Imposition of Duties (Confirmation of Orders) (No. 2) Bill, 1955—Second Stage.

I move that the Bill be now read a Second Time. The purpose of the Bill, as set out in the explanatory memorandum which I have circulated to Deputies, is to confirm 13 Orders made by the Government under the Emergency Imposition of Duties Act, 1932. The commodities covered by the Orders are as follows:—fabric gloves, slashers or slash hooks, artificial silk fabrics, underfelt, flexible mirror glass, knitted woollen gloves, artificial textile and union fabrics, display shapes and stands, storage water heaters, angle iron fencing posts, milk cans, iron and steel bolts, margarine.

The Orders dealing with fabric gloves and knitted woollen gloves arose out of a threat to the glove-making industry from low priced gloves manufactured in the Far East. The existing ad valorem customs duties were inadequate to protect the industry against imports of such gloves and it was necessary to impose specific duties at rates sufficient to ensure the continuance of production and employment. A feature of the knitted woollen glove industry is that it is located almost exclusively in County Donegal.

The danger of substantial imports of low priced fabrics from the Far East was also an important factor which led to the making of the Orders dealing with artificial silk fabrics and with artificial textile and union fabrics. A position had arisen where the output of the firms engaged in the production of bag-making cloth, linings, lingerie cloth and dress cloth was being seriously threatened by imports from the Far East and elsewhere at low prices which bore no comparison to normal costs of production.

The duty on slashers or slash hooks was reduced from 25 per cent. to 20 per cent. ad valorem in respect of imports of United Kingdom or Canadian origin. The British Board of Trade asked for a review of this duty in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Anglo-Irish Trade Agreement of 1938. The review was carried out by the Industrial Development Authority, who recommended that the duty should be reduced from 25 per cent. to 20 per cent. ad valorem.

The manufacture of underfelt was commenced within the past year or so and the duty was imposed in order to afford a measure of protection for the industry. Underfelt is a textile material primarily used as an underlay for carpets. It is also used as trimming and flooring in motor cars.

The manufacture of flexible mirror glass is a small but interesting development in the glass trade and it was decided to afford it a measure of protection. Flexible mirror glass consists of ordinary mirror glass cut into small rectangles and fixed to a textile backing, which can be formed into various shapes and used for shop window dressing and display purposes.

The Orders dealing with display shapes and stands and with angle iron fencing posts revoked the duties hitherto chargeable on these goods. The duties were originally intended to be protective duties but the manufacture of the goods in question did not develop satisfactorily and no useful purpose was being served by allowing the duties to remain in operation.

The manufacture of copper boilers and cylinders for use in hot water systems has been carried on satisfactorily here for many years and has been protected by customs duty. This protection did not extend to what are known as indirect cylinders and calorifiers which are ordinary cylinders with water or steam carrying coils inside them. Indirect cylinders are used mainly in central heating units and calorifiers are similarly used in large premises where steam is generated. The Irish firms are equipped to meet the full demand. It was accordingly decided to extend protection to the manufacture of indirect cylinders and calorifiers.

Early in 1954 a customs duty of 15 per cent. (full rate), 10 per cent. (preferential rate) ad valorem was imposed on milk cans up to 12 gallons capacity as a measure of protection for the manufacture of these goods which had recommenced after a lapse of some years. The industry producing the milk cans is equipped to turn out the full requirements of the country in cans up to 12 gallons capacity. Although the home produced cans were competitive in price with the normal or list prices of similar imported cans there was evidence that exporters in other countries were manipulating prices to bring them down to or below Irish prices notwithstanding the duty payable. It was considered necessary therefore to increase the rate of duty to 37½ per cent. (full) 25 per cent. (preferential) to afford the home industry adequate protection.

There was a customs duty on certain iron and steel bolts not less than ? inches in diameter. Bolts which were only fractionally less than ? inches in diameter were being imported free of the duty to the serious deteriment of the firms who manufacture bolts here. It was, accordingly, necessary to close this loophole in the duty. Since 1927 there has been a customs duty of 3d. per lb. on margarine. When this duty was originally imposed it was equivalent to an ad valorem rate of 50 per cent. and under this protection the industry developed to the point where the full requirements of the market were being supplied by the Irish manufacturers. During 1954, importation of continental margarine commenced and developed to a point where it was necessary to bring the specific duty of 3d. per lb. imposed in 1927 into line with current money values, to keep the industry adequately protected. It was decided to convert the specific duty into an ad valorem duty at the rate of 50 per cent. (full), 33? per cent. (U.K. and Canada).

Mr. Lemass

This Bill appears to offer the only opportunity the Dáil is likely to have during the present session of querying the Minister upon some recent developments in his policy regarding industry. I am aware that on similar Bills in the past we have had fairly wide discussions upon industrial policy generally and I think that precedent will permit me to wander a little outside the precise terms of the Bill this afternoon. However, if at any time the Ceann Comhairle thinks I am speaking in a manner which is irrelevant to the Bill I feel sure he will draw my attention to the fact. During the course of the Dáil recess, and before that, the Minister made in public repeated invitations to firms in other countries to interest themselves in industrial development here, and there are, I understand, missions now abroad or about to go abroad to Germany and Sweden, charged with the duty of selling to individual firms in these countries the idea of participating in Irish industry.

While I want to make it quite clear that I have no objection either to the issuing of these general invitations or the sending of these missions abroad or to other efforts to attract foreign firms into Irish industrial development, or certain aspects of it, I think that the Minister has not realised the importance of defining precisely what he has in mind. On at least two previous occassions during the present year I tried to urge upon him the inadvisability of vague, general statements in matters of that kind. I am sorry I did not succeed in getting from him any precise indications of his intentions. I do not know if the Minister is aware that in certain industrial circles here he is regarded as having "a bee in his bonnet" about the introduction of foreign firms into Irish industry, and I personally am aware of some firms which were contemplating extensions of their activities and which have delayed doing so until the position is clarified.

