Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 11 May 1950

Vol. 120 No. 15

Committee on Finance. - Motion No. 5—General (Resumed).

I had been dealing last night with the question of the price of milk as affected by the Budget. I made one reference, I think, to farmers' butter, and asked why it was that no arrangements were made this year to continue the subsidy for farmers' butter. The Minister for Agriculture, speaking recently in this House in reply to a question put down by Deputy Cogan, stated:—

"I have tried on occasions to warn the House and the country of the growing difficulty of getting any market at all for farmers' butter, and I am bound to inform the House now that stringent as these difficulties were last year they have every appearance of being infinitely greater in the future."

I would like to know what the Minister for Agriculture is going to do, by way of subsidy or otherwise, which will enable those people to get an economic price for their produce. During the Fianna Fáil Government's period of office such provision was made and a subsidy was provided. To-day those people, who are, if not the majority, a very big minority of the dairying industry, have no market and I think it is the duty of the Government if they are unable to find a market at home at remunerative prices at least to subsidise the people who are producing farmers' butter in their homes.

The question of subsidies was mentioned last night, and I stated that the food subsidies had been cut by this Government by a certain amount of money. I was questioned by the Minister for Finance, and I did not attach the significance to his question which this House may have attached to it since. I mentioned the figure £3,700,000. It was not correct. The sum was £3,500,000. That is the sum by which this Government have cut food subsidies since 1948-49. In 1948-49 the food subsidies amounted to £15,142,805, and provision was made in the Estimates this year for food subsidies of £11,639,000, leaving a difference of £3,503,805. The Minister by his question last night may have tried to convey the impression to the House that I was wrong in my figures, but that is the correct figure as far as I can find out from the Books of Estimates for 1948-49 and 1950-51. If the Minister wants to contradict that statement he can do so.

Fuel subsidies amounted to £1,000,000. This was a direct subsidy to people purchasing turf and timber. What I suggest is that the people who benefited to the greatest extent were the poorer sections of our people. The present Government has cut the food subsidies in order to try to carry out some of the promises they made to the electorate in 1948. It seems that they have leaned most heavily on the poorer sections of our people, but of course taxation has not been reduced. In the Book of Estimates, 1948-49, it was £70,000,000, and it is £88,000,000 to-day.

I wonder how the Minister will face the people of the country or how the members of the inter-Party Government will have the audacity to go to the country and tell the people that they are governing the country in the best interests of the people generally. They have fooled them. They fooled them in 1948, and they are continuing to do it. Is it not time for the members of the inter-Party Government to go out and tell the people the truth, that they have been an utter failure? The sooner they give an opportunity to the people of electing a Government which will govern the country in the interests of the people the better for the country as a whole.

We are only waiting for the chance. We have no means of having an election to test the feelings of the people. You are the people to do it. There is no difficulty. If the Labour people are so anxious to go to the country then let them go. There is every reason for them to go; 67,000 fewer people are employed on the land than in 1947. Wheat and beet production is down. Beet production is down by 15,000 acres since the Fianna Fáil régime. What does that mean in effect? It means a loss by way of labour of £300,000. What does it mean to Córas Iompair Éireann by way of carriage fees? What does it mean to the sack manufacturers? What does it mean to the factory workers in Carlow, Tuam, Thurles and Mallow? Are you not prepared to go and tell the people all those things?

Mr. Murphy

You tell them.

We are telling them, but they have no opportunity of voicing their opinions and letting you know what their feelings are.

They will have it next September.

We will be delighted to have it in September or before it. I wish it was next month.

Suppose you talk of the Budget in the meantime.

These are things which are affecting the people under this Budget. We have been told about the reduction in taxation, but where is it? I have tried to point out that the policy pursued by the present Government is responsible for the reductions in the production in the country. We have heard a lot about more production, but has more production been helped by the reduction of beet by 15,000 acres and of wheat by 212,000 acres? Are we producing more than we did in 1947-48? We are not. We are sending more bullocks to England probably, but that is the only thing, and bullocks are not going to save this country, and they are not going to give employment in the country. That is well known since the Cumann na nGaedheal régime. It was only when the Fianna Fáil Government came into power, and initiated the wheat policy and extended the production of beet that you had employment on the land. The sooner the people are told the truth about the present policy the sooner they will be in a position to know whether it is wise to permit the Government to have a double weapon Budget, one saying that we will spend so much on public services and the other saying that we are going to borrow for what may be very doubtful propositions.

We are told about land reclamation and money is being borrowed for it. Will these bogs which are being drained or reclaimed ever pay back the money which is spent on them? We do not know any such thing. Per sonally, I think that many of them will never be worth the amount of money which is spent. That is my own personal view, and it is the same with the other schemes they have in mind. We are wasting the money we are borrowing from the people. Where is the necessity for us to borrow dollars to buy wheat or sugar when our farmers are prepared to grow beet and wheat, and are anxious only for a price to be fixed that will compensate them for producing those crops?

They are getting a higher price now than they were under Fianna Fáil.

They are not. The price is the same to-day as it was in 1947. If Deputy O'Higgins thinks otherwise, I would be delighted if he were right—as I produce both wheat and beet, and am selling at the same price as in 1947 The price of wheat was fixed in October, 1947, at 62/6 per barrel. That still obtains, and is due to obtain for another year, so there has been no change in the price. Deputy O'Higgins should refresh his memory. Neither has the price of milk increased since 1947, notwithstanding the fact that the cost of production has gone up. The price was fixed by Deputy Smith, then Minister for Agriculture, at 1/2 a gallon for the summer and 1/4 for the winter. The present Minister for Agriculture stated here some time ago and also throughout the country—in fact, he threatened the creameries— that unless the creameries reduced the price of milk to 1/- a gallon he would not give any guarantee that they would get even 1/- next year.

I allowed the Deputy to travel very far. He is going into agricultural policy purely now. The Deputy can bring all that out on the Vote for the Department of Agriculture.

I want to apply it in this way, that if the price of milk were being reduced and the price of butter increased it would have meant there would not have been a subsidy. It would also mean that the subsidy would not have to be given, as it would not have been needed.

That is pure administration of the Department of Agriculture. This includes every Department of State.

It seems strange to me that the subsidies have been cut to the extent I have mentioned, since before the inter-Party Government came into office, General Mulcahy, when speaking on the 31st January, 1948, as quoted in the Irish Press, said:—

"Fine Gael proposes to bring about substantial reductions in taxation without the reduction of any vital services or withdrawal of subsidies which would increase prices of necessary foods."

That was the statement made then. Why is it that that promise to the people was not fulfilled? Why is it that now we find that the food subsidies have to be reduced? Again I quote, from the Irish Press leading article of the 31st January, 1948:—

"Early this week the newspaper closest to Fine Gael carried this announcment by its political correspondent: ‘My information is that departmental expenditure is presenting a stubborn front, and if any economies worth while are to be expected they must be found in respect of the comparatively huge outlay on food subsidies which total now about £11,000,000 a year and which benefit every member of the community'.

Two days later, an indication where the information originated, General Mulcahy, leader of Fine Gael, said at that organisation's Ard Fheis:—

‘They must remember that the State was already paying £13,000,000 in food subsidies.... There must definitely be a reduction of the burden of the payment of subsidies on the people generally.'

That is the authentic Fine Gael, or old Cumann na nGaedheal, philosophy. It dominated the political life of the country for ten years from 1922 to 1932. It best expressed itself in two notorious instances: a statement from a member of the Cumann na nGaedheal Ministry that it was not the business of a Government to provide work for the unemployed; and the action of another Cumann na nGaedheal Minister in taking a shilling a week from the old age pensioners."

Apparently we are getting back to the position again that the people deriving most benefit from the subsidies, the poorer section of the people, are to be denied what Fianna Fáil had given to them.

Not sops. If the Deputy likes to put it like that, he can tell the people that they are being given sops by way of subsidies, that it is by their sops they have come into this House. We never said we were giving them sops to get into this House. That was not the purpose of Fianna Fáil originally. The origin of subsidies and rationing was to ensure that every man, poor or rich, would get an equal share of the foods available. That was why food was rationed. The cost was so high that many necessitous people were unable by their wage earning to pay a high price for the food available. The subsidies were brought in by Fianna Fáil, but apparently they are to be cut out by Cumann na nGaedheal. If that is the policy, I am wondering why or how Labour representatives here and members of Clann na Poblachta can support that policy, since from what I have heard from their platforms and what I know of them and have learned in many ways, it should be foreign to their nature. Apparently now, however, they are prepared to accept Fine Gael as good bed-feilows, provided they all hold on together to keep their positions in this House. They know very well that if they go to the country the people are only awaiting an opportunity to give them their walking papers. I think I have said enough on the Budget now. I hope that those opposite are all perfectly satisfied that the time has come when the people of the country should be given a chance to decide whether they are utter failures or not.

This debate has continued much longer than I expected. I did not think there was, in the statement made by the Minister for Finance, material for such a long and rambling discussion. There is no doubt whatever that the economic and financial position of the country is grave, but I have no doubt that its gravity is being appreciated. One of the statements made by the Minister for Finance which attracted my attention more than any other and which seems to have been to a considerable extent overlooked by the whole House was his statement that he proposed to carry out an investigation into the cost of administration in every Government Department. He said definitely that he was establishing an officer in each Department to find out how economies could be effected in that Department. That was a statement of importance. Every Deputy and every citizen realises that an expenditure of approximately £109,000,000 for the coming year is a considerable amount of money. I am not going into the question of what percentage of that money should be borrowed or what percentage should be raised by taxation. On that point, there has been a considerable amount of confusion of thought on the part of the Opposition Party now while they are in opposition and on their part while they were in government. I think that question requires serious consideration. It is not a question that can be decided by any rough and ready calculations. What precedent have we in matters of this kind? I have on other Budget debates pointed out, even when the Fianna Fáil Party was in power, that Governments frequently avail themselves of the opportunity of borrowing in order to balance their budgets. The whole question of how much should be borrowed and how much should be raised out of taxation depends to a great extent upon the economic situation of the time. It depends upon whether one is borrowing in an inflationary or a deflationary situation. It depends to a very considerable extent upon the manner in which it is proposed to use the money so borrowed. If it is intended to devote a considerable amount of national expenditure to works of a definitely productive nature, then there are reasonable grounds for borrowing a substantial amount.

Before I go on to deal with that I want to emphasise once more that this is a serious matter. It is a serious matter that the vast expenditure of public money, and it is a vast expenditure at the present time, should be utilised in a manner that will give the best possible return to the nation. If we examine public expenditure generally we find that the £107,000,000 which it is proposed to expend this year will be devoted in the main to the payment of wages and salaries, to the payment of pensions and allowances to persons here and to the purchase of materials which may be required for development work. So far as money expended on the payment of salaries and wages is concerned, it is undoubtedly true that practically all of that will circulate within the country and will, to a certain extent, have the effect of increasing the national income. I have no use for those who frequently compare national income with State expenditure. I think the two are so intrinsically allied that a comparison between them is not very relevant. If we want to have a clear picture of how the country ought to be run, we must set ourselves some definite guiding principles. If one is in control of a machine there are certain gauges to guide one; on a car, for example, there is a petrol gauge, a mileage gauge and so on and, possibly, an oil gauge.

The test that should be applied by the Government in order to discover whether or not our Administration is progressive or retrogressive is, first of all, the volume of production, both agricultural and industrial; the second is the cost of living; the third, and perhaps the most important one, is the balance of payments. If the volume of production continues to rise we can rest reasonably safe in the assurance that this country is not drifting towards the bankruptcy some members would suggest. The standard of living of our people depends upon our agricultural and industrial output. I am not satisfied that the volume of production in either agriculture or in industry is as high as it should be.

The Minister, in the course of his statement, indicated that the gross agricultural output was back now to slightly over the 1938 figure. He did not give the net volume of agricultural output, though that is the really important figure. I do not think that in present circumstances we should be satisfied with the 1938 volume of output. I do not think it is sufficient to maintain the standards that postwar conditions demand. I do not think it is sufficient to maintain the social services which are in operation at the moment and contemplated in the future. There must be a much greater expansion in the volume of agricultural output. It must far exceed the 1938 volume.

It is satisfactory to know that the volume of industrial production is increasing, but, there again, it is not increasing at the rate that the circumstances of our people would demand. We know that we must have a fairly substantial margin of savings. Industries may run for a time particularly well because of specially favourable circumstances. They may, on the other hand, receive serious setbacks from time to time. As I say, agriculture has not reached the level that it should reach. I do not know why the Government seem to have blinded themselves to the possibilities that exist for increasing agricultural output. I have a feeling that the Minister for Agriculture has completely misled his colleagues in regard to agricultural conditions and in regard to the volume of production. By the manipulation of various figures he has misled his colleagues into believing that agricultural output is far higher than it actually is. We have not yet got the net figure for this year, but I am satisfied that when it is produced it will prove to be lower than the figure in 1942 and 1943. That is not a satisfactory position. It is not a position that should be allowed to continue. It is so easy to increase the volume of agricultural output that one is aggravated when one sees how little is really being done.

During the past year, 1949, we imported into this country over £10,000,000 worth of cereal products. That £10,000,000 worth of products could have been produced here and the money could have been added to the income of the agricultural community. I am satisfied beyond all question that that could have been done if the problems of agriculture had been faced in a realistic way. I have the feeling that the Minister for Agriculture is inclined to look upon this country not as a farm but as a shop. He is inclined to shape national policy as a shopkeeper would shape his business policy, that is, to buy as much as possible and then to endeavour to sell abroad as much as possible. That is not the way a farmer tries to run his farm. A farmer tries to get the maximum output from his farm. We have seen over the past couple of years how the production of feeding stuffs has been discouraged by the present Minister. I suppose he was misled into the belief that cheap foodstuffs would be available from the other side of the Atlantic. His plans apparently have miscarried. He now finds that they are not available, and we have Deputies coming into the House with samples of the various substitutes for Irish produce that the Minister has only been able to import. That is, I think, a tragic state of affairs. I want to know what is going to be done about it. Are we going to continue to drift along on the same lines or is a real effort going to be made to ensure that this country will be, as far as possible, self-supporting in the matter of feeding stuffs and in the matter of food generally, particularly cereal foods and especially bread cereals?

I think that the problem of our dollar imports is a serious one and it may become more serious in the near future. Perhaps next year when Marshall Aid may be reduced or withdrawn, we may find it very difficult to import essential goods from the dollar area and the time has come when a real effort should be made to get that produce produced within the country. We imported £4,800,000 worth of fruit and vegetables. There again, quite a substantial amount of that produce could be raised within our own country. I quite appreciate that there are many types of tropical fruits which it may be necessary to import. At the same time we are quite capable of supplying a very considerable proportion of the market. However, an attempt has been made to mislead the Government into the belief that our economy would be best served by imports mainly from the dollar area and exports to the sterling area. That I think is a policy which did not deserve to succeed and it is a policy which has been completely frustrated by circumstances.

In addition to a reasonable measure of security to the producer in order to get an increased production of foodstuffs, it is essential that capital should be put into the agricultural industry. The Minister for Finance in outlining the plan for capital investment for the coming year, stated that a sum of £14,000,000 would be required for housing, a sum of £1,500,000 for turf development and £6,250,000 for agricultural development. I think that that £6,250,000 is an entirely inadequate sum for agricultural development. Dr. Henry Kennedy gave an estimate of the under capitalisation of agriculture and of the capital required to make agriculture absolutely productive. I think his estimate ran close to £200,000,000. Even if you had half that sum or a quarter of that sum it would still be recognised that a very substantial sum is required in order to rehabilitate properly the agricultural industry.

It must be remembered that of the £6,000,000 mentioned in the Minister's statement for the rehabilitation of agriculture, a sum of over £3,000,000 is devoted to the drainage of waterlogged land. I think that a much greater proportion of the £6,000,000 should be spent on rehabilitating drier land, land that is capable of giving a return in the very near future. I think that no farmer or no citizen of the State can regard without some feeling of misgiving the expenditure at present incurred on bog drainage. I have seen in my own constituency huge machines, machines which would impress one as something like the Panzer divisions of the German Army, moving through the bogs. I am told that the huge draining plough employed by the Department is capable of draining over 10 acres a day, yet, I have seen these huge machines engaged on one or two fields for the past three months. What it costs to purchase an entire drainage unit, what it costs to run it——

——would arise more appropriately on the Vote for the Minister for Agriculture.

I agree, but it is necessary to comment on the fact that £6,000,000 is provided in the Budget for this purpose and it is necessary to ask ourselves are we getting the best value possible for this money, because as I see it, the whole justification for this Budget lies in our ability, the ability of the Government, to prove that the vast sums that are demanded here will be used in a reproductive way, will be used to raise the standard of living of our people and the output of our agricultural industries.

I have the feeling that, at the moment, there is very considerable waste, waste in every Government Department and waste even here under these particular headings for which money is going to be borrowed. If money that is raised by taxation is wasted, well that is bad enough. It has gone down the drain and we can forget about it; but if money that is raised by borrowing is wasted, it is worse still because somebody at some time will have to repay it. That is why I say that Deputies should be vigilant in seeing that every 1d. of this money which it is proposed to borrow, and on which it is proposed to pay interest, should be utilised to the best national advantage.

Hear, hear!

I am glad that the Parliamentary Secretary says "hear, hear" to that statement, because I think it cannot be too heavily underlined that he is in charge of a Department which employs a vast number of workers who have got useful work to do. I am sure that, having now expressed those sentiments of approval here, he will go all out to ensure that his Department will be run in such a way that every 1d. that it is called upon to expend will redound to the benefit of the nation.

We are increasing every day the number of State servants in our employment; we are increasing the number of servants in the employment of local authorities, and we are building up a huge machine that is ever growing and ever increasing. Not only have we the direct servants of the State and of local authorities, but we also have a vast army of employees in State companies of various kinds, growing in number and importance every day. Unless this House is prepared to emphasise that every official of the State, of State-owned companies and semi-State bodies, devotes himself earnestly and wholeheartedly to the work he is called upon to do, unless we take that precaution, this nation will sink down eventually and decline into bankruptcy.

That is why I crave the indulgence of the Chair to refer to the direct employment of workers, and to the machinery under the land rehabilitation scheme. I want to question whether we are getting a fair return for the money that is being utilised under that scheme. I am prepared to acknowledge that we are in the early stage of development of that scheme, but at the same time it is not too early to take all possible precautions to see that it is directed on efficient lines. It is going to be an expensive scheme. Its value is problematical, and it is very essential to ensure that it be carried out as efficiently as it is possible to do. I have seen land in my constituency that was reclaimed—bogs that were drained within the last year—and I am not in a position to say that they are anything more than bogs to-day. I am not in a position to say that there is any substantial improvement in them. It is not visible at any rate at the moment, and I am almost certain that the improvement will not be at all proportionate to the expenditure involved. Why can we not set ourselves to do the things which Dr. Henry Kennedy has urged that we should do: to improve our soil and to replace the fertility that is being drawn from it? If we did that, we might get a more immediate return, and I would think a more permanent return, because while you may drain wet land you have to maintain your drainage system.

The Chair has been very lenient with the Deputy. No doubt, he can take advantage of the Estimate for the appropriate Department and raise all these matters again.

I intend to go into them in greater detail on the Estimate. I am not going to do that now. I do want to stress that I am not satisfied that the volume of production in agriculture or in industry is sufficient to meet the needs of our people at the present time. The Minister for Agriculture came into the House the other night and he talked a good deal about the old gentleman with the bowler hat who conducted his shop in such a way that, while he had money lying in the bank, his business declined; it did not progress, advance or expand. He compared that individual shopkeeper to the previous Government in their administration of this country. But I think the Minister himself is adopting the same attitude towards agriculture.

The Labour Party have strongly condemned the inadequacy of credit for agriculture at the present time. I think the Clann na Poblachta Party have supported that view, while the Fine Gael Party at a recent Ard-Fheis also endorsed that view. The Clann na Talmhan Party have always supported the view that the credit facilities at present for agricultural development are inadequate. It is hardly necessary for me to say that, as an Independent Farmer, I have been advocating this reform for a number of years. But one man, and one man alone, seems to have set his face against it. He seems to have intimidated the entire Government and all the Parties in the Government into refusing to provide capital for agriculture. What is the use of coming into this House and justifying, or seeking to justify, the borrowing of £30,000,000 for national development when the ordinary farmer is refused facilities to borrow a few pounds to develop his own farm, and that is the position?

The Minister for Finance, I think, mentioned in his Budget statement that he is providing a small additional sum for the Agricultural Credit Corporation. Does he realise the importance of the figures which he gave a short time ago in the Dáil when he said that in 1948 the number of applications from farmers to the Agricultural Credit Corporation was 2,310 while the number granted was 788? In 1949 the number of applications for loans was 1,762 and the number granted was 694. In both cases less than one-third of the applications for credit for agriculture were granted.

It is idle to talk of borrowing to develop this country when the biggest industry is not allowed to borrow to develop itself. We are borrowing for housing, a very useful thing; we are borrowing for turf development, a useful thing also; we are borrowing a small sum for afforestation; we are borrowing for tourist development and for electricity development, and we are afraid to trust the farmers, we are afraid to borrow for the development of agriculture. I do not know why that should be, because at the moment I think there is no greater security than the land of the country. It is the farmer's own property, he is secure in the possession of that property, and it is property that cannot be destroyed, absolutely at any rate. It may be deteriorated, but it cannot be completely destroyed. It is the best security that can be offered for any loan. Yet credit to develop that industry is refused to the ordinary farmer.

As long as you have a position in which two-thirds of the applications to the Agricultural Credit Corporation for loans are turned down without any explanation there can be no real development of agriculture. Every Deputy knows that there are hundreds of young farmers, keen progressive men, who from day to day are looking in frustration at their farms producing less than they should produce, who are working hard but not getting the full return for their work because they have not the equipment nor the proper stuff or they cannot purchase essential manures. That system has been imposed on agriculture by the Minister who came into this House to glorify borrowing.

I hope the Minister for Finance will take serious note of this matter. If there is anything we ought to borrow for, it is for the development of agriculture. If we are justified in borrowing for housing, for public health services and all the other things we are borrowing for, surely we are justified in borrowing for the real development of agriculture. At present the position is that a farmer can secure a loan to drain a bog but he cannot secure a loan to improve the better land of his holding, to improve his stock, or to secure up-to-date modern equipment.

I would not agree with you on that.

I should like to talk on the matter more fully but, perhaps, as the Leas-Cheann Comhairle has suggested, we can go into the matter more fully on the Vote for the Department of Agriculture, but what I have said is absolutely true. The land rehabilitation scheme provides long-term credit for the drainage of a bog on the security of the land. Let the farmer who can get that long-term credit on the security of his land go to the Agricultural Credit Corporation for a similar amount of money and see the reception he will get. Let him go to one of the banks for the same amount of money and see the reception he will get.

