil meets next week. The urgent aspect of this matter is that these people are suffering considerably owing to the cost of living. They are a specially helpless class, and we consider that something must be done in their case now that winter has begun."

The answer to that was a letter from the Parliamentary Secretary refusing to give the time. The motion referred to there was not asking for anything extravagant; it was not even asking for full justice; it was asking only for partial justice, for 15/- a week, an increase of 5/-.

Do the Government think that the aged and the blind are getting their appropriate or fair share of the £30,000,000 extra by giving them an additional 2/6 a week? This is an interim scheme. The full scheme will be prepared and, we are told, it may be even more favourable to the recipients than the present scheme. But we cannot have it for 12 months. If we had it any sooner it would be too far away from the date of the General Election.

I do not want to delay the House unduly on this matter. We shall have another opportunity of discussing it in detail. I do not envy either the Minister or the Government when they have to face the country with this bill. The £ notes may be there, and probably are there, but that is all. The £ notes have undoubtedly increased, but the men, women and children who really count have decreased, they are withering off the land. There is no gainsaying that. There is the test to be applied to all the talk of the Government for the past 15 years. What have we got for it? The answer is as I say—fewer people, fewer animals, land less fertile and production that is falling, our position so organised or, if you like, so disorganised, so completely bereft of any intelligent plan that right through the war years, and two years after the war, when there is a labour famine all over the world, we have 76,000 people queueing up at every labour exchange in this State.

Deputy Morrissey has told us that this is the highest bill ever presented to the Dáil. Deputies will remember that in many recent debates Fine Gael Deputies had one constant theme upon which they played repeatedly—"The £ is worth only 10/-." Does the phrase not seem familiar to Deputies? We heard it in recent debates but did we hear it to-day or did we hear it yesterday? Have they forgotten their belief that the £ is worth only 10/-, now that we are discussing the cost of the Supply Services?

Do you accept that?

It is accepted for the purpose of this debate. The £ is worth only 10/-, therefore a bill of £52,000,000 now is equivalent to a bill of £26,000,000 before the war. If their assumption is correct, my deduction is equally correct. There were many years before the war when the cost of the Supply Services exceeded £26,000,000 and if the £ is now only worth 10/-, we are dealing with a reduction in the cost of public services and not with an increase. Somebody must be wrong. Perhaps the £ is worth more now than 10/- before the war. Will Deputies say now that it is worth a little more than 10/- before the war?

Do you say it is worth more?

I am arguing on the basis of the Deputy's premises. He said that a £ now is worth only 10/- before the war and that this was the highest bill we ever got for Supply Services. If the £ now is worth only 10/- before the war, then a bill of £52,000,000 now is equivalent to a bill of only £26,000,000 before the war. Is that not correct? Yet in every year before the war the cost of the Supply Services was substantially in excess of £26,000,000. That brings me to the first fact I want to get the Dáil to realise, that the cost of Government now is a smaller proportion of the national income than before the war. Anyone can work out the figures for himself.

Mr. Morrissey

The Minister will next prove that the population has doubled instead of decreased.

If the £ now is worth only 10/- before the war then a Fine Gael Budget of £26,000,000 in 1927 would be equivalent to one of £52,000,000 now. Let us consider for a moment the difference between a Fianna Fáil Budget in 1947 and a Fine Gael Budget in 1927. The cost of the Supply Services for 1947 is £52,000,000, the figure set out in the Book of Estimates, but between 1927 and 1947 there have been a number of new services introduced. Do Deputies remember that in 1927 there was no such thing as unemployment assistance? It is almost inconceivable now to think that in 1927 if a man were unemployed and had exhausted all his stamps, there was nothing for him but poor law relief. In 1927 there were no widows' and orphans' pensions, no children's allowances, there was no expenditure on housing or subsidisation of housing to the extent that we have known since, no farm improvement scheme. The services which are provided for in the Book of Estimates this year represent an entirely different approach to national problems on behalf of the Government to-day than was the case in 1927. Yet, in 1927 the bill was just as high as it is to-day, if Deputies are right in their assertion that a £ now is the equivalent only to 10/- then.

What did they do with the money in 1927? Where did it go? They were not providing for unemployment assistance, widows' or orphans' pensions, children's allowances, housing grants, farm improvement schemes, or any of the important services set out in the Book of Estimates for this year. What were they doing with the money then?

Paying for the disorder of previous years.

I invite the Deputy to study the Book of Estimates and see how much was paid during that year for that purpose. Why does Deputy Morrissey think it necessary to write down the assets of the country and the productive capacity of the people during recent years? It is not true that production has fallen.

The volume of agricultural production in 1945 was much higher than before the war, and its value was very much higher. The volume of industrial production was also higher in last year than before the war. Despite the shortage of coal, the shortage of raw material and difficulties about maintaining industrial output, we produced a greater volume of goods last year than in pre-war years. The number of people employed in Irish industry last year was the highest on record, despite the difficulties of the times. These are facts recorded in official statistics. Why do Deputies ignore them? We have run into a period of difficulty and crisis since and we have to get out of that crisis as best we can but until these new difficulties and shortages of material occurred the country was progressing rapidly towards recovery. We had been able to step up production in the period immediately after the war, far more rapidly than we were entitled to hope during the war.

We have high taxation, we are told. The taxation paid by the people of this country is a smaller proportion of the total national income now than before the war. Upon what is that money spent? If Deputies think that taxation is too high, then either they have got to contemplate imposing insufficient taxation to cover Government outgoings or a reduction of Government outgoings. The first step would have many serious consequences. It would be an inflationary step of the most obvious kind. The second step would have unpopular political consequences for the Deputies opposite. That is why there is not one of them who would come here to make a constructive suggestion for the reduction of expenditure. We have announced certain proposals, interim temporary proposals, affecting social services. Deputies opposite, of course, anxious to collar any credit they can, have alleged that these proposals were merely intended to forestall motions in their names on the Order Paper.

They are endeavouring to give the impression that they favour increased provision for old age pensioners, unemployed, and widows and orphans. Every man jack of them—and this is a prophecy—will go into the Division Lobby when the Minister for Finance produces his Budget to vote against the provision of the money for those services. That is a prophecy. It will be proved right or wrong in the course of two or three months. Every one of them will vote against the proposals submitted by the Minister for Finance to find the money to pay these extra allowances to old age pensioners, widows and orphans and unemployed. They know they will.

I am not prepared to agree that taxation is too high, even if we look upon this question of balancing the Budget as purely a matter of accountancy. I am not prepared to agree that the Government is providing in the way of services for the people all that in more normal times the people might expect from the Government. We are, in fact avoiding forms of expenditure at the present time, either because it is impracticable to undertake it in the present supply difficulties, or because of other factors relating to the preoccupation of Government staffs with more urgent matters. We are told the Civil Service has increased. It has increased but, speaking as one Minister in charge of one Department, I will say that I have not too many officers. In fact, the most serious problem for me at the moment is that the officers of my Department are overworked and that it is becoming more and more difficult for them to carry the burdens which public necessity or Government policy are placing upon them.

I saw a quotation from a speech of mine, made 15 or 20 years ago, in which I suggested that economies might be effected on the cost of representation abroad, and that speech was contrasted with various proposals brought forward by the Government to increase expenditure upon representation in other countries. Do Deputies realise what has happened in the world? The circumstances of 1947, and the circumstances that are going to exist from this on, are entirely different from those that existed 15 or 20 years ago. International trade is largely a matter of inter-Governmental negotiation now. Formerly it was a matter of private trading arrangements. There is practically no commodity entering into international trade which we can procure without preliminary negotiations with the Governmental authorities in the supplying countries and, in fact, if we are going to get our share of world supplies, which we need to effect the expansion of production, which will only be possible when the inflow of materials and equipment from abroad is expanded, we are going to require, not less, but more representation in the capitals of other countries. We cannot function now in the way we functioned before the war; we cannot carry on trade in the same manner; and Deputies must not approach these post-war problems of ours with pre-war mentality. They have got to wake up to the fact that the world has changed and they have got to approach the problems that come before this House in the light of that fact, that there are new circumstances that require new methods. This Jacobean approach— learn nothing and forget nothing—will get them nowhere.

We are told our people are worse off. Of course they are. Is there any man in this House who believes that there is any possible device by which we in this country, alone in all the world, a world in which the greatest war in human history has been fought, where countless millions of pounds' worth of capital have been destroyed, where whole systems, industrial and transport systems, have been wiped out, could be better off than we were before it began? If Deputies opposite have some secret by which we, alone in the whole world that is worse off, can be better off, why do they keep it to themselves? Surely that is something that they should reveal in order to help the people. Reveal it here to-day. This is the opportunity. This is the sort of general debate in which they can give the country and us, who have immediate responsibility for government, the benefit of their views.

We do not think it is possible for the people of this country to be better off. We know they are worse off and will continue to be worse off until conditions permit of a considerable expansion in our production, either production for internal use or production for export and exchange for the goods that we cannot produce for ourselves. We are not suggesting that any of the proposals which we bring to the Dáil are designed to make the people better off than they were before the war. It cannot be done but we can, by proper direction of our resources, and proper management of our affairs, prevent them from being worse off than they need be. Our economy has not been battered and distorted by the war, as Sir Stafford Cripps said of Great Britain but, nevertheless, it has been seriously affected by the war and it is going to take a great deal of reorganisation in agriculture and industry in the new circumstances in which we now find ourselves if we are to get the maximum output from either.

These are the problems that we should be addressing ourselves to. I should have thought that we would have got from the Deputies opposite some effort to make a constructive contribution.

Why not let the Minister make it?

The Minister, and all members of the Government, come to this House with proposals for legislation, proposals for action. The greater part of the time of this House is occupied considering the proposals, the constructive proposals, of the Government but, once in a while, we get a debate of this character, a debate in which the whole issue of public policy can be discussed at the same time, not specific proposals relating to agriculture, industry or education, but a wider debate in which it is possible to stand back and see the picture as a whole and discuss it as a whole. These debates are deliberately provided to enable Deputies opposite to give their views upon general policy and it is the views which they have expressed on general policy in this debate that I am discussing now.

This is a crisis year. There is no use blinking our eyes to the fact that this year is going to be much harder upon our people than any year of the war. I do not know what views Deputies have as to the possible reaction of events in other countries, and particularly in Great Britain, upon ourselves but they will, no doubt, have read with considerable interest the statements made by British Ministers in the House of Commons in the last two days and they will be able to deduce therefrom the problems that will arise for us whose economy has been in the past so closely linked with the economy of Great Britain. They will have seen a coal budget presented by the President of the Board of Trade, indicating the allocations to specific purposes of the maximum quantity of coal which the British expect to have available in the next six months, and they will have been able, by studying these figures, to estimate our prospect of getting supplies equivalent to our needs from the only source where we drew coal imports in the past. In the past we imported coal from no country except Great Britain. There is no country in the world which feels under any obligation to supply us with coal because of past trade or because of future prospects of trade.

We entered into an agreement with the British to impose a customs duty upon coal imported from any country except Great Britain and in circumstances in which British coal production has so declined as to be inadequate to British needs, in which the total output of coal is being allocated to their industries in the manner indicated in the House of Commons, are we not facing a crisis of the first order in which we will have to get down to examining the fundamental principles upon which we have been working, the foundations of our economy, if we are to prevent it from being completely undermined in this coming period of three or six months?

That is the period which will offer us the greatest difficulty. If we survive it, we can hope then to get into a favourable stream of progress which will lead us forward to greater output and greater security but, during these next six months, all the forces are working against us, even the forces of nature, if we take the weather into account, and in that situation we should have in a debate of this kind a very different approach from Deputies opposite than the speech delivered here to-day or the speeches delivered yesterday would indicate. It is not true to say that our taxation is too high. If we regard pre-war taxation as indicating the tax burden which our people are capable of carrying, then, on the basis of the present value of money, our taxation to-day is less. Our production is not less. Our production in volume and value is higher.

In which case?

In the case of manufacturing industry the volume, according to the statistics in the Trade Journal for the last quarter of 1946, is roughly 6 per cent. higher than in 1938. In the case of agriculture the increase in volume is somewhat similar, the net figure being £41,100,000.

Gross or net?

Net value. On the basis of 1938 prices, output in 1945 was £46,100,000. There are obvious weaknesses in our industrial development. Our industrial development before the war did not go far enough to give us security in a time of crisis. It is how we are to get through this crisis, and how to ensure greater security in any future similar crisis, that should be occupying our minds now. No one looking around the world, and noting recent developments, can feel certain that we are not in the years immediately ahead, going to have our progress so interrupted by crises of one kind or another that we can systematically and successfully plan our development ahead.

We are going to have perhaps one crisis after another, and if there is one lesson to be learned from our experience in these years, it is that the policy of development we were pursuing, immediately before the war, was the right policy for this country, and the only thing that has to be regretted is, that we did not go through with it faster. If we had done so, our security to-day would be greater. We cannot, in present circumstances, make good the leeway. The stoppage of coal imports, the scarcity of other forms of fuel, the difficulty of maintaining power for industry, and the restriction of transport services, impose handicaps which might well frighten us from facing the task of reconstruction that lies ahead. We have to get over these difficulties somehow, and get, if possible, agreement on the direction we are going. We must try to get agreement as to the direction. I think anyone knowing what we tried to do, understanding the experience of this country, and taking a realistic view of world affairs will have little difficulty in deciding that it is by improved and increased production, and reliance on our own efforts, in agriculture and in industry, that we can succeed. That is our problem, and it is that problem to which Deputies should address themselves in this debate.

I always understood that the business of an Opposition was opposition, and that the business of any Opposition is to criticise Government proposals. When the Minister stands up and throws out the taunt that we are rising merely to make political speeches, he is dragging a red herring into the debate. I, for one, want to try to see a picture of this country as a whole. I want to try to see what are the fundamental conditions affecting our economic and social position, and by a reasonable discussion of these matters, try to evolve some social and economic system which will keep our people at home on the land and in industry.

I shall first address myself to what I regard as the salient features here as disclosed by the recent census. Our population has declined by 15,000. The male population has declined by 26,000 odd, but there is a slight increase in the female population—8 per cent. Emigration over the past 10 years amounted to 190,000 approximately. Some 19,000 people per year left the shores of this country, perhaps, never to come back. There is a slight improvement in the ratio of our female population to the male population, 976 compared with 952 per 1,000.

But Dublin City and County is growing at an appalling rate. We have an increase there of some 48,000. Our towns, in certain cases, are just about holding their own. The rural population has declined. Despite the fact that approximately one-quarter of our population is now in the metropolitan area of Dublin, there has been an actual emigration of males from Dublin to the tune of 16,000. I am not stating any of these facts for political reasons. I am trying to show to the hard-headed gentlemen on the opposite benches some of the results of their policy. At the present time Dublin, including the city, the county, and Dun Laoghaire, contains 635,876 people or three out of every 14 of our population.

We are rapidly getting to the position France was in in 1937, 1938 and 1939, with a swollen head, Paris over-populated and the rest of the country declining. The head got too large for the body. When you consider this truncated body, with perhaps six of our best counties severed from it, the position from the economic and from the social point of view must give serious thought to anybody who tries to analyse the figure in a reasonable way. Industrial, commercial and governmental activities in this country are concentrated to an extraordinary extent in Dublin. That, I hold, has a bearing upon our figures of emigration and figures of population. I cannot get any recent figures but, according to the census of distribution of industry in 1936, this was the position, and I claim that the figures under the new census disclose a position which will be much worse. One-third of the persons engaged in non-agricultural production are within the metropolitan area of Dublin; one-third of the persons engaged in the distribution of goods and services are to be found within metropolitan Dublin; one-third of the professions are concentrated in Dublin; and one-fourth of our public administration is concentrated there, if not more now. Three-fifths of the non-agricultural production in the entire country is concentrated in Dublin.

There are clearly stark, staring, hard facts there which the Government ought to analyse and ask themselves: what are we going to do about the situation? Have we any policy in relation to the location of industries? Are we going to devolute, to decentralise? Are we going to put industries in the rural areas? Are we going to give county boroughs, cities and large towns their fair proportion of Irish industrial development? I see no evidence of it up to date. I see no evidence of a long-term national policy emerging from the opposite benches on these matters.

I know that there are great difficulties in decentralising industries. I am not suggesting for a moment that old-established industries can be shifted from access to rail or water transport facilities. But I do suggest that many light industries which are at present being embarked upon should be discouraged from setting up in Dublin and that they should be compelled to go to Cork, Waterford, Kilkenny, Dundalk, Galway, Tralee, and the other towns in the country. I say that if that policy was pursued intensely, we could possibly hold our people in the rural towns and in the rural areas. I say that if we concentrated on a policy of that kind we probably could make the present exodus cease, certainly we could reduce it to an appreciable extent.

I say definitely that the concentration of administration under the present bureaucratic system in Dublin is to the detriment of the country at large. I think the Taoiseach on one occasion many years ago expressed the view that there should be devolution in Governmental activities. Again, I say there should be. There is over-concentration in Dublin, with the result that the people on the perimeter, the people out in the remote parts of the country, are forgotten. Their problems are not properly administered by an administration centred entirely in Dublin. There again, is a problem for the Government, a very difficult problem. It is a long-term problem, but it is one that could be worked out and on which we should have proposals in this House. At present, the demand for housing accommodation for Governmental servants of all kinds is increasing to such an extent that a large portion of what was once a residential area in Dublin is now becoming a new Whitehall here.

These problems are all related to production. If there was a national policy of industry planned on these lines, there would be a hope for industrial expansion. There are, I know, many attractions in city life, many attractions in urban life, and that country life is dull, and, perhaps, stagnant. We have, however, to consider another side of the picture—uplifting in some way the rural areas and giving them the amenities which they so badly need in order that we can bring to the people living in the rural areas some of the modern amenities which obtain in the cities and towns. There are many things in that direction that the Government could be doing. There are many ways by which they could improve rural amenities. These are long-term policies also, but they will have to be tackled some day, if we are to keep our people in rural Ireland at all.

Already we are embarking upon rural electrification. We will eventually have to embark on a long-term policy of extending pipeline water supplies to all our towns, villages and farms. We will have to consider social amenities for our people in these areas. I should like to see the Government, and the Minister for Finance particularly, giving some assistance to rural pastimes and to the erection of village halls. I do not mean dance halls, but village clubs where people, irrespective of creed, class or political outlook, could meet in social comfort and could engage in social activities and, if necessary, cultural activities or general amusement. It would not take a whole lot of money to give us some of these amenities in country areas where they are badly needed in order to get the people to be happy and contented on the land. A good deal of the flight from the land is due to the attractions in the cities and to the stagnation that prevails in the country. We can stop a great deal of that if we tackle the job in the right way and on the right lines.

