Committee on Finance. - Motion by Minister for Finance (Resumed).

The House and, indeed, the country will be expecting to hear from the Minister for Finance and from the Government in general, what, if any, policy they are to put to the electorate before the next general election. Those of us who listened to the speeches from the Fianna Fáil benches last week and the week before on this Vote on Account are quite satisfied that the Government are living very far from reality and that they apparently have lost complete touch with rural Ireland. They have lost complete touch with the activities in our provincial towns. We have even reached the stage where they are turning the blind eye and giving the deaf ear to the great problems facing our cities.

Listening attentively to the speeches of Fianna Fáil Deputies, we cannot help thinking that if there is such a thing left in public life as men with hard and determined necks—courageous men—they must be found in the Fianna Fáil Party because I have not heard from a Fianna Fáil Deputy any expression of appreciation for one moment of any good act performed by any Government or Party in the State except themselves. The Fine Gael Party have a record of proud service to the people of this country. The last Government was a Government which played a noble part in the building up of our agricultural industry. They laid the foundation for the commencement of the numerous industries that the present Government are boasting about having established during their term of office.

Deputy Corry, when addressing the House last week, described the great prosperity which he alleges existed in parts of his constituency. It must be borne in mind that it was during the term of office of the inter-Party Government, and due to the efforts of the Ministers of the day, that the present oil refinery at Whitegate exists. It is certainly an achievement for the inter-Party Government. Not a single word of credit has been given in that regard.

It must be borne in mind that the oil refinery at Whitegate—a project which cost over £12,000,000—was initiated and negotiated during the lifetime of that Government. I venture to say, without the slightest fear of contradiction, that if it were not for the inter-Party Government, the St. Patrick's Copper Mines in Avoca, and the oil refinery, would never have materialised; if it were not for the fact that we had a Government in office which had the initiative, foresight, skill and ability to undertake projects of that kind they would never have come to fruition. Coupled with the great development of the copper mines in County Wicklow and the oil refinery, we find that the scheme for the eradication of bovine tuberculosis was commenced when the Fine Gael Party were associated with government in this country.

I am very sorry to say that during the past four years not alone the farming community but every section of the community have had a raid made on their livelihoods. It may be said that we have an unemployment problem which we have, and that we have an emigration problem to an extent which the country has never previously experienced, but those people who are left behind, people in business in our provincial towns, are suffering very seriously through the lack of business. In many cases shops have been closed down due to emigration and business firms have ceased to function.

It is well known that in the West of Ireland scores of what were once pleasant homesteads are now locked up; the doors have been bolted, sheets of galvanised iron have been placed across the windows and entire families have emigrated. Previously it was a case of one or two from each family emigration but in the past year or 18 months, we have had a new form of emigration, a more serious type of emigration, from rural Ireland—the emigration of entire families and not merely just one or two. There is a serious drain of young people, while even old people are being forced to emigrate because of the deliberate policy of the Government. There is no use saying that it is not the responsibility of the Government. It is the duty of the Government to provide for the citizens under their care. This is a Government who have shown no thought and no consideration by efforts to cater for the people. The Government seem to take emigration as something which is inevitable and cannot be remedied. Every one of us in public life must be aware of the stripping of the countryside of its population which has taken place in most areas in the midlands and in many areas in the west and south. In County Cork we have seen instances where parishes have practically disappeared, where schools are on the verge of being closed and many areas where the rural population has disappeared completely.

What greater evidence can we have in regard to the seriousness of emigration than a recent pronouncement of His Lordship the Bishop of Cork, Dr. Lucey, when he spoke to the congregation at Kinsale, County Cork? He is reported as having said that there are two distinctly unpleasant truths about this country which are not being faced up to. He went on to say that, due to emigration, the population was falling steadily to new low levels and the national debt increasing as never before. His Lordship is reported as saying that there was no questioning of these truths. There were census figures which showed that in the five-year period, 1951-56 the population fell to an all-time low level of 2,898,000— more than 200,000 people emigrated during that period—and for 1957 and 1958 the emigration figures were even higher.

That is a report of a pronouncement made by the Bishop of Cork, speaking in his own diocese. His Lordship concluded by saying that recently a Minister for State, if reported correctly, had declared: "Emigration is going to be a permanent feature of Irish life." Now, if emigration is going to be a permanent feature of Irish life what future is there for the young people, or for anyone, under a Government who have shown the white flag, forgotten their promises, failed in their obligations to the people and who are closing their eyes to the masses of people fleeing from the towns and cities and the land?

I want to charge the Fianna Fáil Party with national sabotage because if there was ever a political Party in this country set up to damage the economy, smash the confidence of the people, deprive them of their livelihoods, compel them to leave their lands, force working class people out of the country and deliberately attempt to destroy the agricultural community on which the foundations of this State rest, it is that Party.

I should like to hear from the Minister for Finance or from any Fianna Fáil Deputy as to who are better off today than they were 12 months ago. It is clear that people in every walk of life are worse off. There is less work and more emigration; farmers' incomes are falling drastically; and the future, as indicated by prices for next season, holds out no great hope. The local authorities are faced with the need to increase rates drastically, mainly because of the Health Act which was brought in by the Government and which they were advised at the time was unworkable. While the ratepayers are asked to pay millions to implement this Health Act, fewer people are getting the benefit of health services than ever before.

It is only right to remind the Government that before the last general election and for the first three months of their lifetime, the old promise of the 100,000 jobs was on their lips from the Taoiseach down, but when the Taoiseach was questioned in relation to the undertaking to provide 100,000 new jobs, he said he never gave it, never made any such promise. Does not everybody in the House and every voter know, to their great regret, that an undertaking was given to provide 100,000 new jobs and that it was on the strength of that undertaking that the Minister for Finance sits where he sits to-day? Fianna Fáil knew they had no notion of providing 100,000 new jobs. The test of that promise and of their policy is that to-day there are 51,000 fewer people working than were working when the promise was made. A general explanation is required from the Government of their all-round conduct.

It is very gratifying to know that the Government have now run the full length of their tether. They have been found out as having deceived the people over the cost of living, as having deceived the farmers over wheat and barley prices, as having abolished the Local Authorities (Works) Act which provided great employment all over the country and enabled very useful work by way of drainage to be done, as having partly scrapped the land reclamation scheme by abolishing Section B and as having attempted to abolish the parish plan, not counting the promise they solemnly gave the people in regard to food subsidies. As a result, bread, butter, flour, cigarettes and beer are all dearer to-day. There was a time when the Budget was the occasion of the presentation of the annual bill of taxation to the people. Now, we have not alone one Budget in the year, but every week we are presented with some kind of a budget by Fianna Fáil.

All over the country, and in rural Ireland particularly, we have had an unreasonable and drastic rise in E.S.B. charges. I do not care what the Minister for Transport and Power may say —this is a Government responsibility and collectively the Government are responsible for approving these all-round increases. These increases are unreasonable, especially in view of the fact that farmers were advised to avail of electricity. The farmer's income has been drastically reduced and county rates substantially increased and on top of this, there is a substantial increase in E.S.B. charges. We also have higher postal charges. Recklessly, and with complete disregard for the people's capacity to pay, the Government have approved many increases in postal charges and rates, telephone costs and other services administered by the Department of Posts and Telegraphs.

We also have a very substantial increase in the prices of drugs and medicines, which seriously affects all sections of the community. We have higher bus and train charges and motor transport costs have gone up considerably, particularly in the past four years, with the approval of the Government. Every motorist now must pay more for his insurance. The cost of keeping a car or a lorry on the roads has greatly increased. Petrol is 6d. per gallon dearer than it was before the Government took office. But we are told by Fianna Fáil that times were never so good and that people are better off. We are told by some of the Fianna Fáil Party that people are better off than when the inter-Party Government were in office. Only a lunatic would agree that conditions are better now than four years ago. Markets and fairs in country towns have completely disappeared and business in country areas seems to be at a complete standstill. Government policy is certainly responsible for that.

A very serious position is arising in rural Ireland in relation to the vast amount of valuable land being bought up by foreigners. I hope that the right of free sale will be maintained and cherished as it has always been. It is probably one of the most important rights of any citizen who owns property, but we now find that, apart from emigration and unemployment and higher living costs, another very serious attack is being made on the livelihood of our people, that is, the purchase of a great amount of land by foreigners. Despite the fact that huge tracts of land are being bought by foreigners all over the country, farmers' sons, who are well prepared, financed and equipped to work land, cannot get it. The emigrant ship is there for them. They are deprived of a livelihood in their own country while large tracts of land are being purchased by foreigners. I feel that the Government have the responsibility and the duty to see that the time does not come when the best of our land will be in the ownership of people who are completely foreign.

In that regard, I want to say that the Fine Gael Party have a policy. Despite all the Fianna Fáil speeches and the lip sympathy which they give to the question, they seem to have no policy whatever in relation to the purchase of land by aliens. The time has now come when the entire land policy of the Government and the activities of the Land Commission should be reviewed and steps taken to operate a system whereby young farmers could lease land on a rent basis, thereby reserving their capital for the purchase of stock and equipment. Are we to stand by and see the best land in Ireland being purchased by foreigners when our young farmers cannot get land? We have an institution called the Land Commission which, in my opinion, is out of date and which was never intended to be a permanent institution, in the first instance. That is why I feel that the policy of Fine Gael in this matter is something which must be put very clearly for progressive action on the part of the people.

The time has also come, if we are to keep our people on the land, when the Government should take steps to increase the minimum acreage deemed necessary for an economic holding. Most of our very small holdings are not economic. I am of the opinion that the Government can style no holding as economic, unless it is in the region of 45 acres and has sufficient tillage and grazing attached to support a family. It is high time the Government took serious action in this matter and the sooner the entire policy is reviewed the better.

The Government should also direct their attention to the matter of land acquisition and should take steps to suspend such acquisition, except in cases where there are very large holdings on the public market. When that happens, the Department of Lands should enter the public market and purchase the land in the ordinary way and then arrange for the renting or leasing of that land to the most deserving people in the surrounding area.

The Deputy should not become too detailed with regard to the Department of Lands.

That is something which would help to keep our people on the land and which would help in no small way towards providing more facilities on the land. We should endeavour to make rural life more compact and endeavour to build up parochial life in rural Ireland.

We have seen that the Government's policy with regard to the language has fallen very short of national expectations. Our entire system of education is seriously lacking in its capacity to provide a thoroughly sound education for our people. Too much has been spent on the language on the basis of the present approach to its restoration. If the language is to be restored, it can be restored only by the goodwill of the people, by voluntary effort and encouragement rather than compulsion. That is why I want to place on record, as one Deputy, my appreciation of the policy and the lead given by the Leader of the Opposition in that regard.

I really feel that the Irish language can make headway. There are a great many lovers of the language still left in the country, but the cost involved in the wrong approach and the cost involved in failure have been too great a burden on the taxpayers. The best approach is through voluntary effort, through prize schemes and attractive scholarships. Much can be done in that way to revive the language. One would imagine that nobody had any claim on the language or on Irish nationalism but the Fianna Fáil Party. Those of us on this side of the House are as gravely concerned about the revival of the language as any Deputy of the Fianna Fáil Party. We have equal love for the language, but we differ on the methods to be used to revive it.

For that reason, I feel the time has come when we should approach the people for a decision as to whether they are for or against the present system of compulsory Irish. When we got their opinion, I feel that it will be definitely against compulsory Irish, because it has, for years, been responsible for the export of only semi-educated people. It is on record that the standard of education of many people who have emigrated from this city and from provincial towns does not compare favourably with that of the people with whom they have to work in Britain. That is mainly due to the fact that much of their time at school was devoted to the study of a language which was useless to them when they were compelled to emigrate.

The best way to restore the language is by voluntary effort. If we could get the same spirit as we had at the time of the establishment of the Gaelic League, it would be half the battle. There are very many young people honestly and sincerely concerned about the revival of the language and they have proved it by the seriousness of their own individual efforts. They are concerned about the revival of the language but the policy of the Government has been a hindrance in the way of progress. Because of that policy, the sons and daughters of poor people have been denied the educational facilities which they deserve and to which they are constitutionally entitled.

I do not propose to detain the House any longer, beyond referring to the fact that the Government have failed miserably to live up to any single promise made by them. They now realise they are a beaten force and that their unfulfilled promises and undertakings of the past 25 years will no longer tempt people to place their trust in them. The people have found them out, but the lesson of the past four years has been expensive and sad, particularly for the 51,000 people forced out of employment since this Government took office.

If the Government had the interests of the country at heart, if they were concerned about the plight of the agricultural community, the thousands of workless, the many thousands on strike and the thousands forced to live in very difficult circumstances, they would pack up and admit they cannot do the job and have failed miserably. Fianna Fáil should not stand in the way of a Party with ability, courage and initiative. Fine Gael have the confidence of the people to carry out a programme for the benefit of all sections.

I did not want particularly to go back on the record of the Coalition Government. Deputy Flanagan tempts me to cite some of the serious economic conditions that obtained when they were leaving office. I have in mind the massive unemployment, the decline in production, the difficulties arising out of the totally unnecessary economic crisis which did not affect any other part of Northern Europe.

I am reminded that at one time the Coalition made the excuse that the Suez Canal blockage was responsible for the economic decline in 1956, although it took place at the end of October of that year. I am reminded that the crisis arose because there was a serious balance of payments difficulty in 1955. Owing to the failure of the Coalition Government to face realities, their drift from right to left and back to right again, owing to the different Coalition influences amongst them, there was insufficient saving in the country to carry over what should not in any sense have been a serious crisis. Warnings had been given by Fianna Fáil as far back as 1951 of what would happen if more of the available capital was not put into the productive resources. The Coalition went out of office with a bang and a whimper, leaving us to clear up the mess.

I note that Fine Gael Deputies are rushing around the country telling the farmers that Fianna Fáil are to blame for the recent and severe difficulties they experienced as a result of two successive years of freakish weather and the difficulties associated with the eradication of bovine tuberculosis. They have no counter measures to offer. Fine Gael Deputies do not take the Programme of Economic Expansion and refer to the sections dealing with the policy for increasing the cattle population or developing cattle exports and tear them to pieces and say: “This is what we would do if we were returned to office.” They have no positive proposals beyond suggestions that the number of advisers, particularly to small farmers, should be increased.

I thought it advisable to give some particulars of the progress in the agricultural field since we took office, particularly in regard to certain sections of agricultural production, and to the steps taken by the Government to surmount the worst difficulty, the eradication of tuberculosis. It would be well to refer to the advances in a very large field of agricultural production since 1956, that last full year of Coalition Government.

Difficulties were experienced in the export of store cattle. They began in 1954 and, from then onwards, it became quite clear that although there might be remarkable spurts in the value of cattle exports, there would be difficulties. It became clear that if feed was short in Great Britain through drought or flood, those difficulties would be enhanced and we would have to face adverse conditions, not only of the normal kind associated with tuberculosis, but of the abnormal kind associated with shortage of feed in Great Britain, particularly at the critical times of the year.

In so far as store cattle are concerned, already there are signs of a silver lining to the cloud of depression in the counties that have been attested. Store cattle prices have mounted in recent months and the trade is better. In January, the export of fat cattle was three times the January, 1960, figure. Exports of store cattle were about the same. Total exports of all forms of cattle, including carcase beef, went up in value by £1,300,000 in a single month. For the second half of 1960, there were very big increases in the exports of fat cattle. In order not to exaggerate that position I would point out that many farmers had to hold their cattle until they were fat and, with weather and eradication of bovine tuberculosis difficulties, the holding of the cattle was a severe financial burden.

Aided by subsidies for fat reactor cattle, the expansion of fat cattle has been taking place. All the recent evidence is that, as a result of attestation, one serious gap in the tide of agricultural exports is likely to be narrowed in the coming months— factors such as weather and other market conditions being equal.

If the whole of the agricultural industry is examined it will be seen that there has been remarkable progress. Farmers seem to have shown more confidence than the Fine Gael Party would like, judging by the figures for the total cattle stocks in the country now as compared with 1956. In spite of the elimination of reactors, in spite of bad weather, in spite of price fluctuations which caused our farmers the greatest difficulties, the total cattle population was 4.2 per cent. more than in June, 1956.

The population of young cattle is 10 per cent. more than it was. The population of cows and heifers is 8.2 per cent. more than it was in 1956. When the burdensome problem of eliminating tuberculosis on our farms is considered, together with the difficulties our farmers have had to contend with in that connection, it can be shown that, however despondent our farmers may have been in the past six months, taking the whole period from 1956, they have shown remarkable confidence in the proposals made by Fianna Fáil in 1958 for the expansion of the cattle industry.

In addition to that, the farmers have also shown confidence in the future by borrowing some £17 million from the commercial banks and what is even more remarkable, I understand from talking to some of the commercial bank people that the bad debts associated with the loans thus negotiated are recoverable, showing that in spite of their difficulties—the downward trend of cattle prices in 1959 and 1960 and the bad weather—they have been able to get along and repay the finances in reasonably good time.

I should indicate the aid which has been given by the Government to the agricultural community. We do not hear the Opposition telling the farmers that the total net expenditure for the main agricultural services in 1956-57 was £4,350,000 and that in the year just passing it had been raised to £10½ million, a very massive increase in relation to agricultural production throughout the country as a whole. It is very interesting to indicate in relation to the main increases that have taken place in regard to assistance for agriculture that for bovine tuberculosis the amount spent by the Government in the passing year will be ten times what was spent in the last full year of the Coalition Government—£4,700,000 as compared with £477,000.

The amount spent on ground limestone transport and fertiliser subsidies as a whole is four and a half times greater than it was in the last full year of the Coalition Government. Grants for the modernisation of bacon factories have been given for the first time. All the grants for seed testing, propagation and certification, for veterinary research, for private agricultural colleges, for university colleges, for county committees of agriculture, have shown substantial increases in that time and there is not a single branch of agriculture in which the Government have not shown their desire to provide aid and assistance. Under the heading of the Farm Building Grants Scheme a tremendous incentive is given by an Act passed recently which leaves the valuations of farm premises free of increase for a great number of years.

Having said that, it would seem of value to illustrate the points where there has been a real advance in agricultural exports since 1956 and I am glad to say that some of the figures are positively striking. What is very significant about the increase in our agricultural exports is the fact that it has been achieved although our farmers have been in difficulties in regard to cattle and crops, minimised in the latter case by Government grants. The farmers have responded gallantly and accordingly the total Government programme for agriculture seems to have had very considerable effect.

If you take the whole of the exports of agricultural produce, both live animals and processed foodstuffs, there is a total increase of 25 per cent. since 1956—from £70 millions to £88 millions. That includes the live cattle trade where we experienced the difficulties already mentioned. When you start to examine some of the individual items you will see the beginnings of the progress which I am convinced can be made, provided the farmers and the Government collaborate for the ending of bovine tuberculosis and provided always that we get reasonable weather.

The exports of beef in all forms— live and chilled—have gone up by 258 per cent. since 1956, a truly remarkable increase. The exports of mutton and lamb, chilled and frozen, have gone up by 62 per cent. The export of bacon and hams shows an increase of 267 per cent. since 1956. Those are figures which show real progress. Any figures over 200 per cent. indicates real progress and I might add that the bacon increases have taken place without the effect we hope for through the operation of the new Pig and Bacon Marketing Board, through which we will have, for the first time, an attempt to rationalise the marketing of our pig products in Great Britain.

The exports of dairy produce of all kinds, including butter and cheese, cream and milk and allied products, have gone up 184 per cent. since 1956 —again a quite remarkable increase. The export of cheese is still far too low, but at least the figures show an increase of 85 per cent. since 1956. Figures for exports of all the ancillary industries which are so important to small farmers, particularly those interested in young cattle, show some increase, though still not sufficient. Fruit exports in all forms have gone up 54 per cent. since 1956.

Exports of potatoes show an increase of 165 per cent. since 1956 and vegetables 37 per cent. It will be noted that the increase in exports of these commodities relates to a very great degree to processed foods which give more employment at home and the development of which is so vital in a country where so many people are leaving the land. We have been talking for many years about sending food in a more processed form abroad. In the past four years we can see signs of real expansion in this respect.

It is quite possible and reasonable to challenge the Opposition to say that if the exports of all these products, with the exception of store cattle, have shown very considerable increases, and that if they have no real solid proposals to make other than the Government's plans, taken as a whole, the agricultural policy of the Government has been accepted by the farming population and that the Government have shown in advance that where the markets are available and where considerable difficulties are not being faced— such difficulties as the eradication of T.B. reactors from herds—the Government are doing everything possible to make the agricultural programme more progressive.

Taking the whole of the massive agricultural policy of the present Government—the subsidies for fertilisers, the enhanced facilities for the improved production of cattle, the increased expenditure on nearly all forms of agricultural assistance, the provision of grants for newly designed pig houses and the continued support prices for cash crops—we know that we do not receive the kind of constructive criticism from the Opposition which would suggest that the policy is wrong and needs drastic revision of one kind or another.