In connection with capital development, there is one danger which the House has overlooked and I think it is a serious matter. We are going all out for big works of development in housing, afforestation, transport and so on, all to be financed by the State and operated and run by the State, but I do not think we are doing anything to encourage that section of our people who could add more to the volume of production than the State can ever do, that is the ordinary private individual. We are, I think, drifting towards a condition in which private enterprise will be allowed to languish and to die. During the past year I have been one of the main sponsors of a campaign for the reduction of rates and a similar campaign against increases in the valuations of rateable property. If we are to expand production, if we are to expand the wealth of this country, we ought to give every incentive to the farmer, to the factory owner and to the businessman to improve his property, because we must remember that, while the State can do a great deal in many directions, it is the private owner of property who can do most to add to the wealth of this country.

It is not fully realised how much is being done and has been done in the past by the ordinary individual to increase the wealth of the country by improving his property and providing employment for his neighbours and his neighbours' children. If every farmer was in a position to take on an additional man, or even one-fourth of the farmers were in a position to take on an additional man, look at the effect that would have on employment. If every businessman was encouraged to improve his business house, rebuild it if it were old and decayed, or extend or enlarge it, what an amount of employment that would give in country towns. If businessmen in country towns were encouraged to come together and establish a factory in each of our towns, with the co-operation and support of the Government, look at the effect that would have upon the wealth and prosperity of the country.

What is stopping them?

Deputy Giles asks what is stopping them. Is it not true that every man who goes out to improve his property immediately finds that the valuation is increased, that there is a penalty imposed upon him for being progressive and for giving employment to his neighbours and their children? It is one of the things which is stopping private enterprise and private initiative. It should be the first duty of the Government to encourage the private individual, but instead of that we are discouraging him in many ways by increasing valuations, increasing charges, increasing rates. All these things tend to depress the initiative of our people and to kill it. I am afraid that, unknown to ourselves almost, we are drifting slowly, perhaps not too slowly, towards a fully socialist and socialistic economy.

We have seen vast enterprises which were formerly run by private enterprise, not perhaps too well, coming under the control of the State. That may, to a certain extent, be to the good. At the same time, we have not seen a similar expansion or development of private enterprise in industry or in any other field of activity. I hold that it should be the guiding principle of the Government that anything that can be done as well by the private citizen as it can be done by the State should be done by the private citizen and that only those things which the State can do better than the private citizen should be done by the State. I fear the State is inclined to take over too much of the work ordinary individuals could do if they got the encouragement and support which they are entitled to get.

If they were not called "racketeers" by a lot of the members on the Government Benches.

What encouragement did you give them?

When Deputy Aiken was Minister for Finance he was not very kind to them either.

I did not call them "racketeers".

There seems to be a change of outlook in regard to certain aspects of private enterprise in this country. I remember the time when some Deputies who had, perhaps, a cumbersome sense of humour, used to come into this House with samples of Irish-manufactured goods for the purpose of holding them up to ridicule. I have heard it said that you can kill anything in this country by ridicule except religion.

A Deputy

Even foreign sugar.

The position now is that Deputies come into this House not with samples of Irish-manufactured goods but with samples of imported goods, and they point out how inferior the imported goods are to those produced at home. I think that that is a good sign that we are moving in the right direction. It is well that we can compare our barley with foreign barley in the knowledge that the foreign product is inferior to our own, and it is well that we can compare our sugar with imported sugar, which is obviously inferior to the home-produced sugar. As a matter of fact, our produce generally can be compared, with advantage to ourselves, with foreign produce. It is well that we can hold up our heads and be proud of our own produce. Therefore, we should give not only Government support to the Irish producer but also the moral support of favourable public opinion.

Notice taken that 20 Deputies were not present; House counted and 20 Deputies being present,

I asked the Minister for Finance a question some time ago in regard to the manner in which taxation is distributed as between the Government and the local authorities, particularly in the matter of financing road construction and so forth. I asked him if he would consider spending some of the money which he collects—and which is over £6,000,000—from motor taxation for the purpose of developing and improving our rural roads. His reply was that if he were to do that he would next be asked to utilise the moneys which he collects on intoxicating liquor duties for the repair and maintenance of public houses.

The Minister was not reasonable in that comparison. The roads of the country are public property and, in the main, are maintained by the ratepayers. They are used, to a great extent, by owners of motor vehicles of every description. The users of motor vehicles pay a sum which would go a very long way towards keeping these roads in a first-class condition if it were utilised for that purpose. Public houses, on the other hand, although they are called "public houses" still remain private property in this country, though they may be nationalised later on. They are maintained by their owners out of the money which their customers pay them, after, of course, the Minister for Finance has had his rake off. There is, therefore, no comparison between the position as it affects roads and the position as it affects public houses. A reasonable case can be made to have the full sum which the Minister collects on motor taxation devoted to the upkeep of the roads of this country. The Minister should examine whether that can be done. He could, in that way, relieve the local authorities of some of that responsibility and, at the same time, there would be a very substantial improvement in the condition of the roads of this country.

I supported the formation of the inter-Party Government mainly on the grounds that one of the principles for which it stood was an increase in the volume of agricultural and industrial output. I may say, most emphatically, that I am not satisfied that everything that can be done for the development of industries in this country is being done and I am definitely certain that we are not doing all we can for the development of agriculture. In fact, the development of agriculture is being hampered and obstructed by the present Minister for Agriculture. He has deceived his fellow Ministers into believing that agriculture is the most prosperous branch of Irish economy and that the farmers are simply rolling in wealth. The Minister for Finance, in the course of his Budget statement, referred to the prosperity of the farming community. He said that the high level of prices is an indication of the prosperity at present enjoyed by the farming community. He ought to bear in mind that the total net value of all agricultural produce of this country is only £110,000,000. That sum has to be divided amongst 600,000 people— which yields an income of very little over £3 per week for each person engaged in the industry. That is not a high level of prosperity.

It is a gross figure, too. It is not net.

Out of that, in addition, there are a good deal of expenses which have to be met. Therefore, I think I have shown that a high level of prosperity does not exist among the agricultural community to-day. In fact, at present the income of people engaged in that industry is at a very low level. All our efforts should be devoted towards raising that income. We are not raising that income by abusing the farmers who produced oats in 1948, by abusing the farmers who produced barley last year, or those who produced potatoes last year. We are not raising that income by having to go to the Argentine for oats, to Formosa for sugar, to the Middle East for barley, and to Amsterdam, as the Minister said, for potatoes, placing great emphasis on the last syllable of Amsterdam.

And to Australia for sorghums.

Does Deputy Aiken remember the time we had not any potatoes at all?

One hundred years ago.

Do you remember Deputy Dr. Ryan's famine a few years ago?

The Parliamentary Secretary has reminded me of something which is very true. It is one of these things you can never dogmatise about. You can never say, if there is a glut of potatoes this year, that the potato producers ought to be discouraged and insulted, because you do not know what the production will be like the following year. Last year there was a falling-off in acreage; there was even a greater falling-off in yield. The potatoes in dry land simply withered on the land. Those are circumstances that will always arise in agriculture. There was a great falling-off in the yield of oats last year. These things have to be borne in mind and you cannot lay down any hard and fast laws.

The one thing the Government have to do is to encourage by every possible means maximum production. That is a sound, fundamental policy. Having encouraged maximum production, their next duty is to safeguard and protect the home market for that produce. You can never be sure what you are going to get for your produce outside this country, and you can never be sure what you will have to pay for the produce you import. We have to regulate our economy on self-supporting lines. It is only in that way we can have a reasonable measure of security. The Minister for Agriculture is wrong in regarding this country, not as a farm, but as a shop into which you buy goods and sell them out. We have to concentrate on encouraging the volume of production, while, at the same time, maintaining the productive capacity of the country and not undermine it.

I think it would not be fair for this House to condemn the Minister for Finance. He is faced with a difficult task, a task of extraordinary complexity. I hope he is prepared to face up to those difficulties, and that in the coming year he will not allow the farming community to be obstructed in production as they have been heretofore. If we get an expansion in agricultural production during the coming year, and if we ensure that the money which is being borrowed under this Budget will be utilised to the best possible advantage, then I think we are not facing the complete bankruptcy which some Deputies have suggested. It is not as easy as some people may think to bankrupt a country. It is possible, and it is equally possible to kill private enterprise in a country. I want to warn the Minister again that in our zeal to develop public enterprise we may be killing private producers, private enterprise and private initiative generally. It will not matter whether that happens peacefully and quietly without being noticed. If private enterprise is killed in that way it will be just as bad as if it died fighting. It will be a disaster for this country. We see one after another industries being menaced by State control in various forms. I want to have an assurance that that policy will not continue.

We have proposals suggested for imposing various restrictions upon the ordinary private individual in the carrying out of his business, proposals to summon him before tribunals, and to treat him in a manner in which he should not be treated. I hope the Minister will bring about a change in that respect. If we have a real drive to increase agricultural and industrial output, and at the same time keep the cost of living at a reasonable level, and safeguard our external balance of payments, then the people of this country can survive and prosper. The Minister is entitled to prove that that can be done.

Is mór mór, dar liomsa, an t-olc, agus cuirim a mhilleán ar an Rialtas, fao nach bhfuil soláthar fiúntach, soláthar ar fiú rud mór é á dhéanamh don Ghaeltacht, agus is mór an t-údar milleáin tíobhas a bheith á dhéanamh acu ar gach rud a bhaineann le hathbheochaint na Gaeilge, cé gur suimeanna beaga atá i gceist i gcomórtas leis an iomlán airgid atá i gceist sa gCáinfhaisnéis.

Tá an Rialtas ag ligean don Aire Talmhaíochta scéim na dtrátaí a mhilleadh, mar tá sé ag milleadh gach scéim a bhaineas le curaíocht agus garradóireacht. Tá na tionscail teaghlaigh agus tionscal an bhréidín bhaile, ligthe i léig ag an Aire Tailte. Tá an t-iascaireacht ag cailleadh agus ní mórán ratha atá le cúrsaí ceilpe nó cúrsaí carraigín. Níl ag sroicheadh don Ghaeltacht ón Rialtas seo ach imirce, ganntanas, gorta agus dochtúirí nach labhrann smid ach Béarla. Níl ag méadú ar an líon tithe a bhí dá ndéanamh sa Ghaeltacht; is mó an bhacainn atá dá cur lena ndéanamh ann.

Cá bhfuil an clár a bhí ceaptha ag Clann na Poblachta leis an nGaeltacht a shábháil? B'usa tuairisc a fháil ar an sneachta mór a bhí anuraidh ann. Agus is dóigh go mba tairbhí a thuairisc sin féin a fháil ná tuairisc ar bheartas na Clainne seo maidir leis an nGaeltacht.

Surely it is not in order for the Deputy to read his speech?

It is not in order for the Deputy to read his speech, but I did not notice that the Deputy was doing so.

Tá nótaí scríofa agam agus is do na nótaí sin atá mé ag tagairt. Agus is dóigh go mba tairbhí a thuairisc sin féin a fháil ná tuairisc ar bheartas na Clainne sco maidir leis an nGaeltacht.

On a point of order again, may I draw your attention, Sir, to the fact that the Deputy is reading his speech?


It is not in order for the Deputy to read his speech.

The Deputy said in Irish to the Deputy who interrupted that he was not reading his speech but consulting his notes.

I am quite competent to understand the language.

Níl focal Gaeilge ag an dTeachta.

Tá an Fáinne óir agam.

Níor labhair an Teachta focal Gaeilge ó tháinig sé isteach anseo.

Tá níos mó Gaeilge agam ná mar tá ag an dTeachta.

Is fuath leis an Ghaeilge agus cúis na Gaeilge. Bheadh de leithscéal acu go rabhdar ar an mionlucht, gan cumhacht acu, ach dá mba cara dhóibh a bheadh ag lorg posta nó ag iarraidh maoin a dhíol leis an Roinn Sláinte ba mhór é a gcumhacht.

Again, may I draw your attention, Sir, to the fact that the Deputy, despite your ruling, is continuing to read his speech?


The Deputy has stated that he is not reading his statement.

I do not think that statement has been made by the Deputy.


Deputy Kennedy.

Níl aon tslí agus níl aon riail ag an Aire ag taispeáint na difríochta atá idir chaiteachas caipitil agus caiteachas reatha. Ní raibh sé déanta in a óráid ar an gCáinfhaisnéis agus iarraimid air anois an riail sin a mhíniú dúinn, i dtreo is go mbeidh ciall ann agus go dtuigfimid é. Tá súil agam go dtabharfadh an Teachta a bhí ag cur isteach orm an míniú sin dúinn.

One can see from this debate that it is politics and not policy which is the theme of the Opposition Deputies and of some of the Independent Deputies. Some of them, in fact, like to keep a foot on both sides. Listening to Deputy Cogan for the past few minutes certainly would give one the creeps. He gave us a wail of woe such as I never heard before. Everything is wrong with the farming community. Prices are wrong and the land is not stocked. We have now a Minister for Agriculture who has provided a fixed market with a five years' guaranteed price, and still the Deputy says that everything is wrong. I do not know what type of farming is carried on in Wicklow, but I know that in County Meath the farmers are quite satisfied that things are fairly good. I should like Deputy Cogan to give up his narrow-minded way of looking at things. He talks as if he and he alone had saved the ratepayers. He brought down the rates and he is a national saviour, when everybody knows that it is all a matter of spite and jealousy because Deputy Dillon is Minister for Agriculture and because Deputy Donnellan is in the position which he thought he would get himself. Deputy Cogan ought to remember these things when he speaks.

This Budget gave the nation a great shake up and it is a good thing it did. It is a new type of Budget, a Budget with a new look. It is about time the nation utilised all its resources. Our national assets were doing good for other countries. Why not make them do good for our own country? That is all the Budget does and it is sound, from a national point of view. When we follow that line we are following in the tradition of everything that was great in this country down through the generations. If this money is well spent it will give an adequate return, and, instead of having to emigrate, our people will get work at home. What is wrong with that? I do not see anything wrong with it.

We want thousands of houses; we want land development, afforestation and drainage; and we want emigration stopped. These are all crying needs and this Budget sets out to do these things. The nation is crying out for development. Much of our land is half wild and we have a treeless wilderness in parts of this country since the fuel shortage of the war period. Our bogs are flooded with water and are crying out for drainage; our rivers and drains are choked; and our farmers' land is half idle. These are the things we must look after. Is it not time we put into operation the famous plan of 1932? Fianna Fáil had a plan in 1932 to give work to everybody and to keep the wheels of industry going around, but they were too cowardly to face up to what that plan meant. We are taking up their plan and putting it into effect. This Government is up and doing; it is going to do the things which Fianna Fáil during its 16 long years were afraid to do because they thought the task was too big. Of course, it was too big, for small men.

Emigration and unemployment were rife for the past 15 and, indeed, the past 30 years and nothing was done to arrest them. I am very proud to stand behind the Minister and to say: "More power to you. Keep doing good work and the nation will never forget you." We are laying the foundations of a just and ordered State, foundations which should have been laid 20 years ago but, because of political bickering and wrangling and because of political tomfoolery of all kinds, the nation never got a chance. Now, however, the decks are being cleared. The political wranglings are being forgotten and old sores are being healed. The prisons are being opened and men are being allowed out to go back to their homes to take up their ploughs and spades and do the work of the nation.

And the blue shirts are being put under the bed.

They did their job and did it well. They kept Deputy Aiken and his gang of Broy Harriers in their place. Many times my knuckles and stick came down on the backs of the thugs that you provided in this country, and if you try it again we will certainly do the same thing.


The Budget.

People—not money— are our chief concern, because it is the people who count and it is the people we will look after. We want to see Christian social justice, and that demands that money do its duty. That is what the Minister is doing in this Budget. It is a daring and enterprising Budget and puts into effect the teachings of all the patriots of the past. "Give us control of this country and we will make it the greatest little country in the world." That has been the cry down through the years, from Tone and Emmet down to Pearse and Collins. We have had the destinies of this country in our hands for 30 years and is it not a sorry condition we find it in? We have had emigration for 25 or 30 years and no effort made to stem it; we have housing a crying need and very little done about it; and we have our land half-wild for want of proper development and nothing done about it. Our farmers have been left to flounder along as best they could because Governments would do very little for them. For three or four long years Fianna Fáil did their damnedest to bring the farmers to their knees and they succeeded, and they spent years trying to buy votes by throwing cheap meat and such things to the labouring man. The farmer and the labourer never forgot that cheap, mean and dirty bribe. They have now shaken off the dirt of that bribe and have put Fianna Fáil on the other side of this House. More power to them for doing so.

Orthodox financiers like Deputy Aiken may frown and talk about the awful things that will happen, but there is little danger of what they say will happen coming about, so long as we put our money to proper use. Land development, afforestation and drainage are national assets when properly tackled and when tackled by men of vision. That is what this Budget does. The nation is quite happy. In the country one hears "McGilligan is the man". We were a long time waiting for a financial wizard. Now we have one. For ten years Fianna Fáil told the Cumann na nGaedheal Government that the Government were doing nothing. Now the financial wizard is going too fast for them. You band of hypocrites. Do not think we are worried by what you say. You can froth venom from your mouths. The nation will carry on in spite of you. We are doing that for which we went out to fight years ago. We are giving the nation a proper balance that it never had. Thanks be to God, the money in this country and our assets abroad will be used in the nation's interest. Before we finish our term of office and our next term of office, we will have a balanced economy, a prosperous farming community and contented workers earning decent wages in their own land. There will be no whining and no emigration. There will be no begging and sweating for other people. There will be plenty of work for every Irish man and woman on the land of Ireland, in the drains, on afforestation, in building houses. There is a ten to 15 years' programme of good national work. There is money to do that work and there is a Government here prepared and willing to put into effect all the things that this nation needs. That is what this Budget is aiming at and that is what this Budget will do.

The nation is satisfied that we are giving the right lead. They believe that there are brains and ability in the Government. They have full confidence in the Ministers because they are true and tried men who-know what the people want. They know that the Government are not merely sitting in Government offices, listening to officials. They know that the Ministers are giving the directions and that the officials are taking the orders. For 15 years the officials controlled this country and Fianna Fáil, who had only two or three real men, had to take orders from the executives in the Civil Service. There is no need for that now. We have men with brains, ability, courage and vision in control, and while that is the case, the nation will be put where it should be, on its feet. These men are working for decent social justice in this country, where every man will have a fair living in his own way, where the farmer will be free, so long as he lives within the law of God and man, to carry on his own good husbandry in his own way. There will be no compulsion. He can grow wheat or beet or rear cattle as he thinks fit. Why should a farmer be stopped from doing that which his land suits best? Why should I be forced to produce beet if my land is more suitable for cattle? Why should I be forced to rear cattle if my land is more suitable for beet? It is time you realised that a farmer should be free and independent. For generations the farmer carried on his own tradition and he saved this country. He got very little help but plenty of hindrance from Fianna Fáil. In spite of that he carried the nation on his back; he fed this nation for three or four trying years at a loss to himself in the national interest.

We are now going to take the shackles off the farmer and give him the freedom denied to him over a long number of years. He will be free to carry on his own husbandry in his own way. There will be no prying into his business to see why he is not growing this or that. Take the shackles off the farmer and let him alone. We should see to it that any money collected by way of taxation is utilised in the best way and that all the money collected in Dublin goes back to the country, not into the air for big balloons or aeroplanes and fancy hotels for the financiers from all over the world. Send it down the country to repair the lanes and the roads, to drain the land, to fertilise the land and to do those things that were neglected over a long number of years.

This Budget is of grave concern to Fianna Fáil. That is little wonder. It will put the skids finally under them. Thanks be to God, the plan of 1932 is resurrected. It has been in the pigeon hole. I refer to the famous plan of work for all, unemployment for none and industrial development. We have resurrected that plan and are putting it into effect. What you were too cowardly to do we are not afraid to do.

This Budget gives hope for the future. If the money is prudently and wisely spent, as I know it will be, being in the hands of men of ability, training, courage and brains, we will have work for all our people who are able and willing to work, and good times for the farmers. Our farmers will feel secure in the knowledge that there is an honest and straight Government and that the racketeers of the past have been done away with, the smugglers, the jackeens, who grew rich overnight, while Fianna Fáil smiled so long as, when the election came along, the cheque was sent in. The big warriors of Dublin may quake in their shoes because Fianna Fáil has gone out and will never return. Things are so happy for us that they cannot be happy for those on the other side of the House. I would say to the Independents that they should take courage and go across to one side or the other, but not to be shilly-shallying, running with the hare and hunting with the hound. I would say to them, be men and do not wobble at the knees.

Is Deputy Davin not going to say something about the excess corporation profits tax? Is he going to remain as mute as a mouse?

There will be another opportunity that the Deputy cannot foresee.

I shall not follow the line of Deputy Giles. He got up, of course, to support this Budget but his speech was an attack on Fianna Fáil and was not a justification of the Budget. One of the statements he made was that emigration was rife over the past 16 years. I presume he meant that it was during the term of office of Fianna Fáil. The figures are available for the years when Fianna Fáil were in office and the two years that the Coalition Government have been in office and a comparison will show that during the period of office of Fianna Fáil, save in the very abnormal period of the war, emigration was being reduced every year and that, even in 1947, the last year of Fianna Fáil administration, 7,000 people more came into this country than left it. Will the Minister for Finance, in his concluding statement, show the number that have come into the country over and above the number that left the country since the Coalition Government took office? That is a plain, straight and pertinent question.

To come down to the Budget. A Budget is introduced annually by whatever Government is in power. It is the annual stocktaking account of the success or failure of Government policy during the previous year. As was pointed out by Deputy Cogan, it also serves as a gauge to our future and our past. In fact, it is the speedometer and governor of our economic life for the coming year. It is my opinion, consequently, that it is deserving of serious consideration. I agree with Deputy O'Reilly in that. Deputy O'Reilly pointed out that it is the duty of the Opposition to criticise, and to criticise in a constructive manner. Any criticism that has been made of this Budget on this side of the House has been made in all sincerity, and those who allege that criticisms have been levelled in order to obstruct the Government, to ensure that they will not be in a position to raise their loan from voluntary subscriptions, are just making an excuse because they do know that the people of the country are very perturbed regarding this Budget.

Did you hear Deputy MacEntee preaching yesterday?

I heard a good deal of preaching in this House with which I shall deal at a later stage.

Deputy Davin is even afraid to talk.