I want to urge on the Minister that he should state—if not this afternoon, then upon some other occasion in the near future—in a precise way the type of industrial activities into which foreign firms would be welcome and the type of industrial activities into which they are not required to come and where it is not intended that they should be allowed to come. I think he should state the conditions under which foreign firms will be allowed to operate here. The Minister has power under the Control of Manufactures Act to attach conditions to any licence given to an externally-owned firm. What conditions does he intend to impose? Is it contemplated in the case of any foreign-owned firm starting business here that it will be subject to the condition that any proportion of its total production is to be exported? I want him to say is it still correct that, assuming there are two propositions of equal merit for the commencement of any industrial process here, one from an Irish firm and the other from a foreign firm, that the Irish firm will get preference?

There appears to be a belief in some quarters at the present time that the preference is being exercised the other way.

In the past when, as Minister for Industry and Commerce, I had the obligation of speaking on these matters I made it clear that we would welcome foreign participation in Irish industrial development when it brought with it—and only when it brought with it— skills and opportunities which we have not got here, or the prospect of developments which were unlikely to come within a reasonable time from exclusively Irish enterprise. My experience in these matters leads me to argue that no matter how energetic the efforts that may be made to attract foreigners into Irish industrial development, no matter how many missions we send abroad, we must place our main reliance in securing an extension of industrial activity here upon encouraging Irish investment in industry. We must rely on those who have a personal as well as a financial interest in Irish development.

I think also we should have very close regard to the dangers which are associated with industrial development in the form of branch factories established by foreign firms. Branch factories of foreign firms established here for the purpose of undertaking export trade will always be marginal undertakings. If there is a trade recession of some kind or some alteration in trade conditions which involves a curtailment of sales by the parent company their branch factories here will be the first to be closed. The managements of these foreign firms will naturally try to keep their main plants in operation to the maximum extent and will sacrifice the marginal units without hesitation if it is necessary to that end. Any foreign firm coming in here is solely concerned with the profit it can make from operating here and when the prospect of profit disappears it will disappear also. If we had any substantial proportion of Irish industrial activity carried on in such branch factories owned by foreign firms, then, in a period of trade difficulty, even a very slight trade slump we could get a disproportionate displacement of labour here.

In 1952, there was something in the nature of a trade slump in the world generally and I remember pointing out to the Dáil on that occassion that the effect of that slump on industrial development in this country was much less severe relatively than in Great Britain and in other countries which were largely dependent on the industrial export trade. That was mainly because exports represented such a small proportion of the output of Irish firms. We must get an expansion of industrial exports if we can, but we want it to be directed by firms that will fight for every bit of it and not ruthlessly sacrifice or relinquish it when the interests of some larger concern elsewhere so require.

I think there is growing in the country a certain amount of apprehension as to what the consequences may be of putting undue emphasis on foreign participation in our industrial development when, as it appeares at the present time, that emphasis even requires ignoring the prospects of equal or similar development directed by Irish-owned concerns. When I was Minister for Industry and Commerce I believed and acted on the belief that policy in these matters should be detailed not in speeches but in legislation. The control of Manufactures Act which was passed for the purpose of preventing Irish industrial development mainly taking the form of the establishment of branch factories by foreign firms forced in here by protective tariffs, has to a large extent served its purpose and it may be that there is a case for its revision—I certainly do not think there is a case for its repeal. But if there is to be any loosening up on the granting of licences under that Act to externally-owned firms, then the case for revision is very strong. Indeed one Irish industrialist has already stated publicly that if the aim of that Act is to be in part nullified by the free granting of licences to foreign-owned firms the existing Irish firms should also be allowed to go abroad to get the capital required for the extension of their own activities, a course they are prohibited from taking under existing legislation.

I realise that the Minister has not had any notice that I was raising this question now and he need not deal with it if he does not wish to deal with it, but I would urge on him the importance of dealing with it in a specific and definite way as soon as possible because the vagueness and uncertainty and doubt that surround the existing position are, I believe, holding up many developments—perhaps not the establishment of new industrial concerns which can clear their position with the Department beforehand—but the extension of activities by existing concerns which is the main method by which Irish industrial activity has increased in recent years.

There is one other aspect of the Minister's policy which is also arousing discussion and some grave anxiety. It has been announced that in connection with the commercial development of minerals in Avoca a tax concession is going to be given.

Now, now.

Mr. Lemass

I am not going to deal with the merits of that matter, but I want to say this——

Is the deputy going to be allowed to make comments on a situation which is not in order and to which I cannot reply?

The Deputy cannot go any further into this matter.

Mr. Lemass

I assume that legislation dealing with that matter will be presented to the Dáil soon.

That has already been announced.

Mr. Lemass

What does the word "soon" mean?

I do not wish the Deputy to make a case on this matter. I have given the Deputy a good deal of latitude in this discussion and I hope he is not going into that field.

Mr. Lemass

Press reports have indicated that the firm concerned in this matter have been promised tax concessions. I think they should be told that any promises made to them with regard to tax concessions are conditional on the Dáil accepting these proposals and the Dáil has not yet accepted even the principle of discriminatory taxation.

I must ask the Deputy not to go any further along that line.

The most explicit statement has been made that the necessary legislation will be introduced and the Dáil will be in a position to accept or reject it.

Mr. Lemass

No explicit statement about that has been made in public yet.