It is very wrong for Deputies of the Opposition to go around the countryside and bewail the lot of the farmers unless they can at least propose something substantial in the way of an alternative policy. They do not contest our policy, which is based on the belief that the consumption of beef should expand throughout the length and breadth of Europe, and particularly in England, provided it is of good quality, provided the live cattle themselves come on well when they come to Great Britain and provided we keep up with modern trends. They have no proposals of a substantial kind to suggest we can move any more quickly than we are moving in the elimination of bovine tuberculosis, which is the one great problem.

Luckily, however, if all goes well this year, the farmers in the attested areas will be able to see for themselves that that section of our policy devoted to the elimination of tuberculosis is at last working. It is very heartening to read in the newspapers of the improvement in prices that is taking place and to read, for example, of the coming back of the Scottish buyers in far greater numbers to recent markets held in County Leitrim, where, as a result, very substantial increases in prices were noted. When I was in Scotland inspecting forestry there, I asked an agricultural inspector in Inverness what, in his view, was a good Inverness farmer. He said: "The thing that would interest you, Mr. Childers, is this: a good Inverness farmer is one who, apart from having the finance, is one who all along went to Ireland all through the tuberculosis difficulties to buy Irish store cattle."

I was very interested in that reply. It proved the contention of the Government that there is an opportunity for the expansion of the cattle trade once we can get over these difficulties. We definitely stand or fall on the 1958 agricultural policy supplemented by the programme submitted since then by the creation of a super grade A class for pigs, by the export subsidy on butter, by the modest increase in the price of milk and by the announcement recently of proposals for the better marketing of dairy produce and pig products. We stand on that policy, although undoubtedly we will amend it again, if necessary, and will think of other devices and ways of aiding the farmers.

We have failed to receive the kind of detailed criticism of that policy which would be valuable to us. It would be much more helpful to the farmers if they were able to see some grand alternative policy presented to them, by means of which they could distinguish and make a choice whenever the general election comes. At the moment, as I have said, there are no specific alternatives. Reference has been made to the need for more agricultural advisers. The number of agricultural advisers has constantly increased under successive Fianna Fáil Governments. Every aid is given for increased agricultural instruction. Recently, we started the winter farm classes in vocational schools for farmers. They have had a limited success but, nevertheless, they are progressing.

There are many other examples of the ways in which we have encouraged agricultural education and instruction, although I would admit we still have a long way to make up in regard to that. At least, we do not differ from the Opposition in our belief in improved agricultural instruction throughout the country and in enabling farmers to secure voluntarily such advice as they may require to enable them to increase output and to intensify their production, particularly the small farmers who have faced in the past year and a half such very grave difficulties in relation to the disposal of their young cattle and calves.

I should also indicate that again, as the House knows, there has never been any demand by any section of the agricultural community for control of cattle marketing. There is not the faintest sign that any organisation requires it. Nevertheless, it is interesting to note that if the prices of the different ages of store cattle, from the dropped calf up to the three-year-old, are compared and classified for the last six years, there have been quite obviously the most extraordinary distortions which, in the absence by the wish of the farmers of any marketing scheme —and a marketing scheme would be extraordinarily difficult to institute even if accepted—have created very grave difficulties for the farmer.

If one takes one particular group of years, for example, 1953 to 1959, it will be noticed that the increase in the price of calves up to the great fall in price was something like 60 per cent. The increase in every other type of store cattle was less until, finally, the store cattle beast of three years had gone up only 11 per cent. in price since that time. There was a tremendous increase in the price of calves in the period before 1959—no doubt, the cattle were paid for out of genuine market motives and there was no sinister conspiracy of any kind—but it created very great difficulties for the farmers when the absence of feed in Great Britain and the bovine tuberculosis eradication difficulties multiplied and when on top of that very great increases took place in the prices of the younger grades of cattle.

No one in his senses can possibly suggest that the Government have been responsible for the difficulties experienced through those price distortions since no one has asked the Government at any time to take responsibility in any way for the organised marketing of cattle. It just so happened that there was the coincidence of these extraordinary increases in the price of very young cattle followed by the drought in Great Britain, followed in the latter part of 1960 by the floods in Great Britain and followed by the growth of difficulty in regard to placing store cattle on English farms.

I do not believe, in spite of what Deputy Flanagan says, that the Fine Gael Party would be able to deceive the farmers in the ultimate in regard to that position, particularly when the farmers themselves see that the difficulties in regard to store cattle are at last beginning to pass. It would be far better if we had more intelligent criticism of agricultural policy by the Opposition. It would be far more helpful to the farmers, much better for us and much better for Fine Gael. We would benefit all round by a more detailed type of criticism in regard to our agricultural policy. We, on our side, have seen very little of it at any time.

Passing from agriculture, there is one export feature for which we take a very large measure of credit, namely, the atmosphere we have inspired in the country which has resulted in an increase of the exports of raw materials and industrial products by 99.4 per cent. to be exact—let us call it 100 per cent.—since 1956. That increase in exports, and the increase in employment that has accompanied it, is a great sign for the future. We cannot escape the conclusions arrived at in other countries that no matter how much we improve agricultural production and no matter how much we increase the purchasing power of the farmers, enabling families to remain longer on the land, the one method of providing employment and of dealing with the migration from the land is the establishment of industry in our midst. The main problem we face is that the establishment of industry always lags to some extent behind the need, but at least we can say we are making real progress.

Industries are starting in a great many towns. I suppose the best sign of progress is the very great work of development associations in the country. For the first time in our history, development associations are making visits to Irish industrialists, to English, German and other industrialists, are advertising in their trade magazines, sending them circulars, and making personal contacts in an all-out endeavour to secure more industries for the towns. That particular feature of self-help, aided by the Government by tax incentives and other grants, is a real sign that at least, whatever the Opposition say, a great many people in this country have confidence in the future under the present Government. No development association would ever spend time or money engaging in such promotional activities, unless they believed that there was a future for Irish industry, for export industry, and that they could persuade industrial promoters that the economic and social climate was right and that we were moving forward and advancing.

It is also interesting to see that the heads of the trade union movement, who themselves have been extremely critical in the past and always criticised the Government for lack of progress, although they challenge us to do more, have for the first time in recent months noted the remarkable expansion in the economy and the growing tide of confidence among the people. That in itself is a remarkable fact, because you would expect trade union leaders to take an extremely over-critical view of our efforts to industrialise because they are themselves very much aware of the tide of emigration that has continued. When, after a number of years of tremendous criticism, they do admit progress, this is a good sign for the future.

Many other comments have been made about Government policy. One could refer to the social services. The Government's policy always has been, to reduce taxes on production, while, at the same time, increasing the volume of the social services. I wish to make it perfectly clear, contrary to what is said by the Opposition, that the social services since 1957 have gone up more than has the cost of living, that, for example, a widow with three children has more now than would be represented by the increase in the cost of living in comparison with whatever pension she had got in 1957. There has been a net advantage to her in the past three years in respect of the aid she receives. The Government have once more as usual shown a lead in the development of the social services by plans such as the contributory old age pension.

No matter what facts are examined in relation to our social progress, we can see signs of advancement. The earnings and wages of industrial workers have gone up more than the cost of living, for example, since 1953 and they have gone up more in the recent period. Because the productivity of industry has bounded remarkably, the wage earners at least in a great number of industries have been able to take advantage of that growing productivity, and their wages have gone up at a period when the cost of living showed no change and industry, at the same time, was able in a great many cases to absorb the cost of producing more. All that is a sign of improvement in the economy.

No matter what feature of Government activity for the past three years is examined, it will be seen that there is greater activity and greater turnover than in the case of the three years of the Coalition Government, whether it is expenditure on the tourist industry either for hotel grants and loans or for resort development, or whether it is massive acquisition of land for forestry, the planting of trees, or the development of the bogs, or money spent on roads, always we find that more is being done now than was being done then, and that the whole of the national estate is improving at a greater rate than at any time in our history in normal times.

While, in fact, on this side of the House we recognise that we have not yet stemmed the tide of emigration, at the same time, we recognise that quite evidently progress is being made, and we make it quite clear, following the words of the Taoiseach, that there are some elements of emigration that are not inspired purely by economic motives. An effort should be made by action by every type of cultural and development association throughout the country to try to encourage people who do not need to leave this country to stay here. At the same time, we recognise that this industrial drive must continue on a very massive scale for a number of years, if we are to reduce emigration to the figure which would include only those who went in a spirit of adventure or for their own social or private reasons. For that purpose, we need confidence in the financial running of the country. Those who might invest money must be confident that the Government will conduct the nation's finances well, that Budgets will be balanced as often as possible, and that due regard will be paid to the state of the public debt and the ability of the country to bear the interest and sinking fund upon it.

I have tried to find out where we stood in that connection and whether we were running up the national debt too rapidly, so I secured the figures representing the percentage of interest and sinking fund to gross national production over a period of years. I find that the percentage has hardly altered at all. It varies between 2.3 and 2.7 per cent. year by year, showing that gross national production, particularly since the Government took office, is rising at a rate which absorbs the interest and sinking fund on our very large capital borrowings. The state of the capital borrowings, and the very large amount being spent in the present financial year and in the coming year, is only possible because the balance of payments position is satisfactory, because we are not running into massive debt abroad—we are paying for our imports with our exports and our invisible exports, because the tourist industry has shown great expansion—and particularly because so many agricultural exports, although they form a smaller proportion than they ought of our total agricultural exports, which still largely comprise cattle, have shown a very helpful increase, indicating that the internal structure of agriculture is moving on a sound basis towards greater prosperity. If we can quickly get the results that should naturally flow from the elimination of bovine tuberculosis and if we can have a good period of reasonable weather this year, some of the farmers' difficulties will pass away and we should be able to show genuine signs of progress in the agricultural field.

It seems to me, alas, strangely typical of Fianna Fáil that the Minister for Transport and Power should be commissioned to come in and deal with the agricultural policy of the Fianna Fáil Government.

I made my own speech.

Judging that policy with some experience as a Minister for Agriculture, I have no hesitation in saying that it is just such a policy as a Minister for Transport and Power would evolve, particularly a Minister for Transport and Power who, according to our experience in Monaghan, has succeeded in removing every yard of railway line in the county since he took office.

It is perfectly true that if after-dinner speeches and even Dáil speeches of Fianna Fáil Ministers could make us prosperous, we would all be millionaires. It is perfectly manifest that the members of the Fianna Fáil Government think we are living in the best of all possible worlds, that everything is going on like a wedding bell and that everybody is bursting with prosperity. They are shocked and grieved and think it unfair if anyone should suggest to them that the community is not going ahead like a house on fire.

I am often astonished at the inspiration the Minister for Transport and Power gets when he goes abroad. I remember the time he went to Belgium. He came back from Belgium and told us that he was asking them what was the fundamental difference between the agricultural economy and the industrial economy in Belgium and the corresponding economies here in Ireland and a visionary whom he met in Belgium said: “Ah, monsieur, á Belgique, nous travaillons”, and this Minister said, “Our people here in Ireland had a lesson they might well learn; the Belgians told me that in Belgium they work”.

That was the wisdom he brought home from Belgium. He has now been careering around Inverness and the Inverness farmer had pearls of wisdom to scatter before us. He asked him: "What is the most significant feature of the agricultural economy in Inverness?" and the Inverness farmer said to him: "If you want to ask me, the men who have done well here are the men who went to Ireland and bought their store cattle in Ireland". God be with the days—they are not so long past—when the Minister was on this side of the House and told me when I was Minister for Agriculture that the bottom had gone out of the livestock industry and I had better make up my mind to it.

I never said anything of the kind.

Indeed he did—that the bottom had gone out of the cattle industry—and I remember Deputy Vivion de Valera dashing in like a madman to confirm this and to ask why did I reprobate the Minister and the Irish Press by making that allegation, was it not true?

I said the boom in cattle prices had ended, which is totally different, and so it had. I never said anything of the kind the Deputy suggests and he should accept my explanation.

I do not accept it because I prefer to trust the evidence of my own ears.

That is what I said.

That is what I heard. I do not know what the Minister intended to say. I know what I heard and I know what Deputy de Valera, speaking from behind him, said. But, he has gone to Inverness and he has learned wisdom ——

You heard wrong.

——and the cattle trade is becoming respectable in the eyes of the Minister for Transport and Power again. It does not surprise me that the Minister for Agriculture in this Government kept out of the House while his covetous colleague was speaking on his behalf. The Minister for Agriculture, poorly as I think of him, at least knows one end of a bullock from the other. He does not have to go to Inverness to learn the lesson.

I find it sometimes difficult to follow the Minister for Transport and Power when he talks on topics of this kind, but I seemed to hear him say to-day that the decline in the exports of store cattle began in 1954. I do not know whether he knows it, but the exports of cattle in 1957 constituted a record for all time, as far as I know. I do not know whether his statistical mind can be directed to that fact or not. Possibly his constitutional conviction that the bottom has gone out of that market for ever blinded his eye to that interesting statistical fact.

Much of what the Minister says in regard to agriculture is so grotesque and so evident of the burning of midnight oil, brooding over statistics that he does not understand, that I do not deny that it sometimes generates an unbecoming degree of irritation in me and so it is with relief that I turn to the ingenuous speech of his colleague, the Minister for Education. He intervened—he was charged to intervene— in this debate. Speaking at Volume 187, No. 3, Column 444 of the Official Report, the Minister said:

This Government took office in 1957 at a time when, for the first time since the war, there had been a drop in production, the highest unemployment figures ever, a serious imbalance in external payments and an absolute shortage of money, to meet not the great plans which we hear about, now they are in Opposition, but to meet the ordinary everyday payments of grants particularly, as Deputy Corry said, through the local authorities. Now after four years it is possible—and it is recorded this year—to show that the unemployment has been cut by 30,000; that the national income has increased far beyond what we hoped when we set out to plan what could be done; that external trade is balanced and, to replace the dismay and hopeless feeling which existed in 1956, there is an air of confidence in the country.

Let us examine. To do the Minister for Education justice, I think he was given that brief and he believes it. He just does not know. He speaks of "a serious imbalance in external payments." He is apparently unaware that, in the year 1957, we had the first credit in our balance of payments, I think, since the State was founded. If he wants to confirm that, he can look at the statistics issued prior to the Budget of 1960 and he will find that, in 1957, the estimated deficit on our visible balance of trade was £52.8 million and setting against that the credit balance on our invisible exports, approximately £64 million, we had a credit balance of payments in that year of £12 million. If you go back through the years, certainly for a quarter of a century, with the exception of the war years when it was impossible to get exports of any kind, that represents the first credit balance in our balance of payments that was achieved in that period.

I suppose the poor Minister for Education simply does not know that but that is the inescapable fact. He mentioned, as I have pointed out to the House, that there was an absolute shortage of money to meet, "not the great plans which we hear about," but to meet the ordinary everyday payments of grants particularly through the local authorities. If he believes it, I do not blame the Minister for Education for stating it.

What are the facts? Here are the payments made to local authorities year after year in respect of State grants paid for housing in each year to 1957, beginning with 1948/49—I am leaving out odd hundreds—1948/49, £341,000; 1949/50, £1,087,000; 1950/ 51, £1,694,000; 1951/52, £1,615,000; 1952/53, £1,028,000; 1953/54, £1,808,000; 1954/55, £2,022,000; 1955/ 56, £2,248,000; 1956/57, £2,170,000. That is the year in which the Minister for Education believes there was no money to pay the ordinary grants. In fact the years to which he refers represent a record issue of grants for housing to local authorities.

It might be illuminating to him, if I directed his attention to the facility afforded to the Dublin Corporation for housing of the working classes in those years and the years which followed, the years of abundance that, the Minister for Education rejoices, Fianna Fáil brought to the land. Dublin Corporation had made available to it for the housing of the working classes in 1955, £2,778,000; they had made available to them in 1956, £2,504,000; in 1957, £2,689,000. That was the outlay by the Dublin Corporation in housing the working classes in each of those years. As Deputies will remember, during that period the Dublin Corporation came to depend on the Government for loans from the Central Fund whereas in the years long ago the Dublin and Cork Corporations used to look for money on their own. In those years they were borrowing it from the Government and the Government were making it available to them. Then came the years of abundance to which the Minister for Education refers. After the Government had made available £2,689,000 in 1957, for the housing of the working classes in Dublin, in 1958 it fell to £1,600,000, in 1959 to £1,100,000 and in 1960 to £833,000.

I want to refer to the amount made available to Dublin Corporation for the provision of Small Dwellings (Acquisition) Act houses. In 1955 it was £1,843,000; in 1956 it was £1,536,000; in 1957, £936,000. Then comes the period of abundance: in 1958, it was £533,000, and in 1959, £711,000. In the light of those figures the Minister for Education declares here that in the years to which he refers money was not available for the local authorities to carry out necessary works they had in contemplation.

The Minister for Education finally said that he was proud to show that the figure for unemployment has been cut by 30,000, but he did not go on to say that the operative factor in cutting the unemployed figure over that period is the migration, not of 30,000, but the migration of 200,000 young people mainly between the ages of 18 and 30. It seems an empty kind of boast to declare that you have purchased a reduction in the figure of registered unemployed of 30,000 by exporting 200,000. It is not an achievement of which most Deputies would feel inclined to boast.

The temptation to follow and correct the orations of Fianna Fáil Ministers is considerable, but there are other things I want to say. This Vote on Account represents the first step in the Budget based upon the volume of Estimates which have been circulated to Deputies. There is an increase in the Supply Estimates—I distinguish them from the total figure of the Book of Estimates, which includes a figure for capital services as well—of £8.57 million over the figure provided in the Budget for 1957/58.

However, as Deputy Flanagan pointed out, that is not the end of the story. Fianna Fáil have discovered an entirely new technique, that is, the introduction of several Budgets in every year and some Budgets of a recurring kind to which no reference is made in the Book of Estimates at all. In addition to the increase of £8.57 million on the cover of this Book, there is to be borne in mind that there is an increase of £9 million on the price of bread and butter for which provision was made in the Book of Estimates with which I now make comparison, so that in fact these Supply Estimates represent an increase of more than £17 million over and above what was bespoken four short years ago.

At that time we used to be told by Fianna Fáil pundits that we were engaging in the rake's progress. On top of that I would ask the House to bear in mind that we have increased bus fares; we have increased train fares; we have increased freight charges which ultimately must find their way back to the consuming public who constitute the bulk of the taxpayers as well. We have increased electricity charges for which a variety of explanations are vouchsafed and to which I hope to refer before I close today.

The Minister for Transport and Power worked himself into a lather of indignation very recently when he said the increases were solely due to the fact that we withdrew the subsidy from rural electrification and if that had never been done there need not have been any increase. The remedy is there to him. If the Government do not think that ought to have been done, they can give it back to the E.S.B. There is no difficulty about it. Nothing irrevocable has been done. We did what we thought was right. We did what we still think is right. If the present Government think it is wrong, they can right it with a stroke of the pen. Why do they not, if they believe they made a mistake? They do not because they know perfectly well our action in that matter was perfectly right, but, as the Chairman of the E.S.B. stated, as reported in the "Sunday Pravda" of 12th March, 1961, the reasons for the increase in electricity are threefold. Mr. Thomas Murray in an interview said they are:

"Increased dependence on steam stations, increases in wages, salaries and materials and the deficit in the rural account."

I suppose the deficit in the rural account made some contribution to the increased cost of the E.S.B. but Deputies might well study closely the three reasons given—increased dependence on steam stations; increases in wages, salaries and materials and a deficit in the rural account. But whatever the cause, they represent an increased charge on the taxpayers of this country. Last year, outside the Budget, we passed a new Social Security Act and that represents a very substantial additional charge on every employer in this country and on every employee who is paying social insurance which has to be met every week and which I reckon would correspond, if you make allowance for the part of tax revenue received from unearned income and seek to segregate the income tax from trade and industry, to a shilling in the income tax.

There is no mention of that in this Book of Estimates. There is no mention of it in the Budget or anywhere else. The only place it is heard of is among the taxpayers who have to pay and carry it. There are the increased charges which we imposed on the trading community of this country, notably and most harshly, in my judgment, on the small shopkeepers in rural Ireland who, through P.A.Y.E., now have to carry the whole burden of the clerical administration of that extremely complex operation and meet the charge themselves.

There are increased postal charges. There is no reference to them in the Book of Estimates. They have to be met by everybody engaged in trade or business or, indeed, by everybody who posts a letter. There are the increased hospital charges provided under the new dispensation entitling the local authority hospital to charge anybody who is sick up to 10/- a day for his accommodation. We do not often hear about the impact of that on the individual, but we do hear of cases in our own constituencies in which it constitutes a formidable burden on those who have to pay. There is no mention of that in the Estimates here before us.

I referred to the £9 million additional which those who eat bread, consume butter and bake flour are paying that they did not pay four years ago. There has been an increase in local rates of something over £2 million per annum. A large part has to be borne by the individual who also carries the tax burden, but there is no reference to that in this Book of Estimates.