The expedient of borrowing on a large scale has now been resorted to for the first time and it is only quite natural that, with our experience of what borrowing meant to individuals and States in the past, we should be critical. We have to relate this colossal Budget and what it means to the country to what the people are capable of meeting. Taking the past two years of the Coalition Government, are they capable of meeting this big extra strain that has now been imposed upon them? I was very interested in one thing the Minister for Finance said in the financial statement. It appears in Volume 120, No. 11, column 1649. He was speaking on employment and said:—

"The steady post-war increase in non-agricultural employment continued during 1949. The average number engaged in industry in 1949 is estimated at 206,000, as compared with 195,000 in 1948. The continuous increase in non-agricultural employment since the war has more than offset the decline in the number engaged in farm work."

Mark the significance of the last sentence. I want to ask the Minister how he can prove that statement when we find that in 1947 the number employed on farm work was 507,568; in 1948 it had declined to 499,542, and in 1949 there was a further decline to 452,500, representing a decline in over two years under the policy of the Coalition Government of 55,068. Taking his statement even at its face value, was any greater condemnation of the agricultural policy of the present Government uttered by anyone on these benches than that statement made by the Minister for Finance? When he talks of non-agricultural employment and industrial employment he is segregating one from the other. Is there a distinction? What is meant by non-agricultural employment? I take it that non-agricultural employment may be the employment that has embraced a number of men, that is, housing; but that is a form of employment which, while it is useful for a period, at the most for a decade, is not a permanent form of employment at all. If this increase of 11,000 people between 1948 and 1949 is really in industrial employment, I would like to ask the Minister in what new industries established since the Coalition Government took office they are employed. That is a question which I would like him to answer. If there is any indication of the success of a business or policy I think it is the number of people who earn a decent livelihood in it, but here you have 55,000 people deprived of their employment as a result of one of the chief lines of our economic policy. It is all very well—it is a good thing—to see an expansion in industrial output and industrial employment, and we hope it continues and accelerates very greatly within the coming year, but how many new industries have been established in the past two years to absorb the unemployed who have been deprived of their livelihood on the land as a result of this great agricultural policy we hear so much about?

Two hundred new factories.

There is a variety entertainment show travelling my part of the country at the moment which features a character, a Frenchman called Paul Goildin, a hypnotist. I was in the Dáil listening to the Minister for Agriculture and I was wondering whether it was this French hypnotist or an Irish Minister for Agriculture I was listening to.

You did not get under his spell.

Few people have got under his spell. He gave us to understand when he was on the Opposition Benches that if he were a member of the Government and had charge of the Department of Agriculture, by coming into contact with the Ministers of other countries, particularly with British Ministers, he would certainly be in a position to hypnotise them, but I do not think his hypnotism has gone as far as that. After all, when you hear an important personality in a big union stating he no longer takes the statements of the Minister for Agriculture seriously, I think it is time that the Government and the Taoiseach should take serious notice. It is a very serious matter to have anybody in charge of our chief industry who is not taken seriously. In fact, he is not taken seriously by his own supporters in the country.

He is by Deputy Davin.

What is he doing wrong? Tell us that.

I would like to know what he has done right.

Ask the farmers.

He has done nothing wrong, as far as the ranchers' mentality in this country is concerned. He has done everything to serve their purpose and he is all out to serve it. He is getting on very well with the work, doing the job quite well. He told us all about the reclamation scheme, or a good deal about it, and asked what is wrong with borrowing money to reclaim the land of this country. I do not suggest that there is anything wrong with borrowing money to reclaim land that would prove an economic and profitable proposition, but, mind you, it comes very strangely from a Minister who, in 1947, speaking on the Agricultural Estimate in this House, said:—

"Land was no security in this country for credit. God grant it never may be."

Still he is borrowing £40,000,000 for his rehabilitation scheme. I have no objection to that, but what I have a decided objection to—and I do not understand why even Deputy Fagan would stand for it—is that two-thirds of the farming community are being excluded from the benefits of it. It is only the scrub land and the mediocre land that is getting any benefit from this scheme. The farmer who worked his land well and kept it in a good state of fertility is left as he was. He is getting nothing out of it. If you ask to have that man given cheap fertilisers you are told that that would all go over to the cartel, that there would be no hope of the farmer securing any benefit from it. I would imagine that a person who claims to be so able and capable of doing things in the proper way, as Deputy Dillon, the Minister for Agriculture, claims, should be capable of setting up an organisation here to see that the farmers would get the full benefit of the cheap manure. I know a bit about farming and certainly know a good deal about the small and middle-sized farmers. Their maxim always was to give attention to the good land, to till it and produce crops from it, and to reclaim the bad land gradually, so that, by attending to the good land and increasing its fertility, they would get back what would enable them to rehabilitate or reclaim the inferior land. That is all forgotten now, as far as the Minister for Agriculture is concerned. That is the big objection I have to the borrowing of money for a rehabilitation scheme carried out on the lines proposed by him.

We are borrowing for housing grants and we are told it is only fair and proper that we should do so. We were told by Deputy Giles that there was nothing done by Fianna Fáil for housing. The figures speak for themselves. There were 134,000 houses built and reconstructed in this country from the year 1933 to 1939.

How many were built?

If there is any increase or if housing is being speeded up at the present time, is it not by virtue of the Housing Bill passed by Fianna Fáil in 1947 and enacted in 1948 before the dissolution?

Was it not by virtue of the Cumann na nGaedheal Housing Bill that you did so many?

Is it intended to have a new housing Bill that will further increase the grants? There is no indication of that in the Budget. There are people—small, but not so small— to whom even a £225 grant is not sufficient to enable them to build a house at the present time. The cost of materials and labour has not come down, so that a £225 grant in 1947 would do a good deal more than it would do to day. I wonder if those people are to be taken into consideration now when we are going out on this borrowing spree.

Deputy Timoney said yesterday evening he always makes a decent speech in this House that there were private persons who borrowed money in order to build houses for themselves, and why should not the State do likewise. Well, there is this difference, that the private person was undertaking the obligation on his own and was not fastening it on to anyone else. That is not so with the State: they are passing on this obligation to other people, many of whom never will directly benefit by it. Some of these private people who are borrowing money to build houses have something else in mind when they borrow the money. Some of them could very easily invest the full amount to build the house, but they have a certain reason for not doing so, and that is why they resort to the borrowing side of the business.

We are told that the cost of living has remained static since 1947. We had only rationed goods in 1947. We have them rationed and unrationed at the present time. Any person responsible for a household down the country will very quickly tell you, and can produce receipts to prove it, that the cost of living has increased very considerably since 1947. If you want your full allowance of tea or the full allowance of sugar, you can have it, of course, at the full price. That has not been taken into consideration in the compilation of the cost-of-living figure.

It has. It is not excluded.

I doubt that very much.

The Deputy need not doubt it.

I have heard the Minister for Finance on various occasions, at least, on one or two come into this House and attack the then Minister for Industry and Commerce about the way he was allowing the drapers "to get away with the loot" and the terrible prices that were charged. What about the prices being charged to-day? Is there not a 25 per cent. increase in all woollen goods at the moment over what it was last year? Is there not a big increase in the price of boots and shoes over what it was in 1947 or even 1948? Does that not add to the cost of living?

A new recruit for the excess profits tax.

In what other respects has the cost of living been brought down? I would like to hear that from the Minister. We were told it was to come down. We were told about taxation being reduced.

Why did you take off the excess profits tax?

You said you would put it on. You are as mute as a mouse about it now.

We were told about an increase in production and that the improvement is most notable in cattle, pigs, poultry and eggs, and to a certain extent in milk. We are told that there has been an increase over 1948 in barley, potatoes and beet. I do not question the statement that there was an increase in cattle, pigs, poultry and eggs but I think that the increase in pigs, poultry and eggs is not likely to continue in the situation in which we find ourselves to-day. We were told down in Portumna last September that we would get maize meal at £20 per ton and that it would not go beyond that figure in the foreseeable future. Five months after the price was increased to £26 per ton and it is being retailed at the present moment at £30 per ton. I do not think that will be very helpful towards continuing increased production in pigs, poultry and eggs. As far as cattle are concerned we are told, of course, that there is a big increase there.

We are doing fairly well.

We are told that we have got a big income from them. But if we take the income we have got from the cattle we have sold in the British market, the only market for them——

You have the market, though.

We were deprived of any other markets by the Minister for Agriculture. If we put the income against the feeding stuffs we have to import as a result of our present policy it will be found that our profit is very light indeed. These are the things which must be taken into consideration. Let me deal now with turf production. When the Bill dealing with turf was before this House we know how it was treated by the members of the present Government, particularly the Fine Gael Ministers. We know the "droc mheas" that was thrown on it then. Turf development and turf production is a good thing. The more turf we have the better. What has happened in the present year as regards turf development? It is all very well to have the spectacular schemes in Clonsast, Allenwood, Boora and elsewhere, but we had a form of turf production in 1948-49, the semi-automatic machine-won turf schemes; last year the Minister for Industry and Commerce nodded his head in assent when I said I had great hopes for the future of the semi-automatic machine-won turf. This year that scheme has been almost completely abandoned on the plea, we are told, that it will be uneconomic. The Minister, of course, may have been advised on that but I think he should have enough common sense to know that the scheme was only in a very early experimental stage and that it had not got a fair chance. Perhaps the big guns in Bord na Móna, who are all out for the big spectacular schemes, said that they could not give it attention; they may even have said that it would be uneconomic but I firmly believe—and it would be very difficult to convince me to the contrary—that an organisation could be established under which the semi-automatic machine-won turf would be a success providing the bogs were properly developed. One cannot develop a bog properly in two years.

And provided you get the racketeering middlemen out of the way.

And you get a good marketing system.

There is a market and it would not be too difficult to find it. It is always easy to get a market for a good commodity. It could even be successful if the Departments and local institutions were confined to buying that turf. That would be better certainly than having the situation as it is at present with 1,747 men thrown out of employment and £262,000 in wages withdrawn. That was the reply I got from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach, Deputy Cosgrave. We are told that there are big schemes in Clonsast and elsewhere but the men cannot be got. We are told there is any amount of employment if the men will go there. That kind of employment is all right for single men who do not object to going away from home and living in hostels. A large percentage of the men employed on the bogs that I have in mind are married men with families; they have a keen regard for home life and they do not believe in going off to Kildare or Offaly. Kylemore is not too far from Offaly or Ballyforan, but they are denied employment there on the grounds that such turf production is uneconomic, even though the scheme is still only in an experimental stage.

Who made it uneconomic? You know.

The bogs were not developed properly and the scheme did not get a chance.

Do not blame this Government for your own mistakes.

I can certainly blame this Government for that mistake. It was no mistake of ours. We founded the scheme. It was initiated by us. The machines were purchased, the bogs were selected and so on. But the scheme was given no chance to operate successfully because this Government dropped it.

How many middlemen did you get in?

Are you not a middleman?

You keep off the road and get on to the path now.

I told you long ago you were a middleman.


Deputy Beegan.

The Local Authorities (Works) Act was mentioned. When it was passing through this House we were told that we were wilfully obstructing it and preventing people being employed. I challenge that statement that people were thrown out of work by any act of ours. The road grants were withdrawn. When a motion was tabled asking for the restoration of road grants and to have them brought up to the 1947 figure we got the Local Authorities (Works) Act. It was quite clear that that Act was more for the purpose of giving employment than it was for drainage.

What did your Government decide on 12th February, 1948?


Deputy Beegan.

Give me time and I will tell you. I am sure Deputy McQuillan knows some of the people whose names I shall mention in a moment. I have here a copy of the Western Herald of 29th April, 1950. In the “Craughwell Notes” the following appears:—

"Land owners and ratepayers adjoining the Dunkellin River launched a vigorous campaign to have the river drained, widened and improved when between 50 and 60 interested parties held a public meeting in St. Michael's Hall, Craughwell, on Monday night last. Mr. P. Mannion, Ganty, who presided, said their object was to force the authorities to drain and improve the Dunkellin River from the sea to its source. ‘All of us,' said he, ‘can witness the disastrous effects of the minor drainage schemes which are overtaxing the capacity of the river and flooding whole areas which were free from flooding up until quite recently. All these schemes,' continued the chairman, ‘are bad.' He advocated the formation of a five-parish representative committee which would discuss ways and means of getting the drainage of the river done. ... Mr. Martin Newell, Loughrea, stated that the importance of having this work properly done could not be over stressed. ‘We, all of us, remember,' he said ‘the farcical attempts at drainage carried out under the Cumann na nGaedheal Government in 1924 and 1925. The present Government,' he said, ‘seems to be tackling the task in a similar fashion. Whole fleets of engineers complete with cars, offices, etc., are engaged in minor drainage schemes, reclamation schemes and so forth, and the result is that areas further down the rivers are being flooded out of existence.'"

Was that the Fianna Fáil Cumann?

He is not a Fianna Fáil supporter, as you well know. He was the Clann na Poblachta candidate in South Galway in the 1948 Election. I wonder could one get any censure, obstruction or condemnation of the Local Authorities (Works) Act from any Fianna Fáil member here or any Fianna Fáil supporter outside to equal the censure and condemnation there.

It was the Galway County Council he meant to blame.


Deputy Beegan.

I am not agreeing with him in all that. I do agree with him that, in so far as the schemes are not properly carried out, they are a disadvantage rather than an advantage. We have an engineering staff in Galway which is very critical and careful of the types of schemes they send up to the Department of Local Government under that particular Act. We were told that one could do any kind of drainage under this Act. We got a circular from the Minister about two months ago pointing out the special type of work that could only be undertaken under that Act. That is the position.

We are held up, of course, as obstructionists if we attempt to open our mouths at all, to point out the defects in Government policy. We are held up as saboteurs. I say there is nothing in this Budget for the agricultural community who were the life-line of this country during the emergency. I challenge anyone to show me where there is anything in it for the farmers. We have increased rates, increased costs of production and everything else. Have we got an increase in the price of any commodity we have to sell or dispose of since the present Government took office?

Are you not getting increased prices for your cattle?

There is no credit due to the Government for that. I would get an increased price for live stock if there never was a native Government in this country.

What about your potatoes?

The price of fertilisers have been increased despite the fact that we were told it would be brought down. There is only one thing now offered to the farmer, to work harder and to produce more. They must think the farmers are a very unintelligent sleepy crowd of people. It would be all right applying that maxim to the farmers, if every other section of the community who have got increases and who have had their livelihood improved, would work harder. I wonder have they worked harder, have they produced more or worked longer hours? They can have a much easier time while the farmer is to produce more to enable them to enjoy their increases.

What are they getting for their potatoes now? Three shillings a stone.

What they are getting for potatoes is due to the scarcity of potatoes. We know what brought that about.

Hear, hear. We do.

We were told by the Minister for Agriculture that the yield of potatoes had increased in 1949. I challenge that statement and I say there were 39,000 acres of a reduction. In 1948, there was an abnormally high yield of potatoes and the number of farmers that would tell you now that their yield increased in 1949 over 1948, would not be quite 1 per cent. of the total number engaged in that business. I am sceptical about the figures the Minister has given in many respects, when I find a mistake of that kind. There was a reduction of 39,000 acres and still he says there has been an increase.

Deputy Briscoe says that his constituents are paying 3/a stone.

They are paying 3/6.

They are well able to pay it.

Anyone who knows anything about borrowing must know of the doleful experiences associated with it. In its present position the Government is just like a man who spends his money backing horses or borrowing. That type of man is always a superoptimist. No matter what he can collar or where he can get money, he has his hand out for it, but that money has to be paid for in due course. That is the position in regard to the present Budget, a position that the people of the country will find very embarrassing before very long. They will find that the slogan of "work harder and produce more" will have to be applied very vigorously in the coming years, in order to make good the squandermania carried on by the present Government.

It is about time that Deputies opposite should have exhausted their eloquence in their vain endeavour to picture this country as rushing headlong into financial chaos and ultimate bankruptcy. It is a strange thing that in this civilised age so many of them should have spoken and not one of them has said a good word for the financial motions before the House. Surely, it cannot be that everything has gone wrong. No matter how much they prate in this House or elsewhere in the country, they cannot raise any enthusiasm in support of the doleful tales they have to tell. The decent people of this country have no longer any confidence in the insolent rampages and the violent ravings of the Deputies opposite. For too long have they fooled the people of this country and now I think it is time they came to understand the meaning of the old adage: "You may fool some of the people all the time and all the people some of the time but you cannot fool all the people all the time."

Deputies opposite, I believe, know in their hearts that the financial statement made by the Minister for Finance outlines a programme which is entirely for the welfare of the people of the country and for the advancement and safety of the State. I heard Deputy MacEntee go back as far as 1932 when his Party became the Government of this country. He referred to what he called "the economic war." I think that is a misnomer. Most of the sensible people of this country believed that it was a kind of personal show-down between the Leader of the Opposition and the English Government. In fact if Fianna Fáil were wise they should never refer to that sad period in the history of the country when the farmers were beggared and when even well-to-do farmers had to go out on the roads and into the bogs in order to earn a few shillings to support their families, as there was no price for anything produced on the land. The Deputy stated that the annuities were halved. They were, but still the English Government by another method were able to collect the annuities that were reserved for that Government because they put a penal tariff of 5/- per cwt. on every animal entering the British market from this country. Then in 1938, when they agreed to what they called the Coal-Cattle Pact the taxpayers had to pay the vast sum of £10,000,000 to the British Government in order to bring about a settlement of this so-called economic war. That was the time when a certain politician in this country, a small man with a big whip, said that we would whip John Bull. It was a costly whip. It cost £10,000,000. It is doubtful if an estimate can ever be made of the amount of money that was lost by our farmers through that show-down with England. In fact, the effects of the economic war are still felt in the country.

When this Government came into office and made the much-wanted and longed-for agreement with England, the farmers whose lands were fully stocked were able to receive at once great benefit under it. That was one of the first good acts done by this Government. It also ensures that our farmers now and for years to come will receive a fixed price for everything they produce on the land, for their cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry and so on. Not only that but, for the first time, arrangements were made under it by which some of our industrial products could be exported to England. Any agreement which this country makes and which provides a market for everything that can be produced on the land and in the factory, shows the wisdom of the Government that can make it.

Deputy Beegan referred to turf. He was the first Deputy that I heard do so. If he wanted to suggest that hand-won turf should ever again be produced in this country for sale, he should think back to the time when there was no market for it, and when there was no use in producing it at immense cost to the ratepayer and the taxpayer. In that connection, one might remind him of the time when there was no market for Irish cattle and when the calves had to be slaughtered. The same applied to hand-won turf. We know what happened in connection with the turf scheme. It was engineered and carried out in such a racketeering way that, even when the turf in the Phoenix Park and in the other dumps throughout the country was offered for sale at £1 per ton, scarcely any purchasers could be found for it. Having regard to the bad business that was done in that connection by the Fianna Fáil Government, I think, if this Government did its duty when it came into office, it should actually have made the Ministers of that Government, and perhaps some of the Deputies, too, remove that turf from the dumps in the Park and through the country, and it might be a good thing if they appointed Deputy MacEntee as ganger so that he might urge them on to greater efforts by his poisonous and venomous talk.

This Government under the legislation which it has passed, has brought into operation various schemes which will benefit the land and will be of benefit generally to the people. There is the land rehabilitation scheme, the Local Authorities (Works) Act, afforestation, rural electrification which is now making such headway, and housing. Is it not a good thing that money should be borrowed for the promotion and advancement of all these projects? Surely, nobody would expect that the taxpayers of the present day would provide the entire sum of money required for the execution of all these schemes. Their benefit will really not be felt by the people for many years to come. Therefore, it is only right that posterity should bear its share of the cost of them.

The Budget, I notice, has been debated from the opposite benches more or less from the point of view of agriculture. In fact, one would think that it was the Estimate for the Department of Agriculture that was under discussion. I suppose the reason for that is that those Deputies desired to make an attack upon the Minister for Agriculture. I can assure them that he has the complete confidence of the farming community. I believe it is because he is making such a success of his Department that all the venom of Fianna Fáil is directed against him. I can assure the Deputies opposite that, so far as the members of this Party are concerned, and I am sure of other Parties, too, the more they attack him the more will the supporters of this Government rally around him because they realise that by reason of the work he is doing in his Department, he is a Minister who will be one of the great saviours of this country.

Now, this Budget does not impose any extra taxation. Neither does it give any appreciable reliefs. Sensible people, with an understanding of all the new schemes which are being put into operation and all the increased services which are being brought about by the present Government, realise that a large amount of taxation is required to carry out those services, and I believe they will feel perfectly satisfied so long as no extra taxation is imposed.

I think it was Deputy Giles who referred to the new look in Government policy. I would say that, during the past few years, there has been a new look on the countenances of the people throughout the country. Under the Fianna Fáil régime, this was more or less a totalitarian State. If people expressed themselves in accordance with the views they conscientiously held they were victimised in various ways. Therefore, really there was no freedom of speech or no freedom from fear. But to-day, no matter what people say in expressing their views, we need have no fear that they will be interfered with or that it will prevent them from getting work. The people can now look forward to an era of prosperity and it is about time that our people could look forward to a better and more prosperous Ireland.

Deputy Palmer has referred to this new freedom that people are supposed to have got since the Coalition Government came into office. We have only to refer to a statement that was made by a certain Fine Gael Deputy in Dublin recently in connection with Store Street bus station to know exactly what that freedom is when he said that he was actually going against his conscience in connection with that project. That is the freedom of speech which has been referred to.

Was he not free to say it?

Deputy Palmer also referred to fooling the people. He said that we could not fool all the people all the time. If anybody has fooled the people, it is those on the opposite benches because it was they who told the people during the last election and several times before it that they were going to remove all the social ills that existed in this country. The question is, how many of these social ills have they removed or how many of them have they even attempted to remove? In his Budget speech, the Minister for Finance was careful not to refer to the social evil of emigration; neither did he make much reference to the social evil of unemployment or the cost of living. This emigration which we used to hear so much about during the Fianna Fáil days has assumed greater proportions than ever. As somebody has stated, in the two years 1948 and 1949 no fewer than 31,000 more people left this country than came into it. That is the solution the Coalition Government have for emigration. In addition, at the present time, some 67,000 people are unemployed.

What were they before?

These are the politicians who told the electorate that they had a cure for these evils, so that the less people over there say about fooling the people the better for themselves.

You told the people that unemployment need not exist.

A Deputy

It was the ex-Minister for Industry and Commerce who said that.

It was the present Minister for Industry and Commerce.

It was the present Minister for Industry and Commerce who said that he saw no reason why every able-bodied unemployed man could not be put into employment overnight. Get the quotation. It was the present Minister for Industry and Commerce.

At column 426 of 4th June, 1930, Deputy Lemass said:—

"The outstanding fact concerning unemployment in this country is that it need not exist at all."