As regards agriculture, bearing on rural Ireland, we all know that agricultural production here is low. We all know that the output per man per year is perhaps the lowest in the world. We have to do something about it. Whilst we have that problem there, we have our people flying from the land, and it seems to me that we will have to face a situation in which we must provide modern up-to-date methods to enable those who are prepared to remain on the land to work that land in a modern way. That will entail capital for agriculture on an extensive scale. It will mean the provision of machinery equipment and capital equipment of all kinds, housing, etc., for our people on the land.

At the present time, we hear a great deal about the prosperity which farmers enjoy on the land. We have had it stated several times from the opposite benches that their income is improved in relation to the national income. I shall come to that later. But I should like to see the Government addressing themselves to the problem of giving to the consumer agricultural produce at a price in some way comparable with the price which the farmer receives for the produce. I should like to direct the Minister's attention to these very significant figures which I have taken from the National Income and Expenditure Tables. I find that in 1938, on the basis of the produce consumed in farmers' households, a value of £13,000,000 was placed thereon by the financial or statistical experts. I find that the retail price of that same produce in 1938 was £21,000,000. Therefore, if the financial experts' estimate is any way near the mark, to distribute to the consumer £13,000,000 worth cost £8,000,000; £8,000,000 was taken by middlemen to enable the consumer to eat the farmers' produce. Surely there is a problem there both for the farmer and the Government. There is definitely a problem for the consumer. To get that £13,000,000 worth to the consumer, the consumer had to pay £8,000,000 extra, almost double. I say that the cost of transport has definitely a bearing on that. I say, too, that the number of middlemen who handled that produce has definitely a bearing on it.

I say, furthermore, that there are too many middlemen in the economic life of this country and there are too many handlers of goods as between the producer and the eventual consumer. I say that Government must sooner or later address itself to the problem of reducing the number of middlemen in order that the consumer may get his produce at a reasonable figure.

In 1944 the produce consumed on farms was estimated at £32,000,000. The retail price in 1944 of the consumed produce was £47,000,000. The cost of distribution was £15,000,000. Therefore, the consumer consuming £32,000,000 of farm produce is charged £15,000,000— approximately again half—and then we are told there are no financial, economic, or social problems confronting the Government in these matters. Surely there are. Is it not a fact that at the moment any Tom, Dick or Harry can secure a licence to get into the wholesale or retail business, or any other class of business here? It is being done every day and there is no restriction whatsoever on numbers.

I think the farmers will eventually have to face up to the situation, as will the consumers, to cut out the middlemen. I am not saying they are all unnecessary but I do say the great majority of them are unnecessary. They are parasites on the economic life of this community. Therefore, I want to appeal to the farmers in particular to consider co-operating together to find out whether something cannot be done to remedy this position. I want to see the Government assisting the farmers in that direction. I want to see the consumers, who are growling so much to-day, pulling themselves together and doing something practical such as the formation of consumers' leagues in an effort to evolve some system in that way which will give us the farmers' produce at a reasonable figure here.

Agriculture, as I have said, is under-capitalised. If agriculture is to survive in this country cheap capital must be made available to it. Deputy Davin referred to the extraordinary increase in bank deposits. There is money lying idle in the banks awaiting an opportunity of investment. We have a big increase in foreign investments. As I said before in this House, I want the Minister for Finance to make up his mind on this matter, both on investment at home and investment abroad, to see if some investment policy cannot be evolved which will at the same time preserve the owner's money and give him a fair rate of interest and to ensure that that money is ploughed here into the right channels so as to expand agricultural production and industrial production. Again, we would like to hear the Government on these matters. I want to repeat that I have heard no constructive suggestion from the Government up to this as to what their long term policy in these matters is going to be. We cannot ignore fundamentals in this country as the Minister for Industry and Commerce has so rightly said.

We cannot ignore fundamentals and one of the fundamental problems here is to settle our people at home. Throughout the last fifty years we have been affected by a low marriage rate, more particularly in rural Ireland rather than in the cities. Of recent years there has been a slight increase in the marriage rate due to war conditions. The same increase was noticed in the 1914-18 war. I do not think economic conditions are such to-day in this country as to encourage early and more frequent marriages. The various Ministers, particularly the Minister for Social Welfare, will have to address themselves to these problems. How are we going to get our people to settle down in rural Ireland early in life and rear their families there? Our birth rate compares very favourably with the birth rate of most other countries in Europe. We are about the fifth highest in Europe. YugoSlavia is the highest with 27.7 per cent. per thousand; Poland comes next with 24.9 per cent. per thousand; Italy comes next with 22.9 per cent. per thousand; Holland has 19.8 per cent. per thousand and Eire has 19.2 per cent.

We are higher than Denmark. We are higher than Sweden and we are even higher than the United States of America. That is, in relation to the marriages which take place. The unfortunate problem here is that there are too few such marriages. I would venture to suggest that if the statistics were examined and analysed it would be found that the rate of marriage in the rural areas is the most crucial problem in the matter. I feel that until we settle these fundamental problems we are merely fooling ourselves in trying to settle other problems. What is the use of talking about grandiose schemes for industry or for agriculture if our people are simultaneously declining and disappearing? We must face facts. If our people will not stay here and if the tendency for them is not to stay here then we may have to consider other matters. We may have to consider inviting displaced persons here to take their place. It might be no harm if we had a transfusion of blood. There are plenty of displaced Germans and Poles who would come here in the morning if they were asked. Other countries are taking them in and it might be no harm if we did the same here.

I want now to come to the position, as I see it, disclosed from the tables of national income and expenditure. In 1938 our farmers got 26 per cent. of the national income. Business got 29 per cent. and the rest went to employees— that is, wage earners and salary earners. In 1938, in this much-vaunted agricultural country, the position was therefore that our farmers got exactly one-fourth of what was going. There may be explanation for that. But one factor which has a very important bearing on the problem is the low agricultural output. That low output, of course, is at the moment affected by emergency problems created by the war—lack of fertilisers, lack of machinery, lack of capital formation. It is a significant fact that that was our position in 1938. In 1944 the position had improved somewhat. The farmers, on an increased national income, got 37 per cent. of what was going. That is in a country where, of all the people engaged in remunerative occupations, half the people were engaged in agriculture and that half got one-third of whatever was going. They are the people who were the mainstay of the country throughout the war period and they are at all times the mainstay of our economy. That is a significant fact, I say, and it is one to which we must address ourselves here.

How are we going to expand our position and give the farmers a bigger share of the national income? I am not claiming that to the exclusion of any other class. There is room for them in that expansion but I do want to say to the farmers who are seeking more that they cannot get more out of the national pool than they are prepared to put into it. If they are not prepared to expand production and if they do not get the necessary assistance to expand production then they will have, willy-nilly, to be content with the share they are getting at the moment. I took the trouble to examine the figures as to the way in which money was spent here and what we got for it. I found that in 1938 we spent 37 per cent. of our private income on food. In 1944 we spent 44 per cent. of our private income on food. The significant fact is that in 1944 we got less food for the increased expenditure—actually less food, minus 4 per cent. In 1938 we spent 15 per cent. of our income on alcohol and tobacco and 16 per cent. in 1944. The extraordinary feature there is that the volume went up by 13 per cent. but, apparently, that is explained by an increased consumption of beer.

In 1938 we spent 11 per cent. of our private income on clothing and 11 per cent., the same figure in 1944, but we got less cloths in 1944 than we got in 1938. With regard to fuel and light— in 1938 we spent 9 per cent. of the national income and in 1944 8 per cent., but in 1944 we got 40 per cent. less fuel than we got in 1938.

These I think are very significant facts which we should ponder upon and ask ourselves what are we going to do about. Now as I have mentioned fuel I may as well refer to the remarks made by the Minister on coal. The present Government have committed themselves to a turf policy. Turf as compared with coal as a fuel has approximately between one-third and one-half the calorific value of coal but when we compare the storing space for coal as against turf we will find that we have to have very much more space for turf than for coal. We will find also when we compare the two that we will have far more waste in turf than in coal and whatever waste there is in coal can always be made into briquettes or, as we call them in Kilkenny, handmade bombs. The turf waste is almost useless. The city dweller has to deal with the problem of storage for turf and when we consider that many city dwellers are living in large apartment houses or in flats or in small houses with very little out-office accommodation, and taking the pessimistic view the Minister gave us here on previous occasions about English coal, I have a feeling that the Government will want to wake up and find some method by which the city dweller can have his turf immediately available at all times, because a great percentage of them can take in only one bag at a time. He has no space for more. He is dependent on daily or at most on weekly deliveries and if he is faced with a transport crisis or with a weather crisis he is in the position that he cannot get this fuel. As I said on a previous occasion, I think it was at the corporation meeting in Dún Laoghaire, we have got to face up to a new fuel policy here if we are going to assume that we will not have foreign coal available. Our housing policy will have to be altered to provide central heating and central cooking facilities, particularly in large apartment houses and, as far as I can see, in ordinary houses. That heating can be supplied either by turf or electric or gas power but definitely it seems to me that if we are going to be without coal indefinitely we will have to do these things and I want to suggest to the responsible Minister that this is something they might think about and not have us compelled in three or five years' time to alter our entire housing policies, housing schemes, plans and specifications.

On the question of coal I was interested to-day to see an article in the Irish Independent on what they call open cast fuel. I have been advocating for a long time here the quarrying of coal as distinct from mining, particularly as an emergency proposition, and I want to advocate it again in the light of what the Minister has said in the fuel debate and what he has said here to-day. In England open cast coal was tackled in 1942 and they produced 1,000,000 tons in that year. In 1945 they produced 9,500,000 tons. Some of the sites produced 1,000,000 tons and the average production was 56,000 tons. After modern investigation, without borings, they simply took out the surface coal by means of mechanical equipment and replaced the soil again. They have been careful to preserve the top-soil in their operations and they have been careful to restore the soil, as far as possible, to its original condition and, in many cases, they have found that the soil when put to agricultural purposes later has shown increased fertility.

I know several areas in this country where coal can be quarried and particularly that type of operation can be carried out in Arigna or in a mountainous district where there may be a good deal of work done by quarrying and tunnelling. We have plenty of out-crop coal in Kilkenny. We are not allowed to touch that coal. If we do get it out we are told we will have to give it to industry, but there is no effort made to get it out and the extraordinary thing is that most of the operations carried out in England were carried out by men who were not miners—most of them were Irishmen who had no experience of mining.

I want to suggest to the Minister that here he has an opportunity of tackling that problem. I am not suggesting for a moment that there is anything like the quantity of coal in Kilkenny, in Leitrim or in Tipperary that they have in England but I do suggest that there is plenty of coal here which we can get out by methods of that kind.

While I am on the question of coal I would like to say to the Minister that the stuff coming in here, described as coal, is the most utter rubbish that was ever pawned off on any country. There was no attempt at screening the coal, classifying or segregating it in any way. It is simply dumped in, take or leave it, as you please. It has been described to me as stone, shale and dirt. We got 1,500,000 tons of coal last year into this country. Pre-war, 500,000 tons would have done the Electricity Supply Board, the gas works and industry. Half a million tons! At present 1,250,000 is not able to suffice for these services, because the coal is simply of a rotten quality and because there has been no effort made from this side to get the quality of the coal improved. At a time when we are sending the best quality goods to Great Britain we are content to take the most utter rubbish from them in exchange and I suggest that something should be done about it. I cannot believe that as a business proposition we cannot say to these people: you will have to give us screened, proper quality coal, the same as you are giving to your own people. I cannot see how we can put up with that condition of things. As I understand it, even the coal that was raised by quarrying methods in England, by this open cast system, and delivered either to industrial or domestic consumers was screened, classified and segregated. If we got 1,250,000 tons of pre-war quality coal last year, we would have had every industry and the Electricity Supply Board and the gas company supplied, and a small ration for domestic consumers would have been available.

We find ourselves in this position to-day as a result of the quality of the coal we are getting and as a result of the fact that the Minister's Department let out a good quantity of coal which might have been held on reserve. We find thousands of people who are dependent solely on coal for cooking in Aga and Esse cookers, and that class of equipment, without a scrap of coal to-day. They got no coal for the month of February until they made representations quite recently to the Department, and they are working on a reduced ration. These people have no alternative means of cooking. They have no gas or electric cookers. When they put up a case, they were informed that they could apply for gas and electricity. It is impossible for any man in the city or anywhere else to get gas or electric cookers installed under present conditions. There are hundreds of people in Dublin and thousands in the country without any fuel for domestic purposes. We bungled the coal problem in many ways. I know several people who applied for turf last August and September and they were asked if they would take coal in lieu of turf. They said they would, and they got it.

Deputy Allen, a few moments ago, was very concerned about the people who are making the money. He thought that Deputy Morrissey was overpainting the picture of the poor and he wanted to know the people who are making the riches. I would like to hear the Minister for Finance on that. Perhaps he knows the gentlemen who are making the riches. This significant fact emerges. In 1938 we had 85,000 on an income range of £150 to £250. By 1944 they increased to 103,000 people. In 1938 there were 53,000 people with an income range of £250 to £500 a year and in 1944 they had increased to 65,000. In 1938, on an income range of £500 to £1,000 we had 16,300 people and in 1944 they had increased to 20,900. In 1938 we had 4,300 between £1,000 and £2,000 a year and they had increased in 1944 to 6,300. In 1938 there were 1,750 between £2,000 and £10,000 a year. These gentlemen jumped in 1944 to 2,700. The gentlemen who were making more than £10,000 a year jumped from 79 in 1938 to 109 in 1944. So there is somebody getting a good whack out of this country. The significant fact is that there have been very substantial increases in all of those who are getting over £1,000 a year.

Tell us about the ones with the lower incomes.

I will. There were about 30,000 people on an income of £500 or over in 1943, 2 per cent. of the population. The gentlemen with a £250 income showed a 21 per cent. increase; £250 to £500, a 21 per cent. increase; £500 to £1,000, a 28 per cent. increase; £1,000 to £2,000, a 47 per cent. increase; £2,000 to £10,000, a 54 per cent. increase, and over £10,000, a 38 per cent. increase.

They might mean only one or two.

I have given you the numbers, and they are not one or two. If we go to the other side of the picture, we find that out of a population of approximately 1,300,000 about 1,000,000 are under £3 a week. The average income of those engaged in agriculture is less than £3 a week and that figure is calculated on the basis that all well-to-do farmers are included. You are in this position, that more than half the working population are on incomes of less than £3 a week, but we have the gentlemen in the upper ranges all feathering their own nests and all increasing to a remarkable extent. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Of course, the social services must go up. The fact is that 460,000 non-agricultural workers got less than £3 per week.

They must be employed by the industrialists.

I do not know where they are employed. Our cost of living has gone up 70 per cent. Wages in agriculture have gone up 48 per cent.; wages in transport services have gone up 32 per cent.; wages in the building industry have gone up 52 per cent.; as regards those employed in transportable goods, their wages have gone up 24 per cent. These are the 1944 figures. I am ignoring the recent increases, but so far as I know the recent increases have not to any appreciable extent bridged the margin between the wages they were receiving before and the increase in the cost of living. I would say there is still a gap of 25 per cent. to 40 per cent. there.

Mr. Brennan

You are wrong.

What do you know about it?

Deputies must carry on that type of conversation outside the House.

But Deputy Brennan invited the conversation.

It does not matter—if Deputies want to carry it on, they must do so outside.

The salaries of those employed by insurance companies— and they were the subject of much discussion to-day—have risen by 35 per cent. as against a cost-of-living increase of 70 per cent.; those engaged in banking, 30 per cent.; civil servants, 23 per cent.—I am excluding the increase granted in recent months, because I do not know how it works out; those engaged in the retail industry, 17 per cent.; those in the professions, about whom we hear so much, 5 per cent.; and wholesale employees, 24 per cent. So that we get this picture: the cost of living is jumping and jumping and while there has been some effort to give a slight increase, to force up wages and salaries as against that, those increases are not sufficient to bridge the margin. More than half of our working population are existing on incomes of less than £3 a week. The average income of the agriculturist, who is alleged to be so prosperous, is less than £3 per week. These are the figures to be derived from tables published by the Minister himself. And we are told this is a land flowing with milk and honey!

On the production side, which the Minister for Industry and Commerce mentioned, there has been a very slight improvement of 5 per cent. on the 1938 figures. I do not think that is anything to boast about when we consider that agricultural production as a whole is very little higher than it was 50 years ago.

And the present figure includes turf.

It includes turf for computation purposes. If we excluded turf, we should probably find that agricultural production is considerably less than it was pre-war. As regards general production, I accept the Minister's statement that it is up by 6 per cent., but again I say that is not much to boast about. We are struggling along, and we have very difficult situations to face in the future. I, for one, certainly realise fully the problems with which Ministers, particularly the Minister for Industry and Commerce, are confronted. I feel that, particularly in relation to fuel, we as a whole, will have to shake ourselves up and keep wide awake to the facts that face us. Particularly now that our reserves of turf are gone, an extraordinary effort will be required to get the necessary fuel saved for next winter. It is very doubtful whether we will get any considerable quantities of English coal in future. I certainly want to say that we on these benches are prepared to give whatever assistance we can to improve the fuel position, particularly so far as the production of turf is concerned.

Deputy Cogan has mentioned another matter staring us in the face, namely, that we shall have a most difficult problem this spring. The spring work will be anything from six weeks to two months late in starting and whatever assistance will be needed by the farmer during that time must be provided. We have a very short time in which to get in the spring crops. Owing to the very bad weather, very little winter wheat has been sown, and it is doubtful if there will be any crop from that which has been sown owing to the very severe weather conditions we have had for the last two months. In that respect again, the Government will have to decide what they are going to do to meet the situation. It is all very well to tour the country and say to the farmers: "Get out, boys, and get off your coats." What is the Government doing to assist them? I suggest that the Government will have to take steps to make available for the farmer all the machinery which can possibly be made available. If a farmer has machinery on hands, which he is not using himself he should be compelled to lend that machinery to a neighbouring farmer who has no machinery of his own.

Every farmer lends his machinery to his neighbours.

Deputy Allen should not interrupt.

If Deputy Allen wants to make a speech he should get up and make it.