The Minister for Transport and Power is troubled because we do not pursue a detailed inquiry into all that Fianna Fáil hope to do, promise to do and forget to do. He says that we do less than our duty unless we join with him in that weary and profitless pursuit. I judge policies by results. I know of no other criterion which is of any enduring value. There is no use telling us what you hope to do. There is no use telling us what you meant to do. There is no use telling us what you intended to do. The only thing that matters to the country and the people is: what did you do? However excellent the intentions of Fianna Fáil were when they spoke of the 100,000 jobs and their plans for economic expansion and when they spoke of all the high hopes with which they confidently set forth to purchase votes, the plain fact is that at the end of four years of Fianna Fáil administration there are 50,000 fewer people at work in Ireland, 200,000 young people have left the country and, at the last available year known to me from the Statistical Abstract, the money income of the farmers is £16 million less in 1959 than it was in 1957.

Anybody can talk until the cows come home, but it seems as clear as crystal to me that there is a flaw somewhere in a policy that reduces employment, raises emigration to the highest figure anyone in this House remembers since the Famine and reduces the income of the farmers by £16 million per annum. If that was the end of the result, we could at least see the magnitude of the problem created and strive to battle with it, but it is not because the great miscalculation that Fianna Fáil made, when they embarked upon this programme of fraud, was that they thought they could disrupt the whole economic fabric in 1957, precipitate this radical adjustment in the whole cost of living and by a degree of yielding to the trade unions, the Civil Service and other organised bodies in the community gradually restore equilibrium again at a new level, but what they forgot was —maybe they never knew, though some of them ought—that a great body of employed people in this country are the self-employed farmers of rural Ireland.

They forgot something else. They forgot that there are over 100,000 people in this country who derive their livelihood from retail trade in rural Ireland catering for the needs of the agricultural community. When the full impact of these increased charges for food and rates and everything else fell upon the small, self-employed farmers of Ireland and when at the same time the Local Authorities (Works) Act and part of the Land Project were cancelled and done away with, withdrawing the supplementary employment which that provided, hundreds of small agricultural families in this country were driven to the wall.

They were prepared to accept a lower standard of living as they have always been asked to do under Fianna Fáil but this time they have been pushed too far and I know that members of the Fianna Fáil Party came back from Leitrim in consternation because they said they never knew the extent to which small farms were abandoned in parts of this country until they travelled areas in North County Leitrim. I believe there are certain figures in certain sections of the Fianna Fáil Party who shrug their shoulders and say: "Let them go". It is time we asked ourselves do we mean that? Have we made up our minds to undo the whole land settlement of last century? Have we made up our minds that it is no longer a good thing that the economic or social life should be firmly founded on a property-owning rural democracy or do we want to substitute for it a mobile and unpredictable proletariat? I do not.

I believe that the essential foundation not only for social but economic progress is a property-owning rural democracy and I charge the Fianna Fáil Government of the past four years with having undermined it and with creating a flow in rural life which it may tax the ingenuity of our successors to change. If you shake a social structure of that kind and start a flow of the people from it, start spreading through the country a conviction that nobody can be asked to stay on living this kind of life, you may start something that is very hard to stop.

That is exactly what the Deputy is doing.

No, and nobody should know it better than the Deputy. When I took up office as Minister for Agriculture, a calf was worth 10/- and when I left office finally the same calf was worth £22. What counts is the ability of the farmer to live.

How about the farmers who buy the calves and rear them?

I reared them and those that I reared sold for £40 18 months ago; the same calf is worth £22 now, if you are lucky. Is the Deputy from Meath?

From Carlow-Kilkenny, the wheat area.

He is the Deputy who remembers the ground limestone.

But it was a little different. It was called limestone flour and sold at 30/- a ton and sometimes at £2. That is Fianna Fáil ground limestone. Our ground limestone had no high-falutin description. It was just called ground limestone and it was sold at 12/- a ton. That is the difference.

And subsidised by the American taxpayer.

Subsidised by the Irish Treasury. Was it not sold at 12/- a ton and were there not 1,000,000 tons of it put out? That is where Fianna Fáil went wrong. They think that what matters is titles and tags. I know what matters is that people should be able to live. Fianna Fáil have created a situation in rural Ireland today in which the food the people have to buy has become dearer and dearer. While they were putting 6d. on the loaf of bread of the 20-acre farmer they were taking £20, or call it £15, off the price of the calf he had to sell. If you go on doing that over the whole range of the small farmer's cost of living and what he gets for his labour, you reach a point at which he says: "I cannot carry on." If he is still circumstanced to make it possible for him to go, he shuts the door, takes his wife and children to England and he sets the land and we have lost a family. That loss has social and economic implications of great tragedy for this country. Over and above that, however, we have lost the output of the land because the 20 or 30 acres he leaves behind him set in conacre are going to go into rushes and weeds and where you had tillage and pigs and sheep and maybe cattle, now you have nothing but three or four thin store cattle grazing rushes on conacred land.

That is not the end of the story. There is a shop somewhere in which that man dealt; and it was on his business and the business of a few of his neighbours that the small shopkeeper in a market town subsisted. You may have driven some of them, as you undoubtedly have, to the point that they had to close their doors because their customers went away and trade fell below the minimum level at which it was economic to go on paying rent and keeping stock. There are businesses in rural Ireland which give good employment in distribution to shop assistants, boys and girls. Many of these businesses gradually are finding that the gap between cost and profit is closing so inexorably that they have to go the same way.

Let me read this time from the "Evening Pravda." I always try to provide a source which will carry conviction even to the obscurantist minds of Fianna Fáil and I always quote from their own kept newspapers. This quotation is from the issue of March 13th—it may be lucky for Makarios but it was not for Cootehill:

They had been given a very depressing account of the state of business in Cootehill, said Mr. Justice Lavery at Cavan High Court on Circuit.

Mr. Lavery was dealing with an appeal by Bernard Gargan, draper and boot merchant, Market Street, Cootehill, against the amount of rent fixed on his premises in a Circuit Court application by him to have a new tenancy. The respondent was Mrs. Eileen McKenna, widow, Blackrock, Dundalk, landlord of the premises.

The Judge upheld the appeal and reduced the rent from £114 per annum to £85, with costs of the appeal to appellant.

Mr. W.D. Finlay, S.C., for Mr. Gargan, said that Cootehill was formerly a flourishing town, enjoying a number of markets and fairs. The market had gone and business in the town was now at a very low level.

Mr. A.B. O'Reilly, solicitor, said that the flax and pork markets had gone and there was "really nothing in the town only emigration." It was impossible to let or sell business premises.

Mr. T.F. O'Higgins, S.C., said that money values had altered drastically since the rent of this house was fixed in 1888 at £50. It was a house which had all the evidence of a good, sound business being carried on.

Giving his decision, Mr. Justice Lavery said that in days gone by the market town was the centre for the whole country. The markets in Cootehill had gone and there was nothing left only a monthly fair of cattle and a few horses.

Is it any wonder that the Minister for Agriculture, who comes from Cootehill, forbore from making a contribution to this debate? Is it surprising that the Minister for Transport and Power, who comes from Greystones or Ballsbridge, has been the spokesman for Fianna Fáil on that aspect of their policy to-day?

I revert now to my reminder to the House of the steady increase in the amounts of the Estimates and of the additional Budgets for which Fianna Fáil have been responsible and to the Minister's comment on that at the conclusion of his speech. In the copy which he had the courtesy to circulate, on page 6, he recalls that there is increased expenditure under many heads. He says in conclusion: "Higher costs have had to be met such as the pay increases for the Army, Garda, teachers and other public servants" knowing that all these had to be met, and were being met, in reply to representations made on their behalf because of the increased cost of living which, incidentally, has just gone up another point. It is published to-day at 149.

That represents an increase of five points in the last 12 months and an increase of 17 points since 1957. In answer to representations by these organised sections, the Minister felt constrained to concede pay increases for the Army, the Garda, teachers and other public servants. The country shopkeeper, the small farmer, have had to meet all those increased charges but the Minister's compensation in respect of the country farmer is that his income is £16,000,000 less than it was in 1957.

The Minister, in almost postprandial style, concludes:

Fortunately, the rate of increase in national production has been sufficient to enable all these burdens to be carried without causing any serious budgetary problem.

It is relatively easy to fix taxes if you have not to meet the burden of paying them, but I should like to face this question because the Minister there is clearly speaking of the increase in the national income and I think it is no harm to pause a moment to consider what the increase in the national income is. There has been an increase in the national income but whatever that figure is worth, it is the figure to which the Minister is referring in his concluding paragraph.

The national income has increased by about £49,000,000 per annum since 1956, if I read Table 237 of the Statistical Abstract correctly, but there are two very relevant and interesting figures which I think we should study closely in that connection. Hire purchase debt increased from £9.7 million in 1956 to £24.6 million in 1960. If I correctly read the figures in the Central Bank Bulletin of 1961, there has been £14.9 millions expansion in hire purchase credit. Bank advances have increased from approximately £160,000,000 in 1956 to £198,000,000 in 1960. That represents an increase of £38 million. That would suggest to me, if I am correct, that there has been an expansion in the available credit, an expansion of credit creation of no less than £52.9 million.

Match that figure against an increase in the national income of £49,000,000 and the increase upon which the Minister is resting so comfortably ceases to be such a consoling consideration. Whatever the quality of the increased bank credit that has been available, I make bold to query the quality of much of the hire purchase credit raised in this country in the past few years. We have added practically £15,000,000 to the volume of hire purchase credit. Upon what has the bulk of it been used? Does the Minister argue that if we double the pace of our purchase of television sets on H.P., if we increase that £14.9 million to £30 million, all that consequential increase in the national income is something which he would regard as desirable and a happy source from which to draw the increased revenue with which he hopes to meet the increased charges of which he so lightly boasts?

I observe there has been a very large expansion in the farmers' indebtedness to the banks. I think the banks were wise and prudent to make available to the agricultural community such credit as they required. I am not sure that the advice the agricultural community got from the Government to borrow recklessly to purchase heifers two and three years ago was the best advice, but they borrowed valiantly and undertook that burden.

I quote from a current newspaper which published an article entitled "Farmers' Indebtedness" and beside it another article "Farmers Face Financial Difficulties." That article, which I think appeared in the Irish Times of 11th March, 1961, states:

It is now believed that farmers' indebtedness in the Republic is running at the rate of about £40,000,000. With this enormous debt on their hands, the present year is likely to be extremely critical, as a drop in prices and a failure of the harvest could well bring ruin to many who must clear off loans which they floated four or five years ago.

In addition to the credit due to the banks, there is £3,000,000 due to the Agricultural Credit Corporation.

I shall not weary the House by reading the article at length, but it does sound a note of caution that not all that great debt which the farmers so valiantly undertook in an effort to expand production is certain to yield a profit to those who borrowed; but it undoubtedly made its contribution to increased national income which the Minister so cheerfully cherishes as his source of increased revenue. I hope it is a source of revenue which will stand him and his successors in good stead in the time that lies ahead.

There are two other matters I want to query. I believe ardently in courageous capital investment for the development of our productive resources, but I read with some alarm that we now appear to be committed to a capital programme of £30,000,000 for the carrying of piped water supplies to all parts of rural Ireland.

I think I can honestly claim that I was the first Minister in any Government to inaugurate a scheme designed to pipe water to every farmer's house in rural Ireland. Since the Department of Agriculture scheme to that end was formulated in this House, the Department of Local Government has added its own scheme. There are now two schemes. According to the present Minister for Local Government there is to be superimposed on those two schemes a £30 million scheme to bring piped water supplies to all parts of rural Ireland. I cannot help wondering if that is prudent expenditure.

There are certainly areas in the country where local water supplies appropriate for installation individually by farmers in their own homes are not available and where water must be piped in from distant parts. There are many areas in which it is difficult to establish wells but over vast areas of the country wells are available at reasonable distances and eminently suited to good exploitation as water supplies for groups of farms. I think that when we hear of this vast Estimate contemplating an expenditure of £30 million we ought to bear in mind that when we have spent our £30 million it does not mean that the farmer has a free water supply. It means that, having got the water supply and borne his share of the cost of it out of the rates, he will then be confronted with a schedule of charges in relation to that water supply.

I have got here a proposed schedule of charges for one regional water supply. It says that where the poor law valuation of all the lands and buildings is in excess of £5 the charge is to be £3 a year; where the poor law valuation is over £30 and up to £40 the charge is £10 a year and where it is over £70 the charge is £17 10s. a year for the water. That is for water in the house. Where there are drinking troughs on the land, the charge is £3 a year for each such trough. Any farm or business may be put on a meter charge at a rate of 3/- per thousand gallons of water and the meter charge may be £1, £1 10s., £2, £2 10s., £3 or £3 10s. according to the size of the meter.

I have another scheme before me but it relates, not to a regional scheme, but to a village scheme. There, where the buildings are more closely together, the average of annual charge is substantially lower. What I am concerned with is the piping of water supplies along the country roads to an individual house. I welcome any development which will bring water to every house in rural Ireland, but I would want to be sure that it would be done on a basis of reasonable prudence, so that the farmers will not have saddled upon them burdens which they will not be able to bear. If water is to be supplied it should be supplied at reasonable rates.

I would now like to query another matter. I have been told that the increases in the rates for electricity are due to the lack of the subsidy or due to the special cost of rural electrification. I say to the Government: "If you believe our policy in regard to the subsidy was wrong why can you not put it right now? You can do it with a stroke of the pen." We believe our policy was right but if the Government believe it was wrong they can put it right in 24 hours. I want to suggest to the House that some regard should be had to the capital programme of the Electricity Supply Board and that some examination should be made as to whether the increased charges stem from that capital programme.

In what is commonly called the Grey Book, or the Programme for Economic Development, it is set out in paragraph 4:

"In recent years the provisional generating capacity has run ahead of the country's requirements, and the E.S.B. has surplus capacity, over and above a reasonable reserve for contingencies, which would enable it to supply current of 400-500 million units a year in excess of the present demand of about 1,775 million units. This alone would suffice for almost four years of growth of demand at last year's rate. The period of excess capacity will be prolonged by the completion of new generating stations now under construction. The heavy excess investment in plant adds to fixed charges and represents a deadweight burden on the E.S.B."

In paragraph 5 the report states:

"Heavy investments by the E.S.B. without a commensurate rise in revenue has meant a steep rise in the proportion of capital charges (interest, sinking fund and depreciation) to revenue. In 1951-52 capital charges represented 30 per cent. of revenue and likewise 30 per cent. of working expenses; they now represent about 50 per cent. in each case, or over £6,000,000 a year, and will continue to rise."

I want to say that if one is to seek the most pregnant causes of increasing E.S.B. rates in this country they are to be found in that paragraph. If you want to find out the reason for that, it is that the present Taoiseach, when Minister for Industry and Commerce, overruled the E.S.B. and imposed upon them a continuous burden of construction which the Board did not believe in. I want to suggest to the House that policy decisions have been taken here which have committed the E.S.B. to a policy of over-development of generating capacity which stands idle for a large part of every year but the capital charges of which impose, and will continue to impose, a burden which contributes to the increases in electricity charges which are so bitterly resented by the people all over the country at the present time.

I judge Fianna Fáil policy by its results. It has impoverished the farmers of this country and has promoted a type of emigration which we never saw in this country before. Whole families are leaving the land. Holdings and farms are being closed down and neglected in rural Ireland. Shopkeepers and business people are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet, with a consequent reduction in employment and an increase in the numbers who fill the emigrant ships. It has produced the incredible phenomenon of an emigration in the past four years of 200,000 people, the reputation of which has spread across the Atlantic. A reverend gentleman at a St. Patrick's Day celebration in New York likened us to Israel and said Ireland now stands in need of the same help from the Irish in America as Israel requires from the Jews. That is language of exaggeration. It is deplorable that circumstances here could create an impression abroad which could conceivably induce a Catholic priest on a public occasion associated with the National Festival to make such a declaration in public in the United States. I cannot see that a policy of that kind has anything to commend it.

I do not deny for a moment that a very limited section of our community have derived very considerable benefits in the past few years. The scheme for promoting industrial exports is good. Those who have benefited under the scheme inaugurated by us under the 1956 Finance Act, whereby profits were exempt from income tax and corporation profits tax on increased exports, are to be commended. I am delighted that there are people who are availing of it.

The Government have brought about a considerable volume of building in the city of Dublin. It is creating a stir in the building trade. It is a very welcome development in view of the record of the Government in the previous three years. These limited sections of our community are doing relatively well.

My complaint is that the result of Fianna Fáil policy is that more and more people are growing poor, while fewer and fewer are getting rich. To create a wide chasm between the fortunes of a small minority and the fortunes of the vast bulk of the rural population is to bring about social, economic and political problems in our society.

One of the most profound statements uttered by the President of the United States since his inauguaration was that no political system which cannot make provision for its poor can long look after its rich, What I hate about Fianna Fáil policy is seeing it make my neighbours poor.

Deputy Ó Briain comes from Limerick. I do not think he was let loose in Leitrim during the by-election. Whether that was for his good or for the good of Leitrim, I do not know. If he had gone down to meet my neighbours in Sligo and Leitrim, he would have found that what I am saying is true—that they are being made poor. Perhaps it is a fault in me, to which I plead guilty, that in and out of office our farmers have primarily meant to me those who work and own their land. I never could get very much worked up about the man with 300, 400 or 500 acres : I always felt he was well able to look after himself. I considered he was doing a good job but that he knew just as much as I did about it.

The farmers who constituted to me not only the life, the body but a very substantial part of the soul of this country were those who worked their own land and knew no landlord but the Lord Himself. They are the people who are being squeezed out. The whole pattern of life into which they fitted west of the Shannon and in Cavan and in Monaghan, and in north Meath and in all sorts of unlikely parts of Ireland, is being changed and they are being pushed out by Fianna Fáil.

I believe the bulk of the Fianna Fáil Party do not understand what they themselves are doing. I believe a small minority of influential persons in Fianna Fáil, of whom the Taoiseach himself is the leader, regard the small farmers as a nuisance and the sooner they are got rid of, the simpler the position will be. If we are to choose between a free democracy founded on a property-owning agricultural community and a seedy plutocracy floating on a seething proletariat who can never hope to enjoy the standard of living available to their brethren in the wealthy industrial countries of the world, I choose the former. I do so because I believe that Fianna Fáil in their heart want to commit this country into the hands of such a plutocracy. It is because we believe the nature of this country demands that it should stand on a democratic foundation of property-owning farmers, bearing on their broad and capable backs our type of industrial expansion which can provide decent standards for the vast majority of our people—none of us being very rich; but none of us being truly poor —that I long for the day that our people will give us the break to run the country and put an end to the sham of Fianna Fáil.

It is a most notable fact that after the devastating speech by the Leader of the Opposition, Fianna Fáil are without a reply. It is interesting that there are six or seven Fianna Fáil Deputies present but they are not in a position to say a word to Deputy Dillon. It is not surprising.

This is the last occasion on which this Government will introduce a Vote on Account. This is the last time, I believe, that a Fianna Fáil Minister for Finance will have that duty. That being so, it is proper that they should be asked to give an account of their stewardship in the past four years. It is our duty to avail of this debate to see that that account is rendered.

Four years ago, Fianna Fáil were elected to office. They were elected on a certain programme, having indulged in certain propaganda and having made certain promises. It is always difficult to get a Fianna Fáil Government to recognise, once having got into office, what their commitments during a general election really were. I think it is well to take in this review, this final account of Fianna Fáil—an account which I believe will yield no dividend—an assessment of the members of the Government and the reason Fianna Fáil were sent into office.

It is worth recalling that only a few weeks after the last general election, the Minister for Defence, in a debate in this House, said in dealing with the reason he and his colleagues were sent into office:

In my opinion, and in the opinion of any fair-minded person who even now goes back and looks over the speeches made in the election campaign, it is beyond all doubt that we were put in here as a Government to take the necessary steps to remedy the situation of mass unemployment and emigration brought about by the previous Government.

That statement by the Minister for Defence is reported at column 1283 of the Official Report of this House for May 15th, 1957. It is a declaration made by a member of the Government a few weeks after the last general election. He said they were sent into office to deal with mass unemployment and with emigration and he went on to say that in relation to emigration, he would not accept, nor would his colleagues, any suggestion that emigration was part of the pattern of Irish life or anything of that kind. He went on, in column 1288, to say, in reference to a statement of Deputy Norton:

It is all right for Deputy Norton to speak, as he did when he was Minister for Industry and Commerce, of the advantage of having the "safety valve of emigration." It is all right for him to ask, as he asked a deputation from the representatives of trade unions here in Dublin, why should they worry about unemployment in the categories they cater for, when the people were leaving the country and not remaining as a liability to them? The wives whose husbands have had to emigrate, the children whose fathers have had to emigrate, cannot regard emigration in that complacent light, as a safety valve. To them, it is a real tragedy.

It is our duty here, in the first few months of 1961, in a year in which a general election must take place, in a year in which the people will be asked to assess the record in office of the Fianna Fáil Government, to consider whether that Government have any right to expect a continuance of the people's confidence. It is proper that we should compare the manner in which, over the past four years, they have faced up to the reason for which they were elected to office. The Minister for Defence says they were sent here to deal with mass unemployment, to deal with emigration and he was quite definite in his view that emigration could be stopped.

