Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Tuesday, 10 May 1955

Vol. 150 No. 8

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

I listened with great interest to the various speeches made by the Coalition members on this Budget. It is remarkable the amount of propaganda, which secured votes for them in the various general and by-elections, they have dropped. We have been making some progress over the years. I only hope that in the next few years we may make further progress towards general agreement not only on fundamental political issues, but also on fundamental economic and financial issues A lot of votes were got by the Coalition groups, and, indeed, they built up their Parties, on their opposition to the Constitution. The Constitution was anti-feminist; it was rotten. I am glad to say they are now the strongest upholders of the Constitution—no stronger anywhere in the world: it is every Irishman's duty to support the Constitution.

One of the chief items of propaganda of Coalition groups in 1948, and again when they were out in 1952 and in the following years, was that Fianna Fáil was wrong to drop the excess corporation profits tax after a Labour Government in England had dropped a similar tax there. They used that argument day in and day out. I will give the quotations later on. They said Fianna Fáil only dropped the excess corporation profits tax for the purpose of giving £4,500,000 to the racketeers in industry, the racketeers who were their friends. That was the allegation.

Another important item in their propaganda over the years was the level of our external balance of payments— the foreign assets or British securities due to this country by Britain; it was alleged that the only reason why we favoured keeping assets in Britain was to give John Bull, as they put it, money at ½ per cent. to build cheap houses and murder the Mau Maus. That was said here in this House as well as at every crossroads throughout the country.

Another allegation was that taxation was being kept up deliberately by Fianna Fáil, and the level of taxation was both savage and unnecessary. It was alleged that Government expenditure could be reduced by £1,000,000 per minute and by a total of at least £20,000,000.

Another piece of propaganda, which has now been dropped, is that the level of prices was a function of the Government and that if prices were kept up or were not reduced it was because the Government wished them to be kept up and not reducd. I will come back to that again, but it is no harm now to have a look at Deputy McGilligan's little bit of propaganda in the last general election when himself and Mr. John Hedigan stood as candidates; they quoted prices, including the price of the foamy pint. They said all these rises in prices were due to the "deliberate action of the Government." To-day that propaganda has been dropped, and there are other causes for high prices, other than the deliberate action of the Government. But votes were won on that allegation.

Another little bit of propaganda that was made play with was that export subsidies were designed by Fianna Fáil to give cheap food to John Bull, and for no other reason. The Coalition groups would not listen to any other reason. When we gave a subsidy on butter it was alleged that that subsidy was given so that John Bull could have cheap butter. Now that there is a subsidy of 10d. or 11d. per lb. on exported butter, that subsidy is for quite a different reason.

Another item with which the Coalition made great play was the propaganda in relation to tourism. Tourists were spivs and the only reason why Fianna Fáil wanted them in the country was that Fianna Fáil liked spivs. It was formally proposed here by one of the principal members of the Coalition groups that we should put a tax on these tourists. That proposition was greeted with "hear, hears!" by even Deputy Costello, as he then was. He is now Taoiseach and he made a very famous speech down in Cork on Sunday last to which I shall refer later.

The brightest gem in all the Coalition propaganda was Tulyar. If they had the £250,000 which Fianna, Fáil squandered on Tulyar they could raise the old age and widows' and orphans' pensions, increase children's allowances, reduce income-tax and bring down the price of bread to practically nothing. Indeed, there was no end to what they could do with the money that was spent on Tulyar. I am glad to say it is still being spent on Tulyar and the propaganda has been dropped. I have not heard Tulyar mentioned by any Coalition speaker in this debate. If one goes back on the Budget debates when Fianna Fáil was in office there was mention of Tulyar in every other sentence.

If the Deputy had been here last week he would have heard a question about that.

The members of the Coalition ask questions but it stops at that.

We get answers, too, but the Deputy is not here to hear them.

The sale of Tulyar has been put in abeyance. Another item in their propaganda, an item which had great weight with many people in the country, was their allegation that every man who wanted work could be put to work if there was a change of Government within 24 hours. Emigration would automatically cease.

It has been quoted here on dozens of occasions. I did not think anybody would have the face to ask for the quotation. Deputy Morrissey said it twice. The Deputy from Waterford will be better informed at the end of this debate because I will ask the next Fianna Fáil speaker to give the quotation, day and date.

That would be better.

I must say the Parliamentary Secretary has a good deal of temerity in asking for that quotation, it has been given so often in this House; but he will get it.

The Deputy should not come in here without his facts.

All I want to remark at this stage is that that bit of propaganda has not only been dropped but is now denied. Every voter who ever listened to a Coalition speaker in any of the general elections or the by-elections for years past remembers that the principal item in their propaganda was that unemployment was being kept up; the number of unemployed was being deliberately kept up by Fianna Fáil; that that was unnecessary and could all be changed within 24 hours.

Let us take some of these items in more detail. When I listened to Deputy Norton speaking the other day I was very interested indeed. All during his speech I kept remembering a couple of things that were said during the last general election and lest they might be denied I will give the Minister, the Parliamentary Secretary and the Deputies behind them the day and date and the exact words.

Deputy Davin made a number of speeches and they were not unlike all the speeches that were made by other members of the Labour Party. Indeed, they were not unlike the famous speech that was made by Deputy Dunne, when Deputy Dunne made a promise in Navan on the 15th May, 1954, not quite a year ago. He said:—

"Before Labour would participate in a Government with any Party or group of Parties they would insist that the prices of bread, butter, tea, sugar, cigarettes, tobacco and the worker's pint must be reduced, and not only reduced, but must be reduced immediately."

Unless they got agreement on that point, they, the Labour Party, would not take part in the formation of any Government.

That kept your heart up.

It raised the hearts of a lot of people looking for a cheaper pint, cheaper cigarettes, butter, tea, bread, sugar, and they voted for the Labour Party on the understanding that they would not take part in the formation of a Government unless these things were reduced and reduced immediately. Lest it might be said——

Where did that appear?

In the Meath Chronicle, and it has been quoted here, and quoted in Deputy Dunne's presence without any effort on his part at repudiating it or casting the slightest doubt upon it as the Parliamentary Secretary now seeks to do.

And if they were not to get that, what way were they to vote?

Order! Deputy Aiken should be allowed to make his speech.

I cannot understand what he is saying.

You will understand what I have to say.

Deputy Dunne is here in, the House now and he has not attempted to repudiate——

Wait until we get to the 17 points.

Deputy Dunne said that these things would be reduced, and reduced immediately; otherwise Labour would not take part in the Government.

And that was responsible for Deputy Tully being elected.

Deputy Davin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Local Government, one of the extras that were drafted in——

No extras.

Surely there were three Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries more than in our time? The cost of Ministers must have gone up even though the cost of Government was to go down.

They were worth it.

Deputy Davin said on the 15th May, 1954, that "it was his opinion that neither Fine Gael nor Fianna Fáil would secure an overall majority in this election, and that the Labour Party would hold the balance of power, and in that event the Labour Party Deputies would not be concerned with securing positions in the Government but with reducing taxation and restoring the cost of living to as near the 1951 figure as possible." That promise was that the cost of living was to come down 16 points, not to go up two points, and that before we calculate the increased points due to the cost of bacon or the increase in the cost of coal. It was to come down to the 1951 figure, or otherwise Deputy Davin or any of the Labour Party would reject the shilling. But they took the shilling long before the cost of living came down to the 1951 level or before there was any possibility of it coming down, even though it was going up a couple of points beyond the 1951 level and is still going up.

The cost of coal has gone up, the cost of bacon has gone up and the consumers of beer are now threatened with an increase in the cost of beer by Deputy McGilligan's friend, Mr. Hedigan. In the last general election I got this pamphlet. It was issued by Deputy McGilligan—now the Attorney-General—and Mr. John Hedigan. They were candidates for Fine Gael in the Dublin North Central constituency, and they issued this pamphlet.

On a point of order. The Deputy mentioned Mr. Hedigan—I mentioned a gentleman's name and I was called to order.

In quite a different connection, Deputy. Mr. Hedigan, I understand, was a candidate.

He was a candidate. Here is his photo along with Deputy McGilligan.

A better photograph than the one there was in the Irish Press of both the Deputy and myself the other day.

It was a very fine photograph of Mr. Hedigan and of Deputy McGilligan who is now the Attorney-General. And in this pamphlet with the very fine photograph they made very fine promises to the people all of which have since been repudiated and run away from. Not only are the people who were deceived by these promises, the ordinary voters, indignant now that they were so deceived but actually Mr. Hedigan, who was Mr. McGilligan's partner in this fight to get Fianna Fáil out and to get the pint down, had to come out yesterday and condemn the Government for not carrying out the promises that he himself and Mr. McGilligan made on behalf of Fine Gael.

"We had looked forward," he said, "with lively expectancy to the Budget of last week. We had expected and felt we had a right to expect that the least the Minister for Finance would have done would be to have followed the example of his predecessor and given some direct relief to the retail trade of no less amount than was given by Mr. MacEntee in his 1954 Budget".

What is the reference?

The reference is to a speech made yesterday by Mr. John Hedigan, chairman of the Licensed Grocers' and Vintners' Association, at the annual meeting of the association in Dublin, and I am quoting from to-day's Irish Independent.

I need not worry the House with a number of quotations all to the effect that if Fine Gael got in the price of the pint would come down. While waiting for some of the Coalition speakers to finish speaking, I often felt so thirsty listening to the propaganda they made about the awful price of a pint and how difficult it was for anybody to buy one, that I could hardly speak.

Two Deputies, one a Parliamentary Secretary and the other a Deputy from Waterford, questioned my assertion that Deputy Morrissey had said that unemployment could be wiped out in 24 hours if only people could get rid of Fianna Fáil. I have here one of the quotations. It appears in Volume 105 of the Official Report, column 847. Deputy Morrissey said:—

"I said here 12 months ago"

—he himself admits that he said it before—

"and I want to repeat it now, that, without the slightest trouble, every able-bodied man and woman in this country could be put into useful work to-morrow morning."

The present Minister for Industry and Commerce, Deputy Norton, spoke at length here the other day. His general thesis was that everything in the garden is rosy and that unemployment now stands at some thousands less than last year. He did not advert to the fact that the people who are drawing unemployment benefit—the people who were in regular employment until recently but who are now out of it—are up by 3,000 or 4,000 a week on last year. It is only the people on unemployment assistance who have gone down—and it is commonly believed, and I believe it myself, that the reason so many small farmers' sons have disappeared from the list is that they have gone abroad. Our only hope is that the Government will agree upon some economic and financial policy and get some sound basis so that, within the shortest number of years, we will have organised ourselves in such a way that they will not have to go abroad. However, we can come back to that point later.

I want to deal now with one of the famous promises made by the present Minister for Industry and Commerce when he was Deputy Norton and about which he was quite definite. He said that if ever he got to have any influence in Government the £4,500,000 of excess corporation profits tax—taken off by Fianna Fáil after a similar tax had been taken off by the Labour Government in Britain—would be put back. That promise was made in 1946, and I think that probably, if it were implemented now, the sum would represent an increase on the £4,500,000, as it was then.

Again, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, then Deputy Norton, went down to Limerick and said:—

"By returning a strong Labour Party the people would have a guarantee that excess profits would be taxed to provide money to subsidise prices and thus reduce the cost of commodities."

On another occasion, the Minister for Industry and Commerce as he is now —Deputy Norton as he was then, and wanting to become Minister for Industry and Commerce—went down to the people of Celbridge in his own constituency and said this:—

"Nobody has been able to explain why £4,500,000 of excess corporation profits tax has been handed back to those whose backs were much more capable of bearing financial burdens than those whose only permitted relations were simply a smoke and a glass of stout."

That was said by the present Minister for Industry and Commerce, Deputy Norton as he then was, on the 5th January, 1948—a few days before they persuaded the people to vote for them on the plea that if they got in they would insist that the corporation profits tax would be put back and that the benefits would be given to the people who smoke and the people who drink.

The Minister for Finance refused to give anything for the pint or the cigarettes, although they promised it. However, the Minister for Industry and Commerce and the Tánaiste, Deputy Norton as he was then, had a ready-to-hand solution for the poor man who could not smoke enough or who could not drink enough at Fianna Fáil prices. He was going to insist on the reimposition of the excess corporation profits tax which, in 1946, would have yielded £4,500,000 and which, to-day, would probably yield £6,000,000, £8,000,000 or maybe £10,000,000. He was going to give this money to reduce the cost of tobacco, to raise children's allowances, and so forth.

Did we not reduce it?

I want some member of the Labour Party to explain why the Labour Party did not insist that that promise made by Deputy Norton, as he was then, would be carried out. Deputy Norton, as he was then——

There is no necessity for the Deputy to go into all that. A Minister is designated by the name of the Department of which he is the political head. Deputy Norton is head of the Department of Industry and Commerce.

He is also Tánaiste.

His correct title is Minister for Industry and Commerce.

And Tánaiste, I submit.

In certain connections.

In order to make certain that I will designate him correctly I want to refer to him as Tánaiste and Minister for Industry and Commerce, and in order to make certain that I am not accusing him of making these promises while he was a Minister, I say "the Minister for Industry and Commerce, or Deputy Norton as he was then" so as to distinguish between the two stages of Deputy Norton's career, that is, (1) when he was in Government, and (2) when he was in opposition and wanted to get in Government.

And put you out.

I want to know from some member of the Labour Party why these promises that were made by this gentleman were not kept? Why did he not insist that this tax, which was estimated to yield £4,500,000 in 1946, would be put back and the revenue used to reduce the cost of cigarettes and beer, to increase children's allowances, and so forth and so on?

The other day the Minister for Industry and Commerce and Tánaiste had great contempt for the giving of subsidies where a consumer had to pay in taxation for his own relief as a consumer. When he was accused of a breach of faith in wiping out the subsidy for rural electrification, he pooh-poohed the matter and asked what does it matter out of which pocket the electricity consumer pays. Lest there may be some doubt in anybody's mind as to what he said or that in fact he said what I have said he said, I refer the Deputies to Volume 150, column 273 of the Dáil Debates. The Minister for Industry and Commerce said across the House to Deputy Briscoe:—

"Is there any advantage to Deputy Briscoe, taking him as an example, in cutting his current by a fraction ...if at the same time I siphon off from him cash to pay a subsidy in respect of rural electrification?... so long as you have a situation in which the electricity consumer is virtually indistinguishable from the ordinary taxpayer, that question of subsidy does not arise. It is one of these mirages which disappear on close examination."

For the purpose of clarification of this issue, will the Minister for Finance or the Tánaiste, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, explain on a later occasion what he said in relation to electricity consumers and the subsidy on tea that they expect Fianna Fáil to pay later on, which is being put on the long finger, or the subsidy on butter? There is no doubt that tea is a more widely consumed product than electricity, yet the Minister for Industry and Commerce condemned the paying of a subsidy on electricity, because electricity consumers and taxpayers were almost synonymous.