I cannot allow a discussion on that matter to arise on this Bill.

Mr. Lemass

I hope the Dáil will have an opportunity of discussing that whole business because it brings up the questions of public policy on which the Dáil should be consulted.

With regard to the other matters I have mentioned I would urge upon the Minister to take the opportunity of letting everybody know what he is doing and to see that every possible opportunity is taken to publicise the opportunities there are in this country for further industrial expansion so that everybody will know what is going on.

With regard to the specific Orders to which the Bill refers, three of them are the revocation or reduction of duties already in force. In so far as the one which relates to display stands used in shop windows is concerned I have no comment to make. The firm that was engaged in that business never developed with the efficiency and enterprise which justified the maintenance of their protection. That firm was repeatedly warned that the continuation of that protection was not to be taken for granted if they did not do better than they had been doing.

So far as the Order dealing with fencing posts and stakes is concerned the position is somewhat different. Again I am not objecting to the revocation of the duties because the amount of fabrication needed to turn a bar of iron into a fencing post is not very great and I do not think that the revocation of the duty will interfere very much with the firms on whose behalf the duty was first imposed. I understand that their inability to develop the production of these goods arises from the disparity between the price of bar iron from Haulbowline and bar iron from Britain.

I do not know what the circumstances at Haulbowline are now, but some year or two ago it was claimed that the cost of conversion from billets to bars there was lower than in any English steel mill. Whether that is so still or not I do not know. There were, in the past few years, many instances where, because of the high cost of steel to the Irish firm engaged in various forms of manufacture, it was cheaper to import manufactured commodities from Britain and pay duty on them, than to attempt to make them here. While I do not object to the revocation of the duty on fencing posts and stakes, I want to say that I think it is undesirable that we should go to any great extent in that direction without knowing precisely what the future holds for us. There was a time when the cost of unprocessed steel from Britain to firms in this country was often higher than the goods manufactured from it and on many occasions I refused to issue duty free licences, because I believed that such a position could not continue, and that it was undesirable for us to cease any type of productive activity on that account of to disperse skilled labour because of a temporary situation of that sort.

We have got a number of industries using Irish steel produced in Haulbowline and it is important to them that the steel works there should be so operated that they will be at no very great competitive disadvantage as against similar works in Great Britain.

While I cannot say that I have any idea of the reason why Haulbowline steel should be so much dearer, I hope it is a temporary situation and that the Minister will be able to so assure the House.

The reduction in the duty on slashers and slash hooks has, the Minister told us, been effected following a review of the previous tariff, undertaken at the instance of the British Trade Commissioner. I am aware that the firm concerned in the production of these goods views the reduction of the duty with disapproval and even some apprehension. I think I am correct in saying that when the question of protecting the manufacture of these goods first arose the application was for an ad valorem duty of 50 per cent., but a duty of only 25 per cent. was granted and this Order now reduces that to 20 per cent. The firm whom I asked for its reaction on the matter has said to me that they feel that a 25 per cent. minimum duty is essential. That is not because the goods they are producing are any dearer than the goods produced in Britain or inferior in quality.

Most people will agree that these goods produced here in Wexford are of excellent quality and are as good as anything that are imported.

But, as everybody here knows, there is, not so much a prejudice against Irish produced goods, as a desire on the part of traders in a town to have something different from what other traders are offering. If the reduction of the duty permits of it, it is almost certain that it will be availed of to import a greater quantity of these goods from abroad merely to have something different to show, to the detriment of Irish manufacturers and the employment given by them, because, of cource, any curtailment in their output will also curtail their efficiency, their ability to maintain their present competitive price position.

I think I should on Committee Stage produce an amendment to delete that Order from the Schedule to the Bill so as to give the Minister a fuller opportunity of explaining why he thinks this reduction in duty can be made and of expressing his views as to what the consequences of the reduction may be.

It is refreshing to find general agreement on both sides of the House in relation to such an important matter as the development of industry in this country both in order to meet the requirements of the home market and for export. I could find myself in agreement with a great deal of what Deputy Lemass has said.

It would have been better, however, if he had not introduced and given publicity here to what he said was the belief, for instance, which some people had that, other things being equal, as between the Irish firm and the non-Irish firm, in some cases the non-Irish firm was getting the preference. I do not think Deputy Lemass himself believes that. I do not think that that can be established satisfactorily by anybody outside. I suggest that a statement like that should not be made, particularly by a Deputy of the standing and experience of Deputy Lemass, with his particularly intimate knowledge of the matter that we are now discussing, unless he were satisfied that there was conclusive evidence.

Deputy Lemass said that there is apprehension among certain people outside regarding statements which the Minister has made with a view to attracting outside firms in here to produce goods that are not produced here at all, or that are not produced here in sufficient quantity, or to produce entirely, or almost entirely, for export. The Deputy knows, probably better than anybody else either outside or inside this House, that if there is to be any change whatever in the position which has obtained for the last 30 years there will be apprehension among certain people. Nobody knows that better than the Deputy. I do not think there will be any apprehension amongst the majority of Irish industrialists, among those who have made an effort to make themselves efficient and to produce as good an article as can be produced within the circumstances obtaining here.

Some of the fears which were expressed arose, I am quite satisfied, from a complete misunderstanding of what the Minister was doing and was trying to do. Some of the feelings of apprehension were expressed by people who have reason, as I say, to be apprehension of any change that would be made.