It was the present Minister for Industry and Commerce who made use of that statement in this House.

This was 1930 from Deputy Lemass.

This was 1947. We will get the statement in a minute. The present Minister for Industry and Commerce said that he saw no reason why every able-bodied unemployed man in this country could not be put into employment overnight. Deputy Palmer also referred to the 1938 agreement and called it a coal-cattle pact. It was not a coal-cattle pact. It was a financial agreement. I should like to remind the Deputy that that was the agreement which settled the economic war to which he referred.

It was about time.

It was an agreement under which £100,000,000 of land annuities were wiped out in full and final settlement of the dispute by the payment of £10,000,000. It was also under that agreement that the Fianna Fáil Government succeeded in winning back the ports in this country which enabled us to declare and preserve our neutrality.

They put the Republicans in jail.

That was not a bad achievement for the Fianna Fáil Government. Deputy Palmer also referred to the bad plight of the farmers during the economic war. The point is, however, that, in spite of that, the Fianna Fáil Government were returned to office at five succeeding elections and the people are the best judges as to who are the best champions of their cause and their rights. This ecomonic struggle had to be fought and won in spite of the bitter opposition of the people over there.

Are you referring to the civil war?

I am not and the Deputy knows it very well. We are presented here with a bill for something like £107,000,000 for expenditure this year, or a little more than £2,000,000 a week. This is a £2,000,000 a week Budget. We all remember the terrible cry that went up here when the 1947 Budget was introduced and when the amount was only something like £69,000,000. At that time it was called a national crime to spend money. It was said that there was nothing to justify it in those days, because, of course, it was the Fianna Fáil Government who were in office. But now it appears to be a wonderful thing to spend money and, not merely that, but to borrow about 15 per cent. of that money for spending. Therefore, what used to be a vice and a very bad practice in past years has turned out to be a virtue according to the statements of some Deputies opposite, especially the Minister for External Affairs. According to him, we should go on borrowing; there should be no limit to our borrowing.

But, even after all the borrowing, is there anything to indicate that the money will be put to any good use? We must remember that during the past two years and even within a space of one year—from March, 1948, to March, 1949—two loans, each amounting to £12,000,000, were floated in this country by the present Government. In all, two loans totalling £24,000,000 were floated within a year, between March, 1948, and March, 1949. In spite of that excessive borrowing, has anything been done to prevent emigration? Has anything been done to relieve unemployment?

The figures speak for themselves.

Has anything been done to improve the lot of the people generally? Nothing, despite the fact, as I have said, that no less than £24,000,000 of the public's money has been given to the Government during these two years. As a matter of fact, there is a little mistake there because the second £12,000,000 loan was not fully subscribed. It had to be underwritten to the extent of £5,500,000.

That is a pleasant thing to put on record.

I am referring to the figure for the purpose of accuracy. I sincerely trust that if the Government go to the people again for another loan their efforts will be attended with greater success.

Deputy MacEntee said they should not, and that the banks should take a stand.

And Deputy Hickey, also.

No fear of that.

Deputy Giles also referred to the wonderful freedom which we have got. He said there is no interference with the people now—the farmers have a splendid time; they can do what they like. Still, Deputy Giles was the very Deputy who told us on the occasion of the debate on the Land Commission Estimate that inspectors from the Land Commission are roaming round his constituency at the present time like bloodhounds. How can that statement by Deputy Giles be reconciled with what he described as "this wonderful freedom"? Of course, that is all ballyhoo.

He meant that all the prisoners who were in jail are free.

Reference has been made to the land rehabilitation scheme. Deputy Beegan has already dealt with that matter. It is time to expose the nefarious propaganda that has been carried out by some of the Deputies opposite in that they have tried to assert that Deputies on this side of the House are not in favour of that scheme. We are in favour of any scheme which will improve the quality of the land or any scheme that will tend to help the agricultural community. My complaint about the scheme is that it is not being administered satisfactorily. We were told by the Minister for Agriculture that several thousands of applications had reached his office but, when a question was put to him recently, it was discovered that only £3,000 had been paid out in grants and that a sum of about £225,000 had been spent on machinery and administration. It appears to me to be rather extraordinary that that amount is spent on machinery and administrative expenses while a sum of only £3,000 has been paid out so far in grants. One would imagine from the way Deputies speak that it was the first time anything was done by a Government to improve the land of this country. I should like to point out that before ever this land rehabilitation scheme was heard of another scheme, known as the farm improvement scheme, was in operation here. It was a good scheme—and it was introduced by Fianna Fáil.

Through the clubs.

It was introduced for the purpose of enabling the farmers to improve their land, to carry out schemes of minor drainage and reclamation, and the farmers availed themselves of it to the full.

Will the Deputy cease discussing past administration?

I do not propose to follow that line for very long.

I am only referring to the fact that it was not the first time that a Government in this country gave financial assistance to the farmers to enable them to improve their lands. Between the farm improvements scheme, the special employment scheme, the rural improvements scheme, and so on, I am bound to say that millions of money were put into the land of this country by the previous Government and, by those schemes which they have carried out, the lot of the farming community has been much improved.

As I said, when referring to this Budget, I for one do not approve of the idea of excessive borrowing. I know, of course, that it is necessary to borrow a certain amount of money from time to time. But any Government with a sense of responsibility to the people should always be careful as to the amount of money they will borrow. This idea of classifying certain projects under the heading of "Capital Schemes" will not deceive anybody. Things are going to be done with borrowed money now that have never been done before with borrowed money——

Hear, hear!

——and that had been done out of ordinary revenue. Where is the "Hear, hear!" now?

You were correct the first time. They were never done before.

Some items now classified under capital expenditure were met before out of revenue and I, for one, deprecate this new departure. When we were over on that side of the House, when Fianna Fáil occupied the benches opposite, we used to hear a lot about bureaucracy. We were told that bureaucracy was running rife in this country and the cost of the Civil Service was going up by leaps and bounds. The Minister for Finance has indicated in the Budget that the cost of the Civil Service has gone up by £2,000,000 since last year. Is this the economy and retrenchment of which we heard so much from the Minister? That is the type of economy and retrenchment he is carrying out now, supported, of course, by Deputies opposite. We find that the growth of the Civil Service goes on apace and there is more money being spent on Civil Service administration than ever before. Where, now, is all this talk about bureaucracy?

We gave increases in wages. You had a Standstill Order.

In connection with borrowing, I deprecate also the attempt on the part of the Minister for Finance to raid certain funds and take out money from them for purposes for which they were never intended. The Widows' and Orphans' Pension Fund has already been raided; the National Health Insurance Fund was paid some attention recently by the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Social Welfare.

What about the Sinn Fein funds?

That benefited the lawyers—there is no doubt about it.

Deputy Cowan will tell you all about that.

We now have a decision on the part of the Minister for Finance to grab the savings in the post office. In my opinion that is an unjustifiable procedure. People have been advised to save up their money. Thrift has been advocated up and down the country and the people have responded to the call of thrift. A good portion of the money that was saved was deposited in the post office. Now the Minister is going to take it out and put it into circulation. Therefore, the ordinary natural thrift of the people will be negatived by the Minister and the post office savings dissipated.

That is a funny argument.

He will not have to bring in a gun to take it.

It is a very bad example to the people, and particularly a bad example to those who are in charge of public funds. If anybody in charge of public funds felt hard-up for money and made any attempt to appropriate those funds to his own relief, we know what would be done with him — he would find himself in court on a charge of embezzlement. This is a very bad example to the nation and it is a step that is surely being taken by a Government which is very hard-up for funds.

No relief has been given to anybody under this Budget. It could be expected that five years after the cessation of war we would be returning to something like a normal life, that our people could look forward to certain reliefs and that the cost of government would not be so high as it necessarily would be in time of emergency. But there is no relief and the only thing we are told by the Minister for Finance is that we must keep on working harder; the farmers must work harder in order to provide more money to be raked in by the Minister and all they will get in return is a nebulous promise from the Minister for Agriculture of a five-year plan. Incidentally, under this five-year plan there is an attempt being made to reduce the price of milk delivered to the creameries. That is what the farmers will get in return for the hard work they are to do on the advice of the Minister.

This is a dishonest Budget. It is dishonest because the people responsible for it are not prepared to face up to their responsibilities. It is dishonest because the members of the Government are afraid to face the people with whatever taxation would be necessary to cover the expenditure that is contemplated in the Budget. Posterity will have to pay for it, and the people of the present generation will have to pay for it as well. The point is, have we any guarantee that if this Government will be in office next year the same process will not be carried out— this process of excessive borrowing? If we were sure that this would be the end of it, it would not be too bad, but when people get into a bad habit of this kind, and especially when they see the easy road and accept the easy way of borrowing money instead of imposing taxation to meet expenditure then nobody knows where it will stop. The danger is that the bad habit will be kept up.

When the last speaker stood up he commenced by replying to remarks made by Deputy Palmer, which mainly hinged around the results of the economic war initiated by his own Party.

By John Bull and backed by you.

It was initiated by Deputy Ó Briain's Party——

No, but by Deputy Rooney's Party.

——and carried on for a period of five years. I can appreciate Deputy Ó Briain's uneasiness——

It was the Leader of the Deputy's Party who made out the case for the payment of the land annuities.

—— when there is reference to the hardship and suffering imposed on his own constituents during those years, when his Government were subsidising——

Major de Valera

The Fifth Column secret agreements, including the 1925 agreement. We can discuss the economic war, if Deputies opposite wish, and the betrayal of their own supporters.

Deputy Rooney should be allowed to speak.

The Opposition apparently do not want to hear about the economic war, but it has a very great bearing on the conditions existing in this country to-day, especially when we realise that it was supposed to be carried on for the purpose of withholding the annuities from Great Britain and supposed to be for the advantage of our farmers. Our farmers, however, are paying the annuities still and will pay them for a long time to come. It is questionable whether it was in the interests of the farmers. If the argument were advanced that it was in the interests of the nation, it would be a different question. It is estimated that during that period we lost something in the region of £400,000,000 in respect of trade between this country and Great Britain. The previous speaker argued that annuities of £100,000,000 were wiped out for the payment of £10,000,000 and that we also obtained the return of the ports. Let us remember that but for the agreement between this country and Great Britain in 1922, the question of getting back the ports would not have arisen because there would be no chance of coming to terms with Britain for the purpose of getting them back.

That is a new light on it.

That was 13 years ago.

I will come nearer to the Budget. Anybody who watched the policy of Fianna Fáil in the years preceding the change of Government will not dispute the fact that the Budget would now have reached a figure of £100,000,000 on the basis of their policy, which was a very different policy from that which we have to-day. It was a policy which kept our old age pensioners, civil servants, Army, Gardaí and so on at a certain level, while, at the same time, taxation was being imposed for the purpose of going in for grandiose schemes. Let us think of the transatlantic air service which would be under way now and costing the taxpayers a good penny.

Dollar earning.

We would have reached a figure of £100,000,000 also if the dream of the new Parliament buildings were being put into effect. Instead, the total of £107,000,000 we now have appears to include £34,000,000 provided for capital development. I do not think the Opposition can contend that all that money will be spent in the coming year and there is, therefore, no reason why they should assume it will be. Provision is being made for borrowing that sum because the spending of it will proceed as rapidly as possible to provide the necessary capital items.

The coming of the Budget near the £100,000,000 figure was very carefully concealed by the Fianna Fáil Government in their Budget before the 1948 election. No doubt it would have advanced to that level in any case, even if they succeeded in getting back to power, and they would have had to tell the people the truth in a succeeding Budget. The argument was advanced that we should have gone ahead with the transatlantic air service because it would be a dollar earner. That is a very doubtful argument, because I am quite sure that any people in America who desired to come to this country did not have to stay at home merely because they could not get here. At the same time, our people here would have to pay taxation to keep that service in operation.

As a result of the system brought into operation by the Minister, great opportunities for capital development will be afforded our people. It will not be disputed that the provision of finance for capital development purposes will bring its reward. An ordinary understanding of finance must compel anybody to agree that it is a proper course if we are to overtake time and if we are to give our people to-day something which ordinary finance could not give them within the next 20 years. We find that agricultural production and manufacturing industry have expanded considerably, with the result that our income from exports during the past year exceeded £100,000,000, compared with £79,000,000 in the last year of Fianna Fáil. The people cannot avoid having benefited from that difference of £21,000,000 and it represents the measure of prosperity that exists now as compared with the conditions existing at the time of the change of Government.

The use of this money for capital investment can be well justified when we consider that such a large number of houses is needed, apart from the requirements of electricity development, bog development and telephone services. The provision of these services will be of direct advantage to our people and the advantage will begin to show itself immediately these are provided. I know that Deputy MacEntee considered that we were squandering money by borrowing in order to build houses. That attitude is responsible for the fact that practically 100,000 houses are now needed and that many people are obliged to live in appalling conditions, when a policy of borrowing, if it had been thought of or adopted by the previous Government——

Major de Valera

Would have brought a howl from Fine Gael.

——would have enabled the houses to be provided much more cheaply and would have resulted in the amount to be repaid being far less. Unfortunately, in 1950, we have to do what should have been done 20 years ago. Justifying the borrowing of money for capital expenditure, the Minister said:

"It was decided that the grants for private housing should for the time being be met from borrowing so that there would be no financial impediment to progress with the housing drive and the taxpayers of to-day would not have to carry an unduly heavy financial burden."

The argument has been put forward by the Opposition that, if we want to build houses, we should immediately take the money out of the pockets of the people and build them, and that if the people cannot give us the money in the form of taxation, we should not build houses. I do not think that is a sensible argument when the expedient of borrowing meets the problem in an easier, more effective and quicker way. That is one of the reasons why this system of introducing a capital Budget as well as an ordinary housekeeping Budget has been adopted.

It cannot be suggested that this will cause inflation, because the Minister made it clear in his speech that:—

"The risk of inflation will arise if methods of financing are employed which involve the introduction of an excessive volume of new purchasing power."

I doubt if the provision of houses will provide any new purchasing power and I doubt also if the provision of electricity or development of bogs will have that effect. They will certainly provide a large measure of employment, but it cannot be said that the money going to those employed on these projects will cause undue inflation. We have been criticised here because the housekeeping budget is more than it was when we took over from Fianna Fáil. They do not appreciate the fact that old age pensions have been increased and that allowances have been given to civil servants, the Gardaí, the Army and other sections whose wages were pegged down, notwithstanding the fact that the cost of living was allowed to rise. The increase in production and income enabled us to impose a higher level of taxation in order to provide incomes for those people that would help them to meet the cost-of-living figure which had been reached and which crept up during the emergency years. The Government in general, and particularly the Fine Gael Party, have been criticised because in the general election we indicated that we could manage the affairs of Government, on the existing basis, at a cost of £10,000,000 less. The fact that we have given £11,500,000 more to those sections indicates that, if we had not decided to give them more, we could have reduced the ordinary Budget to that figure.

That is gorgeous.

We decided to give them more so that they would have more money to spend in their own way. Although we have not succeeded in raising sufficient taxes to implement the full recommendations of the Roe Commission, we have as a Government shown that we are favourably disposed towards the teachers and sympathetic in their problem. As an earnest of our attitude towards them, we have given them an increase.

Deputy Beegan said that 140,000 houses were built and reconstructed during the Fianna Fáil régime. If the Deputy segregated the figures for houses built and houses reconstructed he would come nearer to letting the people know what in fact was done. If a grant is given for the provision of a chimney or a few slates or for plastering a couple of rooms, and if that comes under the reconstruction figure, it is not a fair indication of the number of houses that were provided.

The capital sum which it is proposed to borrow will finance the building of hospitals. Nobody will advance the argument that the provision of a constellation air service was more urgent ——

The short-wave station.

And the short-wave station ——

Or mineral development.

——than the treatment of people who were in the last stages of tuberculosis or who had contracted tuberculosis and were in danger of death owing to lack of proper hospitalisation. I think even the hard heart of Deputy Ó Briain will admit that the proper thing is to give people hospitals before we provide a constellation air service.

That was being done before you ever came here.

There were some hospitals.

Forty-two of them.

We found a long waiting list for hospitals and a very high tuberculosis death rate existing when we came into office. In fact, we found that the tuberculosis death rate in 1948 was just as bad as it was when the Cumann na nGaedheal Government left office 16 years previously. So that, as far as the provision of hospitals is concerned, they did not meet the ordinary requirements of those who needed proper treatment.

I heard Deputy MacEntee and, I think, Deputy Kissane, referring to rural electrification. Deputy MacEntee should remember very well that if the Shannon scheme had not been put into effect, in spite of his opposition and the opposition of his colleagues, we could not have the industrial development and electrification which we have had. In fact, during all their years of office, Fianna Fáil never thought of putting the rural electrification section of the Act into force until they were just going out of office. When the change of Government took place, we found that the scheme had been implemented in half the area, that was St. Margaret's. That is the only rural electrification scheme provided by Fianna Fáil during their term of office.

That is not so.

Nonsense. Deputy Rooney only knows the immediate vicinity of Dublin.

What about County Limerick?

I will take him around a few places.

The point is that rural electrification could have been provided all during those years and it is only now that it is being properly implemented.

Thanks to Fine Gael, of course.

The power was there and it only remained for Fianna Fáil to find the sources from which the current could be taken and those schemes could have gone ahead. Instead of that, it was only at the end of their period of office that they discovered the particular section in the Electricity Supply Board Act which enabled them to provide rural electrification.

Another part of the capital sum proposed to be borrowed is for telephones. It will be agreed that the provision of telephones will be a source of income.

That is our scheme.

You flopped on it. The point about it is that, when we came into office, we found that there were about 25,000 telephones urgently needed and all those have not been provided yet.

Because the previous Government ignored the necessity for this.

They did not open the letters that people wrote applying for telephones.

That is folklore.

Take turf development, about which Deputy O'Brien is so happy.

"Ó Briain", please. Tá mise ag cur i gcoinnimh leas-aimn bheith á chur orm. Toghadh annseo mé mar Donnchadh Ó Briain agus sin é an taimn ba cheart a chur orm.

Tá go maith —"Ó Briain".

Ná déan arís é, nó cloisfidh tú uaim.

In Volume 120, No. 11, column 1640, I find:—

"The sum of £7.7 million includes over £4.3 million for the guaranteed overdraft of Fuel Importers, Limited."

We find that this was one of the capital development projects of Fianna Fáil. £7.7 million was provided and now we find losses in sight of £3,000,000 at the end of the current year in respect of the company's fuel stocks of wet turf which were in the park. It must be admitted that that was a poor class of capital investment and it bears no comparison with the type of capital investment which is proposed now. We will not invest money in houses that will crumble away. The turf stacks in the park just turned into turf mould so the people's money went down the drain, but the houses that are being built now will stand for 50 or 70 years. They are a good sound investment. Deputies need not worry about the question of borrowing. We will not have to borrow every year for the provision of houses. When the houses are erected they will serve future generations.

Major de Valera

The Minister said on the Vote on Account that he hoped it would go on.

Deputies opposite have advanced an argument, of course, that we should pay as we go, but the people of future generations will not have to build houses as the houses will be there for them if we go ahead with building now.

Let me quote from the same column where the Minister for Finance said:—

"In 1938, the first year for which an official estimate of national income is available, taxation of all kinds represented about 23 per cent. of national income."

It would be interesting to know why Fianna Fáil did not go to the trouble of finding out what the national income was before that year and the only suggestion that can be advanced is that the measure of poverty which had been created in the previous years since 1932 as a result of the economic war left them in the position that they did not want to tell the people the truth.

Before I was interrupted by Deputy Ó Briain I was referring to electricity and it will not be disputed that the investment of capital in proper machinery for good turf and bog development will pay dividends especially having regard to coal prices at the present day. That figure is so high that I think we must seriously consider the possibility of developing our bogs on a large scale to produce turf that will be acceptable to every section of the community including industrial users. Coal prices have gone beyond the level of economy even for those who use it only for domestic purposes and that is why I hope that when this money is invested it will give our people a good class of turf. I happen to be on a public board which considered the possibility of using machine won turf instead of coal and several tests were applied taking into consideration the cost price of coal compared with turf, the heat producing value of coal compared with turf and many other factors. It was found that they were almost equal having regard to the present day price of coal and I am quite sure that if it goes any higher that particular institution will be compelled seriously to consider the possibility of using machine turf and I think it would be a step in the right direction.

Remember that there was capital investment under Fianna Fáil. It was not on the scale now proposed or anything like it. In the last year of the Fianna Fáil Government the sum was £1,250,000. It was a very small figure in comparison with the needs at the time or with the needs that exist at the present time. I notice that we propose to spend £12,500,000 during the current financial year on capital items.

Deputy Kissane mentioned emigration and asked what the Government was doing about it. That seems to be trotted up every time. It must be agreed that the provision of 200 factories during the past two years has the effect of encouraging our people to stay at home and take up employment here. That is part of our contribution to the solution of the emigration problem. When the question of emigration arises Deputies opposite must also remember that when they were in office they were not prepared to give permits for emigration and people could not emigrate. If conditions were very bad—and I say they were—during the years which preceded 1947, I have no doubt that the people who have emigrated since the change of Government would have emigrated many years ago——

There are still restrictions on male emigration.

——if they were given a chance by Fianna Fáil to leave when they wanted to.

Nobody who has a job or who can get a job is allowed to emigrate.

I agree.

Major de Valera

And the emigration of agricultural labourers on the land went down.

If the emigration figures are compared with the figures pre-war it will be found that there was a greater inclination towards emigration before the war than since. Remember, too, in Deputy Kissane's reference to unemployment, that it can be seen from the official records that there were 119,000 unemployed in 1939. At that time, we were supposed to be in a year of prosperity; we look back on that year as being the last happy year of peace. In the years 1938 and 1939, the unemployment figure was about the same in each year. If we look back at 1938-39 as a happy year and we see that in that year there were 190,000 unemployed on the register, we can say that this Government is not doing a bad job in having reduced the unemployment figure by 20,000 in the past two years.

I am in agreement with the Budget presented by the Minister for Finance. I think it has been a real effort to meet the needs of our people. It has been suggested here that the people were not interested in the Budget this year, just because they did not crowd the gallery when the Budget statement was about to be made. The fact that it was not crowded means that the people were not worried that any extra taxation was going to be imposed on them. They are usually anxious to know whether their livelihood is going to be affected by the imposition of taxation and they were satisfied to leave the question in the hands of the Government. Having done that, they found that the Minister for Finance made no extra demands on them, although in the coming year he is going to create even a greater measure of prosperity by the introduction of this new capital budget system, which will have the effect of providing extra employment, apart from giving something in the nature of a capital investment to our people.