The Deputy is becoming optimistic now instead of being pessimistic.

Would the Minister for Defence explain why it is that, on principle, the Minister for Industry and Commerce refused to pay the rural electrification subsidy and favours a subsidy on tea or on butter and on bread or anything else? We want to get it out. For the future of the country it is well that these things should be discussed. If a man in the position of the Tánaiste says two such contradictory things on two important debates, one the debate on his own Estimate and the other the debate on the Budget, he should be asked to explain or somebody should explain on his behalf what exactly his stand is.

Was his stand on his own Estimate for the abolition of the subsidy, which was passed by Act of Parliament and which cannot be refused without another Act of Parliament being passed, simply to get some concealed taxes for the Minister for Finance? He has been pretty good at that business. The last time he was in office he taxed the National Health stamp payers another 6d. but he left them with the same 22/6 as was in force when he came in in 1948. The National Health stamp went up by 6d. but the health benefit for a man, even though he might be married and have ten children, remained at 22/6 in 1951 the same as it was in 1948 when he took over. It remained for Fianna Fáil to come in and to secure that a man with a wife and two children would get 50/- a week. Deputy Norton taxed him another 6d. and left him with 22/6 a week. He did that, of course, for the benefit of the Minister for Finance. Instead of taking £4,500,000 off the excess corporation profits taxpayers he took 6d. a week off the National Health stamp payers. He has been the Minister for Finance's best friend in the Labour Party.

The other day he justified the differentiation in the flour subsidy. They condemned us all over the country for the price of bread, the price of flour. They treated with contempt our miserable effort to reduce the loaf by one halfpenny. They paraded Dublin with loaves stuck on the top of sticks. They referred to the halfpenny Budget. In this Budget they did not even take a halfpenny off the loaf, but the Tánaiste, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, in his role as concealed tax collector for the Minister for Finance, put £500,000 on to buns and biscuits. He took nothing off bread but he put £500,000 on to buns and biscuits.

That will go a long way with buns and biscuits.

The halfpenny off the loaf, of course, was nothing, but Fine Gael and the Coalition groups, after all their promises to take all the prices back to 1951—flour from 4/5 a stone back to 2/8; bread from 9½d. to 6½d.; butter from 4/2 to 2/10; tea from 5/6 to 2/8; sugar from 7d. to 4d.; petrol from 3/2 to 1/8, and so on—did not even take a halfpenny off the loaf but put £500,000 on buns and biscuits.

What about butter?

Butter, instead of coming down, as they promised, from 4/2 to 2/10, came down by 5d.

Was it that high?

As the Parliamentary, Secretary to the Minister for Finance would have said if Fianna Fáil had done it, they gave 5d. to the Irish consumer of butter and they are giving 11d. to the British consumer of butter.

Was butter 4/2? Famine price.

The Tánaiste made very specific promises about beer and whiskey. As a matter of fact, Deputy Lemass quoted the special letter which the Tánaiste wrote to the publicans in this constituency calling their attention to the propaganda and to the reduction that they would insist on in beer and whiskey. There has been nothing taken off beer and whiskey, after all the promises. The Taoiseach, Deputy Costello as he then was, swore by the Book that he would not remain in office a day if he did not repeal every single one of the 1952 Budget taxes, but beer and whiskey are still as high as they were then.

One piece of propaganda that was made most use of by the Coalition groups when they were in opposition was the level of our external assets and I am glad to say that in relation to these external assets this piece of propaganda has been dropped and they are now beginning to take a more realistic view—they are now inclined to take the view that these external assets are part of our national wealth to be used for permanent improvements. Not so long ago these external assets were bits of paper that should be burned. It was said by them that these bits of paper should never have been collected and that having been collected they should be got rid of as quickly as possible. Does anybody want a quotation from Deputy McGilligan, the Attorney-General, on those bits of paper?

The external assets would not be of much use to us if we had not the ships to bring the goods they would buy, and the Deputy said that ships were of no use——

Ships. The Minister for Finance should keep quiet on ships and certain other things. I heard all about that down the country. Let me explain about the circumstances under which I made reference to the ships.

"Damn the ships," the Deputy said.

I did not but I want to say this once and for all: the circumstances in which I made the statement justified the statement to the degree of vigour in which I made it. I said it during the war when we were threatened that if we did not go into the war our people would be refused food and I said publicly and privately: "We will survive." I said that we had lived on "spuds" before and by gad we would live on "spuds" again, in order to keep our independence of judgment on public issues. I said we could survive here in the House when there was a lot of yapping and crying that if we did not get more food in we would have to surrender. These are the circumstances under which I made the statement and anybody can go back and look at the records.

I have them here.

They can read from the disclosures that have been made since the war about the pressure that was put on us. But I want to come back to this question about external assets, which the Minister for Finance wanted to put me off——

Being converted.

Mr. de Valera

I would like to know where the conversions have been.

In the Fine Gael ranks. Deputy McGilligan, the present Attorney-General, went around the country, and indeed the present Minister for Finance went around the country and talked about this keeping of several hundred millions of external assets in Britain at 1/2 per cent. They said it was done for one purpose and one purpose only and that was to give cheap money to John Bull to build houses for the British people and to murder the Mau Mau. There has been a great deal of that propaganda, but I am glad to say it is realised now that external assets are a national asset and indeed that external assets are so much of a national asset that the Minister for Finance wants to raise more of them. His Budget statement was taken up to a great extent with an urge to export more goods. He was delighted we were importing less.

Exporting more.

To get more bits of paper.

Exporting more.

He said importing less to keep more of these bits of paper.

The Fianna Fáil doctrine is to import less. Our doctrine is to export more.

Mr. de Valera


If we take our time we will get agreement on what the normal sensible person in the country wants done about external assets. But before we start in on that let me refer to what the Tánaiste said when speaking here on his Estimate a couple of weeks ago. He was anticipating somewhat what the Minister for Finance said in his Budget statement in reference to our export trade and their power of earning those bits of paper and he was delighted at the rate at which were collecting these bits of paper—at the way in which our export trade was going. At column 864, Volume 150 of the Official Report, the Tánaiste said:—

"The most notable achievement in that respect was in the last quarter of 1954. In the first nine months our balance of trade was £5,000,000 worse than 1953..."

We had collected £5,000,000 less of bits of paper than we had in 1953——

"...but in the last quarter there was an improvement of £8.7 million..."

We had collected £8.7 million more bits of paper——

"... and the year ended almost £4,000,000 better than the year 1953."

That is in the level of the bits of paper we had collected.

What does the Deputy say about the dollars?

The Minister for Finance was also enthusiastic in his Budget statement about collecting these articles which his predecessor, Deputy McGilligan, was wont to condemn as bits of paper. Now Deputy Costello, the Taoiseach, made this statement in Cork on Sunday last:—

"The revenues we earn from our exports are vital to the economic well-being of all sections of our people. When you realise that the tourist industry is third in importance as a national revenue earner it will be appreciated that it would be impossible to over-emphasise its importance to the national economy."

Would the Deputy please give the reference?

That quotation is from the Irish Press of Monday, the 8th May. If anybody on the opposite side wants to deny that this was said I can get them quotations also from the Irish Independent, from the Irish Times and from the Cork Examiner.

It is obviously true. There are very different circumstances to-day from 1946.

Would the Minister for Finance just keep quiet? It is now obviously true he says, despite what his predecessor said about external assets and bits of paper. The Minister for Finance now says that it is obviously true we should do our utmost to encourage what used to be called spivs to come into the country in order that we might look after them.

There is an awful lot of difference between to-day and 1946.

You are being educated. That is the big difference.

There is a lot of difference between their election promises as well.

But the Budget that was brought in was one which the Deputy never anticipated.

I congratulate the Minister for Finance for having the courage or the temerity to turn down his predecessor's theories.

"Cheek" was the word the Deputy's leader used when speaking on the Vote on Account.

What the Taoiseach said in Cork last Sunday is true—that these bits of paper we earn by our exports are of value to the country.

No, the goods we can bring in are of value. I am sorry, I have interrupted too much and I had better keep quiet.

The Minister has not interrupted too much. If I may say so, I think the more he interrupts on this business the better.

The Chair is of a different opinion entirely.

As long as the Deputy does not think I am being discourteous.

I agree with the Taoiseach when he says that the collecting of these bits of paper is very useful to the building up of our national economy.

Of course the Taoiseach did not say that.

He said the revenues we earn, the bits of paper, external assets, from our exports, are vital to the economic well-being of all sections of our people. The fact is that our external assets represent the result of past exports, and whether they are present or past they are vital to the economic well-being of all sections of our people. I think all sensible people in the country now admit—and many of them must have spoken to members of the Coalition Government, otherwise they would be still prating—that they are of value, that it is wrong to dissipate them unnecessarily, that they should be conserved whether they arise from current exports or past exports and what we should do with them is to use them for the increase of the national wealth. Let me say that if a Fianna Fáil Minister had said what the Taoiseach said down in Cork last Sunday he would have been told that the reason we wanted to get more of these bits of paper, the reason we wanted to increase our exports was to give our money at a cheap rate of interest to John Bull to build houses for the British and to murder the Mau Maus.

I need not go into the propaganda that was made about taxation as being at a savage and unnecessary level and that expenditure could be cut by £1,000,000 a minute, even to the extent of £20,000,000. That has been gone over very fully but the fact is that although the Taoiseach promised he would not accept office unless the Fianna Fáil level of taxation were cut, he is keeping office although they have increased those rates of taxes. It is completely wrong to say that there has been no increase in taxation in this Budget. There was a special tax of 12/6 per barrel of wheat on the farmers, which may amount to £1,000,000. There was a special tax on electricity consumers of £84,000. There was a special tax of £500,000 on the consumers of biscuits and buns, and in addition to that there is a sum of £933,000 in connection with the American Grant Counterpart Fund.

In what textbook did the Deputy get that definition of a tax?

If the Parliamentary Secretary does not agree with it, he can call it anything he likes.

The Deputy thinks he can call it anything he likes.

Order! The Deputy is entitled to speak without being cross-examined and without interruption.

These are additional taxes. In the total financial proposals for this year, in the Book of Estimates and in the Budget, there are a great number of concealed taxes that will have to be paid next year or the year after by the taxpayer. Army and Post Office stores have been run down and Government property is being allowed to go without being repainted this year. All this will mean that the taxpayers next year or the year after will have to pay additional taxes that should, in fact, have been collected this year to maintain the property and keep up the stores. The last time we returned to office there was hardly a pair of boots or a uniform in the stores. It will probably be the same when we get back again. At any rate this group of proposals is heading in that direction.

As I said at the beginning, it used to be one of the chief items of propaganda by Coalition groups that the price level was under the control of Government, that the ten or 12 men in the Government were responsible, that no one else and no other circumstances were responsible for the level of prices except the Government. It was alleged that the reason we allowed prices to go up or the reason we drove up prices, as it was put, was in order to keep down the level of consumption. We had some hatred of the Irish people and we wanted to starve them. But that tune has changed and changed for the better. Nobody on this side of the House has blamed the present Government for the increase in prices that has occurred since they came in. All they said was that the members supporting the Government should have the decency to admit that, when they said no prices could go up unless the Government wished it, they were wrong.

It is now admitted and claimed by the people supporting the Coalition that prices can go up even though the Government do not want to see them go up. We will all grow up and political discussion will be more sensible if everybody realises that that is so, and if they cease issuing the sort of propaganda, after the next four or five years of Fianna Fáil administration, which may not be too far away, that all these rises in prices were due to action of the Government.

Were they not?

They were, of course.

Why did you not reduce them?

Ask Deputy Aiken to answer that question first.

If those prices were due to the deliberate action of the Government, their being kept at the same level was also due to the deliberate action of the Government.

After you increased expenditure from £97,000,000 to £100,000,000.

Does the Minister say we should not have increased social services?

I see we are not much further and that we have not yet got an agreement that prices may go up although a Government does not wish it. Have we? Will it be admitted that prices could go up against the wishes of a Government?

It is perfectly clear you put prices up.

Mr. de Valera

You all knew you were talking falsely. Admit it.

The Deputy has been trying to argue on false premises from the very beginning.

The fact that the Minister for Finance and Deputies opposite are stalling on the question I put, discloses that they know the truth of the matter, even if they are not prepared to admit it. I want to point out also to the people who were deceived by these things in the past—when they said the price level when we went out in 1948 was due to the deliberate action of the Government—that they are now claiming that the price level can be due to causes other than the action of a Government. Indeed, I was very interested in seeing the Tánaiste skip in quickly into this debate and I was wondering why; but when I opened the newspaper within a day or two and saw that the prices of bacon and hams had gone up, I saw the reason why he skipped in so quickly. He wanted to get his speech over before the price of bacon went up. The next day, after he had finished his speech, it was announced that the price of coal was going up by 12/6 a ton. He spoke earlier in order to avoid being asked questions about the two latest price rises that we know.

Cheap food—cheap butter for John Bull—remember the millions of speeches that were made about that particular item. When we took over from Fine Gael—or Cumann na nGaedheal, as they were then—milk delivered to the creamery was about 4d. a gallon. We had to drive it up somewhat and we evolved the scheme whereby there was an export subsidy paid in order to keep butter at a price level that would give farmers a little extra for their milk. The allegation was that the reason we did this was to give cheap butter to John Bull. We were deafened with that cry all round the country and it was kept up for years. Indeed, it is not so long since it was repeated here in the House.

What has happened now about butter? It is costing the Irish taxpayers £2,000,000 to feed themselves with butter—those of them who can afford to buy butter—at 5d. a lb. less and in order to export butter at about 11d. a lb. less than it is fetching on the Irish market. Is it the fact that the Irish taxpayers are being charged portion of this £2,000,000 in order to subsidise butter exports? Is the reason for that that the Coalition want to give cheap butter to John Bull? If that is not the reason, have they the decency to apologise for what they said before? Let us realise that, in the world as it is, a Government—Fianna Fáil, the Coalition or any other type—may be under compulsion, as the easiest way out of a difficulty, to give an export subsidy on a certain commodity, in order that people may continue in production and get a reasonable price for their product.

Especially if you keep the price high at home you will have all the more to export.

Is the Deputy suggesting we should reduce the price of milk?

I am saying that if you keep the price high at home you will have all the more for export.

Under certain circumstances that would be the correct policy; under other circumstances it would be the wrong policy. It all depends. The fact is that at the present time the Coalition Government, if they were being spoken against by the ghosts of the past, would be accused of sending cheap butter to John Bull, paying him 11d. a lb. to eat our butter for us, giving John Bull butter at 6d. a lb. less than they are giving it to the Irish people. That is what would have been said.