It is better that we should speak quite plainly on this matter. There is common agreement on both sides of the House that Irish industrialists should get, not merely preference, but whatever measure of protection is required to put them on at least an equal footing, taking everything into consideration, with anybody who may come in from outside. I want to emphasise "at least an equal footing". After 30 odd years, I think we and the people outside are entitled to say that, whilst giving the fullest protection against unfair competition, there must be some recognition of the fact that merely because it is an Irish firm it will not become a 100 per cent. monopoly, sheltered completely from any form of competition. I venture to say that a good deal of the apprehension—I do not say all of it—has been expressed by people who take the view that this Legislature should protect them against all and any competition. The Deputy and the Minister are quite aware that there are Irish firms who not merely are apprehensive, but who protest vehemently, not only against anybody from outside coming in to compete with them, but if any other Irish firm goes into the same system of processing or production. Deputy Lemass knows that quite well.

The Deputy said that the Minister should publicise the facilities that are available to people in this country, in order to encourage them to come in. I think the Minister is doing quite a good job. I think he has publicised them pretty well. May I say that what might not have been either possible or desirable at any time within the last 30 years, up to a year or two ago, may be both possible and very desirable now in the very changed circumstances which obtain throughout the world and particularly throughout Europe to-day? Deputy Lemass knows quite well that the circumstances have changed completely. Foreign firms who might desire to establish industries in Great Britain and established British factories are finding it almost impossible to expand because the requisite labour is just not available there. On that point, let me say—and I am quite sure Deputy Lemass will be in entire agreement on this—it would be preferable for us to have factories here giving employment to our own workers in Ireland rather than that our workers should go to Great Britain or elsewhere to produce the goods in factories there. There are reasons and there are inducements and there are almost compulsions in the circumstances of the day for outsiders to establish factories here that were not there two or three or four years ago.

When Deputy Lemass says that Irish industrialists must get first preference in any development, whether for the home market or the export market, again he must agree that, with a few notable exceptions, in the last 30 years or 20 years, very few of them have made any real effort to get into any part of the export market and I think it is true to say and that it should be said that there are certain manufacturers in this country who have got very substantial protection, at pretty severe cost to the ordinary citizen over a long number of years. Again I want to emphasise that those that I am now talking about are in the minority but they are there and Deputy Lemass knows they are there and the Minister and most people in this House know they are there. Although they have received very adequate protection at rather substantial cost to the ordinary citizen, they have made no effort to get into the export market and quite a number of them have not made an effort even to meet the requirements of the home market. Nobody knows that better than Deputy Lemass.

There is a situation—I was going to say "arising"—which has arisen, a situation which has been brought more sharply to our notice because of the drive in recent years for an export market, wherein our ability to get into the export market and stay in it depends very largely on the ability of other Irish industries to give us the raw materials of the quality and kind that are essential, if we are to compare not merely in price but in quality, finish, design and so on, with the products of competitors whom we will have to meet when we go into the export market.

It is not an easy problem; it is a very difficult problem; but one is not going to solve it by pretending that it is not there, by making no effort in any way whatever to deal with it or by just shutting one's eyes to it. When we talk about exports and an export market, whether it is into Britain or into America—we may talk about a greater Ireland beyond the seas in America and some people may fool themselves for a time by talking about the sentiment value that is there—we know that we are not going to get into the America market, and certainly are not going to remain there, unless we give them what they want, and not what we think they want, and give it to them at least as good as they can get it from anybody else. There is no member of the House who is not prepared, in my opinion, from my experience of the House, to give to the fullest extent justified any measure or type of protection a genuine Irish manufacturer wants to enable him to get on his feet and to give him a fair chance of meeting competition, no matter whence it may come.

I do not think it is any harm to say this but, whether it is or not, I am going to say it, and to ask the Minister whether he knows it and whether Deputy Lemass can give us any information on it. I understand that American industrialists are establishing industries over practically the whole of Europe, Great Britain and the northern part of this country. Is there any reason that can be given as to why there does not seem to be any anxiety on their part to come in here? If there is any obstacle which we can be told about—or, at least, which the Minister can be told about; I do not necessarily mean the House—I am quite sure that, if it is possible to have that obstacle or obstacles removed, not merely will they be removed, but whatever inducements the Government can properly give to get worth while industries here, and particularly from America, will be given.

There was a very large amount of misrepresentation of one of the first speeches made by the Minister regarding his efforts to induce outside industrialists to come in here. A good deal of that speech was misrepresented, and very much misrepresented across the water in Great Britain, by some people, I am quite certain, through a misunderstanding of what the Minister said, by some people, through ignorance and by many people, out of mischief. The Minister was represented in many of the British newspapers and even by speeches by some of our friends in the northern part of this country, as offering inducements to the Germans to come in here which were not being offered to anybody else. It might be no harm to say here that no inducements were offered to the Germans or anybody else which have not been available and pressed upon British manufacturers and industrialists for many a long day and many a long year. Both the Minister and his immediate predecessor, Deputy Lemass, know that better than I do.

There is what may appear to be a small point, but it is a very important point and I should like the Minister to take a look again to see if he can find some better arrangement in regard to it. I am speaking now about Irish factories and Irish citizens who require the products of other Irish factories and who, if they cannot get them, want permission to import. This system of the person who wants to purchase the article having to get a letter from the Irish manufacturer who is producing, or is supposed to be producing, an efficient article in sufficient quantity, is not working out satisfactorily or justly, and I go further and say that, in some cases, it is being abused. Again, I am quite certain that out of their own experience, Deputy Lemass and the Minister know that that is quite true.

Not merely must the finished article produced for consumption here at home, but, in particular, for export, if we are to talk seriously about export, be good and look good, but the various raw materials which go into the making of that finished article must be equally good, because naturally if they are not, the finished article itself cannot be good. This is a question not merely of the firm, the actual exporter of the finished article. It does not rest very often entirely with that firm, the actual exporter, as to whether they can or cannot get in successfully to an export market. It depends on whether every piece of raw material that goes into the making of the finished article is of itself the best that can be produced.