Is there any member of the Fianna Fáil Party—I notice they are silent in this debate—who is prepared to make, in 1961, a verbatim repetition of the speeches made by Party members in the general election of 1957? Is there any member of the Fianna Fáil Party to say, as the Minister for Finance and his colleagues said a little over four years ago, that the test of the policy is the number of people at work? We all know that there is no member of the Fianna Fáil Party who is anxious to be reminded of the policy, the propaganda and the promises made by them in the course of the last general election.

People were told in Dublin city and elsewhere that if they were out of work, if they were in need of a job, if women were worried by the fact that their men were not at work, all they had to do was take a pencil in their hand and vote for Fianna Fáil candidates. Posters were put up throughout the country appealing to women. They carried the slogan: "Wives, get your men back to work. Vote Fianna Fáil." Indeed, the Irish electorate then heard the speeches made by the Taoiseach, in that aggressive, emphatic way he has, speeches in which he told the Irish people he could not understand why, up to then, no Government, no Party, no policy, had realised how very important it was, by organising things sensibly, to provide 100,000 jobs for Irish people at home.

The Irish people were told to vote Fianna Fáil. Fianna Fáil, they were told, would beat the crisis; Fianna Fáil would get cracking and would provide in this country 100,000 new jobs for decent Irish boys and girls and older people who found themselves troubled about their future four and a half years ago. Have those jobs materialised? I look forward to the coming general election, to the opportunity of speaking to the people directly and of reminding my opponents in the Fianna Fáil Party of the promises and the speeches they made, speeches and promises which had an effect but which were in fact so much froth and nonsense.

We find to-day that instead of there being 100,000 new jobs in the country, instead of there being an attack upon mass unemployment, to-day in Ireland there are 51,000 fewer people in insurable employment than there were four and a half years ago. I suggest that is an important thing that should be borne in mind—51,000 fewer people are earning a wage in this country to-day than there were at the time Fianna Fáil told us these jobs were to be provided and that they could provide them without difficulty.

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

For the record, I think it should be said that in this debate, which is one of the most important in the year—and this is the final Vote on Account which will be introduced by a Fianna Fáil Government—it has been necessary to have the House bells rung in order to compel the Fianna Fáil Deputies stay in the Chamber and listen to the debate.

It is an endurance test.

They are not prepared to speak because they have nothing to say, but at least they are going to listen here so long as this debate lasts. I want to warn them that if there is not a House present, these bells will be rung again.

As I was saying, the result of four and a half years of Fianna Fáil policy and promises to create 100,000 jobs has been to reach a situation that there are 51,000 fewer people employed here than there were at the time of the last general election. This situation has been referred to before in this debate. No doubt it will be referred to again, and I can assure the House that it certainly will be referred to in the course of the coming general election. The Minister for Defence referred to an attack on mass unemployment and also to emigration. I should like to ask members of Fianna Fáil are they going to talk about emigration in the coming general election? Are they going to make the same kind of speech they made in 1957? Are they going to say, as the Minister for Defence said, that emigration was "a tragedy"? Are they going to say that "wives whose husbands had to emigrate and children whose fathers had to emigrate did not regard emigration in a complacent light, as a safety valve"? Are they going to say in the coming general election, as they did in the last, that they were elected to office to stop, stem and solve emigration?

If they are, let me disabuse their minds here and now. In 1957, 60,500 people left this country. In 1958, the figure was down a little; only 41,300 left. In 1959, it was down again: only 38,800 left. Last year, it was up again. In 1960, 44,400 people left this country. Therefore, in the four years under review, 185,000 Irish boys and girls left this country and emigrated. I do not know whether Fianna Fáil feel in the slightest bit embarrassed about that result. I do not know whether they feel that election speeches are best forgotten when the votes are counted. I do not know whether they claim the fool's indulgence in regard to that; but certainly if they feel like claiming that, we shall not allow them have it. On this side of the House and in the Fine Gael Party we attach some importance to public honour. We attach some importance to speaking what we believe and advocating a policy in which we believe. The Minister for Finance laughs at that.

I do indeed.

I am not surprised that the Minister for Finance would laugh at election promises being taken seriously.

I did not laugh at that.

The Minister for Finance did laugh at that.

I laughed at Fine Gael saying they were honest.

The Minister for Finance was disorderly and, as he was, he will take what is coming to him.

Do not misrepresent me.

The Minister for Finance takes election speeches lightly. Apparently, he does not regard them as matters to be taken seriously. I remember the Minister for Finance coming into this House after the change of Government in the last general election. Having been elected by the House on the nomination of the Taoiseach as Minister for Finance, he told us in his first Financial Statement that it was going to be his object and concern to see that the burden of taxation would be made no heavier on the people, that the number of civil servants would be reduced and that in every way possible Government expenditure would be examined and curtailed.

Taxation is not any higher.

Is the Minister for Finance giving a guarantee to that effect?

It is not any higher.

The Minister can sit back in his seat and say taxation is not any higher. I am sure if he says it, he believes it. But there are many people outside this House who do not subscribe to that view—people paying more for bread and butter, people paying more for flour, people who would be paying higher bus fares if the buses were running, ordinary small people who are blistered now by Fianna Fáil taxation. But, apparently, the Minister for Finance says it does not matter; it does not exist.

I did not say it does not matter. I said taxation is not higher.

I count as taxation what people have to pay to buy bread and butter and provide the ordinary necessaries of life. I regard these as essential commodities. If by deliberate Government action people have to pay more for these things I count that as taxation. I would remind the Minister for Finance that one of the first actions taken by the present Government was to remove the £9,000,000 food subsidies and to place that on to the essential commodities, bread, flour and butter which people have to buy. The Minister for Finance says there is no increase in taxation. Of course there is a substantial and enormous increase in a short period of years.

The Minister, when commenting on what I said, did not refer to the reduction in the number of civil servants. Perhaps he will be able to tell us in his reply at the end of this debate whether in fact his assertion in this House has been borne out, that as Minister for Finance he would see that the number of civil servants was reduced. He had to tell the House the other day that there are now 500 more civil servants than there were four years ago. I do not think that is unexpected, but it at least shows how much attention is to be paid to assurances by Fianna Fáil Ministers who talk about cutting down the number of civil servants when in fact no sooner had they set to work than the subject was apparently forgotten and the Civil Service went on in its normal way growing and growing until we have 500 additional civil servants today.

The Minister for Finance in this Vote on Account is seeking a total of close on £132,000,000, representing the estimated cost at the beginning of the financial year of what this State, under the present Government's policy, will require in the present financial year. It is not necessary to refer to the inevitable supplementary Estimates, or to emphasise the fact that by the end of the year in all probability that figure will be substantially increased, but, just taking that figure, it is worth recalling and recording that in this final Vote on Account, introduced on behalf of the Fianna Fáil Government, in relation to the Supply Services alone, they are asking for close on £111,000,000 this year. This represents some £8,000,000 to £9,000,000 more than the Supply Services in the year they took office.

In addition, in the period in between they have had the benefit from the Exchequer point of view of the abolition of food subsidies, amounting to £9,000,000, so that in all in the last four years the expenditure demanded by the Fianna Fáil Government to keep the essential services functioning and pay for the cost of government has been increased by something in the order of £18,000,000. That £18,000,000 does not grow on trees or under gooseberry bushes. It is to be found ultimately and finally by raising it in taxation from the people. We know that half of it has been found by making the poor people pay more for bread and butter, by making the people of this city pay more if they take a bus when one is running, by increasing the E.S.B. charges, and by increasing the cost of a variety of other services on which the Government had an influence and for which the Government may have responsibility. Fundamentally, the position is that there has been in the last four years this enormous increase in Government expenditure.

I do not suggest that much of this expenditure is not necessary. Of course it is. But I do think it is right that a Minister for Finance who started his term of office by suggesting to this House that he would be in a position to prune and screen Government expenditure in such a way that it would not increase, but who has to admit to an increase of that kind in the expenditure over which he has presided, has not pursued a policy which has been successful.

It is interesting to recall that the present Taoiseach, prior to his election to office and while he was in Opposition, had a great deal to say on this subject of expenditure. I refer to a speech he made on the 8th May, 1956, and reported in the official records of the House in Volume 147 at column 49, when he said: "In 1953, the Fianna Fáil Government, of which I was a member, took a decision that taxation in this country had reached the danger limit. We announced that we had made up our minds on that fact and that, so far as we were concerned, there would be no increase in tax rates above the 1953 level."

In 1953, mind you, a poor person was able to buy a 2-1b loaf for 9¼d., and a 1b. of butter for 3/9d., and to meet the cost of essential commodities out of the ordinary reasonable wage being earned. I have little doubt that when that speech was made by the then Deputy Lemass it was blazoned in the Irish Press newspapers, conveying to the ordinary people throughout the country that here was the Fianna Fáil Party guaranteeing and assuring them that if they were elected to office, in no way and in no sense would the burden of taxation be increased. In that speech, the then Deputy Lemass went on to say:

We made it clear that if any Budget difficulty arose that difficulty would be met by a reduction of expenditure and not by increasing the burden of taxation.

Four years later, we find that the man who made that speech and expressed those sentiments leads a Government who send their Minister for Finance to the House with this Vote on Account to ask for approval of a Book of Estimates which, in effect, represents an increase of some £18 million over the cost of running the State when the Fianna Fáil Government assumed office. Certainly, the country cannot view with equanimity members of political Parties and Ministers who make speeches one day and proceed by their action, in the days that follow, to disown them.

I do not want to detain the House very much longer but I do want to say that, at the end of this Parliament, after all the speeches that were made, after all the rosy promises that were issued in the past four years, after all the blueprints and planning documents that were sent out on behalf of the Government, the country finds itself rather at a loss and rather at sea.

Rural Ireland has gone through four of the worst years since the war. There is not a town or a part of any rural constituency which has not felt the bite of real misery and, at times, real poverty in the past four years. Farmers, farmworkers, ordinary shopkeepers and business people in different parts of rural Ireland have read with astonishment, and eventually with annoyance, repeated speeches by Government Ministers about prosperity and boom times. I have little doubt that many of my constituents reading these speeches have been wondering whether we are all living in a sort of cuckoo-land. They have been wondering what kind of monstrous make-believe has been indulged in by the Government. If there has been a boom in the past three or four years, I should like to know where it has been locked up, why was its effect not felt throughout the country? In fact, in the past four years, rural Ireland, certainly the part of rural Ireland I know, has gone through a very bad period indeed. I believe it will take many years to overcome the effects of the past four years.

The year 1960 was in most countries, particularly in western Europe, a year of considerable progress. The year 1960 has been referred to as one of the best years the countries of the Continent have experienced for many years. Trade expanded; the economy on the Continent advanced and boomed; and, generally speaking, considerable progress was made everywhere, except here, in the past twelve months. We have been able to show only a small increase in our industrial activity. We have not been able to show progress in stemming the decline in agriculture. All that leads one to the view that so far as the Government are concerned, their policy has been one of drift and of nothing else. They are apparently content to permit this country to be carried along by the economic currents which may be flowing in and around western Europe. If those currents are favourable, then, to some extent, the economy here shows an improvement; if those currents are unfavourable, then disaster may come upon our economy.

I suggest that all the talk about a plan for economic progress and all the rest of it has not, in fact, been reflected in ordinary action and has had no reflection in the country. We are coming to the end now and I believe this farce is also coming to an end. At some stage during this year, Government Ministers and Deputies will have to go again before their constituents and the people will be given an opportunity of deciding whether the Fianna Fáil Government should be rejected or whether in their place should be put a Fine Gael Government, charged with the responsibility of implementing Fine Gael policy.

We have grown up in this country. We can discuss political differences and political problems in a far more useful way than was attempted years ago. I should like to welcome the fact that in the coming general election, people will be free to vote according to their beliefs, according to their consciences. I believe they will be free to vote for the policies and programmes they believe are better for the country, that we will get away from the kind of tied Party supporter, the man who was a supporter of the Fianna Fáil Party, not because of what they stood for, not because of the individual candidate he was asked to vote for, but because of things and issues and personalities that did not amount, in the long run, to anything substantial or worthwhile for the country. That change is a welcome one. Certainly, we in Fine Gael regard that change with equanimity and look forward to the coming general election with a clear and steady eye and with considerable confidence.

Major de Valera

It is, I suppose, only natural that the Opposition will make the type of speeches that we have heard from Deputy O'Higgins and Deputy Dillon. People in their position usually fall into the trap of going too far with their denigration of whatever the Government opposite them are doing. They would do their own cause as well as the general interests of the country more good if a more balanced attitude were adopted but, perhaps, that is asking too much. Personally, I would prefer to take the problems that are there and try to deal with them objectively but in view of the picture painted by the last two speakers, my first duty is to inject some contribution to balance their statements. The general suggestion is, of course, that in the period of the past four years, the Fianna Fáil Government in these benches have not been successful in carrying out the business of running the country.

We are coming to a general election and, throwing my mind back to a few years ago, I make a very interesting comparison of the state of this Government in office to-day with the state of the last Government in the same situation, with a general election coming up. Whatever the Opposition may say, the popularity of this Government stands high. Perhaps I shall be told that being a city Deputy I am speaking only for the city, but even speaking for the city I find an air of optimism and an air of progress that contrasts strongly with the near-panic of the end of 1956. I would point to that and be inclined to think there is not so much in what the Opposition are saying. I would point to the results of the Sligo-Leitrim election which, if all Deputy Dillon said were true, poses us the paradox that Fianna Fáil did extremely well in that election having regard to the figures that were there before and the general statistical pattern. While that is the answer to the Opposition, perhaps it is not the most constructive approach to the Vote on Account.

It is not.

Major de Valera

I am merely answering the Deputy and his friends. I take as my base the situation of the country, the financial crisis, the depression that was there when this Government took over in 1957, the circumstances that caused the people to turn to Fianna Fáil to straighten out the financial crisis that was there then compared with the relevant stability that there is to-day.

While I am taking that as a base I do not intend merely to indulge in competition with the Opposition as to who did better. In order to have the field clear, let me say here and now, in all fairness, that we do realise there were specific difficulties at that time, adverse world trends. There were all these things that Deputy Dillon and his colleagues would have invoked as excuses for the situation at that time. I do not want to minimise the problems that were there in 1956 and 1957. Let us both agree there were serious problems for the last Government when they were going out and many of these problems, as even we admitted at the time, were conditioned by external factors and many other factors. Nevertheless it is that time we must take as the base for judging the progress of this Government.

In the light of that, I think any fairminded person can say that in many fields the recovery that has taken place has been very gratifying. Again my friends opposite may say: "Circumstances have turned in your favour in some regards." Let us be fair and honest about that. Modern conditions depend on environment and on how trends develop. As I am prepared to admit that when those trends were taking an adverse run they posed serious problems for the previous Government, I am equally prepared to admit those trends may have been of assistance to this Government. I see nothing wrong in admitting that trends are favourable when they are favourable or admitting they are adverse when they are adverse.

Whatever way you like to look at it, the fact is that today, compared with 1956 and 1957 as base, there is financial stability and the general condition of the country is one of recovery, the very type of recovery we set out to achieve. In 1957 the set purpose of this Government—whatever the background to the problems that were there—was to achieve recovery and the first question to be asked in relation to these matters of finance, balance of trade, and so forth, is: was there recovery? I think the answer can be fairly given in favour of the Government.

What line did that recovery take? I leave it to the Minister and to others to deal with the overall economic picture, but I would take one sector as an illustration. In the situation which has been developing in the modern world, with easy intercommunication, with rising standards of living in our environment, with free intercourse over a wide area, very much freer than it had been during any period of history, one of the problems was to see how employment could be provided for people at home. Perhaps I am not qualified to talk about rural employment, but it certainly seemed commonsense to me and to a large number of other people to adopt the approach that, because of the modern situation, we must develop as far and as fast as possible the industrial outlet. That is easier said than done. Again starting with the basic situation of 1956/57, it was difficult indeed to do it. We remember that at that time there was a recession and that recovery meant not only stabilisation of the economy as a whole but stabilisation of the narrower industrial sector.

We are entitled then to ask: What has been the response in that regard? I have here the figures issued yesterday by the Central Statistics Office. Taking the volume of output in manufacturing industries on the base here chosen, in 1958 the figure is 5.7 per cent. up on 1953; in 1959 it is 12.1 per cent. up on 1953 and in 1960 it is 20 per cent. up on 1953. In regard to weekly earnings, I know one can get into interminable arguments on this head, but taking the official statistics, we find that in 1958 as against the same base there was an increase of 23.8 per cent.; in 1959, 27.8 per cent., and in 1960, 36.8 per cent.

Then we come to the question of employment. Again, with reference to the base year, the figure for 1958 is 142,025; for 1959 it is 146,155, and for 1960 it is 149,689. There is the picture. Of course, it would be a very facile answer to me to say that in 1960 we are only 20 per cent. up on the production on the base year. It is even easy to throw back at me that the increase in absolute numbers of persons engaged in 1960, when all is said and done, is only a matter of some thousands. But the important thing in this is the pattern shown here. It is an increasing percentage each year.

In regard to the three sets of figures which I have indicated, perhaps we would all agree that they are not as fast as one would like but whatever the cause and no matter which of us were tackling the problem, there was a rather difficult base to start from. Taking all these things into account, you still have here a steadily indicated progress. I do not think the Government come out badly. That is not to say that there are not problems. Before I try to touch on these problems, as far as I can see them, there is one other point I should like to make. It is prompted by something which Deputy O'Higgins said about taxation.

It is the comparison of figures that matters. When one talks about taxation in the sense of merely what the State is spending, one is not accurately reflecting what I might call the burden of taxation on the individual—the type of thing out of which people are wont to make political capital. The fact is that the Minister for Finance was able to bring in last year a Budget that was considered generally by the public to be satisfactory.

I do not think that the fact that things like P.A.Y.E. and adjustments of that nature are brought in are to be considered as additional taxation. In the long run they work out to the benefit of the community as a whole and they are apparently being carried out without any great hardship. I know that the question of the E.S.B. charges has been quoted but the amount of money involved, when all is said and done, is not great and I do not think the Opposition do the country a service by magnifying that. The reason for these increases has already been given Ministerially and by the Chairman of the Board and I need not delay to expand on that now.

If we have greater State expenditure —and we have—we must realise two things. First, the general trend in the part of the world in which we live and in the currencies with which we are associated is one where expansion in the volume of expenditure is what one might call a natural occurrence. That very fact makes it really futile to compare expenditures without some corrective. That is the first thing to take into account when one quotes the total figure in the Book of Estimates. The second thing to take into account is the services given by the State. One has also to take into account such things as the increase in personal remuneration whether in the State service or otherwise which has gone hand in hand with the increase in the State's bill. It is all, if you like, a facet or feature of that gradual change that takes place in money values and I do not think it is either cogent or useful to try to make political capital out of a point like that, particularly as it leads us to miss some of the more vital questions and, perhaps, the indicators to answers to these questions.

I quoted the figures for the manufacturing industry. Notwithstanding the increase in the State expenditure, as represented in this Book of Estimates, we have a continuing rise in output which may be taken as reflecting conditions in all manufacturing fields. I appreciate the tribute paid by Deputy Dillon to progress in that direction. That earnings should have increased almost twice as sharply as increases in output without causing serious price rises or hindering unduly the export drive bears out the contention that the increase in output has made the industrial expansion possible. One then reflects that if the increased output is there from the worker the worker's morale must have been correspondingly enhanced. I make that point as a counterbalance to some of the pessimistic statements which have been made by the people in Opposition.

Before leaving the question of the size of the Estimates and the implications that the Opposition have drawn from them, I should like to make one further comment on something Deputy O'Higgins said. He talked about the increase in expenditure. He talks as if that should not have taken place or should not have been allowed and that things should have been held at their former level. I shall simply content myself with reminding Deputy O'Higgins that there was once a Coalition Government that came into this House some years ago and the Fine Gael Party in particular wedded, above all things, to reducing squandermania in Government. In spite of these declarations and protestations—and I am sure at that time sincere intentions— that Government went out of office after seeing a progressive rise in the bill about which there are now complaints.

Has the time not come for both Deputy O'Higgins and myself to realise that in matters of expenditure over a period of years we must also take into account that natural expansion, or if you like to call it, inflation in money values, which happens to be a feature of modern times right through this century and certainly since the first World War? That is one of the facts of political life that we will have to take account of. If we do take account of it, perhaps we shall be less glib in taxing one another with some kind of mythical neglect or failure in face of something that is perfectly normal.

So much for the positive side. As I say, I am merely trying to approach this from the point of view of injecting an element of balance into the last two speakers. I do not think that the public will accept the graphic descriptions and histrionic oratory of Deputy Dillon, or the attitude of Deputy O'Higgins, any more than they would accept from me a statement that we had at last achieved Paradise. That leads me to say a few words on the problems there are. Of course two problems have been raised in this debate and they are natural ones and they are very validly the concern of both the Opposition and ourselves. One is the problem of emigration and the other is the problem which is linked to it—rural employment. I should like that we take into account some of the real facts. As regards emigration, various figures can be taken and it is very difficult to know on which figure to base ourselves. The only figures we have are hard to interpret and it remains for us to see when the census comes out whether these reflect the true situation or not.