What is the reason we are giving these export subsidies? Why are we giving a subsidy at 10d. or 11d. a lb. to get more "bits of paper", as Deputy McGilligan used to describe them? To put it another way, as the Taoiseach said down in Cork in regard to tourism, we regard the money we collect from these exports of butter as being vital to the economic well-being of all sections of our people. They are not only vital to the economy of our people at the moment, but if certain trends that have been started by the Coalition go on, they will be even of more vital importance. How much butter would we have to export, at a cost of 10d. or 11d. a lb. on the Irish taxpayer, in order to get £18,000,000— and even if we had the £18,000,000 in pounds, could we buy the dollars that would be necessary to get all requirements of wheat? We have started a trend which is inevitably going to mean that we will have to give export subsidies on a lot of commodities or give import subsidies on tourists in order to get the money to buy our wheat.

We are not going to give an export subsidy on cattle.

The Deputy is no more sure of that than I am. What is the situation in regard to eggs? I remember Deputy Costello, who was then Taoiseach, coming back here in 1948 with Deputy Dillon, then Minister for Agriculture, and they swore to us at that time that an arrangement had been made that for all future time the farmers would get remunerative prices for everything they wanted to produce. So sure was the then Minister for Agriculture, Deputy Dillon, that that was true that he spent the taxpayers' money sending a pamphlet to every householder in the country, with a picture of himself with a cigarette at a 45 degree angle, telling the farmers' wives that the situation was such that when they saw a chicken's bill appearing through the egg they could say to it: "I know, if you turn out to be a pullet, exactly what I will get for every egg on every day you are an economic layer."

It was not very long—indeed, it was immediately afterwards that the price fell—the price of eggs fell, but the price of feeding stuffs went up. As a bribe to the farmers to forget the growing of barley and wheat, we were supposed to get maize for ever more at £20 a ton. It is now £30—and more. Pigs were supposed also to be a profitable business, but indeed the pig farmer has also to make his contribution to this Budget, at the price of £5 a ton on bran and pollard, in order to build it up. There is no use entering into the realms of prophecy, if I ask how are we going to get money to buy wheat and saying that cattle are going to remain at a good price for all time. I hope they will, but would we not have a better time——

The British market is not gone forever.

Why should we not have the cattle and the home market as well? Why cannot we have both? There is no reason why we should not have both. I would point out this, that if we are going to raise £18,000,000 worth of dollars to buy wheat where are we going to get the pounds? If we get the pounds can we get the dollars? Where is the £18,000,000 to come from? We are spending every penny we get for our cattle, for which we get the present high prices; we are spending every penny of that, plus anything we can get for our exports of beer, clothes, boots or anything you like. We are spending all that money, and we are still several millions short in order to get the things we import.

If we want to increase our standard of living, surely we should try to use any future expansion in the live-stock trade or any other trade for the improvement of that standard of living and in improving our productive capacity? I hope that the Deputy was right when he said that the price of cattle was going to remain as high as it is or that the price will improve. But we can grow £18,000,000 worth of wheat and still improve, as the Deputy knows, the export of cattle.

And we will, of course.

I think the Minister for Agriculture was very optimistic when he assured us that we were growing as much wheat as last year.

He said more wheat.

He said as much as last year. We will see how that turns out. I found very few in the country who would agree with the Minister for Agriculture that there is as much wheat, but there is certainly more wheat growing this year than there will be next year if the present Minister for Agriculture remains, and the price remains cut. There were a number of people who turned up the ground and they had to sow something on it.

They were converted into growing wheat—another conversion. Deputy Hughes is not saying here what he said in Kilkenny.

I am hopeful that we can get agreement among the sensible people of the country and amongst the several sensible people in the back benches of the various Government groups in the House on this, that the proper thing to do, if we want to increase our export trade and improve our standard of life, and the standard of our productive assets, is to try as far as we can to keep the home market for the Irish farmer. It can be done. The market is there at the moment for the Irish farmer, and it is wrong national policy to discourage the growth of wheat, as was done.

There has been a very big increase in the acreage under oats this year. There is no guarantee except for the few tons taken by the millers. I hope that the disappointment in 1948 is not going to affect the amount of tillage in the country by 500,000 acres, as happened in the last three years of the Coalition. If it happens we will have to import a lot of tourists in order to get the money to buy the produce that could have been produced on the 500,000 acres. Tourism would be a long time giving us the net cash we require when we go to buy alternative products from abroad. Unless we are foolish, the sensible people of the country, and the sensible men of the Fine Gael Party, the Labour Party or the other Parties, should, when they are talking to the Government, impress upon them that it is wrong policy to be throwing away the bird in the hand for the two in the bush, because the two in the bush, while they may sing, might never I come into the pot.

I was very glad to notice, in the speech of the Minister for Finance, in the Taoiseach's speech in Cork, and in the speech of the Minister for Industry and Commerce on his Estimate, this reference to our export trade. There is no one who wants export trade just for fun, and to collect bits of paper. We want an export trade in order to collect the foreign assets that will buy us the things our people need, both for their immediate consumption, and to improve the productive capacity of the country. But as well as having an export trade for whatever we can sell abroad, we should also try to keep for our home producers as much of our home markets as we can. We will also be keeping available what we can get from tourists, and from our exports, the assets we need in order to have a nest-egg for a time of crisis.

My belief is that this Budget has marked one step forward in the political education of the Coalition groups. I am sorry there are not two. They have done something which is not so very different from what Fianna Fáil would have done, as far as we can see without having all the figures. Unfortunately they are still hanging on to the tail-end of some of their old propaganda. I am glad to see they are doing, apart from the actions I have criticised, what Fianna Fáil would have done. I hope they will follow that road as long as they remain in office.

There are many benefits in this Budget. I think the greatest benefits are intangible ones, and that they flow from the confidence which the formation of this Government has engendered. People expected that what would be done would be more in accord with the real needs of more of our people. The under-privileged are more highly regarded than the privileged; they have had more adequate consideration. The impact on the people's minds of that kind of fairness is one of the greatest benefits that has flowed from the Budget.

If doing the greatest good to the greatest number is the test of a Finance Minister, then the Minister has succeeded very well. All this has been done and nobody has had to pay more to have it done and it can be regarded as the first fruits of good administration and an earnest of more to follow. When we go back to our constituencies, we are happy to meet our constituents, in the knowledge that we have helped to provide more for those who have less. That is what we promised to do, and this is the second instalment, because we must remember that the reduction in the price of butter in the autumn was really a part of this Budget. That fact should not be lost sight of. The Budget is the second instalment of the good things we are giving to the people.

We know from what we have heard in the past week that, if Deputy MacEntee were sitting here, butter would be 4/2 a lb., and that, if Deputy Lemass were sitting on this side, tea would be 7/6 a lb. We know further that, if Deputy de Valera were sitting here, the pensions would not be changed and that the Civil Service, the Garda, postmen and all the minor State officials would not have got their lawful arrears of pay. We know also, that, if Fianna Fáil had remained on this side, the bank rate would have been allowed to go up, with all the evil possibilities that would have meant for us. I think we could surmise that if there had not been a change of Government, those people who engage in backdoor approaches to the Department of Industry and Commerce would continue to bask in that kind of privilege, These are all very good things we are giving to the people and the people think them good things. In the future, they will say, I am sure, that this Budget will be improved on by the successive Budgets, as this Government runs its full course.

Deputy Seán Flanagan last week said that the by-elections that took place after the 1952 Budget indicated that the people did not disapprove of that Budget. The cumulative effects of that Budget did not show themselves until 1954, some years after the harm had been done, as I am sure Fianna Fáil realise now. I am equally sure that good Budgets have a similar cumulative quality, that good results will flow from this Budget and from the general policy of the Government, and that these effects will be cumulative, too.

When the Minister was reading his Budget statement last Wednesday, I could not help noticing that, as he revealed the various benefits he was providing, the faces of the Fianna Fáil Deputies became more baffled. In the speeches which they have delivered, Opposition Deputies have made very little comment on the Budget. They have mainly been concerned with promises alleged to have been made before the general election by Ministers of this Government and they have taken up the time of the House mainly in reading from bunches of dubious newspaper reports. When Deputy Lemass and Deputy MacEntee had addressed the House and when the Tánaiste had replied to them, these speeches evidently did not make much impression, and the next Opposition speaker was a man who was sent in to fight a kind of rearguard action— Deputy Briscoe, who is an able and astute debater, a parliamentarian who knows every trick of his trade—but even he was unable to make any case against the Budget.

He praised the Budget, saying it was a good Budget and he went on from that unsuccessfully to endeavour to prove that it was a Fianna Fáil Budget. He then followed the form of the previous Fianna Fáil speakers and took refuge in his bundle of newspaper clippings and we had still more dubious reports of alleged ministerial promises. Deputy Seán Flanagan took up that theme of alleged ministerial promises and criticised Deputies on both sides of the House for going back 20 and 25 years. What happened then did not matter to him and it probably did not matter to him because he was a very young man then. In any case, he was born in a Fianna Fáil house. I am one of the people who had to endure those days and I will not be afraid to go back and mention those days.

Those were the days when Fianna Fáil were seeking office and they were the days of the piping promises of Fianna Fáil. I am sure that if Deputy Aiken were in the House, he would remember his speech when he howled all over the country that Fianna Fáil would reduce taxation and would remember the speech of his leader that he would bring back the emigrants. Of course, they were going to do away with unemployment—that was just a bagatelle. They could promise anything and they believed they could get away with anything. From what they were saying, there is no doubt that they did believe it. When they did get into power there was a lot of talk about tea and the solution offered by the leader of the Fianna Fáil Party was contained in one of those wonderful statements of his—he was going to put us all on light beer.

A new concept of Government was born—the concept of Fianna Fáil—and it was to make everybody in the State dependent on them. Fianna Fáil were never a Government of the people. They were a Government for a Party. There were the Fianna Fáil leaders, the Fianna Fáil hierarchy, the people of the four F's, the Party officers, the committees, the cumainn and the rank and file.

How does this relate to the Financial Resolution?

I am pointing out to you what the policy of Fianna Fáil as a Government was. When Fianna Fáil came into power, this was their policy and their concept of Government. Anyone who stood away from them became an untouchable, and was, according to them, without nationality or patriotism. If possible, he should not be allowed to exist, and most certainly, if he could be disemployed, it would be done, and most certainly if employment was in the gift of the Government, he would not get it. Through any means in their power and at their disposal their opponents were to be subjected to squeezing and pressure. Fianna Fáil were convinced that a ruthless application of that policy would reduce the people of this country to a state of abject obedience and subservience. The policy of the Government——

This has no relevance to the Financial Resolution on which the Deputy can discuss the entire field of taxation.

The Deputy should stick to what he knows.

I accept the Chair's ruling, but I will not take any direction from the would be Disraelis on the opposite benches.

It would be better for the Deputy to stick to what he knows.

I know what I am doing. The present Government are the servants of the people and the Budget produced by the Minister for Finance shows that the Government are the servants of the people. The reliefs given were given to the people most in need of them. I have no doubt that were Fianna Fáil on these benches and had these moneys to spare they would not give them to the old age pensioners. They would give them to the big-shots. It is the big-shots who would get the reliefs.

We saw the spectacle of Deputy Aiken with his pieces of paper. Nobody on the opposite benches said anything about the threats. There are fine sound threateners on the opposite side of the House. The Tánaiste produced the Fianna Fáil tied organ and showed on a page therein the threats made to the poorest of our people just before the last election. I know the threats they made and the threats that every Deputy on these benches was subjected to. The people were told that we would raise the rents of their houses, reduce old age pensions and do away with children's allowances. Fianna Fáil has held itself up to be a Party without blemish. We will take one of their sacred bulls—the Irish language——

Surely the Deputy does not intend to discuss the question of the language?

I do, Sir. It is a question of Government policy, but if you say I am not to discuss it I will not do so.

The Deputy should discuss financial policy.

Having regard to the fact that we vote so much money for education in this country, I submit that we could discuss the language.

Matters that can more relevantly be discussed on the Estimates are not discussed on the Financial Resolution.

I bow to the Chair's ruling. I will take the matter up some other time. Under the administration of the present Government, agriculture is the primary industry but it was not so when Fianna Fáil were in office. We had to stumble along through years during which Deputy Flanagan did not live with the smell of reeking calves and the stink of Monaghan bacon in his nostrils. I want to show this House what was done by legislation in this House and what was done by the alleged Christian gentlemen who then were in Government. During the years Fianna Fáil were in office the pig situation got very bad and a pigs and bacon Bill was introduced in the House. According to the Minister for Agriculture at the time the primary object of this pigs Bill was to help and assist.

That would be an item for discussion on the Estimate for the Department of Agriculture.

I bow to the Chair's ruling. Let us go on to the policy of the Department of Industry and Commerce. I must say that the foundations of the industrial revival were laid by the present Attorney-General, Deputy Patrick McGilligan. I hope I am in order to mention that it was he who initiated the Shannon scheme—the white elephant so often referred to by Fianna Fáil. I wonder where we would have been during the war years were it not for Deputy McGilligan's initiative and foresight. We would probably be where Moses was when the light went out.

Groping as the Deputy is now.

There is no groping at all. Nothing said on the opposite benches will divert me from my line of argument. I got a good education from the gentlemen opposite. I was educated to speak to a chorus of Fianna Fáil howlings.

Apparently they did not penetrate the Deputy's brain yet.

Does any Deputy opposite think he can put me off by howling? I am speaking in the safety of Dáil Éireann and I need not fear whether I will be clubbed from behind and qualify somebody else to be made an inspector.

I want to refer now to the Shannon scheme. I have no doubt that rural electrification would have been completed if Deputy McGilligan had been left in office. It would have been completed before the war. Deputy Lemass's industrial revival started off with the advent of Fianna Fáil and employed 30,000 in six years, but during that period 70,000 left the land. Deputy Lemass created one of our major national problems—the centralisation of all industries and power in Dublin. That has become a major national problem—a fact agreed to by Deputies on all sides of the House. I know you cannot compel industrialists to go out into the country, but I would say to the present Minister that, where industries are dependent on the Government for finance, they should be directed to places throughout the length and breadth of Ireland outside Dublin.

Unemployment exists. It is a problem that must be tackled. I have the honour to be a member of Waterford Corporation. We have initiated very large housing schemes and I appeal to the Minister not to delay them. The Minister for Lands has stated that he will try to reduce unemployment substantially through increased reafforestation. I trust that policy will have the support of all Deputies in this House.