We have made very great progress in this country industrially. I do not think anybody is satisfied that we have made anything like the progress we should have made and when you count, over a period of over 30 years, the assistance of various kinds which has been given by successive Governments to people who want to start and develop industry here, the results to date are not as good as they should be. I want to say this, from whatever experience I have, that we have to face the fact that it is quality and value, and nothing else, that counts. In order, in the first place, to get the quality in the article, one must have efficiency not merely at the top, but right down to the lowest paid operative in the particular firm. When it comes to the question of putting on the market that finished article, which in quality compares favourably with anything produced elsewhere, the question of price will be determined in very large measure by the executive, managerial and technical skill available, a skill which is being used efficiently for the direction of that particular type of industry, by the type of machinery used, the degree of skill necessary and the relative output of the operatives engaged in the industry. I need not tell anybody here, or outside, that in commerce, business and trade, particularly international trade, there is no room for sentiment; that has always been true of trade, and it is even truer of trade to-day than heretofore. There is the driving of hard bargains and it is quality and price, and nothing else, that count.

We are merely beating the air in talking about building our industrial arm to the point where we cannot merely provide employment for those of our people who cannot get employment on the land, much less bring back those of our people who have gone out of the country. We shall never reach that position unless we can measure up to the requirements which I have been trying, however inadequately, to put before this House to-day. It is about time we grew up. It is about time we adopted a realistic approach. It is about time we faced the problems that are there, and faced the facts, by making ourselves aware of what has to be done. When we have done that, let us put the position then to those immediately concerned with the production and sale of the goods about which we are talking here.

It is not my purpose to compare our improvements, either agriculturally or industrially, one year with another. Neither do I intend to compare the increase in production and output, either industrially or agriculturally, as between ourselves and other countries. I think it is futile to do that because conditions may be completely different. I feel, however, that we can do a lot more than has been done. There are firms here of which we can be extremely proud, firms which are turning out a really first-class article both for the home market and the export market, firms which are successfully putting their goods on the export market and meeting and beating competition from countries with a much longer industrial tradition. I feel there are many other industries here which could do the same.

On the whole, it is only fair to say that Irish industry is in a pretty healthy and a pretty sound condition. The outlook is good. From my experience in another walk I can say that the demand for industrial premises at the moment is probably greater now than it has ever been at any time; and that demand comes in the main from Irish citizens.

Does the Deputy not think he is enlarging the scope of the debate very considerably?

I did not intend to do that. Perhaps if what I have been saying could be carried into effect, even to some small extent, we might not have so many impositions of duties to deal with. I am grateful to the Chair for letting me go so far. I was not quite finished but when one has something on one's chest it is a relief to get it off.

Deputy Lemass has taken advantage of this Bill to raise a number of matters which, in my long experience in this House, have never been raised on a Bill of this kind.

Mr. Lemass

Other matters equally irrelevant were raised.

I do not think so. Probably this is not the occasion for following the Deputy, however, into the highways and the byways which he traversed in the course of his speech this afternoon. The first of the three Orders to which the Deputy referred imposed a duty of 50 per cent. full and 33 per cent. preferential on what are described as "display shapes or stands". That duty was imposed in 1947. It was quite a substantial duty. I do not think there were ever more than two or three people employed. It was a travesty of the Act under which this duty was imposed ever to have invoked it for the purpose of giving a 50 per cent. protective duty on the evidence that was produced. One of the miracles to me was how it was allowed to continue from 1947 to the present day. The staff employed would have fitted on a bicycle, and that after eight years with a 50 per cent. duty.

That was not the only difficulty. Not only would the manufacturer not make the goods for which he got a duty of 50 per cent. imposed but he would not even answer letters sent to him by people asking him if he could supply them. In order to avoid paying the duty they wanted to place an order with this manufacturer; but they could not get a reply from him as to whether or not he would make the article. When they wrote a second time and asked whether he could supply so that, in the event of his not being able to supply, they could make application for a duty free licence, he would not even answer the letters. That is the position I found.

Does Deputy Lemass or anybody else think that honest, bona fide traders here should have their whole business dislocated because this individual gets a duty of 50 per cent. on the presumption that he will manufacture, does, in fact, no manufacturing, and succeeds only in remaining in existence for the purpose of thwarting firms in whose business this particular commodity is essential?

I do not want to discuss this matter at any great length. That is not the only feature about this 50 per cent. tariff in this particular case. I anticipate there will be a sequel elsewhere because there are some other aspects. I do not want to discuss those aspects now; but that position certainly shows me, and I am sure it will show any impartial committee of this House, how careful one must be before promiscuously permitting a 50 per cent. tariff in the circumstances surrounding this case.

On the question of fencing material, the manufacturers stated the fabrication of the posts would give virtually no employment whatever and, because of supply and price difficulties, it was not the kind of business about which they had any great anxiety. The matter was discussed with them at the time and the position is still the same; they said they had no interest in the continued production of these goods and they indicated they saw no objection to the removal of them from the scope of the duty.

It is in accordance with the conclusions reached following that consultation that the duty has been removed from these articles. If at any time it is thought to be desirable to reimpose it in order to facilitate the establishment of an industry here, which offers the prospect of a reasonable amount of employment, the same methods as were heretofore adopted can be resorted to.