There is no doubt that from 1955 onwards these figures did give us cause for concern and, as far as I can see, although I do not think there would be very much between us on this figure, there was a high figure in 1958. I ask this question in the hope of trying to approach the inquiry with an objective mind: how much of that is a carry-on from the depressed situation that had developed in 1955 and 1956, the general depressed situation that was there, whatever its cause was? One does have delayed actions in such matters. In actually interpreting the figures to a peak, that is a relevant point. Much more cogent for us to ask ourselves is: what is the basic problem? Is it not a problem of standards of living in the country? Is it not a problem that the boys and girls, of whom Deputy O'Higgins speaks, can go and find in an urban community in England a certain attractive standard, both materially and socially, and is that not one of the reasons why, not only in Ireland but in very many parts of Europe as well, this problem of keeping people on the land exists?

I do not think that the Opposition are doing much good in trying to pretend that the Fianna Fáil Government, or any other Government for that matter, are responsible for the situation. It is a feature of modern times and it is a question of what policy one can adopt to meet it. Everybody in the country knows, and even a city man like myself must know, that the small farmer particularly will be up against two problems. One is the problem of securing labour and providing the standard for that labour that will compete with the standard that can be obtained in England or in a city here, for remember not only are they emigrating to England but they have been migrating to Dublin and to our towns.

There is also a problem of machinery. I could, perhaps, go into details but it would be better to leave that to some of the country Deputies who understand the details of the problem, perhaps more than I do. That problem being there, the question is: how are you going to tackle it? For instance, can the small farmer afford to pay the high wages that would maintain the agricultural workers about whom we hear so much and who are leaving the country? We all deplore their leaving the country. Can the small farmer maintain the agricultural worker with the standard of living that he could get in Dublin or Birmingham? I do not think so. Will the small farmer, or the bigger farmer, be able to avoid economic problems, the local economic problems posed by modern machinery?

I am tempted to give my personal views on this matter but, frankly, I think I am not competent to come to a proper judgment and I shall refrain from giving an overall judgment on what that situation is. I do say, however, that if you are to provide for the man in the country, you must try to provide alternative employment and try to raise his standard of living. The only practical way to do that is to try to foster industrialisation as far as you can. From all the handicaps which this country had from the beginning, we know that that has been a slow and difficult process and the heartening thing is, as will be seen from what I quoted, that it is speeding up, that there are indications of its speeding up. It is by the provision, if possible, of local industries, by the development of such schemes as forestry, supplemented by temporary schemes such as drainage, that such a type of policy is feasible. It is the only way, when it comes down to brass tacks, that all of us, on both sides, would favour. Surely that is a line that has been followed here by the Government. In bringing in these Estimates on this Vote on Account, I think that the achievement of the last few years has, by and large, been a justification of the Government. These problems are there, but we have yet to hear of any more positive, concrete solution to them than this Government are pursuing. Deputies opposite have had their turn and opportunity of being in government and they have not been able to produce any better line of attack on these problems. It may well be that there is only one general line of attack and that if we are to attack them at all, we are perforce bound to take the same road.

I am glad that the political climate is such that we can discuss these matters in a more objective way than perhaps was the case formerly. That is as it should be. If I may interpret some of Deputy O'Higgins's remarks, I take them as agreeing with me. My principal purpose in rising was to point out that, on the industrial front, there was a very definite recovery; there was a recovery in the economic sector and the gloomy view put forward by the Opposition does not seem to be shared, as far as I can see, by the public. We can turn even to the most recent results for confirmation of that.

Objectively speaking, the last remark I should like to make is that this Government, at the end of nearly five years, can claim a popularity at the end of their term of office that certainly their predecessors could not claim. They can claim success for their period of office and I should like to draw attention to one factor which has materially contributed to that. It is that there was a Government in power with sufficient strength in this House to remain stable and pursue their policy and their rôle without the shakes and vacillations from which an insecure Government must suffer. If I were asked to give one reason, apart from any other, for the difference between the situation of this Government at the end of five years and that of the previous Government at the end of three, I should say it was that this Government were strong enough and long enough in office to do their job. They can therefore account, and be made to account, for themselves at a general election, without having suffered that appalling uncertainly and frustration that must beset all minority Governments.

I was glad to hear Deputy O'Higgins talking about the future. I know he was talking about a Fine Gael Government and I should like to hope that whatever Government, whenever it does—but I do not think it will be this time—succeed this Government, it will be either Fine Gael or Labour or some definite Government but not a weak mixture of a number of different Parties. Perhaps Fine Gael and others, in their hearts, agree with these sentiments.

I am sorry I cannot go the whole way with Deputy O'Higgins and consider the possibility of a Fine Gael Government next year as a practicable possibility. Let me ask the country to look at Fine Gael, to look at the country and look at everything else and then simply ask themselves the objective question: "Is there a chance in heaven of Fine Gael being the Government?" It is a simple question to which there is a simple answer. The trouble is—and it is one of the sorry things of Irish political life at present—the only foreseeable Government as an alternative to a Fianna Fáil Government is another Coalition and the people do not want that.

In the opinion of the man in the street, this Government have not acquitted themselves badly. The man in the street is only too conscious of the problems that exist and of the urgency associated with these problems. There are many maybe who will disagree perhaps in detail on particular aspects with this or any Government in power, but I think the man in the street now knows that his best chance and the country's best chance is to ensure that, no matter what Government are in office, that Government should be secure in structure and tenure of office. Such a Government can serve him and the country best.

I am greatful to Deputy de Valera for the tone of his speech. I could have made a very contentious speech, having listened to the Minister for Transport and Power, but when I heard Deputy de Valera say that the Government who preceded this Government had to face a recession, I agreed that it was time that somebody should say that. I appreciate it and because I do, I shall endeavour to show, as reasonably as I can, that the Government's policy was a failure.

The Government got into office promising 100,000 jobs, promising practically full employment. They did not keep their promise. The cost of living has risen substantially and I attribute that and the whole rake's progress—and that rake's progress example from Hogarth was used by the former Taoiseach—began when they took away the subsidies. That detonated the first rise in salaries all over the country to offset the rising cost of living, and the first rise in rates caused by supplementary estimates that had to be brought in by various local authorities to provide for hospitals, etc. That was a result of the removal of the subsidies. I consider the removal of the subsidies and the Government's breach of promises and the use of trick phrases on the people as the cause of this situation.

I read in last week's debate that Deputy O'Donnell said that the former Taoiseach, now President, made some statements about the subsidies and Deputy Booth flatly contradicted him. This matter will always remain in my mind because my constituency was made the springboard for some of this. This was sprung on 1st March, a couple of days before the general election, on the famous Friday night when the Taoiseach came to Waterford and made his speech, stating that some Coalition leaders were threatening the country with all sorts of unpleasant things. This was reported in the Irish Press of the next day, 2nd March. He said that Fine Gael were saying that if Fianna Fáil became the Government, there would be compulsory tillage, wage controls, cuts to civil servants and many other things. He said that a Fianna Fáil Government did not intend to do any of those things because they did not believe in them.

The extraordinary thing about it is that, on the same night, his leader was saying practically the same thing in Belmullet, but he went on to say that Fine Gael were saying that Fianna Fáil would abolish the food subsidies and he added: "We will not do this." But they did it and that was the root cause of the whole spiral in the cost of living. They said they would save £9,000,000. Where is that £9,000,000 now? It has gone down the drain and nobody ever thought that there would be £131,000,000 in the Estimates, coming up to the Budget.

The Taoiseach, then the Tánaiste, went on to Mallow, following that meeting in Waterford, and said that food subsidies must be accepted as being likely to remain a permanent feature in the Estimates until a sharp fall took place in the cost of living and that was not likely in the near future. That statement was also reported in the Irish Press on the following day. Deputy de Valera has said that the Government had a good four years, but they promised the people that they would not remove the food subsidies and they then did so.

On the question of 100,000 jobs and the matter of emigration, I should like to say that in the city of Waterford, with a population of about 30,000 people, 4,000 people bought single tickets to England at the railway station in the past year. Let nobody on the Fianna Fáil benches say that I am a Jeremiah, coming in here with these figures. It is our duty to speak here about these matters and to reflect the opinions of our constituents. It is not right for Fianna Fáil to say that we are coming along as Jeremiahs. It is our right to point out to the Government that they are not doing their duty, that they are a failure as a Government.

It has been asked if the emigrants would have gone, if they could have got a decent standard of living at home. I would say that during the term of office of the inter-Party Government, there were 200 men working on local authority housing in Waterford. There are not 40 now. Nearly all the good tradesmen in Waterford have gone to England. This Government claim that, during the term of office of the inter-Party Government, it was not possible for people to get grants for housing and that building was going down. The amount of money paid out in Government grants during the term of office of the inter-Party Government up to 1957 was greater than the amount paid out since.

Deputy de Valera says that local industries are the solution. I agree with him, but surely I can say that there is no use talking to my constituents about local industry? Recently I put down a Parliamentary Question to the Minister for Industry and Commerce asking the number of new promotions or of factories extended and I was told that the number was about 80. I was told that we had got one of these in Waterford and, the following week, I was told that it was a very nice little industry in Tramore employing ten or twelve people which had been extended. It may be said that the constituency is not trying, but I can say that it was the merchants and speculators, the people with money in my constituency who, out of their own pockets and without the aid of Government grants, conceived the possibility of having a cement industry brought to this country. They were cheated out of it and it was brought to Drogheda.

A group of Waterford people were recently about to put up a scheme for a chipboard factory, but, before they could draw their breaths, the chipboard factory was in Clare. That was all to the benefit of Clare, but it was not to the benefit of my constituency, where, in a single year, 4,000 people bought single tickets to England.

You ought to hold on to some of these factories.

We cannot, when the former Minister for Industry and Commerce, who will be known to the Deputy, made it a part of his policy to take as many industries as he could of those in Waterford out of it. As the matter has been mentioned, Sir, I may as well mention them. We had a large margarine factory in Waterford. It is not there now. It is in operation in county Louth. We had the H.M.V. radio factory in Waterford. It is now in Dublin. Before we ever heard of Fianna Fáil, there were four large bacon sellers in Waterford. There are now two bacon sellers there. Before we ever heard of Fianna Fáil, we had a large community in Waterford who earned an honourable livelihood by buying pigs for home consumption and for export. They were destroyed by an Act of this House about which I will say more on the Bill which is coming before the House shortly.

It will be of some satisfaction to the brave remnant of that community to see that they have not been forgotten and that the wrongs that were done to them will be mentioned in this House. Fine decent Irishmen were denied the right by this Fianna Fáil Government to earn their livelihood in their own country. That is the present trend.

A policy is now being enunciated by Fianna Fáil, which, if it were put forward from a Fine Gael platform, would be received with howls of "Traitor", "He is trying to sell the country to the British" and such epithets. Usually, the interrupters are traitors to their kind. However, I shall not delve too deeply into that now.

The present approach is that the Irish market should be fostered, and I welcome it. We read the imprimatur of the Taoiseach and of the Tánaiste in the headlines. If any Opposition Deputy mentions Great Britain in a friendly way, he hears howls even from Parliamentary Secretaries that he is a traitor and is making probably a Battle of Britain speech.

This afternoon, the Minister for Transport and Power spoke in the guise of the Minister for Agriculture. He dwelt on the policy of better marketing of agricultural produce. Let us examine the policy. This is the Government who were to "get cracking" in 1957. In their first Budget, they voted a special sum of £250,000 to improve the marketing of agricultural produce. Some months ago, I put down a question to the Minister for Agriculture asking how much had been expended in pushing our sales of agricultural produce on foreign markets. I discovered the sum was £18,000. Probably most of it was spent on summoning committee meetings and boards.

The Minister for Transport and Power also spoke of the wonderful improvement in the cattle trade, as if the recent improvement were something for which Fiann Fáil were responsible or for which the boards in relation to the marketing of agricultural produce were responsible. The real reason for the scarcity of cattle is the various standstill orders in cattle counties in Britain as a result of foot and mouth disease. Irish cattle can be brought into the ports and slaughtered. That is one of the reasons for the improvement in the cattle trade. Fianna Fáil had nothing to do with it and would know nothing about it.

The policy of building factories in western areas requires careful re-examination. It is said with some truth that it is necessary only to find a German, a Chinaman or a Japanese and get him to approach the Government and say he will set up a factory west of the Shannon to be offered £100,000. It looks as if it is as easy as all that. Sound reasons for establishing an industry—local capital and know-how —do not count on the eastern seaboard and especially on the south-eastern seaboard.

It is obviously Government policy to build fish factories at all the ports where fish are not being caught. They will not build fish factories at ports where fish are being caught. The Government will spend pence only on an important fishing seaport. For a port to merit the description of an improtant seaport, the qualification should be the amount of fish landed there every year for the past five years. If you multiply by four the amount of fish landed at five of our leading fishing ports, you will arrive at the amount of fish landed at a port on which the Government will not spend anything and have not spent anything for years. Enormous catches of fish are being landed at the port for which I speak, but it would appear that the Government are making no provision for that port. I would welcome information as to when the Government will implement the recommendations in the report of the Swedish consultant. They should give priority to the port where the fish are being landed.

When giving grants for harbour installations, the Government should look to the ports where business is being done. They should look to the ports that can earn the money rather than turn their backs on them. I am aware of the difficulty experienced by the harbour authority in Waterford city in regard to a scheme for new installations. They are constantly put off and thwarted. Big installations are erected at ports which nobody wants to enter.

That would seem to be a matter for the Estimate rather than for the Vote on Account.

With respect, I am referring to Government policy. It has been the policy of this Government to find a port in a General John Regan way. Somebody would say: "We should have ships coming in here. You could anchor all the ships in the world in this bay." Then, if a storm blew up, all the ships could be sunk there, too. These are the kind of places where the Government are constructing harbours.

That would be more relevant on the Estimate.

Very good. Fianna Fáil Government policy has pushed the rates of this country sky-high because when they removed the subsidies the first repercussion was that virtually all local authorities were summoned by the county managers to consider supplementary estimates, Then there were increased wages granted to all those employed by local authorities. It was one more result of Fianna Fáil's policy of deceit. The health services are an exceptionally good example of this. A very important date is November 15th, 1952, when the present Minister for Finance, then Minister for Health, called all the local authorities of Munster together in the City Hall in Cork to explain the health services to them.

A debate on the health services on the Vote on Account is not in order.

This was a very important part of Fianna Fáil policy.

I do not disagree, but nevertheless, it is not relevant on the Vote on Account.

I want to give it as an example of the way Fianna Fáil policy is put over. The Minister then said it would not cost any local authority more than two shillings in the £. It is now costing eight shillings.

And it was carried on by a Fine Gael Minister.

I am not saying who carried it on. It was put over by a Fianna Fáil Minister who said——

Criticism of legislation is not in order on the Vote on Account.

This was not legislation. It was a matter of Fianna Fáil policy, of a Minister's promise.

Why did Fine Gael not get rid of it?

I have been sitting here listening to a lot of claptrap from the Minister for Transport and Power——

And from the Deputy's side too.

Deputy Fanning must allow Deputy Lynch to proceed.

Let us hear Deputy Fanning talk some sense for a change. We never hear him at all. We would love to hear him.

Let the Deputy sit down and I will get in.

The circumstances of that time provide the most wonderful example of a confidence trick ever put over on the people—propaganda and false promises, promises never carried out. The Minister for Transport and Power said there was no difference between the attitude of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael towards agricultural instructors. I should like to refute that altogether. There is a great difference. Fianna Fáil said that they would fill the fields with inspectors. We said that no inspector could go to a farmer's house unless the farmer sent for him. That is the difference. We wanted the inspector to go as a friend, not as a man with the big stick.

I shall finish now because I am anxious to hear Deputy Fanning. I should like to finish with a parting shot at Fianna Fáil policy. During the past four years that policy has been an absolute failure. The fact that when they went to Kilkenny their 12,000 majority was reduced to 129 shows the trend of opinion in the country. What happened in Sligo-Leitrim is their answer. I now give way to Deputy Fanning.

It it usual on these occasions to take stock of Government policy in general and it is also useful on an occasion of this kind to examine from both sides what may emerge by way of argument and suggestion to improve the country's economy. I take it that Deputy Sweetman, being a Fine Gael Minister for Finance in the last Coalition Government, was representing his Party's views on these issues. I have searched his speech in vain on this Vote to find a single suggestion of a constructive nature as to what change he might bring about in our national finances if he and his Party were returned to power. Deputy Sweetman is a lawyer, a very able one at that, a man who is well used to taking every possible advantage of any argument he thought fit to bring before the people in the interests of his Party. At Column 212 of the Official Report for March 8th, 1961, speaking on national production, employment and national consumption, he is given as saying:—

I know the Minister is going to tell us that there has been some improvement in 1960. Perhaps statistics can show some improvement in certain respects but the case I want to make today is not to argue as to whether or not there has been an improvement.

When Deputy Sweetman opens his case by admitting in a left-handed way— as he has done in those words—that there has been an improvement in national production, national employment and national consumption in 1960 and then proceeds to throw overboard any question of the vital statistics on this issue I think it will be apparent to everybody that his case is an extremely weak one. He starts off by saying he is prepared to ignore completely the statistics in favour of the Minister for Finance, which prove that an outstanding improvement has taken place in our national economy. This makes it clear to everybody how short of an argument Deputy Sweetman is.

There is no suggestion anywhere in his statement as to what Fine Gael would do if they had the responsibility of Government and we had the national blight of a Coalition Government here. Surely this is the time, if Deputy Sweetman had any political goat, that he should be up in the middle of the fair with him? Surely this is the time Deputy Sweetman should indicate what the alternative was to the policy expressed by the Minister for Finance? Is it not true that the whole of Deputy Sweetman's speech is bereft of any practical and constructive suggestion as to how his Government would deal with these Estimates and what they would slash? The people have not such a short memory as Deputy Sweetman and his colleagues think they have. They have still fresh in their minds what happened when Deputy Sweetman and his colleagues were in charge of the national purse.

Speaking on the 8th March last, as reported in the Official Report at column 217, Deputy Corish said:

There arises from them an aura of complacency and exaggerated optimism regarding the future economic situation.

He was referring to the Government Party. There has been no aura of complacency in these benches about our national problems. There certainly has been future optimism, based on realistic figures to which I intend to refer. But in regard to national problems, such as unemployment and emigration, complacency has never been expressed from these benches. There was an air of optimism; but that could not be otherwise in view of the outstanding success of the economic policy of the Government.

Later I shall give some indication of what the Government have done in regard to our economic growth, but perhaps it would be more convenient if I first referred to a few of the statements, or perhaps I should say misstatements, made by Deputy Blowick here on the 8th March. As reported at column 245 of the Official Report he states:

What is wrong with agriculture in this country is quite plain to everybody. The farmer is not being paid for his work. That is what is wrong. If he were, he would stay on the land and holdings would not become vacant and cottages closed up through wholesale emigration.

That is the root cause of the whole trouble and Fianna Fáil are not alone determined not to find a market for agricultural produce abroad but they are determined also to rid the country of the small farmers altogether.

After that tremendous effort at misrepresentation, Deputy Blowick goes on to tell us that if there was a change of Government, it would be all for the good. He tells us the same old story we have been hearing from him since he went into Opposition; that the country is being deserted, that Fianna Fáil have no use for the small farmer and that generally the policy of the Government has been in some way directed against the rural population and the small farmers of the west.

Deputy Blowick made another interesting discovery. As reported at column 247, he tells us that outside the chapel gates in rural Ireland today you will find only 20 middle-aged men. He says that is due to Fianna Fáil policy. It would appear that in the four years this Government have been in office, and by some extraordinary wishful thinking on the part of Deputy Blowick, the whole population of rural Ireland has changed. In these four years, according to Deputy Blowick, they have all become old age pensioners.

Let us look at the facts as impartially as we can. Emigration was referred to by Deputy Corish, Deputy Blowick, Deputy Sweetman and others. It seems an extraordinary thing to me that there would appear to be a suggestion that emigration started only during the past four years. It seems to be completely forgotten that emigration has been one of our national problems for generations, particularly in the part of the country from which I come and which I represent. It seems extraordinary that those people in the Opposition benches who keep talking about emigration and making a political football out of it discovered we had this great national problem only when they left office. They seem to have forgotten that they themselves set up a commission on emigration, and now it would appear from the record of their Government, that it is the only thing they did about it, to set up this commission to find out what everybody knew was the main cause of emigration.

All of us who are familiar with the small farmers in the west of Ireland know that down through the years, if a man of £5 or £6 or anything up to £10 valuation has a family of nine or ten, at least eight of them must go out and be absorbed either in industry here or must go elsewhere We who are familar with this problem in rural Ireland know that the people to-day are not alone not prepared to accept the standards of living in the west that their grandfathers had but are not prepared to accept the standards their fathers had. These are facts, and indeed, down through the generations, emigration was a regular feature from the whole of the western seaboard. How it can be trotted out now by members of the Opposition as something that is alleged to have occurred yesterday or the day before certainly beats me.