In the matter of Deputy Aiken and ships—"Shoes and ships and sealing wax and cabbages and kings"— Deputy Aiken would not admit that he once said: "Damn ships". I come from a port, and there we regard ships as something worthy of appreciation. When I first read Deputy Aiken's comment it summed up to me his value as a politician and a statesman. In 1941 he admitted we were very short of food and Fianna Fáil have been claiming ever since that it was their wheat policy which pulled us through. I would like to develop this if I may; this is my first year here and very often I do not know whether or not I am in order. The Fianna Fáil wheat policy was going strong in 1938 and the importation of foreign wheat was limited.

I cannot see how the Deputy can be allowed to develop this argument, going back to 1938, on wheat.

I only want to say that in 1938 we could have got wheat at 8/- a barrel and we did not buy it. Subsequently we found ourselves without it and the Fianna Fáil Party now say it was they who grew it; it was not they; it was the unfortunate farmers who had to take down their gates and send them into the forge so that they would have horseshoes for their horses for there was not a single bit of bar iron in the country to make horseshoes.

Deputy Aiken was making a few cracks to-day about the extra Parliamentary Secretaries. What portfolio was the Minister for the Co-ordination of Defensive Measures supposed to be holding? In the case of ships, he did not care if they were all at the bottom of the sea.

Would the Deputy make an effort now to come to the Financial Resolution—the question of taxation and financial policy?

With all due respect, Sir, I think I am nearly as much in line as have all the Opposition speakers been up to this. At one stage we had no ships. Then we reached the time when we had to have ships and Deputy Aiken, the man who did not care, if they were all at the bottom of the sea, was sent to America to get ships.

The Deputy could develop that argument more appropriately on the Estimate. It is really one for the Estimate and not for the Financial Resolution.

Members of the Opposition are going black in the face reading quotations. I have no doubt but that the paper mill in Waterford could carry on for months on all the clippings they are bringing in here.

And for the next ten years if we brought in all the promises that were made.

Now, we have the Deputy who talked about all the mills that were closed last year! Those mills were like the mills Don Quixote tilted at. Assurances were given by the leaders of the Party I support that every endeavour would be made to bring down the cost of living. The moment the Government came into power they reduced the price of butter. That was not the particular policy of any Party. It was in reply to the demand of the people. Around every platform on which I spoke the women were calling out: "Bring down the price of butter." Our Government came in and proved themselves to be a Government of the people and not of a Party; they reduced the price of butter and they held down the price of tea.

If I were over there I would be more concerned with criticising the Budget from a financial point of view. Evidently the Opposition are not able to do that. If I were over there I would show the same frankness that Deputy Briscoe did when he said at the outset that this was a good Budget. Of course very few of the Opposition have the ability that Deputy Briscoe has in debate. But even Deputy Briscoe was not able to prove, as he sought to do, that this was a copy of the Fianna Fáil Budget. I will say in conclusion —Deputy Aiken was concluding when he was about one-third of the way through his speech; half an hour passed and he was concluding once more; 25 minutes passed and he was still concluding——

That still has no bearing on the Financial Resolution.

When I say I am going to conclude, I intend to conclude. I want to add my congratulations to the many congratulations already offered to this young and brave Minister for Finance both here in the House and all over the country. I want to compliment him on his forthright courage in floating his loan at 4¼ per cent. I want to compliment him on the manner in which the people subscribed to that loan; no bankers' money was needed. I want to compliment him on holding the bank rate and not permitting the bankers here to follow Lombard Street. I want to compliment him on his Budget. He gave reliefs to those who needed them most. He did not forget the farming community; even though the gesture was small, he showed that he remembered them. Lastly I want to compliment him on the fact that he did not increase taxation.

I agree with the last speaker and endorse his statement that the Minister has been accorded full marks for the courage which his Budget displays. The first speaker on this side, Deputy MacEntee, ex-Minister for Finance, prefaced his remarks by saying that he was not standing up to criticise the Budget but that he was going to criticise the statements of the politicians who convinced the people who voted for them that quite a different Budget would be introduced.

I have no doubt that the publicans who met a few days ago also believe that the Minister displayed great courage. I am satisfied that the housewives who were expecting that the prices of essential commodities would come down would also agree because the Minister has displayed great courage, more courage than Fianna Fáil would have to display in fact because we did not make any promises. I am satisfied that the trade unions, addressed by Deputy Larkin and other Labour speakers on Sunday last, also agree that the Minister for Finance has displayed great courage. In fact I am satisfied that everybody who was induced to cast a vote for one or other of the Coalition Parties last May is satisfied that the Minister has displayed great courage in bringing in a Budget of this kind within ten months of all the rosy promises to the contrary, promises on which they gained the confidence of the people.

Nobody will be at issue with any of the speakers on the Government Benches who want to compliment the Minister for Finance on his courage. But they might put it, of course, another way. They might say that it requires great courage to eat your own words in a short time when you have found out what the truth is. I know it is difficult for Government speakers to stand up now within a year of the election and say: "Well Fianna Fáil was right after all; the prices of these commodities could not be brought down: Fianna Fáil spoke the truth and the Budget of 1952 was the truth". But there is, I think, a very important difference between the consequences of the 1952 Budget and the present position. After the 1952 Budget social service benefits were increased to meet the increased cost of living. A general wage claim was negotiated between the trade unions and the employers and the workers got an increase in their remuneration to compensate them for the increases in essential commodities. Now those wages are still at that level and the prices which followed the 1952 Budget are still at the same high level with the exception of the following 44 items which are dearer now since the Coalition came in, than they were previously.

Here is the list:— Beef, mutton, boiling fowl, cheese, lard, oatmeal, bran, pollard, semolina, potatoes, cabbage, onions, carrots, dried peas, oranges, tomatoes, coffee, cocoa, boiled sweets, bars of chocolate, cotton meal, candles, paraffin oil, turf, firewood blocks, house rents, rates, men's raincoats, spring interior mattresses——

That is entirely wrong.

——blankets, sheets, cutlery, crockery, scouring powder, boot polish, toothpaste, medicines, motor tyres and tubes, cycle tyres, shoe repairs, poultry mash, pig meal, and in recent days, coal and bacon.

On a point of order, what is the Deputy quoting from? What is the source of the information being quoted now? While some of these may be right, some are definitely wrong.

I apologise to the Deputy if I am wrong. I compiled this list myself.

The Deputy had great courage to say that.

It will not be proved wrong too easily.

Therefore, I am in company with the Minister for Finance who is apparently to be congratulated only on his courage——

And honesty.

——and honesty. In other words, the position which he now explains to the people of this country is truthful and therefore he is thoroughly honest in telling the people what the position is. In other words, he brings in a Budget which is a replica of the 1952 Budget——

No, it is no replica.

Deputy Mrs. O'Carroll will have every opportunity of making her own statement later.

I hope I am not wantonly provoking anybody on that side to interrupt, but I do recognise that interruptions from the opposite side are the best tribute one can have. There are some statements in the Budget which do not seem to tally with the statements contained in the short explanations which are usually issued with the Budget. For instance, the Budget statement said that last year the Minister had estimated for general overestimation and saving, I think, £5,750,000. The explanatory table issued with the 1955 Budget stated the sum to be £4,000,000.

There is also this question of defensive equipment. Last year the Budget statement indicated what the reduction had been first, and then it indicated what the borrowing figure was. This year we have not been told what the figure of reduction is; we are merely given the figure for borrowing. It would be interesting to know how much they reduced the Estimate for Defence. We were honest enough last year to state by what figure we had reduced it. There is in each of these statements one very illuminating feature. In the 1954 Budget the increase in the flour and bread subsidy is given as £900,000. That figure of £900,000 represented a reduction of ½d. in the loaf and rather than give credit even for a small benefit which is now being asked for in respect of much smaller benefits in the present Budget by Government spokesmen, rather than give the credit which was due to the Minister for providing that £900,000 last year, they referred derisively to the Budget and dubbed it the ½d. Budget.

All right, we took it in good part, and now in this year's Budget we find in relation to the very same commodity, flour, instead of there being any increase in the subsidy provided, there is, in fact, a reduction of £450,000. That is exactly half of the sum which was provided by the Minister's predecessor for flour. I take it, therefore, that if £900,000 produced a benefit of a ½d. and so earned the sobriquet of a ½d. Budget for Mr. MacEntee's financial statement last year, the reduction by a half will now entitle the people on this side of the House to refer to this Budget as the farthing Budget. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander and fair play is good sport. I think from now on we will be entitled to refer to it as the farthing Budget.

Last year's Budget, of course, might also be referred to as the farthing Budget in view of the statement issued by the chairman of the Licensed Grocers' and Vintners' Association a few days ago when he indicated a fact which I must say was known to very few of the public, that Deputy MacEntee as Minister for Finance did grant an advantage of a farthing to the publicans in his Budget last year. He deprecated the fact that the present Minister, in spite of all the grandiose promises and all the glowing statements about overtaxation, was not able even to match the farthing which Deputy MacEntee provided for the publicans last year.

Going further on this question of reliefs for the drink trade, the Minister has been at pains in the first instance to imitate, in so far as he could, his predecessor. Last year the Minister gave a remission on beer duty amounting to £350,000. I take it that it is out of that that the farthing benefit for the publicans has come. This year, the remission is £20,000. The organised publicans who backed the Coalition Parties by their support and their money have now got their answer in these two figures. We have never set ourselves out to cater for or pander particularly to any organised section of the community. We never had an offer from any organised trade group such as the publicans to put up a candidate to support our Party and represent the particular trade interest at the same time. We have been broadly national and we have refused all advances of support of that kind. Nevertheless, the Fianna Fáil Minister has done his duty by all these sections whether they were hostile or favourable——

What about the dance hall proprietors? You refused them?

That is corny now.

It is still a good one.

I will invite Deputy O'Higgins to go to the local elections and make a special feature of the dance halls. Perhaps he may remember the great emphasis they laid on the Fianna Fáil philosophy about dance halls and such kindred subjects and how they were able to boil it all down to "Dev's Hair Shirt". The attitude was that where anything that provided amusement, entertainment or relaxation for the people was concerned, Fianna Fáil was down on it with their hair shirt. We were notorious for it.

You still are.

When Fianna Fáil gave some remission in respect of one of these entertainments—dances—the tune was immediately on the other side of the cheek. I would advise Government Deputies to add also to the dance halls, when they are speaking at the local elections, the deprivation of the poorest section among us of one little luxury—it used not be a luxury with them when we were in office, any more than the pint or the motor car— and that is pastry made from flour. When the Coalition Parties were sitting on this side of the House their attitude was that pastry made from flour should not be regarded as a luxury—and, in fact, it is true in relation to it that the largest part of this pastry made from flour is bought in the shops by the poor. The other classes are now so well-equipped with kitchen machinery, and so forth, that they are able to provide their own pastry in their own homes. They will be able to do it from now on with subsidised flour but the poor will have to pay the extra price because of this £450,000 which has been withdrawn by the Minister. I would say, further, for the benefit of any Deputy who wants to make a point of it, that they are really adding to the profits of people who will, as every Deputy knows, continue to make pastry from the subsidised flour, although I doubt if the price will be reduced accordingly in all cases.

I do not see why we cannot refer here to the very definite statements which the Parties composing the Coalition made last May about the cost of living. After all, the Budget is the only yardstick by which the people can judge what their economic position will be for 12 months ahead. I have no doubt that this document which I have here in my hand—this document which was issued by Fine Gael and which was supported by the Coalition Parties —was taken at its face value by the people who voted for those Parties. I have no doubt that every housewife— particularly every housewife who used to vote for Fianna Fáil and who changed—believed that if Fianna Fáil were put out the loaf, instead of being 9½d, would be reduced to 6½d. In any event, there is one thing she never thought would happen and that is that £450,000 would be taken from the subsidy which kept the price at 9½d.

That is not so.

What did you issue that document for?

No money is being taken from the subsidy which keeps the price of bread at 9½d.

That is too simple a line of argument to be of any use——

Mrs. O'Carroll rose.

I have never interrupted Deputy Mrs. O'Carroll since she came into this House and I am not in the habit of interrupting any Deputy. I claim the right, on the very rare occasions on which I stand up here, to be allowed to make my case without interruption. I am very sorry to have to speak like that to a lady Deputy here, but it is not the first time she has interrupted me. If an interruption were constructive there might be something to say for it. The people who believed the statements contained in this document—it has not come from my constituency but from another constituency although it was of the same type in the different constituencies—were deceived. As I say, the people who got that document believed that the statements contained in it were true. It is all very well to come in here after being appointed a Government and to say that the document does not contain any specific promise.

Is that honest? Is it dealing fairly with simple people? When they get a document like that from the principal Party forming the Coalition, what else can they think but that the statements contained in it are true? The Coalition Government were elected to office on foot of such documents. The same applies to the statement of the present Attorney-General, who said that taxation could be reduced by £1,000,000 a minute for 20 minutes. It is no excuse now to say that he spoke in a personal capacity. If Deputy MacEntee or Deputy Lemass had spoken over the radio in similar terms we could not retreat from their statements afterwards—and the Party on the Government Benches would be the first to pull us up on the matter.

There is a whole list of items on this document. When the cost of each one of these items was increased, as a result of the 1952 Budget, it was denounced in the most forcible terms which the dictionary could produce— faithless, savage, brutal, ruthless, cynical, and so forth. If the 9½d. loaf was a brutal and a savage result of the 1952 Budget, it is still 9½d., and I say it is still more savage and still more brutal because of the other increases which I read out a few moments ago and which are now clamped down on top of the people whose wages are still the same. If the flour increase from 2/8 to 4/5 was a cynical, brutal and ruthless increase, following the 1952 Budget, I say it is still just as cynical, brutal and ruthless as after 1952—and more so, because of these additional increases that have taken place without any compensating increase in wages.

I could go on with this whole litany: butter from 2/10 to 4/2; sugar from 4d. to 7d.; tea from 2/8 to 5/6; the pint— I see a photograph of a frothy pint here—from 11d. to 1/3; the packet of cigarettes, without the brand being mentioned—Fine Gael is above advertising, I see—from 1/8 to 2/4; petrol from 3/2 to 3/9½; income-tax from 6/6 to 7/6; motor taxation from £12 to £13; the letter stamp from 2½d. to 3d., and the wireless licence from 12/6 to 17/6. "All these rises in prices," the statement says at the bottom, "are due to the deliberate action of the present Government."

There was a deliberate statement and promise made by the Coalition groups in the last election to reduce those prices down to what they had been. I have two of the highest authorities for that statement. I have the statement by the Taoiseach himself, who had been a former Taoiseach and, therefore, must have known the value of the words he used when he said that there was £10,000,000 overtaxation. It is quite obvious that that statement by the Taoiseach that there was £10,000,000 overtaxation, taken in conjunction with that leaflet, meant that the Fine Gael Party, who were an experienced Party in government, knew that they would have sufficient money from the 1952 Budget—the £10,000,000 overtaxation—to produce that result in prices. If the Taoiseach was not sufficient for them, their belief was confirmed by the statement of the Attorney-General over the radio that taxation could be reduced by £20,000,000—£1,000,000 a minute.