Deputy Coogan might address the Chair.

It is hard to speak here when Deputy Allen makes observations from behind his shut fist. It is very difficult to know what he is trying to say.

You will get anything you want.

Would Deputies please address the Chair?

If I am looking for anything, I can get it. I am looking for nothing from Deputy Allen, and I hope I never shall have to. I do not know exactly what he means by the remark, particularly as I was trying to make a constructive suggestion, not for any political purpose, but in order to be helpful to the Minister. I want to suggest, particularly to the Minister for Agriculture, that he will have to take drastic measures in the matter of ensuring that adequate machinery and equipment will be made available for farmers. Wherever machinery or equipment is lying idle, irrespective of who owns it, he will have to collar it for the spring sowing this year and not wait for two or three months to find that the position has gone beyond him, as the Government did in the fuel crisis.

We are asked to suggest remedies and when we do put forward remedies we get nothing but ignorant interruptions from the back benchers of Fianna Fáil. I agree entirely with the Minister for Industry and Commerce as to the necessity for expanding production. I agree that it is a problem in regard to which all Parties will have to pool their brains and advice. It is not a problem that can be approached from any political angle; it is a problem that will have to be dealt with on a national basis. Deputy Cosgrave made the suggestion last night that we should have an economic council, not an economic council of politicians but an economic council of experts who will pool their expert advice and place it at the disposal of the Government and of this House, so that we can examine these matters in the cold light of reason and on a scientific basis instead of jogging along like Mr. Smith the Minister for Agriculture, waiting, Micawber-like, for something to turn up to take him out of an awkward situation.

When the Deputy is referring to a Minister it is not necessary to mention his name.

Deputy Cosgrave also suggested that steps should be taken by the Minister for Finance to control purchasing power in this country, and I think there is a great deal of merit in that suggestion. Money is allowed to flow freely to this country at a time when goods are in short supply and the impact of that increased purchasing power is causing a phenomenal increase in the price of everything. We are allowing tourists to come in here with currency of doubtful validity and buy us out of house and home. If we want to get these things on any rational basis, I feel that an economic council will, sooner or later, have to address itself to the problem, which seems to be growing in this country, of whether wages are going to chase prices downward or prices are going to chase wages upward, or whether we have a wage policy here at all. We need a long-term policy in these matters. There is no good in talking about expanding production if at the same time you are not going to expand consumption and keep an even balance between consumption and production. It will be essential for us eventually to establish our price level at a certain figure, so that consumer and industrialist will know where they stand and it will be the business of the Government to help to keep that price level constant so that the purchasing power of money can be held somewhere, constant also.

I maintain, with Deputy Cosgrave, that these people coming in here at the present time, in these abnormal conditions, have an inflationary effect upon our financial position. In normal times, when we would have normal exports of goods and when we would have normal trade with other countries, tourists would be definitely an invisible export but I question if at the moment they are any such thing and I question very much if they are not helping to force prices up.

Most of these gentlemen coming here do not care what they pay for the goods they seek. I had occasion to address a question to the Minister for Industry and Commerce on this matter this week and his reply indicated that the number of weekly ration cards for sugar and butter issued to tourists was 726,222. He says that most of these were Irish nationals, but I cannot see where he has a means of ascertaining who they were. As far as I know, there is no check on that matter. But, taking that at its lowest value, it means that the people who came in here consumed 122 tons of our good butter at a time when our butter supply was falling and when it should have been apparent to our Minister for Agriculture that we would not have a reserve for this winter. That is by no means the end of the picture. These people can stay here for five days without having to seek a weekly ration card, and can get butter, sugar and food during those five days without a ration card. It is only when they stay over five days that they must get a ration card from the Gardaí.

We are permitting all these things to happen at a time when our supplies of food are at the very lowest level and, judging by the measures which have been introduced here, we are preparing for a very high tourist season this summer when, I have no doubt, we will have butter released from somewhere for the tourists.

With Deputy Cosgrave I maintain that in putting forward these matters we are not seeking to create political propaganda of any kind but are trying to induce the hard-headed gentlemen opposite to address themselves to the real problems with which the people are confronted. They are beginning, as usual, at the wrong end when they come along with increases in the social services of all kinds. As I have said on many occasions, we should address ourselves to the problem of giving our people a full wage, sufficient to enable them to feed, clothe and educate themselves and to put by enough money for the rainy day. Nobody wants to be in the position of having to seek social pittances of any kind. People would prefer to have a full life, with full and plenty, so that they could provide for their old age and for infirmity from their own resources. Despite what the Minister for Industry and Commerce said to-day, the time is rapidly approaching when the State cannot continue to increase these services. The Government will have to make up their mind that there is a limit, in this impoverished country, to the amount of social services which we can provide. They will have to make up their mind also that if these services must be continued they must be put upon a contributory basis and that, if the wage earner or the salary earner wants social services, he, in his youth, must contribute to them. If we tackle it on that basis we will be serving the country. Every time we add to the dole or to any social service, we are adding to a certain degree to inflation. We are permitting people to take out of our pool of production, who very often have produced no goods or utility or service of any kind. It is questionable if all this policy that we see around us to-day will not have to be considered in a different light. Instead of doles, give these people work. Instead of pittances of all kinds, let them be employed. As Deputy Kennedy said yesterday, speaking from the Fianna Fáil benches, let us check the gentlemen who are getting the dole, let us check the idlers and get them into work. It is an extraordinary position that to-day we have 70,000 registered unemployed at a time when the farmer cannot get a farm labourer, for good money or bad money, for low wages or high wages.

Surely we ought to tackle these things in a practical way and get down to bedrock. I resent very much the tone adopted by the Minister for Industry and Commerce. Every time we stand up here we are accused of political insult towards the opposite benches. Our business is legitimate criticism and opposition, and nothing else. It is for the gentlemen opposite to produce constructive suggestions. They are charged with the responsibility. It is for us to criticise with a view to improving the suggestions, not with a view to throwing mud or political insult at any particular individual in the House. That is the way in which I should like to approach the matter, but it seems to me that whenever we come in here to offer legitimate criticism, we are accused of political bias or political objective. I have none whatever in these matters. I would much prefer to see the Party system disappear. I think the Party system is a rotten system when you get a body of men here holding various opinions and sitting like dummies, afraid to express themselves. Many men on the opposite benches will agree with most of what I say, but many will be afraid to stand up to say so, because they will be challenged in the Party room with adverse criticism. If we stand up and make the very criticism that those gentlemen, in their hearts, would make, we are charged with being political obstructionists. It is time we realised that we are in a Parliament where there is give and take, where there is hard hitting and hitting back, and where the business is, at least, to deliberate these things in some reasoned way and to try to bring about results that will be of benefit to the community, and by that I mean real benefit, not political kudos or the political advantage of any particular Party.

It strikes me that the gentlemen on the opposite benches have always a partisan outlook, a political outlook, that they are always ready to believe that the people all around them on the opposite benches are waiting to poke them, waiting to hit them below the belt. I ask them seriously to disabuse themselves of these things and to come into this House with a reasonable outlook and with the realisation that we here are endeavouring to show them the right way as distinct from the wrong way. There are many points of view about any matter or proposal that may come up and surely these can be discussed in a reasoned way without our indulging in any form of partisanship.

I would much prefer, in order that the deliberations of this Assembly might lead somewhere, that we could come here with open minds on these matters, and say what we feel, rather than speak always with our eyes on the constituencies or on a political object.

On a recent motion in the name of Deputy Cogan and myself regarding the steps to be taken for the production of food I did not have an opportunity of dealing with the question as fully as I wished. The motion was as follows:—

"That in view of the exceptionally backward condition of farm work due to the abnormal weather conditions and the grave danger that it will not be possible to get wheat and other essential crops sown at the proper time, Dáil Éireann is of opinion that the Government should take immediate and drastic steps to divert to agriculture, from other industries and occupations, additional labour and tractors, and that tractor equipment and fuel oil be made available in sufficient quantities for an intensive national tillage effort."

I suggest now that provision should be made immediately for the acquisition of machinery needed for essential agricultural operations. Spring work on the land is at least six weeks late and that means that the food position may be seriously affected. The responsibility lies on the Government to devise some method to deal with the situation and to make financial provision to cope with it. The Government, I suggest, should do so through the medium of the local county committees, so that machinery not now being used by contractors might be made available to farmers. Similarly, agricultural equipment in the hands of hardware dealers should be put at the disposal of local committees and other people who are in a position to cater for farmers' needs. In that connection the Department of Industry and Commerce should facilitate the allocation of permits for petrol and manures and seeds so that the scheme would run smoothly.

I also suggest that all available manpower, as well as agricultural equipment, should be placed at the disposal of those who are in a position to avail of it. Where farmers may not be in a financial position to engage labour provision should be made for payment of it so that work would not be delayed. The position now is that it may be impossible to import any foodstuffs. In England the food situation is as bad now as it ever was during the war. Equipment suitable for agricultural work in the possession of dealers should be controlled by the Department of Agriculture or by the Department of Industry and Commerce and be made available to those engaged in food production.

I think the Government has been rather slow about making provision for those who suffered losses of stock during the recent bad weather. Production can be encouraged not merely by cultivating the land but also in other respects, especially where live stock has been lost or where stock has deteriorated owing to the bad weather. The Government should come to the rescue of such people by giving them some compensation in order to encourage them to keep in production. If necessary some of the other Estimates might be revised and reduced in order to help those who suffered. It is well known that meat is going to be scarce in this country and that the Government may have to ration it. That position will be affected largely by the condition of store cattle and sheep. In mountainy areas the farming community depend solely on the production of wool. I asked the Minister and the Departments concerned to make arrangements to compensate owners who have suffered losses of stock. Wool production will be seriously affected by such losses as well as families who depend upon sheep for a livelihood. Their land is not suitable for other agricultural pursuits.

I consider that there are many ways by which greater encouragement could be given to the production of turf. Wherever turf is produced private producers should get greater encouragement than they did in the past. They have been victims of the transport situation. I suggest that barriers that hinder production should be removed, particularly in the case of private producers. When I made representations recently to one Department regarding the transport of milk and turf I was told that permits could not be granted where facilities were provided by Córas Iompair Éireann. I find that it is rather difficult to get sufficient transport facilities from Córas Iompair Éireann, so much so that at Ballysaggart thousands of tons of turf were left to rot in the bog. Transport was not available there for those engaged in turf production. There should be a reasonable allocation of petrol available for the transport of turf.

There is another important matter in connection with the transport of turf and that is the question of roads. I have gone to great rounds with other Deputies to try to overcome the difficulty with regard to bog roads. Consideration should be given by the Board of Works to the very important question of the development of bog roads. I am dealing now mainly with the private production of turf. It is hard to expect people who are producing turf at little better than the ordinary wage on a mountain side to contribute to the repair of a bog road, as has been demanded by the Board of Works under the rural improvements scheme. Where turf production is undertaken by private enterprise there should be no barrier put in the way of those people as regards facilities for getting the turf off the bogs. As I said, thousands of tons of turf were lost last year because there was not a proper road to take it out from the bog. Some turf was taken from the bog when the weather was seasonable but, when the weather got bad, the remainder of the turf had to remain there.

If a proper road had been provided when I asked for it one and a half years ago, all the turf would have been brought to the road head, from where it could be removed by lorry. Now the position is that the turf is no good to anyone and that turf would have compensated the public for the making of a decent road into the bog. I should like the Minister to take particular notice of that. When applications are made for roads into bogs, the work should be carried out without any contribution being required from those private producers, because they are not in a position to make a contribution.

We all know very well the position with regard to turf. Now we will come to the timber side of the question. While admitting that the Forestry Department have helped to a reasonable extent, I think they have not gone far enough in the way of providing timber as fuel for the people. In my county and in portion of County Cork we have estates and private woodlands on which, to my mind, there are thousands of tons of timber rotting. What strikes the people is that they are living in the midst of plenty but that they cannot avail of it. I suggested recently to the Minister for Lands that he should get in touch with the owners of private woodlands so that such timber might be made available, and, if the timber was not made available by co-operation between the Forestry Department and the private individuals, that the Minister should seek compulsory powers to acquire that timber. That might be a very drastic step to take, but my idea is that the people come first and such private individuals afterwards. The poorer sections of the community have suffered considerably this year and are likely to suffer still more unless some steps are taken to provide them with fuel. I hope that the Minister will take every possible step to remedy the serious position that presents itself.

There is throughout the country a very serious outcry with regard to the housing shortage. The Local Government Department and the Department of Industry and Commerce, which deals with the materials necessary for house building, should make more provision for housing, particularly in the rural areas. I know that Deputies from Dublin and other cities make very strong cases for greater housing activities in their areas. I know that the conditions in the cities are rather bad, but if we had more houses provided in rural areas, the demand for housing in the urban areas and in the county boroughs would not be as great as it is. The scarcity of houses in the rural areas has contributed very considerably to the flight from the land. We hear a great deal about the flight from the land and, to my mind, one of the greatest factors that has contributed to that for a great number of years is the scarcity of houses in the rural districts. I admit that the Government have gone a long way to deal with that question, but I hold that they must go further in order to keep the young men on the land. They must go all out for an elaborate housing scheme, and the rural areas should have priority. By improving production on the land these people will definitely help to improve conditions in the cities and eventually to reduce costs, because the more production you have the lower the price of the commodity will be to the individual in the towns and cities.

I also suggest that provision should be made for amenities in the rural areas, such as the provision of water supplies, etc. People in the rural areas are at a very considerable disadvantage because of the lack of proper water supplies. In many cases the father of a family who is engaged in his employment away from home from morning until late in the evening has, when he returns from work, to fetch water for the household. To my mind, a proper water supply is the greatest amenity that could be provided for the labourers in rural areas and others as well. I know it is a big undertaking, but the Government should go further to help the local authorities in the matter. It is a job for the local authorities, but the Government Department concerned should facilitate the local authorities in providing that and other amenities.

Referring again to the question of providing agricultural machinery, I know that there are a lot of small tractors available in some of the stores in the country. The Minister, in his all-out drive, with the help and assistance of the farming community and the county committees of agriculture, could help to improve the conditions that confront us to-day. The matter is too serious to hesitate. The position must be taken in hand immediately. It is an urgent one and a national one. I hope the Minister will take particular note of that. I am sure that the members of this House and the farming community generally will be only too happy to surrender any knowledge or any information they have at their disposal so as to enlighten the particular Departments concerned, if they are not already aware of the facts, as to the manner in which production can be increased and improvements generally made throughout the country.

I would like, first of all, to congratulate Deputy Heskin on the very constructive speech he has made. I listened to Deputy Coogan with great interest, and heard the Minister for Social Welfare last night indicating to the House his proposals with regard to improving the position of old age pensioners and others. I noticed that, once he made his submissions, the fierce opposition to the sum of money involved immediately died down. Since the Minister spoke I think most of the Deputies are inclined to agree that under modern conditions these large sums, or apparently large sums, are absolutely essential.

Apart, however, from all that, I believe that the Government is now faced with an extremely serious position. At no period during the war was the outlook so gloomy as it is to-day. We have had extremely bad weather since last July, which has added considerably to our other difficulties. It is impossible at the moment to even touch the land. There is no apparent sign that the weather is going to change. If it does change at some later period we shall have an enormous number of problems to consider. Many farmers throughout the country have lost large numbers of stock. Even if the weather does change, I do not think those farmers will be able to produce very much without some kind of assistance. We shall have to consider the problem of a lower milk production. Milk production was low before ever this bad weather set in. I believe now that one of the reactions to the bad weather will be that the cows in calf will suffer so much that milk production is bound to fall even lower next year.

The time has come when the Government must seriously consider organising to meet the difficulties we find ourselves in at the moment and those which will arise in the future. I was reading one of the English papers to-day and I noticed in it a very sensible statement—I think it came from the British Minister for Agriculture— to the effect that they propose to give a subsidy on potatoes. Potatoes are a rather late crop. They are a very important crop in this country. On one or two occasions in the past they have let us down, but they have at all times been the main support of our people. I think the Minister for Agriculture should devote a good deal of attention to the production of potatoes. Potatoes can be put in much later than wheat can be put in. If we can succeed in getting a reasonable supply of milk and a plentiful supply of potatoes, there may be some injury done physically, but it will not be a very serious one. The amount of wheat that it will be possible for us to produce now is very, very doubtful. Many counties are still under snow. The counties that are not under snow are under water. I think potato production on an intensive and extensive scale is one of the most important alternatives.

This is an opportune time for the Department of Agriculture to inform this House as to its proposals for organising whatever machinery we have and organising whatever help we have. Only the other day I was speaking to one of the organisers from one of the beet factories. He told me that in parts of County Galway they have to carry men in lorries to the factory. It is going to be very serious if work has to be rushed and there is no organisation to meet that rush. The Minister for Agriculture should tell us what form of organisation he proposes to establish to deal with this problem.

We have had problems before this bad weather set in. Down in County Meath we have a serious milk problem for the towns. We have over the greater part of the country the problem of supplying water for farming. I notice that the Land Commission are getting something like £600,000 out of this Estimate. I often wonder what the Land Commission does with the money. Sometimes I feel we have not enough power over this money. Numbers of farmers in County Meath are drinking cesspool water. And then we stand up in this House and talk about public health! Numbers of farmers in County Meath have to go to cesspools to get water. Clean water should be provided for these. When we make representations we are told there are all sorts of difficulties. We are told pumps cannot be got; we are told that men cannot be got to take charge of the pumps; we are told that the frost cracks the pumps. All these nonsensical statements are made. There is one colony in County Meath extending over some two miles. There is only one pump for the entire area and the people there use a couple of old cesspools—locks that were made long ago in order to catch rainwater. I cannot say how many letters I have written to the Land Commission in the matter. I believe that the Land Commission will have to get a move on.

Deputy Coogan said that the Deputies on these benches were afraid to criticise the Government. We are not afraid.

I am glad to hear you say that.

As far as the Government is concerned they welcome criticism.

You should have started years ago.

But it must be constructive criticism.

It runs off them like rainwater.

