Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Wednesday, 9 Mar 1949

Vol. 114 No. 7

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Travel Permits.

asked the Minister for External Affairs if he will state the number of new travel permits and passports granted to persons going to employment in 1948, distinguishing between urban residents and rural residents.

Separate figures for persons leaving the State to take up employment are not available, but the number of travel identity cards and passports granted during the year 1948 to persons intending to go abroad for employment or permanent residence was 40,075, of whom 12,759 were from urban and 27,316 from rural areas. The 1948 figures include, for the first time, persons going abroad for permanent residence, as well as those going abroad for employment.

As has frequently been pointed out before, statistics of this kind do not reflect accurately the volume of emigration, as they do not take account of returning workers, of seasonal migratory workers or of persons who, after obtaining travel documents, do not leave the country.

The net emigration is more clearly reflected by the statistics of passengers entering and leaving the State by rail, road, ship and aircraft. For the year 1948, these figures show a net balance outwards of 12,793.

Can the Minister say whether, recently, his attention has been drawn to a series of photographs and special articles which have appeared in a daily paper, and if so, whether he has had inquiries made to discover if they give a genuine picture of the type of people who are leaving the country and of the scope of this particular problem?

Yes, my attention has been drawn to a series of articles and photographs which have been published in the Irish Press, and I did have inquiries made regarding the particulars that were given. It is rather extraordinary that out of 17 names and nine photographs, without names, there were only three genuine cases of emigrants. The position, in relation to a number of the persons whose names and photographs were published, was that they were people who had actually emigrated to Britain some years before and were returning here on their way to America. In the case of a photograph of nine girls, these were postulants from a convent who had come from France and were on their way to the United States.

So there is no emigration at all?

I am in no way suggesting that there is no emigration. On the contrary, I deplore the fact that there is emigration, but I do think that propaganda of that kind is not helpful, and that it is also sometimes damaging and hurtful to the people who are concerned. There were also, among the names and photographs, some names and photographs of persons who were not even citizens, and of persons who were going to America for business, not as emigrants.

Has the Minister any idea what is happening in Mayo and Kerry? Does he know?

I know what is happening in the Irish Press.

Are we to take it from the Minister's reply that he is denying that emigration exists there or do the Government not realise it?

Is this a supplementary question?

This is a supplementary question. If the Minister is under any illusions on the subject, will he consult the back-benchers of his own Party who know what is happening or will he ask the Minister for Social Welfare to expedite the report of this emigration commission that have been sitting upon this problem for one year and, apparently, doing nothing about it?

Are you aware of the false figures and photographs?

I do not accept that man's statement about them.

In the Irish Press.

The Minister is in possession and is on his feet.

I have no illusions as to the emigration that is taking place in the country. I have given the figures of that emigration as I believe them to be. I do, however, deplore that untrue and false propaganda should be made out of it. I think it is a pity that these methods are used.

Will the Minister read some of his own speeches on the subject?

Question No. 8, Deputy Cogan.

The Irish Press carries advertisements.

Produce the Clann na Poblachta film.

Question No. 8.

Show yourselves the film again.