On this question of slashers and hooks, the British Government sought a review of these articles under the 1938 Trade Agreement. As Deputy Lemass knows only too well, once they ask for a review the review has to take place. The review was carried out by an Irish authority—the Irish Industrial Authority—and as the Deputy knows well we have to accept their recommendations in this case or abrogate the treaty. I take it Deputy Lemass or any other responsible Deputy does not want us to do that. The British Government consented to this review machinery and they as well as we have to accept the recommendations of the Industrial Development Authority—an Irish authority.

In this particular case the Industrial Development Authority reviewed two products, slashers and billhooks. They recommended the continuance of the old rate in one and a decrease of 5 per cent. in the other. Since this review there has been no change in the volume of imports and we have not had a single complaint from the firm since this review took place; in fact the firm was glad because of the fact that the difficulties have been disposed of. I would think that Deputy Lemass should think again on the question as to whether or not it would be good for the firm concerned to have a discussion in public here on the ins and outs of this business. If he were to listen to my advice he would see the desirability of discussing this personally with me if there is to be any discussion on the matter. I am prepared to have such a personal discussion with him at any time. Because this is a commodity subject to review I do not think public discussion is likely to be helpful to the people making the commodity.

Deputy Morrissey raised the question which is always inseparable from the situation where you have got a protective industry wanting to import commodities and inquiring whether these goods could be imported. I think a good deal of that is necessary. There may be cases—I have come across some of them—where a firm which wishes to import a commodity sometimes wholly or sometimes as part of a bigger piece of machinery wants to ascertain from the manufacturer of the microscopic piece of a big machine whether they can supply the microscopic part.

In many cases, because of our practice in following a certain procedure over the years, some people anxious to purchase machinery which is only an infinitesimal portion of their finished product have been given a most irritating and frustrating run round. While the machine lies in the dock the cost of making the part might give employment to one while the idle machine might give employment to 100.

It is not easy to find such difficult cases in shoals in respect of which one could say that a certain procedure should be adopted but it would appear to be irritating to have to ask a firm to find out from a possible manufacturer whether they can or cannot supply a commodity, when they can supply such a commodity and at what price. The procedure should be modified as much as possible, particularly where trivial articles are concerned. There is no assurance at all—and this has been brought home rather forcibly to me—that a firm which does not make a commodity is going to give a high priority in dealing with a letter which merely asks if it can supply this commodity and at what cost. But the unfortunate importer here, waiting for the commodities out of customs, has to wait until the firm across the water wakes up to the desirability of extending the courtesy of a reply to the inquiring firm's letter.

I think there would be common agreement that these irritations and frustrations should be eliminated as much as possible and I have certainly endeavoured to do that in my relatively brief time in the Department of Industry and Commerce. On the question of the ability to purchase satisfactory materials from an Irish manufacturer of goods for the export market, I have a lot of sympathy with Deputy Morrissey because if a firm has to produce the finished article for sale in the export market it is necessary, in order to maintain his efficiency and skill, to produce a perfect article. The sole determining feature of that is the appearance of the finished article —the sole determining feature as to the article's appeal to the importer in another country.

Very often a firm may get as its raw materials badly finished or unfinished articles which form a necessary part of the completely manufactured commodity which he produces for export, and unless all the materials which go into the finished article tot up to give a satisfactorily finished product, the firm which finally does the exporting is at a considerable disadvantage with its competitors. That is not an insoluble problem. It has been the practice to permit a firm to buy its raw materials from outside the country and to permit its access to the best and most suitable type of raw material knowing that if we are to hold our place on the highly competitive export market this must occur. I think Deputy Morrissey, when Minister for Industry and Commerce, my predecessor and myself have all in turn taken the view that the exporter of a commodity must be given every facility to get the best raw material to produce at the cheapest possible price the most efficient and most attractive article. The problems envisaged by Deputy Morrissey are soluble by a resort to that procedure and there is no reason why it cannot be adopted in any of the cases he has in mind. Deputy Lemass raised the question of the Avoca mines.

Mr. Lemass

I tried to.

The Deputy did not do too badly. From the point of view of the Bill we are discussing the Deputy was allowed to go further than any other Deputy in the past 30 years. In a Press interview which I gave following the conclusion of an agreement with the Canadian mining group I said on behalf of the Government that legislation would be introduced to provide certain tax concessions for the exploiting of the Avoca mineral deposits. That would apply not merely to Avoca but to any new group going into the production of non-bedded minerals which started operations within three years. I felt that if we are to get development here on a satisfactory scale we have got to amend our tax laws in regard to the exploitation of metallic ores.

Mr. Lemass

Hear, hear, but do it generally. Why should another company get concessions which a different company did not?

I thought Deputy Lemass would be on my side.

Mr. Lemass

If I were allowed to speak I should have said that I was not against the use of taxation adjustments, but that I was against the discriminatory use of them.

They are to be nondiscriminatory.

Mr. Lemass

Surely there is the Silvermines company—that will not have this concession?

That is a matter of mechanics, a matter of detail, and we can discuss the whole situation when the necessary legislation comes along.

Mr. Lemass

But is it desirable to say now——

This country has the worst mineral laws in the world and the worst mineral taxation laws for a country that has minerals, and if we get better mineral taxation laws we may very well leave here, no matter what Government is in power, a mineral development policy which will result in the future in a much better exploitation of our mineral deposits than we have been able to get in the past. However, the necessary Bill to provide for these taxations will be introduced——

Mr. Lemass

We will not be waiting until the next Finance Bill? Will we have it this year? Or is it to be dealt with by the Minister for Finance?

I think it will be dealt with by the Minister for Finance.

Mr. Lemass

I think it is undesirable that this company should be allowed to go ahead in anticipation of legislation that has not yet been brought into existence. I do not think it is fair that the Dáil should have to consider it on that basis.

It may not be desirable, but it would not be the first time.