The figures applying to every branch of agriculture show that our main industry is making very rapid progress under the direction of our present Minister for Agriculture. Every branch of agriculture is showing a better return in the matter of income to our farmers. Those engaged in agriculture, including the farm workers, have got an increase in wages since the change of Government. I have no doubt that the land rehabilitation project will further increase the prosperity of the agricultural community and provide a living for a greater number of people on the land. That is mainly the object of this project, to make the land more productive, in order to give a higher standard of living to a greater number of people. I am not in agreement with the view expressed that the use of this money for the purpose of reclaiming the land is not going to be as effective as if it were used to pay for fertilisers which could be applied to land which is at present fertile and needs a certain amount of treatment in the matter of fertilisers.

The Minister made reference to sources of finance when he said, as given in column 1641 of the Official Report, Volume 120, No.11:

"There are various sources from which this year's investment programme of £31,000,000 may be financed. Immediately available is the pool of American loan counterpart moneys, of which over £13,000,000 was still uninvested at 31st March last. These counterpart resources will be augmented in the course of the current year. The Central Fund Act, 1949, authorised the investment of the American Loan Counterpart Fund in Government securities and £8,500,000 was drawn from the fund last year for Ways and Means Advances to the Exchequer."

It is quite clear that the Minister has in hand there a large amount of money still available for investment. When it is suggested that he is going into debt by availing of this money, it must be remembered that provision is being made in this capital Budget for the repayment of that money over a period of years.

When a certain extravagant monarch was asked, apropos of his extravagance, what was going to happen afterwards, his reply was: "After me, the deluge." At the head of the chapter of this present Government can be written that phrase. There are two vital safeguards which have been broken down, from the point of view of the people—one of them is political and the other economic. When the present Fine Gael Party entered into a coalition with the other Parties, they of necessity had to make sacrifices of their pledges and of their principles. The present Budget is a direct result of the breach of their pledges to the people. The only safeguard the people have is the keeping of promises. Mandates upon which men become representatives and enter into Government are a very serious matter. They form a solemn contract between the people and their representatives. If these pledges are broken, the people have no safeguard left. It is all very well to say that it is done only in a small way and done for a good purpose, but it is setting a very bad precedent. This country is, politically speaking, a young country and its precedents are extremely important, and if we do not establish precedents of absolute fidelity of our pledges to the people, we are going to create precedents which will be very dangerous for the future of the country. It may be said: "If this is done in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?" What, later on, is to protect us from a different type of adventurer, making promises to the people, getting into positions of power, and then flouting those promises, as has been done in other countries, leading to dictatorships in those countries? It seems to me that public opinion should be brought to bear on that question. Members of the Government have criticised us and have said we are acting like Cassandra. Cassandra was a very unpleasant person but she told the truth; she warned the people of the dangers and the evils that would come upon them, and the dangers and the evils did come upon them.

It is our duty as an Opposition at the present time to warn against this new precedent on the part of the Government which, in the case of the Taoiseach, promised to reduce the cost of Government as did others who now bear the responsibility of Government. From time to time Fianna Fáil is asked to join in or co-operate with this Coalition. It would be a nice state of affairs indeed if, once politicians got into power on specific promises made to the people, they then joined together in the so-called interests of unity. What protection would the people have then? What would be left of the promises made by the various Parties?

There is a second injurious feature which has proved the main subject of contention in this Budget. I refer to promiscuous and reckless borrowing. We do not object to borrowing for productive purposes. When there is no line of demarcation as to what one should borrow for and how much one should borrow, then it is open for the Government—as the Government is doing in the present case—and for succeeding Governments to borrow for recurring liabilities which are not productive. We were asked by Deputies on the Government benches for what sort of liabilities we should borrow. For what should we float loans? We were asked to explain our attitude in the matter. I cannot believe for a moment that the Deputies who posed those questions were so ignorant as not to know that one cannot go on borrowing for a liability which recurs every year, and which, in itself, does not produce an economic result. The attitude of the Government Deputies, of those who understand the situation, is to confuse the issue. There are Deputies supporting the Government who treat us to the most interesting folklore. It is hardly fair to answer them because I do not believe anyone believes them. Deputy O'Leary has some ideas about letters in the post office that were never opened. I have not the haziest notion to what he is referring, but he has repeated that more than once. All letters were opened. There was no question of their not being opened. I merely mention the matter as illustrating one of the pieces of folklore to which we have been treated and I invite Deputy O'Leary not to refer to it again because it only has the effect of lessening his reputation.

The information at least did not come from that side of the House.

There were 20,000 applications that were not opened.

Applications for district justices were opened though.

We can deal with that when the Estimate comes along.

I hope you will.

An external loan, or one borrowed from another country, is a loan that should be used, I imagine, only for reproductive purposes. It makes me very uneasy when I see Marshall Aid now being used for the purpose of purchasing tobacco. Tobacco is certainly not reproductive.

It produces smoke.

It does. It is also being used for, as the Minister for Finance said in his statement, purposes of doubtful productivity because it will be used for earning sterling where one is getting a loan of dollars. From a business point of view the transaction does not seem to be a very practical one. If it were used mainly for earning dollars it would be different. If it were used to develop tourism, for instance, it might be very useful. If it were used to develop the tourist industry on the lines on which that industry is being developed in other countries one could understand the present Government's attitude. But the present Government have already missed three seasons in developing the tourist industry or in maintaining it. It came as a windfall to them in spite of the policy of the Government whose whole attitude has been to decry and discourage any efforts at building it up and to call the hotels which were opened as an attraction for tourists "luxury" hotels. The Government have sold these hotels. Not only have they sold them, but they have also sold the property that goes with them. That was property of considerable value. They sold a fishing property in the West of Ireland, which was one of the finest in Europe, for a very modest sum.

The Minister had an opportunity of developing the short-wave station which could also have been used for the purpose of attracting tourists.

The short-wave station?

Sure, nobody would listen to the darned thing.

It could be used. Other countries are spending money on short-wave stations.

Not directed to America.

I am sure they are.

They are not.

In any case the Minister has a bee in his bonnet about the short-wave station and he intends to destroy that station. I would like to emphasise the fact that the Irish people in America would listen to it.

They could not listen to it.

Everything that can be done to appeal to the Irish people in America in order to attract tourists here should be done. The door is still open and there is a tremendous amount of money to be made out of it.

The trouble is the short-wave receptivity is not there.

Then, again, money might have been made on Aer Rianta.

Lost on it.

That has been closed down. The Minister shut it down just when it was about to start, and turned what would have been profitable into a loss. The enterprise associated with the Rotunda and the building of halls there, which would have been of great value from the point of view of international conferences and of the cultural activities in the city, was also put on one side. The present Government has done absolutely nothing for my constituency which holds several centres of attraction, from the tourist point of view, right around the whole coastline from Ardmore to Dunmore, Tramore and Lismore. These places would have benefited had tourist traffic been encouraged. As I said, three seasons have been missed. The advantage of a tourist traffic is that you supply the farmers with a market close to their own doors thereby enabling them to make the greatest profit out of what they have to sell.

Reference was made by the Minister for External Affairs to quotations by Mr. Aiken in which it was alleged he had misrepresented what the Minister said about inflation. The Minister himself on the 23rd March, as reported in Volume 119 column 2521, said:—

"If I am asked I will say, the signs having been read for me, there is inflation still around and it is a matter to be carefully guarded against."

"Still around."

The danger of inflation in this country, where you have an open economy, may not register itself in the form of greatly increased prices but in the importation of luxury goods and if our external assets are going to be wasted on luxury goods we shall rapidly, as Deputy Aiken pointed out, reduce the assets which are outside the country. This breaking down of principles to which I referred, this tendency towards reckless borrowing, could easily lead a small country like Ireland into a position of servility between two great nations. If we get deeply into debt, we shall be at the mercy of either Britain or America. If we were able during the last war to take up an independent attitude, it was due to the fact that we were in a strong position from the point of view of credit and the development of our own resources but, if we drift into a position where we shall be in debt, we shall be at the mercy of these other powers, at their beck and call. This is a situation which those Parties, who are members of the Coalition and who take up a strong attitude of independence, have to watch very carefully. They should remember that when Mr. MacDermot was a Deputy of this House he advocated that Ireland should be made a republic in order that it should find out that it was impossible for it to carry on on those lines. Deputy Dillon took up a very strong pro-British and pro-Common wealth attitude in former days and is quite capable of doing so again. It may happen that there are people of his kind who would be perfectly indifferent as to whether we become subject again to Britain. It will require all the force of public opinion in this country to hold us in a position where we can prevent this rot from developing, prevent this drift from indebtedness to slavery, both economic and political. The Minister for Agriculture made a very dramatic appeal about tuberculosis, schools and hospitals as if already £18,000,000 had not been devoted to hospitalisation in this country. There was a normal healthy development of building hospitals during our period. This cry about tuberculosis appeals to everybody in a sense but, if it is of such great importance, why would the Minister for Finance not devote out of taxation money for the building of these hospitals instead of relying upon loans?

So far as my constituency is concerned, our hospitalisation situation has suffered very considerably. A large county hospital was to have been built, the mental home was to have been improved, and a maternity hospital was to have been built but apparently these enterprises are to be sacrificed to complete concentration upon one form of disease only. Certainly I cannot see why, if it is necessary, with the money which comes from the sweeps, to raise more money, it should not come out of taxation rather than from borrowing because it is borrowing for a recurrent liability which is nonproductive. So, too, borrowing for the grant for houses is wrong. To borrow for that part of the expenditure on housing which is going to be repaid by the people who get the houses is all right. That is what we did when we were in office but we did not borrow for the grants. The grants came out of taxation.

Deputy Dillon made one most extraordinary statement. He said that the difference between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael was that the Coalition Government believed in the country, in the people and in the development of the country and that Fianna Fáil did not. That, after the tremendous development that went on under Fianna Fáil by means of building up industries and all the other matters which it is quite unnecessary for me to name at this stage of the debate! They have been already referred to here.

In spite of his antics.

In spite of his antics, the policy of Fianna Fáil continues to be of that constructive nature because we believe that a small country like Ireland must depend on its own resources, build up its own industries and fall back upon the old policy of Sinn Féin in every aspect—political, economic and cultural.

Why are you denouncing it so?

Listening to this debate during the last few days, I find it very difficult to distinguish as to whether it was really a debate on the Budget introduced by the Minister for Finance on Wednesday, 3rd May, or whether, judging by the speeches which have been delivered, we were not in the throes of a general election with a casting up of epithets and names and the other things that have been said one to another. Very little thought has been given to the Budget statement made by the Minister. I want to say honestly to all Deputies, without exception, that it is about time we forgot all about 1932, 1933, the economic war and the big war. The Budget that we are dealing with is for the year 1950. There is no necessity for Deputies to go back and tell us what was done years ago. We all did our best, I suppose. The country survived, and is surviving to-day. What we have to consider is a Budget which sets out in very clear terms the policy that will be pursued by the Government during the coming year.

The Minister, in his statement, very briefly referred to what the Government propose to do. It was the duty of the Minister for Finance to do that, but, in the execution of the policy outlined, Deputies I am sure know that most of it will be carried out by the various Ministers in their Departments. The expenses of their Departments have to be met, and when all the adding up is done, the total comes to £75,000,000. It so happens that it is one man, the Minister for Finance, who has to find that amount of money.

I hope I will not be misrepresented in what I am going to say, and that it will not be stated by the members of the Opposition that, possibly, Deputy Coburn in disagreeing with the policy enunciated by the Minister for Finance in his Budget statement. As a representative of this country, I feel I should say what, I think, many people are saying—what they are entitled to say—and, indeed, what the Minister for Finance himself has hinted at, and that is that a Budget of £107,000,000 or an average of a little more than £4,000,000 per county—£75,000,000 of which is to be raised for supply services through taxation and £31,000,000 through borrowing—is a huge sum. I think I am entitled to say—I am sure there will be general agreement with it—that for a country with a population of less than 3,000,000 souls the raising, through taxation, of £75,000,000 is a huge item. There is no use in disguising that fact.

Sometimes one must ask oneself, in view of the resources of this country, the question, whence the revenue comes? However, the fact remains that somehow or other the Minister will realise the amount that he is budgeting for. Nevertheless, I personally feel that the time has arrived when all of us—when I say "all" I mean also the people whom we represent— should take stock of the situation. Mind you, we are living in very fast-moving times. Things change very rapidly. Nobody can tell with any degree of accuracy what the future has in store. Consequently, I, for one, fully agree with the Minister for Finance when he sounded the warning note that caution and prudence must, to a large extent, guide our actions in dealing with the various matters contained in the Budget.

Now, with regard to the question of taxation, I have long held the view that an increase in taxation, not alone at present but for many years past, has been due, to a very large extent, to one fact, and that is the tendency of our people to look to the Government for everything. So far as the fostering of that tendency is concerned, I think that we Deputies, without exception, must bear a certain amount of responsibility, especially if we advert to the series of questions which appear on the Order Paper every other day addressed to the Ministers of the various Departments asking for this, that and the other concession which, if only partially agreed to by the Ministers concerned, would require the whole of the revenue of this country to meet. Therefore, I say that from that point of view we must share responsibility for this increase in taxation.

Deputy Little spoke about getting back to days of self-reliance. I wish we could. It would be a great thing for this country, but, as far as I can see, the tendency now, as I have already pointed out, is that we want, so to speak, Government for breakfast dinner and supper, and hence one may say that there is very little evidence of self-reliance in the country at the moment. The second thing that we must bear in mind in discussing the Budget is that the Minister for Finance, who at the moment represents what is known as the Coalition Government, in reality represents the Opposition as well. That is a fact that must be borne in mind because the Opposition represents a very considerable section of our people. Therefore, in considering this Budget of £75,000,000, if the Minister for Finance is to succeed in carrying out the programme that he has outlined in his statement, he must have the co-operation of all Deputies and we must have peace in industry. That peace must apply to all sections of our people, without exception. For the next year or two it will be in the interests of every section of our people to have peace in industry, to have co-operation between employers and employees, so that there will be an increase in production and, as a consequence, an increase in earnings to enable the Minister to meet his obligations, which are heavy, in the coming year. That is so far as the £75,000,000 to be raised by direct taxation is concerned.

I now come to the question of the £31,000,000 which is to be raised by borrowing. Of course, nobody likes borrowing. There is the old saying that "he who goes a borrowing, goes a sorrowing." At the same time, when one looks around the world, as it is constituted to-day, it is questionable if there is any country in the world, with the possible exception of the United States, that has not to borrow, and so borrowing is nothing new. But, as the Minister has pointed out, care must be taken as to the disposal of the moneys borrowed. He has set out very clearly in his Budget statement the schemes of a capital nature into which he will put a certain proportion of these moneys. He outlined his programme very clearly. I was surprised at statements made by the Opposition that they saw in this scheme of borrowing a danger so far as inflation is concerned. One would imagine that the Minister for Finance was simply going to scatter the £31,000,000 like so many snow flakes. He has clearly stated that he is going to be very careful and pointed out in his Budget statement what he intends to get as a result of his investment. The Minister stated:—

"The gross debt at present is equivalent to somewhat more than two years' yield of taxation or over two-fifths of the national income. Many countries are carrying a heavier burden of debt. The service charges this year are estimated at £6.3 million or about 8 per cent. of current outlay. The national credit stands high and the possession of substantial external assets strengthens our ability to finance schemes of national development."

Then he went on, and this is important:—

"It is, nevertheless, essential, if the burden on the taxpayer for the service of debt is to be kept within tolerable limits, that the objects for which State debt is incurred should, as far as possible, be productive of an adequate financial return."

There is not much sign of a rake's progress in that statement. The Minister went on:—

"The need, on social grounds, to incur heavy outlay, only partially remunerative, in order to remedy the housing shortage makes it all the more desirable that the other objects of State borrowing should be fully productive in the financial sense."

In other words, while there may be some schemes which are somewhat unproductive, there must be greater production in the other schemes so as to counteract the loss on the schemes for social security. The Minister went on:—

"By this I mean that they should produce a revenue sufficient to service the loan charges either by yielding a direct return or by increasing the national income and so augmenting the yield of taxation. The Government is confident that the schemes of development which are being financed by borrowing will, in general, satisfy this test."

Will the Deputy give the reference?

Column 1639 of the Official Report of May 3rd. In connection with the spending of this £31,000,000, I would suggest that Deputies have a certain responsibility. We can still have our own opinions, we can still be loyal to our Parties, but in a matter of this sort our first loyalty is to the nation in general. Therefore, it makes me despair of the future prosperity of the country when I find Deputies, whether consciously or unconsciously, knowingly or unknowingly, wilfully or otherwise, trying to "stymie", so to speak, the projects which the Minister has in mind so far as the investment of this £31,000,000 is concerned.

I listened with horror almost to the bellowings of Deputy Corry in regard to the land rehabilitation scheme. He stated that, even if the money were expended on the rehabilitation of the land, the land would be bought by the Department of Lands for £3 or £4 an acre to be used for afforestation. That is sabotage. There was a sort of creature in certain countries in Europe during the last great war, especially in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and, to a lesser extent, France, Italy and Czechoslovakia who went by the name of Quisling, a man who pretended to be loyal to the country that gave him birth while he was secretly collaborating with the enemy. I think the parallel is apt.

If we forget about the Minister who is responsible for it, because that seems to be the whole snag, this land rehabilitation scheme has for its object the reclaiming and putting into production of 3,000,000 or 4,000,000 acres of land. At present farmers are paying £10, £12 and £15 an acre for the use of land for 11 months in the year. If, by the use of the moneys that will be invested in this scheme, we could reclaim even 1,000,000 acres, working it out at a flat rate of £6 per acre, is not that £6,000,000 worth which was wasted before and is going to be put into good and profitable production? Notwithstanding the meanderings of Deputy Corry, I think there are sensible Deputies in the Fianna Fáil Party who, when they go down to their constituencies, will impress upon both large and small farmers the importance of cooperating in and making a success of this scheme which is being introduced for their benefit and, incidentally, for the benefit of the nation as a whole.

In regard to this £31,000,000 which will be invested, some of the money which the Minister intends to get will be as a result of the savings of the people through the Post Office Savings Bank. In regard to that particular aspect of it, Deputy Kissane stated here deliberately, not in a fit of temper, that the Minister was going to grab the savings of the poor people from the Post Office Savings Bank; in other words, he was going to rob the money in the Post Office Savings Bank and not pay it back. That is what it amounted to. The Deputy may not have meant that, but that is the meaning he conveyed to me. That was the S.O.S. sent out to the people to take their money out of the Post Office Savings Bank and not leave it there for the Minister to take and invest in these schemes which will benefit all of us. Deputy Kissane did not refer to the fact that the Minister was setting aside an amount each year for the service of that debt. He did not say that the present Minister or whatever Minister is in office, would see to it that the people will be paid their 2½ per cent. on their savings.

No matter what Deputy Kissane may say, I have sufficient confidence in the future of this country, speaking as a representative of the people and irrespective of what Government may be in power, to feel certain that the savings of the people of this country are as safe in the post office to-day and that they will be as safe there next year and the year after as ever they have been in the past. Much of these moneys will be invested in house-building, electricity, Bord na Móna and so forth. Surely nobody can object to that. Surely it is not expected that this country, with the limited resources at our disposal, would be in a position to finance each year by way of direct taxation the amount that would be necessary to meet all these schemes of capital expenditure? It would be impossible to do so and therefore there is no point in the Opposition's decrying the policy of the Government in segregating the items of expenditure which they, in their wisdom, think should come under the heading of capital expenditure. It will require the united efforts of all of us, in view of the uncertainty of the future, to carry out what we intend to carry out this year. It is not the Minister's fault that he has to raise £75,000,000 and that he has to borrow £31,000,000. We are all crying out to him every day of every week for it. We are not living in the past now. The things that satisfied people 30 or 40 years ago will not satisfy them now. Consequently, the Minister is endeavouring, in taking the broad outlook which he has taken, to meet, so far as the resources of this country will permit him, the needs of the people in the provision of many of the things which they sadly need at the present time. Therefore, though many of the Deputies might possibly like to score off one another in the matter of promises, we should forget about these things.

On the subject of unemployment, let me say now what I said in this House almost 20 years ago, and that is that the problem is very difficult to solve. It is almost impossible, if not impossible—human nature being what it is —to solve the problem of unemployment and for that reason there is not much use in making the trite remark that problems were made to be solved. I well remember the present Leader of the Opposition state in this House when he was Taoiseach, and prior to being Taoiseach, that he saw no difficulty in solving the problem of unemployment. In fact, at one stage he stated that he saw no reason why this country could not support 8,000,000 people. I remember thinking to myself that in the course of a year or two he would have to retract those statements which, to his credit, he did. As Taoiseach, he admitted that he did not think that the problem would have been so difficult to solve.

I say to-day that no Government that will ever be elected in this or in any other country in the world can fully solve the problem of unemployment. I want to emphasise, however, that by wise and useful legislation a Government can do much to ensure that those who are already employed are continued in their employment and, by endeavouring to keep taxation at as low a level as possible, it will assist those who at the moment are giving employment to increase the amount of employment they give. Taking the long view, that is the only real solution of the unemployment question.

The Opposition are obsessed with one particular matter in their criticism of this Budget and that is the allegation that this Government has not implemented all the election promises they made something over two years ago. It must be taken into consideration by the Opposition that since this Government took office they have given, through legislation, a firm increase of 7/6 per week in respect of old age pensions. They have given a very substantial increase in respect of non-contributory widows' and orphans' pensions. They have made an amazingly good job of the muddle that was made by Deputy MacEntee when he was a mandarin in the Custom House of giving an increase to the road workers. They have given an increase to the forestry workers. They have, by virtue of inducements and by putting the farmers in a better position than they were in before this Government took office, succeeded in getting an increase for the farm labourers. They are now contemplating, and I think that the legislation will come before this House in the very near future, another privilege for the farm labourers, namely, a week's holidays with pay per year. I am quite sure that that step was never even visualised by the Fianna Fáil Government. Besides all that, they have given, what was long overdue, an increase in the salaries of civil servants. I could enumerate very many other improvements that have been made in the lives of the people since this inter-Party Government took office.

I cannot understand all the opposition there is to borrowing. To listen to some of the speeches which were made from the Front Bench of the Opposition, one would imagine that we were going to run this country into a position from which it could never extricate itself. Under the Labourers Acts, which were introduced in the latter part of the 19th century, borrowing was made a system by which labourers' cottages were built—and that system has continued in respect of the building of labourers' cottages right up to the present day. No doubt, some very wise person at that time said that by borrowing to build labourers' cottages one of the greatest countries in the world at that time— Great Britain—would be run into a debt which it could never get over. Still, those cottages are being built. They are being built by the present Government and I hope that, if necessary, other cottages will be built by whatever Government will succeed us.