These two statements meant either of two things to the public, according to the point of view they held. The publicans believed that if prices were reduced to their former level the price of drink and tobacco could be reduced. The housewife, who was not interested in drink, believed that these low prices could be reproduced, and so on, in accordance with their own point of view; they all accepted the two statements of the £10,000,000 or £20,000,000 overtaxation as meaning that the means were readily available to produce these low prices. It is on that belief that the Coalition got votes and got into office. The epithets that were applied to these prices following the 1952 Budget can be more truthfully applied to prices following the 1955 Budget.

Some statements were made on this Budget by some of the Ministers which I find it very difficult to accept. The Tánaiste and Minister for Industry and Commerce said that the reduction of the grant for rural electrification will not slow down the rate of progress nor will it increase the cost of current. I accept those two statements from the Minister, but I am not prepared to accept from him that the reduction in the subsidy is not producing increased initial charges or causing demands to be made which were not made before this reduction in the subsidy took place.

The Minister made that statement over there a few days ago. A week previously he answered a question which I put to him in this House about a case where an offer was made in writing to a group of people in my constituency that the service would be supplied without a special charge. Since the Book of Estimates was produced the offer was withdrawn orally by a representative of the E.S.B. There was no reason given for the withdrawal. There had been a demur about giving the service without the charge because there was one person in the village who had not come in. The people were informed that if that person came in there would be no special charge for installing the service. The person concerned did not want the service but he said to his neighbours: "If it benefits you I am prepared to undertake the obligation and I will sign." He did sign and therefore the offer of the E.S.B. had been accepted.

Without any reason being given, the offer in writing was withdrawn orally. I put down a question here. The Minister, obviously, saw that there was a very, very poor case for what had been done except the one obvious case, the reduction in the subsidy. He was not prepared to give me that explanation across the House and, therefore, I was able to get the benefit for those people of the original offer of the E.S.B.

That is the only concrete case that has come to my notice since this reduction in the subsidy was announced but it is enough to make me suspicious of the truth of the Minister's statement that there is no alteration in the cost of electricity to the people in the rural areas either by way of initial charge or charge for current and that the rate of progress will not be slowed down.

I thought the Minister for Industry and Commerce might have withheld the type of comment which he thought it advisable to make on the success of the last loan. He made comparisons with the Fianna Fáil loan and more or less gibed at the fact that the Fianna Fáil loan was offered at 5 per cent. and that they were able to get a loan at a lower rate. In reply to the Tánaiste I would say that, if he thinks the National Loan is fair game for making debating points in the House, the Leader of this Party very magnanimously and patriotically came out on two or three occasions while the loan was open and asked the public who supported him to support the loan. That was more than was done for our loan by any of the then Opposition, the present Government Party.

The Tánaiste was also eloquent on the question of the balance of payments. I have a distinct recollection of the Tánaiste pooh-poohing the importance which the Fianna Fáil Minister for Finance and Minister for Industry and Commerce placed on the value of a proper balance of payments. That is just another example of the Coalition coming around to the truth of the situation as propounded by Fianna Fáil.

The Tánaiste told us that there was a Bill on the stocks when he went out in 1951 to give the old age pensioners £1. He seemed to be under the impression that Fianna Fáil increased old age pensions only by 1/6. Surely he must be aware that old age pensions were only 17/6 when we came in and that we increased them to 21/6. In any event, if the Bill which he had on the stocks for old age pensions was to suffer the same fate as his general Social Welfare Bill, it would be a case of "live horse and you will get grass" so far as the old age pensioners were concerned. I think the people are tired of being told that this increase of 2/6 in old age pensions is but the first step.

It is better than your 1/6 anyway.

It is not better than our 1/6 nor is it nearly as good. If Deputy O'Leary will get somebody who has an understanding of these matters to explain the thing to him he will find that the 1/6 was much better in the circumstances, but in so far as Deputy O'Leary is concerned I think I have told him here on one or two occasions about these interruptions of his.

The Deputy is making a bad case. Is he against the Budget?

Deputy MacEntee stated the point of view of this Party when he said here:—

"I am not standing up to criticise the Budget but I am criticising the people who told the public that it would be a far different Budget—a Budget that would give an 11d. pint, a packet of fags at 1/8, income-tax at 6/6 in the £ and no tax on the poor people's pastry."

Does Deputy O'Leary recognise this blueprint?

And the money for implementing that blueprint was stated by no less an authority than the Taoiseach to come from a sum of £10,000,000 which was available to implement that blueprint immediately. There was no such thing then as a first step as the Tánaiste is now suggesting. I too, like the other speakers who have preceded me, am not surprised that the Coalition groups could not redeem their promises, but what we cavil at is the callous disregard which they have shown for the public in issuing such an extensive scale of promises knowing that they could not be fulfilled. There was evidently no limit and no scruples about the statements that were made and Fianna Fáil said: "Very well. We shall tell the truth and let the people vote in the light of their existing knowledge". We know the truth will prevail as it always does.

One of the claims made by the Coalition is that unemployment has decreased since they came in. That statement is only partially true. Every week a statement is issued by the Central Statistics Office and I have a number of them here. If I quote from a document issued by the Central Statistics Office I take it the contents of the quotation will not be queried. I am sorry I did not keep more of them, but I have returns here for the 25th November last, for the 24th February, for the 31st March, for the 28th April, for the 5th May. I note that this debate usually takes place on the subject of Resolution No. 5 which has to do with charges in taxation and in customs and other such matters. I was particularly interested in the references to customs duties, but I think that with one very very small exception—and I doubt if that exception even is there in the matter of customs —there is no change.

It used to be said about Fianna Fáil that they put on a whole lot of tariffs and duties on raw materials coming into the country for the benefit of backyard factories which employed only women and girls and at the same time that they put up the cost of the commodities to the general purchaser; that it would be far better to have these customs duties removed except in the cases of industries which employed men and particularly married men; and that it was no solution of the unemployment problem in this country and that it was not conducive to an improvement in the industrial position to have all these backyard factories employing cheap female labour. One would have expected that the Budget, which gets its largest individual contribution from customs duties, would have done something in this respect if in fact there was any truth in that allegation. I hope I will not weary the House if I give four or five extracts from the statistics sheets which I have mentioned. The one for November last shows that the numbers of persons having unemployment benefit claims current was 1,815 more than it was in the previous November.

There are three other categories mentioned on these sheets. One of these is the category of persons having unemployment assistance applications current—(a) persons with means and (b) persons without means. I take it that the first category which I mentioned are those who in the main represent the industrial unemployed. I do not think that can be cavilled at because the others are known to us in our own constituencies and districts where there are no industries and where the people have small patches of land and qualify for assistance and where their sons qualify for assistance during certain times of the year. The figures representing these two classes —the people with means and those without them in the country—are in respect of people who have benefited in the main by the bringing in of the National Development Fund which produced employment for them. That fact is proved by the figures which these statistics contain.

I should confine myself to the first category mentioned. In November, the figures show that there were 1,815 more persons unemployed than in the previous November. In February of this year there were 972 more than in February, 1954. In March last the figure was 1,598 more than it was in the previous March. For the first three weeks of April this year there were 1,937 more unemployed than in April last year; and for the last three weeks of April the figure averaged 1,369 more than the corresponding average last year.

These figures are illuminating and I think that the Coalition Parties might refrain from taking this particular subject and making it a topic for debate. None of us here on this side wants to make capital at the expense of the unemployed and if, unfortunately, these figures are not as favourable as for last year it is not a fact that we would want to dwell on because we know the pain these figures cause to married people with families who may have become unemployed. It is a subject that should not be used for the making of Party capital. I have found it necessary to say this because of the statements I heard from so many persons on that side.

Whatever ills or whatever ailments the public suffered from as a result of the three years of Fianna Fáil Government, we have not gone out of our way to specify what the benefits were. The discussion has been channelled into what the disadvantages were. We could point to numerous advantages following from the last three years of Fianna Fáil Government: the increase in the cattle and the meat trade is an obvious one; the stability in costs and wages is obviously another one. But we have been, as I say, compelled to discuss the disadvantages.

The Minister is claiming that this stability is continuing. I have read out a list of prices to indicate that the stability is not being continued in relation to prices. He is correct in saying that since he came in the stability in respect of wages has been continued. Now he has made an appeal that nothing will be done in the way of demands for increased wages to upset the structure of prices, the general structure of costs. Therefore, we will have the peculiar spectacle here in the voting on this Budget that the Labour Party will hearken to that appeal of the Minister when they go into the Lobby to vote for this Budget and they will, by their votes, pledge themselves as Deputies to do nothing which will upset that stability by increasing wages to the workers even though prices have been increased beyond what they were when Fianna Fáil was in. Then they will go out as trade unionists and make appeals—and the appeal was begun last Sunday—to their comrades as trade unionists to close their ranks and to form a united, solid front so that these very same demands for increased wages can be enforced. If you were looking for a Gilbertian situation, you could not get one to equal it outside The Mikado.

Since the debate on this Resolution has, what one might call, developed in the last three days, it has become quite clear that there are two diametrically opposite lines of criticism coming from the other side of the House. The first was led off by Deputy MacEntee and followed to a certain extent by Deputy Lemass. They have contented themselves with a somewhat mockly indignant attempt to say that this is a very bad Budget. The other line, which is so different, comes so far from Deputy Briscoe, Deputy Aiken and from the last speaker, Deputy Bartley, and it is to say that this is a good Budget and that it is a Budget which they, the Fianna Fáil Party, would have put through if they had only happened to be on this side of the House.

It seems to me that, if the Fianna Fáil Party are to go down the country with this divided line of criticism on the Budget, I would back Deputy Briscoe, Deputy Aiken and Deputy Bartley. Whatever chance Fianna Fáil may have of persuading even a small number of people that this is a Budget that they might have put through, that will manifestly be a much more profitable line of country than any attempt on their part to suggest that this is a bad Budget. I think that for possibly the first time politically in its life the Evening Press was inadvertently right. I believe this is a Budget which meets and should meet with the approval of the ordinary man in the street and the ordinary taxpayer.

I do not believe, from their public utterances and from their past political performance, that this is a Budget the Fianna Fáil Party, in the present financial circumstances of this country, would have put through in 1,000 years. As I say, I do believe that when they are on that line and when they are saying it is a Budget "we would have put through" and confining their criticism to the suggestion that we should have done more, they are much safer than they are in trying to tell the people that it is not a good Budget.

What is in the Budget? We have had talk around the Budget, talk about previous years and a considerable amount of discussion about what everybody said before the Budget, but I think it is worth while going back again to consideration of what is in the Budget itself. The first important fact in this connection is that it is a Budget requiring from the taxpayers no additional payment. On that basis, let us look at what the Budget contains. The first thing in order of priority in its size and in its importance is, I think, the relief which is being afforded to the old age pensioners, the widow pensioners, the blind and the orphan pensioners.

Deputy Lemass, when he was speaking in this debate on Thursday last, in one of his rare flights of imagery—I do not think you could call it poetic imagery—called this a Sweet Fanny Adams Budget. Deputy Bartley just now has attempted, as a rather belated reprisal for the well-named "ha'penny Budget," to call this a farthing Budget. I do not believe that either Deputy Lemass or Deputy Bartley—and I think Deputy Bartley is nearer the right political line in this matter than Deputy Lemass—will persuade 162,000 old age pensioners, 6,000 blind pensioners and 28,000 odd widow pensioners that an increase of 2/6 a week is either Sweet Fanny Adams or the equivalent of a farthing.

I believe that that increase is not only an increase in the right place but that it is an increase of reasonable proportions having regard to the financial circumstances of the country. I believe it is bound to lift a substantial amount of hardship from those people who have first claim on any Government, those who by no fault of their own are less well able to fend for themselves than the rest of the community. I believe it is a provision which was overdue and I believe it is one which, in addition to assisting those underprivileged people, will also stimulate considerably—and this is of some importance, though it is a by-product of that provision—the trade and position of small shopkeepers both in the city and country.

I believe that one of the beneficial by-products of any increase in social welfare is that it is the small shopkeepers—who usually have a family business—either in the city or country, who will receive the first direct profit from these allowances, and not the large concerns, the chain stores or any other section of the commercial community. That is an important assistance to trade in the right place, as well as being of great advantage to those who are being assisted by these increased allowances.

The next matter which is of importance in the Budget is the income-tax provision. Here again, no amount of discussion about "Sweet Fanny Adams Budgets" or "farthing Budgets" is going to persuade the married man with two or three children that this is not a substantial concession to him. I calculate roughly that he is receiving an additional relief of £16 or £17—which is an important relief in the correct place. The average married man—the person who has been raised rather unwittingly to such prominence by the Evening Press— will be glad of that relief.

With those two direct taxation and social welfare reliefs there must go hand in hand the maintenance and the continuance of the reduction of 5d. a lb. in butter and the reduction in the cost of tea to the consumer. Those are two very noteworthy reliefs. We have what I might call the Deputy Aiken path of the Fianna Fáil Party. Those on it are attempting to pursue a line for themselves, that this is a good Budget which Fianna Fáil would have brought in themselves if they were on this side of the House. That is their greatest stumbling block, as there have been persistent demands over the last few months for a direct answer to this question from Deputies opposite. It is now abundantly clear that their attitude was and is that if they were in Government butter would not have been reduced by 5d. a lb. and they would not have approved of any move to cushion the consumer against any increase in the price of tea. We may assume, therefore, that these two very substantial benefits which are borne by this Budget—in addition to those I have mentioned already—are peculiarly an inter-Party benefit from an inter-Party Budget.

There has been some discussion about the possibility of an increase in the price of cakes as a result of this Budget. It seems convenient to deal with that at the same time as we are discussing the prices of butter and tea. There is one matter which I think is worth mentioning, for the record alone. As I understood him when he was speaking, Deputy Bartley said that the people who read the Fine Gael literature in the last election—and there seems to have been a lot of them— would be interested to see that this Government had taken £450,000 from the subsidy which keeps the price of bread at 9½d.

I interrupted—probably improperly —to say that that was not so. It is not so and it is the sort of misrepresentation of a simple set of facts which could easily go forth at the hands of the Fianna Fáil Party from this House and through their own propaganda machine. The subsidy which keeps the price of bread at 9½d. has not been touched by this Budget and any suggestion made by Deputy Bartley or anybody else to the effect that it is either imperilled or directly affected is just not in accordance with the facts. There is a reduction in the subsidy affecting confectionery.

That is what Deputy Bartley said. You misrepresented him.