If the Deputy reflects on the consequences of not permitting the company to operate until such time as you get the legislation somebody will have to give an explanation to the people who might lose employment.

Mr. Lemass

There is more than that involved. Will the Minister mention the name of the company?

I think it is grossly unfair and disorderly to try to have that sort of discussion.

Mr. Lemass

I suggest that the Dáil should have an opportunity of discussing the whole scheme for the development of the Avoca mines and that it is unfair to the company to have it operating in anticipation of legislation and it is unfair that that position should be allowed to arise without giving the Dáil a chance to hear the arguments which can be discussed on this Bill.

I can assure the Deputy that when he gets that legislation he will be more in favour of my point of view than of his own. While negotiations are going on it is clearly undesirable——

Mr. Lemass

I understood the negotiations were finished.

They do not arise on this Bill.

They are not finished. Certain things have yet to be done by the Department and by the Government subject to the authority of Parliament. Clearly a discussion of this kind is not likely to bring any national advantage and might do a considerable amount of mischief. I am sure Deputy Lemass does not want that result brought about and therefore I think the less we say about this matter at this stage until things clarify themselves, the better.

But why should there be an arrangement like this until the Government or the Minister is in a position to see that legislation will be introduced within a fairly short time?

The Government can say that legislation will be introduced. There is no question about that. And I hope the Government will be able to ensure that by conviction it can carry the legislation in the House. If we make what we think a satisfactory agreement is it not desirable that the operations at the mines should be permitted to start rather than that they should be stopped until such time as the last thread is tied up in an arrangement of this kind?

I think those who may criticise the proposals are surely placed at a disadvantage, as Deputy Lemass has pointed out, if a very long time is going to elapse.

I do not see how that arises now.

Surely it is a common practice for agreements to be entered into and subsequently ratified by the Dáil or otherwise?

And this agreement is subject to that.

Was not the 1938 Trade Agreement signed before Parliament ratified it?

Mr. Lemass

Are we entitled to reject this agreement?

Of course you are. All you have to do is to persuade the majority of the House that it is a bad agreement and you can reject it. I hope, however, that when the Deputy sees the legislation that he will be in favour of it.

On the general question of efforts to establish industries in this country, I had hoped that 33 years after we had got power to regulate our own affairs and order our own individual lives here within the limits of the jurisdiction of this Parliament we would be well on the way towards having agreement so far as industrial policy is concerned. I think the most unsettling and the most mischievous situation to have in this country is one in which industrialists believe that there is going to be any vital change of policy with the change from one Government to another.

I think it is essential that we should give over all the artificialities which produce these artificial alignments and settle down now after 33 years of native Government to evolving a national industrial policy in which there will be a broad understanding that certain things are desirable and that the approach to the problem of industrial development will not change with the change of Government; that if there is to be any disagreement it will only be as to the rate of acceleration of our industrial development and at this stage that no question of the wisdom of going on with it will be permitted to arise and become a serious factor in our discussions here. Is it not clear that there is agreement among all Parties in this country that we must establish more industries here for two reasons—(1) to provide ourselves with goods which we now import, (2) to provide employment for our people, and arising out of these, to provide greater wealth for the nation as a whole?

Can we, on both sides of the House now, in 1955 get agreement that that is a desirable national policy and can we tell our present industrialists, potential industrialists here or elsewhere that so far as anybody starting a new industry in this country is concerned he can always look forward to the help, guidance and assistance of whatever Government happens to be in power in this country? Is that ideal impossible of attainment? Is it possible to get agreement on that to-day so as to take this question of industrial development out of the acrimonious atmosphere in which one Party tries to score over another in regard to matters that are raised from time to time as regards whether a particular situation will continue if a particular Government is in power? I do not think there is any great difficulty in getting agreement on these broad lines, and having got the agreement we should not be tempted to make Party capital out of this matter or that, out of this issue or that issue because the fundamental is so desirable——

Mr. Lemass

Nobody is trying to make Party capital.

I want to keep this debate as cordial as possible. Some of the things the Deputy said on this and on other matters raised the suspicion that he was a good distance away from accepting that point of view when in opposition.

Mr. Lemass

I think it is true to say that we can get agreement on the desirability of developing industry now.

We have it.

Mr. Lemass

Long years of struggle have paid off at last.

Can we not stop at that? Will the Deputy set a good example now in opposition and cease in his efforts to pursue the other line?

Mr. Lemass

I reserve my right to criticise anything the Minister says that I do not like. That is my duty as an Opposition Deputy.

Oh, stop it.

The Tánaiste to conclude.

If it is our duty to establish more industries we must ask ourselves: Where are we going to get them and how are we going to get them? We have had 33 years to establish industries in this country. During that period—I think this will not be denied—we applied ourselves to establishing the industries which were easiest to establish. We established industries which, in a goodly number of cases, were of fabricated or partly fabricated articles. These articles came in here and so the production of the actual raw material was not necessary here. We established quite a considerable number of assembly industries here without getting down to producing the basic materials, metal or textile, which were an essential part of the development of the industry. In a whole variety of ways we established industries which were not the most difficult to establish, here or in any other country. Take, for instance, the case of the gentleman making his models with two or three people employed, and you will have some idea of instances in which we wasted time when we should not have wasted time.

The big problem now is from what source are we going to get the technical know-how to establish the industries which, after 33 years of sustained effort, we have failed to establish. For 19 of these 33 years that effort was under the personal supervision of Deputy Lemass. I am not blaming Deputy Lemass. As Minister for Industry and Commerce Deputy Lemass did everything in his power to establish here any industry that could possibly be established here. After 33 years there is still a substantial number of industries not in existence in this country and tens of millions of pounds' worth of manufactured goods flow in through our ports or over our land frontiers. The problem to-day is whether we can find the ways and means to employ our people and to manufacture these goods in this country instead of exporting our capital and labour to manufacture them in some other country.