We are faced with a food crisis at the moment. Then we have a crisis in housing. We have a crisis in fuel. I do not know what is wrong with the building trade. The cost of ordinary cottages is going to be enormous. The best we could do in Meath was 8/- and—Deputy Giles will correct me if I am wrong—there has to be a subsidy of 4/- given to reduce them to 4/- a week. I wonder is it not possible to give some greater encouragement in the matter of building. I wonder if it would not be a good thing to have middle-class houses built by means of some form of subsidy to private builders in the urban areas. I wonder what effect that would have on the situation. During the war, because of the shortage of supplies, a considerable number of skilled workers left the country. Some of the contractors have gone out of business altogether. It is a very serious problem. I agree that it has very serious effects here on rushes to the city. If a young couple get married down the country there is no chance of getting into a room. They say there is a great big city here with hundreds of rooms and they come here to try to get some form of a living. I believe that this is due to the scarcity of houses. Every day I open letters in which there are applications for houses. Every town I go through I meet people looking for houses and I would like to know if anybody could tell us what is wrong. I would also like to know what is the real reason that £700 is roughly the contract price for a cottage. I think even though the period is inflated this demand is abnormal and that it is impeding the development of the whole country, and I would like to hear from the Minister, who is concerned with this matter, some explanation as to what is wrong with the whole business, because if we want a population we must have houses. Every one of us knows since July last that this is not a very suitable country in which to live in a tent or under a bush. We must have substantial houses. This is only the first essential.

Having done that, we have to see about the question of food. Milk is the primary important food and I suppose later on we will have a big convention as to whether we should have shorthorn cows, dual purpose cows, whether we should have milk-producing cows and whether we should alter the Live Stock Breeding Act and all that sort of thing. My idea is that we should substitute inspectors from the Department of Agriculture who knew nothing about the business and knocked out the farmer who knew all about it. He got his premium whether the bull was suitable or not. I think we should allow the farmers, so long as they do not keep scrub bulls, to keep whatever bulls they thought suited the district. The farmers themselves 60 or 70 years ago produced excellent cows and if we drop all this centralised control from the Department of Agriculture and leave the farmers themselves to look after their own business, we would have as fine cattle as we had 60 or 70 years ago.

We should ask the Government now to consider above all things what steps we are going to take in the face of the crisis we ran into to provide food for the people. How are we going to help the farmers over the difficulty? If it lasts another fortnight wheat will be out of the question. What supply of seed potatoes have we? Are we able to draw on surplus wheat or potatoes? We need not expect very much from the world outside; they have not enough for themselves. So I think the best thing we can do here in this country is simply to look out for ourselves.

Mr. Corish

To my mind, the preliminary report on the census of population in Ireland is one of the most valuable documents which we have come across lately. It gives an indication of the prosperity of the country and the ability or inability of the country to meet this demand which is before us now. The census of population reveals, first of all, that the population of this country has gone down considerably in the past ten years and that the decrease is five times greater than in the ten years between 1926 and 1936; secondly, another very important feature of this report is the fact that invariably in every rural district in Ireland the population has considerably decreased, and one begins to wonder if the country can support its present population. One begins to wonder if this country is at all attractive to, first of all, the rural population and, secondly, to the population in general. This country which is supposed to be mainly agricultural has been shown in this preliminary report on the census of population that the men who are supposed to be engaged in the primary industry in the country cannot get a living and cannot be supported out of that alleged primary industry, and we find that the flight from the land to the towns in some cases and to England is increasing day by day. We find young Irishmen and young Irishwomen who were imbued with a spirit of nationality and a love of their country, forced to run across to England to earn a living. Lately, I am sorry to say that some of them from the towns are forced to go across to places like Palestine, and to join a foreign police force to engage in activities which we in this country have abhorred for the last 25 years.

In considering the demand which is presented to the country at present, personally I have no objection to any sum of money being spent on this country or on the people of this country if I am satisfied that the people get fair value for the amount which they have to contribute. My criticism of the Estimate, presented as it is at the present time, is that the allocation of this money is to a large extent lopsided and some of it, I may say, unnecessary.

There are of course essentials—agriculture, education, certain social services, like old age pensions, children's allowances, insurance benefits, money allocated for afforestation and things of that sort, but then we come down to consider by comparison the sum of £16,000 allocated to Gaeltacht services, while on the other hand, there is a similar sum—£15,000—allocated for the secret service. We wonder if the secret service is considered as important a body as the Gaeltacht services. One of the alleged primary ends of the Government of this country is to try to revive the national language, to encourage people who can speak Irish to stay in the Gaeltacht and to try to spread that language and we spend the same sum of money on Gaeltacht services as we do on secret service. Another comparison—the sum of money allocated for the purchase of seeds, fertilisers, implements for unemployed plotholders is £42,000, while, on the other hand, we spend £52,000 on the Office of the President. Do we consider that £42,000 is an adequate sum to spend on the purchase of seeds, fertilisers, etc., and to spend £10,000 more for the Office of the President when some of the members of the Fianna Fáil Government complained before that £28,000 was too much to spend on the Governor-General's establishment?

For the welfare of the blind there is a sum of £7,500 allocated while the Institute for Advanced Studies has allocated to it £53,000. The Institute for Advanced Studies, if we take the amount of money into consideration, is seven times more important than the welfare of the unfortunate blind people in this country.

I was interested to hear the Minister for Industry and Commerce defend the civil servants. Whilst I have no particular grouse against the civil servants still it is revealing to know that more than one-ninth of this total Estimate is in respect of civil servants, excluding Army, Post Office, courts and expenditure in connection with prisons and with teachers.

One-ninth of the sum required for Supply Services goes to the Civil Service. The Minister for Industry and Commerce was very strong in his defence of the Civil Service. Some 15 or 16 years ago he stated in the House that the Civil Service was composed of a lot of people engaged in checking one another. He agreed there were some energetic people who did a good deal of work, but he said a lot of them were engaged standing around merely checking what the other fellow did. If this country is to spend £6,000,000, or one-ninth of the total estimate, on salaries for the Civil Service, I think we should at least get a little better service for it.

It was very interesting and revealing in the House last night when the Minister for Social Welfare made his announcements. Incidentally, I might say, with reference to his particular kind of speech, that the most of it was not in the slightest way helpful to the debate or to the country and the sooner Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael Deputies refrain from making comparisons with the term of office of Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael, the better. We are not interested when a Minister tries to tell us the conditions under which the people existed 15 or 16 years ago. What we are interested in is what is being done for the people at the present time and what will be done in the future. The type of speech the Minister made, and the interjections last night, were such that one expected every minute that the civil war was going to be brought into the debate, and that is something which this House and the country should forget. One would not have been surprised to hear a few shouts across the floor about the Blueshirts and other things of that kind.

In connection with the social services, when the Minister for Social Welfare was making his announcements about the increased benefits, he made a sort of quip when he said that Deputies on this side of the House would object and kick when he brought in an additional Estimate for £2,000,000 for the benefit of old age pensioners, blind pensioners, recipients of insurance benefit and those who benefit in other ways. He knows full well, and every member of his Party knows, that that is what we have been advocating for the past ten or 15 years.

We can assure him that any proposal he brings in here for the benefit of such people will get our whole-hearted support. We are not afraid to advocate the spending of money when it is spent on the right people and when the taxation is levied on the people who can afford to pay. When the Minister remarked last night, in connection with social services, that it was his intention to grant certain increases, somebody on this side of the House asked him did he expect old age pensioners and other pensioners to exist even with the increased rates he was proposing. His reply was that these social services were meant only as a help to these people and after that they were expected to use their own resources. He was very reluctant to reply when he was asked what resources had old age pensioners. He could also be asked what resources have blind people, people in receipt of national health insurance benefit, people who cannot get work or who are unable to work and have no other means. It is the duty of the State, the duty of the community at large, the duty of people who have money and who are in a position to contribute, to look after the deserving. It is from such sources that the money should be obtained for the maintenance of unfortunate people who have not the means at their disposal to live decently.

If the Minister thinks that our agitation will be lessened because of the introduction of his new rates of pay and his new scheme, he is very much mistaken. We advocate a certain figure for all who are in receipt of social services. The increases proposed by the Minister are not acceptable to me and will not be acceptable to my Party until they are brought to a level which will allow recipients to live in reasonable comfort. The motions that have been submitted by Deputies on behalf of such people as old age pensioners will be strongly, advocated.

It is typical of some members of the Fianna Fáil Party to describe, as one Fianna Fáil Deputy did last night, the people who are in receipt of what is termed the dole, as "dodgers". One begins to wonder has that Deputy any experience of unemployed men. I have had a very short experience of men on the dole. There may be one or two in 1,000 who are "dodgers", men who are not anxious to work and who are content to draw the dole from week to week or year to year. I do not think anybody in the House, with the exception of that Deputy, will deny that any man on the dole would prefer to take a job at a decent wage rather than live on charity, whether it be from the State or otherwise.

It has been suggested here that people on the dole should be made work for it. They should not be made work for it, and it should be the Government's duty, the duty of the community, to provide work for these people. There is plenty of work in this country if the Government went the right way about having these men employed.

We were talking about post-war planning when the war was on, but now, when the war has finished, we do not see any type of planning for the future. I admit there would be no return now for the development of a place like Wexford Harbour, but why could not the unemployed men of Wexford town or county be sent to that place and put on preliminary work in the harbour so that it might be ready when money is available for its completion or when times are normal and trade can come into and go out of the port?

The natural resources of this country are not being exploited and, if we are to judge from the present activities of the Government, they never will be exploited. Our agricultural resources have never been fully exploited. If they are being, why are men tramping into the towns and cities? It is because the farmer cannot pay his men a decent wage. The farmer is not in receipt of a decent return for his work on the land.

The last speaker referred to housing. I mentioned it here on another occasion. I know the Government have their difficulties as regards the provision of building materials, but I do not think they should leave such burdens as they are leaving on the local authorities. They should actively engage themselves in providing the requirements of each county. I do not know whose fault it is but let me quote another example. The war has been over for two years and Wexford town which has a population of between 12,000 or 15,000 has a scheme for the building of 16 houses—a colossal number of houses for a population of 12,000 people!

And under a Labour council.

Mr. Corish

It is not a Labour council. It is a county manager's council and consequently a Government council. In conclusion I would urge that the 75,000 unfortunate people who are now unemployed should be put into some productive type of work either on the land, on the roads or building houses. It is shocking to contemplate that these men may eventually go to the coal mines or to some other industry in England or even to Palestine. The time has come when we should stop the flood of emigration. That stream is still flowing across the Irish Sea and the sooner we realise that if we do not do something to stop this flow of our young men and women to other countries, eventually we shall find ourselves with a bigger decrease in population than the recent census disclosed, the better.

One healthy sign, which we recently noticed in this House, is that some of the back benchers of the Fianna Fáil Party are beginning to get more critical. I am glad that the people who elected them to this House are beginning to take them to task for their former inactivity here. The fact that they are now bestirring themselves may result in our getting carried out many of the schemes that should have been carried out during the past ten or 15 years. One thing I hate is to hear Deputies from all sides bandying figures about. I think if there were less figures and more common sense in the debate we would have better results. Every Deputy should be capable of judging the situation by his own observation of what is going on in the country. From my personal observations I am quite satisfied that the country is not making any headway economically or nationally. There is stagnation everywhere and things are in a very bad way economically. We have practically no butter, eggs or bacon. These are the very commodities of which we should have an abundance because the country is possessed of natural resources which would provide us with all these commodities if they were developed properly. It is no use blaming the war. I cannot see why at any time during the last ten or 15 years we should not have had plenty of poultry, pigs, eggs and butter. What is wrong is that the Government has not harnessed our resources in the proper way. They have not co-ordinated agriculture as it should be co-ordinated.

One of the greatest blunders Fianna Fáil made was that they played up to popular opinion in many things. They stooped to pander to the lowest instincts of the people in order to get votes. Perhaps if they play up to the lowest instincts of the people in the same way again, they will get a new lease of life but it will eventually be bad for the nation as a whole. It is far better to be blunt and honest because sooner or later the country is going to pay the penalty of pandering to popular prejudices. A policy of that kind can only lead to headlong insolvency and in a short time you will have nobody in a position to live in the country except a few gentry and a few stragglers.

We had a national revolution in this country the object of which was to change the old condition of things. I am satisfied that if that revolution is to be brought to its logical conclusion, the ordinary people and the middle-class will have to get a fair chance of living in the country. At the present moment, the rich are growing richer and are growing in idleness. We have many more rich idlers coming into the country buying up plots, holdings and estates of all kinds. I speak as one who feels the position very acutely because I see my own county being absolutely eaten up by foreigners. I would not mind if they came in here for the purpose of giving employment but they are coming in merely for the purpose of leading a lazy life. They are coming in to set up stud farms and to build luxury cinemas at our seaside resorts. These are not the type of people we thought some years ago we should have living in this country. Our object then was a create conditions which would allow the ordinary decent people of the country to rear their families on the land, not for export but under conditions which would give them a living in their own country. These are the things we had as our national object from 1916 to 1921 and I do not see why we should lose sight of them now.

Another practice of the Government to which I am totally opposed is that of bribing the people. For the last 20 years we have nothing but sops and doles and I am satisfied that these are largely responsible for our condition to-day. Ministers boast of social services but I am satisfied, as one Deputy, that the more social services we have, the more we are showing the world that we are a country that is on the downward grade. Would we need half these social services if we had our people in constant employment at decent wages? We certainly would not. These social services are merely a sign of senile decay in this country. We have sops and doles, farm improvement schemes and children's allowances. I do not see why we should require any of these services if things were regulated in a proper way. There is no reason in the world why every man who is capable of work should not be given work at a decent wage. I believe in a certain type of social services for our aged and infirm—those who are not able to fend for themselves. It is only a Christian duty to provide such services, but I am satisfied that there are far too many people who are trying to get sops from the Government. The tendency on the part of the Government should be to discredit that attitude.

There are many old age pensioners and many widows who are badly off, but I know that there are others whose children should be able to provide for them under proper conditions. An opportunity should be provided for every young man to place himself in a position in which he could say: "I am going to provide for my father and mother and I want nothing from the Government or anybody else." The whole tendency however, at a certain age, is to grab something from the Government. I think that is a wrong tendency. The people should be made realise that they have to provide for themselves and that they should make an attempt to carry the ordinary burdens of life on their own shoulders. There are many homes which I know in which anything from £2 to £6 a week is spent not on the necessaries of life, but on luxuries and on gambling. Many of these people are not able to pay the weekly shop bill but they can gamble £5 on a horse or on a dog track. Conditions in the country could be much better if the Government showed more common sense in dealing with this situation. There is no use in pandering to the lowest instincts of man because from the very first day that man fell in the Garden, he has been continuing to fall.

Take, for instance, the farm improvements scheme. Why should a man have to wait for a grant from the Government before he makes a drain or builds a wall or a pig-sty? Why should we help the farmer by sops to do these things? What you have got to do is to give him a market for his products and give him stability. Then you can say to him: "We have given you these things; now fend for yourself." Instead of that we have dozens of inspectors going into farmyards to see whether the farmer wants a shed or a wall built. Why does he not build that himself? Leave the money in his pocket that you are spending on the payment of these inspectors. You would not want half the officials or half the clerical staff if you left that money in the farmers' pockets. No farmer wants to be a beggar or a scrounger.

It is a miserable thing to have to say that the Irish farmer has to go around begging to councils or to Government for a few bob to drain his land. He ought to be proud to take off his coat and to drain it himself. I know he is proud to do so, but if the farmer sees doles, sops and subsidies going to different people it is not to be wondered at that he says: "When everybody else is getting it, why should not I get it?" That is what is wrong in this country. The old, bold, vigorous, manly spirit that we had in the past is evaporating. I remember the time when a man might not have a rag to his back or a penny in his pocket, but he had his honour. He would not bow or scrape to anyone. Now, people are bowing and scraping to anyone to get an easy living or easy money. That tendency must be stopped either by Parliament or by the people outside and, until it is arrected, this country cannot be great or noble or a nation.

We are not making any advance, socially, nationally or economically. Why.?—because we are trying to be cute politicians. I would prefer that we were straight politicians and honest politicians. I am unhappy to have to say that members on all sides of the House are too damn fond of politics and too cute in politics. The whole idea is to slip it across the other fellow. At the same time the energies of this nation are being frittered away and the people are being demoralised.

There are many factors operating to retard the progress of this country. The first, as I see it, is the fact that there are two Governments in this country, and between two stools the country is falling. This country cannot maintain on an imperial scale a big Government in the North and in the South, with all the redundant staffs, North and South. This is a House divided against itself, and it is a House that must fall. I do not see any earnest and vigorous effort being made for the reunion of this country. I believe that could be achieved.

If it were, there would be more business methods, more direction and a better lead because the people's minds would be orientated in the one direction. We would have a better country and could provide a better living for the people. I do not understand why the Government sit so cute and so silent, not making the slightest effort to revive the spirit of the people until this injustice shall be blotted out. One of the main obstacles to progress is the Border. It is a curse. I do not blame either side of this House for that, but we could unite in an earnest and honest effort to remove that curse on our people. It will have to be done either by peaceful or by forceful efforts.

I believe we should go all out for peaceful means. But I am satisfied that if it cannot be achieved by peaceful means it is our duty to remove it by forceful means.

Better leave it.

The next obstacle to progress is the clash between agriculture and industry. That is dangerous to the community. Agriculture and industry should be treated as a single entity. Agriculture and industry must be co-ordinated. At present, industry is able to pay a wage to men of 16 to 75 years of age of £4, £5 and up to £10 a week while the man who is more important, the labourer in the field, producing food, gets only £2 a week. Would not one think that the man producing the acre of wheat is entitled to the £5, £6, £7 and the man in industry making the leg of a chair, should get £2? That is an obstacle that must be surmounted. It is futile to expect that people will stay on the land when the ordinary decent workman who stays on the land sees that his son or daughter on leaving school can get £3 to £4 a week for making the leg of a chair while the man behind the plough gets £2 a week.

It is time the Government realised the futility of carrying on this higgledy piggledy system. Somebody must face up to the situation. There are very few Parties in this country willing to take over office. They are all fairly shy of taking over the burdens the present Government have left. If my Party were to get control in the morning, what would it have to do? It could not be popular, it dare not be popular in this country; it would have to do the most unpopular things for five years. That is why I say I am satisfied that we must face up to the position that democracy cannot work and I am satisfied that sooner or later a dictator will have to come in here for five years and clean up the mess. General Franco did it in Spain. Salazar did it in Portugal, and did it very well. Why cannot we do it, as democrats? If we cannot do it, we must get out and let a decent, benevolent dictator take over so that the resources of our country may not be frittered away and our country made a laughing stock.