I do not think that that form of propaganda will get them anywhere, nor do I think this new interest in emigration on the part of the other speakers to whom I referred will be accepted by the people in the west of Ireland.

There is one thing about emigration that this Government have done. They have faced the problem in a national way for the first time. Neither the Minister for Finance nor this Government has attempted, nor did we attempt when we were in Opposition, to try to make a political football out of this great national problem. This Government have taken practical steps, as I will show, to endeavour to stem the trend of emigration with which our country has been cursed for so many generations past.

Again, referring to that particular portion of Deputy Corish's speech, let me say that we on these benches are not and never have been complacent about the figures, although the figures quoted by the Deputy himself seemed to indicate that the trend, at all events, in connection with emigration is in the right direction from the national point of view. In 1957—and let me say here and now that these figures are unreliable, as all figures on emigration are unreliable—in so far as we can get a picture of it and in so far as it is available to us, the figure appeared to be 60,500. It dropped to 41,300 in 1958 and to 38,800 in 1959, so that if that is an indication of anything, it is an indication that in respect of the problem inherited in 1957 the measures taken have tended to bring down these huge figures. Although I emphasise that we are are not satisfied with the figures as they stand, it would appear that the movement is being checked, and the trend is in the right direction.

The steps taken by the Government in implementing the White Paper on Economic Expansion have shown genuine results in a very short time. Even Deputy Corish admits in his speech on this motion that there are now between 8,000 and 9,000 new jobs in the country, that employment in industry has been rising. It is now admitted that employment jumped from 272,000 people in 1958 to 279,000 odd in 1960, and it is estimated that the figure in the coming year will be as high as 288,000, in the industrial sector alone.

That trend proves the wisdom of the policy being pursued by the Minister for Finance since he came into office. It is true that there is a building boom throughout the country. There is a building boom throughout my county, and it has reached a stage at which one has to wait some months for a contractor to do a job. That is an indication and, I suggest, a good one, as to the way the economy of the State is going, although Deputy Corish seems to write that off on the basis that employment in building is a temporary type of measure. It is not so much the employment in the industry itself that I rely on as an indication of the improvement in our national economy, but the fact that the improvement and expansion in our economy and the stability created in financial matters by the Minister for Finance have induced the people to go ahead with building.

There was, as everybody in this House knows, a different picture when the cold financial winds started to blow the last Coalition Government out of office. It did not blow in County Mayo alone, where the county manager was reduced to the position that he could not issue a cheque for more than £12 on behalf of Mayo County Council. You had the same position, as far as housing grants are concerned, from Cork to Donegal. There is no single sphere of activity in the whole range of our economy that has not shown decided improvement under the policy pursued by the Minister for Finance.

I wonder does anybody here ask himself why it is that so many people abroad are becoming interested in this little country of ours. Is it completely fortuitous that business men from Singapore, from Germany, from London, from Spain, from the United States of America, have all picked on this country as a place in which to go ahead with their business plans? Is it not an indication as to the way our economy is going, and as to what people abroad think of our economy and the stable conditions created by the policy pursued by the Minister for Finance?

I suggest to the House and to Deputies generally that this extraordinary industrial activity did not come about fortuitously. I suggest that the reasons for it are the fact that our national finances have been restored through the efforts of the Minister for Finance, that he has balanced his Budgets, that we have a stable political community under this Government. I suggest that these are the reasons why all those people have decided to go ahead with their industrial expansion in this country.

Is it not good business for them to come in? Are they not well paid for it?

What about the 1956 Act?

Perhaps the Deputy thinks it is good business for them to come in. Of course, these people think it is good business for them to come in but why did they not come in when the people opposite were in office?

Who laid the foundations for it?

What about the 1956 Act?

Anybody coming into a country to invest money will look, in the first instance, at the financial policy pursued by the State, will consider the political stability, will see to it that he will not sink his money where there will be a risk. I should like the Deputies opposite to ask themselves this question: how is it that there is this extraordinary influx to this country of people from several different lands, not one alone, not our nearest neighbours, but as far abroad as the United States, Singapore and Japan? How is it that these people have suddenly picked out this small country of ours, Ireland, for the purpose of their industrial expansion?

The tax reliefs of the 1956 Act.

Must there not be some reason for it?

The tax reliefs of the 1956 Act.

Must there not be some reason why this sudden activity developed and how was it that these people became interested, evidently——

After 1956.

——in the facilities to be offered here when they discovered the stability existing here, the balanced Budgets, the wiping out of the imbalance of payments, the new advance under a Fianna Fáil Government?

And 200,000 people emigrating.

Let Deputies opposite think that one over and ask themselves how it was——

The 1956 Act.

——or is it purely by chance that this extraordinary new movement in our economy and this new development has taken place?

They come in; the Irish go out.

Two hundred thousand of them, under Fianna Fáil, in four years.

I have given the figures as to the people who are going out in so far as they can be ascertained. I am just dealing with some of the achievements of this Government to try to provide employment in our own country for these people. I assert that the only contribution from the gentlemen opposite was to set up a commission to deal with this national problem. We are showing results, at all events, from a practical point of view and in a practical way.

If there is one section of the Government more than another that should be in a position to help at least in dealing with the emigration problem and in providing employment in rural Ireland it is the Department of Lands, of which I am at present Minister, that is, Lands, Forestry and Fisheries. The truth is that the work of the Land Commission and of the Forestry Division and of the Fisheries Branch are intimately connected and very closely associated with rural Ireland. Progress in the work of the Land Commission or in Forestry or in Fisheries brings relief and much needed employment to the people in even the most isolated areas.

For instance, where one man is migrated from a congested area it means that the holdings of three or possibly four of his neighbours will be brought up to an economic unit. The employment given by the Land Commission under the improvement vote is considerable. The employment provided by the Forestry Division, both directly and indirectly, is very considerable, and there is also a considerable amount of employment provided directly and indirectly by the Fisheries Branch.

Let us examine for a moment what has been done in these fields under Government policy and with the money provided by the Minister for Finance to help to stem rural emigration and to create more rural employment. Let us also consider for a moment the success the Government have achieved in these fields. I give a few comparative figures in relation to Forestry to begin with. The Leader of the Opposition is very fond of saying: "Let figures speak for themselves." I want to let a few of these figures speak for themselves.

In 1956-57 the Forestry Division of the Department of Lands acquired for planting 18,731 acres; in 1960-61, they acquired 26,000 acres for this purpose. In 1956-57 the number of acres planted by the then Minister for Lands under a Coalition Government was 17,407. In this last year, for the first time, the planting figure achieved was 25,000 acres.

On land acquisition for forestry purposes the amount of money expended in 1956-57 was £98,012. In 1960-61 the figure expended by my Department for this purpose was £175,000. If Deputies opposite want some more figures as to the operations under this section of my Department, which has the greatest impact in providing employment in the backward areas of rural Ireland and in stemming emigration, may I quote a few more records for them: (1) The highest ever State planting in a year of 25,000 acres was achieved this last year; (2) There was the most extensive new afforestation in western counties, 10,500 acres in 1959-60 and 11,000 acres in 1960-61—the 1960-61 figure is 44 per cent. of the total being planted, 25,000 acres, in the whole of this country. Such figures were never achieved since the foundation of this State in afforestation work; (3) The greatest volume of work in existing plantations ever achieved in a year was achieved last year; (4) the longest mileage of new forest roads ever laid down in a year was 200 miles laid down in 1959-60 that is, 66 per cent. above the previous record; (5) the biggest annual spending in direct rural employment in State forests, £1.5 million, was achieved in 1959/60 and we expect this figure to be £1.6 million in the coming year, 1960/61. The next record I want to report to the House is the greatest State investment in forestry to date, £2.5 million in 1959/60 and £2.9 million provided for 1960/61.

Is this the Estimate for the Department of Lands?

The Minister is talking generally. He is not going into details.

I am pointing out what has been done to provide employment in rural Ireland through afforestation by the increased tempo of work under the Forestry Section of my Department. I know the truth is bitter and difficult for the Deputies opposite to take. They talk about records. These are the records.

Tell us about selective migration.

I will come in a moment to some of the efforts of the gentlemen opposite who now talk so glibly about emigration——

And migration.

—rural depopulation and unemployment. What did they do when their Ministers had control of affairs here? Let me take one of the other sections of my Department, that is, the Land Commission, which is doing great sociological work, being one of the great forces in stemming emigration in respect of these small intermixed holdings, particularly in run-dale, as we still unfortunately have in counties on the western seaboard. The problem on that side, as I have stated elsewhere, involves, in my view, up to 60,000 uneconomic holders.

These are the men who, with their families, have to emigrate from sheer economic necessity, who certainly have to leave through economic causes. These are the people who got the axe from the Coalition Government when they were in office. In the past year, the Minister for Finance has provided me with £750,000, an increase of 50 per cent. on the amount provided by the Government of previous Governments, for the relief of congestion. It is the highest figure that has ever been provided for a period of over 20 years to deal with this congestion problem and to deal with the land slums of our nation. It is a slow and painful business but the fact that this extra money is being made available to me by the Minister for Finance is apparent from my native Mayo——

And Sligo.

——from the Oranmore and Browne Estate, through Rockingham in Boyle down to Oakpark in Carlow. The effects of that are there for all to see and we will achieve record migration, record revision figures on the Land Commission side.

Let me turn to the gentlemen who have been so vocal about emigration from and unemployment in rural Ireland and how all the people there turned into old men since Deputy Blowick left office. I have heard it alleged here by Deputy Blowick and others that all the houses in western Ireland, at all events, are locked up. I am sure Deputy Blowick is interested in the land problem and I would love to have from him an indication of where these houses are, where these deserted villages are. Deputy Dillon is very fond of trotting out this fairytale, too, but the fact remains that my Department and I have never been more inundated with demands for land, for additions of land, for enlarging farms and for migration.

This is true and this is the law: if land is lying derelict, if the owners have gone and if the land is let, then the protective sections of the Land Acts as far as these owners are concerned do not apply and it is child's play for the Land Commission to come in and take them over. Will somebody tell me where these deserted villages are or will somebody tell the Land Commission where they are so that we who are searching for land from one end of Ireland to the other can get this land these people allege is there? I think I know the west of Ireland as well as any other Deputy and I certainly would like to be informed where are these whole countrysides which have become deserted by this alleged emigration, where people have all turned the keys in the doors. I have no doubt the Land Commission would be extremely interested to know the whereabouts of this huge pool of deserted land described by Deputies opposite.

I come back to what the Coalition Government did when they had the chance to expand in one of the most important sections of Government, when they could have stemmed emigration and increased rural unemployment. They did a very interesting thing. The Minister for Finance was looking for £5,000,000 and seeking to raise the wind somewhere. On 24th July, 1956, the first thing he decided to axe was the work of the Land Commission and the Forestry Division. The provision for the Department of Lands, by Government order and with Deputy Blowick's full approval, was cut by the sum of £281,500. That was a tremendous effort on the part of Deputy Blowick to solve the congestion problem and of Deputy Sweetman to solve the emigration problem and to provide employment in rural Ireland. Every section was cut. Starting off with a cut of £239,000, they went further with a reduction in the provision for improvement of estates of £12,500 which is money spent where small holdings are rearranged to provide proper fencing, roads, and so on, for the small holders.

They did not forget Gaeltacht Services which concern the poorest people in the State and which were then under the control of the Department of Lands. The poor men in the Gaeltacht got a knock of £30,000, making the total to which I referred of £281,500. These are the people who now talk to this Government about emigration, rural unemployment and the alleged failure of their policy. Is it not extraordinary that, with that record, we should have the audacity of people like Deputy Blowick and Deputy Sweetman in referring to this business at all? Would you not think they would leave it dead?

That was not the whole picture because when the cold financial wind started to blow the Government out of office, created by their own ineptitude and mismanagement, it did not even start to finish at that. A Land Act was passed in 1950 to enable the Land Commission to purchase land on the open market or by public auction. The activities under Section 27 of the Land Act of 1950 were completely closed down and wiped out by Government order. There was little hope in that atmosphere of relieving the emigration position by resettling more people on the land; there was little hope in that atmosphere of providing more rural employment in forestry; there was little hope, indeed, in that atmosphere of anything that one can now visualise.

In addition to this tremendous slashing, the complete stoppage of the purchase of any land for the relief of congestion under the 1950 Act, the slashing of the provisions for the Department of Lands by £281,500, there is this other matter which I want to put on the records of the House. It was issued by the Minister for Lands on 3rd August 1956:

Please impress on each divisional inspector and inspector in charge forthwith that it is necessary until further notice to confine expenditure under new and old sanctions to absolute essentials. Anything that will bear postponement will have to wait over for the present.

This is issued by the people who allege that this Government were doing nothing about employment; that we completely neglected rural Ireland and, to put it in the words of Deputy Blowick, that we wanted to consign the small farmer to perdition. These are the figures; these are the facts. I should love to have the temerity to advance the arguments and the suggestions made or make the speeches made on this Estimate by either Deputy Blowick or Deputy Sweetman, they having been responsible for that tale of woe which I have unfolded to the House. I have no doubt at all that the Irish people in their own time—and it may not be very long until they get the opportunity—will express their views on these figures and these facts when the Party opposite come before them.

I do not wish to delay the House with quotations from outsiders to show what other people think of us and think of the management of this State under this Government, in particular, the management of the country's finances by my colleague, the Minister for Finance. They are innumerable. Let us take one British newspaper that was never, I should think, particularly favourable to this country—the Daily Mail. In the issue of 13th of March, 1961, which is just a few days ago, a gentleman by the name of Charles Rowe wrote as follows:

Eleven British firms started up new factories in Ireland last year. At least a dozen more are now negotiating for land and premises, with plans to start up this year. Why the rush? The answer is simple, even if at first sight unbelievable. Suddenly, Ireland has become the land of opportunity.

Taxation relief.

That is the consensus of opinion, not alone in this responsible daily journal, but in the Financial Times and in every outside paper one examines as to the position of the economy here. It is not, as I have said, completely fortuitous that these people are coming here. It was because of the sound management of the nation's finances by this Minister for Finance who has produced balanced Budgets, who has cleaned up the financial mess which this Government inherited and who has enabled every section of the Government to look ahead and who has created that new spirit we now have in the country, which is that this is a country in the future of which we and our children have reason to believe. It is the fact that affairs have been managed in that way that has enabled the progress to be made that economically has far exceeded the estimate made by the Government on economic development as published in the White Paper.

This Minister for Finance has balanced his Budget. This Minister for Finance and this Government have restored financial stability. This Minister has brought order out of chaos. This Minister and Government have restored national confidence in our own land, which I think was probably the greatest achievement of all, considering the blistering our people got by their predecessors. This Government have raised the national prestige abroad to a height never before achieved. On these records, the people have no choice, in my view, when the task of deciding arises. I invite Deputies opposite to whistle as long as they can about Sligo-Leitrim because it reminds me very much of the person passing the graveyard. He whistles in order to keep his courage up. Those opposite are doing likewise before they reach the political grave which their mismanagement has opened for them.

That little bit of Sligo-Leitrim will not do the Minister any good.

I regret that the Minister for Lands made use of the phrase that "the truth is bitter". Certainly, as far as forestry is concerned, we are all delighted that such progress has been made. Forestry is one of the most important national developments we have. We thought that the Minister for Lands would have been magnanimous enough to admit that the stage was set by Deputy Blowick when he was Minister for Lands here because, time after time, we were told in this House that 25,000 acres was the target during the time of the inter-Party Government. I congratulate the Forestry Department that that target has been reached.

The Minister for Lands asked why people from abroad were so interested in this country. I should like to reply by saying that they are not interested in the country for our sake but for their own sake. They may bring in capital but it is to exploit the position and the opportunities they see here and that may redound to our benefit afterwards. Candidly, I do not think it is any credit to us at all that we have to seek money in the markets of the world and go abroad to entice people to come here. This State is almost 40 years old and we have been asleep for many years when we could have developed this country had we applied ourselves to the task and if we had not had this political bitterness down the years. That is what delayed the progress of this country in the early decades. Thank God, that day has gone but we should not be too loud in shouting about people coming in to invest their money here. I repeat that they never come in for the love of us.

I believe the Minister for Finance could not have been over-complacent when he asked for agreement on this Vote to carry on the services for the next four months. Of the 55 items included in this leaflet, 41 of them show an increase on last year, 13 show a decrease and one is at the same figure as last year. Judging by the page of statistics before page 1 of this Book of Estimates the trend ever since 1952 has been that the national bill has been growing gradually. The provision being made for the next financial year shows an all time record for expenditure. There may be some substance in what Deputy de Valera said, that the recession in money values has caused the inflation of these figures. I accept that to a certain degree but, nevertheless, this figure is rather staggering when one considers our limited circumstances.

Added to this figure must be the £20 million odd for capital services; added to that must be the sum of almost £30 million for the servicing of the national debt; added to that again must be the odd £50 million collected in rates, all of which together make the extraordinary sum of almost £210 million which is far in excess of £50 per head taxation on every man, woman and child. The extraordinary thing is how our people have survived and how they have raised these vast sums down the years. Personally I think the cost of administration must be inordinately high and that it does not bear comparison with the cost of administration elsewhere per head of the population.

At the very outset we have the President's Establishment which today costs almost £57,000. I remember the time when there was an outcry when the President's Establishment cost £10,000 to £15,000. Of course it was the Governor General's establishment in those days. Candidly, for a sinecure of that type, is it worth it? I have a conviction that despite our limited circumstances here, we are inclined to be apish and to follow standards of other nations like America and Great Britain. Personally, I think the office of President should be incorporated with the office of Taoiseach so as to make it an office of greater utility. We seek in many ways to gain prestige but what good is prestige to us in a world in which territorial freedom has lost significance? When there is such a struggle for economic survival our aim should be to plough every penny we can into some particular scheme so that we can maintain our people and try to improve their standard of living.

There has been a good deal of talk this evening about the economic picture, about emigration and about financial matters in general. Deputy Dillon quoted from an authentic source which he identified, in indicating that our hire-purchases at the moment are £24.6 million and the indebtedness of the agricultural community to the banks is approximating to £40 million. If all that money is made available, it means that it must be creating a certain amount of activity and that at the moment we are, perhaps, living on a sort of artificial activity or prosperity. I believe that that is the case. I hope it will last, but if we are to live on borrowed money, it means we are inevitably approaching saturation point and recession will follow whether we like it or not.

The second item here is for the Houses of the Oireachtas. We accepted the increase given here some time ago——

The Deputy is going into details.

I have no wish to go into details. In regard to a lot of these items, where increases are shown, there could have been pruning for the sake of saving. In this sense the Government should give the lead in practising economy and thrift so that our people would follow that lead and would themselves learn to save.

Returning to the question of hire-purchase. I have no doubt there is not a Deputy who has not met young people who have purchased motor cars on hire-purchase who, perhaps, are earning £6 to £8 a week and who find themselves in financial difficulties after a couple of months and unable to pay the instalments. I have met at least half a dozen such cases in the past three months. I have the feeling that 75 per cent. of our people are living beyond their means. That cannot go on indefinitely; the day of reckoning will come some day. There is the danger that if the banks become anxious about their advances to people throughout the State, they may cause a good deal of commotion and disquiet. I hope that will not be the case because certainly we have been through one of the worst years in memory. Never before have we seen the potato crop being harvested in February or March. Never before have we seen acres of straw, which could not be brought in last winter, being left in the fields. Never before have we seen corn still growing in February, as I have seen it from the train between Portlaoise and Kildare —I do not know the exact locality.

It has been a very disastrous year for the farmers. When the Minister for Transport and Power spoke this afternoon he mentioned that the trouble with our store cattle began as far back as 1954. I did not know there was any trouble about the sale of store cattle in 1954. I believe prices were good all down the years until about eight or nine months ago but certainly they were very bad during the months of October, November, December and January this year. Prices have now advanced very considerably—almost £10 per head. We should all be delighted about that but the regrettable feature of the situation was that there was no leadership, guidance, expert advice or encouragement for the people who had these cattle for sale to hold on to them until such time as the market improved. Those unfortunate people were compelled to sell during those months when prices were at their lowest and somebody else reaped the benefit.

Unemployment has been mentioned a good deal. We regret that we have unemployment. I admit readily there is an improvement in the figures as we get them from week to week but emigration still goes on. It has been said that it is a national problem and I believe it will remain so. There is no real remedy for it. Yet, it is regrettable to see whole families going. Lately there is a tendency for people to ascribe emigration to causes other than economic causes. I think we must all admit that 95 to 98 per cent. of the people who leave go because of economic circumstances here. There are very few who go who would not give anything, or even everything, to come back here if there were openings for them. Any effort the Government have made to provide employment is laudable for that reason. They deserve credit for any expansion and improvement in our economic position which would provide for the employment at home of our unemployed people or our exiles. I believe, however, we shall never see the day when we shall have to call back our exiles to take up posts here. I hope we shall see it because many of them are not happy in their adopted environment.

Agriculture has been discussed at length and even in detail. We have been through a very disastrous harvest and disastrous year in general. The only compensation is the excellent weather we have got in the past three weeks. It will help to offset the disasters and hardships of the harvest and of the autumn of last year.