Deputy Bartley said in my hearing just now that the people would be interested to know how the Party who had complained about the price of bread were taking away now £450,000 from the subsidy which keeps the price of bread at 9½d.

Keeps the price of confectionery and pastries. That is what he said.

His words were: "which keeps the price of bread at 9½d." The political heredity of the Fianna Fáil Party has been a matter of some concern and speculation for some time past, but there seems to have come into it in the last few days some strain of what we were always led to believe were the political beliefs of Marie Antoinette. Deputy Briscoe and Deputy Bartley were very concerned with the rise in the price of confectionery. The suggestion was made by, I think, Deputy Bartley that it was an unfair handicap on the less well off members of the community.

In the present financial circumstances of this country, with a reasonable decrease in the price of butter, with an increase in social welfare allowances, with the maintenance of all other prices, with reduced taxation and with a reduction in the price of tea, I cannot see that there could be any genuine complaint about a reduction of subsidy which may affect what is undoubtedly a luxury trade. The direction of subsidisation and the general apportionment by this Government of the money which it can afford to provide as reliefs for the people, is being done in the right direction and in the right way, when things like tea and butter and social welfare allowances are given priority over any such subsidisation in confectionery goods.

Those are the main provisions of the Budget. In addition—though it is a small matter and affects a small minority—one cannot but welcome the tax concession which should assist the smaller breweries in particular and which could give a stimulus to the employment they give throughout the country. Before passing from the Budget itself, and whilst it does not affect at present the actual tax paid, I want to welcome the gesture which the Minister for Finance has made towards any system or scheme of health insurance that may be set up. It is helpful and wise that at such an early stage the Minister should indicate the willingness of his Department to support any such scheme.

The Budget is made against a background, first, of providing for a deficit of £500,000 and a net increase of £1,000,000 in capital charges. The Budget is founded clearly and basically on the belief that this Government has and has always pronounced, that revenue can be increased without an increase in taxation, provided that production is expanded by the restoration of confidence in the country. Some of the most pleasant and encouraging features of the whole economic survey are made up of three things. First, there is the improved position of the balance of trade, flowing largely from the prices of cattle in the last few months. It seems to me worthy of comment, although it has been commented upon before, and presumably will be again, that these cattle prices are peculiarly the result of the 1948 agreement, and that the land project, initiated by the inter-Party Government between 1948 and 1951 has, to a very large extent, provided us with the opportunity of availing of the market which the 1948 agreement has created.

It is also worth while considering, with some satisfaction, that recently the Minister for External Affairs has signed the American Grant Counterpart Fund, from which will be available a figure of £2,900,000 for the eradication of bovine tuberculosis. This contribution, apart from any budgetary provisions, assists us to keep the market which was created by our agreement in 1948. What is more of a direct symptom is the increase in industrial employment, and the maintenance of agricultural employment, notwithstanding increased mechanisation. These two figures are the best barometer of all of any country's state of prosperity.

I believe that the Budget, which has been based on that fact, and which is bringing such substantial reliefs where they are needed, and which is continued without any increase in taxation, is bound to meet with the approval of the ordinary people. Just consider that the Budget is increasing the pensions of aged persons, widows and orphans, and the blind, is maintaining, at a cost of £2,000,000, a reduction of 5d. in the price of butter, is providing substantial relief in income-tax, and is failing to mean any increase in taxation. If you also take into consideration the conduct of the Government in keeping the price of tea down, I do not believe that anyone, outside Deputy Lemass—and I doubt whether Deputy Lemass really does believe it— will regard this as a Sweet Fanny Adams Budget, unless that expression has lost the meaning which it had when I first knew it.

I am sure we all listened with interest to the exhibition which was given here by the deputy leader of the Opposition, Deputy Lemass, some days ago, when he spoke on this Budget. Listening to him, and to the practised manner in which he endeavoured to prove that black was white, it struck me that, if there was some foundation for a prize in this House for hardihood, for sheer brazen hard neck—as it is vulgarly called— Deputy Lemass would be away ahead of anybody, furlongs in front, and would be past the post before anybody else.

Deputy Lemass dealt with the cost of living, or what purported to be the cost of living, and with what he described as election promises made by myself, and others, who presented themselves to the electorate last year. There is a quotation from a speech which struck me particularly, in column 824 of the Dáil Debates of 5th May. Having searched assiduously through the Party propaganda of the various Parties, which was utilised in the last election, he delivered himself of this remarkable statement:—

"For myself, I would far rather be sitting over here with my personal honour unsullied than to sit now in the Government Bench with all those unredeemed promises hanging over my head."

I suppose, if strangers had walked into the public gallery that day, people who had just arrived in this country without any previous knowledge of the political events over the past 25 years, they might have been impressed. But nobody, who has any knowledge at all, no person who has been reading, even cursorily, the daily papers, over the past few years, could possibly have accepted that statement by Deputy Lemass as being, in the slightest degree, sincere.

I am not going to go over the ground which has been trodden so often here, apparently with so little effect and with so little impact upon Deputy Lemass's sensitivity, or political sensitiveness. He has been reminded, on more than one occasion, of the promises made by the Fianna Fáil Party, when they first achieved power. Similarly, I do not propose to repeat Deputy Aiken's statements because everybody has come to be very well versed with the statements of Deputy Aiken, who tried to manufacture a case here to-day against the Government on the basis of this Budget. I only mention, as the Tánaiste did in the course of his very effective and able reply to the critics of the Opposition, the famous occasion when Deputy Aiken spoke in Dundalk, shortly after the advent to power of the Fianna Fáil Party. Deputy Aiken expressed gratification that there were so many unemployed, because Fianna Fáil was going to create so many jobs that it was a good thing that this huge pool of unemployed was available to fill them.

That is one example of the past history of the Fianna Fáil Party, so far as promises are concerned; but I want to go nearer the bone, and to get more up to date, in so far as that Party is concerned. I say to Fianna Fáil how dare they talk of promises to the Irish electorate. The year 1951 is not very long ago, and those who were members of the House, at that time, will recall how certain misguided people, who were described as Independents, were induced to enter the spider's web of the Fianna Fáil Party, and to support Deputy de Valera in his effort to become Taoiseach. They met the fate that has been the lot of every such person in the history of this country, who has deserted the principles which at one time they were alleged to maintain.

When Deputy de Valera was courting their votes he issued a 17-point programme—and I quote from the Irish Independent of the 5th June, 1951. At this time a conspiracy was afoot to prevent the return to power of the inter-Party Government who had brought to the country a greater degree of prosperity and contentment than it had ever known since the State was founded. It is an interesting document, and is one, I think, of which Deputy Lemass and his followers should be reminded. It may well be that some of his followers in this House now have no recollection of it. I am going to refresh their memories.

Of course, as is usual in any document which is formulated by the ex-Taoiseach, roughly 60 per cent. of it is simply a mass of verbiage which could mean anything or nothing. The Irish people have come to accept the ex-Taoiseach's productions as being necessarily of that nature, because they evidently reflect his method of political thought. Not alone is it confused, but he has succeeded in confusing in the past great numbers of our people. Happily, that confusion has shown evidence of being dispelled within recent years and proof of that is the fact that we now have the spectacle of a diminishing Fianna Fáil Party, of a realignment of forces, and, even within the Party itself, the development of new lines of thought in opposition to former policies of that Party which show a conflict within the Party itself which will hasten the inevitable day when Fianna Fáil will no longer have any claim whatever to be representative of the people of this country. That is a political development which is observable to every person with any kind of knowledge of politics here.

Let us look at this programme of Deputy de Valera in 1951. He said:—

"It is Fianna Fáil's policy, if it receives the necessary support in Dáil Éireann, to form a Government and, in accordance with its election pledges and its national policy, to proceed at once to carry out its general programme, including the following..."

Then, in paragraph 7:—

"To resume the industrial advance through the stimulation of private enterprise, supplemented where necessary by State action, with particular reference to the basic industries and those which can utilise Irish natural resources and primary products, a systematic expansion of all industries so that the fullest degree of manufacture will be undertaken and the granting of special help to new industries starting in congested areas."

Lovely words! In what manner were they put into effect? Within less than 12 months, we had the now famous Budget which brought about the end of Fianna Fáil rule here, the Budget of 1952. That Budget and Fianna Fáil policy in that year was key-noted, not by any desire to expand industry, to help towards the creation of more employment or to help towards the creation of new industries, but by the Central Bank Report which was adopted and swallowed holus-bolus by the Fianna Fáil Government, with the assistance of certain gentlemen who have now left us, some of them pausing for a moment at the half-way house on the way off the Irish political scene.

They got a little assistance from Mr. Butler, the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, as well.

They did. In what manner was this fine ideal set out here so wordily by the ex-Taoiseach put into effect? I will tell you. Is it denied that, in 1952 and 1953, any industrialists who envisaged expanding their industry found it impossible to get bank credit to do so, that many small business people, shopkeepers, small manufacturers, farmers and others who had necessarily to depend to some extent upon bank accommodation were driven not alone to financial ruin and distress in many cases, but to ill-health and even further in some cases? That is a fact which is well known to every member of the House—that the people upon whom the onus of discharging any policy for the expansion of industry would be placed were spancelled and crippled by the policy of the Fianna Fáil Party in adopting the Central Bank Report as its bible, so far as credit was concerned. That was the manner in which Fianna Fáil implemented its solemn promise in this document of Deputy de Valera, paragraph 7 of which was promulgated in 1951.

Paragraph 13 of that document is also interesting:

"To grant adequate State financial aid to local authorities to facilitate the extension of their housing activities and to maintain, for so long as may be necessary, powers to divert the resources of the building industry and supplies of material to the maximum extent practicable to the construction of dwellings."

In 1948, when the inter-Party Government was first formed, we had the fortune to have placed in charge of Local Government a dedicated man, who has since gone to his eternal reward. His name has often been mentioned in the House. He was a man who had behind him almost 30 years' experience of local government administration as a member of a local authority in Cork, a man with one purpose in life—to secure that houses would be built—and only those who were in public life in 1948 can have any appreciation of the chaotic situation that existed then, so far as housing was concerned. In the City of Dublin, we had upwards of 30,000 families clamouring for houses and throughout the country there was a similar situation.

We had come through a war period and through a period during which— at least, in my constituency of County Dublin—we had 14 labourers' cottages built under the administration of a commissioner when democratic powers were taken entirely from the people of the county and they had no county council to work for them. That was 1948 and building was practically unknown. Out on the Stillorgan Road one could see houses selling at £3,000, £4,000 and £5,000 being built when nobody seemed to be able to get cement anywhere and one could see cinemas being built all around the city. Nobody seemed to be able to explain that, but it went on, but not the building of workers' houses.

Not until the inter-Party Government was formed in 1948 was there put into motion, through the instrumentality of the late Deputy T.J. Murphy and his officials in Dublin City and County—and particularly I would mention in this regard as a man deserving of very great credit, the assistant city and county manager, Mr. T.C. O'Mahony —the most effective and powerful house-building machine we have ever seen. I know that in my area of County Dublin we built within three years more houses than had been built since the county councils were first established in Ireland, due to the drive and energy which came from the Department of Local Government during those years.

In 1951, as I say, this conspiracy developed around the corridors of this House. Various promises were held out and eventually people were induced to walk into a particular lobby and sign their political death warrants by voting for Fianna Fáil, which Party remained in power for three years on the basis of political false pretences and nothing else, and proceeded to do all the damage they could do in the shortest possible time to the economic fabric of this country. In passing, I must say that the people of Ireland have one thing to thank Deputy MacEntee for and one thing alone. He brought about the downfall of Fianna Fáil as surely as if they had committed hara-kiri.

In regard to the housing drive Deputy de Valera states that his purpose in 1951 was to grant State financial aid to local authorities to facilitate the extension of their housing activities. How did he implement that promise? Within less time than it took to have this statement circulated, thousands of people who wanted to build houses for themselves and avail of loans under the Small Dwellings (Acquisition) Act, particularly people in the City and County of Dublin, found that they could not do so because it was ordained by the Fianna Fáil Party that 3¾ per cent. interest on these loans was not sufficient; that they would have to pay 5¾ per cent. interest. The result was that many young men and women who had worked hard in their various jobs or had married or were about to get married or were living in unfit conditions in single rooms in Dublin or who had scraped together sufficient to put down enough to buy a house found they could not do so because the interest rates had gone up. The Fianna Fáil Party, Deputy MacEntee and Deputy de Valera had put them up.

Yet we hear talk about promises. That happened within a few months of the promises made by Deputy de Valera that it would be the purpose of the Fianna Fáil Party to carry out its election pledges, including that of granting adequate State financial aid for the building of houses.

That was another one of their promises. Yet we have these exhibitions designed to impress the public Press and the more gullible followers of the Fianna Fáil Party and keep the thinning ranks from becoming altogether too thin before the local elections. These exhibitions are in themselves examples of political hard neck which it would be difficult to equal anywhere in the democratic world.

Here is another gem. I recall that it was made one of the most important paragraphs of the statement of Deputy de Valera. It is numbered 15 and reads thus:—

"To maintain subsidies, to control the prices of essential foodstuffs and the operation of an efficient system of price regulation for all necessary and scarce commodities."

That was in June, 1951. I think the Budget of 1952 was in May. What happened to the subsidies within those few months the maintenance of which was promised by Deputy de Valera and Deputy Lemass who now talk about promises? They were slashed in such a manner as was never known before and which we will ensure will never be known again in the history of this country as far as lies in our power. Bread, butter, tea and sugar all got the axe as far as subsidies were concerned. The simple pleasures of the working people, the pint and tobacco, increased in price and were put financially and otherwise beyond the reach of large numbers of our people.

They are still beyond their reach.

Unfortunately, they are still beyond their reach to a great extent.

The Deputy need not apologise.

Before the Deputy ever gets a chance of raising his voice at a general election, I can assure him he will be in the position of having to admit that every promise we made we made in good faith and did not retract them in a matter of hours as Fianna Fáil did. Furthermore, everything we said we would do we will do. I am sure that applies to all the Parties who support this Government.

The Deputy is tied to their tail like a tin can.

If we had not done so what would have happened?

What did you do?

You would be in a shocking way.

In our charity we must afford Deputy Carter and those like him an excuse for their political existence.

We are not here on sufferance.

At the time of the last election I believed it was possible to do more in a shorter time than has been done, but I did not at that time appreciate the degree of damage done by Deputy MacEntee to the finances of this State through the operation of his policy. Eleven months have passed since the last election—a very short time, indeed, in the lifetime of a Government or of a Parliament. Deputy Norton, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, recounted very largely what has been done. That constitutes a noteworthy accomplishment. It is one of which any Government can be proud.