Deputy Little referred to tuberculosis and I was surprised at Deputy Little who, incidentally, coos like a turtle dove when he is speaking here. I was surprised that he should say that this was held up as a carrot before the people—perhaps not exactly as a carrot, but that the menace of tuberculosis was pointed out to the people. I am in a position to give certain figures with regard to the provision made in my county since this Government took over. We have provided 195 extra beds for the prevention and the cure of tuberculosis and, with all that, we still have approximately 60 people, men and women, on the waiting list to get into institutions. Apart from that, there are numbers of people receiving domiciliary treatment. The people to whom we are giving domiciliary treatment are not restricted to six eggs a week. When Deputy Dr. Ryan was Minister for Health they could get only an egg a day. We are giving them what the doctor prescribes.

That is very interesting, but it would be more relevant to the Vote for the Department of Health.

I am casually referring to all the Departments.

The Deputy must confine himself to the financial motion.

I thought I would be permitted to touch on the work of various Departments.

This does not deal with administration. This deals with how to collect money, not how to spend it.

I am trying to point out to the Opposition that by collecting this money we are going to save in the near and the distant future.

I do not quite understand that line of argument.

In Volume 120, columns 72, 73 and 74, one gentleman referred at least nine times to the Minister for Agriculture and I thought I could travel on the same lines. I am glad to have the Chair putting me right. The money we are providing in this Budget by direct taxation and by way of loan will improve the living conditions of our people, people represented by all Parties here, people of different political affiliations. We will get dividends out of any moneys we borrow for capital expenditure. The items set out in the capital expenditure list speak for themselves.

Let me take the child, first of all, the child who in the course of years will be in authority in this country. That child will be improved in his educational outlook. He will go into a school where the amenities are such as will help to improve any Irishman's son or daughter. Our children are going to have services which were never provided in the country before. Why should anybody cavil at borrowing for the provision of modern schools for our children and our children's children? It is only some person with a very cynical outlook who would object to that.

Why should anyone object to the building of hospitals? These buildings will have their reflection in years to come on the health of our people. Future generations will face this world with healthier constitutions. The people of to-day will have greater facilities in health matters. The houses and cottages that we will build will also help to improve the health of the people of the future. Instead of those people criticising what will be done under this Budget they will thank us and they will say that there was at least one good day's work done for future generations. There will be people who will realise and appreciate what we are doing.

There is a lot of talk from the Opposition with regard to this Government not getting a mandate from the people. Perhaps all the Parties who form the Government did not get a mandate for their own particular policy, but they got at least one mandate and that was to put the boys on the other side of the House, and they put them there; they put the lads over there.

Apparently, all the vituperation at the disposal of the Opposition has been exhausted; all the balbháiníns they had, including my colleague, Deputy Corry, have exhausted their wind here during the last couple of days. I repeat that we did get a mandate from the people to form an inter-Party Government. That was proved afterwards in Donegal, when O'Donnell Abu got in there. We gained a seat from Fianna Fáil since the general election.

Will the Deputy now say something about the Budget?

Deputy Little, in his mildness and with that lovely tone of voice he has, accused the Minister for Agriculture of being pro-British during a period. As one who was there in pre-1916 days——

That is very far back.

And so was John Blake Dillon—he was further back. I remember men who thought they were very good Irishmen and they did certain things, but they saw their mistake after a period and they came in and rendered very good service to the country.

Major de Valera

Are you suggesting that the Minister for Agriculture has seen his mistake?

There are people on Deputy de Valera's side who were converted, too.

Deputy MacEntee missed the train.

There are people over on that side of the House who have not the background of Deputy Dillon and yet they talk about him.

Backgrounds are not interesting on this debate.

Deputy Little spoke about this Government selling places at a loss, and he mentioned hotels and fishing places. I know one place that was sold and it was not sold at a loss —the Commodore Hotel in Cobh, which was bought for £3,000 and sold for £11,000. Incidentally, some people very intimately associated with the Fianna Fáil Party at one time happened to have an interest in it.

Is that not pure administration? Does the Deputy not realise that?

Just a coincidence.

No, an accident—a pure accident. It happened overnight.

Major de Valera

If the Deputy brings that up, he might also bring up Ballinahinch.

Another item which Deputy Little singled out was the sum of Marshall Aid money in respect of tobacco. We got something like 1,000,000—I do not know whether it was sterling or dollars—from Marshall Aid to purchase tobacco. Tobacco was never more needed than at present to ease the nerves of the gloomy lot of members on the Opposition side. They are in a terrible state of perturbation about what is going to happen this country in 100 years' time.

We are releasing more of it now.

If Deputy Little had mentioned some of the little luxuries for which we paid through the nose, such as the Constellations which were got rid of, and good riddance, too, he would be telling what he believes himself to be true. There is a story about the old woman who looked at a battalion walking through the town. Her only child was in it and she said they were a grand lot, nicely dressed and well set up, but it was a pity they were all out of step except her Johnnie.

A lot of people are out of step in respect of the discussion on the Budget.

Out of order, but not out of step. Can anybody say that the rehabilitation scheme as it is being carried on at the moment will not be a benefit to the country in the very near future? Is the productivity of the soil going to be improved by that scheme? I believe it is one scheme that will pay a dividend within five years, and a very substantial dividend. I am sure that nobody realises that better than members of the Opposition but, because they are out of step, they find fault with every scheme, no matter how constructive. I am afraid also that they are issuing through their branches and agents around the country poisonous propaganda against these schemes. Of course, they would not do that at all—they know nothing at all, these people. I notice that Deputy Lemass in his contribution to the Budget debate mentioned that the people who were going to pay for this Budget were the people who had no vote in the last election and will have no vote in the next. Deputy Lemass, as the draftsman of the 1932 Fianna Fáil manifesto "We have a plan", should be the last man to talk about that. He should be also the last man to talk about young people voting. Some people here, who may not have the same experience of politics and fighting elections as I have, may never have heard of the Alabama Ballot. I am sure some of the Deputies opposite know all about it.

There is nothing in the Budget about it.

Deputy McQuillan was asked whether he had read that manifesto and was told that he was not here at the time. He said he had read it, but I remember that that poster stated everything that was to be done. Taxation was to be cut down by so much, but was taxation cut down? No.

That is not the Budget we are discussing.

Why should Deputy Lemass take exception to election speeches in which promises were made when he was the architect and draftsman of that poster? As I said at the beginning, in two years and three or four months, we have gone a long way towards implementing the promises some of us made to the electorate in the 1948 election. I hope that before the 16 years I expect to be here are up, the 16 years during which I expect Deputies opposite to be on that side, they will all be implemented, and that, instead of a 26-county republic, we will have a 32-county republic. I take exception to the manner in which Ministers have been pilloried and abused from the Opposition side. As I have mentioned, two paragraphs of Deputy Corry's speech dealt entirely with one Minister, the Minister for Agriculture. That Deputy got an answer that night about barley which he will not forget in a hurry. Deputy Corry is one of the balbháiníns I referred to in the Opposition——

It has nothing whatever to do with the Budget.

——and it is a pity he is not here now to hear it.

Major de Valera

I think the Deputy should withdraw that remark about another Deputy.

It is not an expression that should be used towards another Deputy.

I do not know the meaning of it, or at least I do not know Deputy de Valera's interpretation of it.

A balbháinín is a dumb man.

If the Deputy does not know the meaning of it, he should not use it.

Whatever else can be said about Deputy Corry, he is not dumb.

If he is not, I know what he is.

It is the Budget we are discussing, and not Deputy Corry.

Because of the line taken by some of the Opposition Deputies, it is very hard to avoid referring to their technique. I want to say only this before I conclude, that if ever an indication of loyalty was given in this sacred chamber where we sit and legislate, whether by word or deed, it was given by the Party responsible for implementing the instrument of abdication. Since the Act of Union there was never a greater betrayal of this country. Now let some of them talk about the King.

And the Blueshirts.

They were not bad men either. There were decent men in the Blueshirts. They were not exploiters of quarry workers and bog workers, like some of the people who are talking.

Deputy Keane must come to the Financial Motion or resume his seat.

I will conclude by saying that, as far as I and the Party I represent are concerned, we are quite satisfied with the terms of this Budget, irrespective of any propaganda or whispering campaign that is made against us. There would be no better plan, if we wanted to go to the country in the morning to seek re-election and to come back with a stronger majority, than the Budget.

Deputy Little wanted direct taxation and yet he wanted retrenchment. Where was the country going? It was facing gloom and despair. Deputy Kissane, in his wisdom, and accepting the responsibility of an ex-Parliamentary Secretary, spoke about the savings bank and the money in the Post Office. Let me tell Deputy Kissane that that money will be there when Deputy Kissane will not be a Deputy.

Major de Valera

The entertainment to which we have just listened ——

Major de Valera

—— would be all very well if the only purpose of Parties in this Chamber were a competition for power. Our real duty is to look after the affairs of the country and in this debate we are dealing with the fundamentals of the economy of the country, the collection and allocation of the country's revenues and the finances through which our economic system operates. It is rather distressing to find Deputies, such as the last speaker, saying quite frankly, that it does not matter what they say, what promises were made, whether the promises are implemented or not, provided they keep their political opponents out. It is that attitude, I fear, that is one of the things that makes some of the provisions of this Budget suspect by people who have examined it objectively.

There is one aspect of the Budget which has attracted attention and can attract attention again in this debate, as it is the focus of this debate. It is a question of the Minister's proposal for borrowing and the purposes for which he is borrowing. In that regard, I would like to draw Deputies' attention to the list on page 26 of the Budget statement of the purposes for which the Minister is borrowing. The total is £34,000,000. Out of that £14,000,000 is to be allocated to housing and only £0.42 millions, much less than one per cent. of that £34,000,000, is to be allocated to hospitals. It is just as well to scotch this talk that this borrowed money will be appropriated for the development of hospitals. A totally insignificant proportion of that sum is to be allocated to hospitals. That bluff should be called and forgotten about.

Having remarked on that, it is as well to say—I think it has been said over and over again and I think it will be admitted—that, in borrowing for capital purposes, it is desirable to segregate purposes which themselves will be more or less directly productive, in the sense that they will be able to supply from their own development the moneys necessary to at least service the debt incurred in that capital expenditure. Such type of expenditure would be, say, the setting up of industries, the development of turf or electricity. Such a capital development, which would give a direct return in time, would be, possibly, afforestation. It would, I imagine, be a good thing to balance that type of expenditure with expenditure for purposes such as housing which, as has been pointed out, are not directly productive, which, although they bring a return in one sense and are most necessary, unfortunately, instead of supplying the revenues for servicing the debt which they represent actually continue to be a liability as far as money is concerned.

The first criticism of this proposal of the Minister is that it seems to be unbalanced and that, having regard to the lack of balance there, and the small proportion allocated for purposes which would be productive, it would be desirable to defray a large proportion, at least, of what is allocated, say, to housing from current revenue, that is, from taxation. That, generally speaking, is the criticism and I think it is well founded.

The Minister is proposing to appropriate a very significant proportion, perhaps the greater proportion, of the moneys which he will have to borrow for capital expenditure to services such as housing, which will not be directly productive in the sense I have mentioned. That simply means that a debt is incurred, a debt which will have to be serviced and repaid from resources other than the housing or whatever it is upon which the capital sum was initially outlaid. That means that, ultimately, provision will have to be made for repayment out of the general resources of the State.

The Minister mentioned that the cost of servicing the State debt has increased and in fact the service charges have increased from approximately £3,250,000 two years ago to the estimated figure, £6.3 millions, given by the Minister. That is a serious increase and it means that a certain sum of money has to be found by the State. The people, through the Minister for Finance, will have to pay so many millions a year to service the debt. If this policy continues, as the Minister said it would, this burden increases from year to year. Benefits which have accrued in the past will have to be paid for without any apparent corresponding return at the time they are paid for. That statement may not be universally applicable but it is a fair picture of what is involved. The more homely simile has already been used in the debate on the Vote on Account, that is, that a man must live within his means. In ordinary life if a man does not balance his yearly budget but borrows that is all right if he can arrange in future years to pay it back, but if in each succeeding year he adds to the burden of debt and continues to live outside his income, drawing on borrowings from year to year, he very soon leaves himself in an uncreditworthy position and cannot get the money to meet his liabilities. He will then be forced to try to service his debt out of his current income with a very severe decrease in the amount of money available for his ordinary living. The same kind of thing can generally apply to a State and that is the general criticism here.

In saying that, I am largely but repeating what others have said already but there are certain passages in the Minister's statement which have been glossed over. The Minister pointed out that this borrowing will involve an immediate and corresponding increase in the national debt. I have mentioned what that increase was in two years. The Minister said:—

"The need, on social grounds, to incur heavy outlay, only partially remunerative, in order to remedy the housing shortage, makes it all the more desirable that the other objects of State borrowing should be fully productive in the financial sense. By this I mean that they should produce a revenue sufficient to service the loan charges either by yielding a direct return or by increasing the national income and so augmenting the yield of taxation. The Government is confident that the schemes of development which are being financed by borrowing will, in general, satisfy this test."

Relating that statement to the list of purposes for which the Minister is borrowing, one is tempted to ask him to give specifically the reasons why the Government is confident that they will in general satisfy that test and how what he proposes to do will give the return to offset the increase in the debt. It is all very well to talk in general terms. If the Minister considers as he seems to have insinuated, that the other objects of State borrowing will be fully productive, surely some estimate has been made and, if so, it would be interesting to see that estimate in juxtaposition with the nonproductive and indirectly productive items so as to justify that statement.

On page 40 of the financial statement, the Minister tells us of the risks in State investment:—

"The risk of inflation will arise if methods of financing are employed which involve the introduction of an excessive volume of new purchasing power.

There is a further risk of a lowering of living standards if home production does not expand in such a manner as to compensate for the loss of income derived from the external assets which are realised to finance domestic capital outlay but some relaxation of this principle is permissible where the security of the capital is enhanced by employing it at home."

That is all very well but there is still apparently a risk of inflation. This is an inflationary world as an economist in the other House, who has hitherto been relied upon by the Minister as an authority, stated in the Seanad. There is the risk of lowering the standard of living if home production does not expand. Surely the Minister has made some detailed computation to show the estimated expansion so as to justify his intended course. It would probably be well if he were to elaborate that for the House.

Finally, there is the question of the source from which the Minister is to obtain this money. The Minister mentions the raising of a loan. One of the difficulties in this case is that he did issue a loan which was not fully subscribed. Will it be necessary for the Minister to issue the loan at terms which will be so attractive that the debt will be correspondingly burdensome?

Maybe you will not sabotage this.

Major de Valera

I am entitled to ask that question. I am entitled to ask if the Minister is going to get this loan and, if so, how he is going to raise the capital he wants. He has already issued a loan which was not fully subscribed. Will he only get the money at a very high rate of interest and at a very favourable issue price? If he does attract money by those devices, will the return to the State be worth the debt? These are questions which I can legitimately ask and I see nothing objectionable in asking them.

That is what Dublin Corporation is faced with.

Major de Valera

I quoted, during the debate on the Vote on Account, the Minister's own statement about Dublin Corporation where he virtually said that Dublin Corporation had got to the limit of its creditworthiness. That was the only inference that could be taken from the Minister's, as usual, guarded words. That was not sabotage. When the Minister said that, it was all right and surely I am entitled to say that it may be difficult for him to get the money and that he may have to provide very favourable terms indeed to raise this rather large amount. I am entitled to ask if he is not approaching the position where the creditworthiness of the State might be put in jeopardy. It is just that point that makes many of us so anxious about the borrowing, the method of borrowing and the balance between the purposes for which this borrowing is made, having regard to the Minister's list.

These are questions which need something more than the general statement by the Minister, for a proper appreciation of his intentions. The country is entitled to it and we, as the representatives of the people, are entitled to it.

It may not be any harm at this stage to mention to Deputy Collins other things which are worrying certain people. They are entitled to ask these questions when they are associated with such a thing as the people's finances. Deputy Collins was not here when Deputy Rooney was dealing with matters going back to the economic war. Even if it were only to reply to him, I would be in order. The Minister for Finance, who was a member of a previous Government which took a very conservative stand, who himself at one stage propounded the most conservative doctrine, even though he modified it later, who was a member of a Party which adhered to the most orthodox financial views, introduces this Budget now in which he proposes to borrow in the way which has been criticised. One would naturally ask for some more explanation from that Minister. People have some suspicions, in the particular circumstances that exist at present. Here is a Minister, a member of a Party who publicly promised to the country that the planks of his policy would be a reduction in taxation, in the cost of living, in expenditure, in the cost of government, and who expressed generally conservative views. Now that particular Minister, although in his first statements here he still gave a semblance of adhering to those views, brings in a Budget with these proposals, at a time when the cost of living has not been reduced, when the expenditure and the cost of government has been increased, when the amount collected from the community in taxation has increased and when the economies promised in the public service have not been carried out. These are matters which make one wonder and ask if the Minister will explain his attitude. We ask it further of the Party to which the Minister belongs, for this reason. We know that, back in the past, from the foundation of the State, on two occasions at least, that Party, having entered into agreements deleterious to this country, kept them from this Parliament and people for a period of time. We know that that Party— Deputy Rooney asked for this—during the course of the economic war, pursued a certain line. We know that that Party, during the period previous to the last election sought support from the Unionist and Conservative section of our people, wooed them and promised them, and then, in order to achieve power in collaboration with other Parties, betrayed the people whom it had courted. If that Party and that Minister will betray the people who were their friends and whom they courted as their friends and have a history like that behind them, surely I am entitled to make inquiries about Budget proposals coming from such a Minister.

A Deputy

Did you not court them well yourselves?

Major de Valera

We did not break the promises that were made, as you did.

You sold the Republic many years ago.

Major de Valera

When we find a Minister who has expressed views in such a way before this—without any question of the Minister personally— one wonders if he believes in what he is doing, or if he is merely avoiding a difficulty at the moment by passing the burden on to the future, without adequate provision for payment in the future. Is he giving in to that human temptation; and, if so, what of the future? We are increasing the debt which will have to be serviced and paid back in the future. We are making absolutely no preparation for certain contingencies that may arise. An interesting commentary on all this is that the charge for servicing the national debt is very much more than we are spending on our defence services, or provision for the defence of this country if a crisis comes. I wonder if the people outside and the Deputies here realise that. In face of a situation which the Minister for Defence on behalf of the Government has admitted is a dangerous one, in face of a threat the seriousness of which has not been minimised by the Government, in face of statements in regard to the policy of this country made here by the Taoiseach and by the Minister for Defence, this Government and this Minister are allocating more to the servicing of State charges, already £6.3 million, according to the Minister, than they are allocating to defence. I am talking about defence in the broad aspect. That is for some who have thought about this matter a serious consideration. It makes us wonder whether it would not be better to try to balance things in the present, in order that the future will be secure, instead of adding to the present risks of the situation arising out of world conditions by putting this burden of debt around our necks.

The Minister mentioned the repatriation of external assets and the Minister for External Affairs has been very vocal on this subject. Incidentally, the Minister for External Affairs has been very strong on the question of afforestation. There is only £0.36 of a million out of £34,000,000 allocated for that, an insignificant sum. We know that when we asked the Minister for Finance about the views of the Minister for External Affairs in financial matters, the Minister for Finance said in effect: the Minister for External Affairs and I are one, and I am the one.

That sounds a bit like father and son.

That is a new one.

Major de Valera

If the Minister for Finance is the one, then one suspects immediately that a lot of the development provided for will not take place at the rate some members of the Coalition would like and there will, therefore, be a certain amount of nullification. Apparently, that is what is taking place.

To what expenditure does the Deputy object?

Major de Valera

Apparently, that is what is taking place and that, to some extent, explains what is happening in the country. The members of the Coalition are all pulling against one another and there is a drift. Fine Gael promised to reduce taxation. This year they are collecting more than ever in taxation. Fine Gael and Clann na Poblachta promised to reduce the cost of living. The cost of living has gone up steadily since the Coalition took office. The cost of living is still going up.

Major de Valera

In Dublin the price of potatoes at the moment is making it difficult for the people in the poorer parts to get that ordinary food.

You should ask Deputy Smith a few questions about that.

Major de Valera

The cost of public services has gone up. Iveagh House is to have a restaurant costing £27,000. The cost of the Ministry of External Affairs has gone up. Despite all the Minister for Finance has said here since he took office, these upward trends continue. They are in some respects, as one must admit, the result of outside influences. Fine Gael are unable to do what they said they would do and they have in fact thrown over the people to whom they made these promises. I suppose the Labour Parties and Clann na Poblachta can be taken jointly in regard to the promises they made. Their principal promise was to reduce emigration. In the year they took over the figures were favourable. Emigration went up last year. It was 12,000 last year; this year, according to the latest figure we have, it is 18,000—an increase of 6,000. Emigration is soaring. Because of the pull on the other side, they have not been able to do anything about emigration. After this Government came to office unemployment took a turn for the worse. It was worse last year than it was when the Government took over. This year it is improving somewhat. The significant thing about unemployment is—and the Clann na Poblachta Party in particular will note this—that in 1947 the number of agricultural labourers employed was 507,000 approximately.

At what wages?

Agricultural labourers?

Major de Valera

The number of male agricultural workers was 507,000. In 1948 it was down to 499,000. It is now down to 452,000. In other words, the flight from the land goes on apace under the present Government. There are 50,000 less employed on the land than there were two years ago and emigration has increased. These are the trends at the moment.

I come then to social services. We have had a White Paper on social services. The Government has been two years in office. Here is its third Budget and there is no provision in it for financing social services. Is Labour being put off simply with a White Paper and nothing more? The fact is there is no implementation of the White Paper.

Have patience.

Major de Valera

Deputy McQuillan is interested in afforestation. It is interesting to note that, as I have already said, in this capital expenditure there is a very minute provision, indeed, for Deputy McQuillan's pet hobby. There is the insignificant sum of £0.36 allocated out of £34,000,000 for afforestation.

Will the Deputy support a Supplementary Estimate?

Major de Valera

You can command a majority of the House and you can dictate that.

I asked you a simple question.

Major de Valera

You have the majority.

The Deputy cannot answer.

He will not answer.

If Deputy Collins interrupts again, I shall have to take serious notice of his interruption.

Major de Valera

The trouble is that Deputy McQuillan is on that side of the House. That is a grand thing to say when one is on that side. You have the power to make the Government do what you want. You must take responsibility for what the Government does. You cannot have it both ways. People naturally have different views and many of those views are not mutually reconcilable. That happens very frequently in human life. It is a rather serious position from the point of view of the Coalition.