I believe that if we are to have emigration as a recurring or constant problem our aims and efforts should be directed to seeing that our emigrants go well equipped from this country, sufficiently educated to enable them to compete with the people in the countries to which they are forced to go. For that reason education must become more extensive and more general and more money must be spent on it. We are coming to an age of specialisation and unless a boy or girl is equipped in some specialised line at home, there is no place for him or her abroad. Unless our people can go away qualified in some special line, they must become hewers of wood and drawers of water as so many of our exiles became in the past.

Our commitments at home as well as our commitments abroad are growing. That is all the more reason we should try to be more realistic in dealing with administration and try to cut administrative costs to make money available for situations like that. We have had to send our Army to the Congo. It is well we were able to do that. Certainly, it has added to our prestige that our soldiers have acquitted themselves so well. They were on a laudable mission of peace. If we had more money we could do more in that regard.

We are a young State; perhaps inexperience militated against us in the past but surely we should be mature enough now to be able to apply the pruning shears and cut away all the administrative extravagance and waste in order to save money that can be devoted to some productive work and redound to our own benefit eventually.

This Vote calls for careful analysis even though it is only the preliminary of the general financial debate which we shall have in some weeks time. Nevertheless, I think it is a Vote that calls for criticism on many points. I was sorry this afternoon to hear so much politics and extraneous matter introduced. I must pay tribute to Deputy de Valera who was quite factual and admitted that in 1956 and 1957 there were economic difficulties that were outside the control of the then Government who had no option but to accept them as they turned up. Such things invariably happen and we should be a little more generous-minded to our opponents, whether Government or Opposition, and realise that. If we are objective in these views, if we value what we have in this country, we should leave politics outside this House. We should try to work in harmony so that the country will eventually become the State that all of us dreamed and had visions of years ago, a State which will be an example to the world in industry and those spiritual values which have always been associated with us, and which will give leadership and encouragement to other nations who are so watchful of our attitude to-day.

I had no intention of intervening but I should like to make a few remarks having heard Deputy Oliver Flanagan speak at the last sitting and again to-day. On the question of wheat, he accused Fianna Fáil of promising the farmers 82/6d. and then he spoke of a cut of 11/- per barrel. If the Deputy knows anything about wheat growing he must know that the bushel weight must give an increased price because, with a normal harvest, we shall have nearly all wheat bushelling at least 60. It is time to pay according to the value of wheat for conversion into flour.

This would be more relevant on the debate on Agriculture.

I am just referring to what Deputy Flanagan said last week and I think I am entitled to go back on that. We have some experience of wheat growing. If we raise the price of wheat still further, as some of the Opposition seem to want, and raise the price of the loaf there will be an outcry. I think the Minister is right in making his calculation on the price of wheat, paying the farmer for the crop and putting it into flour.

The Deputy should not continue on that line.

Speaking on Tuesday, 7th March, as reported in Volume 187, Deputy Dillon said:—

There is work to-morrow for 300 additional agricultural advisers in this country to help our farmers to expand their productive economy of their own land.

I wonder if Deputy Dillon is as draft as many of the things he says would lead us to believe. I would advise him and the Minister that the cost of those 300 instructors would be better put into cheap fertilisers for the small farmers. These farmers cannot afford the money to buy fertilisers and even if 1,000 instructors were appointed, they would not be much use to the farmers who could not afford to pay for fertilisers.

That is just like the statement made by Deputy Dillon about the small farmer and the £10 for the calf. It is the small farmer who buys and rears the suck calves. If he bought them three years ago, he paid £25 or £26 for them and, having reared them, sold them for the same price. Six months ago, he could have two for the price of one, and, therefore, if he keeps them for 12 months, he will make more money.

All this is relevant to the Vote for the Department of Agriculture and not to the Vote on Account.

I bow to your ruling, Sir, but it is a pity you were not here for some of the other speeches which were nearly all about agriculture. We all know that the farmers were doing badly for the past two years. They could not get sale for their cattle and, at the same time, they were fighting bovine tuberculosis. We have spent many millions on the eradication scheme——

We gave you the lead on that.

You say you gave us the lead on many things but you did not follow them up. Deputy Flanagan said to-night that this country was in a very bad state, but I can say for one town in my constituency, the town of Roscrea, that it is doing very well with industries. You could not find a girl there to work for you now. Deputy Flanagan's constituency in the Midlands has done better than anywhere else through the policy of Fianna Fáil. I remember that when a certain factory was to be erected in Nenagh, in North Tipperary, a Fine Gael Deputy told the wives and daughters when canvassing for their votes that it was going to make tinsmiths out of their husbands and brothers. Members of that man's family occupy very good positions in that factory to-day. We have got a number of industries in North Tipperary in the past four years and we are going to have more. During the time of the Coalition Government, the only industry we had in our towns was the labour exchange. That is not so now.

The people have all gone.

There is no use for the exchanges now; the people are all in employment. I listened to Deputy Dillon talking about the increases in E.S.B. charges. His Government removed the subsidy in 1956; now he asks us why we did not put it back. Does he want us to put back what they cut out as well as doing what we are entitled to do ourselves?

Deputy Dillon also mentioned wheat and beet and I should have thought that these were two commodities which he would not want to mention at all. I heard Deputy Flanagan say that it is Government policy to put the fairs and markets off the streets. It is not. It is the policy of the farmers themselves who want to put up the marts in which to sell their cattle. Deputy Manley is a fairminded man but he spoke of the President's Establishment.

I want to make it clear that I am casting no aspersion on the office or the holder of the office.

I know your point but I assume that in the last election you voted for a certain man for that office.

I suppose I did.

Why did you vote for it at all? You should have voted against the office. Fianna Fáil got into office in the last election without having made a single promise, but I can tell Deputy Sweetman that he will have a job to get back the Fine Gael seat in North Tippereary.

The Deputy might find it hard to get back himself.

I am not a bit worried about it. We are accused of bringing in foreign capital to start industries in this country. What is wrong with that? These people are coming in here to give employment and were it not that they are getting good concessions from the Minister for Finance, they would not come here at all. It is a good thing to see them coming over here. In 1956-57, the country manager in my constituency was trying to make a case for Deputy Sweetman, then Minister for Finance, when we could not get a shilling out of him for housing. We are told that the Local Authorities (Works) Act was cut out by Fianna Fáil but it was not introduced again by Fine Gael.

Fine Gael try to claim credit for everything good that has been done in this country but for everything bad they say that Fianna Fáil is responsible. However, whenever the elections come along, I would say it is a safe bet that Fine Gael will not be able to form a Government.

This is the annual Vote on Account and I think it is a debate to which every Deputy should contribute. I am quite satisfied that the speeches made by Deputy de Valera and Deputy Manley were ones that one could understand and that were reasonable. We are all too fond in this House of snapping at one another and trying to score small political points. We of the old movement have a better national outlook and we believe that this country has a great destiny, if it was only properly handled. The approach made to our problems over the past number of years has been a false approach, a wrong approach. If we keep going on as we are going, we will no longer have the traditional Irishman. We will have a mongrel and the plain common simple Irishman will be a thing of the past.

I remember a speech made by the Minister for Finance seven or eight years ago when he said that there were too many people on the land. I suppose he believes that to-day also but I do not. I believe that, per square mile of this country, we have fewer people than any other country in Europe. We want to keep the people in the country areas. I am not worried about the big cities. They are well able to look after themselves and industrialists coming in here will always make sure that there is employment in the city.

However, anybody who knows the country areas will readily realise that things are not well. The small farmer and the small shopkeeper are being run out of the country and there is no employment in the country districts to-day. If things continue as they are going at present, it will only be a matter of 10 or 20 years until there will be nobody in the country but big farmers and financiers running the land, because the small farmer is going.

Those of us who were reared amongst that type of people know that we have a lot to do. The small farmer has not a hope under this Government, unless they make a revolutionary change. About 75 per cent. of our farmers are small farmers and about 50 per cent. of them are uneconomic. Will we allow these people to be squeezed out after all our talk for the past 40 years about placing our people on the land? We are not doing that. As fast as we place a few on the land we displace scores.

In my county of Westmeath we are tending slowly but surely toward the big ranches. A fair effort was made for 20 or 30 years to readjust the land position there but for the past four or five years men with big money are buying up holdings as soon as they come on the market. We must rectify that position.

We are not unaware of the difficulties the small man has had to face all down through the years even before we achieved freedom. Their plight to-day is in many cases as bad as it was in former times. There is a lack of credit. We hear much talk on that subject. Will the man with 15 acres be given a loan by the bank, even if he brings a couple of farmers along with him? He is not good security and he will not get the loan.

Consider the small farmer living in an old thatched house. He must wait for years before he can begin to build a new house. He gets all the State assistance available under the Acts. However, he must borrow £1,000 or £500 from the county council to build the house. The loan, with interest thereon, must be repaid over a period of, say, 25 years. It constitutes a burden on the small man.

The same can be said in relation to the E.S.B. Electricity has proved a wonderful boon to our country but it has put many a small man to the pin of his collar to avail of it. Installation can cost anything from £50 to £100. The small man who wishes to mechanise must avail of the hire purchase system. Add rent and rates to that expenditure. How, in such circumstances, can those people compete with strong farmers? They cannot.

Industrial development is progressing splendidly. At the present rate, there should be very satisfactory progress within the next 20 years. We are neglecting agriculture which is our strong and mighty arm. We must do everything to keep it going full steam ahead. Approximately 80 per cent. of everything we export will come from the land.

In the course of the past 40 years when, for lack of finance, we were unable to establish industries and had not technicians why did we not send some thousands of our young men to industrial centres in Germany, Britain, and so on, for training, and pay them there, and then bring them home to set up industries instead of asking foreigners to do so? The danger is that in time of economic crisis those new industries which are wings of larger industries abroad will close down and that the parent companies will concentrate on the home factories.

Foreign industrial development is welcome when we have nothing else but, even at this stage, I urge the Government to consider the training of young technicians. We should send our young graduates who cannot get employment here to industrial centres in other countries for five or six years to receive suitable training and then bring them back when they are capable and efficient and get them to give us the benefit of their training. There is no point in saying we have not the money. For our size we are pouring out more money than any European country. The banks are sending deposits as fast as they can for investment in Britain, Canada and elsewhere. Insurance companies are doing likewise. How can we achieve stability in such circumstances? No effort is made by an Irish Government to put a stop to such activities which will continue until strong action is taken.

We have no suitable harnessing of our finances. If we had, we should have a very sound foundation for our economy. We are drifting. Valuable people are leaving our shores. As soon as the children of many of our farmers and workers reach 16 years they leave for employment abroad because they cannot find suitable employment at reasonable wages at home. While their parents are alive they send money home but once the parents die they lose touch with this country.

The Government have much to learn and to do. I do not want to complain about the country's desperate plight because that is not true and I would never make such a statement. I have always had faith in our country, even when times were hardest. Many people are making a very comfortable living here. I have in mind magnates in the industrial world, the strong farmer and many persons in the insurance business. They have finance behind them and if times are bad they can wait for good times to come.

After a depression in the cattle trade lasting two years, the small farmer must sell in October to pay his way. He has no grass to feed his stock and no facility for storage. He must sell at the wrong time and for a rotten price, sometimes even for less than he paid for the beasts. The big man can buy the cattle from the small man at a cheap rate. He has the space to house 200, 300 or 400 cattle. He has the fodder and a large acreage. In the Spring, when the price is favourable, he can sell his store or fat cattle at a handsome profit.

Prosperity in this country is in the hands of the few. We want prosperity to be in the hands of the many producers. We must provide a prosperous economy for the small man of from 20 to 25 acres, which is the average holding in this country. At the moment that man bases his economy on a half-dozen or so store cattle. He also may have five or six pigs and three or four dozen hens. He is never able to afford to finish his cattle: he must sell them as stores in order to pay his rates and taxes and then he has to buy young cattle to rear up to the same age. How can we expect farmers of that type to exist in present conditions?

We are doing absolutely nothing to help such men. The Minister should concentrate on trying to help them to rear their families and hold them in the country. The Minister is an intelligent man and I would ask him, as a patriot, to give up this humbug of trying to score points across the House. It is no use saying: "We did that; you did not do that." We must put an end to that kind of political tomfoolery. I do not believe in it, no matter from what side of the House it comes.

It is that sort of thing that has killed this country and killed the hope of our people in it as a nation. There is too much humbug and we must get away from it. Why do we not see the large election meetings which we used to see a few years ago? Why are only about 60 per cent. of the electorate casting their votes? It is because the people are sick of this business—of the promises and pledges and the inaction. In the past four years, 200,000 people left this country. In view of these facts, would it not be better if the Minister were honest and told the House that several of the promises made during the last election were political ones which could not be fulfilled but that there were other promises which were not political and which he would try to fulfil?

We must endeavour at all costs to stop this tide of emigration. We must endeavour to control our finances. No man in this country wants to rear boys and girls to the age of 16 and 17 and then see them leaving for foreign shores. We all want to see our children being held here and being able to live here in comfort. We must get rid of the heartbreak of seeing them go away. Long ago, in the Volunteer days, one could see up to 20 or 30 young men gather at each crossroad. How many do you find today? The crossroads are deserted because the people are not there. Only the old and the infirm are left, living on the pittances sent to them from Britain and elsewhere.

Talk about industrial development is grand when we see a factory being established in a town. It gives employment to perhaps 50 or 100. But where does it get the labour? It stretches out its arms to the countryside around the town and takes the men from the farmers. They are delighted to go into the towns where they get a few shillings a week extra. I suggest that we keep a register of all the people leaving each area, so that when there is the prospect of an industry for that area, these people will be sought out in Britain and brought back to man that industry. These people are only longing to come back, if they can find a living here.

I am quite sure the Minister realises the extent of the problem to which I have referred. I believe he sees the truth of it but may not say so. We do hope to live to see the day when we have a balanced economy in this country and when, with it, we have an increasing population. At the moment there is no prosperity except in the case of a few. There is misery for the many. To remedy that, we must get down now to a realistic approach. I agree with Deputy Manley that £50 per head in taxation is much too heavy. How can the little man with the 20 acres, the six or seven store cattle, the five or six pigs and the few hens cope in such circumstances? We must realise we are just a little nation who cannot compete with the great empires. What we want are more agricultural advisers to educate our people.

Too much money is badly spent in this country. Taxation is too high. There is too much high-falutin nonsense. If we face our problems in a realistic way, this country can be put on its feet again and we shall see the return of our emigrants instead of the export of our people. Even if this House fails, the next generation will not fail. Though they may have dire struggles, the younger generation will have the will power and initiative to do the things we are too cowardly to do because we are afraid of the big tycoons.

I ask the Minister: does he really think the country is doing well? Do not stand up here and read figures at me. Would any Deputy like to live in the Sligo-Leitrim area, even if times were twice as good as they are? Is it not a barren looking place for anybody to live in? We asked the poor devils there to come out and vote, despite the desolation all round. It was amazing that anybody came out, or that they did not come out with forks and shovels to beat the lot of you out of it.

I do not care whether the good things are done by a Fine Gael or a Fianna Fáil Government. I admit I would hope to see a Fine Gael Government, but I am not against a Fianna Fáil Government. I think, however, they are not facing the problems before us. They are not making money do what it should. They are not holding our people on the land. They are playing up too much to the big fellow and opening the gates to Japan, Germany, Russia and everyone else. They are giving them free factories, paying for two-thirds of the machinery and giving ten years free of taxation. Why do we not give something like that to the small farmer? Why can we not say to him: "We will give you a farm free, take off your taxation and educate your children." Has he not as much right to that as the tycoon coming from abroad? We are not doing that because the small Irishman is insignificant and not worth bothering about.

Yet, those are the men who trudged along the roads, crouched behind the ditches and broke into the police barracks. They are the men who spent years in prison. I served with them from Belfast to Cork and I shared their hopes. But today they are old and shaken. They say: "God be with the old days. You in Leinster House have left the country where it is. What did you do for anybody?" We are supposed to have undone the conquest. Around my county, it is all confiscated land, from which the farmers were driven. The land was taken over by the conqueror. But much of that conquest remains today and men have to bow and scrape passing the gentleman's gate. Yet we do nothing about it because those big men cannot be disturbed. They are the tycoons; we are the cowards.

I would say to the Minister: "Wake up. You were one of the good men and you should be a good man today. Do not be held by Jews and Gentiles from this country and that. Do not let them pull your coat tails. They are making a proper mug out of you."

I wonder if the Opposition Deputies are really sincere in their wholesale condemnation of the Fianna Fáil administration? I do not believe they can be. I would say that no intelligent and unprejudiced observer could fail to admit that tremendous progress has been made in the country's economy over the past four years. That was admitted, in fact, by the last speaker, who said tremendous strides had been made in the past few years. Scores of new industries have been started, giving employment to many thousands of our people. National income has increased and the balance of payments is under control. The building trade is booming; there is more house and industrial building. Everything any Government can do to give the farmer a fair return for his labour is being done today by this Government.

It would appear that no credit is to be given to the Government for anything sound and safe in the national economy. Perhaps the Opposition are hoping that if they say something often enough, somebody will be found to believe it, whether it is correct or not. Deputy Sweetman said here on 8th March last, and I quote from Volume 187, Column 212, of the Official Report:

We all know there are 50,000 people fewer at work than when Deputy Dr. Ryan walked into Government Buildings as Minister for Finance.

Let us examine the figures dispassionately. I would recommend them to Deputy Corish, too. In the weeks before the general election of 1957, the number of unemployed reached a total of 82,116, nearly 90,000. In the middle of February this year, that figure was down to 54,885.

Where have they gone?

They are not on the unemployed list.

This represents a reduction of 33? per cent. No amount of juggling with figures can explain away this indictment of the last Coalition. The assertion that the reduction in unemployment was caused by emigration will not do.

If the figures for emigration are used when assessing the position in 1961, then I submit they must be used in conjunction with the unemployment figures for 1957. If we do that, it has the effect of making the situation in 1957 more disastrous than it actually appeared to be. The exact figures for emigration are not easy to come by. We must take into account the number who come back from England and the considerable number who alternate between the two countries and who can hardly be classified as emigrants at all. Moreover, it is agreed that emigration is not merely an economic but rather a psychological problem. While the Government can take many steps to remedy the economic causes by providing work and incentives and encouragement to investors, the psychological ones can be met only by an appeal to patriotism.

At this point, I should like to refer very briefly to Deputy Corish's reference to the lulling of the people into a false sense of security. I am sure the Deputy read something into the speeches of the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Transport and Power which they certainly did not intend. The Government have never pretended that the people could sit back, either now or in the foreseeable future, and let the Government do the work. At the very commencement of the programme of economic expansion and in almost every reference to it since, Government spokesmen have stressed that the aims at which the programme was directed could not be realised purely and simply by Parliament or by legislation. It was pointed out, and is still being pointed out, that the success of the programme depended on the cooperation of the labourer, the tradesman, the professional man, the trade unionist and almost every element of Irish life. The various groups have not been asked to work for any abstract or illusory object but for something solid and substantial. They have been asked to work for a standard of living second to none anywhere and yet in keeping with our Christian traditions.

I do not understand Deputy Corish's references to the building industry. He speaks about 5,000 men employed in that industry as not being permanently employed. They are only temporary, he says. I would ask him what would he have us do? Stop building? If the Deputy were in power, would he stop building, on the ground that the work was only temporary? Deputy Corish probably meant well and possibly may have spoken without thinking, but nobody who has any conception of the building needs of this country would regard the building worker as merely temporarily employed. I sincerely hope that we have not here an indication of labour policy. I believe also that Deputy Corish is doing a grave disservice to the section of the people for whom he makes such special pleas.

He mentioned what he referred to as the folding up of industries. Is he against the policy of attracting foreign capital into the country? What is the alternative proposal he offers the people? The business people who come here do so because they are attracted by the consistency and levelheadedness of the Government. The electors would be ill-advised to exchange the present position for the bull-in-the-china-shop, hit-and-run approach to national affairs accepted by the last two Coalitions, which was amply demonstrated by speakers on the opposite benches during this debate.

Deputy M.J. O'Higgins referred to Fianna Fáil defeats in by-elections and a narrow shave in Carlow-Kilkenny. The Deputy must have been finding difficulty in finding something new to say, because the rest of his speech we have heard over and over again. He must have known the obvious reply because Fianna Fáil against all known trends have won four out of seven by-elections, and when he talks in his own constituency about narrow shaves, could anything have been narrower than the 56 votes which elected Deputy Ryan in Dublin South-West?

He was elected, anyway.

I got 900 more votes than the man I beat.

You are here without a quota.

Fifty-six votes is very narrow.

Do not talk about narrow margins,

You will have an opportunity of speaking, as will Deputy Ryan also. It is all very well to appeal to people's emotions by condemning out of hand a rise in prices of essential foodstuffs. No Government, least of all a Fianna Fáil Government, would allow prices to rise, unless they had a plan whereby people would be enabled to bear the increase. We have provided work and increased wages and increased social benefits which have more than offset the rise in prices of essential foodstuffs to which Deputy O'Higgins referred.