I remember a superintendent of the Black and Tans saying to me: "When we go out, we will not be long away until you call us back. You will not be able to rule." His words nearly came true. We would be able to rule if we worked together towards that end. We should not be so bitter. The problem is a common problem. The things that suit this side should certainly suit the other side of the House. There is no use in increasing the Estimates from £22,000,000 to £55,000,000 in ten years and telling the people they are getting good value. Where is the value? The young men who have had to go across to Great Britain do not care where they work, whether in coal mines or anywhere else, as long as they get the work. Too much value is placed on money. I want to see money properly harnessed. At present money is not doing its duty. Money is the master and man the slave. I want man to be the master and money the slave. We should apply control to our money and, if it cannot be done under the present system, let the Taoiseach get outside the system. He said on a previous occasion in respect of another matter: "If I cannot do it under this system, I will go outside the system". He has failed under this system and must get outside it. Finance should be controlled in the interest of all the people, not in the interest of a few speculators who come in here and get out when times are bad.

Increased social services are a definite sign of senile decay and I defy contradiction. I am one of the very few who would say that. Everyone in this House asks for increased old age pensions, increased pensions for widows and orphans and increases under the farm improvement scheme. To hell with all these things. We want none of them. Give the ordinary countryman a decent way of living, a market, stability, and he will carry his father and his mother on his back to the grave and will not beg the State to do it. I want to see nobody carried on the back of the State but the old, the infirm and those unable to fend for themselves. Every honest man and woman in the country should be told to do far more work than they are doing. They would do it if the Government gave them the chance but the Government will not do that because the Government is ruled by politics. In holding on to power for 20 years they are destroying the soul of this nation. Generations will rise up and curse them. They know that they are wrong but they are too pig-headed to get out. Unfortunately the gombeenmen in the country cannot see through them.

One of the great achievements, we were told, was land resettlement. I am satisfied that we have not even touched the fringe of that question and that the Government is now allowing land to be frittered away. I know some of the extensive land resettlement schemes, and I say that they destroyed Meath, Kildare and Westmeath, three counties that are the pivots of our agricultural industry. They gave patches of land to people—doles of 22 statute acres—on which to rear up families. God forgive the man who told the Taoiseach that a family could be reared on 14 or 15 acres. If I could get that man now I would wring his neck. I heard on good authority that one man who said that came from County Meath. If he did I hold that he was wrong, and that he had never done a day's work. I know people who got patches of land and they are now nothing more than paupers, trying to get work on the roads, in sandpits, or running to England in order to make the rent and rates. We never had anything like that even in Britain's worst days here. Small farmers in the past could send their sons to college and make priests for the missions. Can farmers make priests of their sons to-day? They cannot.

It is the civil servants, the Civie Guards and the ex-Royal Irish Constabulary men who can give their sons higher education now. Farmers who could afford to do so in the past cannot do it now. The outlook of old was one of decency and manliness. That is gone. This is the day of "slickboys". They can afford to educate their children. That is what the great Irish republic has done for us. The whole system here is wrong. We are not an honest people. We are a crooked and a roguish people. In the past we boasted that we were the greatest people on God's earth. We boasted that we beat the British Empire into smithereens, yet at the present time we cannot get a ton of coal, although we send thousands of people over to hew it for British industry. Now, we cannot get a barrowful from our own country, except a lot of dirt we are glad to take. We send over our fat cattle because we have no place to send them except to John Bull. Still we cannot get coal. We have thousands drawing pensions for doing damn all. These are the things I like to talk about. I am not afraid to do so. Many of our people are work-shy. Men are going to England because they get £1 a week more than they get here. When they come back here they are big fellows, wanting to know why people here work for smaller wages or are satisfied when living under decent conditions. Far too many people who leave return with wrong ideas. I know more than one young man who left Ireland for Birmingham and when they came home they sneered at the Church. They were Communist as a result of their association with go-boys in England.

I want to stop emigration. I do not care what it costs to do that. I want to have the land resettled. There are thousands of acres in Meath that could be divided. I do not advocate confiscation. The market value should be paid for land. Forty or 50 acres of land should be given to decent people who will work it and give employment.

I do not want to bring men from the north, south, east and west and pay them to take land. I have no objection to suitable people getting land. The Government will not give it because they are playing dirty politics. Where the majority is not safe, they make it safe. The whole country is at present going mad about racing, about stud farms, about pictures and gambling. Millions of money are being spent on these things. Can the Government not put a curb on such activities? What do we want with stud farms, racing tracks and dog tracks? I have no objection to a visit to Punchestown once a year, but I never put a bob on a horse. I know men who started gambling on dogs and horses and to-day they have not a bob. They left their children starving and owe bank and shop debts.

I know other men who are flying around to these places in hired cars. Can we not curb such activities? Do we want racing and stud farms? I like to see a good hunter jumping a fence but the other activities should be kept under control. County Meath is becoming a racing den. The finest land is being taken over for that purpose. For every farm that is advertised, the owners can get any price they ask from people in England. The result is that these people are roping in thousands of acres of land. That is bad policy for this country. I warn the people against it. Of course, we have been told that there must be free sale and that it means the circulation of money. I say, to hell with money. Money is the curse of this country. I want to see everybody living under decent conditions and an end put to high-falutin nonsense. I want to see people paying their lawful debts and not squandering their money at the Curragh or anywhere else with fly-boys. I have seldom seen a farmer coming home from the races with a smile on his face. He may win once in a while but in the end the bookie has all.

I went through the revolutionary fight here and at one time had to plough with a collar and chain around my neck. People sneer at that now, but I did that for Irish freedom. I am prepared to do it again. I am prepared to teach the young generation that there is only one way to save this country, and that is by having a Christian outlook and by honesty. The Government know that what I am saying is the truth. In the fight for freedom we did not risk our lives for nothing. We did it for the sake of the Irish people so that they might be kept at home, be able to live in their own hand, and be really good members of the Catholic family.

This is a soul-destroying country, a country where everyone wants to get something easily and no man wants to work. I challenge any other person to say what I have said; they would not do it. My speech may lose me my political career, but I do not care, as what I have spoken is the naked truth. If everyone spoke as I speak, then we would change this country and make it a place worth living in, a land for free men. It can be done.

I ask the Government to harness the plough to industry, to make sure that those working in new industries are not paid a better wage than is paid in agriculture. If a man making the leg of a chair or a stool for a piano can draw £6 a week, while the man behind the plough, who is tearing up the land in order to grow wheat and beet, can only get £2 per week, then I say that is all wrong. That should be put right, no matter at what cost. I am satisfied that we have gone too far with this new industrial drive. We have a lot of Jews and Gentiles coming in here raking in money at our expense in their chain stores and other places. They are drawing that money from poor and humble people. But they will not invest their money here. They invest it in Palestine and London and wherever Freemasonry makes them invest it. They have this country in the hollow of their hands. The young generation and the old generation who believe in decency will arise and fight again, if needs be. We will save this country in spite of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael or Labour. As sure as the sun shines, the present generation will rise to do the job. If they do not, this nation is doomed owing to the faked democracy preached in this House. People in the country are crying for bread and we offer them red herrings and stones. Our people should be given a living in the land of their birth. It is their land. It is not the land of the Minister for Finance or the Taoiseach. It is the land of the men on the bogs and on the hills, and I hope that they know they own it.

Owing to the very bad weather conditions during the past few months, farming operations have been held up and seriously retarded. I ask the Government to make every effort to help the people to produce food and fuel in the most economical way. For that purpose, the Government should make available every tractor in the country. Some of those tractors last year did a small job of work; but this year every available tractor should be kept working day in and day out in preparing the land for the setting of seeds to produce wheat, beet and the other crops we require so much. Our live stock have been seriously injured owing to the bad weather. Owing to the bad harvest last year, the very poor return from cereal crops, the bad return from root crops, and poor hay, our cattle, sheep and horses are in a very bad way at the present time. Grass also has deteriorated owing to the bad weather.

I suggest that the Government should make available as soon as possible artificial manures at a reasonable price for those people who want to top-dress their grass in order to bring back our live stock to the condition in which they were at the fall of the year. Otherwise, I am afraid the butter and milk shortage will become worse during the coming year. I appeal, therefore, to the Government to do everything they possibly can to provide artificial manures for top-dressing grass land so that the cattle and live stock generally may improve in condition during the coming year. Owing to the fact that feeding has been very much reduced for our live stock, people have been compelled to use their reserves of oats and barley. The Government, therefore, should do everything they possibly can to get in an additional quantity of oats for seed purposes. Recently, we did get a small quantity, but it was entirely insufficient to meet the purposes for which it was intended. If the Government could do anything to get in an additional quantity of oats for seed purposes, it would be very desirable. As I said, tractors and machinery generally should be made available for farmers and, if possible, we should have a greater quantity of seed oats and seed potatoes made available.

Yesterday and to-day the Government have been the subject of very severe criticism from this side of the House. This is the fourth or fifth year that I have been in this House on the occasion of the Vote on Account being presented here and I may say that I have heard the same type of speech delivered here on each occasion. Owing to the way in which taxation is being piled on our people, we are very near the stage when our people will be unable to bear it. We have groups on this side of the House bitterly criticising the Government. The fact is that the Government are living in the moon and are out of touch with the people throughout the country. The solution for that is that the Government must go at all costs, if the Irish nation is to survive. The death of this nation is very fast approaching and that death is being expedited every day that Fianna Fáil remains in office.

No matter what small differences there may be in our political beliefs, one thing that we on this side of the House believe is that this Government must go. Small groups on this side, Labour, Farmers, Fine Gael, etc., put forward their views, but they have not any hope of being in a position to replace Fianna Fáil while they remain in small groups. If suggestions put forward from this side of the House are to be implemented, I believe that what is necessary is complete unity on this side of the House; that we should put our little differences and grievances aside and unite to form one good national Party which will arouse the spirit of the people again and remove those from office who are sucking the last drop of blood from the body of the taxpayers. We should unite with one object, namely, the removal from office of the Fianna Fáil Government. We should do everything we possibly can to bring about unity between all small Parties and groups and restore, if it is possible at this stage, some life to the Irish nation, because its death is approaching very fast.

The Cumann na nGaedheal Government were the subject of the most severe criticism from the Fianna Fáil Party for many a long day. When Cumann na nGaedheal were in office they were accused by the present Minister for Finance of wining and dining in London; they were accused of extravagance; they were accused of spending millions of the taxpayers' money wholly unnecessarily. To-day we see the most severe critics of those days now in office. Those severe critics have piled on to the taxation bill to-day an additional £30,000,000. There must be some explanation for this. The men who criticised Cumann na nGaedheal then have now placed the country in a deplorable condition with an additional burden of £30,000,000 over and above that of 1932. The Cumann na nGaedheal Government at that time were accused of living too luxuriously. The Cumann na nGaedheal Government could never hope to compete with the luxurious living of the Fianna Fáil Government to-day. We find them flying all over the country in State-provided cars, of the most superior type and the best construction, with highly-paid chauffeurs—all at the expense of the taxpayer. We find them flying from Fianna Fáil club to Fianna Fáil club and from conference to conference, all at the expense of the taxpayer. Surely, that is something against which the taxpayer should protest in the strongest possible language. Surely, that is where, if the Government had any conscience, they would do something to relieve the unfortunate taxpayer from this intolerable waste of public money.

Is it not a deplorable state of affairs to think that at one stage in the history of our State the bitterest criticism was being hurled against the upkeep of what was then the Governor-General's establishment? To-day we are saddled with the President's establishment—a downright waste of public money. I think that such an establishment is completely unnecessary. I am a citizen of this State but I owe allegiance to neither King nor President. The vast majority of our citizens do not care two thrawneens about the President. He is put up there by his colleagues in the Fianna Fáil Party. He is costing this country a fabulous sum of money at the expense of the unfortunate taxpayer. We have huge "spreads" and big garden parties to which foreigners are invited. They sit down at the tables of Arus an Uachtaráin whilst the subjects of that very same President have to seek accommodation in the county homes or are left to die of exposure on the roadside.

No later than last Saturday I came across the dead body of a traveller. He died in his caravan from want. The mother of that same traveller was parading the streets of the nearest town in a futile effort to secure even one loaf of bread to satisfy the hunger that existed in that van. She could not get that loaf of bread because no provision had been made for her by the Department concerned. She was not registered. She could not register. She was permitted to go hungry despite all the vehement statements made by the Government that there is no hunger in the country or no one suffering from starvation. I say they are not suffering from it, but they are dying from it. I know what I am speaking about because I was the very man who saw the remains of that traveller put into a coffin on the Portarlington road last week. I am convinced that it was as a result of want and starvation that the soul of that man went forth to meet its Maker on last Saturday.

I think that that is a shocking state of affairs. I think it is deplorable to see one section of our community living in the lap of luxury on the taxpayers' money while another section of the community is dying in want. I think that is something which should not be tolerated.

In this Estimate that is before the House now there is a provision made of £6,000,000 for the Department of Education. £6,000,000 for what? Take any young fellow leaving school at the present time, having reached the fifth standard. It will put him to the pin of his collar to write his name.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

It will put him to the pin of his collar to write his name because he has to spend three or four hours per day subjected to compulsory Irish. I am an advocate of the Irish language.

Oh, nonsense.

I would like to see it the spoken language of our people but, while you have our people taught half Irish and half English, they will be neither the one thing nor the other. What is happening at the present time? All around us we see people with Fáinnes—qualified Irish speakers, who have devoted their time to a study of the language—compelled to join the queue outside the labour exchange or parading to the Garda Síochána barracks to fill up their forms for a passport out of the country. The emigrant ship is waiting to take them from our shores to the land of our traditional enemy in order that they may secure an existence. Is not that a sad state of affairs?

Deputy Giles, speaking a moment ago, said that he had not very much belief in comparing figures, and that what he believed in were facts, a statement with which I thoroughly agree because I myself am not capable of competing with the Minister for Finance or the Front Benchers of the Fine Gael Party on the question of figures, but when it comes to what the plain, ordinary people want then I think I have a fairly good idea. They want work and they want wages and a decent standard of living. Instead of providing those people with a proper standard of living and decent wages the Government is concentrating on cosmic physics, on the provision of telescopes in South Africa, on the President's establishment—providing him with teams of well-trimmed horses and buglers so that he may parade through the streets. Surely, that is downright codology in a country where we have such poverty and such want. Ceremony is all very well in its proper place, if and when we can afford it. Ceremony cannot be tolerated while conditions of want prevail. To-day the honest worker must emigrate in order to keep "the home fires burning". As Deputy Giles has said—is it not almost too good for the people? Is it not almost too good for them? When the relatives of such emigrants are presented by the Fianna Fáil Party with empty cupboards, with empty bread bins—three loaves per week and two ounces of butter— they use the few pounds sent home by the emigrants from England—in all their blind foolishness they use John Bull's money — to lubricate their throats to shout "Up Dev" and "Come on, Fianna Fáil".

I think it is very sad that our people are so dumb and so blind. Let us take, for example, the statement made by the Minister for Industry and Commerce here to-day. "Times," he says, "will continue to get worse." Is not that a nice statement from the Minister for Industry and Commerce? "People." he said, "will continue to be worse off." Is not that a lovely statement? Is not that an encouraging statement for the people down in the country? I am afraid we have reached a stage when, as I have pointed out previously, the Irish nation is dying out completely. Unemployment was to be solved by the Fianna Fáil Government. As was stated here last night the Taoiseach was to arrange for a reception for all the emigrants who had previously emigrated to America and they were going to be put into full-time employment here at home, with decent wages and a proper standard of living. But 190,000 of the cream of Irish manhood were forced to take the emigrant ship to seek a livelihood abroad. They are an unknown loss to this country and, believe you me, it was not for the love of England that they went. It was not to assist England in her war effort, nor to assist to produce coal, nor to assist in the services of the Royal Air Force, nor because they were anxious to serve in Palestine. No, it was because they were forcibly prevented by Fianna Fáil policy to live, to exist, to remain at home and die from want or from hunger and starvation. Surely those are conditions which ought not exist in the country. Those are the conditions which are prevailing and those are the conditions which I believe have been deliberately brought about by Fianna Fáil, and the fact that those conditions are being experienced and exposed will, I hope, bring about a speedy change of Government at the next General Election.

We heard last night the Minister for Health and for Social Welfare give us an account of some increases which he is making to the old age pensioner and national health insurance. Old age pensioners at the present time are in receipt of 10/- per week—a miserable, paltry sum of 10/- per week on which no human being can exist. Ten shillings per week in the year 1947 and the cost of living gone up by leaps and bounds! Old age pensioners are expected to live on 10/- per week, to provide firing, clothing and food. Surely to goodness they cannot be expected to exist on it, and the Minister is not going to improve the situation by 2/6, because nowadays the value of 2/6 is about 8d. or 9d.: that is not going to make any difference at all. Could he not at least bring the services up to the standard of Northern Ireland—22/6 per week? They cannot live on 12/6 per week, and I do not wonder that Deputies on this side of the House look upon the presentation of 2/6 to the old age pensioner as a downright insult. The British Government can give 22/6 per week to the old age pensioner, but our own native Government can give only 10/- or under the new scheme 12/6. The road workers and county council workers who are employed scraping and cleaning the streets in the Six Counties are in receipt of £3 18s. per week as a result of administration by what the Government call the "bad, brutal British Government."

Here at home our native Irish Government have given our workers 44/- and 45/- per week. What labouring man can exist on 45/- per week? We are told that Ministers are in debt, yet they are in receipt of huge fabulous sums, motor cars and chauffeurs. What can the labourer do on 45/- per week? Surely he is just barely in existence, suffering a slow death from worry, because he cannot possibly exist on 45/- per week. The value of the £, as everybody knows, is roughly only 11/9 to-day. Yet we were told here last night that the unfortunate citizen who happens to be afflicted with ill-health would receive additional benefit from national health insurance funds in addition to what he might have. What could an unfortunate person who is ill have? Surely he cannot exist on 15/per week under the national health insurance. He would want at least 30/- per week, and that would not be sufficient because he would have to purchase medicines and he would have to get some extra nourishment in order to be restored to health.