We seem to be wandering far away from the matter before the House.

I am answering Deputy Lemass.

Mr. Lemass

I thought you were echoing me.

I am only answering Deputy Lemass because he was permitted by the Ceann Comhairle to raise these matters. He asked me to make a clear statement on the question of what were the facilities to be afforded to outside industrialists to manufacture commodities here. I do not know whether he wants clarification on this matter. I have put forward my point of view on it in speeches which I have made and which have appeared in the newspapers. They have appeared in the Irish Press and I do Deputy Lemass the honour of believing that he reads that paper. I have made it quite clear that my aim is to induce outside industrialists to come in here and to manufacture commodities which we do not produce here at present.

I have said to Irish industrialists and in my public pronouncements that, so far as I am concerned, in implementing that policy, it will not operate in any way to expose the present Irish manufacturer, who is supplying the needs of the home market, to competition from a powerful external firm which might want to go into the manufacture of the same commodity. I would prefer to see Irish manufacturers producing the commodities which they do not now produce, and I will give every possible facility to the efficient and realistic production of goods in Ireland by Irish manufacturers for sale here.

I assure such Irish manufacturers that they will get my warm and most sympathetic consideration, but if we cannot, for a variety of reasons, induce Irish manufacturers to engage in the manufacture of these commodities here, then we have to go out and find the technical know-how in order to have such commodities made here. Where can we get the technical know-how? Only from the people who have it. If these people are not in Ireland, then we have to go elsewhere —to Britain, the European countries and the United States—and endeavour to induce people in these countries to come in here and fill the vacuum created by our own inability to supply the goods we are not now making.

If the Irish industrialist can provide the commodities here in Ireland, then my view is that he ought to get every encouragement to do that, so long as it is a worthwhile realistic proposition which will ensure the development of Irish industries at home. It is in pursuance of that policy that I have endeavoured to induce industrialists from other countries to come here. I have had discussions with the British Trade Commission in an effort to induce British industrialists to come here and manufacture commodities which are not made here. Similar discussions have taken place with industrialists in other countries, the aim being to establish more industries here and provide more employment for our people.

Deputy Lemass raised the question of branch industries but I do not think there is any technical definition of a branch industry here. I think it is desirable to get industrialists from outside to establish factories here for the supply of commodities to the home market, No. 1, and to the export market, No. 2—to see if there can be a bridgehead or a foothold to be got into the export market with the possibility of expanding it. If industrialists willing to do that come here from England they will be as welcome as if they came from Germany or anywhere else. The main concern is to establish the industries here.

There are many lads catching a boat, probably to-night, looking for a job in England, who would not be particular whether the industry in Ireland was a branch industry or not, if they could get a job in it instead of having to go to England and find a factory. With what emigration we have had over the past 30 years we have got to make up our minds that employment must be provided in Ireland for our people. It is all right to talk about emigration but we must have employment to give our people, either in the factories, on the farm or in the public service. We must find the work for them where we can. It is essential to do that if we are going to stop the hæmorrhage of the best blood of our men and women who cannot find the where withal to sustain themselves here. I think I have the goodwill of the House behind me in this matter and the goodwill of all political Parties. This is a matter which transcends all political Parties and is more important than the scoring of debating points in the House. For my part I would always applaud any Government which was taking responsibility for taking an Irish lad or an Irish girl out of an emigrant ship and keeping him or her in employment in Ireland.

If any of the Deputies on the other side of the House or on this side of the House want to test that in their constituencies, they have ways and means of doing it. I bet that the overwhelming majority of our people will approve any kind of policy, almost, which offers employment for Irish men and women in their own land.

I do not think it is necessary to pursue this matter further. I hope that what I have said will dissipate the last of the mists of fog which have been created on this whole question. I would conclude, again putting this emphasis on what I say: so far as I am concerned, the aim will be to establish as many industries as possible here to provide employment for our people and the emphasis will be on encouraging Irish industrialists to undertake the establishment of these industries but, if they cannot or will not do it, we must get industrialists elsewhere in order to provide a livelihood for our people.

I think I have dealt with all the points which have been raised in the course of this discussion and I would ask the House to approve the Second Reading of the Bill.

May I put this consideration to Deputy Lemass? The Bill has to be passed by the Seanad on the 13th or 14th of this month and I was hoping, therefore, that he might co-operate in permitting the passage of this customary Bill at this stage. If the Deputy wants any discussion with me on the other point that he raised I will be only too glad to put him in possession of all the facts relative to that case but if the Deputy insists on his parliamentary right, which I frankly acknowledge, I do not mind dealing with it in a Committee Stage.

Question put and agreed to.

Mr. Lemass

The Bill must be passed by the Seanad on what date?

13th or 14th, I think. Even if the Deputy does put it down, I do put it to him again that the discussion will not be helpful.

Mr. Lemass

So far as that is concerned, the Minister need have no doubt that before I raised the matter here I cleared with the firms that it is their desire to have it raised here.

I leave it to the Deputy to do what he wishes.

Mr. Lemass

We will take the Committee Stage to-morrow.

I understood the Deputy did not want any Industry and Commerce business taken——

Mr. Lemass

Before half-past six.

On the assumption that it would be disposed of before half-past seven, I committed myself to another engagement.

Mr. Lemass

Well, half-past six to-morrow?

Mr. Lemass

We will give all stages.

Committee Stage ordered for Thursday, 3rd November.