There was one particular item which was a heavy expenditure on the Exchequer and that was the honouring of a promise given by the representatives of the inter-Party Government to the civil servants when that Government was out of office. It was a promise which was not honoured; it was an undertaking which was not put into effect by the predecessors of the inter-Party Government. It was no small thing to do because it cost something in the neighbourhood of £1,000,000. It benefited not only higher civil servants, gentlemen for whom I cannot profess to have any particular regard, but it benefited large numbers of minor civil servants who were badly paid, people such as postal workers——

And the farmers are paying for it.

I did not get that.

The axe fell on the farmer to compensate the others.

Interruptions should cease. The Deputy will get an opportunity of contributing.

We will not go into the question of what the farmer pays as that might bring in the question of income-tax and we might want to compare the farmer in that respect with the workers in the City of Dublin.

Deputy Carter should restrain himself.

However, the important thing upon which I want to fasten concerns the Fianna Fáil group. It concerns in particular Deputy Lemass because I have no doubt that the Leader of the Fianna Fáil Party did not issue this document without consultation with the Party manager, Deputy Lemass. He must surely have given his blessing to paragraph 15 of the statement concerning the maintenance of subsidies.

I must say that certain members of the Fianna Fáil Party should have been given medals for bravery for going down the country at all after that Budget and for not hibernating in the House for a couple of years to leave the effect wear off.

A good many of them have medals.

Leather ones.

They were not leather ones.

As the event proved, the Chief was not so right at all. This remarkable document concludes with an interesting sentence. Amongst all the other blessings that the Fianna Fáil Party were going to shower upon us outlined in this document, none of which was put into effect, of course, once they got into the saddle, and all of which were reversed rather than pushed forward, this is the final one: The restoration of many beneficial projects stopped or curtailed by the previous Government, including the use of the Store Street building as a central bus station. That was the most important thing of all—sufficiently important apparently to clinch the argument with the then Deputies ffrench O'Carroll, Cogan and all the other gentlemen who are now in the political limbo and who marched into the Lobby and voted on the question that the Store Street building would be used as a bus station. Any of us passing by that building now are hard set even to see one bus in it.

I do not see how that arises on this debate.

I only mention it in passing. I do not know if you, Sir, were present to-day when Deputy Aiken, in his usual feeble fashion, was trying to upbraid this Government on the Budget. Despite the fact that Deputy Lemass, having tried to make himself out the Simon Pure of Irish politics, stating that he would rather be sitting over there with his personal honour unsullied than sitting on the Government Benches with all the unredeemed promises hanging over his head, we had Deputy Aiken to-day making a speech in criticism of the Budget although Deputy Lemass at the conclusion of his remarks the other day said that if there was one thing he did not want, no matter what he said about the Budget, it was a general election. He did not want an election. In the kept newspaper—the Sunday edition—we read Deputy MacEntee's critique of the Budget. He said it was a good Budget. Now that is one thing that makes me examine my conscience; if Deputy MacEntee says it is a good Budget there must be something fundamentally wrong with it.

But those are the things they are saying. What is their case against the Budget? On the one hand they say it is a good Budget and, on the other hand, they pretend to try to criticise it. It is not all that everyone might desire. It is the natural desire of all of us here, even though some may belong to the Fianna Fáil Party, to do the best we can to bestow all the good things we can on our people in the shortest possible time. It is not possible to do that in a very short time, but I feel that, given time, this Government will do that.

So far as the promises that I made to my electorate go, I stand over every one of them and I reaffirm my stand here. The prices of essential foodstuffs must be and will be brought down. That will be done before this Government leaves office. I am satisfied completely of that. The standard of living of the working people will be improved to a level higher than that at which it has ever stood heretofore. If Fianna Fáil want to challenge me on that, their local representatives, some of whom are members of this House, will have an opportunity of doing that on the 23rd June in the biggest working-class area in this city, Ballyfermot. I challenge them to let the people decide what their view is; it will be to uphold this Government.

Deputy Aiken to-day endeavoured to resurrect the corpse of Tulyar. I do not know if he was in order, but he was disappointed that there had been no reference to Tulyar in this debate and he said that in the Budget debate of last year and the year before Tulyar was mentioned in every second sentence. I do not think he should boast about that particular purchase. I know there were some, even in the inter-Party group, who at the time thought Tulyar was a good investment. I did not. Recently a question was asked about Tulyar's earnings since his purchase and it would appear that some half a century must elapse before we can recover our capital investment in Tulyar.

I think we may leave it at that now. I do not think Deputy Aiken went very far. I watched particularly to ensure that he would not go very far and I ask the Deputy now not to pursue that because he has gone about as far as Deputy Aiken went.

On the question of promises, it ill-becomes Deputy Lemass or any of his supporters here to travel that road at all. Of course it is a fact that he and others associated with him have developed a certain impregnability of skin which renders them impervious to the impact of truth and they will, I assume, come in here in the future and try to do the best they can to bolster up their own weakened political position in the futile hope that they may make some impression upon the electorate. I have had a number of public meetings in various parts of the country since this Budget was introduced. I have found that there is a general acceptance by the people of the situation. There is a general acceptance that in view of the ruination brought about by the three years of Fianna Fáil Government this Government could not in so short a time do much better than it has done. That is the feeling abroad to-day. That feeling is allied to a definite feeling that has been apparent in the last 11 months—a feeling of satisfaction and relief that Fianna Fáil is gone and gone not just for a few months or a few years but gone politically for ever.

There is in the minds of the Irish people generally, and I do not say this in any partisan political spirit at all but as a matter of actual fact, a feeling of relief that they are at last entering into a period in which the Government will be so formed that the various sections of the people will have a say in the policies put into effect. They will no longer be dominated, as we have been in the past, by one Party and that one Party dominated by one individual. That is a concept which, while it may have operated successfully here for a number of years, is foreign to the average free-thinking Irishman. The Irish people like to have the right to express their opinions and the right to disagree with anybody who may hold a different view from theirs. They could not make that right effective during the period in which Fianna Fáil was in office.

This Budget is an interim Budget. The Tánaiste described it as an instalment of what is to come. There are good years coming under this Administration and I am certain that no group will be happier than the Fianna Fáil Party to know that there will not be any difficulty about the progress of this Government, that its policy will be put into effect progressively over the next four years, and that at the end of that time we will be prepared and ready, even as we are now ready should it be necessary, to go before the people and accept their judgment.

Deputy Lemass has said that he does not want an election. That is the acid test so far as this Budget is concerned because one can be quite sure that Deputy Lemass and the other members of the Fianna Fáil Party will be more than anxious to rush down to the chapel gate—I do not think Deputy MacEntee goes to the chapel gate; I think his meetings are usually held in a square in some well-built-up area— and appeal to the people and try to misrepresent this Government if he thought there were any grounds for doing so.

He has admitted, in effect, that the Government has done well, and I think that in all the circumstances most thinking people will be of the same view. It has not been possible to accomplish everything, but I believe that every single promise we made in relation to the cost of living and all the other matters, which go to make up the public weal, will be implemented to the full by the time this Government has run its full course.

When one comes to consider this Budget one has to take into consideration not merely the past year but the Budgets of former years as well. Deputy Dunne made a statement about the 1952 Budget but he failed to make any reference whatever to the Budgets before 1952. We have to look back to the situation that confronted Fianna Fáil when they took office in 1951 and when they found an unbalanced Budget left by the Minister for Finance of the Coalition Government to the extent of roughly £7,000,000; when they found our balance of payments abroad running at a rate of £61,000,000, and when they found our finances going into default. That is what the Fianna Fáil Government in those days were faced with and that is the situation they were confronted with and had to rectify in their 1952 Budget.

The 1952 Budget, in the light of the years gone by, has been, to some extent, justified. The people in the present Government who are now criticising the 1952 Budget endorsed every tax that Fianna Fáil imposed in that Budget and they endorsed not merely every tax but every feature of that Budget by going into the lobby in 1954 and voting for the taxes that we levied on the people. If we are to believe the promises of the Attorney-General and of the present Taoiseach that they were going to remit a large amount of the taxation that we imposed in the 1952 Budget, then last year was their time to remit it, and, surely, at this stage in 1955, there is no doubt about it whatever, if they are sincere in their quest either for a reduction in taxation or a reduction in the cost of living now is the time to do it. Now is the time of the year when the Minister for Finance brings his yearly pill for the people to swallow and this year's pill has not alone increased expenditure but he proposes to keep taxes at the same or at a higher level.

Expenditure has increased by £4,000,000 inside ten months. That is no mean achievement for a Government that set out to cut down expenditure, to cut down unemployment and cut down the cost of living. Apologists for the Budget from the opposite side say that taxation will not be increased, but how are they to pick the pockets of the taxpayers in order to enable them to get the extra money if taxation is not to be increased? Where is it going to come from? It seems to me that the Government has exhausted the bounty they were alleged to have in store for the people by the butter subsidy and by whatever rickety arrangement they made regarding tea——

It does not seem so rickety now.

It is a rickety arrangement.

Not so rickety as when you first mentioned it.

Those calculations are based on the idea that tea is going to drop in price abroad, but meanwhile we are buying our tea on tick and paying a very dear price for the money in order to enable Tea Importers to work on a heavy overdraft. So that I assume whatever little price-fall takes place on foreign markets will be swallowed up——

It has not been so little; it is a very substantial fall.

It will be up to you, because you are supposed to be the brains behind this idea, to prove to the taxpayers next September whether it will be little or great.

I suggest that Deputy Carter be allowed to make his speech. If other Deputies wish to refute his statements they can do so later.

It is a rickety arrangement, indeed, so far, and I will believe otherwise when I see it.

Deputy Dunne talked about the old age pensioners. The old age pensioners are to get 2/6 a week out of this Budget but they will not get much by way of reduction in the cost of living, and they will have to wait until the 29th of July next before they get the half-crown. In the meantime, those catering for the old age pensioners, and the housewife who really expected to get some substantial relief finds that she will have to pay more for her beef, more for her mutton, more for her boiling fowl, more for her cheese, more for her pound of lard. She finds she will have to pay more for her half-stone of oaten meal, more for her pound of semolina, more for her stone of potatoes, more for her head of cabbage. She will have to pay more for her half-stone or her pound of onions —whatever way she buys them—more for her pound of marrowfat peas. She will have to pay more for her oranges, for her tomatoes, for her pound of coffee.

The poor people and the people for whom Deputy Dunne weeps with his hand on his heart will have to pay more for their coal and more for their sweets—12/6 more for the cwt. of coal——

12/6 more for a cwt. of coal?

For the ton of coal. They will pay more for their candles if they want candles to light them to bed. They will pay more for the gallon of paraffin oil, more for the cwt. of turf, more for firewood blocks. They will have to pay more in respect of house rents and more in rates, which are up in every county——

They have gone down in West Cork.

——despite the assurance of the Minister for Defence that he intended to transfer the rates to the Central Fund. That was down the country, of course, before the election, but I notice since he attained office he has no intention of carrying out that promise. The people will have to pay more for mattresses if they want them, and for bedding. They will have to pay more for blankets, for sheets, cutlery, crockery, washing powders, boot polish, toothpaste and medicines. As a result of the action of the Minister for Health here last summer when he enticed the Labour Party into the lobby—the Labour Party who, previous to that, in 1953, voted for the Fianna Fáil Health Bill and who, at the instigation of the Fine Gael Party in 1954, voted against it—the unfortunate housewife will now have to pay more for medicine for her family. She will have to pay more for bicycle tyres and tubes and more for shoe repairs. They are going to pay more for their boots and shoes.

They are going to pay more for their rubber footwear. If anybody is at all interested in the price of rubber footwear, I shall be only too glad to furnish him with a price list from Dunlops which was issued on the 1st April. According to that price list, there is an increase of 11d. in the price of a pair of toddler's bootees—the cheapest type of footwear that can be bought. The public will have to pay more for all classes of rubber footwear. There is an increase of 1/9 per pair in the price of ladies' Wellingtons; 1/- per pair in the price of boys' Wellingtons and 2/2 per pair in the price of ladies' sheer top Wellingtons. There is an increase of 1/6 per pair on men's overshoes. If the Minister for Agriculture wants to go fishing on the River Moy he will have to pay 2/8 extra for a pair of rubber knee-length boots and 4/7 extra if he wants better quality. That is a fairly formidable list of increases.

I am sure that any merchant in the Parties which are helping out the present Government—any merchant in the Labour Party, in Clann na Poblachta or in Clann na Talmhan— will be able to verify what I have just said. It is official from Dunlops. Despite all the windy speeches we have heard from the Minister for Industry and Commerce, and despite all the empty promises, he has done nothing about that situation. Neither have the Prices Advisory Body, which he established for the specific purpose of keeping down prices, done anything about it. It is much better to quote the list of price increases to the public than to refer to the rise in the cost-of-living index number because the housewife and the old age pensioner will see at a glance that the bounty of 2/6 which is to be conferred on old age pensioners, blind pensioners and widows and orphans from 29th July next will be swallowed up long before either he or she will receive it.

I would advise Deputy Dunne and his supporters in the Labour Party to be very wary about referring to the aid that has been given to the blind, the widows and orphans and the old age pensioners in this Budget. For a Party that took office on a specific promise to reduce the cost of living, you take the biscuit—and, incidentally, you have taken the subsidy off the biscuit.

The Deputy should use the third person.

The Government have brought the cost of living higher than it has ever been in this country within living memory. As from yesterday, the price of bacon has increased. The Minister for Industry and Commerce had the hardihood to issue a price list in all the papers detailing the price of bacon. Smoked bacon is being retailed in this city at 4/8 a lb. —a record. Down the country, the farmers cannot sell their pigs on the public street and yet the price of smoked bacon to the housewife in Dublin City is 4/8 per lb. We shall be importing bacon within the next nine months.

That is not true.

If the farmer could sell his pig, why has he gone out of production?

They are not going out of production in West Cork.

You put the farmer out of production when you increased the price of offals to him. The moment the Department of Industry and Commerce sent a circular to every flour miller in this country ordering them to increase the price of offals you sounded the death knell of pig production. For these reasons, I do not think the Government can take much kudos from the recent Budget or from the relief they intend to give to the old age pensioners, the blind, the widows and the orphans.

The main bones of contention in the last general election were the cost of living, unemployment and emigration. These were the three headings on which the Fianna Fáil Party were attacked. I have shown what the present Government's intentions are regarding the cost of living. They threatened to kick inflation downstairs but instead of that it has gone through the roof. I will quote now what a leading economist, George Schwartz, wrote in the Sunday Times of 8th May, 1955. His advice could be applied with vigour here. First of all, he talks of the dupes of inflation. I submit that the people who are set out as benefiting under the Budget are really the dupes of your inflationary policy.

The Chair did not bring in any Budget.