Each group is trying to pull its own way and thereby neutralising to some extent other groups. The Government simply drifts along. I think the picture I have painted substantiates the allegation that there is a drift. The opportunities that a strong Government would have at the moment are being lost and we are drifting into a position in which, if the future should prove difficult, adequate preparation will not have been made. The country will have instead this dead-weight debt to service in addition to its other difficulties. It is on that issue that the main controversy on this Budget has centered as to the desirability of borrowing and the ultimate servicing of the debt.

A number of incidental points arise but it will be more opportune to deal with them on the Estimates as they arise. The disturbing factor is that apparently Government policy will be that, whenever more expenditure has to be incurred, the Government will evade unpopularity by borrowing rather than face up to the problem at the moment and leave the problem to be resolved by those who come after them. I think that is a very dangerous principle, indeed, for us to acquiesce in. Let us hope that the results may not be as grave as some people, both inside and outside the House, fear they may be.

Having listened to this debate for the last three days and having listened to the speeches made by those who had the Government of this country in their hands for 16 years, I can only say that it is like a crossroads election meeting. They have no constructive criticism. We heard many statements about Blue Shirts, Fine Gael and the Coalition but why was this Coalition Government formed? Because every man over here is as good an Irishman as any of the people over there, a better Irishman perhaps. We over here put country before Party and that is why we formed the Coalition Government. For 16 years the Fianna Fáil Party had a majority in this House and what did they do? I came in here in 1943 and my experience was that whenever a motion was put down by a member of any other Party, let it be Fine Gael, the Labour Party or the Farmers' Party, Deputies opposite were led by one man up the gangway into the lobby to defeat that motion. They never spoke in support of the views of the Parties now on this side of the House. They were rarely heard speaking at all. It was only when they went into opposition that they found their tongues.

Fianna Fáil Deputies now talk about emigration. During the time that Fianna Fáil was in office members of the Labour Party were almost continually occupied in assisting men to get permits to leave the country but no permit was needed to go down to Goraghwood to join the British Forces. Deputy de Valera was in office while that was happening. They tell us about what this, that and the other Party said. What did the ex-Taoiseach say a few months ago during a similar debate when I questioned him on one of his speeches in Tipperary when he said that a wage of 45/- was sufficient for the workers? He told us that he would break stones rather than form a Coalition but he did not break stones. He went into opposition and, every day since, we have his henchmen, with Deputy MacEntee and all the ex-Ministers, talking about increased expenditure but during their time in office they passed a Bill to provide pensions of £500 a year each for every ex-Minister. Did they consult the people about that? No, and to-day they are enjoying £500 a year each in addition to their salaries as Deputies. I wonder these people would not have a little bit of common-sense and realise the position as ordinary working people do.

We hear a lot of talk about rationing but the working people of this country were rationed before the war ever started because they had to try and exist on a miserable pittance of 40/- a week or even less. The agricultural labourer to-day has £3 a week. What did any of the Deputies over there who represent rural constituencies do to help the road worker? They vote against him on the local authority but when they come into the House they talk about what this Government should do for him. They should try to be at least consistent.

We hear a lot of talk about the White Paper and they told us they had a White Paper but when Deputy Dr. Ryan was Minister for Social Welfare what did he say? "What the State gives brings them up to subsistence level but if it does not, and they do not reach that level, they are entitled to apply for home assistance." That was Deputy Dr. Ryan's policy as expressed in 1947 in this House. They could go to the home assistance officer. We at least did something to save them that necessity and the country knows we did something.

When we came in here in 1948 the prospect was not very rosy with the bankrupt Córas Iompair Éireann. One of our first duties was to take the taxes off beer, tobacco and entertainments imposed in the Supplementary Budget. Deputy Briscoe gave a céad míle fáilte to these taxes, and his words appear in the Official Reports. It is easy to know that Deputy Briscoe was never accustomed to a rural area. He represents a constituency in the City of Dublin where all the money is rolling around. We were told that Fianna Fáil had plans but the bottom fell out of the plans; they were never put into operation. To-day, thank God, in the bacon factories of the country the staffs are working full time and in some cases overtime whereas under Fianna Fáil they were on the dole. We hear no reference to that at all. We hear some talk about turf production, but we all know the sacrifice that had to be made of the turf that remained in the dumps. They had to give it away for practically nothing. The people of Dublin at any rate had a very sad experience of the wet turf they got during the emergency.

So far as I can learn going through the country, the people have no objection to this Budget. I know that a whispering campaign was started throughout the country and in the clubs by the henchmen of Fianna Fáil. The whisper went round: "This Budget will finish the Government. They will have to put the taxes they removed back." Again in the Irish Press last Wednesday we saw the scare headings: “Motor tax, flat rate; petrol 3/- a gallon.” The only thing that now annoys Deputies on the opposite side is that there is no increase in taxes that will affect the man in the street. We hear them talk about farmers and they suggest that the farmers are in difficulties, but were any of these Deputies at the show last week? Did they see all the motor cars there? That shows the prosperity of the farmers. They are not down and out as some people over there would try to suggest. Go into any bank manager and he will tell you that the place is filled with money and that he wishes somebody would come in to take some of it out. There is plenty of money in the country.

Again we hear a lot of talk about emigration. I wonder did Deputy Major de Valera include all the people who went to Rome in the figures he gave about emigration? I suppose he did because they are all going. When Deputy Lemass was in office what did he do? He built luxury hotels and to-day they are being sold at half of what they cost. Do I hear any member over there getting up and talking about that expenditure? Not a word. They walk up there, following their leader through the division lobby but they walked up there once too often. That was a fatal mistake after what happened in the bye-election at the time. The first of the Clann na Poblachta Deputies frightened the life out of them altogether. They can crticise the Minister for External Affairs as much as they like but he has put this little island on the map before all nations and admired by all nations. He is criticised now by the ex-Ministers of Fianna Fáil because of jealousy and nothing else. The same thing happened when this State was formed. There was jealousy before the civil war.


Let us not get back to the civil war.

I am not getting back to the civil war. I am just telling what happened. The people are happy and contented. There is no Irishman in gaol for his political opinions. We had under Fianna Fáil. They have their freedom now because each and every man here has a conscience and sees that justice is done to them. The gates were left open to those men to go home. We have peace and happiness in the country. We have no armed raids now. That is a great thing to be able to say. If we did nothing else we did this at least, we brought peace, harmony and goodwill to the Irish people.

At this stage of a debate in which so much ground was covered, Deputies cannot expect me to reply to all the points that have been made. In particular, I hope I will not be expected to go over the ground covered by those in the House—they are in the majority—who support the Budget for which I am responsible. Many of the points that I wanted to make have been hammered home by those in support of me. I want to let them know that I appreciate the help that I have been given in this debate by all that they have said, and, if I do not allude to their points in detail, that does not belie that general statement of mine.

I want to come now to the Opposition, in so far as there has been opposition of an understandable type to this Budget, before I deal with the general point which is, in the main, whether the programme of investment and borrowing that we contemplate is a desirable one and a sound one, or whether it is profligate or deserving of the other epithets which have been attached to it during the course of the debate. There are one or two mis-conceptions—to clear the ground— before I come to that point. Deputy Aiken in his second speech on the matter seemed to indicate that what I call the deficit balance of trade was not correctly shown at £10,000,000 and suggested that we should add another £18,000,000—the increase of foreign debt owed to the United States. As far as the balance of trade is concerned, the figure of £10,000,000 is accurate. I cannot say that it is accurate to the last even pound, but it certainly is accurate to the nearest round figure. There is nothing to be added to it in connection with the American money. Goods that come in are represented in that balance of payment, whether they are brought with dollars or bought with sterling, and so the tot of the deficit of balance of trade is correctly stated at £10,000,000. If the Deputy wants to know how the figure is arrived at, I will give whatever information I can on another occasion.

Similarly, with regard to the point that Deputy Lemass made when he thought that the funds for investment had been incorrectly stated by me either when I spoke on the Central Fund Bill or on this occasion. Deputy Lemass compared two figures that I had given, one, the figure of £70,000,000 as being the amount of money available for investment, and he suggested, I think, that there had been either a deterioration of a very definite type in the meanwhile, or else that there has been some serious mistake. In fact, he thought it was a mistake, and that I based my financial proposals on a wrong figure and got my colleagues to accept a wrong figure, they knowing it to be wrong. He should remember to compare like with like. I was very particular in stating, in connection with the £51,000,000, what it was. The figure was stated to be for "new capital goods brought into use and increase in stocks and work in progress". The earlier figure of £70,000,000, which was conjectural, was built up for a return made to O.E.E.C. The return had to be prepared somewhat in a hurry and it did include, because the figure was asked for, the figure for repairs and maintenance.

The Central Statistics Office have advised me that to the £51,000,000 there must be brought in the figures for repairs and maintenance. They have again advised me that for the years 1948 and 1949 they have been able to identify the sum of between £13,000,000 and £14,000,000 as between the two years for those purposes which are cut out of the £51,000,000 figure. In addition to that, they say that to the lower total must be added a considerable figure for work done by similar concerns not covered by the census of production. They calculate an amount of £4,500,000 for 1949 as against building done by the larger firms, and that most of the £4,500,000 would be repair and maintenance items. That renders, in the opinion of the Statistics Office, the two figures strictly comparable, and they see a very close comparison between the two. The figure is £70,000,000 if these items are included, and £51,000,000 if they are not, but it is the same figure, if like is being compared with like.

The third matter upon which there has been some confusion is the phrase I used when speaking with regard to the return on investment. I said, in that connection, that moneys which had been invested in certain things had brought in a return of about 3.4 per cent. and that that compared not unfavourably with the average rate which had to be paid on long term debts outstanding, the comparison again being 3.6 per cent. and 3.4 per cent. Deputy Aiken immediately said that he was glad to hear—that in any event it was now admitted—that Fianna Fáil enterprises which we had described as not being of a remunerative description were now admitted to be such, and Deputy Lemass followed on the same line. Both Deputies should have remembered what I had said that the gross amount received by way of interest and dividends on the investment of £31.7 million was £938,000—that is 3.4 per cent.—of which £858,000 came from the Electricity Supply Board. If I break up that investment figure of £31.7 million into the moneys advanced to the Electricity Supply Board and the return that they give on these invested moneys and on everything else in that total of £31.7 million, and the return secured on them, then the figures are these: there is invested in the Electricity Supply Board £22.8 millions which give a return of £858,000 or about 3¾ per cent. The rest of the schemes, mainly Fianna Fáil, in which there is less than £9,000,000 invested, give a return of £80,000, or less than 1 per cent. That is the situation between the two sets of schemes when one gets the figure with regard to Shannon interest. I shall be returning to the Shannon and how it was dealt with in its early days by the people who now face me.

Again, there has been a considerable amount of talk as to whether there is widespread and runaway inflation at the moment. A great many of the speeches on the other side were built on the assumption that I said there was inflation here, that it was wid-spread and was going to get worse. I never said that. Deputy Little came along this evening with a quotation from the debate on the Central Fund Bill in which I said that inflation was still around. That does not mean that inflation has run away or is out of control. Fianna Fáil are still around, but they are not a danger at the moment. They are under control. Personally, I feel that if Fianna Fáil were to get out of control it would be much worse than if inflation were to get out of control in this country. I did say that we had to be cautious, that the Government approach with regard to matters had to be distinctly marked by caution. These phrases of mine have been taken up as if I was afraid of the future. Indeed, Deputy MacEntee weaved around them a whole legend, that I was flapping around like a wounded seagull and that I had been overawed by colleagues, that I was marking out for future reference and for my own safeguarding those warning phrases, that they were going to be my shield hereafter when the storm broke.

I do say that we should be cautious. I say that there are dangers ahead if things are not handled cautiously. I say that from time to time we get warnings that things are getting worse, then they improve and get a little better. Supposing a captain of a great liner was to leave his friends with a statement that he had to go on the bridge because they had a difficult channel to negotiate and, in addition, thinking of the crossing, he said the forecasts were that there was a bit of stormy weather ahead, would anyone except the most mischievous imp construe that as meaning that the captain was afraid of the voyage, or that he had been coerced by the owners into making a sailing which he thought was going to end disastrously? That is the kind of scare which the Opposition have to attempt to raise in order to hide their deficiency with regard to solid argument against the schemes that are bona fide brought forward and about which we have asked for and invited criticism, because we believe that we shall be able to meet any criticism made.

Deputy Aiken also spoke of the national debt. At one time it seemed, as I read Deputy Aiken's speech, that he was insinuating that the provision being made this year for the service of debt was not sufficient. He talked about the moneys I had borrowed and I admittedly borrowed for short term periods at certain very low interest rates. I do not know whether the Deputy intended it, but it seemed to me that he was creating the impression that the provision made this year for the service of this £30,000,000 that we propose to borrow was not based upon realistic rates of interest. That is not so. The special provision made this year for the moneys we propose to borrow is based, not upon the rate which prevailed for short-term borrowing, but the rate which we think it will be possible for us to get from the people the amount of money we require and the service of the debt is built up on that rate as the rate which we think will prevail over the 30 years in which we propose to amortise this.

Deputy Aiken had another view of this. If he is correctly reported in the Irish Press, he is guilty of this statement: he calculated that if we went on as we were going we would arrive in seven or eight years at a position in which we would be paying by way of interest and sinking fund an amount equivalent to the total of the last Budget introduced by Fianna Fáil. I wonder was the Deputy correctly reported. Did the Deputy say that?

I said if we went on doubling the debt every three years.

That is a hypothesis which does not arise. That would mean that in six or seven years there would be a sum involved by way of interest and sinking fund equivalent to £60,000,000. I think that is beyond the region of mere blundering; I think it is malicious if the Deputy said that in six or seven years there will be up to £60,000,000 or £70,000,000 by way of service of debt. Does the Deputy believe that?

The Minister doubled it in three years.

Leaving out that hypothesis, does the Deputy believe that in six or seven years' time we shall be in a position in which £60,000,000 will be required for the service of debt? The Deputy is anxious about the national debt charges. The debt charges as a percentage of national income have not risen and it is easier to bear these charges when the national income is rising. The national income is rising and, if for no other purpose, that would mean that we would be able to bear a greater charge by way of national debt service than was possible in previous years.

A lot of phrases were used with regard to the cost of living. It has been stated several times that the cost of living is up. The cost of living is not up. The cost-of-living index figure which most people go by has not risen. There may have been a variation of a point up or down in two years, but that figure has been stable since February, 1948. There is no getting away from that. That has been the case, although we have very definitely increased the amount of money put into the hands of the people with which to buy consumer goods. We have allowed wages to increase so far as they are under our control. We have sanctioned increases for civil servants, Guards, teachers and the people under the control of the Central Government. Those have all been raised, notwithstanding that there might have been a severe impact on the whole national situation here causing a great increase in the cost of living. But we took the view that goods in this country were also on the increase, that there would be in circulation not merely more money, which we knew would happen, but more goods to meet the pressure of that money. That is the situation which has evolved. It is a fact that the cost-of-living index figure has not risen and there is no reason why it should.

Deputy Aiken, I think it was, stated that if we were going to loose this year a new stream of purchasing power for goods in short supply the effect would be serious. Deputy Lemass followed on the same line. I should like to mention this to indicate the confusion of thought there is. The argument that there is bound to be an increase in the cost of living depends upon two propositions: that there will be more money in the hands of the people to buy goods and you have either to lessen the stock of goods or do something to lessen the supplies in proportion to the money put out. Deputy Derrig, however, thought that it was possible for me to say that the cost-of-living index figure is static, but, shifting away from his colleagues, he said that there might be greater opportunities for spending and a larger number of things available which people wanted to buy, and then he made some calculation with regard to the cost of living. That is a peculiar way of arriving at a truth. There is a larger quantity of goods available for people to purchase and, in these circumstances, it is not wrong to enable a larger spending power to be put into the hands of the people and it does not add to the bad effects forecast.

Somebody also referred to a phrase I used, that the standard of living of the community had increased. I want to repeat that. I think that the standard of living of the people in this community has definitely increased. In the course of my speech last week, I indicated that the volume of agricultural production had now come close to pre-war standards. I indicated that industrial output and volume was 43 per cent. over the 1938 figure. I indicated with regard to exports that, in volume, we were still short by 10 per cent. of the 1938 figure. In other words, although agricultural production had reached its old time volume and industrial production had gone far beyond it, we were not exporting as much as before. Our imports show a 27 per cent. increase over 1938.

In view of the situation in which more goods, both agricultural and industrial, are produced at home than in 1938 and not the same volume of exports on the agricultural side particularly, and more goods being imported, quite clearly there are more goods at the disposal of the whole community and, as they have the money with which to purchase them, it is quite clear that the standard of living has advanced and I would say considerably advanced since 1938.

The main controversy in this debate has been with regard to our programme of borrowing. Various Deputies— Deputy M.J. O'Higgins started it and others followed on the same line—tried to get from Fianna Fáil a statement as to what part of the programme we have in mind they think undesirable. I am not speaking of it as being undesirable from an idealistic standpoint but as being undesirable in present circumstances. What did they even think was dangerous? I invite Deputies and anybody who wants to inquire into that matter to turn to the table at column 1632 of the Official Report of the 3rd of this month where, under a dozen heads, I set out the purposes for which we require this year a sum of £34,000,000. Housing, £14,000,000 odd; public health services, £1,000,000 odd; hospitals, about £500,000; agricultural development, £6,250,000; electricity development, £4,750,000; turf development, £1,500,000; telephone system, £2,250,000; transport, £1.86 millions; schools and other State buildings, £1,000,000 and a bit; afforestation, one-third of a million; and tourist, fisheries and mineral development, between them, £.2 millions. Which of these items should we drop? Which of them is a bad investment? Which of them is even an investment—thinking in terms of inflation still being around the corner— which any Deputy on the other side of the House would ask us to drop for fear of inflation? Deputies from this side of the House challenged Deputies on that side along the lines of that list and the Deputies on the other side were as dumb as they are at the present moment. They are all desirable activities. If there was money in hand, nobody could object to them.

Deputy Lemass is the only one who came down to a concrete detail about this. I refer to him because he came to two points of detail and I suppose he put forward the best case his particular group could put forward. He objects to part of the housing borrowing. In column 1791 of the Official Report of the 4th May, he is reported as saying:—

"In so far as the £14,000,000 which is to be spent on housing next year represents an investment in housing, we are agreeable to its being met by borrowing. Nine million pounds of that £14,000,000 will represent advances from the Local Loans Fund to local authorities."

I will read what the Deputy continued to say, but I would point out that he mixed the division between the money fed into the Local Loans Fund and elsewhere. He said:—

"The Local Loans Fund has always been fed by the proceeds of Government borrowing, and it is legitimate to continue on that course."

Whether he means by that statement that as that has always been done he does not object to continuing it or whether he means that he knows these moneys are properly borrowed and fed into the housing system, I do not know. However, he mixed the division afterwards and he said he would raise a question mark about the expenditure from the Transition Development Fund. He then made the point that borrowing for ordinary housing grants cannot be justified on any ground. His attempted defence of that particular point of view was that these housing grants are subsidies for rents. What is the difference, would the Deputy tell me, between the money that goes to the local authority from the Local Loans Fund, the money that goes from the Transition Development Fund and the money originally borne on the Vote for the Department of Local Government as a housing grant? If one takes a £1,500 house, the direct State subvention at the moment is £779. Part of that is money that goes in direct grant. Part of it is money that goes from the Transition Development Fund and part in the extra subsidy given in the change in the rate of interest. I can see no difference in principle in that respect, and I should like the Deputy to correct me in the matter.

I can see no difference between the money via the Local Loans Fund as subventions to houses and the money that is given to a private person for a grant which that person passes on to the builder when the house is built. If one of these is to be condemned the others are too. Deputy Lemass says that as far as the Local Loans Fund is concerned, it was a habit and that, whether it was a good habit or not, we should continue it. I think it is a good system. We are adding on now these other grants. The grant via the Transition Development Fund will be wound up. The special housing grant stands at present at £275 and that may be continued hereafter. I am still at a loss to know what point of difference is made between the two. Even with those subventions, the rents charged in many cases are not even economic. I ask for a correction on this matter. We are anxious to have people understand what this borrowing programme is and we are anxious to find out if anything is wrong with it. That was Deputy Lemass' chief point of dispute with us in this whole matter. He disputes the amount of money that is being paid in regard to the housing grants. Out of the sum of £12,000,000 carried in this Book of Estimates, it comes to £1,635,000. If I add the £50,000 grant to the local authorities under the Act of 1948, let us call it £1,750,000 out of a sum of £12,000,00.

The second point is in regard to the land rehabilitation scheme. I must say that I did not find it easy to follow his argument. He said:—

"I have no objection in principle to the State borrowing to meet expenditure which can reasonably be expected to result in an expansion of national production and, consequently, in State revenue."

He then asked if Deputies believed that expenditure under the land rehabilitation scheme is adding to the capital value of the land benefited or to the productive capacity of the land in direct relationship to the total expenditure. When Deputies answered "yes", he stopped on that line and then he asked: "Why should we borrow for the administrative expenses involved in the scheme?" I do not know whether that was his chief point but one point he picked out for criticism was that of administrative expenses.

Let us look at this. A sum of £3,100,000 is provided for the land rehabilitation scheme. The full amount in the Book of Estimates is a sum of £320,000—it is roughly 10 per cent. He asks: "Why should we borrow for the administrative expenses involved in the scheme?" The Deputy has a phrase here that may contain his argument: "Are civil servants who are administering it a capital investment...?" If he is saying that some of these people were civil servants, then we can say to him that the number who were not specially recruited for this scheme would be about 50. The £320,000 covers a personnel of 300 people. If the land rehabilitation scheme is a proper one for borrowing, I think the Deputy would agree that those people who were specially recruited to carry out that scheme should properly have their salaries borne out of borrowed money also. We are then down to a fifth of the £320,000. If the civil servants who are now occupied, I think in a fulltime way, on the land rehabilitation project, were not so occupied, they would, presumably, be redundant. There would be vacancies in the Civil Service and we would be rid of so many officials and so much expenditure. Certain officials might be rendered redundant. But is it worth all this quarrelling about one-fifth of £320,000, if that is all that is between us? Reference has been made here to what are the moneys that are properly borrowed moneys and what type of expenditure should be met out of taxation. I do not know whether Deputy Lemass has any figure in mind. I was tempted to ask either himself or his colleagues when they were applying all these wild adjectives to this borrowing programme if they could tell me in money terms to what they are objecting. So far as Deputy Lemass is concerned, he passes everything in what he calls "under the line" expenditure. This the sum shown, he says, would be £19.6 million. Actually it is about £21,000,000.