The cry today is for increased living standards, comparable with those of the wealthier nations. The Deputy knows that you cannot have a rising standard without some increases in prices. The prices will be gladly paid if the people know that the Government are providing the opportunity to earn the money to pay for these increases. If we impose burdens, we must first strengthen the backs to bear them. Here it is noted that it is not Fianna Fáil who are trying to fool the people but rather Fine Gael, through Deputy O'Higgins and others on the opposite benches, who want to give the people the impression that they can live in the lap of luxury without lifting a finger to earn that pleasant state.

Fianna Fáil have kept their promise to give the country stability, security and consistency. These are the things we have today, as every business house and industry will testify and is testifying daily, and as anyone who takes the trouble to inquire can find out. The financing and encouragement of all aspects of the building industry—local government, private, industrial, repairs and extensions—are all major aspects of Fianna Fáil policy and will remain with us for many years to come. It is quite plain that for the past two years there has been a boom in the building trade. Dublin Deputies of Fianna Fáil can go before their constituents in the next general election with confidence, secure in the knowledge that the Government have kept their promise to carry out their building programme, with the foresight and courage which have always characterised every aspect of Fianna Fáil policy since 1932.

In connection with building in Dublin, there is an interesting situation which should be considered in connection with the problem of emigration. As Dublin councillors and Deputies are aware, Dublin Corporation have at all times a number of vacant houses on offer in outlying housing schemes, and people in the city centre to whom an offer is made are often unwilling to move to these outlying places. They prefer to wait for rehousing in the city. Recently, it has been suggested to me by a Corporation official that the reason for the drop in the number of vacancies is the fact that fewer men are emigrating. The pool of vacancies in the Corporation has dwindled considerably, and people in the city are finding it more difficult to be re-housed, as the people who refused to move in the first place still refuse to do so.

This is not relevant to the Vote on Account. Perhaps on the Estimate the Deputy may raise it.

I will just close on that by saying that this may seem like wishful thinking, but the situation admits of no other explanation than that the Government's policy has put the people on the road to a final solution of our economic problems which should meet with the approval of the House.

I should like to reecho the sentiment expressed by Deputy Manley and Deputy Giles that we should strive to avoid needless recrimination, abuse and counter-abuse in a discussion of this nature. We are faced here with a Vote on Account for the Supply Services totalling £111 million. The increase on 1957/58 is £8½ million. As has been pointed out, the real increase is very much more by reason of the fact that the food subsidies totalling £9 million have been abolished. For equivalent services we are now, therefore, paying approximately £20 million more in money.

The really serious feature about that increase is that it is falling on a smaller number of people. Our population is not expanding. It is therefore particularly urgent to avoid any further increases in State expenditure. All the Estimates, with some exceptions, have increased. There have been some very striking increases, some very large ones and others not so large.

Some Deputies from this side have said they have no complaint whatsoever to offer about the increase in one Vote, the Vote for Education, which has been increased by £700,000, approximately, five per cent. I believe the time has come when we will have to face up to the fact in this country that not nearly enough money is provided for educational services. I welcome the increase in the Vote for Education and I would have no complaint whatsoever to offer if it were increased even more.

The Deputy will appreciate that the Estimates are not before us. What is before us is a token Vote.

Very well; I shall deal with the matter only generally.

Surely on a general basis the Deputy is entitled to deal with it?

Is that not generally?

It is one of our largest Votes. However, I shall not go into it in detail. We must face up to the fact, however, that in respect of some of our educational services the State is sponging to a considerable extent on religious communities. We are not paying nearly enough for the service which is being provided. We are not endeavouring to expand the facilities for secondary education. That is something to which I would urge the Minister to give very careful attention.

Again, in general terms, I want to say that we should all ponder very seriously the fact that some time ago Lord Brookeborough in the Six Counties was able to boast that his Government spent six times more per head of the population on educational services than we do. Perhaps I have said enough on the point.

Much mention has been made here of the Government's policy of endeavouring to rehabilitate rural areas by industrialisation. The Government have boasted that there are more people in industrial employment than there were previously. A number of knowledgeable persons who are concerned about Government policy under this heading feel very strongly that the policy of promoting small scale industries in rural towns is not succeeding. A number of speakers here, notably Deputy Giles, have spoken about the introduction of foreign industry to this country. We have given much assistance to foreigners, in some industries amounting to as much as 80 per cent. of the capital investment in their business. The Irish taxpayers for that 80 per cent. contribution to foreign industry have no say whatever in the control thereof.

There is a mad scramble for industries by all kinds of small towns and villages throughout the country regardless of what industries are available or whether they have any real prospect of eventual success. It should be obvious, particularly to members of this House who are often involved very closely in local agitations and demands for industry, that it is impossible for every small town to have a manufacturing industry and that the tug-of-war which seems to have developed between one town and another, between one village and another, is most undesirable.

I must confess quite frankly that I can see little hope for our small towns, particularly in the west of Ireland, through the medium of industries. The proportion of recent failures in new industries is quite startling. They are discouraging failures which we cannot afford. The Government's policy of endeavouring to make up for the deficiency arising from the problem of transport to outlying areas and for the lack of industrial tradition in those areas by giving larger capital grants to them is not a wise policy. I would rather favour the grouping of industries into zones on the lines of the Shannon Free Trade Zone which is a splendid plan.

I would prefer to see a few large scale industries developed rather than a multiplicity of small ones. In the recent list of new industries, furnished in reply to a Parliamentary Question, we saw no less than three zip fastener factories. I have no intention of denigrating the progress made in industrial development. There has been real progress and I welcome it but I do not think three zip fastener factories is a matter that we can seriously boast about. We have to face up to the unpalatable fact that the small town cannot depend for its survival on industry. We in Fine Gael—as a Dubliner I am proud of the fact—give priority to the development of agricultural services and we face up to the fact that it is only on expanded agricultural production, preferably for export, that an industrial structure can be properly established.

In developing that expanded agricultural production the Government have fallen down on the job. There has been a very marked fall in farm profits over the past three years. In 1957 the figure was £109 million; in 1959 it was £101,000,000. No matter how much we boast about industry we must recognise there is an investment in the agricultural land of this country of tens of millions of pounds.

In relation to the vast amounts expended for the development of agriculture by the Department of Agriculture, not enough of that expenditure is directly related to increased production. I have particularly in mind the supplementary agricultural grants which are costing us over £5,000,000 and which are increasing in amount every year. I remember that some years ago, when the food subsidies were abolished, the Government availed of the excuse that they had been told virtually to abolish them by the Capital Investment Advisory Committee. The same Committee recommended certain adjustments of the supplementary agricultural grants which have not been made. I believe —and I have some direct knowledge of the matter even though I am a city representative—that there is a certain lack of rectitude in dealing with these grants by some of the applicants.

In relation to the foreign industries which are being promoted, the time has come for us to consider whether or not it is altogether wise to take it for granted that we should adopt the British and American system of large-scale, uncontrolled private companies. If we are to develop industry—and we must develop it—I hope we shall see at an early date a spread of the worker-partnership relationship, a spread of the profit-sharing scheme or of co-ownership in industry. It is a great pity, when these foreign-controlled industries are set up with our money, that our workers participating in them have no share in that ownership. To encourage small savings and to develop the widespread distribution of ownership is a target we should aim at in that industrial field. I am not aware of any large Irish industry which operates anything in the way of a scheme of profit-sharing or share-distribution among its workers.

Despite the best endeavours of the Minister—and I have no doubt he has made earnest and sincere efforts—he has not succeeded in reducing the cost of Government. We have more civil servants than ever. We have heard good reports of the operation of efficiency consultants, organisation and methods experts who are introducing modern techniques of administration into the Civil Service, and that is something we must welcome. In that connection I should like to ask the Minister if he has given any consideration to the report the Institute of Public Administration made some months ago regarding mobility in the public service. The art of administration is an acquired art. The number of skilled administrators is not very large. In our Civil Service, in our State-sponsored bodies and in our local authorities we must use these skilled administrators to the best possible advantage and endeavour to bring about a cross-fertilisation between these bodies and avoid stagnation at the administrative level.

In the times in which we are living new ideas and new methods are constantly developing. This report of which I am speaking, which could help in a very considerable way to reduce the cost of government, has been prepared by eminent experts, administrators connected with all of our State-sponsored bodies, with the local authorities and various Government Departments. There is a degree of mobility operating as between local authorities, and it seems a pity that that same mobility cannot be developed among Government Departments and as between Government Departments and the State-sponsored bodies. There would probably be a certain degree of resistance within the Civil Service to such a move. In fact I think it has been already expressed; I am not sure of that. However, if it has I have no doubt the Minister will be able to take an objective view of the matter and decide for himself what should be done towards bringing about mobility of administrative staff.

The really serious thing about the rising cost of government is that it is falling on a smaller number of people. It cannot be too often reiterated that wage earners and salary earners in our society are bearing more than they should of the cost of Government administration. The national income has increased in recent years. The share of the national income accruing to wage earners and salary earners has declined slightly. At the same time, the amount of direct taxation contributed to the national revenue by wage earners and salary earners has proportionately increased; that was even before the introduction of P.A.Y.E. as a result of which the Minister this year, will have very much more revenue at his disposal. As far as I can see, 48 per cent. of our national income accrues to wage earners and salary earners. Sixty-one per cent. of direct taxation is assessed on the same people.

The target for whatever Government are in power within the next year must be the stimulation of agricultural production. We are taking the Government to task for the fact that they have not restored the profitability of the agricultural industry—quite the contrary. Within the past three years, farm profits have declined considerably. In the absence of a thriving agricultural community, it is completely futile to endeavour to build up large-scale industrialisation because there will simply not be a market for its output.

I shall begin by taking up a few points mentioned by Deputy Cummins. He mentioned that the national income was increasing and has been increasing. We shall not dispute that fact but I should like to point out to the Deputy that the national debt is increasing even more rapidly and that the rise in the national income is not keeping pace with the rise in the national debt. With reference to his statement that in early 1957 there were 87,000 people registered unemployed I should like to remind him that on one occasion, when Fianna Fáil were in office, there were approximately 140,000 people registered unemployed.

He mentioned then that there were about 52,000 registered unemployed last February and tried to make the point that we were 30,000 better off than we were four years ago. I should like to ask him to take into consideration the fact that there were 52,000 fewer people earning wages last February than there were in February four years ago, which shows that the inter-Party Government were 20,000 on the right side.

No matter what he may say about figures for emigration, we are prepared to put our figures against his. In the matter of emigration and unemployment at any time we are satisfied that our figures will beat his. I should like to remind him, too, that the average number of unemployed persons in 1960 was at least 4,000 per week greater than in 1955 when the inter-Party Government were in office, so that you have not even succeeded in bringing down the number of registered unemployed to the figure which it had reached in 1955 under the inter-Party Government.

Let us just examine the position as it existed when Fianna Fáil took over on dishonest promises in which, of course, the Minister for Finance took a very active part when he mentioned the cruel and unnecessary cut in the wheat price. That was because the farmers during the coming season were not going to get £4.2.6 per barrel. At that time the loaf of bread was only 6½d. Now the loaf of bread is approximately ?d. There is, 6d. in the difference so that they have reduced the price of wheat and increased the price of the loaf of bread by over 6d. in the meantime.

They also promised to reduce taxation. Instead of that, we are examining a Book of Estimates now which is £17 million higher in 1961 than it was in 1957 and our population is smaller than it was four years ago. That smaller population has the extra £17 million to contribute to a Budget which was very high even in 1957. Then, they came into office promising to expand industry and provide an extra 100,000 jobs. Instead of that, we have a situation where we have 52,000 fewer people earning wages today than were earning wages four years ago.

They promised to stem emigration. Instead of that, we find on the figures that nearly 200,000 people have left this country in the space of four years since the present Government took office. Similarly, the Fianna Fáil Party exhorted wives to get their husbands to work. That was the time when there were 82,000 registered unemployed. There are 52,000 fewer people earning wages now than there were at that time. Instead of husbands getting work in their own land, they had to take the boat and go across the water.

The Fianna Fáil Party promised to get this country going and to create economic prosperity. Instead of that, we find a lop-sided situation. We find certain branches of industry prospering thanks to the 1956 Finance Act which offered tax concessions to directors and managers of various manufacturing companies, if they changed over from the manufacture of goods for home consumption to the manufacture of goods for export. They were to be given tax concessions on all profits which would be made from exported goods. Naturally, being good businessmen, the directors and managers of these companies and firms switched over into the field of competition in foreign markets. They are getting the benefit now of the concessions designed for them and which they were encouraged to strive for in the Finance Act of 1956.

I heard one of the Fianna Fáil Deputies giving credit to the present Minister for Finance for a balanced Budget. This year he will be asked to balance a Budget which is £17,500,000 more than four years ago. It will take some effort. Let us examine how he is going to do it. Let us remember that he is balancing the Budget, at the expense of hundreds of thousands of consumers, to the extent of £9 million. He is taking £9 million from those consumers, hundreds and thousands of them on a subsistence level. They include old age pensioners, widows and orphans, the sick poor, hungry children, small farmers and their families, manual labourers and their families.

Nobody will dispute with me that any of the classes I have mentioned is getting any more in the form of an income than a subsistence level. It is a miracle that many of these manual labourers, small farmers and old age pensioners are able to keep body and soul together on the allowances which they receive from one source or another but they are managing to do it. As I say, we cannot dispute the fact that it is only a subsistence level. The vast majority of these manual labourers are not even receiving £6 per week on which to support their families and the people at home. These are the people who are contributing the lion's share of this £9 million which has been used to balance the Budget in years past and will be used to balance the Budget this year.

Now let us have the picture which has been painted by Fianna Fáil since 1957. It is a gloomy picture so far as the taxpayers and consumers are concerned. The loaf is 6½d. dearer today than four years ago; butter is 10d. a lb. dearer; flour is up by £2 per sack; cigarettes are up by 4d. a packet and there has been a drastic increase in E.S.B. charges. There are higher postal charges, dearer drugs and medicines, higher bus fares and railways have been dismantled and sold to scrap merchants. Petrol has gone up by 6d. a gallon and there are 52,000 fewer people earning wages than there were four years ago. In addition 200,000 people have emigrated. Against that, when the Government were coming into office, they promised a reduction in taxation, the stoppage of emigration and 100,000 extra jobs.

Those are the facts and those are the issues on which this debate must hinge. In addition, the purchasing power of the £ has fallen considerably and is still falling. As a result of that deliberate reduction in the purchasing power of the £, various sections of the community are pressing for increased wages to meet the increased cost of living and other rising costs, all of which are the deliberate result of Government policy. The Government have taken a part in jacking up the prices of these items, most of which are essential or semi-essential goods and are part of the demand on the wage packet, or a limited income.

We must face the fact that the vast majority of the people belong to the lower income group, which includes manual labourers and small farmers. These are the people who must find the means to obtain the essentials to keep body and soul together and they are the people who are contributing the lion's share of the increased costs which have been deliberately placed on them by the Government. The people on small incomes are the worst hit by Government policy and apparently the Government have no regard for these increases in the prices of essentials when their limited incomes have to be taken into consideration.

As I say, many wage earners are striving to make ends meet. The only way they can do it is to press for higher wages. We have reached the seventh or eighth round of wage increases now and the Government seem to be completely aimless in the matter of trying to hold the balance evenly between rising costs and the incomes of the people.

During the past four years, we have watched the cost of living rising faster than it rose during any other four years and apparently the Government could not care less. The Minister for Transport and Power on one occasion said that the economy was riding high. He was trying to paint a rosy picture and he tried to use the figures of our exports for this purpose. As I said, the credit for these increased exports does not go to the Government, although the Minister for Transport and Power tried to claim it. The credit must go to the people engaged in manufacturing industries for their enterprise, skill and initiative in competing in foreign markets for the sale of these goods and they have been encouraged by the tax concessions on export profits which they are enjoying.

The self-employed people are another large section of the community who have no redress. Small shopkeepers and small farmers cannot press for an increase in income to meet rising costs. They have to face these costs and make do. This Government have shown very little interest in creating prosperity where it should be created, that is, in rural Ireland, because if we had prosperity in the rural areas, then the cities and towns could look after themselves and would enjoy the prosperity created for the people around them.

The Government seem to be giving more and more, believing that they can fool certain sections of the people by doing so, but they never point out that it is at the expense of the beneficiaries that these things are being given, or at least at the expense of their neighbours. We have several examples of that. Recently, there has been a very steep increase in the cost of social insurance stamps. It is certainly a very heavy tax on employers and employees. They have no way out and they must make their weekly contribution for these stamps. It was a very mean turn on the part of the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Social Welfare to increase the cost of the stamps to such an extent. They are now almost as high as the stamps across the water which provide very much greater benefits for the people of England, Scotland and the Six Counties.

The national debt is mounting rapidly and what are we getting in return? Certainly the grants which constitute a part of that rising debt are creating a certain amount of temporary prosperity but is it a lasting investment? In many cases, I believe those grants are not a lasting investment and they should not be left to a future generation as a debt. They are just being used as pep pills against the kind of stagnation which has come upon the country, mainly in the agricultural sphere. But is this system of grants in the form of pep pills justified? I believe it is not. We should be very careful about this system of giving grants and should ensure that they will be justified as a lasting investment, something that will benefit the community in the form of a better amenity or an improved economy.

If we examine the industrial revival —to call it that—we find that a great part of it can be traced to the establishment of the Cork refinery and it was the inter-Party Government who had all to do with that. It was certainly a windfall for the country and has created a great measure of prosperity, particularly in the Cork area. Naturally, an enterprise of that nature has brought with it several other enterprises located in or around Cork city and they have made for a prosperity in the area such as it never knew before. It has compensated to some extent for the loss to Cork when the old British barracks at Cobh was shut down and when it was difficult to know what would happen there. Now, we have a movement, of people, particularly technicians, from Dublin to Cork as they go to take up employment in these enterprises established around Cork, mainly as a result of the refinery being there.

A very serious expense, in addition to those I have mentioned, in Dublin city and county, is bus fares. Again, the Government disclaimed responsibility——

I do not think the Government have any responsibility for bus fares and I cannot see how it may be debated on this Vote.

I am blaming the Government for washing their hands of responsibility for them.

It is the wind of change.

I am afraid it may not be debated now.

It is the Dublin citizens who are paying for it. We now have the situation where State-owned buses are lying in garages while the Government look sheepishly on, afraid to look at one side or the other. They are not prepared to act as they should to ensure that both sides will get fair play and that is a situation which should not be left——

That is not relevant on the Vote on Account.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce has been associated with this strike, and I am blaming the Government for the fact that he has failed to do anything practical to put an end to the situation in which Dublin citizens have to tramp the streets, while the buses they own are lying in the garages.

The pros and cons of that question may not be debated.

If the Deputy had any decency, he would not raise it.

I am raising it because it is a very serious matter for the citizens of Dublin.

The Deputy might get a little kudos out of it.

It is not a matter for debate on this Vote.

The Government have been boasting about the proposal to provide piped water supplies all over the country, but, in my view, it will be like the Health Act which the Minister for Finance assured us would not mean any more than 1/9d. or 2/- in the £.

I shall prove to the Deputy to-morrow that I was right.

We shall be very interested to hear that. The Minister is a clever man, if he can do that.

I shall indeed.

As in Dublin, I think, in the case of every county now, when you examine the rate demand notes, you find the highest charge is the amount in the £—8/6d., I think in County Dublin—for the health services. After that, comes the cost of road-making and maintenance. That is a new situation. The main trouble is that although the health charge heads the list, many people who formerly received hospital treatment free of charge are now subject to a means test.

That would be a matter for the Estimate. The details of the Health Act do not arise.

I mention it in a general way because the Minister assured the country that the cost of these health services would not exceed 1/9d. or 2/- in the £. Now, they are promising piped water supplies to all and sundry. Apparently people living up lanes and along country roads expect to get piped water to their doors and in their kitchens. If that proceeds, no doubt the charge on the rates for it will move up the list above the health charge and we could have a situation in which landowners and ratepayers, not benefiting by the supply of piped water, would be paying for it, just as they are contributing towards the cost of health services, although they cannot benefit from them.

Recently, a man who proposed to build four or five glasshouses rang me up to inquire whether he should sink his own well or wait for the piped water supply. This shows the extent to which propaganda has been spread among the rural community about this piped water supply. I believe it would not be economic except in towns and villages with a reasonable density of population.

I think that matter should be raised on the relevant Estimate.

The Government have been spending much money on the improvement of amenities for tourists but we all know that the vast majority of our visitors are persons who emigrated or people who have relatives in this country. They are not strangers attracted by any special amenities. Only a very small percentage might be of that type, When we spend millions of pounds in grants for the enlargement and improvement of hotels, with a view to providing better amenities for these visitors, we must remember that they are our own people coming home. We should be careful about spending such large sums of money on this branch of our economy. The argument to justify this expenditure is that the tourist industry is bringing in the second largest income, agriculture being the largest, and that tourist income is catching up and is now nearly as large as the income from agriculture.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.30. p.m. until 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 15th March, 1961.