I submit that the people the Government have set out as benefiting under their Budget are merely the dupes of inflation. The Coalition, by their actions from 1948-51, made the people of this country the dupes of inflation—and this Government are acting on the same lines to-day.

The Deputy would be wiser not to quote secondhand his colleague from his constituency. That is the sort of remark that Deputy Childers would make.

It is appropriate in the circumstances.


The heading of this article is: "The Dupes of Inflation", and it is written by George Schwartz. The present Attorney-General, who may be described as the reclining figure of the Coalition, is very fond of quoting this man. Here is what Mr. Schwartz says:—

"But I must say definitely that the Government are not prepared to abandon long-accepted principles and accept the contention that a person, be he a retired Forces officer, a retired teacher, a retired policeman, or a retired civil servant should receive the pension he would have received had he retired in similar circumstances of rank and service later than he in fact retired."

This is a reply that was received by someone who made representations in England. It goes on to say:—

"I think I must repeat what has been said so many times now, that it is a fundamental principle of these public service pensions that they are based on length of service and pay or rank on retirement, and that once awarded they are not normally variable in the light of events after retirement."

That is very illuminating, but what has it to do with the Budget?

Yes, it is. The Minister may know what I am getting at.

But you do not.

The writer then goes on to comment, and says:—

"That's the way to govern—with firmness, resolution, precision and tenacity. That's the way to talk— urbanely but magisterially. That's the way to deal with suppliants— with unswerving adherence to principle.

Yes, that's the way to govern. With this proviso, that the people concerned are of no account electorally. If they are in a position to sway half a dozen constituencies you dismount from that high horse and take them affectionately by the arm. ‘What is it, old chap? Only too glad to be of assistance. That's what I am here for.' You don't have to lick their boots, but a show of readiness to do so helps."

Let me go on.

I think the Deputy should stop. It is making a case against him.

Keep your seat, Deputy Barry. You are not exactly a teen-ager.

"The quotations above are from a Treasury reply to the Officers' Pensions Society, and they are marked with the redoubtable vigour which used rightly to inform the pronouncements of Their Lordships.

I say used to, because Their Lordships derived their signal authority from a century or more of sound finance. They could insist on fundamental and long-accepted principles because they were established upon the cardinal principle of a stable currency. After what has happened to the currency in the past 40 years the moral writ of the Treasury no longer runs. So it can drop its lofty terminology about what it has repeatedly said in the past and what it is definitely not prepared to abandon, and get down to the brass tacks, or rather the trashy paper of a world of inflation.

If we are going to have a gentle price inflation of 3 per cent. per annum, if it's only 2 per cent. or 1 per cent., Government pensions are going to be continually revised in the light of that and the authorities had better make no mistake about that. A fortiori if there is a sharp inflation over a short period of time, brought about by devaluation or some other fortuitous happening, monetary contracts such as pensions are going to be revised and the authorities had better be prepared for that. The privilege of getting on to the cost-of-living band wagon is not going to be at the arbitrary disposal of Governments.”

That is what I would like the Government to allow to sink into their brain —that the privilege of getting on to the band wagon of the cost of living——

Would the Deputy mind my asking him a question about that article?

Wait until I have finished.

Certainly. I thought the Deputy had finished. I would not like to deprive him of the opportunity.

I suppose he has finished the introduction.

The introduction is finished.

"The middle classes on the Continent, the rentiers, pensioners and salariats went down under the onslaught of inflation. That is not going to happen here."

Where is "here"?

I am referring now to England. Do not misconstrue it.

"It is not a long-accepted principle that you suffer passively the consequences of monetary instability and disorder, that the real value of a pension can be halved within a few years of retirement, that savings can be virtually expropriated and that the victims have no recourse but to creep silently to the grave. A fig for the pronunciamentos of Treasuries and for their ex-gratia doles. Exgratia ! By the grace of whom do we get 20 real shillings in the £?

Is the price of full employment and the welfare State to be continual inflation? If so, who is going to pay the price? Is there a select and limited class of dupes who can be trusted to come up every time for punishment? Is this the tacit assumption underlying the politics of the modern State? The Party manifestos are silent about this. The rising cost of living is denounced alongside policies which inevitably foster it? Inflation is kicked downstairs and goes through the roof."

That is what happened in the Government's Budgets of 1948 to 1951 and is likely to happen again.

"Are we, or a minority of us, helpless in face of all this? Not at all. It is Governments that can be brought to heel in this matter, and that speedily. It is time for some plain speaking on this issue.

No one wants to sully the credit of this nation. No one wants to hold up his own Government to obloquy, least of all in this country which has a long and proud tradition of honourable finance. But it only requires a handful of us to repudiate a public credit based on surreptitious inflation and that credit will disappear.

Do the authorities want us to cry down the national savings campaign? Do they want us to warn the public against holdings of Government securities or any form of bonds? Do they want us to advise young people to get into debt as early in life as possible with the assurance that time will float them off to their great profit and advantage? Do they want us to warn potential recruits to the services that the pension clauses hold the seeds of fraud? Can they dispute that this is the logic of inflation which any honest adviser would proclaim? Or is there to be a conspiracy of silence on this supreme social issue of the times?"

That is wrong anyway.

Do I understand that the Deputy is finished?

The Deputy is finished, yes.

Could I ask the Deputy, through you, Sir, what was the last occasion upon which there was any alteration in pensions on the lines that Mr. Schwartz suggests?

That is a matter for the Government.

It is for the Deputy now.

It is a matter that the Government should provide for in their annual Budget.

It was done in 1950, during the previous inter-Party régime, not during his régime.

"Schwartz" is a good Munster name.

1950 is passed this five years.

Certainly and in 1952, 1953 and 1954 the Deputy was there.

1950 is five years ago. In the light of what I have read out, where does the Government stand in relation to people living on fixed incomes and those pensioners for whom the Labour Party allegedly weep?

They have more chance under this Government.

Is not their income cut in half before they get the 2/6? Is not that half-crown swallowed up now, never mind waiting until the 29th July?

Do you not want to give them the 2/6?

No, they do not.

I am trying to make the case that the Government are boasting about giving a paltry 2/6 to the old age pensioners——

You are very sore about their getting it, apparently.

——when in fact it is long swallowed up before the pensioner ever lays hands on it. The old age pensioner has to wait until the 29th July next to lay hands on that 2/6 and in the meantime he or she has to pay more rent, more for coal, more for turf, more for firewood blocks, more for light and more for clothing and more for foodstuffs.

More for tea?

Never mind the tea; that was only a sop that was thrown to the Labour Party in order that the Labour Party might throw overboard the Health Act. We know all about that.

Did Mr. Schwartz say that?

No, but I notice that the present Attorney-General is very fond of quoting him. He is a nifty commentator.

Is "nifty" a parliamentary expression?

Deputy Carter is in order.

Mr. Schwartz can make his point, but the point I am trying to make is that the present Government have no regard for the people who live in retirement on fixed incomes and that the few words they say here about extending the social welfare benefits—increasing the old age pensions by a mere half-crown—is no use whatever. It will be gone before the people whom it was supposed to benefit can lay their hands on it.

The Deputy's crocodile tears will nearly flood the Shannon again.

Another point I wanted to make was about unemployment. We heard a lot from them about unemployment when they were in Opposition. We heard about the unemployment which followed the 1952 Budget.

And you heard about it in the 1954 election.

We heard nothing of the events which caused it. We heard nothing of the imports of textiles and wearing apparel to the amount of £16,000,000, brought into this country during 1950 and the beginning of 1951 and which were responsible for closing a big number of our textile factories and putting more industrial workers into the employment exchanges than any other action of which I know. The present Government can be held responsible then for the unemployment which arose in 1952—I shall say early 1953—following the dumping of foreign goods here in 1949 and 1950. We hear nothing about that side of it—one would think that some of the Labour Deputies would have the gumption to be fair in this matter. We were all concerned at the time to get the workers replaced in employment. The Government know very well that the heavy imports of textiles and wearing apparel were responsible for a large amount of that unemployment and that it did not flow as a matter of course from the 1952 Budget. The whole theme of the speeches from the Government Benches has been a harking back to the 1952 Budget.

Hear, hear!

You will not forget about it.

When the Government came into office, why did they not refund to the people the sum of £10,000,000 or £15,000,000 which they said was concealed taxation in that Budget? If the Labour Party were honest in their quest for lower prices, why did they allow those increases which I read out in the earlier part of my speech? If they were honest in their intentions about the Prices Advisory Body one would think they would have kept some control over prices as they promised they would do. We can see what happened with regard to the price of bacon. A farmer cannot sell his pig at the production end at the moment, and at the same time the housewife in Dublin——

Is the Deputy repeating that falsehood?

——has to pay 4/8 a lb. for smoked rashers.

Get away from figures.

4/8 a lb. for smoked back rashers, and is it not incredible that the farmer down the country cannot sell his pig——

That is not true. That is the third time the Deputy has repeated that falsehood.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce has the Prices Advisory Body and what is he doing about the price of bacon? The price of bacon has shot up.

And the pigs have shot down?

And the balloon of Clann na Poblachta is badly wrecked. They adopted what might be referred to as a dosing system during the election; they dosed the people with promises but this Budget will purge the people. It is calculated to purge them.

The Deputy must have been looking at the new moon.

Deputy Carter must be allowed to make his statement without these interruptions.

They set out to solve unemployment and how have they succeeded in solving the unemployment problem? I accept that they have solved it by emigration. The people of the whole side of the country in my constituency have emigrated. They have gone to try and find livelihoods in England and even as far as Australia and New Zealand.

And you were to stop it.

The last means is taken from the farmer when pig production is knocked on the head, and is it not a ridiculous state of affairs to say that the Minister for Industry and Commerce will lend himself to increases in the price of foodstuffs used in pig rearing and at the same time allow the retail price of bacon to rise to 4/8 a lb.? They have solved the problem of unemployment to a certain extent but we still have 62,500 unemployed people.

You had 90,000 unemployed not so long ago when you were sitting over here.

Following your imports in 1951——

I thought that was in 1953?

——when you flooded the country with finished goods from abroad and put every factory worker in the country out of employment. The Minister for Social Welfare now intervenes. There is a factory not so very far from him——

Where is that?

The Portlaw Tannery.

And what was the reason for that?

Oh, now——

The Deputy would not like to say that.

Deputy Carter must be allowed to make his statement without all these interruptions. He is not in the witness stand at the moment.

This gallery of gargoyles specialise in trying to interrupt, but it is all the same to me. If they interrupted until to-morrow I should still continue to say what I rose to say in spite of them, both inside and outside this House.

One time you could not say it outside.

Yes. One time the Fine Gael Party set up a breakdown gang in the form of the Blueshirts.

That has nothing to do with what we are discussing.

It looks a bit blue for the Deputy now.

It went badly on them. I see where the orphans of the storm in Dublin, the poor publicans, who filled the war chests of Fine Gael during the elections, are now crying out for aid themselves, and I have some of the election literature here. When they were issuing that election literature the Coalition groups did not realise that it would come back in the form of a homing pigeon.

That is an extraordinary metamorphosis.

I read recently about a Scotsman whose wife was away from home. Her birthday fell during the time she was away; he had entered it in his diary and, deciding to give her a present, he sent her a homing pigeon. The present Government, in this pill they have put before the public, has sent the publicans of Dublin a homing pigeon. Some of these publicans went before the electorate the last time and offered themselves for election. They issued a call to arms and it was in support of Fine Gael. I have a pamphlet here setting out their aims and objects. It states:

"Fine Gael is a National Party with a progressive National policy.

Fine Gael will reduce State interference in agriculture, industry and all branches of national effort to a minimum, and will adopt methods of consultation, assistance and cooperation rather than compulsion. Fine Gael believes that individual and local responsibility and initiative should be encouraged and developed.

Fine Gael vigorously opposed the increases in the price of foodstuffs and other commodities imposed by Fianna Fáil and stands for an immediate reduction in the present excessive cost of living."

I have here a list of the prices that have increased and from it the housewives of Dublin can realise how they were duped at the last election. The pamphlet goes on to say:

"Fine Gael stands for a policy designed to reduce taxation and to increase production."

We find that the taxpayers' bill this year has gone up by £4,000,000—not a bad record for Fine Gael in ten months.

"Fine Gael stands for a vigorous policy of capital development to utilise to the full our underdeveloped resources of men and material, thereby grappling effectively with the twin evils of unemployment and emigration."

Yet emigration stands at the rate of 800 a month, higher than ever.

Who told the Deputy that? Where did he get the figure?

Let me continue quoting:—

"Fine Gael stands for fair wages and working conditions for workers of all classes and the continuance of the housing drive so effectively carried out under the inter-Party Government."

The Fianna Fáil Party during their period of office, and particularly during the difficult years 1952-53, built more houses than ever. The figures are down in the Library and if anyone wants to dispute them I will argue on them any time.

"Fine Gael played its part in the work of Inter-Party Government, which reduced taxes and kept down the cost of living at the same time as wages were increased and more people put into good employment. The Fine Gael policy is a policy that works.

What has been done before can be done again."

It goes on to outline various promises in regard to prices: 6½d. for the loaf; 2/8 for flour; 2/10 for butter; 4d. for sugar; 2/8 for tea; 11d. for the pint; 1/8 for cigarettes; 3/2 for petrol; 6/6 for income-tax; a flat rate tax of £12 for cars; 2½d. for the letter; and 12/6 for a wireless licence. Again, after snaffling whatever propaganda they might pick up at the time in this connection, they have now brought about a position in which the taxpayer finds himself paying more than ever.

Does the Deputy think we can do in 11 months what it took Fianna Fáil 21 years to do?

I would again ask the Deputy to allow Deputy Carter to make his speech. It is usual to allow a Deputy to speak without interruption.

Now the poor publicans of Dublin find themselves in a difficult position and according to some of them they will be going around in their underwear before next week unless the Government comes to the rescue and allows them to increase the price of drink. It is all right for the backwoods men of Fine Gael to laugh but they will find that they will not have so many shots in their locker to provide the sinews of war for an election. I refer to the subscriptions to their Party funds. Let me quote from a newspaper report of a speech yesterday in Dublin by a well-known publican who was discussing the price of drink. He was a Fine Gael candidate at the last election and he issued the pamphlet they welshed on later. I am quoting now from the Press, the free Press.

That means it is not the Irish Press.

The free Press

It is the free Press, not the Party Press.

I am sure if the Minister for Health had his way even the Press would not be free.

That is a very weighty pronouncement.

The quotation is as follows: "It is most likely that the prices of drink will be increased on the consumer in the near future." I stood listening to speeches down in Longford by the Minister for Defence, then Deputy MacEoin, in which he wept for the poor publicans and for the unfortunate taxpayer. I move to report progress.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.