Social services in this country are disgusting. They are completely bad and are, I am sure, the worst in any country in the world. The improvements which the Minister is presenting here to this House—2/6 to the old age pensioner and 7/6 to the unfortunate people who are suffering from illness and who are unable to work certainly are not going to give these people much relief. I fail to see how old age pensioners can live on 12/6 per week or how any unfortunate citizens who suffer from bad health can live on a rate of 15/- plus 7/6 under the new scheme. Does the Minister realise that half the population of this country are living on salaries of less than £3 per week? They must be living in poverty and debt and want. Charity is keeping the best part of them throughout the country—associations such as the St. Vincent de Paul Society and the Red Cross. The present Government have made paupers and beggars of the people. Deputy Kennedy last night spoke of the dole. He was not far out when he said that some of our workers wanted the dole and they were anxious to hold on to the dole. Those responsible for it are responsible for encouraging laziness among our workers— denying them work, decent wages, and a proper standard of living. As Deputy Giles said, our people are very weak— they are easily bought. We got free beef, free milk, free boots—free everything. That is how the Government are in office to-day. The Government purchased the people with the taxpayers' money. They encouraged our people into laziness. The Irish people want nothing free—neither free beef, free milk, nor free boots. They want to be in the independent position where they can live in decency with good jobs, a decent standard of living, and fair wages. I was bitterly criticised in my constituency for my condemnation of the dole but I have the courage of my convictions and I hold that the dole is the greatest curse that ever befell this country: no one should be in receipt of the dole. The Minister's Government is responsible for the dole and for sowing the seeds of laziness, if such exist.

It was not their duty to encourage such schemes; it was their duty to make the people live independently, to give them better conditions, better wages. That is what the people want; they do not want to live on somebody else or exist on charity. The Irish people are being turned into paupers. I am very sorry to have to admit it, but that is just as I see it.

Last week the Minister for Industry and Commerce said that bog workers were well fed and well paid. Well fed and well paid at 42/- or 44/- per week! Nobody outside Grangegorman would make such a statement. How could a man be well paid on that amount? Referring to bog workers, he said that there was peace and contentment among those employed in the production of fuel. To-day there are 1,400 of them on strike in my constituency. Is it because there are good conditions there and they are in a happy mood? They are not on strike without good reason and the Minister knows it. They are anxious for an improvement in the conditions under which they labour.

The leader of the Minister's Party invited suggestions from this side of the House as to what can be taken out of the Estimates that have been presented this year. Look at the item for Secret Service; it was never as high as it is this year, never as high even in the war years, when the Government could put up some case for providing secret service funds. This year is the twenty-first anniversary of Fianna Fáil and I suggest the secret service money is being distributed amongst the Fianna Fáil clubs. Members of the Fianna Fáil clubs are the recipients of the secret service money. This being the twenty-first anniversary of Fianna Fáil, it is only right to provide them with some little token in appreciation of the services they have rendered. They are getting it in the form of secret service money.

The Minister may say that Deputies or the general public do not know who is getting this money—there is nobody supposed to know who gets it. I can say that in Portlaoighise one of the heads of the Fianna Fáil club is getting secret service money, and let the Minister deny that. It is amongst the Fianna Fáil clubs the money is being distributed—touts for the police, touts for the Government, spies. Is it any wonder that there is an encouragement to crime when you have this secret service money paid out to members of the Fianna Fáil organisations? I make that allegation and I am prepared to stand over it. That is where the secret service money goes. There must be some token for the 21st anniversary.

Then we have the President's establishment. Waste, downright waste, all rot and codology.

Did not the Deputy say that before?

Yes, but I did not say anything about the State Laboratory. I do not know much about it, and I expect people down the country know nothing about it, but they have to pay for it.

We are dealing with the Vote on Account and the Deputy cannot take Estimates seriatim.

I am taking them in the same way as they were taken by the Minister for Industry and Commerce. I am entitled to criticise everything that calls for criticism here.

No, every Estimate will be considered separately later on.

It has been the practice to discuss them generally.

That is all I am doing. Universities and colleges—a fabulous demand in that respect. When demands came a few months ago from the national teachers the Government would not at the time meet those demands which were, in my opinion, fair, just and proper. The national teachers are the poor man's professors; the national schools form the poor man's university. What is provided for heating, lighting, cleaning, repairing and maintenance of the national schools, many of which are falling down? The poor man's children who attend there are frozen with the cold and have to be taught under very bad conditions.

Look at the fabulous demand for the Army. We have the Taoiseach advocating neutrality, telling us we ought to keep out of all wars, but still we must have a huge Army. Why is there such a huge demand for the Army? Is it for ceremonial purposes that the Army is wanted—for a parade in O'Connell Street when the President likes to come out? Such crazy demands I have never come across.

Some Deputies may have very strong views on those Estimates. I hold a particular view in connection with the relief of distress in Europe. I am as charitable as any Deputy in the House. I believe I comply with the Christian law in every respect, but I think our own people must come first when it comes to the relief of distress. I saw recently in the papers that in France, near Napoleon's grave, they are going to have a stone with the Taoiseach's name cut out on it because of what he has done to relieve suffering and distress in France. There is no danger of any stone being cut for him in this country for what he has done here; there will not be any stone unless it is a monument for those who have been compelled to die of starvation.

Our own people must come first if we are relieving distress. I would love if our own people were satisfied with plenty to eat and had plenty of work, good jobs with decent wages. Then, if we had a surplus of food, by all means it would be our bounden duty, and in accordance with the Christian law, to go to the aid of those in other countries suffering from hunger. But while we have people hungry at home I object to the export of even one raw potato. It is bad policy for any Government to encourage the presentation to other countries of clothes, woollens, foodstuffs or commodities of any kind whilst such things are required so much at home. Our own people have the first call on whatever resources we have.

It is terrible to see all the things we are exporting—sugar, butter, condensed milk, beef and mutton. What is left for our own people? They have three leaves of bread per week and two ounces of butter. Is it any wonder the population is declining? I do not like painting a gloomy picture, but I believe that if these conditions continue we will soon see this country like a desert. There will be nobody in it because of the continuous stream of emigration. People are flying headlong out of it. There is no attraction in rural life. There is no encouragement for the farmers' sons to remain at home. Not a penny is provided for the erection of halls in order that social functions might be provided for young men and women in the country, something to give them an interest in life there. The young people in the country districts are attracted by the amusements and social functions and they move into the cities and towns. I do not blame them. I say they are perfectly right. Nothing whatever is being done to make them happy and contented on the land.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce stated to-day, when he was questioned about the huge increase in the Civil Service, that he had not enough of staff and that the officials in his Department were working over-time. He went so far as to say that more civil servants would be required. I admit that civil servants are nice, obliging citizens. So far as I am concerned, I always found any civil servants with whom I had any dealings very helpful. At the same time I believe that a number of these civil servants are not required. The Civil Service has increased enormously under the present Government. The Minister says that they are overworked and that there is not a sufficient number of them but I should like, if I may, to quote from a speech made by the same Minister, as Deputy Lemass, on the 26th April, 1928, on Financial Motion No. 17, as reported in col. 551 of the Dáil Debates, Vol. 23. The Minister then said:

"I am convinced, at any rate, from what little experience I have been able to get of the working of some Departments that there are numbers of civil servants who are unnecessary. I am prepared to agree with the Minister for Finance that there are large numbers of civil servants who work very hard. There are numbers of them who are perhaps entitled to claim that they are overworked. But those few efficient men who are worked hard have got to work hard because there are large numbers of inefficient men who are doing nothing. I think that any Minister who takes the trouble to investigate the conditions in his own Department will find that that situation exists; that the work is being done by a few with the many standing looking on."

What year is that?

It was the same man who made the other statement.

If it was, he is Minister for Industry and Commerce to-day.

And he is also Deputy Lemass.

I think the Deputy is quite in order in quoting from a former speech of the Minister.

I am entitled to criticise him——

The Deputy can make comparisons in a general way but he cannot go on quoting indefinitely.

This is the first quotation I have heard the Deputy make.

I submit that it is perfectly in order. It was not ruled out in the case of former speakers.

A few years ago he told us that if there were a few efficient men working, there were large numbers of inefficient men who were doing nothing. Did he tell us to-day what he has done to change that situation? If there were men looking on in 1928, there must be thousands looking on to-day. There are practically as many civil servants to-day in the country as there are labouring men, and what return are the taxpayers getting? I see very little return. We have hordes and hordes of inspectors. The taxpayers are asked to foot the bill for these hordes of officials. We have officials on the land dictating to the farmers and you have them in industry. You will soon have officials in the home to tell the parents how to rear their children properly. The whole country is being run by officials.

A good deal has been said on the question of whether we should encourage tourists to come to this country. It is a very nice thing to see people coming to spend their money here, but I think it a very foolish policy to encourage tourists at present. What are they going to purchase for their money without increasing existing shortages for people here?

Certain Deputies made reference to the fabulous sums that were lying idle in the banks. May I point out as I have had occasion to point out here before, that he who controls the purse, controls the tune? The purse is controlled by the banks in this country—by a few private individuals. I can remember when the Taoiseach and the Minister for Industry and Commerce on more than one occasion said that one of the first jobs that Fianna Fáil would undertake would be to take over the banking system of the country, but they have not done anything about it. It would not suit the bank directors. It would not suit some of the Taoiseach's bank-director friends that he put into the Seanad when he could not find any place for an Old I.R.A. man who fought side by side with him. Bank directors and capitalists hold this Government in the hollow of their hand.

The Government have failed completely to deal with the unemployment problem. When they could not do that within the present system, what is to prevent their going outside the present system, as they promised to do in 1932? What is holding them back? The capitalists and the industrialists, the bankers and the Masons. It is about time the Taoiseach and the Government had the courage of their convictions and took out of the hands of private individuals the control of the creation of money. That is an authority that should come from the people of the country, an authority which should be vested in the Government of the country and not in a few private individuals who can crack their fingers at both the people and the Government. The bank directors with their banks full of deposits are just waiting to know how they will invest the thousands that are lying idle in the banks. Whose money is it? I submit that control of the banking system should not be left in the hands of private individuals. The sole creation of the issuance of credit should rest in the hands of the Government elected by the people.

We have had an increase in taxation of £30,000,000 from 1932 to the present day and probably by this time ten years we shall have a further increase of £30,000,000 or £40,000,000. Where is that going to lead to? I can see the country swallowed up in bankruptcy. The Government would receive the fullest measure of support from all sides of this House in any attempt to remove control of the monetary system from the hands of those private individuals who are out to get fatter and richer while the people grow thinner and poorer. The present banking system is merely daylight robbery. The Parliamentary Secretary at present in the House is a very good economist and he knows that Reginald McKenna, the chairman of the Midland Bank, said at a dinner of bankers in London that every bank loan creates a deposit. Every time a man enters a bank to seek a loan under present conditions he is putting a millstone of debt about his neck while he is making the bank richer. I think it is high time the Government faced up to its responsibility and took out of the control of the bank directors the financial policy of this country and so relieve the people of some of the burden of taxation. The Government were elected with a mandate to take out of the hands of these private individuals the power of the creation of money. Agriculture at the present time is completely held up for lack of capital.

The principal aim of all interested in agriculture should be increased production because that means increased prosperity. If, in the town of Mountmellick, a person had a £5 note, he could parade from one end of the town to the other and would not get a loaf of bread for it. Of what use is the paper-money if it has not the production behind it? It is from the land that all good and all real wealth comes and it is through the land that our national and economic ills can be cured.

Some years ago the statements I am making now—which the present Government may consider wild—were made by them when they were in Opposition. They gave warning that when they would be elected to office they would make it one of their first duties to deal with the banking system. I may point out, as other Deputies have pointed out, that the vast majority of our farmers are up to their eyes in debt and not in a position to increase production. I put it to any honourable Deputy that week after week requests come to him from farmers in his constituency to make representations on their behalf to some financial institution, to the Agricultural Credit Corporation, or to give them an introduction and reference to the local bank managers. It is deplorable that the men who are the backbone of the nation, the producers of real wealth, are unable to produce to their full capacity for lack of capital.

Many of the farmers who are enduring the burden of debt at the present time purchased holdings after the first great war, when money was available ad lib to the farmers. They bought land out of the money they had borrowed but in 1923, or 1924, they got a writ either to pay up or to clear out. In many cases homes were wrecked. Heart-broken farmers were compelled to sell out and many of them are still paying fabulous sums by way of interest to the bankers.

As far as the agricultural industry is concerned, it can produce but if the farmers are to produce as the Government want them to produce the Government is in duty bound to relieve the agricultural community in general of the debt on their shoulders and to help them to work. It cannot be expected that farmers will pay very big wages to their workers—which they would be very anxious to do—when there is a rope of debt around their necks and when they are receiving no financial assistance from the Government that would relieve them from that debt. I know farmers in my constituency who have deliberately refrained from increasing production because of their lack of capital. The Agricultural Credit Corporation is not of very much assistance to them. From my experience of the banks, a robber, a burglar, or a thief, with a six-shooter in his pocket, is more welcome there than many of the small farmers.

Even with the Deputy's letter?

I would be glad if we had Deputy McGrath to give a few letters in my constituency, if they would have the same influence in Laoighis-Offaly as they have in Cork. Those farmers would be in the way of increasing production if they had the capital to purchase sufficient stock and machinery. In many districts in my constituency there are only one or two mowing machines, which have to be sent on loan around the whole parish. Why cannot every farmer have his own mowing machine? Agriculture is our only industry and can be our only industry and the only way in which it can prosper is by progressively increased production. That is what really counts. Why not then, as a first step, make every farmer independent and in a position to have his own horses, his own implements, if possible, his own tractor, and to increase his live stock? Then when he had sowed his seed he could not be anxiously awaiting the autumn, watching the crop being cut and taken to the haggard and being threshed. Most farmers at the present time anxiously await the threshing season because they know that then they are near some small measure of relief, that the harvest cheque will come. Last year, farmers had a guaranteed price of 55/- per barrel for wheat, they sowed the wheat on the expectation of 55/- per barrel. The bad weather came, for which the Government were not responsible.

Or hardly aware of.

If they had studied cosmic physics ten years ago we would have known all about it. It was lack of foresight on the part of the Taoiseach, again. The harvest cheque is some measure of relief but it is only a temporary relief. I was pointing out that they were guaranteed 55/- per barrel for wheat but, owing to the bad weather, they did not get 55/- in many cases, even in County Wexford. Deputy O'Leary produced a certificate from a farmer who got only 43/- per barrel for his wheat. I know farmers in my constituency who got only 42/-. The farmer was not responsible for the weather, the Government, of course, were not responsible for the weather, but it seems to me that the farmer should not have been the victim of circumstances that were not his fault or be made to suffer serious loss because the crop was not to standard. My knowledge of wheat growing is very limited, but I know that the farmers have not profited from wheat growing. Nobody has profited but the millers. They are the only people who have profited. Why does not the Government take the necessary steps to take over the flour mills altogether, as was suggested by a Deputy? Some of the controllers of the flour mills, of course, are also directors of the banks, and the Government must bend its knee to the banks. Of course, the whole thing is in the hands of a clique, and the Irish people, as well as the farmers, are suffering as a result of the wangle.

I stated on many occasions that if agriculture was to prosper it must be properly financed. Year after year when the harvest arrives farmers are faced with a big post. The letters contain bills, rate demands, annuity demands from the Land Commission, sixdays' notices as well as shop debts, so that three weeks after the threshing, by the time all the gaps are filled, they are as poor as they were nine months previously when they put the seed in the ground.

It is nothing but a long day of debt, misery and poverty. The Government has not faced up to that serious position by relieving these unfortunate people of debt. We were told that it could not be done, that debts could not be wiped out. I do not know how many hundred millions England owed to America after the first Great War, but the bill got the blue pencil and there was no more about it. A Government anxious to assist industry and agriculture should put those engaged in them in the way of getting capital so as to increase production, and thereby increasing our national wealth.

Deputies referred to the social and economic position here. All I can say is that we are labouring under a system that has been a complete failure. Having failed to administer properly under the present system it is time that the Government got the advice of some economist, in order to see what measure of relief can be given outside the present system. I believe that at present it is all the same what Government is elected, whether Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael. I suggest that at present we have all to bend our knees to bankers, capitalists and present-day financiers. It is all the same what we call ourselves, all will meet with the same fate. The proper steps for the Government to take in that direction, is to see that the financial system is completely changed. The creation and issue of credit should not be left in the hands of private individuals. I think the Government should be the responsible authorities there.

In view of the very deplorable conditions under which our people are living, it is a sad state of affairs to see fabulous sums being spent on hotels for tourists, with lifts, lounge bars and furnished in the most sumptuous manner. Thousands of pounds are being lavishly spent in that way, but I can see nothing here to provide cottages for labourers or agricultural workers. The City of Dublin is crying out for houses. Every Deputy who is a member of a local authority can say that his heart is nearly broken by requests from 20 or 30 applicants when a cottage becomes vacant. Many families are living under most unhealthy conditions.

Of course the Government have their attention directed in other directions and do not seem to be interested in the provision of such houses. It is a problem which should be attacked vigorously so that houses are provided for working-class people. It is most unfair, most unhealthy and un-Christian to have three or four families living in one house. A regulation by the Department of Local Government prevents tenants of labourers' cottages subletting. In cases where they did sublet, in order to take families off the roadside, orders were issued and eviction scenes caused to prevent unfortunate people sleeping under a roof.

I think Deputy O'Higgins was right when he said that there was one law for the rich and another for the poor. It is disgraceful to see the way the poor have been treated. I think it is about time the workers realised that they have responsibilities to themselves and to their families. They should wake up and fill the ranks of the respective trade unions and demand a decent standard of living and proper wages. In my opinion the day is gone for being a patriot. The day of bread, butter, jobs and wages has arrived. Money is wanted now for provisions. I am very much surprised at the apathy of workers, and that in many respects they have not revolted at their position. At the present time no worker should be in receipt of less than £3 10s a week. It is bad Government policy, it is an unsound policy to ask anyone to take less, seeing that the cost of living has increased by 70 per cent. We have sky-high prices for everything but rock-bottom wages. The Government will have to face the problem and see that steps are taken to improve the conditions of the workers.

Steps should also be taken to have some proper trade agreement with Great Britain. During the last few months of the war every other country in Europe was looking forward to what would happen with its ending. Of course we were too busy otherwise. We did not bother making any arrangements. One Minister—I think it was the then Minister for Agriculture— went to England to make a trade agreement about turkeys, and came back with no written agreement. I suppose he was too busy wining and dining.

That is a charge which should not be made—personal abuse.

There is a great precedent. I was subjected to that for years.

I told the Deputy that such charges should not be made.

They were made in this House long ago.