Deputy Lemass passes all that. His distinction is that these are quite normal productive schemes fit for borrowing. He mentions £12,000,000 and perhaps he will tell me how much of the £12,000,000 does he think is improperly borrowed? I have not got a figure from him. If I take the two headings he gave me, I arrive at a calculation of nearly £700,000 and some sum for the expenses of the land rehabilitation scheme. Let us put it at £2,000,000. That is the sum total of Deputy Lemass's objection to this scheme—£2,000,000—and because in a £34,000,000 figure £2,000,000 is questioned—and not very accurately questioned either—just because there is £2,000,000 open to question—we are told that this whole idea is profligate and wreckless, that normal employment will be disturbed, that we will have a welling up of unemployment and poverty with eventual bankruptcy of the State. All that talk arises from a calculation of £2,000,000 out of a total borrowing of £34,000,000.

When we come to what Deputies opposite thought was a proper borrowing scheme, we have the famous old scheme for the erection of Oireachtas buildings and a new Parliament House at an estimated cost of £11,500,000. The proposal then was to devastate 55 acres in the heart of the city, to knock down houses that serve a useful purpose, to destroy a couple of churches and a hospital, knock a whole lot of business firms out of their premises—and yet that was considered a proper scheme for borrowing.

It was not even considered at all.

That scheme was to cost £11,500,000. It was considered in the teeth of a memorandum which went out from Deputy MacEntee, who was then the Minister for Finance. First of all, he brought this before his colleagues, and notwithstanding this they opted for the scheme. "It must be remembered that one effect of putting this scheme into operation would be to postpone inevitably the solution of the problem of the housing of the working classes." The then Minister questioned the desirability, the practicability, of floating a loan for it. He asked them to imagine the public response to a loan for that purpose, specifically for the purpose of that scheme. This is Deputy MacEntee's description of the scheme: It would effect merely the provision of palatial buildings for the housing of the Civil Service staffs and it was not enormously attractive from the point of view of investment in so far as the assets created would be regarded as entirely unproductive. In addition, they would have to consider the probable unfavourable reactions of the investing public to the suggestion, and he felt the public generally would be most likely adversely impressed by the making of a proposal of this magnitude at a time when taxation was heavy, when economic difficulties were many and when trade relations were so unsatisfactory.

The then Minister went on to refer to certain considerations such as the rapid growth of the dead-weight public debt in recent years. That was in 1935, three years after Fianna Fáil came into office. The Minister then referred to the rapid growth of the dead-weight public debt in recent years, with its inevitable repercussions on national credit and the heavy obligations that would be involved. At any rate, he recommended against the proposal, but the Cabinet overruled him and the scheme was proposed. That was a small scheme in those days. It rose from something in the nature of an area of five or ten acres to a scheme covering 55 acres; it rose from being a scheme which was estimated to cost £2,500,000 to a scheme estimated to cost £11,500,000, for the palatial housing of civil servants and the creation of an asset which would be entirely unproductive.

And that was in 1935?

No, that file goes on to 1945. It was in 1945 that an emissary from the last Government came to see members of my Party in order to ascertain how we would regard the introduction of legislation to carry that scheme through. Apparently, it was considered a good scheme, although it was described as being unproductive. All the same, it was going to be accepted and, if the Dáil had shown itself in a reasonable frame of mind in regard to it, it would have been launched.

There has been a certain amount of annoyance, I would gather, caused by the remarks of Senator George O'Brien when he spoke in the Seanad on 12th January, 1949, and on two or three occasions since, backing the particular type of proposal that we have brought before the House. I heard Deputy Aiken getting so angry in this connection as to suggest that Senator O'Brien needed to have his economic education perfected. Deputy Aiken did not go so far as to say that he would perfect the Senator's economic education.

His political education is going on all right.

It may be, but he got a bad lead from the Deputy and his colleagues. Senator George O'Brien was a member of the Banking Commission and he criticised a certain debt accumulation that was going on. That was at the time when the economic war had started and when it was still in progress and evidence had been brought before the Banking Commission to the effect that people were cashing in on their English investments in order to be able to live at home, their ordinary occupation in farming having been destroyed here by the economic war. One of the phrases of the Banking Commission Report was that "The proceeds from the sale of external investments might clearly be used to meet a variety of requirements. A part of it certainly reflects encroachment on past savings to meet the needs of current consumption". It was that to which the Banking Commission chiefly objected. They objected to other things. The main point was the encroachment on past savings to meet the needs of current consumption. That was what was happening at the time.

And now.

I do not think it is now, but it happened then and it was definitely because of the particular struggle that Deputies opposite used to boast they had inaugurated. Senator George O'Brien, speaking in the Seanad on 12th January, 1949, columns 564 and 565, gives his views. He repeated them a couple of times since. He said:—

"When it comes to the question of how these loans and subsidies are to be paid for, I suggest to the Minister that there is a very strong case for borrowing to pay for a great many of these loans and subsidies."

In column 565, he said:—

"I think that investment in the improvement of Irish agriculture is the most productive type of investment which the Government could encourage and I think that debt of that kind, which may be dead-weight debt in the sense that in the first few years the taxpayer may have to find the interest on it, in the long run will yield abundant return. Therefore I do suggest to the Minister that in discussions with his colleagues he should advocate borrowing rather than taxation for his agricultural programme."

Apart from the angle that Deputies may have in respect of Senator O'Brien, is there anything wrong with that as a doctrine? Would people accept that as good? If there is to be an investment in this country, the land of the country would seem to offer a good field for investment, and particularly if land has been run down over the years, has gone wild in a variety of ways and is not as productive as it might be, can anybody question the desirability of at least attempting over a number of years to see whether the application of a certain amount of lime and fertilisers, the destruction of weeds, the clearing of drains and so on might not have beneficial results which would not show themselves in giving an immediate return in the shape of interest payments made by farmers whose land is benefited, but in bringing the yield of national production to a higher level?

We start with £3,000,000 for it this year. It can be tested out over a couple of years. There is no immediate commitment in respect of all the sums which we think it would be desirable to spend on the land. The thing can be watched over the years, and, if it is shown that the scheme is not going to be productive, either directly, for which we do not hope, or indirectly, in the sense of bringing about a mounting national productivity, a new view can be taken of it. Can anybody object to its being tried when the whole effort is to get farmers into a position where they will be able to meet, as they are bound to meet very soon, the keener competition of other countries which are going to be rivals of ours with regard to getting inside the British market?

I have alluded to the fact that the Electricity Supply Board were responsible, on an investment of about £23,000,000, for a return which is the equivalent of 4¾ per cent. When you add to that almost £9,000,000 in respect of other schemes, the electricity matter is still such an Atlas, able to carry such a weight on its shoulders, that there is produced for this country a return of about 3.4 per cent. on all its investments, taking the good and the bad. I put on one side that £11,500,000 for a palatial residence for civil servants, for the creation of a totally unproductive asset, and the Fianna Fáil reception of that project because it was one of theirs, and I remind them, not merely for the purpose of irritating them, not to repeat the same mistake. I want to remind them of the way they received the Shannon project when it first came up. Do they remember? It was a fantastic business.

A white elephant.

It was a white elephant when built up; I am thinking of the comments made about it when it was merely a project—a crazy, megalomaniac structure, something which was going to wreck the nation's credit. It was a scheme which the Government was advised it would be well worth their while to drop and to remake their standing amongst the business people of the community. A Senator whom the previous Government put back in the Seanad on three successive occasions, at the time when I was approaching the public for a national loan in connection with it, said that so far as he had influence in banking circles— and he was a banker—he would not advise a single person to put a solitary shilling into it.

Do not start blaming us for what Sir John Keane said.

Deputy Lemass said that the Government should not have embarked on such a big undertaking. He said that there was a vast amount of Irish money now paid into it—this was in 1927—and if the scheme eventuated, the whole of the Twenty-Six Counties would be largely dependent on it for light and electric power. He said further that we were going to be involved in war and he asked what would happen to the Shannon scheme in such an event. A successful air raid on the headquarters of the scheme would leave industry in every city and town paralysed and bring about a reign of darkness over all the country. His Leader, Deputy de Valera, went to Cavan and said it was no time for grandiose schemes when the country was being bled white by emigration. He said that capital would be sunk in the Shannon for a considerable period, and that by the time it was working, the people it was intended to employ would have been driven out of the country.

Deputy Lemass later thought that the people were on the horns of a dilemma because the Shannon scheme was going to be a failure, but there was the choice of throwing it overboard or adopting the Electricity Supply Bill, and as the better of two bad alternatives, he chose the adoption of the Electricity Supply Board. Deputy Ryan went to his native county, Wexford, and said that many people had told him that the Shannon was no good for power purposes and that better results would be got from crude oil. Deputy de Valera, in the end, came to the conclusion that it was better to go ahead with the scheme rather than let it fall through when so much Irish money had been spent on it. He said he was not against the scheme, but he asked Wexford men would they not get more employment from a protective tariff on agricultural machinery than they would ever get from this scheme. When he went to America and got as far as Boston, he said that his objection to it was based largely on financial aspects and he said that England would benefit at the expense of Ireland by the project.

That was the way that scheme was received and I have many more quotations which I could give the Deputy if he wants them. These, however, will show the mentality that was around. Yet that is what is carrying a lot of these other investments and I ask Deputies to think back to what they said in those days. Do they not know well that they were joining in a clamour that was definitely widespread through the country against the whole business? Instead of taking a national progressive line with regard to national development, they joined in the chorus. They fanned the flames of all the hostility there was to it as much as they could. Every time they stood on a platform in their political journeyings in those days they threw in a few phrases antagonistic to it. Why should the same thing happen again?

Looking back on it, it was a big adventure. Many of the technical men were against it and most of the engineers of the country were against it. The only people who were for it in those days were the ordinary plain people who thought there was something constructive in it and whose imaginations were seized by it. It was something which the people in touch with the country, as Fianna Fáil Deputies were, should have realised and should have accepted, but they did not do so. Why should they object to what we are doing now?

Because the Dublin ratepayers objected to it.

To the scheme we have now?

The Deputy has lost me; I am a yard or two ahead of him. What is the Fianna Fáil alternative to what we now propose? I have harped on the speech of Deputy Lemass because he was the only person who made two points of objection I could follow. In the end, it comes down to a rather small amount of money out of the moneys we propose to gather in and expend for what we think are nationally suitable and good development purposes at the moment.

What is the Fianna Fáil alternative to this? I understand from Deputy Lemass that he wants all this development but that he does not think that part of it should be met from borrowing. He wants it all to go ahead but says that part should be met from taxation. Will he tell me how much? I would like to know what would be his presentation, if there was an electoral, calamity, and he came back.

Or by economies. Save the £6,000,000 you were to save.

The Deputy is on economies?

If you were to save the £6,000,000 you were to save, you would have plenty of money.

The Deputy is on economies. It is a remarkable conversion because I have not brought a single economy into this House for two years that did not meet with the full-throated criticism of the Deputy.

That is unworthy.

He would not increase taxation or, if he did, he would economise on something else. Deputy O'Higgins asked you what you would economise on.

The £6,000,000 that you were going to save.

I have saved that. What is the next line.

What were they?

The beer tax.

Where were the economies?

If the Deputy means that I have to get in good revenue, I have, but that is a result the Deputy would not have achieved. However, we did get it. Let us have no flippancy about this. The Deputy's programme is to go ahead with all these schemes. Is that correct? He would not tax. He would not increase the burden of taxation. I gather that is so. He would economise. May we leave that with a note of interrogation above it and find out what we would economise on later? They are the people who produced this series of booklets about their post-war programmes. There was a building programme going to run up to £100,000,000, to be done in five years. It was not all Government. I make the calculation that of £73,000,000 of borrowings, £64,000,000 was to be under Government auspices and the greater part of the £26,000,000 that is spoken of as constructional, would have been under Government. There was at least £90,000,000 for five years. That would have been good borrowing and the State would not have gone bankrupt. Nobody could have described the programme that entailed that over a five years' period as profligate or reckless or likely to create inflation.

You described it as that.

You did.

I want to find out what is between us. I know there is political disappointment but, other than political disappointment, what is between us on all this thing? I have to come to some of the phrases that have been used and they have been very vigorous phrases. There was no pulling of punches at all about the comments that have been made.

Let me put my own group on record here again. I am not saying that there may not be an error or mistake or two to be found here and there in this. If there are mistakes, they have been made honestly and bona fide. We have presented this as something over which we thought we could stand. We did not spring it suddenly upon the people or upon the Deputies. The Taoiseach first gave notice of this when he spoke to the bankers. It was debated here. At least, there was an opportunity to debate it on the Vote on Account and there was time to spare. The £12,000,000, which is, apparently, the part of this which is most under criticism, was before the Deputies and they could have bored the holes, if they found it possible to do so, in our proposals. Before I made my Budget speech, the Taoiseach went to Clonmel and again reiterated and emphasised the sort of general matters that he had said to the bankers but making it more appropriate to this particular borrowing. Then it is introduced into this House. In the meantime, the Central Fund Bill was before the Seanad and what the Deputies of that Party had forgotten to say here they could have passed on to their colleagues in the Seanad, and in the Seanad there was a first class, illuminating debate on this whole matter. We wanted that because we know that we can only get this properly carried through if we get public opinion behind it. We did ask for criticism and we ask for criticism still. I want detailed criticism. I want people to tell me, as I said before, what they object to because I want to find out what is between us. I do not think, in all I have heard, that in the end there is anything more than about £2,000,000 or £3,000,000 of that £34,000,000 questioned. Yet, think of what has been said.

Deputy Lemass has spoken three times outside this House. Deputy MacEntee has spoken once. One of the phrases is, that we are putting the national territory and liberties in pawn to foreign powers. Does Deputy Lemass believe that? Deputy Lemass, I think, was the person who accepted on behalf of this country Marshall Aid. Is it the use of Marshall Aid that is putting us in pawn to a foreign power? Are we being put in pawn to a foreign power? "A reckless and improvident course" is how Deputy Lemass has described this, and that we are trying to get that passed off as a defensible policy. He says we are now trying to borrow to meet Budget deficits. In five years the Deputy's Party had £15,000,000 nett Budget deficits, as he describes them here. There were £10,000,000 clear Budget deficits and £5,000,000 for the Transition Development Fund.

Deputy Lemass said that this excessive borrowing—that is what he calls this—will mean rise in prices, dislocation of employment; that there will be more unemployment, more increasingly futile attempts at control by Government Departments, that there will be restriction of normal capital investment and that there will be a limitation of industrial development to whatever extent it might proceed under direct State auspices. He says that the financial condition, which was sound when he left office, had been undermined with extraordinary rapidity by the Coalition Government, that we are making the position worse, that we are increasing the difficulty and lengthening the period of recovery. He spoke of the external assets, which represent a capital fund for national development, £3,000,000 of which had been expended and he said that the reserve funds of various State organisations had disappeared or, by one method or another, were being used to ease Exchequer difficulties. He described it later as the Coalition's madcap policy and he used a variety of other phrases.

Is all that language justified by the actual difference that there is between that Party and the Parties that form the Government on the amount of money that we are looking for and the way in which we propose to get it on long-term? I would like to have that question answered at some other time. I would like to give Deputies notice that I would expect from them, and I think the country expects from them, if these phrases are to be taken as meaning anything—they will require good arguments—to be shown where in that Book there is profligate expenditure or madcap policy.

It is all very well for Deputies to use these phrases generally. They are faced with sums of money that we will hereafter ask their help to get us from the public for the development of the whole country. That is a task in which they should assist and, if they are not going to assist, they ought certainly to give us more than these extravagant phrases, something in the way of detailed argument against our proposals. I ask Deputies on the other side to assist in this. Again, I remind them, not for the sake of irritating them, but just to remind them, of their errors before. I hope I do not attribute this to the wrong person but I rather think it was Deputy Ruttledge who, long ago, said that the bill for damages was mounting to the skies and that the State was about to crash, but I know that it was Deputy Lemass who, when the Government to which I first belonged was going for a loan in 1930, told us the prospects of this State were as dark as night and that we were going to get into the bog of bankruptcy.

The Minister used it himself.

I used it as a quotation but it came from the Deputy first in relation to this country. We got the two loans we were looking for in those days. We did not get them —one of them, at any rate—with the Deputy's help.

Is this development of the country something we should aim at? I think it is. Deputies over there get quite angry when it is suggested that anyone could insinuate that Fianna Fáil are not interested in the development of the country. This development cannot go on if Deputies ruin the credit of those who represent the Government at this time and who are looking for the help of the public. We are not out on any campaign to force governmental funds into these sort of loans or to coerce the banks into giving us money. We have a point of view which is not so different from that which the banks have at the moment, and we shall be meeting them soon to reason with them on all these matters. There is no question of coercion or force in order to get these desirable objectives, and I believe that by reasoning we will be able to get the people who control investments in this country to co-operate and to help us because eventually they will be for the good of the banking institutions. But we must get the help of the Deputies opposite on that. They certainly must at least refrain from trying to harm us in what we are doing. If the Deputies opposite are responsible for this scandalous poster which is appearing through the city I would exhort them to get it taken down and not to have it reproduced. I do not know if the Deputies opposite are responsible for that——

But you are blaming them, anyhow.

If they are not I will be delighted and I will withdraw anything I have said, but I believe they are. It is a scandalous poster and not such as would be expected from people who were responsible for the Government of the country for 16 years, who know the difficulties of Government and who have experienced how difficult it has been to get money for any desirable purpose.

Deputy Lemass—I come back to him as I started with him—in one of his clubs on the 6th March, 1948, delivered himself of this, and this is certainly not meant to irritate the Deputy but will probably give the Deputy something to crow about. He addressed this Fianna Fáil Cumann, and said:—

"There was neither in our budgetary position nor external trade balance any justification for imposing on the people a policy of austerity....

The financial policy of the coalitionists, in so far as it had been indicated in public, appeared to be one of restrictionism, almost of deflation paraded under the name of economy.

The present deficit on visible external trade was of no great consequence yet."

It was £30,000,000 in that year. It was £10,000,000 last year.

"It has been almost entirely offset by so-called invisible items, of which revenue from tourist business had been by far the most important. In fact, over the two post-war years 1946 and 1947, they had had a nett addition to their external assets, a result of questionable value in view of future possibilities."

He began by saying:—

"There was neither in our budgetary position nor external trade balance any justification for imposing on the people a policy of austerity."

I repeat that. He went on to say:—

"Austerity had not helped in increasing prosperity elsewhere. There was no justification for forcing their people to do without goods or services which they needed and which could be purchased for sterling. There was no need to cut down worth-while projects for development merely to maintain external assets at their present level."

That was as general as most of the critical comments he made about our Budget but this was particular:—

"Plans for housing, arterial drainage, turf production, aviation, national defence, electricity development, harbour improvements, the expansion of the merchant marine service, transport reorganisation and the like would all require substantial capital expenditure. Fianna Fáil had been fully prepared to undertake all those projects, having been fully satisfied that the national resources were adequate, and that they would contribute in the future to the national prosperity or security.

It was not a matter of choosing between those developments, plans and needed improvements in the social services, as the ‘ex-Labour' Minister for Local Government had suggested. There was no reason why the country could not have both."

He continued about the country:—

"Its public debt was relatively the lowest in Europe, its external assets relatively the highest in the world, its trade had been expanding, its production and employment had been increasing, its over-all supply position had been, generally speaking, better than in most countries."

This was the exhortation at the end and I want to repeat it very specially to the Deputy:—

"The present was the time for courage and enterprise, drive and enthusiasm. Instead they were being offered a mess of negatives, the timorous conservatism of little men who were afraid of the tasks with which they had been entrusted, who lacked confidence and imagination and who were going to miss the greatest chance the Irish people ever had of placing the whole national economy permanently on a higher plane of productivity and safety."

Does the Deputy remember saying that in March, 1948, and why does he say those things now?

Question put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 66; Níl, 60.

  • Belton, John.
  • Blowick, Joseph.
  • Brennan, Joseph P.
  • Browne, Patrick.
  • Byrne, Alfred Patrick.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Cogan, Patrick.
  • Collins, Seán.
  • Commons, Bernard.
  • Connolly, Roderick J.
  • Corish, Brendan.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Costello, John A.
  • Cowan, Peadar.
  • Crotty, Patrick J.
  • Davin, William.
  • Desmond, Daniel.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Maurice E.
  • Donnellan, Michael.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Dunne, Seán.
  • McQuillan, John.
  • Madden, David J.
  • Morrissey, Daniel.
  • Mulcahy, Richard.
  • Murphy, William J.
  • Norton, William.
  • O'Donnell, Patrick.
  • O'Higgins, Michael J.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F. (Jun.)
  • O'Leary, John.
  • Esmonde, Sir John L.
  • Everett, James.
  • Fagan, Charles.
  • Finucane, Patrick.
  • Flynn, John.
  • Giles, Patrick.
  • Halliden, Patrick J.
  • Hickey, James.
  • Hughes, Joseph.
  • Keane, Seán.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Kinane, Patrick.
  • Kyne, Thomas A.
  • Larkin, James.
  • Lehane, Con.
  • Lehane, Patrick D.
  • McAuliffe, Patrick.
  • MacBride, Seán.
  • MacEoin, Seán.
  • McFadden, Michael Og.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • McMenamin, Daniel.
  • O'Sullivan, Martin.
  • Palmer, Patrick W.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Redmond, Bridget M.
  • Reidy, James.
  • Roddy, Joseph.
  • Rooney, Eamonn.
  • Sheldon, William A.W.
  • Spring, Daniel.
  • Sweetman, Gerard.
  • Tully, John.


  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Blaney, Neal T.
  • Boland, Gerald.
  • Bourke, Dan.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Brennan, Thomas.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Buckley, Seán.
  • Burke, Patrick.
  • Butler, Bernard.
  • Carter, Thomas.
  • Childers, Erskine H.
  • Colley, Harry.
  • Collins, James J.
  • Corry, Martin J.
  • Crowley, Honor Mary.
  • Davern, Michael J.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Eamon.
  • De Valera, Vivion.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Friel, John.
  • Gilbride, Eugene.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hilliard, Michael.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kilroy, James.
  • Kissane, Eamonn.
  • Lahiffe, Robert.
  • Lemass, Seán F.
  • Little, Patrick J.
  • Lydon, Michael F.
  • Lynch, John.
  • McCann, John.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • McGrath, Patrick.
  • Maguire, Patrick J.
  • Moylan, Seán.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • Ormonde, John.
  • O'Rourke, Daniel.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Rice, Bridget M.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Sheridan, Michael.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Walsh, Richard.
  • Walsh, Thomas.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Doyle and Kyne; Níl: Deputies Kissane and Kennedy.
Resolution declared carried.
Financial Resolutions reported and agreed to.