In view of that, I think that if a man made an agreement, and came back without writing, his mission was a failure, and he was not a responsible man to send. If a representative of a Government goes to make an agreement with the Minister of another Government we expect him to come back with an agreement. We do not want words; we want writing.

It is deplorable to think that a responsible Minister who goes to meet the responsible Minister of another country could come back and tell the House that he brought back no agreement.

He thought he did.

I am surprised if such deplorable conditions could exist in the administration of the affairs of the country in that respect. I am not satisfied that the very great demands made here by the Minister for Finance should pass without being severely criticised. I believe this expenditure is uncalled for; that it is downright waste. It is surprising to see so many items in the demand for which fabulous sums are wanted from the taxpayers, and to notice what little consideration was given to the provision of full-time employment and decent wages.

I suggest to the Government that it would pay them much better if they directed some of their talent towards keeping our people at home and providing full-time employment for them and make the country a little more prosperous than it is. I think that the Irish nation is dying out. We are one of the oldest and grandest nations in the world, and I think it is a shame that our country should have fallen into the hands of such irresponsible citizens as the present Government. They are men without intelligence. If they have brains, I believe that they do not know how to use them or do not intend to use them. They can use them all right in their own interests or in looking after the interests of their colleagues and friends.

As has been pointed out, these men have lost all touch with the country. In my opinion, the Government are getting old. After 15 years, they are commencing to get very lazy and are taking no interest whatever in the activities of the people through the country. They are not the least interested in the people. For example, Deputy Pattison last night raised a very important matter when he informed the House that a responsible head of a Government Department refused point blank to receive a deputation of responsible county councillors from his constituency to discuss a matter of very great local and national importance. I think we have reached the stage when the Government are commencing to snap their fingers at the people. They are out of touch with the people and do not propose to get in touch with them. They will not take advice from the people or even from the representatives of the people.

In my opinion, we have a complete dictatorship here. It is not healthy for the people. It is very bad for administration. While you have such administration, you cannot have anything but the very bad and horrible conditions under which our people are compelled to exist at present. I am afraid that while the present Government is in existence there will be no improvement. The aim of this House and the aim of every decent, respectable citizen who has any love for his country should be to sacrifice everything in order to secure the removal of Fianna Fáil from office. It is the only way the country can be saved. Like the Good Samaritan who fell amongst thieves and robbers, I think this poor country met with a terrible stroke of bad luck. It was most unfortunate and most unlucky. The very men who in 1932 rode on horses behind the Taoiseach and carried torches and lighted bonfires—I was one of them myself and I repent of it——

Will the Deputy deal with the Vote?

The vast majority of our people regret that they fought so hard to put this Government into office because they were promised a Utopia. They were promised a land flowing with milk and honey. We were to be the most prosperous country in the world. It did not take long for the people to discover their mistake. It is a true saying that all the people cannot be fooled all the time. Their eyes have been opened. Two ounces of butter and three loaves of bread a week will cause any man to look around him.

After 15 years of Government that promised to bring happiness and prosperity to the country it is only right that he should look around him. The country was to be wallowing in riches. The people were to have decent wages and full-time employment, but the people discovered that it was only a dream. The people were gulled and codded again. The people are beginning to realise that; they will not be fooled again.

The Minister for Health last night promised an increase of 2/6 to old age pensioners. That will not purchase them this time; they cannot be purchased. The people realise now where they stand. Such promises as were made in the past cannot be made again. The question is, will the people believe in anyone? They have been let down so badly in the past that it will be very hard for the people to place their confidence in anyone in the future. They looked to the present Government with genuine sincerity and it was too bad that they were defrauded in the manner in which they have been. However, I hope that some day the people will be given the Government which they deserve. It would bring tears to the eyes of any person to see thousands of the cream of Irish manhood being compelled to emigrate from this country.

If the Deputy has anything to say on the Vote he might say it.

I strongly oppose the Vote and, if there is a division on it. I must follow my conscience and vote against it, because the money will not be spent where it is most needed, namely, amongst the poorer sections of the people, the aged and the sick, and also the farmers who are asked to increase production. These people deserve more consideration than they are receiving from the Government.

It is not my intention to follow on the lines of the previous speaker. I am disappointed that the Government have not announced any plans to deal with the serious position in which the country is placed in connection with food production. In my constituency, we have been suffering severely for the past six or seven weeks owing to the severe weather conditions. I do not blame the Government for that. I blame them for not announcing any policy to meet the serious crisis that may be upon us within the next four or five weeks. Every farmer requires assistance in carrying out his tillage operations, so that every available acre that can be tilled will be tilled within the next month.

In one portion of my constituency there are four or five feet of snow and there is no communication with portion of that county at the present time. We have been unable to get a true account of the large numbers of cattle and sheep that have died within the last three or four weeks. When the snow clears away, I wonder what provision the Government will make for meeting the situation facing these people. They will require capital and labour in order that they may till every available acre.

I heard the Minister state the other day, in reply to a question, that no compensation can be given in these cases. The farmers there have lost thousands of pounds and all their capital is gone. Where are they to get money to meet their requirements? Compensation has been given for damage to property caused by the explosion of a mine. If we can compensate at the taxpayers' expense owners of houses in Dalkey and Dun Laoghaire which were damaged by the explosion of a mine, surely it is up to the Government to give some compensation to those farmers in the Wicklow hills who have lost all their live stock within the last three or four weeks. The Government have made no statement as to what they propose to do so that every acre possible will be tilled. Are the experienced agricultural workers in the Army going to be sent to do this work? Are we going to make any effort to send the agriculturists now in the Army down into the rural areas in order to ensure that we will not be faced with hunger next autumn? This is not a political matter. This is not a Party matter. This is a matter which requires the co-operation of every citizen in the State. We are now three months late in sowing our crops. We are left with one month in which to try to put in our spring wheat and our oats. There is not enough help available in the rural areas. Why? There is not enough help available because, under our present agricultural policy, the farm labourer is compelled to leave the rural areas because his wages are not sufficient to enable him to eke out an existence. The farmer, on the other hand, maintains that he is not receiving sufficient for his produce to enable him to pay a higher rate of wages for labour. We all know that there is a big difference between the price the farmer receives for his commodity and the price the consumer has to pay for it. That difference goes to the middleman and the middleman is the only one who makes a profit. I hold that a subsidy will have to be given to the farmer to enable him to pay a wage whereby he will retain the skilled labour on his land.

I am not satisfied with the explanation as to the butter shortage. Years ago we had evidence that our butter production was declining. At the same time we had evidence from the reports published each week that large numbers of our milch cows were being exported out of the country. We should have kept our milch cows here. Had we done so we would now be in a position to-day not only to supply ourselves with butter but to export butter to our nearest neighbour.

We have had no statement in connection with the fuel position. Last year an Order came down from the Department of Local Government to the county councils under which they were told that they would have from 25 to 30 per cent. less for the production of turf. Is the same policy going to be implemented this year? Every man at the present moment who is not directly required in agriculture should be put into turf production. This year the Department of Local Government has sent down an Order to prepare for road reconstruction and improvement. In order to carry out that work the rates have had to be increased by 3/- in the £. I think that we can do without the roads, and I think the men who would be engaged on road reconstruction and repair should be turned over to the production of turf. Food and fuel are the two essentials on which we are vitally dependent at the present time. Two months ago we approached the Department and appealed to them to do that very thing they have been compelled to do now. The fuel merchants are selling firewood in two and four-ton lots and the poorer sections of our community are unable to secure firewood under this system. In my constituency the poor would still be as badly off now were it not for one charitably disposed merchant. He made loads of timber available—donkey loads at 2/6 each and horse loads at 5/- each so that the poorer people could have some firing. Most of the merchants will only sell to those who can take a lorry load. I have pointed out to the Minister the serious position in regard to fuel and food.

With regard to social services, the Minister has told us that he is granting increases to the widows and the orphans. At the same time he has taken away from the widows and the orphans in the urban areas the vouchers to which they were hitherto entitled. Why is he doing that? Certain sections of the community who were in receipt of these vouchers were entitled to six ounces of butter per week. An employed man is only entitled to two. By taking away the vouchers now the Minister is taking from these people that allowance of butter.

It is for the purpose of saving the butter and the milk that the Minister has decided to withdraw these vouchers and give a few extra shillings instead. But a few extra shillings will not compensate for the loss of the milk or the butter ration under the new arrangement. The result is that these people will be worse off in the future, even with the few extra shillings, than they were in the past.

With regard to disablement benefit, I think the Minister should extend the time. I think when a man is sick, after drawing his full national health insurance, he should receive a substantial contribution from the State to help him to recover his health. There should be no time limit. The Minister may say that under such a scheme there would be danger of malingering. I do not think that that is right. There might be a few cases but they would be the exception rather than the rule. I think the Minister should have acted more generously in regard to social services and disablement benefit.

Under the new arrangement there will be an increase of 50 per cent. The cost of living has increased by 70 per cent. It is over 70 per cent. in the rural areas. Notwithstanding the increase of 50 per cent. the recipient will be worse off now than in 1939 because the extra allowance will not compensate for the increased cost of living. Old age pensioners and blind pensioners will receive an increase of 25 per cent. An increase of 25 per cent. is not sufficient at the present time. I do not want to go over the roads already travelled by the other Deputies but I would ask the Minister to give us some indication of the Government's plan to deal with the problem of the production of food. Have they any plan? Will they leave it to each agricultural committee? Voluntary help may be all right for the harvest but the Minister knows well that while voluntary help may be all right for the harvest it will not be satisfactory for tillage operations in the spring. I suggest that the Minister should release from the Army, for the next four or five weeks, men who have experience of this work. I realise that the cost of living has increased by 70 per cent. or 80 per cent. and if it cost us £26,000,000 some 10 or 15 years ago to run the State the £52,000,000 we are asked for is only double that amount, allowing that the pound is only worth 11/- now.

Therefore, I am not criticising the Government but I do say that the Department should do much better for social services. I am very disappointed, considering the promise we received from the Taoiseach that a Minister would be appointed to bring in services similar to those which have been granted in other countries, that only a miserable 50 per cent. in some cases and 25 per cent. in other cases, increase in allowances have been made to those people. Now if the value of the £ is reduced we cannot criticise the Government: but I would ask the Government to reconsider the position even if larger contributions are necessary from the men who are in permanent work and who are receiving a higher wage. I am suggesting that any person in constant employment would not object to paying a higher contribution if he knew that, in return for his contribution, he would be protected when sick or unemployed and that it benefit his colleagues or his friends in other areas. There may be criticism of insurance but any man who takes the long view that the Government is determined to give better social services will not object to paying a higher contribution for services in lieu of home help and dispensary systems which have been in operation and which are not satisfactory at the present time. We would have the support not only of the members of the House but of the people generally and I hope that the Minister will make some announcement in the matter.

I wish also to refer to the Local Government Department. While we had emergency Orders in operation agricultural workers were confined to certain wages and we had an Order from the Minister for Local Government to county managers that they were not to increase the wages of road workers over the wages of agricultural workers. Now that the emergency Order has been removed the road workers should be granted an increase. The Minister for Local Government promised the Minister for Industry and Commerce that no reasonable request made to his Department by county managers would be refused. We find that the county managers asked to be allowed to increase by at least 8/- or 9/- the wages of road workers over what they were receiving in 1939 but the Local Government Department has not sanctioned those increases.

The same excuse is made by the Minister for Lands with regard to forestry workers—that until the wages of agricultural workers are increased he is prevented by Government policy from increasing the wages of forestry workers. I would suggest that as the Government has granted increases to other officials they should grant increases to road workers and forestry workers so that they will have a decent wage and that there will be no friction during the spring-time and that the people of the country will be assured of having their crops and country saved.

I am glad that, even though we have 73 items in the proposed Vote, most of our time is devoted to the all-important matter of fuel and food production. We have heard very scathing remarks about the fuel position and about the turf which has been our mainstay for years back, but any honest man must admit that the job of producing turf during the emergency was well done. With regard to the position of turf and its condition at the present moment— well, with the terrible weather we have had since the first week in August, I do not know how anybody could expect it to be anything but what it is. Given a week or a fortnight of reasonable March weather there will be plenty of dry turf available. However, the people say that there is another problem, that is, the problem of transporting it from where it is at the moment to the big centres of population where it will be required. In my district we have thousands of tons of turf and quite a number of people have acquired lorries and, if sufficient petrol is made available to lorry owners, they will supplement the facilities to be offered by the railway and it will go a long way towards meeting the needs of the cities and towns by transporting the turf rapidly.

Up to the present, even where some of the turf owners were in a position to supply dry turf, the lorries were restricted in the amount of petrol made available to them. If we continue that policy after the next fortnight or three weeks, when, with God's help, the turf will be fit to transport, we might as well give over talking about the transport of turf to the towns and the cities because it cannot be done. The number of people calling on the railways would be so great that the turf could not be transported. Therefore, I advise that steps be taken now to conserve, if necessary, the amount of petrol available even if it means putting those who have private cars off the road—off the road they must go—in order to keep the turf lorries going.

We know that next to turf, wood is the best alternative, and I am sure it will be admitted that what trees were made available were a God-send to people not only in the county but in the country too. I think it is no credit to a native Government that we yet have not the foresight to plant and replant trees for fuel. I have seen trees that were planted within the past 20 years cut down recently and burned. We have control of our own finances for well over 20 years and if the slightest move had been made right through these years there would not be a fraction of a scare on account of a fuel scarcity.

Our Forestry Department is concentrating on the planting of trees that will produce commercial timber. I know of several places that were offered to the Forestry Department and they were rejected because the timber that would grow on them would not be useful for commercial purposes. To my mind, and it must be evident to everybody here, the lesson that we have learned for the past few months must be that timber that can be produced for firing must be ranked as commercial timber. I hope, even though it is rather late in the day, that from this moment forward not only will trees for commercial timber be planted, but trees also for fuel purposes.

Our bogs, we cannot deny it, are running out. I saw people given an acre of bog each away back in 1904. These people did not sell turf; they simply cut as much as supplied the needs of their own homes. The acres of bog have been finished for the past three or four years. It is all very well, judging from statistics, to calculate that there is as much bogland in the country as will produce peat that will do us for, maybe, 200 years. There might be vast expanses of bogland in the Midlands, but what I have in mind are the bogs fairly convenient to the homes of people along the coastline. These people have relied on the turf produced from these bogs as the cheapest and most effective fuel they can get. If there is no alternative fuel within the next 20 years, I am satisfied that another problem will be created for whatever Government is then in power, whether it be Fianna Fáil or a Government after the heart of the second last speaker who addressed the House.

It may not be Fianna Fáil.

One never knows. Now, coming to the question of forestry, I received a deputation within the past week of men who are employed by the Forestry Department in Killarney. I find that some of them are paid £2 4s. a week, out of which they pay 8d. for a stamp. After making inquiries I find that the same old story is dished out to us, that the wages to be paid to these people must be related to the agricultural wage. If a higher wage cannot be paid to the agricultural worker, I think it is about time that we examined our consciences. We cannot afford to allow all the men to leave the land to get employment with the Forestry Department or with any other Department, and there is always the temptation for men to work not, mind you, for higher wages, but where there will be numbers of men employed.

Your idea is the crowd?

If the Deputy examines the position, he will find there is a tendency for us to like the company of our fellow men. That is why the Deputy is a member of a Party, maybe.

That is why they are all gone to England.

To raise the wages of agricultural workers means that the incomes of those who employ the agricultural workers must be increased too. I travelled through my constituency recently and I am satisfied there is a genuine demand for a change of front on the part of those engaged in agricultural production. While increasing the price of agricultural products will go part of the way towards solving their problems, there is a counterpart which they must play, and that is to increase their production.

I have made a small calculation to show how difficult it is for the agricultural community to meet some demands. I am taking the price of milk at 1/- a gallon—it was not 1/- a gallon when milk was plentiful during the summer. Our cows do not produce more than 320 gallons or thereabouts and, at 1/- a gallon, that represents only £16 per cow. A man with a reasonably-sized farm employs a man and woman. The man at present will cost £84 and his keep, and the woman will cost £40 and her keep. The man and woman together will cost about £130 and, if we allow £100 for the keep of both, we have £230. The principal source of revenue to the farmer is the amount of milk he sells and, at £16 per cow, it will take the milk of 14 cows at 1/- per gallon to pay the man and the woman and their keep. That is without making the slightest allowance for the income which is still due to the man and his wife.

That is a problem which must be tackled. I am quite satisfied that the new Minister has his coat off to the job and, when he has travelled through the country and discussed the matter with the people engaged in the industry, he will be able to come before the House with proposals that will satisfy the farming community that the business in which they are engaged will be a profitable one.

Reference has been made to social services. Some speakers attack the Government for spending at a rate which is out of proportion to the earning capacity of the country, and we are told that the total bill of £52,000,000 is 100 per cent. higher than the amount provided in 1926 or 1928. As Deputy Everett stated, if we use the argument that the value of the £ is now only 11/6 when we talk about low wages, we must use the same argument when talking about the huge expenditure of the Government.

If the £ is now valued for only 11/6, the total of £52,000,000 is very little more than the amount asked for in 1928. If we are to have social services, they must be paid for. There is no use in asking for more social services unless we give the responsible Minister the right to collect the necessary money, because social services cost money, and that money can be provided only out of taxation.

There are one or two other matters to which I would like to refer briefly. Somebody mentioned in this House what he called the terrible amount spent on education and then interjected the remark that pupils having completed the sixth standard programme in the national schools at present can scarcely write their names. It is absolutely ridiculous to use this House for the purpose of broadcasting a statement like that, because it is wrong. I know it, because I am a teacher. Those very people who make that charge blame the Government because they give extra money to the teachers. The man who makes that statement is saying, in effect, that the teachers are doing nothing for their money. I can say, on the contrary, that the pupils leaving the national schools to-day are as well prepared for the life before them as the pupils who left the national schools at any time in the memory of the oldest man living in this country.

We have before us a demand for the largest sum of money we have ever been called upon to face in this country. The Minister for Social Services told us last night that £2,000,000 extra was to be added to the £52,000,000, and we know from past experience that there will be Supplementary Votes later on during the year, so that at the end of the period the taxpayer will probably have to bear a total expenditure of something like £60,000,000. The Minister for Industry and Commerce intervened this afternoon in the debate and he spoke with something more than his customary force in asking the House very vehemently to give him plans. He asked Deputies to be realistic, to face the position as if they were examining the foundations of the whole State policy and he upbraided the Opposition for not producing definite plans. A speaker since then, replying, said that it was the function of the Opposition to oppose.

I do not entirely agree with that statement. A great deal of the Opposition's work is to oppose but if it is to be constructive, wherever possible in the matter of these great State Departments, how can any member of the Opposition go through that Book in respect of any Department, look at the items there and genuinely come forward with the detailed criticism on the expenditure of that Government Department that would be necessary in order to make a criticism of the type suggested? Nobody but the responsible Minister can really discuss individual items of reduction.

I think it is a sad state of affairs that a Minister will intervene in a debate like this and not put forward one constructive proposal. I think that when Deputies have an opportunity of reading the speech of the Minister for Industry and Commerce, they will see that there is not one constructive proposal in it. I noticed a few days ago that in discussing the fuel situation, the same Minister said in connection with the position in Dublin, that to satisfy Dublin's needs with wood would be out of the question. At the same time we were told that we could not get turf at the moment and we know we cannot get coal. Is that facing the realities of the position? That is what every citizen in Dublin is up against to-day.

I want to talk in particular about butter, milk and fuel. I do not know whether rural Deputies generally are aware of the seriousness of the position in regard to milk in Dublin. Dublin is on the verge of a milk famine. I know big households that formerly got upwards of 14 pints of milk that are now getting only six and are very glad to get it. I know a household consisting of a husband and wife, one child and two other adults who now get only one pint of milk from the milkman and another pint per day from a relative. That is the position of well-to-do people here. What must be the position of the poor, because they are always the first to suffer?

Let us face another reality of the position. We talk glibly about production and of the two ounce butter ration. What does it mean? It means that butter has nearly disappeared from Ireland. Yet, the Minister for Industry and Commerce told the House to-day that agricultural production has increased. What consolation is that to a mother trying to feed her children on a ration of two ounces of butter and four ounces of margarine each, per week? We are told that it may not be possible to continue the margarine ration. If it is possible to continue it, it means that in agricultural Ireland there is a ration of six ounces of edible fats. We are told that agricultural production has increased. That is very poor consolation to a woman trying to build up a delicate child. What provision has been made for pregnant women who need an extra fat ration? What provision has been made for women and small children as regards milk? Have the Government any plans for that? We have not heard about a single plan.

We have not heard about any plans in connection with fuel in Dublin. Earlier to-night Deputy Everett mentioned that in his part of the country the poorer people cannot get wood. The position is the same in Dublin. If you can afford to pay for six tons of wood you may get a lorry load but it will cost about £24 and very few people have the space for it. I see the people in York Street queueing up for wood every day. We have all seen photographs in the newspaper of poor people standing out in this bitter weather queueing for fuel. Why did not the Government make arrangements to have depots opened and small lots of wood supplied to the poor of the city? Does the Minister know that people are being asked to pay, and are paying, 1/- a stone for wood on the streets of Dublin? If my arithmetic is correct that works out at £8 per ton. That is the position of people who cannot store fuel. Then the Government look to the Opposition for plans. Shortly after I came into this House, I heard the Taoiseach talking about post-war plans. We have seen mighty few post-war plans. I do not know where they have been since then, but that was in 1943 or 1944. Nothing is being done in these matters.

Again, the Minister for Industry and Commerce talked about the coal situation. We know that coal comes from England. We know that England is in a difficult position in respect of coal. But we have certain rights. We have always bought our coal from England. We all know that, but what no person in this country knows is whether or not the responsible Minister is doing his duty by the country. Is he trying as hard as he ought to be? We do not know. We are completely in the dark as to what efforts have been made and are being made to get coal for this country. There may be certain arrangements that, while they are going on, cannot very well be spoken about. It may be that there are private matters at a certain stage of negotiation but we have no hint whatsoever that anything is being done in that way.

To turn to the production side, as regards food. The Government has put forward no constructive policy with regard to milk production. We have heard the advice, grow more wheat, and I am not saying one word against it. We must have wheat and it is the duty and, perhaps, the privilege of every farmer to do his best in that connection for the country. We have never heard "produce more milk". We are very near a terribly dangerous situation in regard to milk in the City of Dublin, and it is not a question of transport difficulty. I have spoken to welfare workers in the City of Dublin who cannot get the quantity of milk they require for their organisations, and I am sure other city Deputies will support me in that.

Milch cows are still going out of the country every day.

Milk is going out of Dublin.

The Minister said he will not stop it. He said that a fortnight ago.

One Dublin Deputy at a time.

People cannot get the quantity of milk they require. What is going to happen? Are we going to reach the position where there will be insufficient milk in Dublin to feed the child population? Remember, milk feeds a large proportion of the infants and if you take away that milk it means death for the babies. A great city like Dublin cannot stand for one day any interference with its milk supply. It has the most terrible and appalling consequences. I do not say that that will happen. I hope very sincerely it will not but certainly at the present moment we are as short of milk as it is possible to be without running into a real milk famine. That is what I want to put before the Government to-day. For Heaven's sake, do something about the milk supply and get yourselves organised in regard to the fuel position in Dublin. It is a scandal that it was ever allowed to reach the position it had got to in the last few weeks and in which it is at this moment.

I want to lodge a protest against this enormous burden which is being placed on the country which can ill afford it at the present time. I might say that the country is used to enormous bills coming in one year after another. It seems to be an understood thing now that one year we all complain and the following year we still complain, but we have more to complain about. That is what it amounts to. I think, however, that the country at present is being bled white, that actually the people are, if I might use a soldier-like expression, simply fed up because they feel that they are not getting value for their money and that they can ill afford this enormous taxation. I cannot understand any intelligent Government failing to realise the necessities of the people. I am afraid that we have a Government who seem to have lost all sense of responsibility so far as the people are concerned. I do not say that in any spirit of bitterness, but I genuinely believe it.

We have only to pay a visit to our constituency to hear complaints on all sides. I am not saying that, no matter what is done, you will not have people in one part of the country or another having a complaint, but I am referring to people who are not in the habit of complaining and who do not want to complain for the sake of complaining. The people genuinely feel that at present they are being asked to shoulder more than they can bear. I ask the Government to realise what the people are suffering in this hard winter which they are going through. I am not attempting to blame the Government for the bad winter. Nevertheless, they must face up to their responsibilities and understand that the people are being asked to tighten their belts, that they cannot tighten them any further, and cannot face up to this enormous Vote we are being asked to pass this evening.

On various occasions we have been asked to make suggestions as to how this sum of money can be cut down. I do not propose to dictate to the Minister. It is not in any spirit of bitterness that I make suggestions, but I for one feel, and many of the people I have the honour to represent feel, that the Army Vote is one which could be cut down and should be cut down enormously. We have a large Army here for which there is really very little use except to quell civil commotion and I am glad that there has been no necessity to call on the Army for such a purpose. We realise the enormous amount of money the Army is costing. People feel that they are not getting value for that money and regard it as a waste of money to have so many of them careering around the country using the petrol which the country can ill afford and which could be put to better purpose for industrial use. It has been remarked that the Army missed its purpose in the last few weeks when very little training could be carried on in the snow.

People think that the Army would have served a more useful purpose by trying to help people who were marooned in those snowed-up districts. We missed the tide so far as serving that purpose is concerned. That is one service that I think could be enormously cut down. I would appeal to the Minister to come to some sense of reason with regard to the Army, because, irrespective of Party, they are not satisfied with the cost of the Army at present.

We now have a proposal to change the Army uniform. During the years we have had an Army we have had more changes than any army in any other country. At this time, when money is so scarce and people are suffering so many privations, I think the present uniform is quite good enough to impress us and to impress any visitors who may come to this country. I appeal to the Minister not to allow this waste of money on a change of uniform at such a time.

Then we have an Estimate here for the Navy. In heaven's name what do we want a Navy for? The thing is ludicrous. If the Government would think clearly and without prejudice, I think they would realise that a Navy is absolutely unnecessary and that the money could be better spent by giving it to the people who are deserving of help at the present time.

Then there is the Estimate for the Irish Tourist Board. We all realise that the tourist industry is a very important one for this country. I do not intend to labour that point, as much has been said about it during this debate. At the same time, much as we might wish to see these tourists coming here, and realising the value of their money, even though it be only in paper notes, as we have heard from the other side, I think it is madness for the Government, in the present state of our country, to think of building luxury hotels when there are many hotels which are quite good enough to accommodate any visitors who may come here.

Rather than spend these millions of pounds which are so glibly talked about, it would be better to try to reimburse our farmers who have been flattened to the ground during this bad winter and enable them to build up their stocks once more, procure farming implements, and put them on their feet again, rather than set out on a scheme to provide luxury hotels for people who perhaps may never come here, but may go to holiday resorts on the Continent if the food situation gets better. I think it is foolish for the Government to think of spending all this money on these new hotels. I ask them to put that money to a better purpose and not to waste the money in this way. All these schemes are quite good if we could afford them, but the people do not think we can at present.

Another point is that people think that we have had sufficient State interference in the last few years and that this is just another form of State control. It operates against private enterprise and for that reason I am opposed to it. I am opposed to the provision of these new hotels which will be in competition with the private individual who cannot possibly stand up to the opposition of State-controlled hotels which will have money ad lib, with expense no object. I think the Government ought to think twice about this matter. I would have thought that the Government would think twice about it because it is a question of State enterprise as against private enterprise. Give me private enterprise any time. In recent years we have had experience of State enterprise and we need look no further for an example of it than to our railways. So far as the new railway system is concerned we were promised much by the Government. I fully realise the difficulty with regard to the coal situation in England, etc. Naturally that must affect us here even though we have been assured time and time again—and even at the present time—that we are not dependent upon England for supplies.

We all know that it is only a fool who can give utterance to such nonsense as that. We have here now our public transport system, which is being worked partly as a Government concern. It has been taken over and put in opposition to private enterprise. What has happened? There is a complete muddle. We have been told that no haulage will be provided except for essential goods. It is all very fine to have goods marked "priority" but the people who decide as to what should be priority goods are those in charge of the transport system itself. Has not the individual a right to have his goods transported when he is prepared to pay for that transport? Why should it be left to a company to decide what should be labelled "priority" goods? Why should the goods of a private individual be left behind? I think there is much to be said for private enterprise as against State-controlled enterprise.

It has been pointed out before that there is somehow a lack of understanding as far as this company is concerned and as far as the Government's idea with regard to this company is concerned. We have now a ration of petrol. I grant you it is much better than anything we have had in the last two years. But it is a ration. There are many private lorry owners who have licences to bring turf, or wood, or other commodities to Dublin. They bring these goods into Dublin and they are forced to go back to the country empty. I think they should be allowed to take back a full load in order to utilise that petrol. I am perfectly certain that there are people in the country who would be more than willing to avail of such haulage if it were at their disposal. No lorry should go back empty. It is futile so far as the haulier is concerned and it is a waste of petrol so far as the Government is concerned. I would strongly urge upon the Government to take cognisance of that fact and do something to alleviate the people's suffering in the country. At the present time they feel they are cut off from the hub here and that they are completely forgotten. These are the people who must pay the piper and at the same time no regard is had to their business or to the way in which they have to work. No appreciation of any kind is shown for them. I would ask the Minister to consider that.

Suggestions have been made here to-day and yesterday as to what the people's wants are in the country. I do not want unduly to stress the point. It must be appreciated by everyone at the present time, no matter to what Party they belong, that the people in the country are actually suffering from want. I would not mind so much if that want were something which we could not avoid. I would not mind if it arose mainly because of our dependence on some other country. But it does not depend on external influences. At the present time we have a meagre ration of butter. In my opinion the situation is ludicrous. I do not wish in any way to labour what happened under one Government or another, but I do say that it is an unprecedented state of affairs that here in this agricultural country we should be rationed in butter. We have been given many reasons for that ration. We have been told it is due to the export of our cows. We have been told that it is due to the particularly bad season through which we have passed. We can understand that. We can understand that the time is now very short in which the Government can do anything to improve the situation in regard to butter and milk. I do not deny that. At the same time, we have never before had a ration of butter in this country. The farmers always had plenty of butter for their own domestic use and for export. They made a good livelihood out of it in the past. There must be something radically wrong.

I trust that the new Minister for Agriculture will be able to get things going. I trust that he will have "his finger in the pie" when this enormous sum of money is voted and that he will bring about some settlement of the agricultural problem once and for all. The situation at the present moment is a disgrace to the Government. Deputies from Dublin have spoken about the scarcity of milk. We all recognise how essential it is to have a plentiful supply of milk. We were never short of it in this country before. We have heard much of the deprivations being suffered by other countries. But we in this country never found the land so wanting that it could not produce enough to give us at least a plentiful supply of milk and butter. I would ask the Minister for Agriculture and the Minister for Finance, who is present here to-night, to do something about this. The people are daily getting more and more determined. Undoubtedly, on the other side, in Great Britain, there is a grave shortage of commodities.

We must be fair and understand that there they have gone through a major war when we were blessed with peace. During that time we should have been able to build up our industry so that when peace came we would have been in a position to supply other nations with the various commodities that they now want. They do not want anything for nothing. They will gladly take what we can give them and they will pay us well for it.

As I am on that point, I would like to say that I do not think the present moment is opportune for any more of these high-falutin ideas with regard to higher culture. I am in favour of giving the people of this country a good education. I think that is vitally essential. Without any feeling of vindictiveness, I am convinced that the people of this country to-day are not nearly as well educated as they were some years ago. I do not care who hears me make that statement because I have the authority of the ordinary people in the country to make it. They tell me that long ago they were at least able to make some effort to help their children with their home-work and their lessons. Under the present system of education they are completely estranged from their children because they can no longer understand them. I am merely speaking now of practical experience. The time has come when we must get down to bedrock, because I feel that the schools now under the control of the Government are not so controlled as to give the children a practical education and send them out into life equipped to earn a living for themselves. We have heard a good deal said about emigration. Well, I must say so far as I am concerned—it may not be the right thing to say but truthfully I mean it—that had it not been for the emigration we have had in the last few years I do not know where many of our poor people in our cities and towns and our countryside would be because the money is simply coming back here to this country and I take my hat off to those people who were courageous enough to go out and try to earn a living "in a foreign land" as it has been said, when they could not earn it and because they could not earn it here.

I would impress on the Government that this is not exactly what these people were promised some years ago when we were told that we would be able to bring back our emigrants. Instead of that many hundreds of thousands have left our country, and I do think it is time the Government realised their responsibility. First of all, they should realise that their honour is at stake because they promised that they would find employment for all in this country. As far as I know no such plan has been found and these people are forced, absolutely forced, by dire need and necessity to leave their homes and their country: to go and seek their living in a foreign land and I would ask the Government to take serious cognisance of it because our country is being stripped of the best of our men and women—there seems to be no way of inducing them back. I would ask the Government to take particular note of it and to say what is going to be done about the matter.

We have here, as I have said, an enormous bill of costs, and the sooner we face up to our responsibilities the better for all concerned. Well then, rather than talk about such subjects as higher studies, the Irish language, etc. —which really lead us nowhere—I would ask the Minister in all sincerity to do something for the sake of the people by setting up some kind of a trade agreement, be it with any country —I do not mind. We must not think that we can carry on as we are going, to stick on—to put it in a plain and ordinary way—another few million every year and that it is not really important whether the people are content, whether they can afford it or otherwise. The Government can truly say to themselves no doubt, that the same thing is said every year—"they will never stand it, they never can afford it, and we are all going downhill." That has been said, I realise, for many years past but the time has come now to call a halt and I would ask the Government seriously to take note of this enormous figure, to take note of our population and realise what they are doing and, if it is possible for us to believe, that they are putting us on a par with other nations whose Budget and whose Vote on Account go up by millions every year. We cannot be compared with these other nations and I think the sooner the present Government realise it the better.

I would ask the Minister if, instead of these high ideals which we have got here and which we cannot afford, the Government would seriously settle down and try to make some sort of a pact with another country, say Great Britain. I think it would be much more beneficial to the people and I would have some sort of link between the people and the Government because that is what is wanted at the present day. The people think that all of us here in the Dáil have lost touch and that we no longer care about them so long as the millions are passed and that everything in the city is all right. We want to give them the idea and the truth which is that we do not stand for that and that we are all out for some kind of trade pact with Great Britain which means hard work but which nevertheless is the only way to make Ireland prosperous and a nation worth living in.

I must say that Deputy Mrs. Redmond has put up a very good case. I have listened to-day to different speakers and I rise here on behalf of the working-class people whom I represent. I hear that there is a shortage of milk in Dublin. I must say that we have a shortage of milk in County Wexford too. The promises which were made to the people cannot be honoured. That is happening to the old age pensioner. I had 20 vouchers for milk in my town the other day. What is the cause of the scarcity of milk? The Milk and Dairy Act was brought in some years ago. The Government put out the people who had a few cows in the rural areas and in the towns because their dairies were not up to the standard, and what happened? A monopoly was given to a few of the bigger people in the business who had money and they put the small farmer who had five or six cows and who was supplying customers in his own area out of business. That is one cause which did away with the production of milk. Deputy Heskin asked the Minister for Agriculture a fortnight ago about the export of butter. The Minister, in reply, said that 27,000 tons were exported in 1944, 1,000 tons were exported in 1945; and he said that in 1946 no butter was exported from this country.

Well, what everybody is asking now down the country is: Where is the butter? No one seems to know. Even the Minister for Agriculture cannot tell us. I have here a cutting of July 7th, 1946, with the Taoiseach's photograph in it: "Éire wants to send food to Britain: Talks of bigger exports from the land of plenty." That is about nine months ago and to-day we have every county council craving for an extra loaf of bread for the man on the land. At the same time we have a new hotel in Courtown Harbour called the "Ormond Hotel". I have here a letter from a woman who lives in Courtown Harbour and who keeps boarders. She writes:

"Dear Sir, —I wonder could you do anything for us here. We live by visitors in the summer and have had several letters for rooms. I have made application to the Minister to know if I could get bread on all visitors' cards here when they come. I was told they must bring it with them."

My correspondent then asked if the Minister has some magic way of keeping bread for a month. Now that is what is happening down in Courtown. Anyone can see that the small person who is keeping boarders in Courtown Harbour will get no extras, but the Ormond Hotel has whiskey when whiskey is scarce, and when supplies of every commodity are scarce they have them down there. There is no scarcity in that hotel. We have here in this Estimate an item relating to the Irish Tourist Board. I move to report progress.

Progress reported, the Committee to sit again to-morrow.